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It can’t be a coincidence that in these arduous days of feverish Brexit negotiations a plethora of British patriotic movies has suddenly hit the market. After “Dunkirk” now in short succession the “Darkest Hour”. No, in my opinion it is not a coincidence. “A country that believes to be proud, greater and better than the rest of Europe” (Tom Peck, “The Independent”) needs a reminder of its past heroism in the perceived current struggle to “regain our independence and sovereignty” (Theresa May).


“And did those feet in ancient time walk upon England’s mountains green? And was the Holy Lamb of God on England’s pleasant pastures seen? ... I will not cease from mental fight, nor shall my sword sleep in my hand till we have built Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land.” Poem by William Blake, music by Hubert Parry. This hymn is known as “Jerusalem”.

England, this ever stubborn bulldog, fiercely independent, proud and all conquering will never surrender even in the face of imminent defeat! Loyal to the Crown, the Monarchy, the English Church, a people prepared to close ranks in the face of danger, shoulder hardship and sacrifices and do all to protect and regain their “Land of Hope and Glory, Mother of the Free, how shall we extol thee, who are born of thee? Wider still and wider shall thy bounds be set. God, who made thee mighty, make thee mightier yet!” an anthem to England’s “green and pleasant land” written by Arthur Christopher Benson and set to the music of Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstances March No 1” fervently sung by a misty-eyed audience enthusiastically waving Union Jacks at the annual “Last Night of the Proms” in London’s Royal Albert Hall!

England expects

“England expects that every man will do his duty” was a signal sent by Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson from his flagship HMS Victory as the Battle of Trafalgar was about to commence.

The enemy has always come from across the Channel: from Europe. The French, the Spanish, the Germans and now, for some, the European Union:

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother;….and gentlemen in England now-a-bed shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here and hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.” Shakespeare’s Henry V emboldens his troops before the battle of Agincourt.

“I know, I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and a king of England too….not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.” Elizabeth I inspires her troops to face the Spanish Armada.

We shall never surrender

“We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…” Winston Churchill on the evacuation from Dunkirk and the spirit of resistance.

Churchill’s enemies were Hitler and Gandhi but Hitler he bravely and against all odds resisted even though in the end it fell onto the unstoppable steamroller of the Red Army and the United States to smash with mighty hammer blows this vile Nazi tyranny and thus liberate Europe.

The “Darkest Hour” is about all that but first and foremost it is a “Film about Resistance”. Joe Wright, director, introducing the movie at the film’s premiere in NYC.

There clearly was a great deal to discuss amongst our members after the show with tasty canapés, the posher version of sandwiches, and plenty of Sparkling Wine again expertly and generously provided by the Café Ministerium. Special thanks go to our President Dr Kurt Tiroch, Board Member Christian Hoffmann, who made it all possible, Deputy Secretary General Christian Steiner, who sat through ten movies before selecting “Darkest Hour” and finally thank you for the free Pop Corn we all munched through during the performance. I never tire to say: if you have missed this evening you have missed a great event!

On a much lighter note let me finish with a typical Winston Churchill quote:

This world famous encounter, this famous jibe directed at the socialist MP Bessie Braddock, others say it was the Conservative Lady Astor, which occurred late one night in 1946, as Churchill was leaving the House of Commons went like this:

Bessie Braddock MP: “Winston, you are drunk, and what’s more you are disgustingly drunk.”

WSC: “Bessie, my dear, you are ugly, and what’s more, you are disgustingly ugly. But tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be disgustingly ugly.”

What a reply. Cheers to that!

Wolfgang Geissler

Wie unser Präsident Dr. Kurt Tiroch eben aus gut informierten Quellen erfahren hat, soll heute Nachmittag, 23.01.2018 Gary Oldman, der Winston Churchill in „Darkest Hour“ mimte für den Oscar, der am 04.03.18 vergeben wird, als Bester Hauptdarsteller nominiert werden!


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