January 10, 2018

QotD: Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty

Filed under: Britain, Government, Military, Quotations — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

It did not take me very long to find out that Mr. Churchill was very apt to express strong opinions upon purely technical matters. Moreover, not being satisfied with expressing opinions, he tried to force his views upon the Board [of the Admiralty]. His fatal error was his entire inability to realize his own limitations as a civilian. I admired very much his wonderful argumentative powers. He surpassed the ablest of lawyers and would make a weak case appear exceedingly strong. While this gift was of great use to the Admiralty when we wanted the naval case put well before the government, it became a positive danger when the First Lord started to exercise his powers of argument on his colleagues on the Board. Naval officers are not brought up to argue a case and few of them can make a good show in this direction.

Vice-Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, Second Sea Lord of the Admiralty 1912-14, quoted by Robert K. Massie, in Castles of Steel.

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