Winston Churchill

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The shores of history are strewn with the wrecks of empires.
—Winston Churchill[1]:444

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) 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.

And the not-so-praiseworthy stuff[edit]

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 GallipoliWikipedia 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 US Army Air Corps joined the RAF in the purposeful incineration of an entire city.) To be fair, however, Churchill later realized how horrific it was and expressed deep regret over this strategy, likening it to "mutual annihilation," and lamenting a lost age of chivalry in warfare.

Churchill's attitude towards Indian affairs arises over what some historians claim about the Great Bengal Famine of 1943, which has sought to place significant blame on Churchill's wartime government for the starvation and deaths up to four million people. In response to an urgent request by the Secretary of State for India, Leo Amery, and Viceroy of India, Wavell, demanded to release food stocks for India, Churchill allegedly responded with a telegram to Wavell asking, if food was so scarce, "why Gandhi hadn't died yet?", although some have disputed if he really said this.[2] He is remembered in India not only for that little famine in Bengal, but also for calling Mahatma Gandhi a "half naked seditious fakir."

And then there was the matter of the Tonypandy riots in South Wales. The Welsh working class has never forgiven Churchill for sending troops to remove pickets by force from the coal mines, although the commonly repeated claim that the soldiers shot strikers dead in the street is a lie.[3]

Churchill was a racist and bought into eugenics, advocating confinement and sterilization of the "feeble-minded".[4]

In 1937, Churchill told the Peel CommissionWikipedia:

I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.[5]

Churchill conspired with Eisenhower and the CIA to depose Mohammad Mossadegh, the democratically elected (if by then increasingly authoritarian) 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.

Churchill's second premiership saw him preside over the suppression of the Mau Mau insurgency in Kenya, which became infamous for the British government's use of Nazi-style interment camps which amounted to concentration camps in all but name. These camps, ostensibly intended to intern suspected Mau Mau guerrillas somewhere they could do no harm, in practice saw thousands of random Kikuyu civilians rounded up and imprisoned. Making things worse was the widespread use of torture and rape in the camps in an attempt to extract information about the Mau Mau, including men being castrated and various instruments such as broken bottles being inserted into men's rectums and women's vaginas.[6] Victims included Barack Obama's grandfather, who had metal pins stuck through his fingers and buttocks and his testicles crushed in a vice.[7]

Victory V[edit]

Up yours, Adolf!

He adopted the palm-forward two-fingered V signWikipedia (Victory Sign) as a symbol of British defiance towards the Axis powers during World War Two. Unfortunately, he at first used it the wrong way round.[8] As, later, did Margaret Thatcher.[9]


Winston Churchill's image is regularly deployed by wingnut funsters such as UKIP,[10] the British National Party[11] and not unoccasionally by U.S. Republicans. They generally try to associate Churchill with some sort of anti-immigrant, anti-Europe agenda.[12] This is just a little bit odd as:

  • Winston was himself the son of an immigrant,[13] and was a descendant of French asylum-seekers.[14]
  • It was Mr. Churchill who first called for the establishment of "a kind of United States of Europe"[15][16] and who supervised the establishment of the Council of Europe on 5 May 1949 by the Treaty of London.[17]
  • It was Churchill who described the English as a "Bastard Race",[18] 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.[19]

Mental health[edit]

It has been widely suggested that Churchill suffered from bipolar disorder[20] or ADHD,[21] 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. He suffered ten strokes but still lived to be 90.

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."[22]

Inspirational quotes![edit]

A politician noted for his racism, military blunders and mass starvation, pictured with Joseph Stalin.
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.[23]
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.[24]
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.[25]
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.[26]
Starvation of anyhow underfed Bengalis is less serious than that of sturdy Greeks[27]
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.[28]
"Keep England White" is a good slogan.[29]
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.[30]
Mahatma Gandhi ought to be lain bound hand and foot at the gates of Delhi, and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new Viceroy seated on its back. Gandhi-ism and everything it stands for will have to be grappled with and crushed.[31]
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism [Islam] lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia [rabies] in a dog...[32]
I hate Indians, they are a beastly people with a beastly religion.[33]

External links[edit]


  1. The Collected Essays of Sir Winston Churchill, Vol IV: Churchill at Large (1976) Library of Imperial History. ISBN 0903988453.
  2. “Why hasn’t Gandhi died yet?” Another Remark Churchill Never Said
  3. Tonypandy: the miners' strike that blighted Churchill's career, The Times
  4. Churchill and Eugenics, Sir Martin Gilbert CBE, International Churchill Society
  5. "The 10 greatest controversies of Winston Churchill's career" BBC. January 26, 2015.
  6. Elkins, Caroline (2005). Britain's Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya (UK ed.). London: Jonathan Cape.
  7. Kenya: UK expresses regret over abuse as Mau Mau promised payout, The Guardian
  8. Fuck off!
  9. And you can fuck off, too!
  10. Here, here, here and here
  11. BNP claims on Churchill 'absurd', BBC
  12. Churchill was an admirer of Hitler, claims UKIP official, The Times
  13. See the Wikipedia article on Lady Randolph Churchill.
  14. See the Wikipedia article on Leonard Jerome.
  15. "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."
  16. "Winston Churchill: A founder of the European Union"
  17. Statue of the Council of Europe, University of the Basque Country
  18. Churchill, Winston. A History of the English-Speaking Peoples (2011 ed.) [1]
  19. The Council of Europe, The Churchill Centre and Churchill Museum at the Cabinet War Rooms
  20. Winston Churchill and manic depression
  21. Winston Churchill and ADHD
  22. Gordon Parker. "In High Spirits: Some Links Between Alcohol Use and Bipolar Disorder." Australia-New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. (2008) 42: 1075-1076.
  23. Speech in the House of Commons on 4 June 1940
  24. Winston Churchill (8 February 1920). "Zionism versus Bolshevism" Illustrated Sunday Herald, February 8, 1920, pg. 5 – via Wikisource.
  25. Comment on Gandhi's meeting with the Viceroy of India, addressing the Council of the West Essex Unionist Association on 23 February 1931
  26. Speech at Fulton, Missouri on March 5, 1946
  27. Commenting on the Bengali famine that killed more than 3 million people
  28. Speech at Zurich University on September 19, 1946
  29. On Commonwealth immigration, recorded in Harold Macmillan's diary entry for 1955-01-20
  30. Quoted by Lord Normanbrook in Action This Day: Working With Churchill. Memoirs by Lord Norman Brook (And Others) (1968)
  31. Dickinson, Michael. "Winston Churchill: the Imperial Monster". (28 January 2015) CouterPunch.
  32. Winston Churchill; Islamophobe?? Retrieved on 11 July 2016.
  33. To Leo Amery, Secretary of State for India, September 1942