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Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Why was he a ‘Former Naval Person’?

Anyone who cares knows that Churchill, in writing personal messages to President Roosevelt during World War II, signed himself “Former Naval Person.” The assumption is that he did so to remind Roosevelt that both of them had served as civilian officials in their navies as younger men.

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 9.55.06 AM
Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 9.55.06 AM

 

Anyone who cares knows that Churchill, in writing personal messages to President Roosevelt during World War II, signed himself “Former Naval Person.” The assumption is that he did so to remind Roosevelt that both of them had served as civilian officials in their navies as younger men.

But re-reading some Churchill the other say, I noticed his observation, made in an official memorandum, in 1927 that Americans that, “do not know much about shipbuilding. They do not know much about the sea. They do not like it.” This made me wonder if Churchill also sought somehow to remind FDR of England’s history of being the world’s preeminent seapower.

 

Anyone who cares knows that Churchill, in writing personal messages to President Roosevelt during World War II, signed himself “Former Naval Person.” The assumption is that he did so to remind Roosevelt that both of them had served as civilian officials in their navies as younger men.

But re-reading some Churchill the other say, I noticed his observation, made in an official memorandum, in 1927 that Americans that, “do not know much about shipbuilding. They do not know much about the sea. They do not like it.” This made me wonder if Churchill also sought somehow to remind FDR of England’s history of being the world’s preeminent seapower.

Imperial War Museums/Wikimedia Commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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