The Shotgun Blog
Friday, January 15, 2010
Almost a Country
Interestingly, no mention of La Belle Province. We take that as a good thing:
In years past, such breakaway quasi-states tended to achieve independence fast or be reassimilated within a few years (usually after a gory civil war, as with Biafra in Nigeria). But today's Limbo World countries stay in political purgatory for longer -- the ones in this article have wandered in legal wilderness for an average of 15 years -- representing a dangerous new international phenomenon: the permanent second-class state.
This trend is a mess waiting to happen. The first worry is that these quasi-states' continued existence, and occasional luck, emboldens other secessionists. Imagine a world where every independence movement with a crate of Kalashnikovs thinks it can become the new Kurdistan, if only it hires the right lobbyists in Washington and opens a realistic-looking Ministry of Foreign Affairs in its makeshift capital. The second concern is that these aspirant nations have none of the rights and obligations of full countries, just ambiguous status and guns without laws. The United Nations is, in the end, binary: You are in or you are out, and if you are out, your mass-produced miniature desk flag has no place in Turtle Bay.
The author's description of Somaliland, a breakaway section of Somalia, reminded me of Waugh's classic Black Mischief.
Posted by Richard Anderson on January 15, 2010 | Permalink
The Real Churchill
On February 4th, President Bush eulogized the life of Winston Churchill. The president described Winston Churchill as a "great man" and quickly zeroed in on the mistress that both Bush and Churchill share: war. "He was a prisoner in the Boer War, a controversial strategist in the Great War. He was the rallying voice of the Second World War, and a prophet of the Cold War." Indeed, there doesn't seem to have been a war—or an opportunity for war—that Churchill wasn't associated with during his long career.
Bush also recited Churchill's famous retort that "History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it" adding that "history has been kind to Winston Churchill, as it usually is to those who help save the world," surely hoping that history will be kind to George W. Bush.
Except this history is a myth. The truth about the real Churchill—the Churchill that few know—is that he was "a man of the state: of the welfare state and of the warfare state" in Professor Ralph Raico's turn-of-phrase. The truth about Winston Churchill is that he was a menace to liberty, and a disaster for Britain, for Europe, for the United States of America, and for Western Civilization itself.
Not since fictional personages like Hercules and Zeus, have so many myths been attached to one man. As we will see, the Winston Churchill we're told about is not the Churchill known to honest history, but rather a fictional version of the man and his actions. And these words and actions have produced our mainstream "patriotic political myths" as John Denson calls them, which are merely the victor's wartime lies and propaganda scripted into the 'Official History.' The Churchill mythology is challenged by honest history, and the reality about Churchill involves hard, but necessary truths.
Churchill the Opportunist
Of course, central to the neocon mythology built up around their almost deified idealization of Churchill is that he fought for (in Bush's words comparing Tony Blair to Churchill), "the right thing, and not the easy thing," right over popularity, principle over opportunism.
Except that isn't true. Churchill was above all a man who craved power, and a man who craves power, craves opportunity to advance himself no matter what the cost.
When Churchill entered politics, many took note of his unique rhetorical talents, which gave him power over men, but it also came with a powerful failing of its own. During WWII, Robert Menzies, the Prime Minister of Australia, noted of Churchill "His real tyrant is the glittering phrase so attractive to his mind that awkward facts have to give way."
However, Churchill had other failings as well. The Spectator newspaper said of Churchill upon his appointment as First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911: "We cannot detect in his career any principles or even any constant outlook upon public affairs; his ear is always to the ground; he is the true demagogue. . . ."
The great English classical liberal John Morley, after working with Churchill, passed a succinct appraisal of him, "Winston," he said, "has no principles."
Entering politics in 1900, Churchill (the grandson of a Duke and son of a prominent Tory) naturally joined the governing Conservative party. Then in 1904, he left the Conservatives and joined the Liberal party, and when they were in decline Churchill dumped them and rejoined the Conservatives, uttering his famous quote "It's one thing to rat, it's another to re-rat." Churchill allegedly made his move to the Liberals on the issue of free trade. However, Robert Rhodes James, a Churchill admirer, wrote: "It was believed [at the time], probably rightly, that if Arthur Balfour had given him office in 1902, Churchill would not have developed such a burning interest in free trade and joined the Liberals." Clive Ponting also notes that ". . .he had already admitted to Rosebery, he was looking for an excuse to defect from a party that seemed reluctant to recognize his talents." Since the Liberals would not accept a protectionist, Churchill had to change his tune.
It's not a surprise that this neoconservative administration and its apologists in the tamed media laud and venerate Churchill, for he was as President Bush described him; a man who was synonymous with war. Churchill loved war. In 1925, he wrote, "The story of the human race is war." This is untrue, but Churchill lacked any grasp of the fundamentals of true, classical liberalism. The story of the human race is increasing peaceful cooperation and the efforts by some to stop it through war. However, for Churchill, periods without war offered nothing but "the bland skies of peace and platitude."
Without principles or scruples, Churchill as a prominent member of the Liberal party government naturally played a role in the hijacking of liberalism from its roots in individualism, laissez-faire, free trade and bourgeois morality, to its transformation into the "New Liberalism" as a proxy for socialism and the omnipotent state in Britain and in America.
Churchill was also a famous opponent of Communism and of Bolshevism in particular. One of the reasons why Churchill admired Italian Fascism was Churchill believed that Mussolini had found a formula that would neutralize the appeal of communism, namely super-nationalism with a social welfarist appeal. This is a domestic formula for power that still appeals today, if the Bush Administration is any indication. Churchill went so far as to say that Fascism "proved the necessary antidote to the Communist poison."
Then came 1941. Churchill made his peace with Communism. Temporarily, of course. Churchill gave unconditional support to Stalin, welcoming him as an ally, even embracing him as a friend, and calling the Breaker of Nations, "Uncle Joe." In his single-minded obsession with destroying German National Socialism (while establishing his own British national socialism) and carrying on his pre-World War I British Imperialist vendetta to destroy Germany, Churchill completely failed to consider the danger of inviting Soviet power and communism into the heart of Europe.
Of course, his self-created mythology--chiefly through his own books--states that he sensed the danger and tried to warn Roosevelt about Stalin, but the records of the time do not prove this out. In fact, Churchill's infatuation with Stalin reached the point where at the Tehran conference in November 1943, Churchill presented Stalin with a Crusader's sword; Stalin, who had murdered millions of Christians, was now presented by Churchill as a defender of the Christian West.
But if one was to sum up Churchill's passion, his overall reason for entering politics, it was the empire. The British Empire was Churchill's abiding love. He fought to expand it, he defended it, and he created his decades-long hatred of Germany because of it. The Empire was at the center of his view of the world. Even as late as 1947, Churchill opposed Indian independence. When Lord Irwin urged him to bring his views on India up-to-date by talking to some Indians Churchill replied "I am quite satisfied with my views on India, and I don't want them disturbed by any bloody Indians." So much for democracy.
Churchill the Socialist
Churchill made a name for himself as an opponent of socialism both before and after the First World War, except during the war when he was a staunch promoter of war socialism, declaring in a speech: "Our whole nation must be organized, must be socialized if you like the word." Of course, such rank hypocrisy was by now Churchill's stock-in-trade, and not surprisingly, during the 1945 election, Churchill described his partners in the national unity government, the Labour Party, as totalitarians, when it was Churchill himself who had accepted the infamous Beveridge Report that laid the foundations for the post-war welfare state and Keynesian (mis)management of the economy.
As Mises wrote in 1950, "It is noteworthy to remember that British socialism was not an achievement of Mr. Attlee's Labor Government, but of the war cabinet of Mr. Winston Churchill."
Churchill was converted to the Bismarckian model of social insurance following a visit to Germany. As Churchill told his constituents: "My heart was filled with admiration of the patient genius which had added these social bulwarks to the many glories of the German race." He set out, in his words, to "thrust a big slice of Bismarckianism over the whole underside of our industrial system." In 1908, Churchill announced in a speech in Dundee: "I am on the side of those who think that a greater collective sentiment should be introduced into the State and the municipalities. I should like to see the State undertaking new functions." Churchill even said: "I go farther; I should like to see the State embark on various novel and adventurous experiments."
Churchill claimed that "the cause of the Liberal Party is the cause of the left-out millions," and attacked the Conservatives as "the Party of the rich against the poor, the classes and their dependents against the masses, of the lucky, the wealthy, the happy, and the strong, against the left-out and the shut-out millions of the weak and poor." Churchill berated the Conservatives for lacking even a "single plan of social reform or reconstruction," while boasting that his "New Liberalism" offered "a wide, comprehensive, interdependent scheme of social organisation," incorporating "a massive series of legislative proposals and administrative acts."
Churchill had fallen under the spell of the Fabian Society, and its leaders Beatrice and Sidney Webb, who more than any other group, are responsible for the decline of British society. Here he was introduced to William, later Lord Beveridge, who Churchill brought into the Board of Trade as his advisor on social questions. Besides pushing for a variety of social insurance schemes, Churchill created the system of national labor exchanges, stating the need to "spread . . . a sort of Germanized network of state intervention and regulation" over the British labor market. Churchill even entertained a more ambitious goal for the Board of Trade. He proposed a plan whereby the Board of Trade would act as the economic "intelligence department" of the Government, forecasting trade and employment in Britain so that the Government could spend money in the most deserving areas. Controlling this pork would be a Committee of National Organisation to plan the economy.
Churchill was well aware of the electoral potential of organized labor, so naturally Churchill became a champion of the labor unions. He was a leading supporter of the Trades Disputes Act of 1906 which reversed the judicial decisions which had held unions responsible for property damage and injuries committed by their agents on the unions behalf, in effect granting unions a privileged position exempting them from the ordinary law of the land. It is ironic that the immense power of the British labor unions that made Britain the "Sick Man of Europe" for two generations and became the foil of Margaret Thatcher, originated with the enthusiastic help of her hero, Winston Churchill.
We can only conclude by Churchill's actions that personal freedom was the furthest thing from his mind.
Churchill and the First World War
The Great War destroyed European culture and the commitment to truths. In their place, generations embraced relativism, nihilism and socialism, and from the ashes arose Lenin, Stalin and Hitler and their evil doctrines that infect contemporary culture. In the words of the British historian, Niall Ferguson, the First World War "was nothing less than the greatest error in modern history."
In 1911, Churchill became First Lord of the Admiralty, and, during the crises that followed, used every opportunity to fan the flames of war. When the final crisis came, in 1914, Churchill was all smiles and was the only cabinet member who backed war from the start. Asquith, his own Prime Minister, wrote: "Winston very bellicose and demanding immediate mobilization . . . has got all his war paint on."
Churchill was instrumental in establishing the illegal starvation blockade of Germany. The blockade depended on scattering mines, and classified as contraband food for civilians. But, throughout his career, international law and the conventions created to limit the horrors of war meant nothing to Churchill. One of the consequences of the hunger blockade was that, while it killed 750,000 German civilians by hunger and malnutrition, the youth who survived went on to become the most fanatical Nazis.
Whether Churchill actually arranged for the sinking of the Lusitania on May 7, 1915, is still unclear, but it is clear that he did everything possible to ensure that innocent Americans would be killed by German attempts to break the hunger blockade.
A week before the disaster, Churchill wrote to Walter Runciman, President of the Board of Trade that it was "most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores, in the hopes especially of embroiling the United States with Germany."
The Lusitania was a civilian passenger liner loaded with munitions. Earlier, Churchill had ordered the captains of merchant ships, including liners, to ram German submarines, and the Germans were aware of this. The German government even took out newspaper ads in New York warning Americans not to board the ship.
Churchill, by helping engineer the entry of the United States into the Great War, set in motion the transformation of the war into a Democratic Jihad. Wilsonianism lead to the eventual destruction of the Austrian Empire, and the creation of a vast power vacuum on Germany's southeastern border that would provide fruitful opportunities and allies for Hitler's effort to overturn the Versailles Treaty.
But Churchill was not a strategist. All he cared for, as he told a visitor after his Gallipoli disaster, was "the waging of war, the defeat of the Germans."
Churchill Between the Wars
Churchill, who had been appointed Colonial Secretary, invented two client kingdoms, Transjordan and Iraq, both artificial and unstable states. Churchill's aim of course was not liberty for oppressed peoples, as his admirers like to claim for him, but for Britain to dominate the Middle East to ensure that the oil wells of Iraq and the Persian Gulf were securely in British hands.
The Crash of 1929
In 1924, Churchill rejoined the Conservative party and was made Chancellor of the Exchequer, where he returned Britain to the gold standard but didn't account for the British governments wartime inflation, which consequently severely damaged exports and ruined the good name of gold. But, of course, Churchill cared nothing for economic ideas. What interested him was only that the pound would be as strong as in the days of Queen Victoria, that once more the pound would "look the dollar in the face." The consequences of this decision had a far-reaching and disastrous impact on western civilization and the consequent appeal of socialism, Nazism and communism: the Crash of 1929.
It was Churchill's unrealistic exchange ratio that caused the Bank of England and the U.S. Federal Reserve to collude to prop up the pound by inflating the U.S. dollar, which in turn fueled the speculative boom during the 1920's that collapsed when the inflating slowed.
Churchill's fame—and his mythology—originates during the period of the 30's, especially for neoconservatives, for whom it is always 1938. However, Churchill's hard line against Hitler was little different from his usual warnings about pre-war Imperial Germany, and his hard line against inter-war Weimar Germany. For Churchill saw Germany at all times and in all ways as a threat to the British Empire. A threat that had to be destroyed and forever kept under heel. For instance, Churchill denounced all calls for Allied disarmament even before Hitler came to power. Churchill, like Clemenceau, Wilson and other Allied leaders, held the unrealistic belief that a defeated Germany would submit forever to the shackles of Versailles.
And what the neocons forget, or don't know, is that Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin acknowledged in the House of Commons that, had they told the people the truth, the Conservatives could never have won the 1936 election. "Supposing that I had gone to the country and said that Germany was rearming and that we must be armed, does anyone think that our pacific democracy would have rallied to that cry?" It was Neville Chamberlain who began the rearmament of Britain after the Munich Crisis, the arms which Churchill would not have had during the Battle of Britain, including the first deployment of radar, which Churchill mocked while in opposition in the 1930s.
Moreover, Churchill's Cassandra-like role during the '30s emerged largely because Churchill moved from one impending threat to the next: Bolshevik Russia, the General Strike of 1926, the dangers of Indian independence, the abdication crisis in 1936. During the '30s Churchill was the proverbial Boy Who Cried Wolf. Maybe his neocon admirers could have learned that lesson about Iraq.
But as in all things, even with this Churchill reversed himself. In the fall of 1937, he stated:
"Three or four years ago I was myself a loud alarmist. . . . In spite of the risks which wait on prophecy, I declare my belief that a major war is not imminent, and I still believe that there is a good chance of no major war taking place in our lifetime. . . . I will not pretend that, if I had to choose between Communism and Nazism, I would choose Communism."
And in his book Step By Step written in 1937, Churchill had this to say about the Mortal Enemy: ". . .one may dislike Hitler's system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as indomitable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations." One has to wonder if Churchill was referring to himself in his hypothetical example.
The common mythology is so far from historical truth that even an ardent Churchill sympathizer, Gordon Craig, felt obliged to write:
It is reasonably well-known today that Churchill was often ill-informed, that his claims about German strength were exaggerated and his prescriptions impractical, that his emphasis on air power was misplaced.
Moreover, as a British historian noted: "For the record, it is worth recalling that in the 1930s Churchill did not oppose the appeasement of either Italy or Japan."
Churchill and the Second World War
After Munich, Chamberlain was determined that Hitler would have no more easy victories, and when Germany invaded Poland in September 1939, Britain declared war on Germany, and Churchill was recalled to his old place as First Lord of the Admiralty. An astonishing thing then happened: the President of the United States by-passed all the ordinary diplomatic channels and initiated a personal correspondence, not with the Prime Minister, but with Churchill. These messages were surrounded by a frantic secrecy, and culminated in the imprisonment of Tyler Kent, the American cipher clerk at the U.S. embassy in London. Some of these messages contained allusions to FDR's agreement prior to the war to an alliance with Britain, contrary to his public statements and American law.
Three months prior to the war, Roosevelt told King George VI that he intended to set up a zone in the Atlantic to be patrolled by the U.S. Navy, and, according to the King's notes, the President stated that "if he saw a U boat he would sink her at once & wait for the consequences." The biographer of George VI, John W. Wheeler-Bennett, considered that these conversations "contained the germ of the future Bases-for-Destroyers deal, and also of the Lend-Lease Agreement itself."
In 1940, Churchill at last became Prime Minister, ironically enough when the Chamberlain government resigned over Churchill's aborted plan to pre-emptively invade Norway. After France's armed forces were destroyed by the Blitzkrieg, and the British army fled towards the Channel, Churchill the conservative, the "anti-socialist," defiled the common law by passing totalitarian legislation placing "all persons, their services and their property at the disposal of the Crown," i.e., into the hands of Churchill himself.
During the Battle of Britain, Churchill gave perhaps his most famous speech, in which he plagiarized the French Premier Georges Clemenceau, and where he uttered his famous phrase "If the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years, men will say, "This was their finest hour!" This calls to mind another man's boast about a thousand year Reich. Churchill also hinted at his plot to drag America into the war: ". . .we shall never surrender, and even if . . . this island . . . were subjugated . . . then our empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old." But like Marxist Revolutionaries, Christian Millennialists and other assorted cranks, Churchill was not at all interested in "God's good time" or any other presumed unearthly schedule, and he worked night and day to collude with Roosevelt to get America into the war.
As PM, Churchill continued his policy to refuse any negotiated peace. Even after the Fall of France, Churchill rejected Hitler's renewed peace overtures. This, however, more than anything else, is supposed to be the foundation of his greatness. Yet what opportunities were lost to a free France and Britain and the Low Countries before 1940 to re-arm and negotiate military defense strategies? What of the time lost that could have been used to study the Blitzkrieg method of warfare before it crashed through France? The British historian John Charmley made the crucial point that Churchill's adamant refusal even to listen to peace proposals in 1940 doomed what he claimed was most dear to him: the Empire and a Britain that was nonsocialist and independent in world affairs. One could add that by allowing Germany to overrun its weaker neighbors when peace was possible it probably also doomed European Jewry as well. How many more millions of Jews and other Europeans were murdered because of Churchill's stupidity? But it is politically incorrect, and even possibly a hate crime to suggest that better alternatives were available during World War II than those made by the Allies. Just because something turned out one way does not mean that was the only way it could have turned out or was the best result. Somehow, it is controversial to say this.
The peace camp realized something that escaped Churchill the empire romanticist: even the British Empire and her vast resources alone could not defeat the concentrated power that Germany possessed in Europe. And even more after the Fall of France, Churchill's war aim of total victory could be realized only by embroiling the United States in another world war.
As an aside to the French-haters, what they forget is that, if the U.S. army had met the Wehrmacht in 1940, it would have fared considerably worse than the French Army. National chauvinists, however, prefer their petty hatreds.
Involving America was Churchill's policy in World War II, just as it was Churchill's policy in World War I, and would be his policy again in the Cold War. Churchill put his heart and soul into ensuring Roosevelt came through.
In 1940, Churchill sent British agent "Intrepid" to the United States, where he set up shop in Rockefeller Center, where, with the full knowledge and cooperation of Roosevelt and the collaboration of federal agencies, "Intrepid" and his 300 agents "intercepted mail, tapped wires, cracked safes, kidnapped, . . . rumor mongered" and incessantly smeared their favorite targets, the "isolationists" (i.e., Jeffersonians) as nazis and fascists.
In June 1941, Churchill, looking for a chance to bring America into the war, wrote regarding the German warship, Prinz Eugen: "It would be better for instance that she should be located by a U.S. ship as this might tempt her to fire on that ship, thus providing the incident for which the U.S. government would be so grateful."
Churchill also instructed the British ambassador to Tokyo, Sir Robert Craigie, "the entry of the United States into war either with Germany and Italy or with Japan, is fully conformable with British interests. Nothing in the munitions sphere can compare with the importance of the British Empire and the United States being co-belligerent."
In August 1941, Roosevelt and Churchill met at the Atlantic conference. Churchill told his Cabinet "The President had said he would wage war but not declare it and that he would become more and more provocative. If the Germans did not like it, they could attack American forces. . . . Everything was to be done to force an incident."
After the U.S. had officially entered the war, on February 15, 1942, in the House of Commons, Churchill declared, of America's entry into the war: "This is what I have dreamed of, aimed at, worked for, and now it has come to pass."
This deceptive alliance illustrates another of Churchill's faults. His subordination of political aims to military planning. Churchill made war for the sake of making war, with little regard for the political results that follow. He once even told Asquith that his life's ambition was "to command great victorious armies in battle." And World War II was his opportunity. Churchill and Roosevelt were both willing to do anything to destroy the menace of Nazi Germany, at a time when Hitler had killed perhaps several hundred thousand, and to do so they would ally with Hitler's former ally in the invasion of Poland, Joseph Stalin (the Soviet Union had even been invited to join the Axis in 1940), who had already murdered tens of millions. But why is it conventional wisdom that compromise with one dictator at a vital period would have been immoral while collaboration with an even greater dictator with genuine global ambitions was the mark of greatness?
The truth is Churchill cared for nothing but Britain. The lives, homes and cultures of non-Britons he took and destroyed without a care or second thought. What sort of 'conservatism' requires the murder of millions of defenseless innocents? Winston Churchill was a man who along with Roosevelt, Hitler and Stalin, probed just how far Western Civilization could fall in just six short years of time.
Churchill threw British support to the Communist Partisan leader Tito. What a victory for Tito would mean was no secret to Churchill. When an aide pointed out that Tito intended to transform Yugoslavia into a Communist dictatorship on the Stalinist model, Churchill retorted: "Do you intend to live there?" What a humanitarian.
Of course, in Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt were confronted with a man who had an overall political aim for the war. Stalin knew what he wanted to achieve from the destruction of Germany. For Churchill, his only aim was to beat Hitler, and then he would start thinking of the future of Britain and Europe. Churchill said it in so many words: "It was to be the defeat, ruin, and slaughter of Hitler, to the exclusion of all other purposes, loyalties and aims."
Churchill's aim was in his words, the "indefinite prevention of their [the Germans'] rising again as an Armed Power." Not surprisingly, instead of making every effort to encourage and assist the anti-Nazi resistance groups in Germany, Churchill responded to the feelers sent out by the German resistance with silence, thus helping to prolong the war and the killing. Even more shockingly, Churchill had nothing but scorn for the heroic officers after their failed assassination attempt on Hitler in July 1944, even as Hitler was enjoying their filmed executions.
In the place of help, Churchill only offered Germans the slogan of unconditional surrender, which only prolonged the war further. And instead of promoting the overthrow of Hitler by anti-Nazi Germans, Churchill's policy was all-out support of Stalin. Returning from Yalta, Churchill told the House of Commons on February 27, 1945 that he did not know any government that kept its obligations as faithfully as did the Soviet Union, even to its disadvantage.
The War Crimes
That Churchill committed war crimes—planned them, aided and abetted them, and defended them—is beyond doubt. Churchill was the prime subverter through two world wars of the rules of warfare that had evolved in the West over centuries.
At the Quebec conference, Roosevelt and Churchill adopted the Morgenthau Plan, which if implemented would have killed tens of millions of Germans, giving the Germans a terrifying picture of what "unconditional surrender" would mean in practice. Churchill was convinced of the plans benefits, as it "would save Britain from bankruptcy by eliminating a dangerous competitor." That the Morgenthau Plan was analogous to Hitler's post-conquest plans for western Russia and the Ukraine was lost on Churchill, who according to Morgenthau, drafted the wording of the scheme.
Churchill even brainstormed dropping tens of thousands of anthrax "super bombs" on the civilian population of Germany, and ordered detailed planning for a chemical attack on six major cities, estimating that millions would die immediately "by inhalation," with millions more succumbing later.
But Churchill's greatest war crimes involved the terror bombing of German cities that killed 600,000 civilians and left some 800,000 injured. Arthur Harris ("Bomber Harris"), the head of Bomber Command, stated "In Bomber Command we have always worked on the assumption that bombing anything in Germany is better than bombing nothing."
Churchill brazenly lied to the House of Commons and the public, claiming that only military and industrial installations were targeted. In fact, the aim was to kill as many civilians as possible. Hence the application of "carpet" bombing in an attempt to terrorize the Germans into surrendering.
Professor Raico described the effect of Churchillian statesmanship: "The campaign of murder from the air leveled Germany. A thousand-year-old urban culture was annihilated, as great cities, famed in the annals of science and art, were reduced to heaps of smoldering ruins. . . ." No wonder that, learning of this, a civilized European man like Joseph Schumpeter, at Harvard, was driven to telling "anyone who would listen" "that Churchill and Roosevelt were destroying more than Genghis Khan."
According to the official history of the Royal Air Force: "The destruction of Germany was by then on a scale which might have appalled Attila or Genghis Khan." Dresden was filled with masses of helpless refugees running for their lives ahead of the advancing Red Army. The war was practically over, but for three days and nights, from February 13 to 15, 1945, British bombs pounded Dresden, killing as many as 135,000 people or more in three days. After the massacre, Churchill attempted to disclaim responsibility; even casually saying "I thought the Americans did it."
The terror bombing of Germany and the killing of civilians continued as late as the middle of April, 1945. It only stopped, as Bomber Harris noted, because there were essentially no more targets left to be bombed in Germany.
In order to kill a maximum number of Germans, Winston Churchill dismissed politics or policy as a 'secondary consideration,' and on at least two occasions said that there were "no lengths of violence to which we would not go" in order to achieve his objective. In fact he said this publicly in a speech given on September 31, 1943, and again in the House of Commons, on February 27, 1945, when unbelievable lengths of violence had already taken place. If Hitler had uttered this phrase, we would all cite it as more evidence of his barbarism. Yet, when Churchill utters it, his apologists palm it off as the resoluteness required of a great statesman, rather than describing it as an urge for mass, indiscriminate murder.
Of course, Churchill supported the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which resulted in the deaths of another 200,000 civilians. When Truman fabricated the myth of the "500,000 American lives saved" to justify his mass murder, Churchill felt the need to top his lie: the atomic bombings had saved 1,200,000 lives, including 1,000,000 Americans. It was all just another of Churchill's fantasies.
Yet, after all this slaughter, Churchill would write: "The goal of World War II [was] to revive the status of man."
Churchill and the Cold War
Among Churchill's many war crimes, there are also those crimes and atrocities for which he is culpable that occurred following the war.
These include the forced repatriation of some two million old people, men, women, and children to the Soviet Union to their deaths. Then there were the massacres carried out by Churchill's protégé, Tito: tens of thousands of Croats, Slovenes and other "class-enemies" and anti-Communists were killed.
In the wake of the armies of Churchill's friend and ally, the mass deportations began. But Churchill was unmoved. In January 1945 he said: "Why are we making a fuss about the Russian deportations in Rumania of Saxons [Germans] and others? . . . I cannot see the Russians are wrong in making 100 or 150 thousand of these people work their passage. . . . I cannot myself consider that it is wrong of the Russians to take Rumanians of any origin they like to work in the Russian coal-fields." Here Churchill, the great friend of liberty as Bush described him, approves of slavery. About 500,000 German civilians were enslaved to work in Soviet Russia, in accordance with the Yalta agreement where Churchill and Roosevelt agreed that slave labor constituted a proper form of "reparations."
Then there was the great atrocity of the expulsion of 15 million Germans from their ancestral homelands in East and West Prussia, Silesia, Pomerania, and the Sudetenland, pursuant to Churchill's mad plan to violently uproot the entire polish population and move Poland westward, which he demonstrated with a set of matchsticks, and to Churchill's acceptance of the Czech leader Eduard Benes's plan for the ethnic cleansing of Bohemia and Moravia. Around two million German civilians died in this process. An entire ancient culture was obliterated. This sort of cultural jihad used to be something conservatives opposed. Today's neoconservatives instead, who evidently embrace the Marxist doctrine of sweeping away the past, would surely argue that in order to create, one must first destroy, or in that old Stalinist phrase, to make an omelet, you must first break a few eggs.
A large factor in the litany of Churchill's war crimes was his racism. Churchill was an English chauvinist, a British racist, and like Wilson, loathed the so-called "dirty whites," the French, Italians and other Latin’s, and Slavs like the Serbs, Poles, Russians, etc.... Churchill professed Darwinism, and particularly disliked the Catholic Church and Christian missions. He became, in his own words, "a materialist to the tips of my fingers," and fervently upheld the worldview that human life is a struggle for existence, with the outcome the survival of the fittest.
In 1919, as Colonial Secretary Churchill advocated the use of chemical weapons on the "uncooperative Arabs" in the puppet state of Iraq. "I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas," he declared. "I am strongly in favor of using poison gas against uncivilized tribes." Some year’s later, gassing human beings to death would make other men infamous.
An example of Churchill's racial views are his comments made in 1937: "I do not admit that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race, has come in and taken their place."
In Churchill's single-minded decades-long obsession with preventing a single hegemonic power from arising on the European continent that would pose a threat to the British Empire, he failed to see that his alliance with Stalin produced exactly that. "As the blinkers of war were removed," John Charmley writes, "Churchill began to perceive the magnitude of the mistake which had been made." Churchill is alleged to have blurted out after finally realizing the scale of his blunder: "We have slaughtered the wrong pig!"
But it was too late. For decades Churchill worked for the destruction of Germany. Yet only after Stalin had devoured half of Europe did this "great statesman" realize that destroying the ability of Germany to act as a counterbalance to Russia left Europe ripe for invasion and conquest by a resurgent Russia.
By 1946 Churchill was complaining in a voice of outrage about the Iron Curtain of tyranny that descended on Eastern Europe. But Churchill helped to weave the fabric.
With the balance of power in Europe wrecked by his own hand, Churchill saw only one recourse: to bind America to Europe permanently. Thus Churchill returned to his tried-and-true strategy, embroiling the United States in another war. This time a "Cold War" that would entrench the military-industrial complex and change America forever.
With his lack of principles and scruples, Churchill was involved in one way or another in nearly every disaster that befell the 20th century. He helped destroy laissez-faire liberalism, he played a role in the Crash of 1929, he helped start WWI, and by bringing in America to help, prolonged the war and created the conditions for the rise of Nazism, prolonged WWII, laid the groundwork for Soviet domination, helped involve America in a cold war with Russia, and pioneered in the development of total war and undermining western civilized standards.
Chris Matthews described Churchill as the "man who save[d] the honor of the 20th century." Rather than this great accolade, Winston Churchill must be ranked with Karl Marx, Woodrow Wilson, Vladimir Lenin, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt as one of the destroyers of the values and greatness of Western civilization.
And it is fitting that the Library of Congress exhibition is entitled "Churchill and the Great Republic" because few men have done more to overthrow the American Republic(s) and institute the great centralized global war machine that has taken its place.
Posted by: Pubilius is a censor | 2010-01-15 8:21:22 AM
PUBLIUS, It would be interesting if a new small country with a small population, enshrined property rights in its constitution, and vigorously defended them. If that county then took a hands off approach to trade, I wonder how long it would take for it to become one of the largest economies in the world?
Posted by: TM | 2010-01-15 5:01:41 PM
TM: Perhaps like Switzerland, such a country would need to arm all its citizens and develop powerful defences.
Posted by: Agha Ali Arkhan | 2010-01-16 10:23:28 AM
Don't kid yourselves. The first act of any newly recognised state, would be to plead for foreign aid.
Posted by: dp | 2010-01-16 10:44:45 AM
TM: Perhaps like Switzerland, such a country would need to arm all its citizens and develop powerful defences.
Posted by: Agha Ali Arkhan | 2010-01-16 10:23:28 AM
Actually the most powerful defence Switzerland has is its terrain and its neutrality. Bankers to the world holds a special status. If any one country attacked the Swiss it would really piss off all the countries that have huge numbered bank accounts there. In other words....the rest of the world. The citizen army is just icing on the cake. Every potential invader in over 600 years has understood this. Even Hitler.
Posted by: peterj | 2010-01-16 3:12:11 PM
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