Winston Churchill was nothing if not determined. His tenacity and vision guided Great Britain and gave courage to all of the Allied nations at a time when those qualities were desperately needed. Sometimes his focused ambition went beyond the laudable qualities of leadership and developed into bull-headed obstinance. When this happened, no one could talk him out of changing his mind. Well…. almost no one….
As the clock ticked steadily toward the beginning of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, Churchill made up his mind that he was going to go with the troops to take the beaches. With a keen understanding of history and a splendid appreciation for the dramatic, he envisioned himself like his ancestor, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, heroically leading his country’s soldiers into a desperate battle against powerful foes.
Having made up his mind, Churchill could not be talked out of the notion. Allied Commander General Dwight Eisenhower pleaded with him not to put himself in harm’s way, but the general’s words fell on deaf ears. With no other option available, Eisenhower sent word to the one person who might be able to change the Prime Minister’s mind.
On June 2, 1944 — four days before the invasion would begin — King George VI sent a handwritten letter to Churchill. It said, in part,
“My dear Winston, I want to make one more appeal to you not to go to sea on D-Day. Please consider my own position. I am a younger man than you, I am a sailor, and as king, I am the head of all these services. There is nothing I would like better than to go to sea, but I have agreed to stay at home; is it fair that you should then do exactly what I should have liked to do myself?”
Having thus been royally guilt tripped, Churchill had no choice but to back down from his plans. Despite his absence, the invasion was successful, and Hitler’s days were numbered. One can only speculate what the outcome would have been had one set of those boots on the beach that day belonged to Winston Churchill.
* * * * * * *
Read more fun facts about Winston Churchill.
Read more fun facts about World War II.
Read more fun facts about royalty.