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Churchill: The Man Behind the Myths

All-Day Program with Lunch

Saturday, March 9, 2019 - 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Code: 1H0404
Sir Winston Churchill, 1941, by Yousuf Karsh

Please Note: This program has a rescheduled date (originally January 12, 2019).

In many ways, as he once said of Russia, Winston Churchill is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. In a wide-ranging daylong examination, Kevin Matthews, an historian at George Mason University, discusses Churchill’s tempestuous career as an army officer, war correspondent, member of Parliament, and minister in both Liberal and Conservative governments to reveal a man too often hidden by the post-World War II myths that surround him.

9:30 a.m.–12 p.m.  The Path to Prime Minister

Winston Churchill wrote that when he became prime minister in 1940, he felt “that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and this trial.” Matthews traces how, despite many setbacks, Britain’s wartime leader was uniquely prepared to lead his nation in a cause many at the time thought hopeless. Instead, as Churchill later recalled, it became “their finest hour.”  

12–1 p.m.  Lunch (a boxed lunch is provided)

1­­–3:30 p.m.  Warlord

Matthews reviews Churchill’s leadership during World War II; the impact of his oratory (as JFK put it, “he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle”); his relationship with Franklin Roosevelt and the creation of the Anglo-American alliance; and his dealings with Josef Stalin. He also analyzes his mistakes as a war leader, from the doomed attempt to save Greece from Axis attack to his opposition to the D-Day landings in Normandy.

S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)