Lively past

Lively past

Lively past

First published in Letters by

THE idea of Joseph Stalin chatting to the Pope about military matters is whimsical, and just the sort of tale to “bring history alive” for schoolboys (F Wyatt, Letters, March 11).

Still, for adults, I would recommend the correct (though possibly apocryphal) version as quoted by Winston Churchill in his The Second World War.

William Dixon Smith, Welland Rise, Acomb, York.

Comments (2)

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12:50pm Mon 17 Mar 14

Firedrake says...

At least three large volumes, as I recall. It might be kind to give us the quote, William ... or at least a chapter-heading!
At least three large volumes, as I recall. It might be kind to give us the quote, William ... or at least a chapter-heading! Firedrake
  • Score: 1

1:36pm Tue 18 Mar 14

williamds says...

I feel uneasy criticising a correspondent. However, the letter was published elsewhere on 7th March. Its reappearance in the Press niggled me, I regret to say.

The Second Word War appeared in six substantial volumes. The quotation is from Vol I (The Gathering Storm) Chapter II. Page 105. It was Stalin’s retort to Pierre Laval in an exchange of views in 1935.

“Oho!” said Stalin, “The Pope! How many divisions has he got?” Laval’s answer was not reported to me.

Sometimes Churchill is cited as the recipient of Uncle Joe’s humour, but from this you can see he was simply repeating a story.
I feel uneasy criticising a correspondent. However, the letter was published elsewhere on 7th March. Its reappearance in the Press niggled me, I regret to say. The Second Word War appeared in six substantial volumes. The quotation is from Vol I (The Gathering Storm) Chapter II. Page 105. It was Stalin’s retort to Pierre Laval in an exchange of views in 1935. “Oho!” said Stalin, “The Pope! How many divisions has he got?” Laval’s answer was not reported to me. Sometimes Churchill is cited as the recipient of Uncle Joe’s humour, but from this you can see he was simply repeating a story. williamds
  • Score: 1

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