Churchill the Leader
by Chetan Parikh
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In a classic, The Daily Drucker, Peter Drucker, writes on moral authority.

“The last reality of the thirties, which The End of Economic Man clearly conveys, is the total absence of leadership. The political stage was full of characters. Never before, it seems, had there been so many politicians, working so frenziedly. Quite a few of these politicians were decent men, some even very able ones. But excepting the twin Princes of Darkness, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, they were all pathetically small men; even mediocrities were conspicuous by their absence. “But,” today's reader will protest, “there was Winston Churchill.” To be sure, Churchill's emergence as the leader in Europe's fight against the evil forces of totalitarianism was the crucial event. It was, to use a Churchillian phrase, “the hinge of fate.”


Today's reader is indeed likely to underrate Churchill's importance. Until Churchill took over as leader of free peoples everywhere, after the retreat at Dunkirk and the fall of France, Hitler had moved with apparent infallibility. After Churchill, Hitler was “off” for good, never retaining his sense of timing or his uncanny ability to anticipate every opponent's slightest move. The shrewd calculator of the thirties became the wild, uncontrolled plunger of the forties. It is hard to realize today, sixty-five years after the event, that without Churchill the United States might have resigned itself to Nazi domination of Europe. What Churchill gave was precisely what Europe needed: moral authority, belief in values, and faith in the rightness of rational action.”