Churchill's Trial: Winston Churchill and the Salvation of Free Government
Larry P. Arnn
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No statesman shaped the twentieth century more than Winston Churchill. To know the full Churchill is to understand the combination of boldness and caution, of assertiveness and humility, that defines statesmanship at its best. With fresh perspective and insights based on decades of studying and teaching Churchill, Larry P. Arnn explores the greatest challenges faced by Churchill over the course of his extraordinary career, both in war and peace—and always in the context of Churchill’s abiding dedication to constitutionalism.
Churchill’s Trial is organized around the three great challenges to liberty that Churchill faced: Nazism, Soviet communism, and his own nation’s slide toward socialism. Churchill knew that stable free government, long enduring, is rare, and hangs upon the balance of many factors ever at risk. Combining meticulous scholarship with an engrossing narrative arc, this book holds timely lessons for today. Arnn says, “Churchill’s trial is also our trial. We have a better chance to meet it because we had in him a true statesman.”
In a scholarly, timely, and highly erudite way, Larry Arnn puts the case for Winston Churchill continuing to be seen as statesman from whom the modern world can learn important lessons. In an age when social and political morality seems all too often to be in a state of flux, Churchill’s Trial reminds us of the enduring power of the concepts of courage, duty, and honor.
--Andrew Roberts, New York Times bestselling author of Napoleon: A Life and The Storm of War
Larry Arnn has spent a lifetime studying the life and accomplishments of Winston Churchill. In his lively Churchill’s Trial, Arnn artfully reminds us that Churchill was not just the greatest statesman and war leader of the twentieth century, but also a pragmatic and circumspect thinker whose wisdom resonates on every issue of our times.
--Victor Davis Hanson, senior fellow, The Hoover Institution, Stanford University
In absorbing, gracefully written historical and biographical narration, Larry Arnn shows that Churchill, often perceived as inconsistent and opportunistic, was in fact philosophically rigorous and consistent at levels of organization higher and deeper than his detractors are capable of imagining. In Churchill’s Trial Arnn has rendered great service not only to an incomparable statesman but to us, for the magnificent currents that carried Churchill through his trials are as admirable, useful, and powerful in our times as they were in his.
--Mark Helprin, New York Times bestselling author of Winter’s Tale and In Sunlight and in Shadow
Churchill’s Trial, a masterpiece of political philosophy and practical statesmanship, is the one book on Winston Churchill that every undergraduate, every graduate student, every professional historian, and every member of the literate general public should read on this greatest statesman of the twentieth century. The book is beautifully written, divided into three parts–war, empire, peace–and thus covers the extraordinary life of Winston Churchill and the topics which define the era of his statesmanship.
--Lewis E. Lehrman, cofounder of the Lincoln and Soldiers Institute at Gettysburg College and distinguished director of the Abraham Lincoln Association
of, 57–60 war as business for, 76 weapons of, 15–20 statesmanship, 50, 251 and constitutionalism, xix qualities of, xviii success of, 53–54 statue, 207 statute, 207 steel industry, Labour Party plan to nationalize, 178 strategist, general as, 71 strategy, 69–70 and economy, 72 and politics, 52–53 vs. politics, 73 strength Russian admiration of, 300 Russia’s respect for, 92 Stresemann, Gustav, 46 Sudan, Battle of Omdurman (1898), 22, 24 surrender, 52 Taft, William Howard, xxxi
statesmanship, so in war they complicate the problem of generalship—and “the intense light of war illuminates as usual this topic more clearly than the comfortable humdrum glow of peace.” The modern commander is now “entirely divorced” from the heroic aspect of war by the “physical conditions which have overwhelmed his art.” Modern commanders do not sit on their horses on the battlefield and by their words and gestures direct and dominate the course of a supreme event. Instead they are more
not like the Bolsheviks or share their purposes. The Bolsheviks had either to amend their purposes or abandon the pretext of representation.13 It was not hard for them to choose. “The Party,” said Lenin’s associate Karl Radek, speaking to the graduating class of the Soviet War College in 1921, “must impose our will to victory on our exhausted and dispirited followers.”14 Lenin blessed this sentiment in practice when he undertook to destroy all opposition parties, including others on the Left or
and so to contaminate the system upon which it has grown to strength.” This is part of a strategy to effect the “bodily capture of the Democratic party and the installation in its place of a thorough and unshrinking Socialist organization.”28 Churchill had no sympathy with that. Churchill had another plan. He proposed instead that “vast and intricate fabric of Factory Law, of Health Acts, of Workmen’s Compensation, upon which Parliament is swiftly and laboriously building year by year and month
Churchill sought to close the gap between the classes by giving them all a stake in the society and its governing structures. He wrote to Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin that he was seeking cuts in direct taxation—paid more heavily by richer taxpayers—to defray the cost of employer contributions to social insurance. The treasury could not afford, he continued, to cut indirect taxation (which struck lower-income people equally with the rich) at the same time it was expanding social insurance. But