ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Churchill, Unlike Thatcher

A V Rajwade’s assessment of “Margaret Thatcher (1925-2013)” (EPW, 25 May 2013) was remarkably correct, save the supposed similarity with Churchill, conveyed in a quotation from Phillip Stephen’s article in the Financial Times (12 April 2013). Whatever Stephen’s opinion may be, the similarity was only skin-deep.

Churchill, unlike Thatcher, was not a victim of Europhobia. His studies on Marlborough, his ancestor, compelled an engagement with early modern Europe, which Thatcher neither experienced nor cared for. Though Churchill’s command over French was less than that of most Englishmen of his class, he invariably spoke French with Frenchmen or while in France. Between the day he assumed office as Premier, 10 May 1940, and the fall of France, on 22 June 1940, he paid six visits to that crumbling state, urging it to fight on. During one of these visits his schoolboy French was misunderstood by his French counterpart causing a bit of diplomatic discomfort.

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