Churchill movie shows parallels to Trump

Churchill movie shows parallels to Trump
December 24 13:18 2017 Print This Article

The limited release of the movie The Darkest Hour, produced by British filmmaker Working Title Films, gives American audiences the chance to examine British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in a time of extreme crisis, as the Nazis were storming through Europe.  The film exposes all of Churchill’s personal flaws and bombastic behaviors but also frames his resolute decision-making and refusal to give up.  Viewing the movie allows one to draw parallels between Churchill and President Donald Trump.

Like Trump, Churchill was wildly unpopular with the leaders of his own political party.  Churchill replaced Neville Chamberlain in May of 1940.  Chamberlain signed a treaty with Germany in 1938 with the understanding that Adolf Hitler would annex a German-speaking region of Czechoslovakia and had no intention of invading sovereign nations in the region.  Chamberlain famously called the agreement “peace for our time.”  A year later, Germany invaded Poland, drawing Britain, France and other nations into what would become World War II.  When the Germans advanced into France in 1940, the British people lost confidence in Chamberlain’s ability to defend the nation and Churchill was viewed as the only viable alternative.

After Churchill assumed office, members of his cabinet worked to undermine him, seeking to sign another peace agreement with the Germans.  While Trump hasn’t experienced rebellion from his cabinet, he has been opposed by “deep state” officials within his government, most notably the FBI.  Trump, like Churchill, has the knack of how to “punch back” against political opponents.  When cabinet member Lord Edward Halifax suggested entering into peace talks, Churchill replied, “You cannot negotiate with a tiger when your head is inside its mouth!”  Trump uses the social media vehicle Twitter to present his perspective to tens of millions of followers several times a day, often attacking his detractors.

Churchill did not get the level of cooperation he wanted from allies.   The Darkest Hour depicted a phone call between Churchill and American President Franklin Roosevelt in which Churchill requested material support, including ships and aircraft.  Roosevelt coyly replied that he was bound by the Neutrality Act of 1939 and was powerless to help.  Trump has tried to rally the free world to take actions against rogue nuclear threat North Korea and terrorism sponsor (and potential nuclear threat) Iran, but allies like France, Germany, and (yes) the United Kingdom seem more concerned about preserving the Paris Climate Accord, which Trump rejected shortly after taking office.

I encourage everyone to find a theater showing The Darkest Hour and watch it during its limited run.  How many American students know how close the free world was to total destruction in 1940?  There is a scene in the movie in which Churchill opts to ride the subway and asks the passengers if they wanted to see a Nazi flag flying over Buckingham Palace (home of the royal family, King George VI at the time) or Parliament.  The people resoundingly urged him to fight the Nazis.  One could argue that America should have entered the war earlier to protect our British allies.  See the trailer here: