History Biscuits: Bite Sized Pieces of Knowledge

Something long forgotten is a proposal not only approved by the British War Cabinet but delivered personally to the top leadership of France by Prime Minister Winston Churchill in June of 1940. It is a measure of the desperation of the times that such a unique, albeit unworkable plan came into being. What was it Churchill proposed? An immediate and complete union of Great Britain and France which would create one nation, with one Parliament, one army, et al.

(Source: Winston’s War: Churchill, 1940-1945 by Sir Max Hastings)

“The man and the hour have met”. This phrase is often quoted even by professional historians as being said about George Washington. However, William L Yancey, one of the great orators of secession, first used the phrase when introducing Confederate President Jefferson Davis to a crowd of citizens in Montgomery, AL on 16 Feb 1861.

(Source: Jefferson Davis: The Man and His Hour by William C. Davis)

I came across this the other day and pondered on it. The most famous shoot out in the American West is the “Gunfight at the OK Corral” which took place in Tombstone, Arizona on 26 October 1881. It was not an earth-shaking event. Only three men were killed and the gunfight lasted thirty seconds. Why is it so famous?

I pose a similar theoretical question about the “Valentines Day Massacre” which took place in Chicago and was a hit by Al Capone’s gang on the gang run by ‘Bugs’ Moran. Seven men were murdered. The men doing the killing were low-life murderers and the men they killed were the same. Yet this is still remembered and as a massacre no less. I wonder why?

[Images courtesy of Wikimedia, American Civil War.com and Buzz Montgomery.com.]

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Charles McCain

Charles McCain is a Washington DC based freelance journalist and novelist. He is the author of "An Honorable German," a World War Two naval epic. You can read more of his work on his website: http://charlesmccain.com/

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