Contemplating Churchill

On the 40th anniversary of the wartime leader's death, historians are reassessing the complex figure who carried Britain through its darkest hour

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But “the grand simplicity of decision” is something else. It is a recognition that in the midst of a complex world, any act or decision will have a “grand simplicity” about it. Decision necessarily omits, rejects, determines. It could be grand, perhaps magnificent, and possibly necessary. But it may also seem too simple, imperfect and flawed, narrow and restrictive. And it will have consequences that cannot be foreseen. It will be, that is, human. Acting forthrightly with that kind of understanding in the face of Britain’s greatest danger— that may be Churchill’s greatest claim to heroism.


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