Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Your Freedom in Jeopardy

 By Catherine Ulrich Brakefield

         Winston Churchill was seventy-four when he addressed the House of Commons with this line, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” He’d gone against the current of popularity again facing the same brick wall as he had with the impending doom of Nazism, now, with the threat of Communism.

He summed his life up thusly: “All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.” The Brit’s British Bulldog was still on his feet, growling his warnings.

In my February blog, we traveled through the hallways of Churchill’s early days, his accomplishments, and his defeats. In March we learned about the obstacles he faced in World War I and World War II and the trials he overcame.

He was often lonely, misunderstood, and yes, made a couple of wrong turns. He fought heroically in the trenches of World War I and battled the Blitz of World War II. But this latest threat looming upon Britain’s borders worried him even more. When in 1949, George Orwell’s (the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair) science fiction book Nineteen-Eighty-four was published, more discord followed. Most know Blair as George Orwell, so I shall refer to Blair as Orwell henceforth.

         It is amazing how much Orwell and Churchill had in common—and how many differences. Both ended up with the same ideals—but with very, very different outcomes.


Both had experienced severe loneliness in their lifetime. Both were well-known authors. Both were British subjects. Both had a heart for the poor and downtrodden, and both had experienced the snobbery of their constituents during their young school years and adult years.  Perhaps there was even a little awe in Orwell’s temperament toward Brit’s Bull Dog because he named his protagonist Winston in Nineteen Eighty-four.

         Perhaps it was the deciding differences between them that made each choose a different path to notability—and in the end, the outcome of their souls.

         Churchill was born into an aristocratic family and struggled with maintaining his grades. Orwell was born into a lower-middle-class family. He was intellectually brilliant and received outstanding grades throughout school. He won two scholarships, one to Wellington and Eton.

Though both men experienced loneliness, they reacted very differently. Orwell often wrote about his miseries throughout his novels, as seen in his autobiographical essay, Such, Such Were the Joys (1953).

Churchill chose to see the brighter side of life, and wrote, “When we look back on all the perils through which we have passed and at the mighty foes that we have laid low and all the dark and deadly designs that we have frustrated, why should we fear for our future? We have come safely through the worst.”

Orwell once shrugged off imperialism and labeled himself an anarchist. He continued this self-behavior for several years. Then, during the 1930s, he decided he was a socialist. Thinking this was even too libertarian in the way he thought, he took the next step to saying he was a communist.

Orwell’s Animal Farm came into print in 1945. It was a political fable based on the Russian Revolution and its betrayal of Joseph Stalin. The book is about the barnyard animals that overthrow their human masters and then set up their own society.

The intelligent and power-loving pigs form a dictatorship and then encourage bondage even more oppressive and heartless than their former human masters had bound them beneath.

The pigs’ slogan was, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Animal Farm made Orwell famous. Many critics said, “Animal Farm was one of Orwell’s finest works, full of wit and fantasy and admirably written.”

Well into his forties now, Orwell pondered his political preferences. And after brooding over Naziism and Stalinism, he realized there loomed a dark menace in each. This is when he took up pen again and wrote his science-fiction thriller Nineteen Eighty-four.

It’s about an imaginary future where the world is dominated by three warring totalitarian police states and the leader is called Big Brother. The hero in Orwell’s book is Englishman Winston Smith who lives in Oceania. It is Smith’s job to rewrite the history books. To systematically destroy the truth and rewrite history in the Ministry of Truth, therefore, bringing it up to the current political thinking.

The party has created a propagandistic language known as Newspeak, designed to limit free thought and promote the Party’s doctrines.  For instance, war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength. Winston has doubts and shares these thoughts with a like-minded woman. They fall in love. They get caught and are arrested by the Thought Police.

The method was so diabolical that it eventually worked. The imprisonment, torture, and reeducation broke him physically and rooted out his independent mental existence, and his spiritual dignity—the only love he felt was toward Big Brother.

Afterwards, meeting the woman he once loved, he feels no attraction toward her at all. Only an allegiance to Big Brother.

“Who controls the past, controls the future; who controls the present, controls the past,” Orwell said in his book. Pointing out the dangers of totalitarianism did make an impression upon many. The book was later turned into a movie entitled Big BrotherNineteen Eighty-four is considered a classic and mandatory reading for some high schools and colleges in the United States. Orwell died of tuberculosis in a London hospital in January 1950.

Nineteen Eighty-four
continues in print and into the minds of our youth today. As I wrote in March’s blog, here is Churchill’s speech at Westchester during the Great Depression of the 1930s again, “Words are the only things that last forever. The Pyramids molder, the canals silt up, the bridges rust, the railroads change and decay…But words spoken two or three thousand years ago remain with us now, not as mere relics of the past, but with all their pristine living…leaping across the gulf of ages—they light the world for us today.” How ironic you hear nothing of this today. Churchill was right when he said, “The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.”

In 1951 Winston Churchill was at the ripe age of 77 when he was elected prime minister for the second time. Queen Elizabeth made Winston Churchill a knight of the Order of the Garter in 1953.

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy made Winston Churchill the first foreigner to be granted honorary U.S. citizenship. “In the dark days and darker nights when Britain stood alone…he mobilized the English language and set it into battle.”

Upon Churchill’s death, we learn of his most cherished Bible verse,  John 14:2–3 

“In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (NKJV)

His funeral was laced with Christian undertones, for he orchestrated it himself and wanted lively hymns. And so, before a worldwide audience of 350 million, the congregation listened to “The Battle Hymn of the Republic;” in respect to his Anglo-American parentage, “Who Would True Valour See” and “Fight The Good Fight With All Thy Might.” His coffin was carried out of St Paul’s Cathedral to “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.”

Once, someone said to him that he was a pillar of the church. He retorted, “No, no, not a pillar, but a buttress, supporting it from the outside.”

Orwell and Churchill had commonalities, but both went about achieving their notability in different ways.

What if history were rewritten? Words are a vital network of wisdom for the next generation to explore. What if history books are changed to uphold the dominant party’s agenda? As seen in February, March, and April’s blog, this has been tried throughout the years.  It is Orwell’s words that the schools are exploiting. Churchill’s words are all but obscure.

Churchill once said in his boisterous voice, “What is foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong—these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.” 


Love’s Final Sunrise: Fleeing for her life Ruth finds herself in an hourglass of yesteryear. Can Joshua’s Amish ways help them survive these final three-and-one-half years? “To be honest, I’m not usually drawn to fiction. But for this no-nonsense nonfiction lover, Love’s Final Sunrise was a risk that paid off in full measure. I highly recommend this author’s way of weaving intrigue, romance, and Christian principles.”  Lori Ann Wood

            Catherine is the award-winning author of Wilted Dandelions, Swept into Destiny, Destiny’s Whirlwind, Destiny of Heart, Waltz with Destiny and Love's Final Sunrise, and two pictorial history books, The Lapeer Area and Eastern Lapeer. She has been published by Guideposts Books, CrossRiver Media, Revell Books, Bethany House Publishers, and Arcadia Publishers. 

Catherine and her husband of fifty-one years live on a ranch in Michigan and have two adult children, four grandchildren, four Arabian horses, three dogs, three cats, six chickens, and five bunnies. You can learn more about her at CatherineUlrichBrakefield.com











  1. Thank you for posting today. I never read one of your posts without feeling that your words are timely and make that connection between past and present. And there's always a thought or two that I ponder for days.

    1. Connie R. That is what I hope for in my history blogs! We must learn from the past so we do not repeat it. Thank you so much for your comment, Connie. Many blessings for our Good Lord.