Churchill stood strong against tyranny

You’re the head of government of an island nation that sits about 25 miles off the coast of a continent that’s been overrun by one of history’s most despicable tyrants.

That tyrant then sets his sights on your small, but resolute nation. The despot believes with all that passes for his heart that if he conquers your nation, the rest of the world will fall. It will be his for the taking.

The tyrant then launches an aerial blitz against your nation, hoping to bomb your people into submission. The planes keep flying over and dropping their fiery ordnance on your people.

What do you do? How do you react? How do you fend off the threat?

You do what British Prime Minister Winston Churchill did. You take to the radio airwaves and you offer stirring words of comfort amid tragedy and you tell the world that you will do whatever it takes — at whatever cost — to protect your nation against the aggressors.

“Churchill: The Lion’s Roar” airs Sunday at 7 p.m. on KACV-TV. It is the second of a three-part PBS series chronicling the life and times of the great British statesman.

The Battle of Britain was fought in the air over Great Britain. The German air corps, the Luftwaffe, was thought to be invincible. It had more planes and more pilots than the British Royal Air Force that was called on to defend the British Isles. The RAF rose to the challenge. Its pilots simply outmaneuvered, outflew and outfought their enemy.

Churchill lauded his country’s air corps, saying that humankind never had “owed so much to so few.”

The RAF pilots who fended off the Nazis’ aerial onslaught helped turn the tide of World War II. They bought the British time — when the Brits were fighting the Nazi war machine virtually alone. The Nazis did attack the Soviet Union in June 1941, never bargaining on the terrible cost in human lives that campaign would bring to them. The Red Army — with help from the severe Russian winter weather — eventually would turn the Nazis back.

And another thing happened to lend aid to the Allies battling Adolf Hitler’s war machine: The Japanese attacked the United States Navy at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, an act that brought the overpowering industrial and military might of the United States into the worldwide conflict.

“Churchill: The Lion’s Roar” will walk KACV-TV viewers through those dark days and will offer clear and convincing proof — as if it’s needed — of Winston Churchill’s place among the pantheon of world leaders.


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