Tag: Archibald Paris

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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