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Winston Churchill addresses Canadian Parliament, Dec. 30, 1941

‘SOME CHICKEN – SOME NECK!’ MR CHURCHILL AT OTTAWA
(click on image to see British Pathé newsreel)

“The contribution of Canada to the Imperial war effort in troops, in ships, in aircraft, in food, and in finance has been magnificent…

Hitler and his Nazi gang have sown the wind: let them reap the whirlwind…

When I warned them (the French) that Britain would fight on alone whatever they did, their generals told their Prime Minister and his divided Cabinet, ‘In three weeks England would have her neck wrung like a chicken.’ Some chicken! Some neck.”

— Churchill, Winston S. Address to the Parliament of Canada, 30 December 1941.

CBC Digital Archives has a larger excerpt of the speech.

Category: Amor Patriae, Historica, Pro Victoria  Tags: ,  Comments off

For we are called with our Allies to meet the challenge of a principle which, if it were to prevail, would be fatal to any civilised order in the world.

King George VI addresses the British people via wireless.  September 1939.

King George VI addresses the Empire via wireless. September 3rd, 1939.

      1. George VI address (excerpt) - BBC broadcast, Sept. 3, 1939

For the second time in the lives of most of us we are at war. Over and over again we have tried to find a peaceful way out of the differences between ourselves and those who are now our enemies. But it has been in vain. We have been forced into a conflict. For we are called, with our allies, to meet the challenge of a principle which, if it were to prevail, would be fatal to any civilised order in the world.

…Such a principle, stripped of all its disguise, is surely the mere primitive doctrine that might is right; and if this principle were established throughout the world, the freedom of our own country and of the whole of the British Commonwealth of Nations would be in danger. But far more than this – the peoples of the world would be kept in the bondage of fear, and all hopes of settled peace and of security of justice and liberty among nations would be ended.

— King George VI, Broadcast on the Outbreak of War, 03 September 1939.

In his personal diary, the Sovereign revealed that he was “relieved” that Britain was finally at war with Germany, after ten days of intensive negotiations over Poland had come to naught.  To those of us looking on from a distance, relief may seem like an odd feeling to have, especially when contemplating war.  But then we have not endured three years of the Rt. Hon. Arthur Neville Chamberlain as our first minister, who was busy preparing morsels of other countries in the vain hope that, after gobbling up enough Rhineland, Austrian and Czech hors d’oeuvres, the fascist madman on the Continent could be sated.  I’ve no doubt that over time, as Hitler blustered and Chamberlain folded—once, twice, and three times—the King had privately come to the conclusion that some brave nation in Europe would have to face facts, take up its sword, and run the German through.  Certainly his wartime deeds and stoic bravery helped restore both the prestige of the monarchy and British morale.  It has been reported that both the King and Churchill had wanted to be aboard HMS Belfast for D-Day; probably just as well that they couldn’t.  Both the King and the Prime Minister going ashore on the first day of the invasion would have torn the fabric of space-time with too much epic awesomeness.

Some of the most poignant and prophetic words about German belligerence in the tense autumn of 1939 belong, improbably, to a Czech diplomat—Mr. Jan Masaryk.  He was Czechoslovakia’s ambassador to Britain; at least until he resigned in protest in September of 1938.  The catalyst, naturally, was Chamberlain signing away the Sudetenland to the Third Reich.  Speaking in London on August 27th, 1939, Masaryk offered up this candid and accurate assessment:

jan_masaryk

Mr. Jan Masaryk, Czech Ambassador to the United Kingdom, 1939

      2. Czech Ambassador on Poland situation

…One thing is very definitely sure.  If the war starts, it will be Hitler who is the guilty party.  I do not wish to deny that the unbelievable policy of the Western democracies has helped Hitler to this fortunate or tragic position.  History will prove that most efficiently and conclusively.

…If there is even a vestige of the Munich spirit left to initiate these negotiations, they are doomed to be a dismal failure.

The only possible chance of success without bloodshed is for Hitler to climb down from the Trojan Horse on which he has galloped from Munich to Berlin, and then to Vienna, Memel, Prague and so forth, and now toward Warsaw.  From now on he must walk, even walk backwards a bit.

Let me be perfectly frank; I believe I have the right to be so.  If Hitler attempts another bloodless victory for vulgar gangsterism, and the world—including the United States of America—let him get away with it, I have no illusions about the future of the European civilisation.

— Jan Masaryk to the BBC, 27 August 1939

Oh that we would have such discernment today.

RELATED: Publius at Gods of the Copybook Headings recounts the early days of the “Phony War”, leading off with Chamberlain’s declaration of war.

Category: Historica, Pro Victoria  Tags: ,  Comments off

The Red Panda Adventures

red-panda_sm

In the tradition of the great mystery men of radio, pulp fiction and the golden age of comics comes The Red Panda, famed protector of 1930s Toronto! Hiding his true identity as on of the city’s wealthiest men behind a bright red domino mask, The Red Panda dispenses two-fisted pulp justice with strength, courage and eerie hypnotic powers. Joined in his quest by that Famed Fighting Female The Flying Squirrel, this Terrific Twosome holds high the lamp of justice in a dark time!

      1. Red Panda Adventures - Riddle of the Sphinx

Every now and then the Internet yields up an astonishing find that defies all expectations.  The Red Panda Adventures, a series of half-hour podcasts by local writer and actor Gregg Taylor (no relation) is one such find.  Set in pre-war Toronto, it is the eminently entertaining chronicle of a Canadian superhero created in the style of early pulp radio serials.   The original miniseries had six episodes set in the Second World War, with Red Panda fighting assorted evil, Nazi henchmen.  It was intended to be the pilot for a traditional, commercial broadcast effort that never came to pass.  In 2004, Mr. Taylor decided to release them as free podcasts/audio downloads on the site of his indie theatre company, Decoder Ring Theatre.

The response was overwhelming, and in 2005 he retooled Decoder Ring Theatre to focus on producing audio content and not live theatre work.  He wrote and produced a series of all-new Red Panda episodes, set somewhat earlier in Depression-era Toronto (the file I have linked above is the first of this series).  The new Red Panda Adventures were also released free to the public, with a modest request for listener donations if they enjoyed the product.  Four years and some fifty-odd episodes later, Taylor and Decoder Ring Theatre are still releasing Red Panda episodes to the general public.  For free.  This month they celebrated the millionth download of their audio programs.

The pulp adventure format has proved so popular that Mr. Taylor has branched out into Red Panda books and spawned another audio series: Black Jack Justice, noir-ish detective stories set in 1950s Toronto.  Black Jack Justice has also recently fielded its own comic.  Decoder Ring Theatre has grown in popularity to the point where it is hosting other writers’ creations as well, such as Matt Wallace’s Deck Gibson series (kind of an homage to Buck Rogers/Flash Gordon-style space opera).

The truly remarkable thing is that the vast majority of content is freely available.  I’m sure avid listeners donate regularly, and I’d be willing to bet Mr. Taylor has other, commercial “day jobs” to pay the bills, but I am also astounded at the prolific creativity of the man.  If the story of Gregg Taylor and Decoder Ring Theatre tells us anything, is it not that Canadian media producers need millions of dollars to keep feeding us the same old unpopular tropes and localised ripoffs of American shows.  It is that the basic building block of entertainment is, first and foremost, a really good story.  If you have good stories to tell, people will keep coming back for more—and be willing to pay for it.

Category: Amor Patriae, Ars Gratia Artis  Tags: ,  Comments off