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Sat Feb 16, 2019, 10:16 PM

The Rest of Us Always Knew Churchill Was a Villain

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-02-16/churchill-was-more-villain-than-hero-in-britain-s-colonies?srnd=premium

What Churchill was above all, though, was a committed imperialist -- one determined to preserve the British Empire not just by defeating the Nazis but much else besides. At the start of his career, as a young cavalry officer on the northwest frontier of India, he declared the Pashtuns needed to recognize “the superiority of [the British] race” and that those who resisted would “be killed without quarter.” He wrote happily about how he and his comrades “systematically, village by village, destroyed the houses, filled up the wells, blew down the towers, cut down the great shady trees, burned the crops and broke the reservoirs in punitive devastation. Every tribesman caught was speared or cut down at once.”

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And his principal victims were the Indians -- “a beastly people with a beastly religion,” as he charmingly called us, a “foul race.” Churchill was an appalling racialist, one who could not bring himself to see any people of color as entitled to the same rights as himself. (He “did not admit,” for instance, “that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia … by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, has come in and taken its place.”) He fantasized luridly of having Mahatma Gandhi tied to the ground and trampled upon by elephants.

....

It’s important to remember that these weren’t enemies in a war -- Churchill also wanted to “drench the cities of the Ruhr” in poison gas and said of the Japanese, “we shall wipe them out, every one of them, men, women and children” -- but British subjects. Nor can his views be excused as being reflective of their times; his own Secretary of State for War, Leo Amery, confessed that he could see very little difference between Churchill’s attitude and Hitler’s.


History is filled with complexity.

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Arrow 15 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Rest of Us Always Knew Churchill Was a Villain (Original post)
riverine Feb 16 OP
Ferrets are Cool Feb 16 #1
msongs Feb 16 #2
riverine Feb 16 #3
TrogL Feb 17 #4
Honeycombe8 Feb 17 #5
shadowmayor Feb 17 #6
Hestia Feb 17 #10
captain queeg Feb 17 #12
DavidDvorkin Feb 17 #13
captain queeg Feb 18 #15
DavidDvorkin Feb 17 #7
Haggis for Breakfast Feb 17 #8
shadowmayor Feb 17 #9
Scarsdale Feb 17 #11
MosheFeingold Feb 18 #14

Response to riverine (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2019, 10:36 PM

1. History is ALSO filled with books written by the winners.

Much of it skewed.

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Response to riverine (Original post)

Sat Feb 16, 2019, 10:48 PM

2. w/out churchill Leo Amery might have died in the camps with all of england speaking german nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 16, 2019, 10:55 PM

3. Quite possibly true.

I was taught to admire and respect Churchill.

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Response to riverine (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 12:26 AM

4. Sounds a lot like Kipling's "White man's burden"

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Response to riverine (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 01:06 AM

5. He was neither all good nor all bad. Not angel, and not villain.

As are most people.

I knew he was an imperialist. BRITAIN was an imperial nation, having a long history of that sort of thing.

He also saw the threat of Hitler before many other leaders in Britain.

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Response to riverine (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 01:09 AM

6. And the people

To their credit, the British people tossed Churchill out immediately following the victory in Europe. They wanted social reforms and Churchill was tone deaf to their needs. Churchill was a maniac, who had the great gift of gab and pen, was ruthless in defeating the Nazis and was a barbaric racist to the core. We in America have the lionized version of Sir Winston jammed down our gullets to the point where actually discussing his behavior is viewed with incredulity. History is so much richer when we can see its subjects with clarity and critical thinking. Propping up historical figures with pomp and anecdotes to mythologize is a folly of our collective want, that is to believe in the infallibility of our "heroes".

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Response to shadowmayor (Reply #6)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 06:31 AM

10. Highly suggest watching Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States

It covers GB part in WWII. They did not fight the nazi's - Churchill wanted/needed oil and kept the shipping lanes open in the Mediterranean in order to transport the oil, which did do the service of keeping it out of nazi's hands. They were a heavy presence in Northern Africa, Palestine and Jordan. Churchill talked a good game though.

(Why is it that *everything* comes down to oil?)

The programs are backed up with gov't reports and news reels verifying the info.

US troops fought in Italy & Pacific.

Soviet Union were the ones who really fought the nazi's - 27,000,000 people died, keeping them at bay for several years on the Russian (Eastern) Front. I think US lost 500,000, mostly in Japan; GB was like 10,000 because they really did not see heavy artillery. (They were smart. After losing over a million men in WWI, they were not going that route again.)

Great series, starts with the Depression and goes to the first election of PBO.

(Streaming on Netflix. Originally on Showtime.)

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Response to Hestia (Reply #10)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 11:47 AM

12. Ought to check your numbers in British deaths in WWII

Maybe I misread it but there were far more than 10,000 British killed. They carried the fight till into 1944 on the western front.

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Response to Hestia (Reply #10)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 12:43 PM

13. UK military deaths were close to 400,000.

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Response to DavidDvorkin (Reply #13)

Mon Feb 18, 2019, 02:56 PM

15. I would have guessed even more

But the US total has all the Pacific campaign and England wasn’t as involved there. And then the daylight binning campaign carried out by the US cost a lot more lives than the British might time bombing.

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Response to riverine (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 01:15 AM

7. I'm alive because of him

So I'm biased against this attack.

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Response to riverine (Original post)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 02:13 AM

8. If there's one thing I cannot tolerate

It's BULLSHIT revisionist history; pretentious people who were NOT there at the time, sitting in their 21st century comfort, taking 20/20 hind site to a level unsupportable and unsubstantiated by the facts on the ground during the time in question.

I doubt that the writer of this loathsome garbage was crouched in the bomb shelters during the daily air raids, with other terrified
Brits, dodging the German Luftwaffe while they blew the shit out of London and the countryside, which is still pock-marked with bomb craters.

Winston Churchill united a nation, brought a ray of hope to people in a time of terrifying brutality and savagery unprecedented in modern history by a mad man who remorselessly murdered millions of Jews, Roma Gypsies, Jehovah's Witness, Gays, disabled people and any political enemy, opponent or outspoken critic, and their entire families.

My parents are British, my grandparents lived through WWII, huddled in the darkness during blackouts, walked the streets of London during the Blitz, found hope in the words of Churchill and I will be damned if I will dignify this kind of historical arrogance.

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Response to Haggis for Breakfast (Reply #8)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 03:15 AM

9. And I doubt

You haven't considered the people in India who were massacred. Nor the Kurds and Arabs of today's Iraq who were bombed and gassed by the British under Churchill. I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. "I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes . . . to spread a lively terror" said Winston.

If you were or are British, the good man saved your bacon. If you were brown and under his boots, you were uncivilized and felt his wrath. The point is, the truth is not revisionist or bullshit. The fact that he saved Britain does not change the fact that he was the Colonial boot on the necks of the natives.

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Response to shadowmayor (Reply #9)

Sun Feb 17, 2019, 08:27 AM

11. I was born in Liverpool, England.

I was a child when the war was raging. Liverpool was bombed, heavily since it was a large shipping port. We all had back yard air raid shelters and were issued gas masks we had to carry everywhere. I went to a place in London, years later where they had WW11 souvenirs. There was an air raid shelter there, where people could go inside and listen to the air raid sirens blaring, the bombs whistling down, and the sounds of planes droning overhead. After all these years, I had to leave, crying. The memories are still with me. My father hated Churchill because at tax time, he reduced taxes on whiskey and cigars instead of items working people needed.

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Response to riverine (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2019, 01:48 PM

14. Some of the best leaders

Are also total assholes.

Some of the nicest people are crappy leaders.

Talking WWII, Patton was a flaming asshole. He also could get troops rallied up and and do things way beyond what mortals could do.

Churchill was no different.

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