Tag: Antwerp

Churchill Myth and Reality: Antwerp. Shocking Folly?

Churchill Myth and Reality: Antwerp. Shocking Folly?

Churchill’s role in the defense of Antwerp, in Octo­ber 1914, has been called one of his “char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly pirat­i­cal” adven­tures. An emi­nent his­to­ri­an described it as “a shock­ing fol­ly by a min­is­ter who abused his pow­ers and betrayed his respon­si­bil­i­ties. It is aston­ish­ing that [his] cab­i­net col­leagues so read­i­ly for­gave him for a lapse of judg­ment that would have destroyed most men’s careers.”1

 As the Ger­mans closed in around Antwerp, Hast­ings writes, Churchill “assem­bled a hotch­potch of Roy­al Marines and sur­plus naval per­son­nel… his own pri­vate army.” Then he “aban­doned his post at the Admi­ral­ty.” Then he “had him­self appoint­ed Britain’s plenipo­ten­tiary to the belea­guered fortress.”2

The Royal Naval Division

Before the war, Churchill had opposed con­scrip­tion (“the draft”).…

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Churchill: Myth and Reality

Churchill: Myth and Reality

Per the pre­vi­ous post, I append for read­er com­ment the con­tents of my next book, Win­ston Churchill, Myth and Real­i­ty: What Churchill Stood For.

I have writ­ten on most of these mat­ters in the past; the book recasts it afresh. I also acknowl­edge and cross-ref­er­ence the work of experts who know far more than I, par­tic­u­lar­ly in the fields of geneal­o­gy and med­i­cine. I would be glad to hear your thoughts; please use the “con­tact” page.

The his­to­ri­an David Stafford wrote: “Myth only devel­ops and takes hold when the time is right, and the cli­mate has long been ripe for the emer­gence of myths about a wartime hero who stood firm against a total­i­tar­i­an foe and smote an evil empire.”

Churchill myth is born both of exag­ger­a­tion and crit­i­cism, cre­at­ed either to glo­ri­fy the record or to bela­bor it.…

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