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Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (1874 - 1965) The Second World War

Volume two (1949) Their finest hour Moral of the Work - In War: Resolution – In Defeat: Defiance – In Victory: Magnanimity – In Peace: Goodwill
Theme of the Volume How the british people held the fort alone till those who hitherto had been half blind were half ready
Book I The Fall of France Chapter VII BACK TO FRANCE June 4--June 12

The first list comprised half a million .30 calibre rifles out of two million manufactured in 1917 and 1918 and stored in grease for more than twenty years. For these there were about 250 cartridges apiece. There were 900 'soixante-quinze' field guns, with a million rounds, 80,000 machine-guns, and various other items. In his excellent book Mr. Stettinius says : “Since every hour counted, it was decided that the Army should sell (for thirty-seven million dollars) everything on the list to one concern, which could in turn resell immediately to the British and French.”

Prime Minister to Mr, Mackenzie King 5.VI.40 British situation vastly improved by miraculous evacuation of B.E.F., which gives us an army in the Island more than capable, when re-equipped, of coping with any invading force likely to be landed. Also evacuation was a main trial of strength between British and German Air Forces. Germans have been unable to prevent evacuation, though largely superior in numbers, and have suffered at least three times our loss. For technical reasons, British Air Force would have many more advantages in defending the air above the Island than in operating overseas. Principal remaining danger is of course air [craft] factories, but if our air defence is so strong that enemy can only come on dark nights precision will not be easy. I therefore feel solid confidence in British ability to continue the war, defend the Island and the Empire, and maintain the blockade. I do not know whether it will be possible to keep France in the war or not. I hope they will, even at the worst, maintain a gigantic guerrilla. We are reconstituting the B.E.F. out of other units. We must be careful not to let Americans view too complacently prospect of a British collapse, out of which they would get the British Fleet and the guardianship of the British Empire, minus Great Britain. If United States were in the war and England [were] conquered locally, it would be natural that events should follow the above course. But if America continued neutral, and we were overpowered, I cannot tell what policy might be adopted by a pro-German administration such as would undoubtedly be set up.

Although President is our best friend, no practical help has [reached us] from the United States as yet. We have not expected them to send military aid, but they have not even sent any worthy contribution in destroyers or planes, or by a visit of a squadron of their Fleet to Southern Irish ports. Any pressure which you can apply in this direction would be invaluable.

Prime Minister to General Smuts 9.VI.40

We are of course doing all we can both from the air and by sending divisions as fast as they can be equipped to France. It would be wrong to send the bulk of our fighters to this battle, and when it was lost, as is probable, be left with no means of carrying on the war.

I see only one sure way through now, to wit, that Hitler should attack this country, and in so doing break his air weapon.

When I said that the French Army, fighting on, wherever it might be, could hold or wear out a hundred German divisions. General Weygand replied : “Even if that were so, they would still have another hundred to invade and conquer you. What would you do then?” On this I said that I was not a military expert, but that my technical advisers were of the opinion that the best method of dealing with a German invasion of the Island of Britain was to drown as many as possible on the way over and knock the others on the head as they crawled ashore. Weygand answered with a sad smile; “At any rate I must admit you have a very good anti-tank obstacle.”

But later that night Air Marshal Barratt reported that the French people near the airfields had dragged all kinds of country carts and lorries on to them, and that it had been impossible for the bombers to start on their mission.

Tags: Вторая мировая война, Черчилль
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