Tag: World War I

Churchill and the “Feeble-Minded,” Part 2

Churchill and the “Feeble-Minded,” Part 2

con­tin­ued from part 1

Churchill’s ear­ly atti­tudes toward British “moral supe­ri­or­i­ty” were unfounded—but he was born into a world in which vir­tu­al­ly all his coun­try­men believed the same thing, from the Sov­er­eign to a Covent Gar­den gro­cer.

And yet it was Churchill, the aris­to­crat­ic Vic­to­ri­an, who argued that Sudanese had a “claim beyond the grave…no less good than that which any of our coun­try­men could make”; that in South Africa, Boer racism was intol­er­a­ble and the Indi­an minor­i­ty deserved the same rights as all British cit­i­zens. (This was some­thing Gand­hi nev­er for­got, though Churchill did,  and some­thing which Gand­hi praised years lat­er, when they were oppo­nents over the India Bill.)

It was this same Churchill who urged that shiploads of food be sent to a starv­ing Ger­many after the Great War end­ed the wartime block­ade; that the 1920 Arm­rit­sar mas­sacre in India must be con­demned and its per­pe­tra­tors pun­ished (“Fright­ful­ness is not a rem­e­dy known to the British phar­ma­copoeia”); that the coal min­ers should be com­pen­sat­ed after the 1926 Gen­er­al Strike; that car­pet bomb­ing Ger­man cities in World War II was moral­ly rep­re­hen­si­ble.…

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Dardanelles Then, Afghanistan Now: Apples and Oranges

Dardanelles Then, Afghanistan Now: Apples and Oranges

Writ­ing in the Los Ange­les Times, Pro­fes­sor Andrew J. Bace­vich con­sid­ered the war in Afghanistan against Churchill’s expe­ri­ence in World War I. Churchill, he says, looked for alter­na­tives to “send­ing our armies to chew barbed wire in Flan­ders.” Just so. And we should be look­ing for alter­na­tives to chew­ing dust in Afghanistan.

Bace­vich describes Churchill’s alter­na­tive as “an amphibi­ous assault against the Dar­d­anelles.” (That is a phys­i­cal impos­si­bil­i­ty.) Churchill cham­pi­oned a naval attack on the Dar­d­anelles, fol­lowed by an amphibi­ous assault on the Gal­lipoli Penin­su­la). Bace­vich adds that Churchill wished to “sup­port the infantry with tanks.” (I pre­sume he means sup­port­ing the infantry on the West­ern Front with tanks, since they were not a fac­tor on Gal­lipoli.)

But the Dardanelles/Gallipoli strat­e­gy, Bace­vich con­tin­ues

only pro­longed the war and drove up its cost.…

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A New Edition of “Thoughts and Adventures”

A New Edition of “Thoughts and Adventures”

Thoughts and Adven­tures, by Win­ston S. Churchill, edit­ed with a new intro­duc­tion by James W. Muller. ISI Books, 380 pages, illus., soft­bound, $22.

If Churchill’s 1932 vol­ume of essays on pol­i­tics, car­toons, elec­tions, hob­bies and adven­tures dur­ing the Great War is real­ly an “undis­cov­ered clas­sic” (as the pub­lish­ers state on the back cov­er of this new edi­tion) it will be news to gen­er­a­tions of read­ers. Thoughts and Adven­tures (first pub­lished in Amer­i­ca at as Amid These Storms) has seen twelve or more edi­tions in Eng­lish; trans­la­tions into Dan­ish, French, Ger­man, Kore­an, Span­ish and Swedish; and even a com­bined edi­tion with Great Con­tem­po­raries.…

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