Producer: eorge Walker, Judith dePaul
Director: Tom Clegg
LORD MOUNTBATTEN: THE LAST VICEROY/Episode 1/Intro by Alistair Cooke Good evening, I'm Alistair Cooke.
Tonight we begin a dramatization in six parts of the most dramatic episode in the life and career of the late Lord Louis Mountbatten.
Until the Second World War, Mountbatten was no more than a name to the general British public. He was remembered as a playboy and was though of as a, what's the word, very patrician type. He was a great grandson of Queen Victoria, nephew of the Tsar, and cousin of the Prince of Wales, who shared his love of nightlife. But Mountbatten, from the age of thirteen, was a sailor with a developing gift for naval engineering, a love of command, and an unsleeping ambition to one day succeed his father. His father had been thrown out as the head of the navy in the anti-German hysteria of 1914 because of his German name–Battenberg.
The family then changed its name to Mountbatten. And Lord Louis subsequently became the chief British planner of the invasion of Normandy and then the supreme allied commander in Southeast Asia. When we take up his story in the winter of 1946-47 he's known as Mountbatten of Burma, because he could fairly be credited with having thrown the Japanese out of that country. And in February 1947 Prime Minister Atlee had ousted Churchill in the general election at the end of the war. Atlee said, In Burma, when all the experts were wrong, Dickie Mountbatten was right. So, he chose to send him out to India as the last Viceroy to fulfill the pledge of the Labour government to give India complete independence. This was a daunting promise after nearly thirty years of missions, commissions, and blazing debates in Parliament where Churchill still led the opposition to what he called Operation Scuttle. For the subcontinent was heaving with civil disobedience, with massacres, and with the increasing enmity between the Muslim league and the mainly Hindu Congress. The retiring Viceroy, General Wavell, predicted that the unification of India was hopeless and its pacification only possible by sending out five more British divisions.
The Last Viceroy, episode one.
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