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Excellent article by @RichardToye on Churchill's "fight on the beaches" speech, delivered 80 years ago this week. And the conclusion - posted on the government website - packs quite a punch.…
Churchill's wartime rhetoric had a very dark streak. He was explicit about the toll the war would exert and about the possibility of defeat. The more uplifting passages were stars in a dark sky. See, for example, this passage from the "Finest Hour" speech, 18 June 1940.
As @RichardToye's research shows, audiences were often struck by the downbeat character of Churchill's speeches. The attempt to co-opt him as a practitioner of "boosterism" is a crass misreading of his rhetoric.…
It is often the fate of "big" figures to be reduced to caricature, not by their critics but by their admirers - as if they can only emulate their idols by reducing them to their own shrunken proportions. It is Churchill's epigones, not his critics, that most harm his reputation.
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