London Pride

by Daniel on July 7, 2005

Noel Coward was a fine Englishman …

London Pride has been handed down to us.
London Pride is a flower that’s free.
London Pride means our own dear town to us,
And our pride it for ever will be.

Oh Liza! See the coster barrows,
Vegetable marrows and the fruit piled high.
Oh Liza! Little London sparrows,
Covent Garden Market where the costers cry.

Cockney feet mark the beat of history.
Every street pins a memory down.
Nothing ever can quite replace
The grace of London Town.

There’s a little city flower every spring unfailing
Growing in the crevices by some London railing,
Though it has a Latin name, in town and country-side
We in England call it
London Pride.

London Pride has been handed down to us.
London Pride is a flower that’s free.
London Pride means our own dear town to us,
And our pride it for ever will be.

Hey, lady! When the day is dawning
See the policeman yawning on his lonely beat.
Gay lady! Mayfair in the morning,
Hear your footsteps echo in the empty street.
Early rain and the pavement’s glistening.
All Park Lane in a shimmering gown.
Nothing ever could break or harm
The charm of London Town.

In our city darkened now, street and square and crescent,
We can feel our living past in our shadowed present,
Ghosts beside our starlit Thames who lived and loved and died
Keep throughout the ages
London Pride.

London Pride has been handed down to us.
London Pride is a flower that’s free.
London Pride means our own dear town to us,
And our pride it for ever will be.

Grey city! Stubbornly implanted,
Taken so for granted for a thousand years.
Stay, city! Smokily enchanted,
Cradle of our memories and hopes and fears.

Every Blitz your resistance toughening,
From the Ritz to the Anchor and Crown,
Nothing ever could override
The pride of London Town.

Update: Lord (Lenny) Hoffman is only an adopted Londoner (like myself) and is the quintessential Hampstead liberal, but he demonstrated that the spirit is still strong, not so long ago.

There may be some nations too fragile or fissiparous to withstand a serious act of violence. But that is not the case in the United Kingdom. When Milton urged the government of his day not to censor the press even in time of civil war, he said:
“Lords and Commons of England, consider what nation it is whereof ye are, and whereof ye are the governours”

This is a nation which has been tested in adversity, which has survived physical destruction and catastrophic loss of life. I do not underestimate the ability of fanatical groups of terrorists to kill and destroy, but they do not threaten the life of the nation. Whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive Al-Qaeda.

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{ 51 comments }

1

chris 07.07.05 at 8:39 am

Bloody good pint, London Pride. Gives you a shocker in the morning, though.

2

reuben 07.07.05 at 8:53 am

I don’t actually like London Pride, but I will certainly be drinking it this evening. Lifetime UK residents who live here in London are justifiably proud of the city, but sometimes I wonder if they appreciate it as much as those of us who have come from across the world specifically to live here.

I don’t normally go in for this sort of mumbo-jumbo, but, in my opinion, London truly is the world’s greatest city.

Here’s to it.

3

Daniel 07.07.05 at 8:53 am

I might be persuaded to share a low-quality mp3 of the song, for a limited period only, if I could find somewhere to upload it to (NB Warner Chappell Publishing: no, sir, not me)

4

Ted 07.07.05 at 9:05 am

I spent two and a half very happy years in London. It felt like the center of the world, in a way that I’ve never felt before or since. What a senseless fuck-you to civilization. God damn these bastards.

There’s a wikipedia about it up already:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_London_transport_explosions

5

duane 07.07.05 at 9:16 am

I’m an expat New Zealander living in London and I love it dearly. The bastards that did this are truly deluded if they really think “Britain is burning with fear and panic”.

6

jim 07.07.05 at 9:44 am

Amazing how potent cheap music can be.

7

norbizness 07.07.05 at 9:45 am

As a former temporary Londoner (last half of 1992), my sympathies and thoughts are with everybody across the pond today.

8

wade 07.07.05 at 10:15 am

burning in fear??!!? Ha!! Not this Brit. With my upper lip fixed stiff, i hoot and mock these jihadis. Wankers one and all. I’d like to see ‘em on Celebrity Terrorist Island, the IRA’d make mincemeat of them…

9

fjm 07.07.05 at 10:15 am

Thank you.

10

SAO 07.07.05 at 10:29 am

Yeah, “Fear and panic” my arse.

But why do people keep comparing it to the Blitz? Isn’t this all a lot more reminiscient of an IRA attack.

11

Joe Welsh 07.07.05 at 10:34 am

My sympathies as well.

12

KCinDC 07.07.05 at 10:49 am

As an American who was in London on September 11, 2001, I remember the kindness of the British people during that terrible time, and today my thoughts are in London and with British people everywhere.

13

gnat 07.07.05 at 11:10 am

AND we’d beat them at football too.

14

David All 07.07.05 at 11:28 am

Echo what kcindc said.
“London can take it” is as important & inspiring now as it was sixty years ago.

15

DrFrankLives 07.07.05 at 12:44 pm

To the bastards who did this. Wrong target. These people don’t cave because of a bomb. 1940 ring a bell?

“I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. . . . we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

–Winston Churchill, June 4, 1940, Speech to the House of Commons

16

Nabakov 07.07.05 at 1:00 pm

Holy Thursday

‘Twas on a holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two and two in red and blue and green:
Grey-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Paul’s they like Thames waters flow.

O what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town!
Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own.
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.

Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among:
Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor.
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.

- William Blake, a Londoner.

and go to:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_pictures/4660563.stm
and click through to picture 5. The last time I saw an expression like that was in a family scrapbook picture of my then 15 year old mum emerging from a tube station after the Luftwaffe had done their worst the night before.

17

Alex Fradera 07.07.05 at 1:06 pm

18

ian b 07.07.05 at 1:10 pm

Hey, Danny!

The tune, as I’m sure you know, is the same as Deutschland Uber Alles, but they nicked it off our English song ‘Won’t you buy my sweet-smelling lavender?’ A nice barb from the Master.

Maybe a good dose of ‘There are bad times just around the corner’ will lift the spirits up, so long as our excellencies don’t regret…

19

Bob B 07.07.05 at 1:33 pm

They are right about the resolution of Londoners.

On 27 July 1944 at 1:44, a V1 flying bomb, the precursor of cruise missiles, fell at one end of the road in London where I lived then, demolishing 12 flats and 40 houses. A few months later, on 26 January 1945 at 10:45 in mid winter, a V2 ballistic rocket fell at the other end of the road, demolishing 4 houses, severely damaging 8 houses and with slight damage to c. 100 flats – all according to the archived record I found on the web.

“On June [1944], just over a week after the Allied landings in Normandy, the first of the flying bombs (or ‘dooblebugs’), launched from German bases in Northern France, began to explode in the London area. These were small pilotless aircraft which, when their engines cut out, crashed to the ground and produced explosions of such power that they damaged houses up to a quarter of a mile away. . . By early September the 2,350 V-1s which had fallen on London had killed 5,000 and injured 15,000 others. . . the rocket attacks by V2s, the first of which arrived on 8 September while the end of the V1-s was still being celebrated. . . By the end of March [1945], when the rocket launchers were withdrawn from Holland, 518 had hit London and killed 2,724 people.”
Francis Sheppard: London – A History (OUP 1998) p.337-.

Curiously, the parts of London worst hit by the V1s were “Croydon (where over a 1,000 houses were completely destroyed), Lewisham and Wandsworth” which includes places where I lived then and where I live now.

As I recall it, after the V1s and V2s landed, the emergency services looked after the injured and recovered the bodies of those killed, teams came round to patch up damaged houses, people swept up and life went on. On 7 May, the war in Europe ended. It happens I have just finished reading Richard Overy’s assessment of: The Battle of Britain (Penguin Books 2000), which includes this passage:

This was the spirit observed by the American reporter Virginia Cowles, who watched with mounting incredulity the moral revival of the population after the shock of Dunkirk and French defeat [in 1940]: ‘For the first time I understood what the maxim meant: “England never knows when it is beaten” . . . I was more than impressed. I was flabbergasted. I not only understood the maxim; I understand why Britain never had been beaten.’

20

McDuff 07.07.05 at 2:22 pm

A good cup of tea makes everything seem much more bearable.

21

ab 07.07.05 at 4:15 pm

Thanks!

22

Daniel 07.07.05 at 4:25 pm

Yo Ian, yeah. I was humming that one as I trudged home in the pissing rain. “There are black clouds over, the greyish cliffs of Dover”

23

julia 07.07.05 at 5:05 pm

I actually thought of this song today.

24

Kevin Andrew Murphy 07.07.05 at 5:36 pm

I did a bit of a web search and found a pretty recording of London Pride by Catharine Bott on the Hyperion Records website. Click “save” on the link to actually save the song.

25

V. Alan White 07.07.05 at 10:11 pm

I’ve never set foot outside the North American continent, yet my heart has always been with my British cousins in the most significant matters–philosophy and humor. Hume, Russell, and Whitehead for the former, and the incomparable Monty Python for the latter. I offer my solidarity with you in anger, disgust, and a call for disciplined reason in reacting to this ultimate horror of medievalist passion.

26

Tom D. 07.07.05 at 11:28 pm

They gave us The Beatles V. Alan.

I think that history shows quite conclusively that the UK is not the country you want to attack.

27

Bob B 07.08.05 at 2:53 am

By this morning’s news, the London stock market was 1% [one per cent] down at the end of yesterday’s market.

That’s London.

28

reuben 07.08.05 at 3:15 am

But why do people keep comparing it to the Blitz? Isn’t this all a lot more reminiscient of an IRA attack.

I think that’s in part because people are quite rightly thinking of reactions to the action, rather than the action itself.

The action, in the form of terrorism, is pretty much inevitable in the world of today. We (in London) always knew we were going to get something, at some point.

What isn’t inevitable is the quality of the reaction: will there be panic? Fear-mongering? Ethnic hatred? I’ve heard from a friend in the US that Fox has been beating the anti-Muslim drum since this happened. Here in the far more civilised climes of Blighty, I’ve yet to discern even the slightest hint of fearmongering from the media (haven’t seen the tabs today, though!).

I would also note that the media haven’t gone in for flashy logos, melodramatic music, and ratings-driven scare stories. Those who incessantly criticise the BBC (hello, OxBlog!) might want to consider how this event would have been covered in the US, as ratings-driven channels fell over themselves to offer the most over-the-top coverage. Here, the BBC sets the tone – and thank god for that. I’m counting my licence fee damn well spent. (And don’t forget that it pays for radio coverage, too.)

I’m very proud to live here right now.

On another note, did anyone hear Ken Livingstone’s broadcast yeterday? A bit too much of a veiled plea for tourists to keep coming to London, but on the whole it was a wonderful, rousing speech. One of hte reasons so many of us love the big buffoon is that he so clearly shares our passion for the city.

And not just a part of the city. So many of the great and good love London, but only on their terms: Mayfair, South Ken, the fancier, more well-to-do areas. Ken pretty clearly loves the hustle and bustle and grime and – above all – the ethnic mix of Edgware Rd and Hackney and Peckham and all the other parts of London that make this a truly unique city. And that really resonates.

29

Marc Mulholland 07.08.05 at 5:27 am

Yep, fair play to London. However, its probably rather less to do with some native indomitability. Other cities’ denizens don’t run around like chicken-lickens after bomb attacks either, as I recall from Belfast. Individuals are very good at assuming that there’s no bullet / bomb with their name on it. ‘Terrorism’ as it is now understood, is a bit of a misnomer, because it always fails to terrorise populations, unlike classical state terrorism.

30

Bob B 07.08.05 at 5:33 am

“In [the] 2001 [Census] minority ethnic groups were more likely to live in England than in the other countries of the UK. In England, they made up 9 per cent of the total population compared with only 2 per cent in both Scotland and Wales and less than 1 per cent in Northern Ireland. The minority ethnic populations were concentrated in the large urban centres. Nearly half (45 per cent) of the total minority ethnic population lived in the London region, where they comprised 29 per cent of all residents.”
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=263

What is so fascinating is that the ethnic changes in London’s population over the centuries since its foundation by the Romans almost two thousand years back has not diminished its indomitable spirit. But then as Dr Samuel Johnson said back in the 18th century:

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”
http://wwp.greenwichpast.com/vip/writers/johnson.htm

“Francis Barber (also known as Frank) was Samuel Johnson’s Jamaican man servant. It is said that Johnson treated Francis like a son. He lived at Johnson’s House, Bolt Court, with his white wife Elizabeth (also known as Betsy) whom he married around 1776. He was a beneficiary of Samuel Johnson’s will, and after Johnson’s death he retired with his family to live in Lichfield. . . “
http://www.thrale.com/history/english/hester_and_henry/francis_barber.php

Disraeli, Britain’s prime minister in 1868 and 1874-80, was the grandson of immigrants. He wrote in 1847: London is the modern Babylon.

31

goesh 07.08.05 at 6:23 am

What? Not even a wee bit of chastisement for the freedom fighting lads that struck another blow for Sharia law? Cheeky weren’t they, stopping traffic like they did.

32

Bob B 07.08.05 at 6:46 am

I’m aware that events in London yesterday have several features in common with al-Qaeda’s modus operandi on 9-11 and in the Madrid bombing of March last year but otherwise is there convincing evidence that this was most likely down to al-Qaeda and not some malignant mutation of the IRA looking to cover tracks?

33

conchis 07.08.05 at 7:08 am

bob b,

how about the fact that covering tracks doesn’t make a lot of sense: “do what we want or we’ll blow you up” doesn’t work if you don’t know who the “we” is.

34

J Thomas 07.08.05 at 7:43 am

What do they want?

1. Make people believe al qaeda still exists. Done.
2. Persuade britain to stay in iraq?
3. Persuade britain to leave iraq?
4. Take attention away from something else?

What else was about to get media attention, that we’re paying attention to these bombings instead?

35

Bob B 07.08.05 at 11:00 am

“how about the fact that covering tracks doesn’t make a lot of sense”

I am not challenging the obvious similarities between the modus operandi (MO) of the Madrid bombings last year and the London bombings yesterday but covert official intelligence operations as well as clandestine terrorist organisations sometimes resort to “authorised but deniable” tactics for a variety of motives.

In the present political context in Northern Ireland of no power-sharing arrangements for government, I can envisage cogent reasons why a malignant IRA cell might apply such a tactic, always assuming that the IRA and its off-shoots act rationally – I am not sure most folks have yet managed to figure out quite what the rational motive was for the Omagh atrocity on 15 August 1998 which killed 29 people:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omagh_bombing

Besides all that, recall what happened in Madrid where the bombings there in March last year were initially blamed on ETA, the Basque separatists, incorrectly as it turned out?

In the early 1980s in England, there was a notorious criminal case of serial killings with a distinctive MO where the local police locked onto the notion that the killer came from the NE region of England because of a phone call, purporting to come from the killer, which turned out to be a hoax. News reports suggest that this biased the course of the investigation thereby delaying the arrest of the killer during which time there were several more (gruesome) murders of women. In fact, the police had already interviewed the killer twice, as I recall, but dismissed the idea of retaining him as a suspect because he didn’t fit the frame. He was eventually apprehended, by a freak chance, away from his usual haunts by another police force. That piece of history ought serve as a perennial warning of what can happen if the police make unjustified assumptions in the course of their investigations.

36

rollo 07.08.05 at 1:05 pm

bob b-
I think possibly you mean “London is the modern” Babel as opposed to Babylon.
Babylon, both ancient and modern, is still on the Euphrates, there in Iraq, though somewhat the worse for wear these days.
Babel was where they built a tower to heaven – with bricks, and slime for mortar – and for their arrogance had the tower destroyed out from under them, and the people reduced to speaking languages each one unique, that no one else could understand.
Your confident wielding of the M.O. of al Qaeda as a known and knowable quantity, and your ability to compare the recent London bombing to the pre-election Madrid bombing, is something I can only admire from a distance, having been officially lied to so thoroughly for so long now I don’t, and can’t, trust anything that comes to me officially, as truth.
Was the Madrid bombing done by al Qaeda? I suppose it was; everybody says it was, so it must have been.

37

Bob B 07.08.05 at 3:49 pm

Rollo,

I was quoting from Disraeli’s novel: Tancred (1847)

One of the joys of being British is that parts of the media here, including the BBC, spend much time, space and energy to disputing the official claims of governments and we have periodic opportunities to vote our government out of power if we so choose.

38

David All 07.08.05 at 4:14 pm

Thanks for this thread and all who have posted here. It is inspiring to rememeber how the British people have met & prevailed over past threats and to see how Londoners are bearing up under this latest menace. As someone who was in the Pentagon on Sept. 11th and who works there still, I will mention something that was a reassurance for me after 9/11 and is a very appropriate response to Thursday’s horrible terrorist attacks. It sums up what we must do in order to keep these monsters from winning.

“The only thing we have to Fear, is Fear, Itself!
FDR, 1st Innagural Address, March 4th, 1933.

39

Daniel 07.08.05 at 5:19 pm

To be honest, as an adopted Londoner, I’m now showing the national traits by getting rather sick of all the gushing encomia to London. At the end of the day, Coventry or Turin or Oslo would have reacted more or less the same, since the choices are “tough it out” or “go to fucking pieces” and the second one is so obviously the wrong choice.

40

ian b 07.08.05 at 6:04 pm

Still, mustn’t grumble…

41

Bertram 07.08.05 at 10:27 pm

Hello everyone,

I’m a german journalist who works in London. Having ceaselessly covered the going ons of this place, and having done so for the last some 60 hours, having seen how London deals with this atrocity, having felt the defiance, the stubbornness of London, I want to express my great admirance for all of you.
And though I am a foreigner, and a german one on top of that, it fills me with pride to be in London right now.

Let’s raise a virtual glass
To London!

Bertram Quadt, German Broadcasting

42

ab 07.08.05 at 11:27 pm

“Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern and western quarters.”

It’s most likely a fake al-Qaeda statement.

Anyway, whoever wrote it must feel rather stupid now.

One more lesson why you should be careful with the “send it” button on the Internet…

43

Bob B 07.09.05 at 11:12 am

The Lambeth Walk is another anthem to Londoners and one much less sentimental than Noel Coward’s London Pride at the head of this thread:

Everything free and easy,
Do as you darn well pleasy,
Why don’t you make your way there
Go there, stay there.

Once you get down Lambeth way
Ev’ry ev’ning, ev’ry day,
You’ll find yourself
Doin’ the Lambeth Walk.

- from: http://www.vauxhallsociety.org.uk/LambethDoing.html

As I was born in Lambeth many decades back, this old musical hall song has a special personal resonance but its evident anarchic under- or overtones seems to reflect something that is historically distinctive about the character of Londoners, which perhaps helps to explain how John Wilkes became Lord Mayor of London in 1774:
http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/town/terrace/adw03/c-eight/people/wilkes.htm
http://www.steeljam.dircon.co.uk/lordmayorchrono.htm

Notice also in the second link the name of Richard Whittington, a country boy from Gloucester who came to London to seek his fortune and became Lord Mayor four times, twice in 1397, and then in 1406 and 1419. We still celebrate this in a perennial Christmas pantomime – Dick Whittington and his Cat – which says something about the age-old legend of London as an open city:
http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/MOLsite/learning/features_facts/viking_1.html

However, a challenging question: was Boudiccea a terrorist?

Boudiccea’s Revolt 61 AD

“Boudiccea and her husband headed the old tribe Iceni and they wanted to keep their culture when the Romans came. The Romans were not happy with those people and so they attacked the Iceni culture after Boudiccea’s husband had died. But Boudiccea rebelled with the help of her nation. The Romans made no differences when they fought against women. According to Dioderus of Sicily:

“‘Among the Celts the women were nearly as tall as the men, whom they rival in courage …’ and by Ammiamus Marcellinus the Roman, ‘… in a fight anyone of them can resist several strangers at a time, with no other help than his wife, who is even more formidable.’

“With the help of the army of the Iceni and Trinovantes tribes, Boudiccea sacked the Roman cities of Camuldodunum, London and Verulaminum. Her army consisted of well trained warriors, common people and no doubt women. They used shields, spears knives and swords in their fights. Horses were also very important. But then the Romans attacked and defeated her army. Boudiccea committed suicide. But Gaul and Britain were never truly romanised. The Roman Empire disintegrated and the people of the land had not forgotten their heritage, and the land was once again a place of a golden Celtic age.”
http://www.uni-duisburg.de/SCHULEN/STG/Irland/Celts/Timetable..htm

The little worry about that historical take is that the Celts were not native inhabitants of Britain. In fact, Celts migrated to Britain to settle here. They didn’t build Stonehenge, which long preceded their arrival.
http://www.great-britain.co.uk/regions/southern-england/stonehenge.htm

44

soru 07.09.05 at 2:37 pm

However, a challenging question: was Boudiccea a terrorist?

But then the Romans attacked and defeated her army.

Seems pretty straightforward, if you have an army, you are not a terrorist, you are a war leader committing military atrocities.

There is more than one type of bad thing in the world, so to get the most basic of understandings of it, you have to be prepared to use more than one word.

soru

45

Bob B 07.09.05 at 3:14 pm

A statue on Westminster Bridge opposite the Houses of Parliament in London commemorates Boudiccea. Parliament in its wisdom surly wouldn’t wish to celebrate a terrorist and terrorism.

On terrorism, I think Confucius was about right:

Confucius Analects XV.23: Tzu-kung asked, saying, “Is there one world which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life?” The Master said, “Is not reciprocity such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.”
http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/CHPHIL/ANALECTS.HTM

By this account, the Romans treated the daughters of Boudiccea shamefully after the death of Prasutagus, her husband.
http://www.thorthebarbarian.com/chronicles/April05/Barbarianmusings.htm

46

Bob B 07.09.05 at 3:18 pm

I’m unsure whether any here will want to read this but it was specifically mentioned on the BBCR4 Today programme on Saturday as a horrifying account by one rescuer of conditions underground in the tube after the explosions:

“Sergeant Steve Betts of the British Transport police was one of the first rescuers to reach the Piccadilly line train between King’s Cross and Russell Square on Thursday. This is his harrowing account: . . . “
http://www.guardian.co.uk/attackonlondon/story/0,16132,1524834,00.html

47

Daniel 07.09.05 at 6:56 pm

And though I am a foreigner, and a german one on top of that

did you bomb my chip shop?

48

Verity 07.10.05 at 3:35 pm

jim (no 6) – V good!

49

test 07.10.05 at 5:19 pm

test

50

Bertram 07.11.05 at 4:23 am

To daniel:

->And though I am a foreigner, and a german one on top of that

->did you bomb my chip shop?

If you refer to the blitz: most likely not, as I was not even born then. And neither of my siblings, as they were in Hitlers KZ’s by then for being catholic and dissident.

51

Brian 07.11.05 at 1:03 pm

A statue on Westminster Bridge opposite the Houses of Parliament in London commemorates Boudiccea. Parliament in its wisdom surly wouldn’t wish to celebrate a terrorist and terrorism.

Since my satire-meter is busted today (can’t really help it living in America) I’ll assume this was meant somewhat seriously. And note that it seems like a rather odd position to take given that the parliament also features a “statue of Oliver Cromwell”:http://www.london-gb.com/pictures/olly.html. I guess some will want to say that Cromwell was not a terrorist but a war leader, since he had an army, but personally I wouldn’t stop calling Osama a terrorist if he had an army the size of the Soviet Union’s.

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