The battle of Dunkirk is finally completed. The entire British and Allied contingent is now out of danger. Since the 10th of June 1940, the French government has taken refuge in Tours and, on the 14th of June, it will be the beginning of the German occupation of Paris. Paul Reynaud is still, for a short time, the President of the Council of the French Republic. It will be quickly replaced by Marshal Pétain who will hasten to sign the armistice with the enemy on June 22nd.
On June 12, 1940, Winston Churchill receives a call from Paul Reynaud who wishes to talk with him. The Old Lion rides in the first plane. The Dunkirk disaster left a bitter taste to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The successive advances of Hitler and his army discourage him. He even lets himself, contrary to a tenacious legend, go to the wave to the soul. He declares, pessimistically, to his deputy director Hastings Ismay: "You and I will be dead within three months." This psychological inclination to fatalism, this character trait invariably negative, Winston found him a nickname: his "dog black".
Finally, to find a cure for the current cataclysm, Churchill does not spare his sentence. He literally travels the world. United States, Canada, USSR, his frenzy makes him cross the globe from coast to coast. It saves so little that it will end up making a cardiac arrest in 1941. But at the beginning of summer 1940, these are France's failure to contain the Nazi thrust and the isolationist status quo of America that affect Winston's state of mind.
He who always seems so combative in front of the audience and the cameras, he who seems so convinced in public of the obviousness of a victory to come, him, Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, is taken of a deep doubt. He fears that Britain will find itself totally alone confront the German ogre when he crossed the English Channel to pour on the island a torrent of fire and death. He has every reason to be anxious, even if the "Battle of Britain" which begins the following month will end in a failure of the Nazis who will put an end to the sequence of victories which they enjoyed until right here.
To be continued in the next episode…
AUDIO SERIES CREDITS
1940, Winston becomes Churchill, an audio fiction in partnership with Le Figaro. A Collective Creation and Binge Audio production for Universal Pictures. With the voice of Paul Bandey and Adelaide Bon. Author: Alexandre Lenot. Director, original music and mixing: Théo Boulenger. Art Director: Julien Cernobori
- Churchill, Warlord: Episode 1 of our audio series on The Dark Hours
- Churchill, in the service of his majesty: episode 2 of our series on The Dark Hours
- Churchill, a Bull in the Arena: Episode 3 of our Dark Hours series