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Winston Churchill

From dKosopedia

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, K.G. is best known for his role as Prime Minister of Britain during most of World War II, a position he attained largely because the British Conservative Party was suffering such a paucity of leaders at the time. Churchill seemed a plausible Prime MInister because he favored a vigorous armament program and was staunchly anti-Nazi positions in the years leading up to the war. He was not staunchly anti-facist however. He replaced Conservative Nevil Chamberlin (Chamberlain)who has taken a policy of appeasement towards Hitler (which, needless to say, turned out to be a bad move in 20/20 hindsight).


One Disaster After Another

Churchill was a precocious political figure, original in the Conservative Party, but then in the Liberal Party, and then back in the Conservative party again. He entered parliament at 26 in 1901 and secured his first cabinet post at the age of 35 (he was home secretary, which is most comparable to the Attorney General in U.S. politics, although Home Secretary has much broader responsibilities). He was in charge of the British Navy during World War I and is reponsible for the disastrous British decisison to use ANZAV troops to attack Gallipoli.

Ruling class elites are rarely held politically accountable for military disasters however and Chruchill later served as Chancellor of the Exchequer (roughly equivalent to Treasury Secretary) in the inter-war years, during which time he made a disastrous attempt to return to the gold standard. He also opposed self-rule for India.

Panic in 1940

In response to intiial German military advances, Churchill and otherpanics and orders the withdrawal of British forces from the continent and thus the abandonment of their French and British allies. British propagandists have successfully spun this disgraceful decision and defeat as a military victory of sorts by emphasizing the evacuation under fire of 338,911 troops. What they fail to mention is the vast store of materiel left behind. The British abandon 2,472 artillery and other large guns and 63,879 vehicles to the Germans, an enormous boon to the war effort of the German Third Reich. The valiant French Army led by General Weygand fights on alone for another month at a cost for more than 100,000 French battle deaths.

Saved by the Americans and the Soviets

Churchill tried to coax the U.S. into the war before Pearl Harbor, persuaded the Americans to open up a southern Italian front in the war but failed to persuade the Americans to participate in opening a Balkan front in the war and participated in the decision to make the D-Day invasion.

Like all Briitsh Conservatives Churchill was also staunchly anti-communist, but restrained this political impulse because aliance with the Soviet Union was necessary to defeat Nazi Germany. Although not often emphasized in Anglo-American accounts of the war, the Soviet Red Army proved the winning weapon in the European theater. Without the heavy lifting of the Soviet Red Army the Axis would have won the war in Europe.

Post-War Hypocrite

The British Conservative Party lost power in the first post-war election because many Britons felt that the sacrifices made in the war had not been shared equally by all social classes and many political elites recognized that the Churchill's imperialism was out of date in the post-war world.

Churchill is credited as one of the principal architects of the immediate post-War order in Western and Central Europe. He was certainly willing to acquiesce in Soviet control of Eastern Europe in return for Anglo-American control of southern Europe, especially Italy and Greece. Churchill also agreed to turn over several thousand Ukranians and other Eastern Europeans captured in German uniforms (many had been conscripted by the Gremans) to the Soviets after the war. They were summarily executed after custody was transferred.

He played a role in establishing the United Nations and his Iron Curtain Speech in 1946 is viewed by many as the beginning of the ideological Cold War. The irony is that he condemned the Soviet Union for many of the same practices that had built the British Empire and which he would have been willing to use to hold it together. See, for example, the use of concentration camps and torture by the British in Kenya during the Mau Mau Rebellion.

[[Category:UK people|Churchill, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer]

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This page was last modified 18:42, 5 December 2010 by dKosopedia user Medley. Based on work by Andrew Oh-Willeke and dKosopedia user(s) BartFraden and Allamakee Democrat. Content is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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