How great was Atatürk? The question came up examining Turkish attitudes to Churchill, which one might expect would be hostile. In 1914, Churchill’s Admiralty denied Turkey two battleships being built in Britain as World War I erupted. In 1915, Churchill pushed hard (though did not conceive of) the attacks on the Dardanelles and Gallipoli. (See also “comments” on this post from thoughtful Turks.)
One historian speculated that Churchill mirrored the courage and resourcefulness of Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk). Another said there “might be a lingering impression that Churchill had helped save Turkey from the red menace by his resistance to Russian demands on the Dardanelles Straits—of course it was Harry Truman who did the heavy lifting there [through the Truman Doctrine]”
The Turks have abundant reasons to feel positive toward Churchill, aside from his personal courage, and his post-1945 resistance to Soviet designs on the Dardanelles (when he was out of office and powerless).…
Particularly on the Fall of Singapore (see earlier post), a new critique of Churchill misses the forest for the trees and fails on the facts. Really, Churchill made lots of mistakes worth contemplating. But these aren’t among them.
The article appeared in southwest Australia’s Sun Coast Daily on April 26th. Not exactly The Times, and if you don’t subscribe to Google Alerts you missed it. For the fun of shooting fish in a barrel, however, it’s worth a few minutes of your time.
Critique 1: Self-Interest
“Churchill had a long and varied career in politics, managing to swap parties as his career needs required.”
Churchill swapped parties in 1904 over principle (Free Trade), risking rather than enhancing his career.…
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.…