What will Michael Gove make of this historical revisionism? Excellent piece from the Beast:
In fact, Churchill was and still is bitterly despised by certain sections of the working class, despite his status as the great hero of World War II. His own career in the armed forces effectively ended with the debacles of the battle of Jutland and he was widely blamed for Gallipolli. He fervently hated the trade unions and anything that smacked of socialism and the welfare state. Originally a Liberal, he crossed the floor to join the Tories when Balfour’s government introduced pensions and state medical insurance based on the model of contemporary Germany. ‘It was Socialism by the backdoor’, he spluttered.
This continued after the War, when he fiercely attacked Labour’s plan to set up the NHS and unemployment benefit. Because the latter meant that the state become involved in the payment of NI contributions by the employer, he denounced it as a ‘Gestapo for England.’
He is widely credited with sending in the army to shoot down striking miners in Newport. According to the historians I’ve read, he didn’t. Nevertheless, this is still widely believed. It’s credible, because Churchill did have an extremely aggressive and intolerant attitude towards strikes. During the 1924 General Strike he embarrassed the Tory administration by stating that the armed forces would stand ready to assist the civil authorities, if they were called to do so. This effectively meant that he was ready to send the troops in.
Source: BBC 2 On Why Britain Voted Against Churchill after WW II | Beastrabban\’s Weblog
I have always loathed Churchill, who was a violent warlord of an almost medieval standard. His catalogue of obscene war-crimes, often against civilians, were they committed by the Nazis, would be regularly listed on documentaries today as evidence of the undiluted evil of the Third Reich.
you are so right! Churchill was a war-monger who didn’t give a toss about those that had to fight it! I was shocked when I studied him at university, cos you are fed the lie that he was a great statesman & orator.
My grandfather who was at Gallipoli never, ever forgave him
I remember as a child when his name was mentioned, people made spitting noises. It was only later that I became aware of the revisionist cult of personality. I also recall that the first ever money spent by the Lottery Heritage Fund was to the Churchill’s to “purchase” papers that had already been donated to the nation – £25 million I think.
I always thought this revisionism was the Establishments attempt to control the narrative of the post-War (and all year prior) to overshadow the 1945 election and the delivery of the welfare state. Indeed there are still many who think it was Churchill (ie Tories) who set up the NHS. We need proper social history taught, but given the Gove legacy, not much chance. We’ll have to make sure it is heavily featured on the pirate TV / internet stations we will have to operate when the censorship kicks in.
PS Back to the charting of “Stand up for your rights”; I also think Muse’s “Uprising” a more angry anthem for our times. “we will not be broken!”
His name was said in the same sentence as ‘war monger’ in my parents house. My Father had been a POW with the Germans in WWII. I seem to remember he was the driving force in the Cabinet for war in1914. Did he get strikers shot in Glasgow or was that someone else? Not a friend of the working man as it was in those days.
Basically Churchill was nothing more than an extremely unpleasant Tory. He mainly wrote himself into history as the Great Warlord, but it is a fact that even if the far more sensible and practical Clement Attlee had been Prime Minister between 1940 and 1945, the end result would have been exactly the same (possibly without the debacle of Greece and Crete, which were Churchill’s brainchild, which he insisted upon against the advice of his military advisers). The Second World War was actually won on the steppes of Russia and at Stalingrad, when the Soviet Red Army smashed the German Wehrmacht and ensured that it would achieve no more victories.
The Churchill myth was largely manufactured by Churchill himself. In fact when he published his “History of the Second World War” even his friends said of it, “Winston’s published another book about himself and called it the History of the Second World War.
My grandparents loathed the man.
Furthermore, the enormous credit heaped upon Churchill for supposedly ‘winning the Battle Of Britain’ is almost completely unearned. In effect, Britain had already won that battle back in the late-1920’s and early-1930’s by establishing the world’s first Integrated Air-Defence System (IADS), which was practically impossible for the Germans to knock over before the invention of 4-engine bombers (which the Luftwaffe never developed). The IADS was chiefly the work of Stanley Baldwin’s Government, and nothing whatever to do with Churchill.
When doing my apprentiship I had the honour of working with someone who had served in a regiment of lancers (it was a tank regiment of which he was a corporal) in North Africa, and his view was that they managed to win the war despite the ‘toffy-nosed’ idiots that ran the army. My guess is that for those who fought Churchill was just another one that Class. Another factor is that he had seen what team work, and looking after one another, had achieved. As a tank driver he also witnessed that without the right tools no amount of personal courage could, in reality, overcome superior technology (the Churchill tank was one example he mentioned as it was very well armoured but could only move at Snell’s pace). This gave them faith in a bright new future where successive decades would herald in a better would, driven by team-work and technical advancement and an absence of those in charge who owed their position to ability not accidents of birth. There is also the fact that millions of soldiers were unable to read our wonderful national daily newspapers. The tragedy for Labour, and Socialism, was winning the war had left Britain penny-less and geared for war production rather than a peacetime economy. So these groups had power and very wide public support but only very limited means to deliver; though, the NHS, N.I. system, education and annual house building numbers that totally dwarf what modern private sector house builders turn out per year. Finally, soldiers had lots of time to talk amongst themselves, without media distortion, and make plans for the future they believed they deserved.
Churchill did not win the war for us. He had to beg the Americans for help in the end, knowing he’d need to save his own arse for posterity. Ultimately the war was lost by Hitler”s obsessive attempt to invade Russia, drawing forces from the West to the East, where many including my uncle, a genuine German soldier, not a Nazi whom the real German army secretly hated, went to die in the vast, freezing wastes.