Streamed live on April 30, 2024

Glenn welcomes distinguished historian Allen Packwood, director of the Churchill Archives in Cambridge to discuss Winston Churchill’s wartime leadership.

Our travel “Masters of the Air” tour to England in September 2024 will include a presentation by Allen Packwood at Churchill College in Cambridge.

Packwood’s book, How Churchill Waged War, delves into Winston Churchill’s leadership during World War II, challenging simplistic views of his wartime ministry.

Packwood explores Churchill’s decision-making process, highlighting his humanity, emotion, and the complexity of his approach. The book focuses on pivotal moments, such as Churchill’s response to the fall of France and the Blitz, shedding light on his strategy and mindset.

Churchill’s leadership style was characterized by determination, forcefulness, and a willingness to take the offensive. He strategically positioned himself at the heart of the British war effort as Minister of Defence, closely interacting with senior commanders.

Notably, Churchill faced challenges like the sinking of the French fleet, which he responded to decisively, even at the cost of strained relations with former allies. During the Blitz, Churchill remained resolute in public, emphasizing retaliation and portraying bombing as part of Hitler’s invasion plan. Behind the scenes, he prioritized offensive strategies, particularly bombing Germany and bolstering forces in the Mediterranean.

Churchill’s focus on offensive action aimed to wear down the enemy and maintain British imperial power.

However, Packwood also reveals Churchill’s vulnerabilities and the toll of leadership. Churchill faced opposition, suffered health issues, and grappled with limited resources. Despite his iconic status, he encountered criticism, internal strife, and the weight of wartime decisions.

Ultimately, Packwood portrays Churchill as a leader driven by the simple goal of victory at all costs, tackling challenges one at a time and navigating the complexities of war with resolve and determination.

Allen Packwood is a distinguished archivist and historian, currently serving as the Director of the Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College, Cambridge.

He has been associated with the Centre since 1995, initially as a qualified archivist, and later taking on roles of increasing responsibility, including Acting Keeper and ultimately Director in 2002. Throughout his career, Packwood has been actively involved in curating exhibitions and organizing events related to Churchill and Cold War history.

He is recognized for his expertise on Churchill and has lectured extensively in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Under Packwood’s leadership, the Churchill Archives Centre continues to be a vital repository of historical documents, housing the papers of Sir Winston Churchill, Baroness Thatcher, and many other influential figures from the Churchill era and beyond.