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Wednesday, 29 November 2006

H. G. Wells and Winston Churchill had a lot in common. According to a story by Steve Meacham on page 3 of today's The Sydney Morning Herald, Churchill (1874 - 1965) read everything Wells (1866 - 1946) wrote:

The two men met in 1902 after Churchill - then an emerging politician - wrote a long letter to Wells saying, "I read everything you write."

Churchill's magisterial tome History of the English-Speaking Peoples was similarly based, in its concept at least, on an idea of Wells'.

Both men would have been intrigued by the 'Coalition of the Willing' — a phrase the leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia never use nowadays, of course — as it would have seemed a living reference pointing in the same direction. The size of the invasion force? U.S.: 250,000 troops, U.K: 45,000 troops, Australia: 2,000 troops. But then there was also South Korea (3,300 troops) which sort of demolishes my notion, doesn't it.

Churchill also used Wells' words in his speeches. Dr Richard Toye, a history lecturer at Cambridge University, says of Churchill's predilection:

"It's a bit like Tony Blair borrowing phrases from Star Trek or Doctor Who."

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