The Slant piece (EW 4/23) on Erik Larson’s book The Splendid and the Vile about Winston Churchill that contrasts with our current “hunger for leadership” must be taken in context. That was 1940 England, not 2020 America.
Churchill merely reflected the inherent character of his realm, forged in almost continual warfare as they built an empire upon which the sun never set and unfailing duty to the Crown was uppermost in everyone’s mind, even to the point of accepting personal hardship and suffering.
When Churchill met with President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Aug. 9, 1941, in a desperate attempt to get America into the war, Roosevelt knew it would be a tough sell to the American people. Opponents would see England’s colonial empire as little different from German aims and not worth shedding more American blood and treasure to preserve.
Roosevelt then proposed to Churchill conditions which would essentially disband their empire, which Churchill adamantly opposed, and it was reported that he consented only after very considerable pressure from home. So much for leadership in forming the Atlantic Charter. By 1945, Churchill and the Empire were gone.
The independent, self-directed nature of the average pre-war American who lived in a society that demanded personal responsibility has now been replaced by a sense of entitlement, a pervasive nanny state government and a large, sniveling, whining percentage of the population who tend to see a lack of constant direction for every little thing as a lack of leadership.