Myths about Churchill: Your Thoughts?

May 2018
880
Michigan
I see a lot of memes go around which have several grievously out of context quotes. For example:

"I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes...would spread a lively terror."
This gets thrown around a lot.

But it leaves out the entire context, in which the implied intent (evil, murderous Churchill) is the opposite of the real intent:

It is sheer affectation to lacerate a man with the poisonous fragment of a bursting shell and to boggle at making his eyes water by means of lachrymatory gas. The moral effect should be so good that the loss of life should be reduced to a minimum. It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gasses: gasses can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror and yet would leave no serious permanent effects on most of those affected.
Basically, he was talking about tear gas.

There are a lot of others, and this video addresses them at the 13:00 mark.

I get the feeling that there is an agenda behind these out-of-context Churchill quotations. If you want to criticize Churchill, criticize him for his hair-brained military ideas, failed Dardanelles invasion etc... Part of accepting the Churchill legacy is the fact that he had quite a personality, was an ardent British Patriot, and played a key role in saving the entire world.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
22,239
SoCal
It's hare-brained, not hair-brained. Otherwise, completely agreed with your post here.
 

Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,062
Navan, Ireland
Even Churchills 'fault' for Gallipoli and Norway is exaggerated, yes they were his 'babies ' so he must carry the can. But he was not in command there were Admirals and Generals involved who must also take some of the blame.
 
Feb 2011
1,110
Scotland
These days, a highly controversial topic- there have been some massive threads here on the subject. About a year ago, the 'UN Ambassador to Space' Scott Kelly felt obliged to apologise after quoting Churchill and catching a Tweet bombardment for doing so- calling Churchill a racist and 'equivalent to Hitler'. After apologising, he was then bombarded with Tweets criticising him for doing so! One only hopes the Aliens from Space he presumably meets in his Ambassadorial duties are a little more reasonable to deal with.

Indeed, such are the feelings vented, that a book has been written by Richard M Langworth on the topic-
Winston Churchill, Myth and Reality - What he actually said and did.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1476674604/ref=ox_sc_saved_title_9?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&psc=1

the forward to which on Amazon reads-
"Winston Churchill, indispensable when liberty was in peril, died in 1965. Yet he is still accused of numerous sins, from alcoholism and racism to misogyny and warmongering. On the Internet, he simmers in a stew of imagined misdeeds--using poison gas, firebombing Dresden, causing the Bengal famine, and so on. Drawing on the author's fifty years of research and writing on Churchill, this book uncovers scores of myths surrounding him--the popular and the obscure--to reveal what he really said and did about many issues. Churchill had two personas--one that thought deeply about the nature of humanity, and one that helped solve seemingly intractable problems. In his many decades in public life, he made mistakes, but his faults were well eclipsed by his virtues."

He was human, made mistakes - but near the end of his memoir, having spent several years toning down Churchill's occasionally-eccentric military ideas- Alanbrooke eulogises him as an amazing human being. Every day, we still live out the benefit of his stand against Nazism in 1940 - both against Hitler and against the peace proponents within the Government, such as Lord Halifax.

I suspect that if there is one subject which will be brought out in this thread, it is the Bengal Famine of 1943 and what responsibility, if any, Churchill bears for it.
 
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Edric Streona

Ad Honorem
Feb 2016
4,513
Japan
Churchill bashing is all the rage.
According to the current zeitgeist he’s a genocidal monster. You can find .... morons for want of a better word.. both online and in real life who will straight up, with no hint of the stupidity of what they are saying, tell you he was a fascist.

He let some brown people die.... so to our effete and infantile younger generation he is irredeemable.
 
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Mar 2019
1,952
Kansas
Even Churchills 'fault' for Gallipoli and Norway is exaggerated, yes they were his 'babies ' so he must carry the can. But he was not in command there were Admirals and Generals involved who must also take some of the blame.
No Gallipoli was 100% on him. So much so Asquith was going to demote him before he resigned his position. Those Generals and Admirals should never have been placed in that situation in the first place.
 
Aug 2019
46
India
"I hate Indians, they are beastly people with beastly Religion."
-said the guy who was directly responsible for death of millions of Bengalis during his PMship.

he was just another Hitler.
 
Feb 2011
1,110
Scotland
"I hate Indians, they are beastly people with beastly Religion."
-said the guy who was directly responsible for death of millions of Bengalis during his PMship.

he was just another Hitler.
Would you be so kind as to explain when and where this was apparently said by Churchill?

Could you also provide evidence and explanation as to how and why Churchill was 'directly responsible' for the deaths as you suggest?
 
Feb 2019
928
Serbia
Churchill bashing is a classic form of presentism and, as someone else on this forum called it, ''historical hipsterism.'' When criticising Churchill many people will take out of context quotes, scapegoat him for things he wasn't in control of and apply modern standards to his actions. While his views on imperialism were becoming somewhat outdated by the 1950s for most his time his ''racism'' was nothing too abnormal. The hipsterism part comes from people who bash him just for the sake of being contrarian and ''cool''. On another side of the coin he's presented as some kind of saint and an ideal war leader. He was not that but he wasn't a demon either. He was human, and as all humans he did both good and bad things, but some people like to apply modern standards and have a black and white view of a very complex figure.
 
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Kevinmeath

Ad Honoris
May 2011
14,062
Navan, Ireland
No Gallipoli was 100% on him. So much so Asquith was going to demote him before he resigned his position. Those Generals and Admirals should never have been placed in that situation in the first place.

Sorry no it was not, while he should have and did resign , it all down to him. He was not in command, he had nothing to do with the military operation.