Friday, February 11, 2022

The Leftist Legacy of Churchill

On 18 May 1940, eight days after becoming the prime minister of Britain, Churchill met his son Randolph Churchill. At that time Hitler’s forces were threatening the British Expeditionary Force in northern France. Churchill told his son, “I think I see my way through.” 

Randolph asked, “Do you mean that we can defeat?… or beat the bastards?” 

“Of course. I mean we can beat them,” said Churchill.  

“Well, I’m for it, but I don’t see how you can do it.” 

“I shall drag the United States in,” Churchill replied intensely.  

Churchill’s only strategy for winning the Second World War was to drag the Americans in. He had an instinct for war and aggression but he was not a military strategist. In the First World War, he was one of the prime architects of the military disaster at Dardanelles (the Gallipoli Campaign: from 17 February 1915 to 9 January 1916), where the British side lost 250,000 soldiers and was beaten by the Ottoman Empire. The failure of the Gallipoli Campaign led to the rise of Turkey, and the destruction of the last outposts of Orthodox and Greek culture in the Middle East. 

On 10 May 1940, when Chamberlain resigned from the post of Prime Minister, for most conservatives Lord Edward Halifax was the natural choice. The conservatives did not trust Churchill who occasionally showed liberal sympathies and was viewed as a class warrior and a gadfly. But Halifax rejected the premiership. King George VI was depressed that his friend Halifax had refused the post, and he had no alternative except calling Churchill. The two prominent Labor Party leaders Clement Attlee and Arthur Greenwood were Churchill’s staunch supporters in the war cabinet.

In the evening of 18 July 1945, when Churchill and Stalin were dining at the Ludendorff Villa, Stalin predicted that Churchill would win the election by eighty seats. When the votes were counted, Churchill, who was Stalin’s favorite capitalist-warlord, had lost to Attlee by 145 seats. It is believed that Churchill was a staunch opponent of socialism and the Soviet Union—but the irony is that he was very close to the Labor Party politicians in Britain and he enjoyed Stalin’s trust.

No comments: