Tags: Steve Malzberg Show | Churchill | Kennedys | When Lions Roar

Thomas Maier: Churchill Had Profound Impact on JFK

By    |   Thursday, 06 November 2014 01:24 PM

Winston Churchill had a profound influence on President John F. Kennedy — so much so that the United States began to echo aspects of the old British Empire, says Thomas Maier, author of "When Lions Roar: The Churchills and the Kennedys."

"What people don't fully understand is how much of an impact Winston Churchill, both by example and by his words, had on President Kennedy," Maier said in a recent interview with "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

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"In many ways, the British Empire that Winston Churchill was the great defender of, the proponent of all around the world, in many ways, we have become the new British Empire.

"The United States has very much taken on the burdens and the responsibilities of the old British Empire and that's very much influenced by Winston's example."

Churchill, who was British prime minister from 1940 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955, was always aware of his deep ties to America.

"Winston was kind of a hyphenated character. His mother was born in Brooklyn, right here in New York, so he was always aware that he was half American," he said.

"Some of his detractors in Britain would say, 'Oh, he's half Yankee.' But Americans are particularly enthralled by Winston's story."

Churchill's relationship with the Kennedy family began in the early 1930s and weathered a number of ideological storms, according to Maier.

"Most people said, well, Churchill and the Kennedys, they despised one another because of what happened in World War II in which they very much disagreed," he said.

"[Kennedy family patriarch] Joe Kennedy was an isolationist and, of course, Winston Churchill was essentially trying to save not only Britain but all of Western civilization from the Nazi threat.

"But in fact they had been friends before World War II, and that's one of the biggest discoveries in my book is the friendship between the two families, including business relationships that I found absolutely stunning."

Maier said that Churchill was particularly unhappy with Joe Kennedy as the war ended.

"In 1946, bear in mind, [Joe's son and future president] Jack Kennedy was running for Congress for the first time in a very Irish-Catholic district up in Boston," he said.

"They didn't particularly like the British and there's actually a letter I quote, where Jack writes the rest of the Kennedy family saying, cool it with all this talk about London and the British. I'm running for Congress, not for Parliament."

But then the second generation of the Churchills and the Kennedys become friends through mutual acquaintances.

"President Kennedy was convinced that he should have a ceremony for honorary citizenship bestowed to Winston Churchill," Maier said.

"By that point, Winston was so old that his son Randolph stood in for him, and Randolph and Jackie Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy and JFK were very much friends in the early 1960s.

"In many ways, the story of the Churchills and the Kennedys is not really of two parallel lines but of constantly intersecting lines between friends, mutual friends."

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Winston Churchill had a profound influence on President John F. Kennedy - so much so that the United States began to echo aspects of the old British Empire, Thomas Maier, author of "When Lions Roar," says on "The Steve Malzberg Show."
Churchill, Kennedys, When Lions Roar
Thursday, 06 November 2014 01:24 PM
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