Churchill and Us
On December 5, 1938, in the fifth year of his preachings for an accelerated British rearmament, Winston Churchill rose yet again in the House of Commons to berate the government, this time for laxity in preparing London’s anti-aircraft defenses. Harold Nicolson was present as Churchill argued with Neville Chamberlain’s talented Secretary of State for War, Leslie Hore-Belisha:
Winston starts brilliantly and we are all expecting a great speech. He accuses Hore-Belisha of being too complacent. The latter gets up and says, “When and where?” Winston replies, “I have not come unprepared,” and begins to fumble among his notes where there are some press-cuttings. He takes time. He finds them. But they are not the best cuttings, and the ones he reads out excuse rather than implicate Hore-Belisha. Winston becomes confused. He tries to rally his speech, but the wind has gone out of his sails, which flop wretchedly. “He is becoming an old man,” says Bill Mabane beside me.1
A sad case, that of Winston Churchill at sixty-four, already edging toward senility with grand, empty phrases and the fumblings of old age. Once universally regarded as the most promising young politician in British public life, Churchill declined relentlessly after World War I. Now he was trying to redeem a broken career by appealing to the most primitive of instincts, ethnic hatred. He was forever speaking of “German bloodlust” and of the “German threat” at a time when others were working to build a new Anglo-German understanding based on mutual respect and reciprocity. While successive Prime Ministers, first Baldwin and then Chamberlain, were skillfully nursing the delicate recovery of the economy from the slump, Churchill wanted to sacrifice all they had achieved by launching a ruinous rearmament program, to match his own inflated estimate of German strength. Again and again he challenged the sober official estimates by producing back-of-the-envelope calculations of the balance of military power, which became more and more alarmist. In a flood of private memoranda to senior officials and members of the government, and, more guardedly, in public speeches, he played a “numbers game” with information that was leaked to him by self-interested sources in the aircraft industry, by hawkish bureaucrats, and by disloyal members of the armed forces, who shared his paranoid fears of Germany.
For example, on September 19, 1935, the Air Ministry circulated a confidential estimate which clearly proved that “air parity” was being maintained: the Germans had 850 fighter aircraft in squadron service while the British had 800. The difference was of course insignificant. There was an “essential parity.” In reply, Churchill first tried to confuse the issue by introducing a misleading comparison of the expenditures of the two sides: “The Germans are spending four times as much this year upon air as we are. . . . How then can it be pretended that we are overtaking? . . . On the contrary, we are falling ever more behind and this will continue. . . .” Churchill then proceeded to criticize the official estimate of German air strength carefully calculated by the Air Ministry. The Ministry had pointed out that Germany only possessed a “first-line air strength of 594” machines, but with the niggling pedantry that was typical of his obsession with the nuts and bolts of military power, Churchill declared:
The figure 594 may correspond to some conventional classification of first-line air strength in vogue at the Air Ministry. . . . It has no relation to the true military air power of Germany at the present time. It would be misleading to use the figure 594 without at the same time stating that in the formations which have not yet been included in that total there are admittedly 1,275 trained pilots and 1,556 military machines in a different phase of organization.
The air staff answered the memorandum in convincing detail, tactfully reminding Churchill that they had the evidence; in gentle irony, they wrote that their own assumptions “may not find ready acceptance by those to whom the mass of intelligence data is not accessible.” Rising above the narrow military argument, the air staff also pointed out that if it were made clear to Germany that France had no intention of building as many as 2,000 first-line aircraft, “there is no reason why Germany, on her declared policy and intentions, should herself go higher than 1,500. . . .”
One marvels at the patience of the officials and of the Crown’s Ministers who continued to reply, year after year, in public and in private, to Churchill’s relentlessly detailed objections. Churchill would not accept their judgment that air parity was being effectively maintained; Churchill would not cease complaining that the fleet’s readiness was inadequate (again citing facts and figures leaked by hard-line anti-German elements); Churchill nagged that the pace of tank deliveries to the army was too slow; and indeed he found fault with everything. Again and again it was explained to him that his figures on German strength were inflated, and that in any case all the evidence showed that the Germans were only intent on achieving “parity.”
The whole thing, of course, brings to mind Senator Jackson’s wrong-headed insistence today that missile “throw-weight” should be counted in evaluating the strategic balance, Paul Nitze’s obsession with the vulnerability of the Minuteman ICBM’s to Soviet counterforce attacks, and General Keegan’s claim that Soviet reload missiles should be counted over and above the customary SALT count of missiles in silos. There is the same narrow concentration on numbers, and the same refusal to accept the opinion of the best people in the fields of foreign and military policy.
In all his estimates, Churchill ignored the fundamental fact that while Britain had only Germany as its enemy, the Germans had to guard against the French as well. They were thus bound to need more weapons than Britain. This is the identical misconception of our own hawks, who fail to understand that the Soviet Union needs more strategic power than we do, since the Russians must contend with the Chinese while we have only one antagonist. And Churchill’s incitement, of course, brings to mind the paranoia of the recently founded Committee on the Present Danger. The hysterical phraseology currently being employed by such leaders of that committee as Eugene V. Rostow and Nitze occurs over and over in the flood of Churchill’s speeches and articles. “I say there is a state of emergency. We are in danger as we have never been in danger before. . . .” And this in July 1936!—a time when Hitler, having disposed of the hotheads of the SA, had clearly proven himself to be a force for moderation, and in the wake of the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of 1935 which, as the Foreign Secretary Sir Samuel Hoare pointed out, was a pathbreaking initiative in arms limitation, “an agreement profitable alike to peace and to the taxpayer.”
Churchill’s endless harping on the minutiae of the Anglo-German military balance ultimately derived from his inability to understand that the new Germany, while no doubt determined to attain a full measure of equality as a European power, was essentially as interested in keeping the peace as Britain itself. Hitler, like Brezhnev in our own day, had himself fought in the front lines, had seen countless men die in useless combat, and knew as well as anyone that a war could only be futile and catastrophic. But Churchill would never allow Hitler the benefit of the doubt; his closed mind ignored all the evidence of an essential moderation that convinced the Times and all the best academic authorities. Instead, Churchill always tried to evoke atavistic images of conflict, calculated to impede the accommodation that the imperative of peace made inevitable. In March 1933, with the Germans having done absolutely nothing to warrant such accusations, Churchill said in the House of Commons:
When we read about Germany, when we watch with surprise and distress the tumultuous insurgence of ferocity and war spirit, the pitiless ill-treatment of minorities, one cannot help feeling glad that the fierce passions that are raging in Germany have not found, as yet, any other outlet but upon Germans.
Even those most friendly to him found it difficult to tolerate Churchill’s persistent misrepresentations of the new Germany. More in sorrow than in anger, on May 2, 1935, Colonel Thomas Moore, MP, was moved to remark in the House, after yet another of Churchill’s anti-German outbursts: “Although one hates to criticize anyone in the evening of his days, nothing can excuse the Right Honorable Member for Epping [Mr. Churchill] for having permeated his entire speech with the atmosphere that Germany is arming for war.”
In commenting on a draft speech that Churchill had sent him, in which he again used the Jewish question and the issue of human rights in an attempt to whip up anti-German hysteria, R.M. Barrington-Ward of the Times wrote to Churchill on September 23, 1936:
However alien to our way of thinking may be the governing philosophies of other countries, we feel that the only safe and impartial test to apply to them is whether or not they are ready for practical collaboration, political and economic. We should, for example, certainly be against premature abandonment of the hope, supported by many authoritative pronouncements on the German side, that Germany is prepared to reach a general understanding and settlement.
It seems that some fundamental lessons of statecraft must be learned over and over again. For nowadays also the spokesmen of the Council on Foreign Relations and other voices of the foreign-policy elite find themselves forced to repeat this simple truth in regard to our own dealings with the Soviet Union. Surely it should be obvious that we cannot impose our own notion of human rights on the Soviet Union; what counts is “practical collaboration, political and economic.” As for Churchill, ignoring Barrington-Ward’s appeal for moderation, he gave his speech as originally drafted. In it, he did not hesitate to criticize most intrusively the internal policy of Germany, at a time when such controversy could only harm the quiet but effective diplomacy of the government:
How could we bear, nursed as we have been in a free atmosphere, to be gagged and muzzled; to have spies, eavesdroppers, and delators at every corner; to have even private conversation caught up and used against us by the secret police and all their agents and creatures; to be arrested and interned without trial; or to be tried by political or party courts. . .?
How could we bear to be treated like schoolboys, . . . to see philosophers, teachers, and authors bullied and toiled to death in concentration camps; to be forced every hour to conceal the natural workings of the human intellect and the pulsations of the human heart? Why, I say that rather than submit to such oppression, there is no length we would not go to. . . .
Stripped of the rhetorical trickery of cadenced repetition (“gagged and muzzled”; “spies, eavesdroppers, and delators”), the speech was a simple call to destructive war. Enlightened opinion was certainly saddened by the persecution of writers and intellectuals, dissidents and Jews. But unlike Churchill, the representatives of elite opinion in the Foreign Office, in the universities, and in the best newspapers understood that there was no alternative to accommodation, and that if one interfered in the domestic affairs of the new Germany there could be no accommodation, and more important, no disarmament.
On November 6, 1938, Hitler himself was moved to respond to Churchill’s fantasy that the Nazi regime did not enjoy the universal support of the German people: “If Mr. Churchill had less to do with traitors and more with Germans, he would see how mad his talk is, for I can assure this man, who seems to live on the moon, that there are no forces in Germany opposed to the regime.” Nowadays Brezhnev is forced to say much the same thing in response to much the same provocation:
Our opponents would like to find the forces to oppose socialism from within our countries. Since there are no such forces, however, as there are no oppressed, exploited classes within socialist society, and no repressed nationalities, false publicity is being used to create the appearance of “internal opposition.” It is exactly for this reason that a clamor is being raised about the so-called “dissidents” and about “the violation of human rights” in socialist countries.
Barrington-ward’s letter had also delicately alluded to another of Churchill’s tactics, the selective quotation of Hitler’s statements. Churchill would cite the ritual, nationalistic rhetoric that understandably occurred in Hitler’s speeches as if it accurately reflected his intentions. When Barrington-Ward spoke of “many authoritative pronouncements on the German side,” he was of course referring to the sort of thing that Putzi Hanfstaengl would say at London dinner parties, and not to the purely formal language of a Hitler speech at a massive Nuremberg rally. Surely the true articulation of national intentions was more likely to be heard behind closed doors from visiting English-speaking German spokesmen like Hanfstaengl—who was known to be close to Hitler—than in extracts selected from public speeches given before vast crowds.
This too is a lesson that has been forgotten. For surely what Mr. Arbatov of the U.S.A. Institute of Moscow tells his Harvard friends at Cambridge dinner parties is a better guide to Soviet intentions than the pronouncements of Brezhnev addressing 260 million Russians. After all, one can hardly expect national leaders to admit publicly that they have abandoned their ideology and their declared national goals. The obvious fact that Churchill tried to obscure was that war had simply become obsolete as an instrument of state policy. And with war having become impossible, it followed that the bellicose German declarations had to be purely ritualistic. Nevertheless, Churchill would quote German statements on the feasibility of war, just as Leon Gouré and his colleagues at Miami University do today with Russian pronouncements. Thus the April 15, 1977 issue of their Soviet World Outlook (whose lurid red print is itself no doubt meant to evoke sinister images) is filled with such distortions. An article by Soviet Minister of Defense Ustinov—a man whose appointment was greeted by all right-thinking experts as proof positive of a new moderation in Moscow—is excerpted as follows:
Aggressive forces, opponents of détente and disarmament who do not want to renounce the policy of military adventures . . . are still active in a number of capitalist countries. . . . The danger of a new world war has not been eliminated either. For this reason it . . . continues to be an objective necessity constantly to strengthen our country’s defenses and to raise the combat readiness of Soviet armed forces.
Ustinov is quoted again from Pravda (February 23, 1977): “Our party and the entire Soviet people, following the behest of our great leader, regard the strengthening of the country’s defense and of its armed forces as a sacred duty. . . .” More of the same follows, with quotations from Deputy Defense Minister V.F. Tolubko (“We need constantly to strengthen the country’s defense capability and the combat might of the Soviet armed forces”), and Chief of Staff Marshall Ogarkov (“The Communist party and Soviet government are adopting all necessary measures to strengthen the country’s defense capability and to increase the Soviet armed forces’ combat might”), and yet more.
Fortunately, as in Churchill’s day, we too have trained professional experts in the better universities and research institutes who teach us to ignore such empty declarations; thanks to their reassurance, we may rest as easy as Churchill’s opponents, knowing that the intent is peaceful even if the language is bellicose. Unlike Gouré et al., these enlightened observers recognize that accommodation is the only possible policy in an age when war has become unthinkable. The important thing, as Mr. Arbatov points out, is to make sure that Moscow’s moderation is met by a similar moderation in Washington. But here the chief obstacle is the meddling of ambitious politicians into the internal affairs of the Soviet Union. Just as Churchill pandered to the support of the Jews by making much of the sufferings of their coreligionists in Germany, preferring the sound and fury of his own voice to the quiet diplomacy that was bound to be more effective in dealing with the problem, so do cynical politicians of our own day, like Senators Jackson and Moynihan, pander to the Jews, and with the same counterproductive and dangerous results.
There is an even more direct parallel with our own day in the fate of Czechoslovakia. In 1938, the editorial voices of the best papers, with the Times in the lead, agreed with all sober opinion on the one essential fact: Czechoslovakia would inevitably belong to the German sphere of influence; it was a fact imposed by geography and the realities of power. No sane man could possibly want war, and it was only war that could challenge the natural course of events. In the same constructive spirit in which the United States government refused to allow the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia to interfere with the opening of arms-limitation talks with the Soviet Union the year after, Chamberlain stated the matter in his own calm and clear-sighted way:
The path which leads to [an accommodation with Germany] . . . is long and bristles with obstacles. The question of Czechoslovakia is the latest and perhaps the most dangerous. Now that we have got past it, I feel that it may be possible to make further progress along the road to sanity.
And indeed, it was only a matter of sanity and essential realism. But realism need not be void of vision and hope. Chamberlain continued:
I am a realist—nevertheless . . . I do see fresh opportunities of approaching this subject of disarmament opening up before us, and I believe that they are at least as hopeful today as they have been at any previous time. It is to such tasks—the winning back of confidence, the gradual removal of hostility between nations until they feel that they can safely discard their weapons, one by one, that I would wish to devote what energy and time may be left to me.
In the debate in the House, speaker after speaker rose to congratulate the Prime Minister on his achievement at Munich. Churchill was one of the few who carped at the achievement:
Churchill: I will, therefore, begin by saying what everybody would like to ignore or forget but which must nevertheless be stated, namely, that we have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat. . . .
Viscountess Astor: Nonsense!
And nonsense it was. Churchill, as usual, spoke at great length, and in stark contrast to the simple realism of Chamberlain, his declamations were brutal:
There can never be friendship between British democracy and the Nazi power, that power . . . which cheers its onward course by a barbarous paganism, which vaunts the spirit of aggression and conquest, which derives strength and perverted pleasure from persecution, and uses as we have seen with pitiless brutality the threat of murderous force.
In the wake of Churchill’s outburst in the Munich debate even the normally patient Chamberlain was exasperated. On October 15, 1938, he wrote to his sister: “. . . unhappily there are a great many people who have no faith that we can ever [settle down to make the world a better place . . .] and do all they can to make their own gloomy prophecies come true.”
An inflamed rhetoric reminiscent of Churchill’s was but recently to be heard in Daniel P. Moynihan’s speeches at the UN, which were inviting us to renew the ideological struggle of the worst days of the cold war. Just as informed opinion here was prompt to condemn Moynihan’s excesses, Churchill too got what he deserved. The Times wrote: “Churchill treated a crowded House to prophecies which made Jeremiah appear to be an optimist. . . .” The Daily Express described his speech as “an alarmist oration.” Naturally the vast majority of the House was with Chamberlain, who won a resounding vote of confidence, while only a small band of thirty hawkish Conservative MP’s followed Churchill in abstention.
Churchill’s obstinacy in attacking the policy of his own party understandably endangered his tenure in the House. Lord Rothemere warned that “any member of [the Conservative] party who challenges [Chamberlain] may suffer a complete eclipse. The public is so terrified of being bombed that they will support anyone who keeps them out of the war.” Even Sir Harry Goschen, one of Churchill’s staunchest supporters in his constituency, wrote privately after the Munich speech: “I cannot help thinking it was rather a pity that he broke up the harmony of the House by the speech he made. . . .” Another of Churchill’s former supporters, Colin Thornton-Kemsley, broke with him over Munich, and became the leader of a determined attempt to unseat him. In a constituency debate, Thornton-Kemsley argued that the policy of containment had failed but that there was still time to lay the foundations of an enduring peace based on the realization that war would be to no one’s advantage and that German interests “need at no vital point conflict with our own.” Churchill survived the effort to unseat him, but only just.
Given his compulsive militarism, Churchill could scarcely understand the ineluctable necessity of arms limitation. Throughout the years in which disarmament was a chief aim of successive British governments, Churchill was forever pressing for more arms. Addressing the Conservative Association at Oxford University on February 23, 1934, Churchill spoke of Britain’s need for rearmament “in order for us to be safe in our Island Home.” Oxford, like our own Harvard, was an elite institution. Perhaps Churchill’s war cry might have gone down well with the uneducated, but not with the sophisticated student body of Oxford. When he reached the words “Island Home,” they laughed and laughed.
Earlier on that same visit Churchill had suffered a crushing defeat in debate. A German Rhodes scholar, Adolf Schlepegrell, had argued with Churchill over the Versailles treaty. Schlepegrell asked: “Does Mr. Churchill believe that the German people, the men and women who live in Germany today, are responsible for the war? Would he please answer ‘yes’ or ‘no.’” Churchill said “yes.” In a dignified gesture, Schlepegrell bowed to Churchill and walked out through the middle of the audience amid a tremendous uproar. Many Oxford undergraduates were delighted by his conduct. A few days later Schlepegrell was elected secretary of the Oxford Union, the highest honor a student could attain. The Oxford students had already shown how far they had advanced from primitive nationalism by their recent pledge never to fight for “King and Country,” and now their election of Schlepegrell was a fitting reply to Churchill.2
Churchill’s wholly negative view of arms limitation was exemplified by a speech he gave in the House of Commons on November 23, 1932, at a time when German rearmament was scarcely visible: “Do not delude yourselves . . . that all that Germany is asking for is equal status. I believe the refined term now is equal qualitative status. . . . That is not what Germany is seeking. . . . [They] are not looking for status. They are looking for weapons.” Here again we have a direct parallel, for the common denominator of our own hawks is their refusal to acknowledge that the Soviet Union aims at nothing more than “essential equivalence,” which is the more refined term for parity. “Before each disarmament conference,” Churchill intoned,
. . . the poor good people of the League of Nations had clapped for joy; yet as each conference progressed they had been deceived. The process is apparently endless . . . and so is the pathetic belief with which it is inevitably greeted. . . . I cannot recall any time . . . when the gap between the kind of words which statesmen used and what was actually happening in many countries was so great as it is now. The habit of saying smooth things and uttering pious platitudes and sentiments to gain applause, without relation to the underlying facts, is more pronounced now than it has ever been in my experience.
Note the similarity between Churchill’s argument and that of the spokesmen of the military-industrial complex in our own day. First, he argues that the adversary is not seeking what we call parity but rather superiority, as if military superiority were still a meaningful concept. Next, he argues against all reason that this military power is meant to serve goals of aggrandizement. And finally, he mocks the noble sentiments of hope that provide the most powerful impulse toward disarmament.
We can be thankful that in our own time, as in Churchill’s day, such hysteria is drowned out by the common sense of organizations like SANE, the Coalition Against the B-1, the Federation of American Scientists, the Center for Defense Information, and countless other groups working for peace, not to speak of the many sound research programs supported by bodies such as the United Nations Association. All these groups, animated by some of the finest minds of the nation, agree that the main obstacle to arms limitation and eventually disarmament is the entrenched power of our own defense contractors, as well as the narrow bureaucratic interests of the Pentagon and the paranoid fears of unreconstructed cold warriors.
Churchill then—like our own hawks today in connection with the Soviet Union—was driven into his misconception of the armaments question, and of the true intentions of the new Germany, by one fundamental error which pervaded all his thinking. He utterly failed to comprehend the irreversible change that had drastically altered the nature of international politics since those times. In a period when the stark simplicities of armed conflict had become simply irrelevant, Churchill’s thought was still colored by his youthful experiences in colonial warfare and by his memory of World War I.
Lord Linlithgow was one of many who tried out of disinterested friendship to persuade Churchill of the error of his ways. On May 19, 1933, he wrote to Churchill: “You envisage . . . an approaching period of red tooth and claw, a struggle for the means to live. I doubt it, Winston!” Linlithgow pointed out that the world was governed by an increased “interdependence of trade and distribution,” with economic negotiations replacing military adventures, and economic integration replacing racial and imperial conflict. Such integration would result in “enhanced good will between nations and races.” Linlithgow disagreed profoundly with Churchill but was obviously writing in good will. “I hope, my dear Winston, that I am never impertinent to anyone. Forgive me, then, if I say that . . . you are hanging, hairy, from a branch, while you sputter the atavistic shibboleths of an age destined very soon to retreat into the forgotten past. . . .”
But all to no avail. Churchill simply could not understand that “interdependence” had become the critical fact of international life. He continued to see specters of war, and he continued to oppose the patient diplomacy of his own party leaders that was wholly dedicated to the cause of peace. His reward was a deepening political isolation and a total alienation from the centers of enlightened opinion in his own society. By 1938, his articles were no longer printed by the best newspapers. After all, those in charge had a sense of responsibility. The Times then, like Foreign Affairs nowadays, would not print articles calculated to incite the worst nationalistic passions, and which might sabotage the policy of accommodation pursued by the government. For it is important to realize that such policies require more than leadership from the top. They also require the tacit cooperation of the enlightened, guided by their firm sense of international realities, in pursuit of the goal of peace.
And aside from the establishment, the left wing too played a most useful and constructive role, helping the government to resist the dangerous pressures for rearmament. In fact, the Left could be counted upon to oppose all defense expenditures. To be sure, they could not refrain from sniping at the new Germany over the issue of political rights and over the trade-union question (on which the British unions of the 30’s were no better than the cold warriors of the AFL-CIO are today), and on the Jewish question. But since the left wing firmly maintained its principled opposition to rearmament, everyone understood that it too was in favor of an accommodation.
Thus, at sixty-four, Churchill was a back-bench MP without office—a failure, as his equally ambitious father had been. However, he still made a good living by writing lowbrow articles in the popular press, by mass-producing popular histories, and by broadcasting light feature pieces for the American commercial radio networks, then as now less discriminating than the BBC which did its bit for peace by keeping his warmongering off the air. On August 8, 1939, Churchill spoke to his American listeners:
Holiday time, ladies and gentlemen! Holiday time, my friends across the Atlantic!. . . Let me look back—let me see. How did we spend our summer holidays twenty-five years ago? Why, those were the very days when the German advance guards were breaking into Belgium and trampling down its people on their march toward Paris!
Churchill continued. He spoke of a “hush all over Europe.” What sort of hush was it? he asked:
Alas! it is the hush of suspense, and in many lands it is the hush of fear. Listen! No, listen carefully; I think I hear something—yes, there it was quite clear. Don’t you hear it? It is the tramp of armies crunching the gravel of the parade-grounds, splashing through rain-soaked fields, the tramp of two million German soldiers and more than a million Italians—“going on maneuvers”—yes, only on maneuvers! Of course it’s only maneuvers—just like last year. After all, the Dictators must train their soldiers. They could scarcely do less in common prudence, when the Danes, the Dutch, the Swiss, the Albanians—and of course the Jews—may leap out upon them at any moment. . . . Besides these German and Italian armies may have another work of liberation to perform. It was only last year they liberated Austria from the horrors of self-government. It was only in March they freed the Czechoslovak republic from the misery of independent existence. It was only two years ago that Signor Mussolini gave the ancient kingdom of Abyssinia its Magna Carta. It is only two months ago that little Albania got its writ of Habeas Corpus. . . . No wonder that armies are tramping when there is so much liberation to be done. . . .
* * *
Twenty-seven days later Britain was at war—the unnecessary war, as Churchill was later to call it, caused by the British and French failure to undertake the measures of military preparedness which might have deterred the Germans from their aggressive designs and which might have led to the eventual overthrow of Hitler from within.
1 The quotation, like most others in this article, comes from Martin Gilbert's excellent Winston S. Churchill: The Prophet of Truth 1922-1939 (Houghton Mifflin, 1167 pp., $30.00), to which I am heavily indebted throughout. I also wish to thank Peter Velis for his helpful suggestions in connection with this article.
2 Schlepegrell, incidentally, returned to Germany and to a most promising career, only to find his path blocked by a Jewish maternal grandmother; by 1938 he was a naturalized British subject, and he now lives in Paris where he has been working for the OECD.