Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

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Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby HomerJ » Fri May 03, 2013 9:30 pm

I'm just a lame American, who reads too much science fiction and not enough history...

My Dad gave me "Memoirs of the Second World War" by Winston Churchill for Christmas... and I finally got around to reading it last week... What an amazing book...

What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.


We owe you much Great Britain, we owe you much.
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby wacobay » Fri May 03, 2013 9:49 pm

I just finished the third volume of [u]The Last Lion[u] . This is the final volume of William Manchester's wonderful life of Winston Churchill. Mr. Manchester died before he had the chance to finish the last book, but before his death, he asked the historian Paul Reid to finish the final volume. This book is not up to the standards of the first two volumes in my opinion but still an exceptional read. I highly recommend all three volumes. How could one go wrong in reading a biography of perhaps the greatest statesman in the history of the English Speaking People by one of America's greatest historians. Thanks for reading this.
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby Frugal Al » Sat May 04, 2013 1:19 am

There's indeed a lot to admire and be thankful for in Sir Winston Churchill, and in VT for that matter. Still, I had no idea VT was Churchill's father. :D
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby Pacific » Sat May 04, 2013 2:10 am

Frugal Al wrote:There's indeed a lot to admire and be thankful for in Sir Winston Churchill, and in VT for that matter. Still, I had no idea VT was Churchill's father. :D


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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby jon-nyc » Sat May 04, 2013 5:01 am

HomerJ wrote:My Dad gave me "Memoirs of the Second World War" by Winston Churchill for Christmas... and I finally got around to reading it last week... What an amazing book...


Sounds like you read the abridged version. You should seek out the 6 volume set - it's wonderful. (As opposed to his WW-I memoirs which are better in the abridged version)
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby beardsworth » Sat May 04, 2013 7:18 am

Frugal Al wrote:There's indeed a lot to admire and be thankful for in Sir Winston Churchill, and in VT for that matter. Still, I had no idea VT was Churchill's father. :D


Which is even more of a feat when considering that Valuethinker, although long resident in Britain, is actually Canadian.

And that Valuethinker wasn't yet alive when Winnie was hatched.

And that, depending on Valuethinker's age, Valuethinker also may not yet have been alive when Winnie died in 1965.

And that, even if Valuethinker was alive in 1965, he was still in Canada.

And that Winnie's folks were Randy and Jennie, but Jennie was actually American, so it seems like at least 50% of the gratitude for Winnie should be kept here within the U.S.

Oh, it's all just so confusing. :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winston_Churchill
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby jon-nyc » Sat May 04, 2013 8:27 am

Indeed his mother was born one block from where I live. The house is no longer there, though.
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby Hexdump » Sat May 04, 2013 10:18 am

[OT comments removed by admin LadyGeek]
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby Valuethinker » Sat May 04, 2013 10:22 am

HomerJ wrote:I'm just a lame American, who reads too much science fiction and not enough history...

My Dad gave me "Memoirs of the Second World War" by Winston Churchill for Christmas... and I finally got around to reading it last week... What an amazing book...

What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.


We owe you much Great Britain, we owe you much.



...ish

The key strategic decision was to stay in the war. Halifax had been appointed Prime Minister when Chamberlain resigned after the fiasco of Norway in April 1940, would have sought a peace. It was on the table-- Britain would keep its empire, Germany would keep France. Hitler's long term goal was always war with Stalin. An approach was made via the American ambassador to Italy (and Churchill knew of this, and approved it) but came to nothing.

*that* was the decisive moment. For Western Europe to be reconquered by a democratic alliance (ie the Empire and its former colonies, and the USA) there had to be an 'unsinkable aircraft carrier'. ie Great Britain & the British Isles (we briefly toyed with the idea of invading Ireland-- their Prime Minister (taioseach) De Valera was pro Nazi, and her Atlantic ports would have been vital to our convoys, giving extra hundreds of miles of shelter from U Boats, and extra range to maritime air patrols, but we could not afford another long guerilla war in Ireland, plus the political impact of invading a neutral country).

From that aircraft carrier first the 8th Air Force (the contribution of the RAF's Bomber Command to victory has to be in doubt-- the night raids were never more than a (serious) distraction to the Germans, causing devastation but little demonstrable effect on the Nazi war effort) and then the D Day invasion fleet would sortie. And the blockade enforced by the Royal Navy starved Germany of vitally needed war supplies that it could never really replace-- exactly the strategic dilemma of Germany in WW1 -- ie a 2 front war with supply lines cut off.

The war was best summarized by Stalin 'American machines, British airfields, Russian blood'. At no time was the German war machine ever less than 70% focused on Russia, and more normally 80-90%.

The Second World War through most of its length was about the USSR v. Germany. Japan was a sideshow. North Afrika and Italy were sideshows. Much of the strategic bomber was was a sideshow (a useful drain on German military resources)-- the 8th AAF really only started to cripple the Germans when the war was already almost over. American military production, not least for the Soviet Union, was critical. The blockade was important. The U Boat war was crucial, only in that it allowed the build up for D Day. By June 1944 Germany was on the run in the East, they would have lost anyhow. But D Day ensured that Western Europe remained under democratic, not Soviet, control. Eastern Europe we bargained away (there was no appetite for further war with Stalin).

Churchill?

Well if it is any consolation re Canadian, my school had a portrait of him, and teachers who had fought under him -- our French teacher was number 2 in a Royal Naval Submarine in the Med. And gave us a pretty good summary of what people thought of Churchill-- a fearless war leader with a lousy reputation pre and post war for his ruthless personal behaviour, naked political opportunism and being just plain wrong about a lot of things (Home Rule for India and Mohandas K Gandhi for example).

So we have to beware of hagiography, especially by Americans. He was no saint. As First Sea Lord (1914-15), as Chancellor of the Exchequer (1924) and as Prime Minister (1950-54) he was pretty much a disaster. That he has a (deserved) great reputation it is really over his warnings in the late 1930s about the dangers of rising Nazi power, and his role as PM 1940-1942 (he was defeated before the end of WW2, decisively, by Labour in 1945) when Britain and its Empire stood alone. Once Russia entered the war in June 1941 and the US in December 1941 (neither by their own choice) Britain became a second fiddle player to what was probably the bloodiest and most destructive war in human history (so far).

From the 'what book are you reading' thread


Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Valuethinker » Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:15 pm

northwoods1 wrote:

Austintatious wrote:Just finished Vol III of William Manchester's biography of Winston Churchill, The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965. This last volume, dealing with Churchill's WWII years and those until his death in 1965,was completed by American author Paul Reid following Manchester's death in 2004. 1053 pages and definitely a serious commitment but, what a book! And what a man! Given the circumstances of his time, I think Churchill has to be considered the greatest political leader ever. I highly recommend this book, though I now wish I'd been smart enough to read the first two volumes before this one.




Yes, superb book. Actually the first two volumes are even better! Especially the first, (Visions of Glory') which is packed with fascinating (and often funny) insights into upper-class British culture during the later years of the Victorian era.




The thing about Manchester and Churchill is he is engaging in hagiography.

Churchill was a fringe politician for much of his career. Deeply distrusted for his ego, his ambition, his willingness to betray allies in the service of his own sense of destiny. Much disliked in his own party.

He was a failure as First Sea Lord. A disaster as Chancellor of the Exchequer, his actions in pegging sterling to the dollar at $4.85, the pre war rate, leading to the General Strike. A right wing rabble rouser mobilizing what in German one would call 'Freikorps' to crush strikers. On India and Home Rule he was disastrously wrong in the 1930s.

His postwar Prime Ministership from 1950 was a disaster, and in his urge to cling to power, he delayed the Coronation of Her Majesty Elizabeth I by over a year. By that time his mental faculties were slipping badly. Eden assumed power too late, and that may have contributed to the disaster that was Suez in 1956.

His record with Stalin is [detestable --admin LadyGeek] -- the famous diagram showing what percentage the Soviets would have of control over each European country that he negotiated with Stalin. Selling out Poland. Hundreds of thousands of Russians sent back to their death after WW2.

Even in war his record is mixed-- see Max Hastings Finest Hour (different title in the US). His strategic judgement was often awful (Singapore, and a whole division of reinforcements thrown away to spend 4 years in Japanese POW camps, wastefully). He drove the Eisenhower and Marshall nuts with his obsession on a southern flank during WW2, and an invasion of Italy which basically turned into a bloody stalemate. His Aegean campaign of 1943 is a military disaster little talked about now. His intuitive way of making war led the British badly astray.

It's also not widely understood, but Churchill approved an approach to Hitler via the Italians, which would have left Hitler in charge of Europe, and the British Empire intact. That was always Churchill's first concern-- preserving the Empire. That's hardly politically correct, now, to remember that.

We should also praise his interest in science and technology. That led down some strange dead ends, but Britain fought a scientific war, organized around a realization of the importance of technology to victory. Churchill surely can claim some of the credit for that.

What Churchill owes his reputation for, and with some justice, is the period 1940-41, and a handful of speeches. It happened to be the time when Britain, and the world, needed a leader who was stubborn, intransigent, quintessentially British virtues of stolidity and defiance. Who the man on the street, who would fight and win this war, would connect with,follow.

The cartoon after Dunkirk and the fall of France

http://www.johndclare.net/wwii5.htm

summarizes the mood of the times. We needed a war leader who would encapsulate that, who would speak of 'blood, and tears, and toil and sweat'. Who would mobilize all the resources of the British people and the British Empire to a single great cause. And in turn, because it's your language too, send the message across the Atlantic, to the world's most powerful industrial nation, that we would hold on, fight on, that we were not for turning, and that therefore your strategy in the coming struggle would have an anchor of ports and airfields-- the unsinkable aircraft carrier. There were still enough Anglophile Americans in the WASP ruling class of America of the time to hear that message, and to be inspired by it.

His other contribution was his relentless focus on getting America into the war. It's not clear if his flattery really influenced FDR (far too shrewd a man, FDR was playing Churchill and the 'special relationship' delusion, not the other way; FDR never trusted him and his desires for the British Empire and so trusted Stalin too much) but he organized the British state to basically give the fruits of British science and overseas assets to the Americans, and that slowly dragged the Americans into the Atlantic war. Britain would be the unsinkable aircraft carrier, from which aircraft would harry Germany, and eventually the fleet would leave to invade Northern France. For that, we had to stay in the war, and persuade the FDR and his advisers that we would remain defiant until they came-- and Churchill did that.

'American machines. British airfields. Russian blood' was Stalin's dictum of the victory over Hitler, and it's as true in historical reflection.

As for Winston, his statue stands on the Mall [edit: I don't have that quite right, it's location], a comfortable rest for pigeons. In the Olympic Opening Ceremony it doffs its bowler hat and waves to the passing helicopter, carrying Commander Bond and Her Majesty to the ceremony. Always telling us that there are second acts in life, and that greatness my yet lie ahead. A testament to how a great virtue can overcome great flaws. 'Cometh the hour, cometh the man'.

And that this dreary rain-soaked little country is capable of great things, of inspiring the world, when it dares to.
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby Valuethinker » Sat May 04, 2013 10:58 am

HomerJ wrote:I'm just a lame American, who reads too much science fiction and not enough history...

My Dad gave me "Memoirs of the Second World War" by Winston Churchill for Christmas... and I finally got around to reading it last week... What an amazing book...

What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.


We owe you much Great Britain, we owe you much.



...ish

The key strategic decision was to stay in the war. Halifax had been appointed Prime Minister when Chamberlain resigned after the fiasco of Norway in April 1940, would have sought a peace. It was on the table-- Britain would keep its empire, Germany would keep France. Hitler's long term goal was always war with Stalin. An approach was made via the American ambassador to Italy (and Churchill knew of this, and approved it) but came to nothing.

*that* was the decisive moment. For Western Europe to be reconquered by a democratic alliance (ie the Empire and its former colonies, and the USA) there had to be an 'unsinkable aircraft carrier'. ie Great Britain & the British Isles (we briefly toyed with the idea of invading Ireland-- their Prime Minister (taioseach) De Valera was pro Nazi, and her Atlantic ports would have been vital to our convoys, giving extra hundreds of miles of shelter from U Boats, and extra range to maritime air patrols, but we could not afford another long guerilla war in Ireland, plus the political impact of invading a neutral country).

From that aircraft carrier first the 8th Air Force (the contribution of the RAF's Bomber Command to victory has to be in doubt-- the night raids were never more than a (serious) distraction to the Germans, causing devastation but little demonstrable effect on the Nazi war effort) and then the D Day invasion fleet would sortie. And the blockade enforced by the Royal Navy starved Germany of vitally needed war supplies that it could never really replace-- exactly the strategic dilemma of Germany in WW1 -- ie a 2 front war with supply lines cut off.

The war was best summarized by Stalin 'American machines, British airfields, Russian blood'. At no time was the German war machine ever less than 70% focused on Russia, and more normally 80-90%.

The Second World War through most of its length was about the USSR v. Germany. Japan was a sideshow. North Afrika and Italy were sideshows. Much of the strategic bomber was was a sideshow (a useful drain on German military resources)-- the 8th AAF really only started to cripple the Germans when the war was already almost over. American military production, not least for the Soviet Union, was critical. The blockade was important. The U Boat war was crucial, only in that it allowed the build up for D Day. By June 1944 Germany was on the run in the East, they would have lost anyhow. But D Day ensured that Western Europe remained under democratic, not Soviet, control. Eastern Europe we bargained away (there was no appetite for further war with Stalin).

Churchill?

Well if it is any consolation re Canadian, my school had a portrait of him, and teachers who had fought under him -- our French teacher was number 2 in a Royal Naval Submarine in the Med. And gave us a pretty good summary of what people thought of Churchill-- a fearless war leader with a lousy reputation pre and post war for his ruthless personal behaviour, naked political opportunism and being just plain wrong about a lot of things (Home Rule for India and Mohandas K Gandhi for example).

So we have to beware of hagiography, especially by Americans. He was no saint. As First Sea Lord (1914-15), as Chancellor of the Exchequer (1924) and as Prime Minister (1950-54) he was pretty much a disaster. That he has a (deserved) great reputation it is really over his warnings in the late 1930s about the dangers of rising Nazi power, and his role as PM 1940-1942 (he was defeated before the end of WW2, decisively, by Labour in 1945) when Britain and its Empire stood alone. Once Russia entered the war in June 1941 and the US in December 1941 (neither by their own choice) Britain became a second fiddle player to what was probably the bloodiest and most destructive war in human history (so far).

From the 'what book are you reading' thread


Re: What Book Are You Currently Reading? Part V

Postby Valuethinker » Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:15 pm

northwoods1 wrote:

Austintatious wrote:Just finished Vol III of William Manchester's biography of Winston Churchill, The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill, Defender of the Realm, 1940-1965. This last volume, dealing with Churchill's WWII years and those until his death in 1965,was completed by American author Paul Reid following Manchester's death in 2004. 1053 pages and definitely a serious commitment but, what a book! And what a man! Given the circumstances of his time, I think Churchill has to be considered the greatest political leader ever. I highly recommend this book, though I now wish I'd been smart enough to read the first two volumes before this one.




Yes, superb book. Actually the first two volumes are even better! Especially the first, (Visions of Glory') which is packed with fascinating (and often funny) insights into upper-class British culture during the later years of the Victorian era.




The thing about Manchester and Churchill is he is engaging in hagiography.

Churchill was a fringe politician for much of his career. Deeply distrusted for his ego, his ambition, his willingness to betray allies in the service of his own sense of destiny. Much disliked in his own party.

He was a failure as First Sea Lord. A disaster as Chancellor of the Exchequer, his actions in pegging sterling to the dollar at $4.85, the pre war rate, leading to the General Strike. A right wing rabble rouser mobilizing what in German one would call 'Freikorps' to crush strikers. On India and Home Rule he was disastrously wrong in the 1930s.

His postwar Prime Ministership from 1950 was a disaster, and in his urge to cling to power, he delayed the Coronation of Her Majesty Elizabeth I by over a year. By that time his mental faculties were slipping badly. Eden assumed power too late, and that may have contributed to the disaster that was Suez in 1956.

His record with Stalin is [detestable --admin LadyGeek] -- the famous diagram showing what percentage the Soviets would have of control over each European country that he negotiated with Stalin. Selling out Poland. Hundreds of thousands of Russians sent back to their death after WW2.

Even in war his record is mixed-- see Max Hastings Finest Hour (different title in the US). His strategic judgement was often awful (Singapore, and a whole division of reinforcements thrown away to spend 4 years in Japanese POW camps, wastefully). He drove the Eisenhower and Marshall nuts with his obsession on a southern flank during WW2, and an invasion of Italy which basically turned into a bloody stalemate. His Aegean campaign of 1943 is a military disaster little talked about now. His intuitive way of making war led the British badly astray.

It's also not widely understood, but Churchill approved an approach to Hitler via the Italians, which would have left Hitler in charge of Europe, and the British Empire intact. That was always Churchill's first concern-- preserving the Empire. That's hardly politically correct, now, to remember that.

We should also praise his interest in science and technology. That led down some strange dead ends, but Britain fought a scientific war, organized around a realization of the importance of technology to victory. Churchill surely can claim some of the credit for that.

What Churchill owes his reputation for, and with some justice, is the period 1940-41, and a handful of speeches. It happened to be the time when Britain, and the world, needed a leader who was stubborn, intransigent, quintessentially British virtues of stolidity and defiance. Who the man on the street, who would fight and win this war, would connect with,follow.

The cartoon after Dunkirk and the fall of France

http://www.johndclare.net/wwii5.htm

summarizes the mood of the times. We needed a war leader who would encapsulate that, who would speak of 'blood, and tears, and toil and sweat'. Who would mobilize all the resources of the British people and the British Empire to a single great cause. And in turn, because it's your language too, send the message across the Atlantic, to the world's most powerful industrial nation, that we would hold on, fight on, that we were not for turning, and that therefore your strategy in the coming struggle would have an anchor of ports and airfields-- the unsinkable aircraft carrier. There were still enough Anglophile Americans in the WASP ruling class of America of the time to hear that message, and to be inspired by it.

His other contribution was his relentless focus on getting America into the war. It's not clear if his flattery really influenced FDR (far too shrewd a man, FDR was playing Churchill and the 'special relationship' delusion, not the other way; FDR never trusted him and his desires for the British Empire and so trusted Stalin too much) but he organized the British state to basically give the fruits of British science and overseas assets to the Americans, and that slowly dragged the Americans into the Atlantic war. Britain would be the unsinkable aircraft carrier, from which aircraft would harry Germany, and eventually the fleet would leave to invade Northern France. For that, we had to stay in the war, and persuade the FDR and his advisers that we would remain defiant until they came-- and Churchill did that.

'American machines. British airfields. Russian blood' was Stalin's dictum of the victory over Hitler, and it's as true in historical reflection.

As for Winston, his statue stands on the Mall [edit: I don't have that quite right, it's location], a comfortable rest for pigeons. In the Olympic Opening Ceremony it doffs its bowler hat and waves to the passing helicopter, carrying Commander Bond and Her Majesty to the ceremony. Always telling us that there are second acts in life, and that greatness my yet lie ahead. A testament to how a great virtue can overcome great flaws. 'Cometh the hour, cometh the man'.

And that this dreary rain-soaked little country is capable of great things, of inspiring the world, when it dares to.
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby VictoriaF » Sat May 04, 2013 11:13 am

I should start a thread "Valuethinker - thank you for Mikhail Gorbachev" {smile},

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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby grayfox » Sat May 04, 2013 11:36 am

HomerJ wrote:I'm just a lame American, who reads too much science fiction and not enough history...

My Dad gave me "Memoirs of the Second World War" by Winston Churchill for Christmas... and I finally got around to reading it last week... What an amazing book...

What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.


We owe you much Great Britain, we owe you much.


Winston Churchill did a great job of leading the world against the Nazi's. Credit him for that.

But there would not have been Nazi's or World War II if it wasn't for Winston Churchill.

I watched a documentary about the how World War I got started. It said leadership in Great Britain wanted to stay out of the war. The English didn't hate Germans before the war. King George V and Kaiser Wilhelm were cousins. Kaiser Wilhelm was even the grandson of Queen Victoria.

But Winston Churchill was in favor of getting Britain into the war and convinced Disraeli [correction David Lloyd George] to also support entering war against Germany. So you can say that Britain entered WWI mostly thanks to Winston Churchill.

Now if Britain hadn't joined the war would have been an easy and short victory for Germany and then back to normal in Europe.

But instead it turned into a stalemate and the bloodiest war in the history of Europe. World War I triggered the communist revolution in Russia. And the way WWI ended led to the rise of Hitler and National Socialism, which eventually led to an even bigger war, World War II. Then the cold war which did not end until 1990.

So basically you can thank Churchill for the World War I stalemate, the Russian Revolution in 1917, the rise of Fascism in Germany, 100 million deaths in WWII 70 years of communism in the Soviet Union, 45 years of cold war and the threat of nuclear annihilation and the bloodiest century in the history of Europe.

Also the end of five empires including the downfall of his own beloved British Empire.
1. the Romanov dynasty in Russia, the Czar was another cousin of King George V
2. Austrian-Hungarian empire
3. German Empire
4. Otterman empire
5. the loss of British colony in India and downfall of the British Empire. Britain was bankrupted by war debt.

Yes, Winston Churchill had a big impact in the world. Unfortunately not all of it was positive.
Last edited by grayfox on Sat May 04, 2013 1:25 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby hicabob » Sat May 04, 2013 11:40 am

Winston could certainly deliver a rousing speech ....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4BVzYGeF0M

Years ago while driving thru Germany listening to Ramstein and discussing language, my German colleauges mentioned Hitler was an incredible speaker too, with perfect classical German, apparently very much like Ramstein ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9P7Zd-x2QXw
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby helfordpirate » Sat May 04, 2013 11:47 am

As an inhabitant of the "dreary rain soaked country" I would mostly agree with VT's historical analysis. But I think for many his legacy is about leadership in a terrible time and about acting on a moral belief. Some years back when a US commentator tried to argue that Churchill had a choice about entering the war (comparing it to Iraq!), Christopher Hitchens responded well..
“Winston Churchill may have had a lust for war, but we may also be grateful that there was one politician in the 1930s who found it intolerable even to breathe the same air, or share the same continent or planet, as the Nazis.”
The OP offered thanks for Churchill, myself I holiday in Cornwall in the UK and nearby there is a beautiful semi-tropical garden that leads down a valley to a beach looking out over an estuary to the sea. Incongruously a concrete road snakes down the side of a valley and is buried under the sand. A plaque nearby reads "To the officers and men of the U.S. 29th Infantry Division, who embarked from Trebah in June 1944 for the D-Day assault on Omaha Beach. We will remember them." I always reflect that those men, boys, set off to that horror from that stunning spot. So thank you also.
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby Harold » Sat May 04, 2013 11:56 am

Valuethinker wrote:He was a failure as First Sea Lord.

And as the Atlantic points out, in that role he had a major effect on the 20th century and beyond. (The Churchill part is only the first four paragraphs.)

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/05/what-if-we-never-run-out-of-oil/309294/
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby gkaplan » Sat May 04, 2013 12:43 pm

Winston Churchill was in favor of getting Britain into the war and convinced Disraeli to also support entering war against Germany. So you can say that Britain entered WWI mostly thanks to Winston Churchill.


I'm not sure how that's possible, since Disraeli died about thirty years prior to the onset of World War I.
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby grayfox » Sat May 04, 2013 1:22 pm

gkaplan wrote:
Winston Churchill was in favor of getting Britain into the war and convinced Disraeli to also support entering war against Germany. So you can say that Britain entered WWI mostly thanks to Winston Churchill.


I'm not sure how that's possible, since Disraeli died about thirty years prior to the onset of World War I.


RIght. Benjamin Disraeli (21 December 1804 – 19 April 1881)

It must have been David Lloyd George i was thinking of
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby Valuethinker » Sat May 04, 2013 1:25 pm

grayfox wrote:
HomerJ wrote:I'm just a lame American, who reads too much science fiction and not enough history...

My Dad gave me "Memoirs of the Second World War" by Winston Churchill for Christmas... and I finally got around to reading it last week... What an amazing book...

What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.


We owe you much Great Britain, we owe you much.


Winston Churchill did a great job of leading the world against the Nazi's. Credit him for that.

But there would not have been Nazi's or World War II if it wasn't for Winston Churchill.

I watched a documentary about the how World War I got started. It said leadership in Great Britain wanted to stay out of the war. The English didn't hate Germans before the war. King George V and Kaiser Wilhelm were cousins. Kaiser Wilhelm was even the grandson of Queen Victoria.

But Winston Churchill was in favor of getting Britain into the war and convinced Disraeli to also support entering war against Germany. So you can say that Britain entered WWI mostly thanks to Winston Churchill.


I think the theory is basically bunk.

OK first there is the Disraeli problem, as pointed out above, was last Prime Minister in 1880 and died in 1881-- a 33 year gap from the start of WW1.

What I think you saw was a documentary quoting Niall Ferguson? Ferguson is that very English of academic beasts, a contrarian who seeks to provoke. So in a country that worships WW2 and takes WW1 as the pivotal moment of awesome stupidity, arguing that we caused the latter and could have avoided the former is a provocative counterfactual.

But it's probably bunk. We guaranteed the neutrality of Belgium for very good strategic reasons (just as we did Poland, and thus entered WW2 when Hitler invaded Poland, much to his surprise and chagrin). The German Empire was pressing us in Africa and in the Pacific. The German High Seas Fleet was our only serious rival for naval mastery (we also had war plans to fight the rising US Navy).

There's no question the naval arms race of the late 19th century and the early 20th made WW1 more likely. Ditto the spirit of German 'militarism' which awoke-- see the play 'Captain of Koepenik' as an example. Germany of that period was obsessed with military rank, military honour, military virtues-- your status as a civilian was significantly determined by your Reserve Army officer rank.

And France was determined to avenge the humiliation of 1871. And Slavic forces were determined to dismember the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Could Britain have stood by whilst the Germans again conquered France, Belgium, and dominated Europe? Not likely.

Now if Britain hadn't joined the war would have been an easy and short victory for Germany and then back to normal in Europe.


Unlikely. Remember in 1870 8,000 Prussian grenadiers died in less than an hour attacking at Gravollete-St. Privat. That was *before* the French had figured out how to deploy the machine gun (they had them, but they treated them as a military secret and grouped them in artillery batteries, in the few instances when they were employed properly they caused mass slaughter). The Russo-Japanese war of 1905 had seen brutal trench fighting, and only ended when a revolution was sparked off in Russia.

The Germans might have won in the spring of 1915, but it would have been brutal and bloody. And by that time all the rest of Europe would have been at war.

But instead it turned into a stalemate and the bloodiest war in the history of Europe. World War I triggered the communist revolution in Russia. And the way WWI ended led to the rise of Hitler and National Socialism, which eventually led to an even bigger war, World War II. Then the cold war which did not end until 1990.

So basically you can thank Churchill for the World War I stalemate, the Russian Revolution in 1917, the rise of Fascism in Germany, 100 million deaths in WWII 70 years of communism in the Soviet Union, 45 years of cold war and the threat of nuclear annihilation and the bloodiest century in the history of Europe.


I don't think you can so attribute to him:

- Churchill did not cause the British intervention in WW1. He alone did not author the security treaty with Belgium. He was First Sea Lord, not Prime Minister nor War Minister

Also the end of five empires including the downfall of his own beloved British Empire.
1. the Romanov dynasty in Russia, the Czar was another cousin of King George V
2. Austrian-Hungarian empire
3. German Empire
4. Otterman empire
5. the loss of British colony in India and downfall of the British Empire. Britain was bankrupted by war debt.


Again. To pick up a point of fact. India achieved independence in 1949, *after* WW2. Home Rule was achieved in the 1930s. Independence of India was inevitable. So too was the end of Empire-- the United States was already before WW1 the world's largest economy, and fast became its leading naval power. And the forces of independence in Asia were already stirring.

Yes, Winston Churchill had a big impact in the world. Unfortunately not all of it was positive.


The thesis is basically even sillier than the ones (used to be British, now seem to be American) crediting him with winning WW2.

What Churchill was was, like most of us, someone very useful at a particular time and place. Britain needed an obstinate war leader, who would never betray to the public any sign of doubt or dissuasion from a goal of total victory. For people to live through the rationing, the bombing, the destruction of their homes, the loss of their loved ones, the endless defeats of the years 1940 and 1941, we needed that kind of public figure, that man who would tell us, again and again, that we were set upon a right and just course and that there was no turning back.

And in sending that message and the half dozen or so speeches upon which his reputation is based, he convinced Roosevelt and the Anglo-centric wasp elite that still ran America, that Britain would not fold. We would be there, and we would fight on.

And we needed someone who was prepared to bankrupt the Empire, give our hard won science and technology *for free* to the American war machine, anything to seduce the United States into the war. Once FDR had American escorts protecting convoys (and clashes had already taken place with U Boats *before* Pearl Harbor) and once Congress had approved Lend Lease and thus committed the US financially and industrially to the Great Cause, then the eventual involvement of the US became inevitable-- only a victory by someone like Charles Lindbergh could have stopped it.

It became then strategically essential for the US to secure the British Isles as a base for which to fight its war against Nazi Germany. Once George Marshall and the politicos around FDR were convinced we would fight on, then it became necessary to give us the materiel to fight on. Harry Hopkins made the same mission to Moscow in late 1941, to establish that Stalin would not fold. The 2 key arms of American strategy in WW2: alliance with the USSR who would defeat Germany on the ground, and with Britain who would provide the naval and air bases to attack Germany, were in place.

There's no doubt that Churchill's Americo-phillia, fueled by his beloved mother (remember, his father died when he was 12), helped in this.
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby Valuethinker » Sat May 04, 2013 1:32 pm

HomerJ wrote:I'm just a lame American, who reads too much science fiction and not enough history...

My Dad gave me "Memoirs of the Second World War" by Winston Churchill for Christmas... and I finally got around to reading it last week... What an amazing book...

What General Weygand has called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be freed and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.


We owe you much Great Britain, we owe you much.


The 2 people you owe a lot to in WW2 are George Marshall, surely one of the greatest American strategists ever-- for 'Europe First' and for his single minded focus on a direct assault on Nazi Germany via northern France (Churchill wasted huge resources and countless lives in a 'Mediterranean strategy' which simply let the Germans pin down precious British, Canadian and American resources in a slugfest up the Italian peninsula). And Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who grasped the reality that was happening in Europe could not be ignored, that America could not stand aloof from a fire that began burning in China in the 1930s, and in the 1940s would inflame the world. That by virtue of its size and strategic position, America was inevitably going to be drawn into the conflaguration.

The other is of course Marshall Zhukov and STAVKA, Stalin's high command, a blood-dripped general if history ever had one. But he beat what was by most measures then, and probably still is, history's greatest army, the Wehrmacht.
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby grayfox » Sat May 04, 2013 1:38 pm

The point is that World War I was the pivotal point in the 20th Century.

Everything that followed including the collapse of five mighty empires, communist revolution in Russia, rise of fascism, World War II, the cold war, Korean conflict, Viet Nam war, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, formation of muhajadeen and al Qaeda against Soviet occupation in Afghanistan, terrorism and World Trade Center bombing, Iraq War all flowed from that pivotal event, World War I.

None of that would have happened if WWI didn't turn out the way it did. Basically the shape of the world today, include the Middle east, is a result of WWI.
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby Valuethinker » Sat May 04, 2013 2:00 pm

grayfox wrote:The point is that World War I was the pivotal point in the 20th Century.

Everything that followed including the collapse of five mighty empires, communist revolution in Russia, rise of fascism, World War II, the cold war, Korean conflict, Viet Nam war, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, formation of muhajadeen and al Qaeda against Soviet occupation in Afghanistan, terrorism and World Trade Center bombing, Iraq War all flowed from that pivotal event, World War I.

None of that would have happened if WWI didn't turn out the way it did. Basically the shape of the world today, include the Middle east, is a result of WWI.


Sorry I thought the point was Churchill caused WW1?

What we cannot know, in any case, is what would have happened if no WW1. What we can know is that the European empires were hell bent on a collision course, so there would have been wars.

And it was the age of Revolution-- the Russo Japanese war of 1905 and the first Russian Revolution of that year was a foretaste. So some of those ruling empires would have collapsed. The Ottoman and the Russian almost surely. Nationalism was already tearing apart the Austro-Hungarian one, and consider the savagery of the first and second Balkan wars.

The anomaly in European history has been the 50 years peace since WW2, marred only by the Yugoslavian war-- one of the last multinational states tearing itself apart.
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby momar » Sat May 04, 2013 2:10 pm

Are we supposed to be sad that empires collapsed?
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby grayfox » Sat May 04, 2013 3:20 pm

momar wrote:Are we supposed to be sad that empires collapsed?


It's not that empires collapsed, but how. Was it peaceful transition, or did millions of ordinary people suffer and die after empire collapses?

And then what replaces the empire? The Russia monarchy's autocracy was nothing in terms of brutality compared to the Soviet Union under Stalin. If someone disagreed with the czar, that guy was exiled to Siberia. Lenin was even sent to Siberia for a while. But they didn't execute him. He was living free in Switzerland before the revolution. On the other hand, Communist dictator Stalin forcible moved entire ethnic groups numbering in 100's of thousands, starved millions of Ukrainians, arrested millions and sent to the gulag, informant society, police state slave labor, etc.

Back to Winston Churchill, he was just one of many politicians that thought getting into WWI would be a good idea. You can also include Kaiser Wilhelm, Czar Nicholas, the King and Kaiser, etc. Plenty of blame to go around. They all thought that getting into the war would benefit their own empires, but had no idea of the consequences, like ultimately the end of their empires.
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby momar » Sat May 04, 2013 3:51 pm

grayfox wrote:
momar wrote:Are we supposed to be sad that empires collapsed?


It's not that empires collapsed, but how. Was it peaceful transition, or did millions of ordinary people suffer and die after empire collapses?

And then what replaces the empire? The Russia monarchy's autocracy was nothing in terms of brutality compared to the Soviet Union under Stalin. If someone disagreed with the czar, that guy was exiled to Siberia. Lenin was even sent to Siberia for a while. But they didn't execute him. He was living free in Switzerland before the revolution. On the other hand, Communist dictator Stalin forcible moved entire ethnic groups numbering in 100's of thousands, starved millions of Ukrainians, arrested millions and sent to the gulag, informant society, police state slave labor, etc.

Back to Winston Churchill, he was just one of many politicians that thought getting into WWI would be a good idea. You can also include Kaiser Wilhelm, Czar Nicholas, the King and Kaiser, etc. Plenty of blame to go around. They all thought that getting into the war would benefit their own empires, but had no idea of the consequences, like ultimately the end of their empires.

I'm well aware of how horrible Stalin was. I note that you listed 5 empires. I would also note that it would be news to many who were killed under Nicholas II's reign that they were just sent to Siberia. I'm no fan of Rummel, but he pegs the number around 1,000,000.

For Colonial powers he puts it at 50,000,0000.
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby Munir » Sat May 04, 2013 4:18 pm

Thank you, Valuethinker, for presenting a balanced view of WC.
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Re: Valuethinker - thank you for Winston Churchill

Postby LadyGeek » Sat May 04, 2013 4:37 pm

Although this is a discussion on historical perspectives, there is nothing actionable here. Consequently, this thread is off-topic and locked: A reminder that non-investing general comment threads are OT

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The last few posts were tending towards contentious topics, this thread is also locked in anticipation of the moderators needing to step in shortly. See: Re: What happened to all of the gold bugs?
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