Chamblee54

Winston Churchill Said What

Posted in History, Library of Congress, Quotes by chamblee54 on May 13, 2016

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Another ghastly meme has surfaced on facebook. It has a large fuchsia quote mark for illustration. There is a quote from a famous man. The left side has a quote mark. The right side has a question mark, but no quote mark. The margins are much larger on the top, and left side, than on the right side, and the bottom. That this visual atrocity supports funding for the arts is a cruel irony.

Perhaps instead of the arts, the government funding should go for fact checking. The quote is generally considered to be bogus. For the record, here is the quote. “When Winston Churchill was asked to cut arts funding in favour of the war effort, he simply replied, “then what are we fighting for?” The quote is not in the Churchill archive, which is either fifteen million documents, or fifteen million words. The authorities use the figures interchangeably.

The Telegraph has an article debunking the meme. It has a splendid sentence: “But that anecdote does not so easily play into the screeching rhetoric of today’s 140-character political ding-dongs.” There are also some lovely quotes from Mr. Churchill.

pink quote marks01 In 1937, Mr. Churchill spoke before the Peel Commission It was discussing “partitioning British mandated Palestine into Arab and Jewish states.” At the time, Mr. Churchill was a minor figure in British politics, disgraced by his blundering in the Great War. The quote: “I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”

Winston Churchill is quite the quote magnet. This is somehow fitting for a man whose most famous speech was read, on the radio, by an actor. There is a page on the internet devoted to times when he was falsely accused of saying something inspiring.

One of these stories is notable. “The only traditions of the Royal Navy are rum, sodomy and the lash… Churchill’s assistant, Anthony Montague-Browne said that although Churchill had not uttered these words, he wished he had.” This is a repost, with pictures from The Library of Congress.

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