Tag: World War I

Nashville (4). Churchill as Warmonger in World War I

Nashville (4). Churchill as Warmonger in World War I

“Winston…has got on all his war-paint” (Asquith)

In 1914, the Great War arrives, and fables about Churchill mul­ti­ply. A pop­u­lar one, kept alive by pun­dits and his­to­ri­ans, alike, is that Churchill led the war­mon­ger par­ty into World War I. Remarks to the Churchill Soci­ety of Ten­nessee, Nashville, 14 Octo­ber 2017. Con­tin­ued from Part 3...

Patrick J. Buchanan is an affa­ble tory who wrote speech­es for Nixon and ran quixot­ic cam­paigns for Pres­i­dent of the U.S. three times in 1992-2000. (I vot­ed for him once!) He’s an effec­tive con­trar­i­an, and his debat­ing skills are renowned.…

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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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“Rats in a Hole”: Churchill’s Apology

“Rats in a Hole”: Churchill’s Apology

Imag­ine if the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States declared, “We will dig out ter­ror­ists ‘like rats in a hole.” Many would applaud and think maybe they had mis­judged him. Or would they?

A col­league sends an exchange in the House of Com­mons on 7 March 1916. “Colonel Churchill,” recent­ly returned from the Front but still a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, was speak­ing about the naval war with Ger­many. British naval plan­ners must pro­vide, Churchill was say­ing,

against what will be a con­tin­u­al­ly increas­ing ele­ment of the unknown. I must also just point out anoth­er argu­ment which shows that, great as were the anx­i­eties with which we were faced in the first four months of the War, they have not by any means been removed, or, indeed, sen­si­bly dimin­ished by the course of events.…

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