Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Today In History: England That Was.

What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over. The Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their finest hour." - Sir Winston Churchill, 6/18/40

The speech was not recorded by CCTV camera...


Turk Turon said...

I love that guy.

GeorgeH said...

I think it's safe to say that was their finest hour.
They are unlikely to rise even as far as mediocre again.

Anonymous said...

Their finest hour has long since passed. England is already thrown into another Dark Ages. God rest its soul.

Anonymous said...

We aren't doing much better. Got to love the ├╝ber permissive "everything's okay to do because it means no one will say critical words to us" society that can't figure out why things have gotten so bad, to say nothing of society's inability to tell the difference between Christianity and Churchology...

Part of me hopes that messianic Obama gets elected just to see if it pushes us over the the point that society finally says, "hey, this ain't working" and pulls its head out of its collective ass and begins looking for men like Churchill again. Though it might be a tough task...I don't think Churchill used moisturizer, shaved his pubes, and routinely needed to talk about his feelings. Too many guys, not enough men.

Kevin said...

The unfortunate fact is, however, that it was their finest hour. Everything since has been a continual decline.

HokiePundit said...

It actually took me a few sentences to be sure that this quote wasn't describing the present day.

On the other hand, as much as I fully expect the Europeans to eventually deal with their Muslim problem through ethnic cleansing or genocide, Sarkozy seems to actually be awake and willing to confront the problem (perhaps because he's of Hungarian background).

Anonymous said...

See, that's the sort of saber rattling that only perpetuates the cycle of violence, which as we all know has never solved anything. One wonders if Mister Churchill had ever heard of Winnie the Pooh.

staghounds said...

And that was (as this is) Waterloo day.

Between Bonaparte, the Kaiser, Hitler, charting the seas, teaching a quarter of the world English, and inventing industry- all in the space of two long lives- the people of that little island have done their share.

Drang said...

The speech was not recorded by CCTV camera...
Nor was it a PowerPoint Presentation.

Tam said...

"...the people of that little island have done their share."

That just makes the current situation all the more poignant.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, given how much shit this country's mucked. How many people you think would drop dead in the next six weeks if the US economy completely crapped out and cash and food aid also completely stopped? To say nothing of the blood spilled for ingrates...

Anonymous said...

The English people commited political and cultural suicide during the War of the Roses. The Welsh Longbow was the neutron bomb of it's day.
After that,the government was run by Welch/Scottish hybrids (Tudor/Stuart)and it's primacy rested on only two things. Control of the seas, and the utter disarray of it's immediate neighbors.
Amusingly, the Spanish Armada was defeated by civilian sailors from Cornwall, Devon, and Dorset, most of whom could speak little or no English. The paucity of Cornish speakers today is due primarily to the charming Cromwellian habit of putting to death all those who could not say the Lord's Prayer in English.
After the defeat of the Armada, Elizabeth confiscated without recompense the ships volunteered in England's service, and left the men wounded and crippled in the fighting to beg in the streets of Bristol.
The utter anarchy endemic in the surrounding Celtic countries allowed England, with a small mercenary army financed by aquisitive merchants, to conquer it's neighbors piecemeal. Example: Londonderry Ireland has it's name because it's conquest was paid for by a mercantile conglomerate from London, which took possession of the city after it's conquest.
If Celtic political ineptitude enabled English aggression, and Celtic fractiousness provided the needed mercenaries, English desperation for wood required an expansionist policy.
16th century Ireland had the largest stand of unspoiled oak in Europe. It built the British navy and Merchant Marine, and was exausted by Sir Christopher Wren's rebuilding of London after the great fire.
The marvellous network of Scottish roads that made the Highland Clearances of 1715 and 1745 possible was put in place to enable logging off the Caledonian Forest. Only when Scotland was stripped bare was the new and expensive technology of Iron and steel shipbuilding attempted.
The British Empire was built on the blood and bayonets of non-English soldiers.
Throughout most of the 18th century, Scotland provided the lion's share of Britains professional soldiers, until it was literally bled dry. The tiny Hebridean island of Lewis alone sent 10,000 men to the British military in the 1700's.
During the Napolionic Wars, 30% of all British units were recruited in Ireland, another 15% recruited in the Irish slums of England and Scotland. 40% of the men in English and Welch regiments were of Irish birth or ancestry. The figure rose to 60% in Scottish units. No less an authority than C.S. Forrester puts the number of Irishmen in the British Navy in 1798 at more than 30%. Throw in the Scots, Welch, and Cornish, and it's a good bet Anglo-Saxons were a minority even in the Senior Service. The tradition maintains today, with a wildly disproportionate part of Britain's miniscule military establishment being recruted in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Nepal.
Essentially, in the English "Working Class"we have a sullen but docile people with no real military traditions until the conscription and mechanised massacres of the 20th century.
I question whether there even was an "English People" until the mid 19th century, when railroads and public education began to break down the insularity of the most medival major nation west of Russia.
At the time of America's war with Mexico, when we had spread across a continent in a single lifetime, the typical Englishman spent his entire life within a 5 mile radius of where he was born. That being how far he could walk on a mud track in bad weather and still be home for in time for milking.
But, if we didn't have an English people, we did have an English gentry.
Starting with the Normans,it co-opted and "Anglicized" Saxon and Celtic gentry and mercantile types, had an almost absolute sense of class seperation bordering on racialism, and drew little distinction between it's own disposable underclass and those of other nations.
This ruthless, aggressive, and manipulative society built the British empire with it's own profits and the lives of it's junior, non-inheriting sons.
What was it Field Marshal French said? "The Irishman is the greatest soldier in the world, as long as he's lead by an Englishman".
The British "Ascendancy" began to fade in the late 19th century, as the common man got the vote and was catered to by populists like Disraeli.
It disappeared entirely between 1918 and 1955, as the peasants now in charge blamed it for the traumatic losses in both world wars and a world financial system beyond their control or comprehension.
The small elite we called "Britain" exists today mostly as a hated stereotype in that particular form of class (cultural?)madness the British call "Bloody-mindedness.
The Britain that conquered the world has been gone for a long time.