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Old January 7th, 2013, 10:39 PM   #1

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Opinions on Winston Churchill


I was reading random articles on Listverse out of boredom, and came across this one, entitled 10 Terrible Decisions of the 20th Century. Number 3 is that Winston Churchill never should have offered a guaranty to Poland in 1939. This is understandable, though I don't know how long they would've been able to avoid entering the war. But then the blogger went on to say this:

Quote:
Churchill I think should be singled out as the single worst decision-maker of the century.
I was kindof surprised. As an American, I probably wasn't exposed to as much Churchill as I should've been in school (though, to be fair, I've been reading up on him recently in preparation for the Spring semester--I have two WWII classes back to back). I always got the impression that most consider him irreplaceable in the war, and while that can certainly be the case even if he was a bad decision maker, the impressions were always positive. He at least seemed to be a leader who openly cared about his people, even beyond the need to defeat Germany.

What do you think? How do the British view him? Was he a terrible decision maker overall, or did a couple major decisions just scar everyone's view of him in general despite a bunch of smaller good decisions?
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Old January 7th, 2013, 10:50 PM   #2

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The man could make a rousing speech, but he was a woeful military strategist. The Gallipoli fiasco in WWI and the attempt to prevent Australian troops from returning home to take on the Japanese in WWII are two of his blunders. His best efforts were when he spouted stirring rhetoric and left the actual military decisions to others.
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Old January 7th, 2013, 10:55 PM   #3

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Actually also Italian historians don't remember Churchill as an outstanding military strategist. Anyway in general he was a very good decision maker, at least on the political side. He was able to motivate the British mass during the worse war ever for the Britons [US didn't live the German bombing, imagine how it was to motivate the population while Nazi bombs and missiles were falling on London ...].

So, probably he was better as political leader and statesman [he had a great vision of the future, something which makes the difference between a politician and a real statesman] than as military strategist, this is in my opinion quite clear.
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Old January 7th, 2013, 10:55 PM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by seaofghosts View Post
I was reading random articles on Listverse out of boredom, and came across this one, entitled 10 Terrible Decisions of the 20th Century. Number 3 is that Winston Churchill never should have offered a guaranty to Poland in 1939. This is understandable, though I don't know how long they would've been able to avoid entering the war. But then the blogger went on to say this:



I was kindof surprised. As an American, I probably wasn't exposed to as much Churchill as I should've been in school (though, to be fair, I've been reading up on him recently in preparation for the Spring semester--I have two WWII classes back to back). I always got the impression that most consider him irreplaceable in the war, and while that can certainly be the case even if he was a bad decision maker, the impressions were always positive. He at least seemed to be a leader who openly cared about his people, even beyond the need to defeat Germany.

What do you think? How do the British view him? Was he a terrible decision maker overall, or did a couple major decisions just scar everyone's view of him in general despite a bunch of smaller good decisions?
Before he was PM he said of Hitler's appeasers...
Quote:
"The belief that security can be obtained by throwing a small state to the wolves is a fatal delusion."
He may have been wrong about many things ...but was right about standing up to the Nazis...
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Old January 7th, 2013, 11:04 PM   #5

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I think he had a terrific grasp of the geopolitics.
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Old January 7th, 2013, 11:04 PM   #6

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I must say that Churchill personally had absolutely nothing to do with the decision to guarantee Poland in 1939. Yes, he agreed with it, but it was not his decision as he was not even in the government at the time. The decision was taken by the government of Neville Chamberlain.

Generally, Churchill's leadership in World War 2 (and he didn't become Prime Minister until May 1940) was much admired by the British people. His speeches to the nation were most inspiring, his ability to delegate tasks even to political opponents when he felt they could do a better job was wonderful, and his grasp of military strategy was far ahead of that of most politicians. Most Britons regard Churchill as exactly the right man for the job at the time, and feel that he led the country superbly as a wartime leader. It was not for nothing that we gave him a state funeral when he died in 1965, a privilege normally accorded only to royalty.

Having said all that, the bad decision that Churchill is best known for occurred not in World War 2 at all, but in World War 1, when Churchill was a much younger man and held the position of First Lord of the Admiralty (Navy Minister). In this role he championed the seriously flawed Dardanelles campaign, leading to the costly stalemate at Gallipoli, and continued to champion it long after failure had become obvious to most. This cost him his job as First Sea Lord, and was a major career setback.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 12:31 AM   #7
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No a good strategist always favoring harebrained romantic schemes that were not workable. Dardanelles is not ALL his fault (though he deserves a fair share)

A total imperialist who wanted to maintain the Empire.

But come the hour come the man. In 1940 he was the right British leader, (in the main that is why he was chosen, as without any real support (as in personal following in parliament) or party leadership. A maverick who didnt work well with political parties. )

"I was reading random articles on Listverse out of boredom, and came across this one, entitled 10 Terrible Decisions of the 20th Century. Number 3 is that Winston Churchill never should have offered a guaranty to Poland in 1939" NOT Churchill's doing done by Chamberlain , Churchill didnt become PM till 1940.

But quickly voted out of office after the war.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 02:03 AM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belgarion View Post
The man could make a rousing speech, but he was a woeful military strategist. The Gallipoli fiasco in WWI and the attempt to prevent Australian troops from returning home to take on the Japanese in WWII are two of his blunders. His best efforts were when he spouted stirring rhetoric and left the actual military decisions to others.
He was "stuck" in the 19th century in his mindset, and as a result, had some maverick ideas. Luckily though he had an outstanding right-hand man in Alanbrooke, to keep his ideas fixed in reality.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 02:14 AM   #9

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The big trouble with Churchill is that he had romantic and inspired leaps of vision, unfortunately what he didnt have was the patience and time to develop those ides before he came up with the next one.

That vision, boundless energy and political will are what made him a great and inspiring national leader, its also what made him a maddening dilettante to serious military commanders who had to implement his ideas with multiple threats and limited resources, Allanbrooks job was as much diverting Churchiill from his latest visionary venture as it was helping Churchill
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Old January 8th, 2013, 02:32 AM   #10

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`Cometh the hour, cometh the man`. Churchill was most definately the right choice to lead Britain during the dark days of WW11. His defiant speeches did much to rally and inspire the nation during its darkest hour. I shudder at the thought of what might have happened if Halifax, Atlee or Chamberlin had been at the helm after Dunkirk. Politicaly Churchill was something of a dinosaur, his grand imperial vision belonged to a bygone age, but he had enough sense to realise that Britain had to fight on even if that meant standing alone until America could be woken from her neutrality. Norway, the Greek debacle and his impatience with dessert commanders suggest he had a tendancy to commit forces for political reasons rather than military ones.
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