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Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

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Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by Ivan on Mon Dec 12, 2011 12:35 am

In a BBC poll a few years ago, Churchill was voted the greatest ever Briton, but I wonder if Churchill’s contribution to Britain has been overrated. Spare me the froth of indignation, I know the standard interpretation as well as anyone. Churchill is supposed to be the man who won the war for us, an inspiration, someone who impressed the ladies by making remarks such as “it will be long, it will be hard and there will be no withdrawal”.
Embarassed

Churchill was a dunce at school, and a political turncoat who switched from Conservative to Liberal and back to Conservative again, swaying with the prevailing wind whenever it suited his career prospects. As he explained: "anyone can rat, but it takes a certain ingenuity to re-rat”. In 1910, while still a Liberal, he was made Home Secretary and used troops to maintain law and order during a miners’ strike in South Wales. He also used a detachment of Scots Guards to assist police during a house siege in Sidney Street in East London in January 1911. He used the military against private citizens, when it would normally have been something for the police to sort out.

At the start of the First World War, Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty and was the chief proponent of the invasion of Turkey, now known as the Gallipoli campaign. The idea was to create a southern link to England and France's eastern ally, Russia, and provide the struggling Russians with material assistance. It was a total failure. Although not solely responsible for the tactical defeat on the ground, the campaign was nevertheless, Churchill’s baby, and it cost the lives of 44,092 Allied troops, including 21,255 from the UK. Over 86,000 enemy soldiers also died. Churchill was forced to leave the War Cabinet after this debacle.

Churchill became Colonial Secretary in January 1921, which meant he was in charge of drawing the map of much of the Middle East, from which the Turks had been forced to pull out. Churchill made yet more mistakes, of which the most enduring was his failure to establish Kurdistan, a state for the Kurds, among the other new nations.

By the time Churchill became Prime Minister at the age of 65, his career had largely been a disaster. During the Second World War, his poor judgement continued. Churchill was responsible (at least in part) for the decision to occupy Norway. The invasion of Norway (or perhaps "military occupation" is a better term) was challenged and defeated by the Germans. Perhaps the main reason for this failure was the defeat of British naval surface power by German air power. Just like Gallipoli, it could be said of Norway that it was "a nice idea but it didn't work".

As Prime Minister, Churchill must take some of the responsibility for the foolish raid on the heavily fortified port of Dieppe in 1942, which incurred heavy Allied casualties. Churchill was also a proponent of the invasion of Italy, hoping to reach the German Reich via the southern route, through "Europe's soft underbelly" as he said. Thanks to the German Army under Albert Kesselring, and the natural defensive terrain, Italy turned out to be, as American soldiers fighting there put it, a "tough old gut".

During the Second World War, Wladyslaw Sikorski took command of the Polish army in France and thereafter became the head of the Polish government in exile in London. He died mysteriously in a plane crash in July 1943, while he was returning to London from the Middle East where he had been inspecting Polish troops who were about to join the allies. British investigations in the aftermath of his death concluded that it was an accident. New investigations in 1992 revealed, however, that, at the height and speed at which it was travelling, the plane could technically not have crashed. Some claimed that the pilot had deliberately brought the plane down. The mystery of Sikorski’s death remains and has since been subject to various theories: a murder planned by the Soviet Union or by the British government. One theory is that the murder was ordered by Churchill in an effort to maintain good relations with Stalin, at a time of increasing tension between Poland and the Soviet Union.

By 1944, the saturation bombing of dormitory towns in Germany had given up any pretence of choosing military targets. This always happens with long drawn-out bombing campaigns (compare the end of the Kosovo war), but in 1944 we went further and began attempting massacres. We only really succeeded at Dresden, but not for want of trying.

The later years of the war were years of Soviet and American ascendancy. The strategy for the final conquest of Germany was largely decided by these powers. It could reasonably be argued that the USA and the Soviet Union won the Second World War, with British support. Ostensibly, Britain had gone to war to try to save Poland from being taken over by Germany. At the end of the war, Churchill promptly handed over Poland to the Russians.

Churchill was unscrupulous enough to campaign in the 1945 general election using the smear that, if elected, Labour would “set up a Gestapo”, an appalling thing to say at any time, but especially so close to the end of the war. It didn’t do him much good. However, an electoral quirk in the 1951 general election (Labour won the most votes but the Tories won more seats), returned Churchill to Downing Street at the age of almost 77, where he had a stroke, but with customary deception, the Tories hid that from public knowledge. He was eventually eased out of office in 1955 (to be replaced by the disastrous Eden), but he stayed on as an MP until three months before his death in January 1965 at the age of 90.

Britain survived the Second World War, and was on the winning side, not because of the platitudes of Churchill, but because of those brave people in small boats who went to Dunkirk, those heroic Spitfire pilots, and the many servicemen, anonymous to most apart from their families and friends, who gave their lives to preserve our freedom from Nazi tyranny. Don't you think they were the great Britons who deserved accolades, not Churchill?
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by Shirina on Mon Dec 12, 2011 1:36 am

Don't you think they were the great Britons who deserved accolades, not Churchill?
Well, good leaders are important and the right words can inspire men and women to reach deep within themselves to find determination and fire they never knew was there. Motivation and morale are perhaps the two most important attributes during wartime, and Churchill delivered that to the rank and file Briton. Were they just platitudes? Yep. But they worked, and that's all that matters.

As for Churchill being overrated, yes, he was. I think there isn't a "great leader" ever in the annals of history that wasn't overrated. It comes with the package, and if these men (and a few women) were not raised to such a status, they never would have been considered "great."

(I'm essentially re-writing the same paper I did on Napoleon Bonaparte some years ago, LOL!)

In more modern times, we do all that we can to tear down greatness. While I find it sometimes "cheap" to quote from a movie or television show, I'm going to do it here because I find it to be oh so true. The quote comes from the character "Lady Morella" in the show Babylon 5.

"Greatness is never appreciated in youth, called pride in middle age, dismissed in old age, and reconsidered in death. Because we cannot tolerate greatness in our midst we do all we can to destroy it."

Churchill was the right man at the right place at the right time. For that reason, he is overrated for Churchill could not have controlled fate well enough to land him where he was. He is overrated because he is human, a mortal like the rest of us who made big mistakes, has foibles and idiosyncrasies, eccentricities, bad days, and, let's face it, his breath smells bad in the morning like everyone else's (and it probably smelled like booze!) But he was still the man for the job, and he got the job done. I don't think we can ask much more from a leader who served under such trying and incredibly tumultuous times. We should be appreciative of his failure at Gallipoli, for we often learn more from failure than we do from an easy success. Those lessons learned were brought to bear on June 6th, 1944 when the largest amphibious landing in history landed on the coast of France. Imagine then if someone else had been there instead of Churchill, someone who could have easily made the same dumb mistakes on D-Day as Churchill made at Gallipoli.

He is overrated because he didn't get everything right, and Ivan has outlined places where he has gone wrong. Yet there are few accolades higher than being an integral part of saving the world as we know it. For holding his ground in the face of impossible odds while America mobilized and Russia bounced back, a lesser man may have made a separate peace with Hitler. That is, after all, what Hitler wanted, and he would have jumped at the chance. Neville Chamberlain may have waved a second piece of paper around claiming "peace in our time" leaving Hitler free to bring all of his might to bear on the reeling Soviets.

Again, quoting from Babylon 5, it was said, "Sometimes peace is another word for surrender." If Britain had cut its losses after Dunkirk and entreated with Hitler, Britain would be dooming untold millions of people to death in the gas chambers, ovens, and work camps of the Nazis, and millions more would be forced to live a life under fascism. Freedom would disappear from Europe, leaving Britain, the Commonwealth nations, and America as the only free peoples on the planet. The ramifications are startling.

Could have Churchill known of all this? Of course not. But that knowledge would not have made him any greater than he was. The point was that he was there for Britain when she needed an overrated leader, and Churchill was able to fill those shoes. Chamberlain could not have done so. I'm not convinced Atley could have, either.

It is much the same in America with Roosevelt, and even now, conservative historians are trying to claw the man down with historical revisionism concerning how FDR "goaded" Japan into declaring war and deliberately causing the Pearl Harbor attack. Yet where would we have been if his Republican opponent, the fiercely isolationist Wendell Willkie had won the presidency? There would have been no Lend-Lease, no aid to Russia, no American convoy protection, and perhaps no Pearl Harbor. America may never had entered the war. Great men and overrated leaders are often merely the victims of history, and as overrated as they are, I do not believe it diminishes their greatness.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by ROB on Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:23 pm


If there had been no Winston Churchill, this speech, “Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, members of the Senate, and of the House of Representatives, yesterday, December 7th 1941, a date which will live in infamy, the United States of America was suddenly and was deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan…”, does not signal the final implementation of the Anglo-American-Canadian-Australian-New Zealander-Commonwealth alliance which ultimately saved the world, thought it took till 30 December 1991.


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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:42 pm

from "Beyond the Fringe"

"I want you to lay down your life, Perkins."
"Right sir!"
"We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war."
"Yessir!"
"Get up in a crate, Perkins."
"Sah!"
"Pop over to Bremen."
"Yessir!"
"Take a shufti."
"Right sir!"
"And don't come back."
"Yessir"
"Goodbye, Perkins. God, I wish I was going too."
"Goodbye Sah! – Or is it au revoir?"
"No, Perkins."



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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by ROB on Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:53 am


Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

As I approach a new year living in a country founded upon freedom, I must again resoundingly say "No!"


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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:37 am

I think Ian Paisley has dropped that style of soap-box oratory.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by ROB on Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:45 am

oftenwrong wrote:
I think Ian Paisley has dropped that style of soap-box oratory.

I don’t care. Winston Churchill is one primary reason that I live in freedom.  


Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Once again, a resounding "No!"
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by Stox 16 on Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:39 am

Ivan wrote:Britain survived the Second World War, and was on the winning side, not because of the platitudes of Churchill, but because of those brave people in small boats who went to Dunkirk, those heroic Spitfire pilots, and the many servicemen, anonymous to most apart from their families and friends, who gave their lives to preserve our freedom from Nazi tyranny.  Don't you think they were the great Britons who deserved accolades, not Churchill?

Well for me, its yes. but as a war leader for the UK, No as there were very few people who could of lead us at this time. but either side of WW2 he was very poor in my eyes
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by astra on Sun Jan 22, 2012 2:35 pm

Whatever!

As a reporter, I believe Churchill stood at the Front in many battles, has witnessed war first hand!

Very few PRIME MINISTERS before him had this experience, and ONLY Harold Macmillan since!
When he (Churchill) was sending men to battle on the ground, on the seas or in the air, he knew what he was sending them to!

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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:17 pm

Distance lends enchantment, but it is no exaggeration to say that without Churchill's personal style of Leadership at a time when it was most needed, this thread would now be conducted in the German language.

Sieg Heil! Rezistance is uzeless.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by Ivan on Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:35 pm

I was in Germany for ten days last September, and I can't help asking myself "who won the peace?"

Germany is still an important manufacturing country, Germany is very strong on workers' rights, and the income of the richest 10% of its population is only six times greater than that of the poorest 10% (in the UK, that differential is twelve times). And which country is the dominant force in the EU?

Of course the Tories will tell us that we can't afford greater equality or decent rights for our workers; after all, that wouldn't result in many donations from businesses to the Tory coffers, would it? Bankers are supposed to need incentives and obscene bonuses to carry on fleecing the country, but workers are expected to be satisfied with a good kick up the arse. This evil government has even circumvented the minimum wage by making the unemployed work for their dole in Poundland, Tesco's or Sainsbury's. If those firms have vacancies that need to be filled, why the hell don't they emply people properly and pay them a living wage?
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by astra on Sun Jan 22, 2012 8:53 pm

Why don't companies employ their staff??

Ever since Thatcher, and the Sunderland Nissan Plant, the number of job agensies in the North has rocketed.

These companies are given the same diligence by government as the job centre - why

It used to be the poor old security guard who was employed by an agency, but call centres, Nissan, and firms along the Tyne are using them!

If the employee is being paid £6.20 per hour, are you REALLY going to pay the agency up to £50.00 per hour for the time this person is on point? I cannot for the life of me see the sence in this, but that is just me!

Dortmund, Osnabruck were flattened by the RAF and the USAF and the spacious airy cities they are now is a delight.

Why did the British rebuild our flattened cities to the 16th century street plan when they had the chance to remodel with wide boulevards and parks like the continentals.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:14 pm

Unfortunately, the British way of repairing the ravages of WW2 was to paper over the cracks.

We still do that, curiously.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by astra on Sun Jan 22, 2012 10:35 pm

Do you think it would have something to do with the likes of the Duke of Westminster, who would want houses and property on his land rather than parks and dual carriageways?
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by ROB on Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:38 am

astra wrote:Whatever!
... Churchill stood at the Front in many battles, has witnessed war first hand!
 

He did. A series called "Tales of the Gun" (History Channel, Military History Channel) mentions his preferred sidearm during those times.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by ROB on Mon Jan 23, 2012 3:43 am


Some prefer their heroes to be perfect. I prefer my heroes to be human. In times of crisis, when the preservation of civilization is at stake, I'll take a cigar chomping, hard drinking Winston Churchill over most folks I know and/or know of anytime.


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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:52 pm

The problem which arises for a dynamic Leader is sometimes called "The tall Poppy syndrome", i.e. anyone bold enough to stick their head above the parapet is asking for it to be chopped off.

British newspapers have an unfortunate tendency to build people up, apparently for the precise purpose of knocking them down later.

Editors wouldn't do that if it didn't sell newspapers.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by Ivan on Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:46 pm

British newspapers have an unfortunate tendency to build people up, apparently for the precise purpose of knocking them down later.
Would the word 'iconoclastic' cover that?
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by oftenwrong on Tue Jan 24, 2012 12:12 am

iconoclastic certainly covers more space than cynic
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by witchfinder on Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:46 am

Winston Churchill was a bigot - he frequently made insulting and derogatory remarks about the Indian army, he seemed to forget that the Indian army was the largest volunteer army of World War II.

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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by oftenwrong on Wed Jan 25, 2012 10:17 am

But see how well we, as a Nation, thanked them. Britain pulled the plug on India in 1947 and denied veterans a passport to come here.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by bobby on Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:30 pm

Had Churchill Had his way, we would not have won the battle of Britain, in fact the main men we have to thank are Sir Hugh Dowding, Nevil Chamberlain and a certain R J Mitchell. Both Dowding and Chamberlain championed the research into forward firing monoplanes, and both put their weight behind the research and production of plan F7/30 from where came the Hawker Hurricane, and the Supermarine Spitfire, both essential in winning the Battle of Britain. What Churchill and some other geezer who’s name I can not recall, didn’t want forward firing monoplanes, but a monoplane with a gun turret behind the pilots cockpit, and we had some Baulton-Paul Defiants

The plane was an abject failure and whenever it came across the much acclaimed Messerschmitt 109 in its various marks, the German pilots thought it great fun shooting them down. The Defiant ended up as a night fighter. But due the perseverance Of Nevil Chamberlain and the utter Brilliance of the Supermarine Spitfire designer R J Mitchell the Spitfire would have been still born and we most certainly would have lost the Battle of Britain and the war.

Not only that, but it was thanks again to Nevil Chamberlain, who bought us the time we desperately needed to arm ourselves for the conflict everyone knew was coming, Had he done a Herr Cameron and gone to Berlin (I think) waving flags and blowing trumpets, Herr Hitler may have invaded Britain first, when we where in no position to win. The only downside was, that it also gave Hitler more time to increase on his weapons stockpile. So yes Winston Churchill is grossly over rated. Had he of had his way, he would never have been in the position to make those stirring speeches, as we would have fought the Battle of Britain with Baulton-Paul Defiants and Gloster Gladiators.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by ROB on Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:26 am

bobby wrote:
Had Churchill Had his way, we would not have won the battle of Britain, in fact the main men we have to thank are Sir Hugh Dowding, Nevil Chamberlain and a certain R J Mitchell.

Without Churchill, Brits would be speaking German the language of your masters, in the land in which you would be a slave. Americans USV would have a “choice”; German or Japanese.

Dowdy labored under a Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, who supported him on 15 September 1940 when there were no RAD reserves; everything Britain had was in the air or on the ground re-arming and refueling for another go at jerry.

Dowding needed Churchill, and Churchill needed Dowding. They shared a common commitment, immortalized in these words by Churchill: "if necessary, for years, if necessary, lone", "we shall never surrender", without which Brittan would have fallen in 1949.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by Shirina on Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:54 am

Without Churchill, Brits would be speaking German the language of your masters, in the land in which you would be a slave. Americans USV would have a “choice”; German or Japanese.

Well I'm not so sure I would go that far. The Soviets would have defeated Germany eventually even if both Britain and the US had stayed out of the war. Though it is likely that all of the nations formerly occupied by Germany would have fallen behind the Iron Curtain - which is all of Europe save Spain, Portugal, and the UK. It is uncertain if the Soviets would have taken Switzerland despite its neutrality. America was quite capable of defeating Japan without Churchill's help. In fact, during the dark days of 1942, America requested aid from the RN (they wanted the RN to send a carrier or two to operate with the USS Enterprise). Britain refused.

The US Pacific Fleet ultimately became larger and more powerful than all of the world's navies combined - including Britain's. Japan never had a prayer, and many Japanese leaders knew it. The idea of the Japanese marching down Pennsylvania Avenue and accepting America's surrender in the White House was not even a possibility for the Japanese. They were hoping America would be so shocked and demoralized by Pearl Harbor that we would sign a peace deal giving the Japanese their Pacific Co-Prosperity Sphere. Conquering the United States wasn't even on the table.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by ROB on Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:48 am


Shirina,

Without that damned funny-hat-and-cap-wearing round bulldog with a cigar, who did in fact need Dowding, the Air Marshall who effectively said by his actions, “Damn the French Republic and their vaunted piece of junk so highly touted by brilliant French strategists, the Maginot Line; I’m keeping my Spits and Hurricanes over here for the time soon approaching when my island home will indeed stand against Nazi tyranny, “if necessary, for years, if necessary, alone”, the Wermacht (check my spelling please) would have launched Operation Sea Lion and Germany would have secured the most important piece of Western European Real Estate long before the fatal foray into Russia,

Also, Japan ani’t had no love lost for Russia since at least 1903, and Siberia’s got oil. Once Britain is enslaved, and Vichy France given charge of their historic enemy’ territory, Uncle Adolf conspires with Tojo to cut Russia in half. And remember the “stans”, all lands controlled by Russia within the Soviet Union that are ripe for Nazi courting a la the Baath party and the uprising in Iraq circa 1942, as Nazis and Qur’an hijackers/adulterers share the same almost inbred anti-Jew agenda.

It might have occurred like this:

(1) Germany secures the UK, the Royal Navy sails for Canada and the US.

(2) Japan secures China (US and UK not at war with Japan, so it’s doable).

(3) Germany and Japan defeat the Soviet Union in an assault from West and East.

(4) Germany and Japan exploit the resources gained, including human resources of the plethora of anti-Stalin and anti-Russians populations of Finland, the Baltic states, the Ukraine, Georgia, Belarus, and all of hose “stans”, and rebuild stronger after the Russian war.

(5) Germany and Japan “court” Mexico as a staging ground for a third front against the US, dangling Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, parts of California, Nevada, Colorado, and maybe Utah (I need to look at a map) as bait.

(6) Japan comes from the West, using its fleet, Germany from the East, using Iceland, Greenland, and Labrador – Newfoudland as stepping tones, and a joint Japanese/German force comes from the South, streaming across the desert in German tanks.

(7) The US falls, leaving Canada to stand alone; after a valiant effort, Canada succumbs, but there’s no “Vichy Canada.”

(Cool Now it’s the Aussies’ turn, as Japan and Germany have long conquered and split between them the Indian Ocean (Both U-boats and I-boats were active there), the subcontinent, and Southeast Asia, and Japan by now owns The Philippines, the Dutch East Indies, and Micronesia/Melanesia/Polynesia. Port Moresby is another valiant fight to the last man battle by a Commonwealth ally (so neglected by the UK 2012), but finally they fall, but again, No “Vichy Oz.”

And where was the US during the early steps? No Pearl Harbor, the sleeping giant keeps snoozing until it’s too late.

“That’s one reporter’s opining. See you at ten; see you then.”
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by Shirina on Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:01 am

(1) Germany secures the UK, the Royal Navy sails for Canada and the US.
That's possible ... and yes, the RN would definitely sail to the US and operate independently from US bases. There is no way that the British would allow its fleet to fall into the hands of Hitler. If nothing else, the British would scuttle every last one of its ships before that happened - a fitting revenge for when Germany scuttled its High Seas Fleet in Scappa Flow at the end of WWI.
(2) Japan secures China (US and UK not at war with Japan, so it’s doable).
Japan couldn't secure China, and Japan knew it couldn't secure China. All Japan was doing was occupying prime Chinese real estate. Japan never even attempted to conquer the Chinese interior and for good reason. Japan had had four years to secure China before the US and UK got involved, and they couldn't do it.
(3) Germany and Japan defeat the Soviet Union in an assault from West and East.
This would never happen for two reasons. The first reason is because Japan was scared to death of Russia. When Japan attempted to seize oil fields in Siberia during the mid-30's, Japan was trounced so thoroughly by Marshal Zhukov that the Japanese government didn't even tell tell its people just how badly they had been defeated. These defeats made Japan so gun-shy about the Soviets that Hitler would never be able to convince Japan to march headlong into Soviet territory - especially since the Germans could not back their play. Some say, including myself, that the only reason Hitler declared war on America after Pearl Harbor was because he was hoping Japan would declare war on the Soviet Union. Of course, that didn't happen.

The second reason is this: Japan's ground forces were primitive. The Japanese never really faced a serious opponent ... just China, Manchuria, and Western colonial holdings that were woefully ill-prepared for war. When Japan came up against America, Japan never won a battle on air, land, or sea after its initial oriental Blitzkrieg in late December. In exactly 6 months to the day after Pearl Harbor, Japan was already put on the defensive after Midway. Historical documentaries won't say it because there's too much PC-ness in history these days, but Japanese equipment sucked (to put it bluntly). Their military doctrines were ridiculous. For instance, the biggest reason why the US won at Midway was because the US put four times as many scout planes into the air as the Japanese. Why? Because the Japanese saw scouting as effeminate and certainly not the kind of job a warrior does! Therefore, the US fleet was able to both find and strike the Japanese fleet first. They also rarely built dedicated carriers - instead, they had this rag-tag collection of ramshackle carriers mostly converted from battlecruiser and merchant ship hulls. This is another reason why the US won at Midway. American pilots only scored a handful of hits on the four doomed carriers, but because their ships were so lousy, they sank anyway.

But I'm off on a tangent so I'll get back on track. The Soviet Union had the largest, most powerful ground force at that time. Japan, in another one of their cultural roadblocks that prevented good doctrine, believed that the samurai spirit was more important than technology. As a result, the Japanese had virtually no armor, and only light anti-tank guns. Could you imagine Japanese infantry charging into the Soviet Union only to be met by 20,000 T-34, KVI and KVII heavy tanks? And if the Soviets could brush aside the Luftwaffe, the Japanese, with their lightly armored and often obsolete aircraft would have been target practice for the Red Air Force. Stalin was well aware of the Japanese threat and had plenty of troops, tanks, and aircraft ready to meet any Japanese invasion. On top of that, the Soviets were gearing up for their own invasion once Stalin agreed to declare war on them in 6 months after the Potsdam meeting. The fact that the Soviets literally decimated the Japanese when Stalin did invade shows just how easy the Japanese were as opponents. If it wasn't for the fact that so much fighting by the Americans took place on nasty little atolls where large armies and battalions of tanks could not be fielded, the US would have wrapped up the war in late 1943 instead of August 1945.
(
5) Germany and Japan “court” Mexico as a staging ground for a third front against the US, dangling Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, parts of California, Nevada, Colorado, and maybe Utah (I need to look at a map) as bait.
Mexico had no ability to wage a war of any kind in the 30's and 40's. Even if Mexico offered itself as a staging ground, neither the Japanese or the Germans - or both combined - had the resources to invade the Western Hemisphere. For one thing, the entirety of the Royal Navy would be sitting there on the east coast preventing any naval incursions by the Axis into the Atlantic. Meanwhile, the US Navy would be there in the Pacific to prevent any Axis naval incursions coming in from the Pacific. Believe me, those bases are well covered. Neither Axis country has any forward bases from which to operate, and any Axis naval assets sitting around in Mexican ports would be juicy targets for land-based bomber attacks flying in from the US mainland. Remember, almost ALL of our strategic bombers would be in the US since the UK would not be available as an "unsinkable aircraft carrier."

The problem here is that Germany didn't have much of a navy to speak of which means the bulk of any amphibious assault on the US or Mexico would fall to the Japanese - who would have to sail their ships ALLLL the way around the tip of South America (no Panama Canal for them) to link up with the Kriegsmarine. We'll even throw in the Italian Regia Marina (Italian navy) just for kicks, but they weren't much of a threat. All they had were battleships, and their big guns had huge dispersal patterns. They acted almost like shotguns; their shells flew all over the place which meant they weren't very accurate. What's worse, the Kriegsmarine and the Regia Marina were kind of light on troop transports given that the European theater was largely a ground war. So ... the already travel-beleaguered Japanese Navy would have to get around the tip of South America and travel all the way to Europe in order to pick up German troops and ferry them back across to Mexico. Not that Japanese transports were even remotely capable of carrying things like the 52 ton King Tiger tank.

Anyway, I could ramble on all night about this. Suffice it to say that any invasion of North America, even into Mexico, would be a logistical nightmare for the Axis. Remember that it took 3 years of planning, 6,000 ships, one of the best intelligence ruses in military history, complete air superiority, and help from the French resistance just to get 125,000 men across 20 miles of water to invade Normandy. Imagine, then, what it would take to get half that many men across the entire Pacific to land in Mexico. One of the German soldiers stationed on the Normandy coast said of the D-Day invasion force, "There can't be that many ships ... not in the whole world!" The Japanese, German, and Italian navies combined didn't have those ships.
Germany from the East, using Iceland, Greenland, and Labrador – Newfoudland as stepping tones
Germany didn't have anything with which to come from the east. No navy to speak of, remember. They had the capability to do littoral operations, but nothing with which to cross the open ocean. Crossing the Channel and crossing the Atlantic are two different animals.

Now, MAYBE, if the US sat around for about 10 years as the Axis built up a sufficient naval force, something like what you described could occur, but I doubt that would happen. If, after the British Empire, Europe, Russia, and Asia were conquered and there was still a naval build-up going on, America would get the hint that she was next. Roosevelt already knew what was going anyhow and began America's build-up a year or so before Pearl Harbor. Many of the ships that fought in the Pacific were already being built when Pearl Harbor occurred. In just three years, the US built around 80(!) aircraft carriers. Neither Germany or Italy managed to crank out even one in 6 years of war. Germany had one building, the Graf Zeppelin as well as Italy, the Aquila, both of which were scuttled after the war.

But hey, I like the way you're thinking about these "what if" scenarios. They're a lot of fun and make for some interesting debate/discussion.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by bobby on Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:34 pm

Rockonbrother said:

Without Churchill, Brits would be speaking German the language of your masters, in the land in which you would be a slave. Americans USV would have a “choice”; German or Japanese.

Dowdy labored under a Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, who supported him on 15 September 1940 when there were no RAD reserves; everything Britain had was in the air or on the ground re-arming and refueling for another go at jerry.

Dowding needed Churchill, and Churchill needed Dowding. They shared a common commitment, immortalized in these words by Churchill: "if necessary, for years, if necessary, lone", "we shall never surrender", without which Brittan would have fallen in 1949.


What happened as late as September 1940 has absolutely no bearing on what I said. Had it not have been for Sir Hugh Dowding opposing Churchill prior to the fall of France, again we wouldn’t have had the aircraft necessary to win the Battle of Britain.

Churchill wanted to send more and more squadrons over to France amid pressure from the French, Churchill was prepared to send over Spitfire and Hurricane squadrons piecemeal as the planes came off the production lines. Sir Hugh Dowding absolutely refused to send his Spitfires, but did send a few MK1 Hurricanes which where already obsolete due to a later mark being available. You can very easily spot the difference in that the MK1 had a two blade prop whereas all later marks had Three blade variable pitch props. To keep Churchill off his back, he was forced into sacrificing those pilots of the MK1 Hurricanes.

Sir Hugh Dowding Knew the later Hurricanes and the superior Spitfires where needed for home defence once France fell. And as sure as eggs is eggs, he was proved to be right, and Churchill wrong yet again.

As I said before had Churchill had his way, the Battle of Britain would have been lost. And if you think we would have fought any differently without Churchill, you couldn’t be more wrong. Britain had some great leaders and we would have had had the same final result without Churchill. All he did is what all politicians have always and will always do. He jumped on a winning Bandwagon during and after the Battle of Britain and fooled many into believing it was down to him, when it was down to Sir Hugh Dowding for actually disobeying Churchill.

By the way. What about the hanging woman? Or are you going to keep running.

There you are rob, something else for you to run to Ivan with to moderate.


Last edited by bobby on Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:32 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by bobby on Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:03 pm

Sharina
You are absolutely correct it your assumptions of Churchill. and rockonbrother couldnt be more wrong.

We The British, needed Sir Hugh Dowding and Sir Arthur (bomber) Harris, Claude Auchinleck, Viscount Slim and Harold Alexander a damn site more than we ever needed Churchill. There is now some doubt as to the origins of some of his famous speeches and as to who it was reciting them on the Radio. Churchill was a prime opportunist who used every chance he could to bolster his position and fame. We most certainly could have done without him. Britain is not so weak that we sink or swim due to one man.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by oftenwrong on Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:19 pm

Our perception of almost everyone changes and matures over time. Childhood heroes may turn out to have feet of clay, and History is only ever written by the Victors.

Winston S Churchill was the right man for the job at the right time. He came from the mould of Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Simón Bolivar and the Pilgrim Fathers.

All of whom subsequently had a bad Press.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by bobby on Thu Feb 23, 2012 4:30 pm

Our perception of almost everyone changes and matures over time



Or Gordon Brown introduces the freedom of information act.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by Stox 16 on Fri Feb 24, 2012 5:04 am

I think you have just hit the nail right on the head bobby...your dead right..everyone changes and matures over time..thank god this is so too.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by ROB on Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:01 am

oftenwrong wrote:
Winston S Churchill was the right man for the job at the right time.  He came from the mould of Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Simón Bolivar and the Pilgrim Fathers.
 

I don’t know if I’d include the pilgrims, but otherwise you’re right on target. Winston Churchill also had a touch of Michael Corleone, the fictional character from The Godfather.

That deadly ruthlessness allowed him to pay lip service to your French allies who tolerated Vichy France and French troops and ships firing on American troops and ships, and I believe British troops and ships, during the early portion of Operation Torch.

Target fixation ain’t always a bad thing. “The beast”, Adolf Hitler, and his sub-beats, were the objects of Churchill’s target fixation. Listen to the recording, if you can find it, of Churchill’s comment during April or May of 1945, “We have chased the beast to its lair.” I’ll post it here if I find it.

Indeed, I also remember Churchill saying that if the devil himself were fighting Hitler, Churchill would say a kind word in Parliament about him. Such dedication to the cause at hand allowed him to resist calls to reign in “Bomber” Harris, who correctly reasoned that if we couldn’t pinpoint desired targets, we ought to destroy everything within fifty kilometers of that target to assure its destruction. To Churchill, utterly destroying the beast was paramount, as it was to Dowding, who saved his fighters to defend his own island home (damn the French, if necessary), and Harris, who unleashed a rain of unrelenting terror from the skies.

oftenwrong wrote:
All of whom subsequently had a bad Press.
 

Yep. Comes with the territory.


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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by Shirina on Fri Feb 24, 2012 4:27 pm

Churchill did keep the Nazi influence out of Britain, and that is definitely a godsend. It wasn't long before the war when everyone thought Hitler was a really swell guy. Time magazine even made him "Man of the Year" once! Hitler made several peace overtures to Britain claiming that if Hitler could have a free hand in Europe and Russia, Britain could keep her empire while the Japanese could have Asia and the Pacific. In Hitler's unfinished sequel to Mein Kampf, he even talked about leaving America alone, letting her have the Western Hemisphere and the Atlantic (shared with Britain of course). Fortunately for the world, Churchill refused. Then there was the debacle with Rudolf Hess sneaking into Britain to meet with the Duke of Hamilton to broker peace with the Nazis behind Hitler's back, and after that was King Edward VIII's abdication and subsequent collaboration with the Nazis, etc. etc. Britain early on teetered dangerously between opposing and accepting Nazism, and only Churchill's force of will kept Britain in the war.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by oftenwrong on Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:37 pm

It's surprisingly easy to parochialise such a discussion by comparing British sentiment in 1939 with Tory plans for Britain in 2012.

Naively simple in appearance, but fiendishly complicated in reality.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by bobby on Mon Feb 27, 2012 3:36 pm

Sharina wrote:

"Churchill did keep the Nazi influence out of Britain"

I am sorry Sharina, but that is not how I see it. Churchill’s strength lay in propaganda, and propaganda for the civilian population. Had Churchill controlled the military on his own, we wouldn’t have got any further than the battle of Britain. Prior to the Battle of Britain we had the Battle for Dunkirk. The one person we can thank for the success of the famous evacuation was a little geezer with a toothbrush moustache who went by the name of Adolf Hitler. It was Hitler’s refusal to send in his Panzers during the evacuation that allowed the escaping troops to get to England. Had he sent in the Panzers along with all his other gear, there would have only been one outcome, the loss of our army and the loss of the war. Churchill’s contribution was a speech to the civilian population about a punch up on the beaches and in the streets.

Hitler also pressed for the invasion of Italy, calling it Europe’s weak underbelly, well he got that well wrong didn’t he, some of the most difficult fighting of the war went on in Italy. In WW1 it was Churchill who was responsible for the debacle known as Gallipoli, I’m sure I can not impart any more knowledge than you already have on that badly thought out battle.

Our Outcome would now be the same without Churchill only perhaps fewer people would have lost their lives. If he was so great, I very much doubt he would have lost the first General Election after the war, and it was the old soldiers who’s vote swayed the decision. He was much more well thought of by the civilian population, than he ever was by those at the sharp end.

My Dad and his Brothers who all served during the war Hated the man as did most I have ever spoken to, Why was that I wonder.

Neville Chamberlain was by far the better leader, it was him that went to Berlin for talks with Hitler, he went with absolutely nothing to negotiate with, all he could do, and did was to buy much needed time. He has been vilified for his peace in our time speech whilst waving around his piece of paper. All he was doing was pacifying the people. He was like the swan, all elegance on the surface whilst everything else was working franticly, and as I said before, its thanks to Chamberlain and Sir Hugh Dowding we had the wherewithal to fight and win the Battle of Britain.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by oftenwrong on Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:11 pm

It's not all that often that you see History re-written in such a short space.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by bobby on Mon Feb 27, 2012 11:25 pm

All I have said was written years ago, its just that more people seem to purchase books praising Churchill, and ridiculing Chamberlain. I am not rewriting history, the history is there all you have to do is look for it.

One book I can recomend is "Spitfire, Portrait of a legend" By Leo McKinstry.By John Murray Publishers. This book was written after the freedom of information act came into being, so in my mind probably has more credance than much of the lies about the war we where fed for years. Unfortunitely my Dads evidence can not now be used as he along with his brothers are dead. You chose what history you want to believe, and I will chose mine. But please do not insinuate I am making it up.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by Ivan on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:07 am

Anyone who reads my opening posting can see that I'm no fan of Churchill. History has been unkind to Chamberlain, a decent man who was trying to keep the peace. So many other politicians are quick to start wars, putting the lives of our armed forces at risk - but without any personal danger to themselves.

Chamberlain can only be blamed for thinking that other leaders - in this case, Hitler - shared his decency and kept their word (what he would have made of the pathological liar Cameron is anyone's guess). If nothing else, Chamberlain bought us time to re-arm and prepare for the war which was inevitable once Hitler occupied the whole of Czechoslovakia.
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by ROB on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:48 am

Ivan wrote:
History has been unkind to Chamberlain, a decent man who was trying to keep the peace. So many other politicians are quick to start wars, putting the lives of our armed forces at risk - but without any personal danger to themselves.

Chamberlain can only be blamed for thinking that other leaders - in this case, Hitler - shared his decency and kept their word…

If nothing else, Chamberlain bought us time to re-arm and prepare for the war which was inevitable once Hitler occupied the whole of Czechoslovakia.
 

Slightly edited, as I've done below, I agree:

“Chamberlain can be blamed…”

A politician whose lack of geopolitical acumen allowed him to proclaim “Peace in our time” whilst waving that damnable worthless scrap of paper with Herr Adolf “The Beast” Hitler’s signature affixed, deserves blame, righteous blame.

In 1940, Winston Churchill picked up the shredded remains left to him by Chamberlain, and in concert with the hero who withheld RAF Sits and Hurricanes from destruction in France, that great ally upon whose oh so sacred soil Vichy France was established, inspired his nation to “never give in”, to stand strong “if necessary, for years, if necessary, alone”, and to “never surrender.”

I thank God for Winston Churchill. I suspect he was aware of these words, penned by a Scot poet:


In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud,
Under the bludgeoning of chance,
My head is bloody, but unbowed…

Invictus, William Ernest Henley
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Re: Is Winston Churchill grossly overrated?

Post by bobby on Tue Feb 28, 2012 12:02 pm

Rockonbrother wrote:

A politician whose lack of geopolitical acumen allowed him to proclaim “Peace in our time” whilst waving that damnable worthless scrap of paper with Herr Adolf “The Beast” Hitler’s signature affixed, deserves blame, righteous blame.


That danmable worthless scrap of paper you so disrespectfully call itrefer to, was in fact worth its weight in gold. It was the agreement on that scrap of paper that gave us "Britain" the time to arm in preparation of the war every one knew was coming, including Chamberlain. Had the war come to us sooner we most certainly would have lost it. My personal opinion is that Chamberlain went to Munich with nothing to negotiate with and won a much needed delay, as for the waving of the document (one word), that was simply to delay any fears the civilian population may have had, he was doing what all politicians in his place would have done. Prior to this it was Nevil Chamberlain and Sir Hugh Dowding championing the building and use of Hawker Hurricanes and Supermarine Spitfires. Had the man been the pacifist many now call him, why then was he doing his utmost to get us the weaponry needed to fight a war, it just doesn’t add up. As for Sir Hugh Dowding, the man solely responsible for us winning the Battle of Britain, soon after the battle was won, Churchill got rid of him for no other reason than Sir Hugh Dowding went against Churchill re the sending of Spitfires to France (AJP Taylor Historian), he at the time received hardly any recognition for what he did for Britain and has received no honours since. But who was it with his (allegedly) speeches took the credit, Churchill, he gave a bit back to the few, but on the whole he thought it was him.

In the North Africa Campaign we had an extremely able Commander in Sir Claude Auchinleck, but unfortunately the Auk was no friend of Churchill, and was replaced by the more successful General Bernard Law Montgomery, what gets very little mention is that with Montgomery (who was an extremely able General) cam masses of new equipment that for some reason was unavailable to Auchinleck, due to the addition of much more equipment and further troops, is it any doubt that Monty managed to do more than the Auk. These are just examples of Churchill’s ruthlessness, based on nothing other than his personal likes and dislikes.

You Americans had your Token Hero’s, you had Sergeant York in WW1, and Audie Murphy along with those troops who raised the flag at I Think Guadal Canal or Iwo Jima in WW2. We had Churchill and he was quite happy to take the public acclaim for what others where achieving

By the way Rock, what about the hanging woman. You really can not get upset with people not answering your posts, when you will not do the same yourself.
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