Winston Churchill

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Winston Churchill was a British aristocrat and politician who served as First Lord of the Admiralty from 1911-1917 and Prime Minister in 1940-45 and 1951-55. Today he is remembered for his performance in the role of "courageous leader of beleaguered Britain" during World War II. That, most would argue, deserves praise.

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[edit] And the not-so-praiseworthy stuff

Churchill remains a controversial figure because of incompetent or brutal decisions made during the two world wars. He played a central role in planning the disastrous military campaign at Gallipoli[wp] during WWI, leading to a quarter-million Allied casualties. Worse, his decisions during the Second World War led to the fire-bombing of German cities by the Royal Air Force (the bombing of Dresden is one of the rare examples in which the American Army Air Corps joined the RAF in the purposeful incineration of civilians). To be fair, however, Churchill later realized how horrific a war crime it was and expressed deep regret over this strategy, likening it to "mutual annihilation," and lamenting a lost age of chivalry in warfare. Evidently, burning hundreds of thousands of non-combatants to death also serves as a massive blow to your pride.

He also helped the restoration of French colonial rule in Indochina using British troops.[1] A great thanks for the 2.5 million who died in the resulting War in Indochina.

He is remembered in India not only for that little famine in Bengal, but also for calling Gandhi a "half naked seditious fakir." Churchill had every intention of holding onto India as a British colony.

Churchill was a racist and bought into eugenics. His charming response to the creation of the Jewish state of Israel was: "I do not apologize for the takeover of the region by the Jews from the Palestinians in the same way I don't apologize for the takeover of America by the whites from the Red Indians or the takeover of Australia from the blacks. It is natural for a superior race to dominate an inferior one." (This statement has become even more awful in hindsight considering the nature of the Palestinian statehood debate.)

His further inability to accept the decline of the British Empire resulted a flurry of disastrous political games, most especially conspiring with Eisenhower and the CIA to depose Mohammad Mosaddegh, the democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, and install in his place the Shah. This led to the anti-Western blowback that created the Islamic Republic of Iran.

[edit] Britishness

Winston Churchill's image, is regularly deployed by wingnut funsters such as UKIP[2] the British National Party[3] and not unoccasionally by U.S. Republicans. They generally try to associate Churchill with some sort of anti-immigrant, anti-Europe agenda.[4] This is just a little bit odd as:

  • Winston was himself the son of an immigrant,[5] and was a descendent of French asylum-seekers.[6]
  • It was Mr. Churchill who first called for the establishment of "a kind of United States of Europe."[7][8] and who supervised the establishment of the Council of Europe on 5 May 1949 by the Treaty of London.[9]
  • It was Churchill who described the English as a "Bastard Race,"[10] meaning, not 'bad,' but of the mixed-immigrant heritage that gives them strength. Of all people.
  • It was Churchill who invented the idea of a European Court of Human Rights.[11]

[edit] Mental health

It has been widely suggested that Churchill suffered from bipolar disorder[12] or ADHD,[13] and thus it is not surprising that he was given to hellish bouts of depression. He referred to it as "the Black Dog" and was able to fend it off by painting, drinking copious quantities of alcohol (approved by his doctor), and consuming voracious quantities of his favourite stilton cheese, rich desserts and imported cigars which he developed a taste for as a teenager.

Churchill is alleged to have slept only four hours, drunk an entire bottle of port before retiring and three scotch and sodas before lunch alone. Upon the subject of his alcoholism, Churchill remarked with characteristic dryness "I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me."[14]

[edit] Inspirational Quotes!

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, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old.
[15]
From the days of Adam (Spartacus) Weishaupt, to those of Karl Marx to those of Trotsky, Bela Kun, Rosa Luxemburg and Emma Goldman. This worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization and for the reconstruction of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence and impossible equality, has been steadily growing ... There is no need to exaggerate the part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international, and for the most part, atheistic Jews. It is certainly a very great one: it probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from the Jewish leaders.
[16]
It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer of the type well-known in the East, now posing as a fakir, striding half naked up the steps of the Viceregal palace to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King-Emperor.
[17]
A shadow has fallen upon the scenes so lately lighted by the Allied victory…. From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.
[18]
We must build a kind of United States of Europe. We must all turn our backs upon the horrors of the past. We must look to the future. We cannot afford to drag forward cross the years that are to come the hatreds and revenges which have sprung from the injuries of the past.
[19]
"Keep England White" is a good slogan.
[20]
In the course of my life I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.
[21]

[edit] Footnotes

  1. William J. Duiker. 1994. U.S. Containment Policy and the Conflict in Indochina. Stanford University Press. [1]
  2. Here, here, here and here
  3. BNP claims on Churchill 'absurd', BBC
  4. Churchill was an admirer of Hitler, claims UKIP official, The Times
  5. See the Wikipedia article on Lady Randolph Churchill.
  6. See the Wikipedia article on Leonard Jerome.
  7. "If Europe were once united in the sharing of its common inheritance, there would be no limit to the happiness, to the prosperity and glory which its three or four hundred million people would enjoy. Yet it is from Europe that have sprung that series of frightful nationalistic quarrels, originated by the Teutonic nations, which we have seen even in this twentieth century and in our own lifetime, wreck the peace and mar the prospects of all mankind."
  8. "Winston Churchill: A founder of the European Union"
  9. Statue of the Council of Europe, University of the Basque Country
  10. Churchill, Winston. A History of the English-Speaking Peoples (2011 ed.) [2]
  11. The Council of Europe, The Churchill Centre and Churchill Museum at the Cabinet War Rooms
  12. Winston Churchill and manic depression
  13. Winston Churchill and ADHD
  14. Gordon Parker. "In High Spirits: Some Links Between Alcohol Use and Bipolar Disorder." Australia-New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. (2008) 42: 1075-1076.
  15. Speech in the House of Commons on 4 June 1940
  16. Winston Churchill, Sunday Illustrated Herald, February 8, 1920
  17. Comment on Gandhi's meeting with the Viceroy of India, addressing the Council of the West Essex Unionist Association on 23 February 1931
  18. Speech at Fulton, Missouri on March 5, 1946
  19. Speech at Zurich University on September 19, 1946
  20. On Commonwealth immigration, recorded in Harold Macmillan's diary entry for 1955-01-20
  21. Quoted by Lord Normanbrook in Action This Day: Working With Churchill. Memoirs by Lord Norman Brook (And Others) (1968)
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