Darkest Hour

My wife and I took in the movie Darkest Hour.  It was pretty powerful.  Being a WW2 buff and having read a few books on Churchill I was able to gather a bit more out of the movie than I would have been able to gather if I hadn’t read the books.  I’d encourage you to see it.

For example, one scene where Churchill’s wife Clementine remarks that “they can’t pay their bills” is more than true.  Churchill was basically broke for most of his life.  In the book, No More Champagne, you can learn about how he misused money.  The book gives further insight into Churchill’s character which is on display in the movie.  He had an ability to distort reality similar to the ability Steve Jobs had.  Sometimes, that is a great characteristic of a great leader.

Clearly, if you were rational and thinking linearly, Great Britain didn’t stand a chance at survival against the Nazi’s.  Churchill’s war cabinet had some wonderful groupthink all the way from Chamberlain and Halifax to generals.

May/June 1940 was one of the darkest hours in human history.  It is truly amazing five short years later the course of that history would be spun off a predictable axis.

There are no direct parallels to our political environment today despite what a lot of people on both sides of the aisle might be thinking or chattering about.  My friend Lee Pollock wrote an article about how we misquote and misuse Churchill today.  We don’t have a new method of war sweeping across nation-states and enslaving people.  Churchill was an Elizabethian Englishman of a different age and doesn’t easily compartmentalize into morays customs of today.

Churchill saved western civilization as we know it.

  • awaldstein

    On my list to see this week as I shut down today for a few days of reading, writing, walking, working out, meditating and hanging in the extreme cold here.

    We will disagree on the analogs to the threats of today but that is predictable.

    • If you layer on the fact that King Edward was plotting to get the throne back unbeknownst to Churchill and the Royal family (until the end of the war) it makes the actions of Halifax and Chamberlain even more pernicious and devious. Really an interesting time in 20th Century history. WW2 still affects us everyday.

  • JLM

    A “moray” is an eel.

    A “more” is a custom or convention embodying the fundamental values of a group.

    There is a very distinct analogy between Churchill’s times and ours.

    For years the Europeans ignored the growing power of Hitler. We have for years been ignoring the growing power of North Korea.

    WWII was started because Europe ignored Hitler when they were strong enough to stomp him out. Even a year before the onslaught of WWII, the French and English could have handily defeated the Germans and avoided the tactical disadvantage of the German attack through the Lowlands.

    We are in a similar position vis a vis NK. We can deal with it today at a lower cost of life and treasure or we can let it go for another decade and deal with it on Kim’s terms.

    NK has been a pain in the world’s ass for 25 years.

    Churchill went around the ruling elite and spoke directly to the people of England using radio. He gave three important speeches which Hitler embraced sufficiently that he called off the planned invasion of France.

    Pres Trump speaks directly to the masses without allowing the media to interpret or filter what he says.

    Happy New Year! Move to Austin.


    • Perhaps, but NK doesn’t have the same might Germany did. They are also landlocked. They could roll over SK quickly (perhaps), but they aren’t going to roll into China and take land. They also aren’t going to do an invasion by sea to Japan or Taiwan. They could strike with a nuclear bomb. That feels like it’s more akin to terrorism than a full out invasion.

  • JustanotherCabDriver

    I took the time to try to write an informed commentary on the film and your site labeled it spam, oh well.