Dr. Randy White
I’ve recently seen the movie The Darkest Hour, which describes a few days in May 1940, in which the nation of Great Britain was about to succumb to the capitulation of spineless, self-protecting politicians, but was spared from their politician-induced suicide by a most unlikely candidate: Winston Churchill.
First, let me say that my presumption is that the movie is decently accurate in the broad scope. I do not presume to be an expert in World War II let alone the political landscape of the British Empire in 1940. If the movie is inaccurate, then my words will reflect some degree of inaccuracy.
But even without a movie to bring the works of Churchill to the surface again (approaching 80 years later), the fact remains that Churchill almost single-handedly turned his nation to the moral compass that was needed to stop Hitler in his tracks. And this came about at a time when Hitler was taking over Europe and toppling the old empires at an alarming rate.
And the USA sat on the sidelines.
Churchill was one of a small breed of politicians who were willing to speak from the gut rather than the well-refined playbook of political correctness. He recognized a skunk when he smelled one and called the vermin for what it really is. While Chamberlain and his political elite were coddling Hitler and cozying up to Mussolini, all for peace for our time, Churchill came along and recognized Hitler as a dangerous menace who needed a fast-track to Hell. In doing so, he saved the world from Hitler. The Americans came later with the muscle and might that was needed to finish the job, but Churchill won the more important moral battle. Eisenhower (whom I admire) was a result of Churchill’s speeches.
Here are my conclusions as to how Churchill saved the world from Nazism.
He Followed the Moral Compass
The status-quo politicians of the day were convinced that diplomacy had to be tried…and tried again…and tried once more. They had an abject failure of evaluation when they concluded that negotiations work with madmen. In reality, if you negotiate with a madman you are only giving him time to do more damage.
Hitler was a madman, and every speech and action displayed it. Why the American’s sat on the sidelines and the British came close to capitulation while Hitler took one nation after another is beyond me. Churchill knew that there was only one solution to a madman like Hitler, and that was to totally defeat him.
Incidentally, it is somewhat well-known that Churchill wasn’t pure as the driven snow in his morals. He was crude, drunk, rude, and offensive in a thousand ways. If there were evangelical leaders in those days (evangelicalism arose in the 1940s), they would have been against Churchill, even though he was the only politician that stood against Hitler. It seems sometimes that evangelicalism is more interested in surface-level niceties than in life-or-death matters.
He Kept it Simple
Churchill, from his very first speech, expressed his simple policy: war which ended in victory. Even stating such a simple policy was offensive to the political elite and the protectors of the status quo.
Every strategy for moral good is simple, and almost always disturbs those who would prefer political correctness to actual victory. Whether the issue is Nazism, rampant abuse of immigration crime, runaway government bureaucracy, or crazed maniacs whose public policy is the development of nuclear weapons, a simple statement of victory is always the best policy.
He Mastered the English Language
It is said of Churchill that, “he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.” And the English language is almost the only weapon Churchill had. He certainly exemplifies the power of the spoken word.
Anyone today who has a desire to see a better world should take note. Because language can turn the tide much earlier than any other kind of weapon, it is incumbent upon Christians to do the things which prepare for powerful rhetoric. Those things include gaining a strong understanding of the building blocks of language (grammar and vocabulary), building a knowledge base upon which to build a logical argument, and being well-read in the arts of history, poetry, literature, music, and culture so as to craft hard-hitting rhetoric that accomplishes your goal.
Heroes are not always appreciated
Churchill was rejected by the establishment of his day, and even by the populace of his nation just a few years after the war. Like so many other heroes, he had as much (or more) defeat than he had victory. There were as many in his day who hated him as who loved him. It is only in hindsight that we see how he saved the world from the swastika flying over England (and perhaps the USA).
As for me, I’m grateful for a man who was far too crusty, too drunkard, too crude to be invited to fill the pulpit in my absence. He was a man who stepped to the plate and hit a home run for such a time as this.