Winston Churchill ενα ονομα μια ιστορια και η τιμη στον ηρωα

Posted: Νοεμβρίου 1, 2013 / in: ΚΟΣΜΟΣ, ΤΕΛΕΥΤΑΙΑ ΝΕΑ / No comments

This week, the elite of American politics gathered in Washington DC to unveil a bust of Winston Churchill at the Capitol building. The rotunda where he now sits immortalised in bronze, and looking a little perplexed, was renamed the Freedom Foyer for the occasion. John Kerry, the Secretary of State, listened as John Boehner, the leader of the House Republicans, gave a passionate speech of dedication. “Ladies and gentlemen,” said Mr Boehner, “this is one of history’s true love stories. Between a great statesman and a nation he called ‘The Great Republic.’ ” The famously sentimental Republican wiped tears from his eyes as the crowd listened to a recording of Churchill addressing Congress following the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Afterwards, Roger Daltrey of The Who sang Stand by Me – a tribute, Mr Boehner said, to “the best friend the United States ever had”.

All in all, it was a very American ceremony to celebrate the life of a very British icon. So why do our transatlantic friends love a foreign former prime minister so much?

That love is undeniable and deep. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower said that Churchill “comes closest to fulfilling the requirement of greatness of any individual that I have met in my lifetime”. In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, President George W Bush invoked Churchill’s name when pressing the case for the War on Terror, and was rumoured to have been given a private lecture by Martin Gilbert, Churchill’s biographer, in the White House. After newbie President Barack Obama removed a bust of Churchill from the Oval Office, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney made it an election promise to restore it. And when CEOs in 2013 were polled for their “most admired leader”, Churchill topped the list – ahead of Steve Jobs, Nelson Mandela and Ronald Reagan.

Of course, part of the explanation for the love is that Churchill was half-American, and so enjoyed a personal connection with the US that few foreign leaders could rival. His mother, Jennie Jerome, was born in Brooklyn, and through her lineage Churchill could not only claim at least two ancestors who fought against the British in the American War of Independence, but also (according to family tradition) a little Native American blood, too. The young Winston describe the Land of the Free as “a very great country… not pretty or romantic but great and utilitarian”. He compared its inhabitants to “a lusty youth whom neither age nor just tradition inspire with reverence”. While many upper-class Britons of the early 20th century had an attitude towards America that was framed by snobbery and contempt, Churchill used his growing political power to agitate for a closer relationship between the two nations. He saw that alliance sealed during the First World War (the Americans gave him the Distinguished Service Medal in 1919), but then ruptured by the US refusal to sign the post-war Treaty of Versailles.

That divorce is a reminder, often forgotten today, of how reliant the Anglo-American alliance used to be on self-interest rather than some imagined kinship. During the 1920s and 1930s, neither the British Empire nor the isolationist US stood to gain from co-operation, so co-operation was rare. When Britain went to war with Germany in 1939 and Churchill became prime minister in 1940, he had to win the anti-British US over with flattery and propaganda. He wrote two or three letters a week to Franklin D Roosevelt and, faced with a choice between begging or inspiring the Americans to assist, he chose to push an image of a brave island race winning against almost insurmountable odds. “We shall get the Americans in by showing courage and boldness and prospects of success and not by running ourselves down,” he said.


πηγη:the telegraph


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