IBDP Essays Relating to Churchill

Free Notes, Quotes and Essays Relating to Churchill

Lecture One Heritage and Destiny
Scope: On June 4, 1940, Winston Churchill addressed the British Parliament. Barely three weeks had passed since he became Prime Minister. The time was what some call “the darkest days in English history.” The Nazis had conquered the Low Countries, and France was falling. Hitler was convinced that Britain, too, would make a negotiated peace. To Parliament and the world, Churchill proclaimed, “We shall never surrender.” With this speech, Churchill rallied his nation and began the march toward ultimate victory in the most titanic war in history. Churchill is arguably the greatest leader of the twentieth century and perhaps the greatest Englishman in history. Our course examines the life and achievements of this multifaceted genius, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature and whose paintings have been deemed worthy to hang in major museums of the world.
This man who would change the course of history was born to wealth and privilege on November 30, 1874, in Blenheim Palace. Our course begins, as Churchill would have begun, with the legacy of heroism and public service he received from his famous ancestor, John, Duke of Marlborough, and from his own father, Lord Randolph Churchill.
I. When Churchill died in January 1965, Clement Attlee said that he was the greatest Englishman of our time and, perhaps, the greatest citizen of the world of our time.
A. Attlee was a lifelong socialist, with political views very different from those of Churchill. However, Attlee’s tribute was sincere and was taken up throughout England, the United States, and much of Europe.
B. The only correction that was offered by many to Attlee’s assessment was to call Churchill the greatest citizen of all time.
II. On June 4, 1940, Winston Churchill addressed the British Parliament.
A. On May 10, 1940, Churchill had become Prime Minister. It was a time of supreme crisis. The German army seemed invincible. In September1939, the Germans had conquered Poland.  In April and May 1940, the Germans had occupied Norway and Denmark and conquered the Low Countries. The French army, thought to be the strongest in the world, was collapsing. Its collapse was the result of the failure and lack of will of the French political and military leaders. From May 26 to June 3, 1940, 336,000 British and French troops had been rescued at Dunkirk. However, as Churchill said, wars are not won by evacuations.
B. Many at the highest level of the British government, including King George VI, thought that Britain could not win the war. The Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, thought that Britain should negotiate a peace with Nazi Germany, which would have left the British in control of their empire and Germany in control of Europe. The king and many others did not want Churchill as Prime Minister. “Shrewd” politicians, such as Halifax, wanted Churchill to be Prime Minster, to make a peace with Germany, and then, tarnished by the peace, be forced to step down. To the British people, to Germany and the Axis powers, to the United States, still neutral, Churchill addressed his famous words: “We shall never surrender.”
III. With that speech, Churchill rallied a nation to “their finest hour.”
A. Churchill was the greatest statesman of the twentieth century. He joins Pericles of Athens and Abraham
Lincoln as one of the greatest statesman in the history of democracy.
We distinguish a statesman from a politician by four criteria:
1. A bedrock of principles
2. A moral compass
3. A vision
4. The ability to build a consensus to achieve that vision.
C. Churchill’s bedrock of principles was his devotion to liberty.
D. Churchill’s moral compass lay in his conviction of absolute right and wrong. He was ambitious, but he would not do certain things to achieve his goals if he believed such actions to be wrong.
E. Churchill’s vision was of the entire world moving toward true freedom, liberty under the law; Churchill had an extraordinary concern for the ordinary person.
F. His mastery of the English language, his skill as a speaker and a writer, were fundamental to his ability to build a consensus to achieve this vision. Before Churchill’s speech of June 4, 1940, a public opinion poll might have shown that a majority of British were opposed to another speech. With one speech, he changed public opinion.
IV. The statesman who so rallied a nation was born into wealth and privilege at Blenheim Palace, near Oxford, England, on November 30, 1874.
A. Churchill’s life was profoundly shaped by the legacy of military and political courage he received from his famous ancestor, John, Duke of Marlborough, and Churchill’s own father, Lord Randolph Churchill. Churchill wrote superb biographies of both these figures. John, First Duke of Marlborough (1650–1722) was one of the most gifted generals and military minds of his era and played a major role in making England a world power.
A. He was born the son of Sir Winston Churchill, a man of some wealth and prominence. John’s background and ability won him advancement in royal circles. By the age of twenty-five, he had distinguished himself as a soldier in England’s war against Holland. In the winter of 1677–1678, he married Sarah Jennings, who played an important role in his political
B. In the service of King James II (1685–1688), John Churchill advanced in position and fortune. However, concerned by King James’s bent toward Catholicism, John betrayed the king and went over to the side of William and Mary in 1688.
C. The “Glorious Revolution” of William and Mary (1688–1702) and the reign of their successor, Queen Anne * (1702–1714), saw John Churchill reach the pinnacle of his career. In 1689, he was made Earl of Marlborough. In 1702, he was named by Queen Anne as Captain General of English troops, both at home and abroad.
D. The War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) was between the allied forces of Britain, Holland, and Austria against King Louis XIV of France. Marlborough was made commander-in-chief of the united troops of Holland and Britain. On August 13, 1704, Marlborough led the allied armies to victory near the German village of Blenheim. Marlborough was both a brilliant general and a superb diplomat. He served in the front ranks and looked after his men, who were devoted to him. He led his armies to further victories over the French at the Battles of Ramillies (1706), Oudenarde
(1708), and Malplaquet (1709).
E. For his service, John Churchill was elevated from his status as the Earl of Marlborough to Duke of Marlborough. The royal manor at Woodstock near Oxford was given to him, and Queen Anne and Parliament built Blenheim Palace for him.
F. Court intrigues led to Marlborough’s fall from power in 1711. Marlborough retained his fortune and palace, and his descendants still today hold the title and Blenheim Palace. English historians and writers, including Jonathan Swift, Henry Hallam, and Thomas Babington Macaulay attacked his reputation.
G. Winston Churchill set out to restore his ancestor’s reputation in his four-volume biography, Marlborough, His Life and Times (1933–1938).

Lecture Two Young Churchill
Scope: Lord Randolph, the second son of the seventh Duke of Marlborough, was a shrewd politician and a brilliant speaker. His marriage to the American heiress Jennie Jerome produced Winston Leonard Spencer- Churchill, whose early years held little promise of future greatness. The attention of his parents was minimal and largely counterproductive. His record at school was unexceptional. It was only in his late teens, at the military college of Sandhurst, that Churchill began to come into his own.
I. Throughout his career, Churchill would be hounded by false accusations and called a political adventurer, even as his ancestor John Churchill, the Duke of Marlborough, had been. Marlborough’s only son had died as a child. His titles passed down through his daughter Anne, who married Charles Spencer, Earl of Sunderland. In this manner, Princess Diana was related to Winston Churchill. The descendants of the Duke of Marlborough were not especially distinguished in politics until the seventh Duke of Marlborough, John Winston Spencer-Churchill (1822–1883). He was a significant figure in the Conservative Party and Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland. His second son was Lord Randolph Churchill, the father of Winston Churchill.
II. Randolph Churchill was elected to Parliament in 1874. He was soon recognized as a brilliant speaker, shrewd parliamentarian, and a man of enormous ambition. He met his future wife, Jeanette (Jennie) Jerome, Winston Churchill’s mother, at a party given in honour of the Prince and Princess of Wales and the future Czar of Russia, Alexis III. Jennie was the daughter of Clarissa and Leonard Jerome, an extremely wealthy New York financier. The Jerome family spent much time living in England and Europe. Within a week after they met, Jennie and Randolph were engaged. They were wed on April 15, 1874. Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was born November 30, 1874.
III. Churchill’s relations with his parents were quite unlike anything an American child of today might experience but were not unusual for the child of aristocrats in Victorian England. The political life of his father and the social life of both parents left them little time and less interest for their child. Winston spent most of his time with his nanny, Mrs. Elizabeth Anne Everest, whom he affectionately called “woom.” Winston’s early years were spent in Ireland, where his father had been posted. In 1885, Lord Randolph became Chancellor of the Exchequer and proceeded to take positions that opposed that of the Prime Minister. In 1886, Lord Randolph resigned, after his budget was rejected by the Prime Minister. His power began to decline, along with his physical health.
III. At age seven, Winston was sent to boarding school. Winston’s school record was poor, including his years at the famous “public” (we would say private) school of Harrow. Winston was also lonely. His mother rarely visited him at boarding school; she even forgot his Christmas presents.His father was never sure how old he was and never visited him, even though Winston begged him to. There was no intimacy between Lord Randolph and Winston. Despite this, Winston worshipped his father as a hero and was devoted to his mother. Lord Randolph was so disappointed in Winston’s record that he was not allowed to go to Eton, the most prestigious school and his father’s alma mater. Lord Randolph had gone to Oxford University. He thought Winston unfit for either Oxford or Cambridge. Randolph thus denied his son the credentials most suited to an English aristocrat. At Harrow, although he did poorly and was not interested in most subjects, Winston did better in history and took an interest in English.Believing his son incapable of achieving entrance to university, Lord Randolph suggested a military career to Winston, a suggestion Winston eagerly accepted. But Winston did not gain entrance to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst without a struggle.
IV. Churchill began to come into his own as a cadet at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst (1893–1894). While there, he studied subjects that had immediate value for him and, in a class of 130, he graduated twentieth. Even Winston’s progress at Sandhurst did not endear him to his father, whose health was declining rapidly. Lord Randolph died in 1894, the same year that Churchill graduated from Sandhurst. Churchill later wrote that the solitary tree, if it grows at all, grows to be strong and sturdy, and frequently, a boy deprived of his father’s love feels determined to win that love back, even after his father has gone. Churchill spent part of his life trying to live up to the expectations of a father who denied him that love

Lecture Three On the Empire’s Frontier
Scope: As a young officer on the northwest frontier of India, Churchill displayed the courage, ambition, and boldness of spirit that was his hallmark throughout his long life. We follow Churchill as he rides in the last great cavalry charge at the Battle of Omdurman in 1898. We are with Churchill in South Africa during the Boer War as his intrepid spirit makes him a national celebrity. We come back to Britain with him as he wins his seat in Parliament in 1900. By the age of twenty-six, Churchill was a member of Parliament and a best-selling author and had made himself a millionaire through his writings.
I. After Sandhurst, Churchill received a commission in a famous regiment, the Fourth Hussars.In 1895, he was posted in India, the jewel in the crown of the British Empire. At that time, Britain ruled an empire ninety-one times its size (the size of the State of Colorado). Churchill believed the British Empire to be a force for good, bringing law and civilization all over the globe, raising up men and women in a civilization of a bright new age.
Typically, Churchill wanted to make good use of his time until he was due to leave for India. He went, as a newspaper correspondent, to Cuba, where rebels were fighting for their freedom against the Spanish. He described the action, published his opinions, and proved himself to be calm under fire. When he returned to New York, he found himself in a controversy. The press questioned his presence in Cuba and his alleged support for Spanish colonial rule. Controversy would dog Churchill throughout his life.
Back in England, he defended the freedom of prostitutes and argued that the true solution to social problems lay in education and improvements to social conditions, as opposed to prudish censorship. Churchill described himself as a “passive conformist in religion.”
II. He served with distinction and bravery on the northwest frontier in the Malakand campaign of 1897, when
Afghan tribesmen rebelled against British rule.In Afghanistan, he also reported on the campaign as a war correspondent.
B. He published a book about the Malakand campaign, which became a bestseller. In it, he showed courage by criticizing British strategy in the campaign. In doing so, he aroused the anger of the War Office and Lord Kitchener in particular.
 His book won the praise of Lord Salisbury, who offered his support. Churchill asked Salisbury to help him join Lord Kitchener in the Sudanese campaign in 1898. He served with equal distinction in this campaign against Sudanese tribesmen, which culminated in the Battle of Omdurman on September 2, 1898. Again, he served as a war correspondent.
He criticized the squalor of war, including Kitchener’s brutality to the enemy, his cruelty to prisoners, and
his destruction of the tomb of the Sudanese religious leader. Again, Churchill’s book about the campaign was highly successful.
III. Churchill resigned his commission in the British army and went to South Africa. In 1899–1902, the Boer, or South African, War was the struggle against British rule in South Africa, waged by the Boers (Afrikaners, descendants of Dutch settlers). Churchill served as a war correspondent (1899–1900). On November 15, 1899, not quite twenty-five years old, Churchill joined an expeditionary force and wound up as a prisoner of the Boers in Pretoria. He eventually made a dramatic escape to Portuguese East Africa. His flight to freedom made him a national celebrity in England. He wrote two books based on his South African experiences, which became bestsellers.
IV. Back in England, Churchill entered politics. He was elected to Parliament as a member of the Conservative Party from Oldham in 1900. At the age of twenty-six, Churchill was a war hero, a best-selling author, and a member of Parliament and, by his writing and lectures, had made himself a millionaire.

Lecture Four Political Beginnings
Scope: Churchill’s political career rested on a bedrock of principles, which made him incomprehensible to run-of- the mill politicians. Accordingly, he never lacked for critics. However, his political acumen, his administrative abilities, and his brilliance as an orator carried him very far, very fast. When World War I began in 1914, Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty, in charge of the British navy. He brought the navy to its peak of efficiency. However, his bedrock of principles led him to challenge the patently unsuccessful strategy of the British High Command. The result was the Dardanelles campaign of 1915.
I. Churchill succeeded in becoming a war hero and best-selling author out of ambition and a need for recognition, fostered by his parents’ neglect of him, his desire to prove himself to his father, and later, his desire to vindicate his father’s memory. Churchill hoped to use his success as a soldier and author to boost his political career. In India, he had begun to educate himself by reading books that his mother sent him. His literary and speaking style were the product of having read a few books and having read them well. Edward Gibbon’s (1737–1794) The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Thomas Babington Macaulay’s (1800–1859) histories, essays, and poetry were most influential on Churchill’s style and approach to history. He also studied Parliamentary debates and his father’s speeches. By the time he was writing about his adventures in South Africa, he had become a master of English prose. He believed that to become a truly great speaker you must believe in what you are saying. He wrote his own speeches. Although each speech took him eight to ten hours to prepare, people thought the speeches were extemporaneous.
II. When Churchill was first elected to Parliament, in 1900, Queen Victoria was nearing the end of her long reign (1837–1901), the British Empire was at its height, and Great Britain was the leading economic power in the world.
There were also serious problems at home and abroad. An enormous gulf existed between rich and poor in Britain. Britain saw severe labour unrest. The issue of the status of Ireland caused violent agitation. The growing military might of Germany posed a threat. In the British system of government in 1911, Parliament, comprising the Crown, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons, was sovereign. This is the legal definition. The House of Commons was, and is, in fact, the sovereign body. The House of Lords could, at that time, veto legislation passed by the House of Commons. Britain was, and is, a Parliamentary democracy. There is no direct vote for the Prime Minister; the winning political party chooses its Prime Minister. Although each member of Parliament represents a geographical district, members do not have to reside in their districts. 
 In 1900, there were two leading parties. Conservatives were more traditional in their values. Liberals believed that the government should play a bigger role in carrying out social programs.
III. Churchill, like his father, believed in a Tory democracy with a liberal cast, which would take care of its poor with various social programs, including education, health insurance, unemployment benefits, and recognition of trade unions.
Although elected as a member of the Conservative Party, Churchill had a deep distrust of Conservative leaders, because they had been responsible for destroying his father’s career. By 1906, he had published a biography of his father in an effort to vindicate his father’s memory. For Churchill, Lord Randolph represented an England that was above petty partisanship. However, his father’s memory was not an asset to Churchill during these years. Churchill’s first speech in Parliament was controversial. He praised the Boers for fighting the war with bravery. He was accused of trying to run imperialism on the cheap when he voted against large amounts of money being granted to the army. He warned against trying to fight a war against Germany, because he believed Britain could never raise a large enough army to defeat the Germans. He cautioned that the next war would be protracted and extremely costly in terms of lives and money.
IV. In 1904, Churchill decided to leave the Conservative Party, because the Conservatives were pushing a policy of
tariffs, and Churchill believed in free trade. He became a member of the Liberal Party. His Conservative opponents called him a political opportunist; for the same reason, he also did not gain the full support of the Liberal Party. In 1905, he was named Undersecretary of State for Colonies and was immediately assigned a controversial task: to develop a constitution for South Africa in the wake of the Boer War. The constitution he developed was a key example of his spirit of magnanimity. It advocated a policy of “one man one vote” for the Boers and allowed them to keep their language. The constitution he established would guide South Africa through World War II and tie it deeply to the British Empire.
VI. In 1908, he was appointed President of the Board of Trade, bringing him into the Cabinet and giving him the scope for his program of social reform.
VII. In 1910, Churchill became the second youngest Home Secretary in British history. As Home Secretary or His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State, Churchill held a post of enormous responsibility. The Home Secretary was effectively responsible for all matters directly involving people living in Great Britain, including law enforcement, labour issues, immigration, censorship, and numerous other issues. Churchill handled all these posts with great ability. He was energetic and innovative, a skilled administrator, and a forceful proponent of good policies. He also took responsibility for his actions.His actions also caused criticism that stayed with him for years. He was criticized for the police action taken against a gang of anarchists in the East End of London (Sydney Street, 1910). The criticism was not so much that he had allowed the anarchists’ refuge to burn to the ground when it caught on fire, but rather that it was unseemly for a cabinet member to be present at the scene of the event. He was criticised for his actions in putting down riots by Welsh miners (Tonypandy, 1910). It was said that he had used troops to shoot down miners. In fact, he never sent the troops in; the riots were put down by the police. But the charges stayed with him for decades.
VIII. In 1911, Churchill was named First Lord of the Admiralty, the civilian in charge of the British navy. In those days, when Britain ruled the seas, the admiralty was, next to the Prime Minister, the most important government post in the British Empire. Churchill was superb in the position. From 1911 on, Churchill was convinced that war with Germany was inevitable and that it would be the most destructive war the world had ever seen. The carnage of World War I was indeed enormous. Churchill was convinced there was a better way to fight the war than to accept the slaughter of 20,000 men in one day to gain a few yards. For that reason, he proposed a campaign in the Dardanelles. Unfortunately, the Dardanelles campaign, as executed, was a disaster. Churchill received the blame and was forced to resign.

Lecture Five Churchill and Controversy
Scope: Churchill wasand for some historians still is- a controversial figure. Many of his personal qualities tended to provoke controversy, including his refusal to “stay in his box,” to compromise his vision, and to avoid difficult decisions. The Dardanelles campaign was a major controversy and seminal event in Churchill’s life. It turned into a disaster because of Churchill’s impetuosity and his inability to interpret human character and recognize those who bore him ill. The tragic failure of that campaign, and the public and political response to it, threatened to destroy Churchill’s political career. His own response embodied those personal qualities that enabled him not only to survive but, ultimately, to triumph.

I. Why was Churchill plagued with controversy all his life? Churchill was a genius and genius is often distrusted and envied, especially in the political world. Churchill did not “stay in his box”; he always went above and beyond his responsibilities. As First Lord of the Admiralty, he went beyond what was considered his sphere of responsibility solely to manage the budget. He worked hard to transform the navy (to get bigger guns, build faster warships, and switch the basic fuel from coal to oil). He did not take advice from his admirals. Instead, he took advice from what many in the admiralty
considered to be bad sources, such as Sir John Fisher, who was considered somewhat quirky. He wanted to develop the military potential of aircraft, against the opinion of many in the military who saw aircraft as merely sports vehicles. In 1914, in an effort to defend Antwerp from the Germans, Churchill shipped Royal Marines and naval reserves to the Belgian port and went into battle with them. This was not his decision to make as First Lord of the Admiralty. Eventually, Antwerp collapsed as the Germans prevailed, and the troops had to be recalled. This action became the subject of ridicule in the press, and Churchill was severely reprimanded for his over-enthusiasm. Later, the King of the Belgians declared that he thought no action did more to secure victory in World War I than that of Antwerp. By holding on in Antwerp, Churchill’s action enabled the British to send more troops to Calais and other ports, with the result that they were never captured. But the idea that Antwerp was a fiasco stuck to Churchill’s character, and official reports would never remove the blame that tainted him.
Other factors that made Churchill “untrustworthy” in the eyes of his peers included the legacy of his father, Lord Randolph. Churchill did not distance himself from his father, a man with a bad reputation. Instead, he wrote a defensive biography of Lord Randolph, which was greatly criticised.
Churchill had an incisive tongue. He did not have “antennae” when it came to judging character, he did not recognize those who threatened his career, and he often mistook an enemy for a friend. One such figure was Horatio Kitchener, who had never liked Churchill, although he was outwardly friendly to him. Kitchener, and others in the Cabinet, set Churchill up for failure in the Dardanelles campaign. The Dardanelles was a seminal event in Churchill’s life. Churchill’s wife spoke of his “grief” over the Dardanelles; she thought he would never get over this particular disaster.
Churchill’s boldest policy to break the stalemate on the western front was to advocate a campaign against the Dardanelles, that strip of land that separates Asia from Europe, near Istanbul (Constantinople).
Churchill wanted to send British troops into the Dardanelles, knock out the Turkish forts (Turkey was an ally of Germany and Austria), capture Constantinople, sweep up through the Balkans, capture Vienna, and then move on to Germany. But Kitchener, and most of the British High Command, thought that the war could be won only by killing Germans in France.
They agreed, however, to let Churchill go ahead with his plan. The plan was implemented too quickly. Foreign allies could not agree on their roles; the Greeks did not want to share the capture of Constantinople with the Russians. Then the Greek government fell to a pro-German regime. The British admiral was ageing, and his strategy was inefficient; he resigned, and a new admiral replaced him in the middle of the attack on Constantinople. Several of the British ships were sunk. Sir Ian Hamilton, an old friend of Churchill, went out to the Mediterranean (with an out-of-date map of Gallipoli and an out-of-date handbook on the Turkish army). He recommended that a large number of troops be sent in. Kitchener wanted all his troops for fighting on the western front. By the time troops were landed, the Turks were well entrenched, and led by the Germans.
Churchill, led on by his own impetuosity and his weak “antennae,” had rushed into the disaster. Furthermore, he did not understand how weak his position was. The press, fed by leaks from his fellow ministers, hounded Churchill. By the time the British troops withdrew in January 1916, Britain had suffered 213,980 casualties to achieve
nothing. Churchill received the blame, accepted the responsibility, and resigned from his post as First Lord of the Admiralty.
III. Churchill had few real friends who would stick with him to the end. Even the Liberal leader David Lloyd George, whom Churchill had considered a good friend, offered Churchill no support after the Dardanelles disaster. The Prime Minister, Lord Asquith, refused to allow Churchill to speak in his own defence, which was customary in such circumstances.
IV. Churchill could have told all about the horrors of World War I, but he did not. Instead, he asked for a field command and was sent out for training in the Grenadier Guards. He was not, at first, well received, but he trained without complaint and was rewarded with the position of lieutenant colonel in the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He served beside his men on the western front in the spring of 1916. His men told him that there was no better loved commander on the entire western front than Churchill.
Lecture Six Post-War Challenges
Scope: In 1917, Churchill was cleared of blame for the Dardanelles disaster, yet the incident would continue to plague his reputation for many years. In David Lloyd George’s Liberal government, Churchill held several major and problematic posts. In 1919, he became Minister for War and Air and found himself facing the difficult task of demobilization. In 1921, he became Colonial Secretary, a position that brought with it the unenviable responsibility for handling problems in Ireland and the Middle East. Throughout the 1920s, Churchill warned against the rise of Soviet communism and advocated an offensive strategy to deal with it. For his troubles, he was accused of being a warmonger. In 1925, with the demise of the Liberal Party, Churchill returned to the Conservative Party, which again gained him the reputation of being a political adventurer. Under Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, Churchill rose to the powerful position of Chancellor of the Exchequer.
I. In 1917, an investigative committee cleared Churchill of any blame in the Dardanelles disaster. Yet the blame for the Dardanelles would continue to haunt Churchill for many years; as the saying goes, slander moves in six-league boots. 
The Prime Minister, now David Lloyd George, brought Churchill back into the government as Minister of Munitions. In this position, Churchill continued to develop the concept of the armored tank, first conceived by him when he was First Lord of the Admiralty. He also had the foresight to vigorously support the development of air power during the last phase of World War I.
Throughout the rest of World War I and in the 1920s, Churchill continued to hold major government posts. In 1919, he was named Minister for War and Air. Because another war was unthinkable to the British military establishment, Churchill followed the wishes of the Government and Parliament to cut the military budget. His job would be demobilization; his policy was to bring home the troops based on their length of duty in the war.
II. Churchill warned vigorously against communism. After World War I, Churchill wanted to redeploy troops to Russia to fight the Bolsheviks. He believed that socialism and communism rested on the denial of a fundamental human freedom: the right to property. For this view, he was called a warmonger. The British government ultimately did nothing. The British Labour Party and many British workers criticized Churchill for his hostility toward Bolshevism, which they interpreted as a hostility toward labour in general.
III. In 1921, Churchill was made Colonial Secretary.The position of Colonial Secretary was a difficult one in 1921.
The British Empire reached its height at the end of World War I. Churchill had to deal with problems in Ireland and the Middle East. Churchill went to the Middle East with T. E. Lawrence, who believed Britain had strong commitments to the Arabs, which left no room for a Jewish state. Churchill was a friend of Zionist leaders. He believed in the idea of a Jewish state, even if it meant taking land away from the Arabs. His views gained him enemies in Middle Eastern countries, and he was opposed by major figures in the British government and army.
He also had to deal with the question of home rule for Ireland, which had been a violent issue for many years. When he served as Minister of War, he sent troops to Ireland, the Blacks and Tans, who fought against the IRA terrorists. As Colonial Secretary, Churchill began to negotiate with the IRA. The compromise they established remains today: that northern Ireland (Ulster) would remain part of Britain and a free state would be created in the rest of Ireland, which would eventually become the Republic of Ireland.
IV. The demise of the Liberal Party led Churchill to return to the Conservative Party in 1925. This switch of political parties again made enemies in both parties for Churchill, who was accused of being a “political adventurer.” Under Baldwin, the new Prime Minister, Churchill became Chancellor of the Exchequer, considered the most important position leading to the position of Prime Minister.

Lecture Seven In the Wilderness
Scope: Britain was given little chance to recover from World War I. The 1920s saw a devastating general strike and a stock market crash. In 1925, Churchill rejoined the Conservative Party and, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, reinstated the gold standard. When the Labour Party took over the government in 1929, Churchill was out of office and out of favour in his own Conservative Party. He entered what was termed “the wilderness.” He took refuge at his country home of Chartwell. Here, we encounter Churchill as a faithful husband and devoted father. We experience his love of life and hobbies. We see him as a multifaceted genius, painter, and author, who earned much of his livelihood through his writings. This time was a period of renewal, enabling Churchill to rally a nation “never to surrender.”
I. After World War I, the Conservative Stanley Baldwin became Prime Minister. Britain, under Baldwin, wanted to get back to normal. The working man wanted benefits; labor was restless. From 1922 to 1924, Churchill lost three elections and was out of Parliament during this time. Smarter politicians adapted their political speeches in the elections of 1922–1924 to accommodate the leftward move of the British electorate. By contrast, Churchill spoke out boldly against the evils of socialism. In 1924, he was elected to Parliament from the town of Epping, supported by the Conservative Party. He held this seat until 1964. After the Labour, or Socialist, Party replaced the Liberal Party as the only real alternative to the Conservative Party, Churchill rejoined the Conservative Party in 1925 and became Chancellor of the Exchequer. In May 1926, a general strike broke out across Britain in sympathy with the miners, whose wages had been cut.. Many ordinary people tried to run the country in place of those on strike. Baldwin gave Churchill the task of issuing a newspaper. Churchill published the British Gazette for eight days. Each issue came out with virulent attacks on labour. When the strike came to an end, Churchill, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, and with the support of the Bank of England, put Britain back on the gold standard.
II. In 1929, the Conservative government yielded to a Labour government. Ramsey MacDonald was the new Prime Minister. The stock market crash of 1929 cost Churchill a considerable fortune, threatening his financial security and that of his family. In 1931, Churchill broke with the leadership of the Conservative Party on the question of ultimate independence for India.He remained in Parliament, but in British political language he had “entered the wilderness”he was out of favor with his own party. Most astute observers believed that Churchill’s political career was finished.
most important figure in Churchill’s life was his wife, Clementine. Clementine was the granddaughter of the Countess of Airlie. Her family was highly respectable but not wealthy. She was educated at the Sorbonne and liberal in her political views. She was strong willed and shrewd and gave Churchill good advice. Churchill was devoted and faithful to her through fifty-seven years of marriage.
Clementine and Winston had four daughters and one son: Diana, Randolph, Sarah, Marigold, and Mary.
Marigold died in early childhood.
Churchill was a loving and generous father. The children were devoted to him.
IV. In the 1930s, a period Churchill called “the wilderness,” Churchill took refuge in his home at Chartwell, a mansion dating back to 1086. In 1922, the year Churchill’s mother died, Churchill bought a mansion called Chartwell. Chartwell would be Churchill’s home until his death in 1965. The attention Churchill lavished on Chartwell made it a statement of his own personality. He lived expansively, if not extravagantly. Servants were an accepted part of his life. He ate simple food with vigour. He enjoyed good wine, liquor, and cigars.
He enjoyed extending hospitality, and the celebrities of the day were frequent guests at Chartwell. Churchill was emboldened, not threatened, by greatness. He surrounded himself with outstanding people, such as Lawrence of Arabia and Charlie Chaplin. For the same reason, his study was filled with memorabilia of Napoleon.
He was a man of enthusiasms, as revealed in his hobbies. Flying, brick laying, pond building, tropical fish, horse racing, and pig farming were among his hobbies at various periods in his life.
V. Churchill’s primary financial support came from his writings. Much of Churchill’s time at Chartwell was spent writing books, articles, and correspondence. By 1940, he had written more than 25 books and over 225 articles. In his lifetime, he wrote 56 books. The quality of his work is demonstrated by the fact that he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953. His literary output was facilitated by the use of research assistants and his practice of composing by dictation. His income from his writings was frequently in excess of a million dollars, reckoned in today’s values. The subjects of his books and articles reveal his multifaceted genius, ranging over politics, history, painting, social issues, hobbies, and many other topics.
He wrote five books that would each be a life work for most academic historians today.
1. Lord Randolph Churchill, 2 vols. (1906)
2. The World Crisis, 6 vols. (1923–1931)
3. Marlborough, His Life and Times, 4 vols. (1933–1938)
4. A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, 4 vols. (1956–1958)
5. The Second World War, 6 vols. (1948–1953).
VI. Painting was more than a hobby for Churchill; it was a vocation. He took up painting seriously as a stress reliever during World War I. His battlefield sketches during the Boer War were published to illustrate his dispatches. Distinguished art critics admired his paintings, many of which came to be hung in galleries and museums. Churchill became an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Art. At one point in his life, he derived a considerable income from his paintings, which were used as the subjects for Hallmark greeting cards. His favourite subjects were landscapes. The colours he chose were bold and bright. He mostly followed the style of the impressionists. Churchill’s paintings, which number in the hundreds, reflect a profound optimism about life.

Lecture Eight The Nazi Menace
Scope: While Churchill was in the wilderness, Adolf Hitler was achieving the pinnacle of power in Germany. While such politicians as Baldwin and Chamberlain focused on winning elections and balancing budgets, Churchill recognized the evil of Hitler and proclaimed it to an apathetic public. During much of the 1930s, Churchill stood almost alone as he urged Britain to resist Nazi aggrandizement and to prepare for war. This lecture examines the political principles that contrasted Churchill and Hitler and made Churchill regard the Nazi menace with such alarm. Both Hitler and Churchill were men of ambition and patriotism. The difference lay in the moral compass that guided Churchill and that was utterly despised by Adolf Hitler.
I. By 1930, many in British political life and in the press thought Churchill’s political career was finished. Churchill, too, had thoughts along that line. Hitler rejected an opportunity to meet Churchill for the same reason. In 1930, Churchill published A Roving Commission: My Early Life. He was fifty-six years old, and this memoir of his life before he entered Parliament reads like the reflection of a man looking back over a career that has closed. In writing of his father in this book, Churchill seems really to be speaking of himself: “It is never possible for a man to recover his lost position. He may recover another position in the fifties and sixties, but not one he lost in the thirties and forties.”
Churchill looked his age and frequently dressed in an old-fashioned style. He spoke in old-fashioned phrases; he disliked the use of foreign words and anglicised French words. He wrote in My Early Life: “to hold the leadership of a party or a nation with dignity and authority requires that the leader’s qualities and message shall meet not only the need but the mood of both.”
II. The mood of Britain in 1930 was out of step with Churchill, especially with his grave concern over the rise of German power. Churchill had warned against Germany’s aspirations as early as the 1920s. But in the aftermath of World War I, Britain did not want to hear about the possibility of another war. Britain’s victory in the First World War had been bought at a price so high as to be almost indistinguishable from defeat. The British Empire suffered almost one million dead and over three million total casualties. There was widespread dissatisfaction over the Versailles Peace treaty that ended World War I. All levels of British society had a general feeling that World War I had been pointless. There was also the conviction that technology had made warfare so destructive that the next war would destroy civilisation. Patriotism came to be regarded as a false value. In 1933, students at Oxford, potential leaders of the next generation, took an oath never again to fight for king and countryan action that seemed outrageous to Churchill. Popular culture hammered home the message of the futility of war.
Another casualty of the First World War was the economic power of Britain. The financial base to be a great power had been eroded by the expense of World War I. These financial difficulties were enormously increased by the worldwide economic depression of 1929 and the 1930s. The Great Depression of 1929 struck Britain hard and Churchill was blamed for it, because he had put Britain back on the gold standard.  
The British Empire was a further casualty. Instead of being viewed as a source of pride and glory, the Empire was seen as a burden that Britain no longer had the strength to bear. The collapse of confidence in Britain as the bearer of civilization made the idea of “the white man’s burden” laughable. Even the Conservative Party accepted the idea of ultimate independence for India, “the jewel in the crown” of the British Empire. Churchill was an imperialist, whose warnings of a new war with Germany fell on the ears of a public that was afraid to listen.
His incisive wit was not appreciated. Mediocre politicians, such as Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain, reflected the mood of Britain in the years between World War I and World War II.
III. While Churchill was at the nadir of his political influence, Adolf Hitler was rising to the apex of power in Germany. The background of Hitler was very different from that of Churchill. The similarities between the two men are superficial; the differences, fundamental. Above all, Churchill was guided by a moral compass. He spoke to all that is best in men and women, while Hitler spoke to all that is evil. From the beginning of the rise of Hitler, Churchill recognized him as evil. He read Hitler’s book, Mein Kampf, as soon as it was translated and realized that Hitler’s ideology and political aims, which are openly revealed in the book, posed a serious threat to the world. One of Hitler’s first actions was to strip the rights of German Jews. Churchill sought to warn Britain at each critical step in Hitler’s plans of European domination, but the British government leaders claimed that Britain should not interfere in another country’s internal affairs. Later, Baldwin admitted that he had chosen not to meet the threat of Hitler with firmness for fear of losing the election.
The first test case came in 1936 when Germany remilitarised the Rhineland, in violation of the Versailles Treaty. The allies did not respond. Baldwin and Chamberlain spoke of a policy of appeasement. Meanwhile, Churchill was being provided, at great risk, with confidential information about the size of the British military establishment. The figures were irrefutable that the German airforce was far larger than the British airforce. Yet Baldwin did nothing. 
Also in 1936, Churchill’s sense of personal loyalty led him to support the hopeless cause of Edward VIII in the crisis over his marriage to the American Wallis Simpson. For reasons that seem hard to understand today, this dealt a staggering blow to Churchill’s political reputation.
 In March 1938, Germany annexed Austria.Churchill was prevented from protesting the move in a newspaper column by Lord Beaverbrook, the newspaper magnate, and the British Broadcasting Corporation would not allow him to broadcast his views. In September 1938, Britain and France agreed to Hitler’s annexation of the Sudentenland in Czechoslovakia at the Munich Agreement. Chamberlain (who succeeded Baldwin as Prime Minister in 1937) proclaimed “peace in our time.” Churchill accused the leadership in Parliament of betraying Czechoslovakia and warned that Britain would not escape suffering herself from Hitler’s ambitions unless she regained her moral vigour and rearmed.

Lecture Nine Rallying the Nation
Scope: Churchill’s prophecies proved true, and in 1939, Britain and France were found utterly unprepared for the total war waged by the seemingly invincible Nazi war machine. Leaders of the British government, including King George, thought the only hope for Britain lay in a negotiated peace with Germany. Such a desertion of the cause of freedom was unthinkable to Churchill. Assuming the prime ministership, Churchill felt that his whole past life “had been but a preparation for this hour and this trial.” The fall of France marked the beginning of the Battle of Britain, ten months of incessant bombing in which Hitler and his Luftwaffe sought to break the will of the British people. Our lecture follows Churchill as he leads the British in “their finest hour.”

The policies of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (1869–1940) had left Britain unprepared for war with Germany. In March 1939, Hitler broke promises he had made at the conference in Munich and seized the rest of Czechoslovakia. This blatant treachery finally began to shift the mood in Parliament. Churchill had urged an alliance with the Soviet Union, but Chamberlain rejected this idea and pushed Britain into an alliance with Poland. Stalin then turned where he could and made a fateful alliance with Hitler. This action opened the way for Hitler’s invasion of Poland in September 1939. Britain and France declared war on Germany.
Demands to bring Churchill back into the government grew, and Chamberlain made Churchill First Lord of the Admiralty. In the meantime, Britain and France did nothing to defend Poland, which lost millions under Nazi tyranny in the years to come. Hitler was now convinced that Britain and France would not oppose him.
On April 9, 1940, the Germans opened their offensive with the invasion of Denmark and Norway. Barely two months later, on June 14, German troops were marching down the streets of Paris.
The German offensive that began on May 10, 1940, against Belgium, the Netherlands, and France precipitated a crisis in the British government.Neville Chamberlain was forced to resign. There was deep pessimism at the very top of the British government. The Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, and King George VI were convinced that Britain could not win the war against Germany. David Lloyd George, who had been Prime Minister during World War I, believed the same thing. Other leading figures, such as the press baron Lord Beaverbrook, shared this view. They believed Britain must make a negotiated peace with Germany. Germany would dominate the continent of Europe. Britain would retain its Empire. Hitler was in favour of such a treaty.
Churchill’s record of warning against German aggression made him the obvious choice to become the new Prime Minister, but many leaders distrusted him.However, the canny Lord Halifax urged Churchill’s appointment as Prime Minister. The idea was that Churchill would be forced to sign the peace treaty with Germany, be tarnished by this action, and be forced to step down. Then Halifax would become Prime Minister.
Churchill accepted the challenge, and on May 10, 1940, became Prime Minister. He formed a coalition government, including representatives of all major parties, Labour, Liberal, and Conservative. Churchill also assumed the position of Minister for Defence. The combined offices of Prime Minister and Minster for Defence enabled him to coordinate both the political and military efforts. He called for victory; anything less, he warned, would spell the end of the British Empire. The surrender of the King of the Belgians left a large number of British and French troops cut off at Dunkirk. The evacuation of 336,000 French and British troops (May 26–June 3, 1940) bolstered British morale.
Hitler’s failure to send his armoured forces to destroy the British and French troops was the first of those mistakes that would ultimately lose the war.
strategic disaster caused by the collapse of France was equalled by its impact on British morale. News of the imminent collapse of France shattered British morale.
Lord Halifax insisted that Britain make a negotiated peace with Hitler; he wanted to give Mussolini strategic gains in the Mediterranean in return for Mussolini’s intervention with Hitler on behalf of Britain.
The Labour Party disagreed and backed Churchill.
Churchill made it clear that he had no intention of negotiating peace.
On June 4, 1940, Churchill delivered to Parliament his famous speech proclaiming, “We shall never surrender.”
With the fall of France, the Battle of Britain began. Churchill would later modestly say that it was just his job to “give the roar to the British lion.”
From mid-June 1940 to mid-May 1941, the Germans bombed Britain in an effort to establish air superiority, break the will of the British people, and force a negotiated peace. The destruction was massive. Churchill watched the bombers coming in, refusing to stay in his bunker. Every day he walked the streets of London or visited other bombed cities, giving the “V” sign of victory and words of encouragement to the people who were suffering. On August 16, during the heaviest onslaught up to that point of German aircraft attacks, Churchill was at fighter headquarters. Moved by the undaunted efforts and courage of the airforce, he uttered the legendary words: “Never before in the course of human conflict have so many owed so much to so few.”

Lecture Ten
The Tide of War Turns
Scope: In a war of powerful leaders, Roosevelt, Stalin, and Hitler, Churchill proved to be the supreme strategist. The Cabinet War Rooms in London still evoke the memory of Churchill as a wartime leader. Our lecture analyzes the skills that made Churchill so successful: his own military experience and personal courage, his creative power and innovative intellect, and his conviction of the justness of his cause. Unlike both Stalin and Hitler, he did not feel threatened by excellence, and he surrounded himself with men of superior ability and character. The Battle of the Atlantic, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, America’s entry into the war, and the campaign in the Western Desert leading up to El Alamein were all tests of Churchill’s abilities as a wartime leader.
I. Churchill rallied his countrymen with powerful rhetoric, which some have criticized as old-fashioned. But the concepts of valour, honour, and freedom that he spoke about never become old-fashioned. Churchill also understood how to use power, and he established an organization to conduct the war that was far superior to that of Hitler. Hitler had a chaotic system, playing one party against another, making major decision without consulting his ministers. This was far from Churchill’s method. Churchill was Minister for Defence as well as Prime Minister. After October 1940, he was head of the Conservative Party and leader of the House of Commons. Throughout the critical years of the war, he had the full support of the Parliament, resting on the support he enjoyed with the British public. The three major parties agreed on an electoral truce for the duration of the war. The general election scheduled for 1940 was postponed and did not occur until 1945. 
Churchill put in place a well-organised and efficient structure for waging the war. His Cabinet was a coalition of members from all three parties, Conservative, Liberal, and Labour. Churchill’s deputy was the Labour Party leader Clement Attlee.
The War Cabinet was composed of some six to eight members, who concentrated on strategy and other questions related to directing the war effort. These included Cabinet members in charge of foreign affairs, budget, and labor.
II. In the summer of 1940, a German invasion of Britain seemed a very real possibility. Hitler was planning just such an invasionOperation Sea Lion. Much of Britain’s artillery had been left at Dunkirk. From the outset, Churchill understood the significance of the absence of a German fleet. He also knew he had to stop the German airforce. The British were aided all through the war by Ultrathe decoding of the German ciphers. The origins of Ultra lay with Polish mathematicians, who passed their knowledge on to the French and British. By the summer of 1940, the British were reading German codes.
Thus, the British were able to determine that the German planes were sighting British targets by means of radio beams and were able to jam the beams. They also learned about Hitler’s invasion plans and his naval strength. In the same way, they later learned that he had changed his plan and was focusing on Russia.
III. In the summer and fall of 1940 and throughout 1941–1942, Britain had to focus as well on Egypt and the danger that the pro-German Italians would try to capture the Suez Canal. The knowledge that Hitler had called off his plan to invade Britain, gained through Ultra, was crucial to Churchill’s decision to send reinforcements to Egypt. Churchill found an outstanding general in Bernard Montgomery, who defeated General Erwin Rommel and the Afrika Korps at El Alamein in the fall of 1942.
IV. In 1940, Churchill’s role as war leader also focused on bringing the United States into the war as the only possible salvation for Britain. Churchill carefully developed ties with President Franklin Roosevelt that, in 1940–1941, made the United States into a military partner of Britain and made it possible for Roosevelt to direct the major effort of the United States against Germany, rather than Japan. Similarities in background and experience enhanced the personal relationship between Churchill and Roosevelt, “the best friend Britain ever had.” Hundreds of letters passed between the two men. The United States was reluctant to get into the war, remembering all its debtors from World War I, including Britain, which owed the United States a great deal of money. Churchill, however, was determined to obtain aid from the United States, even turning over British accounts to American inspection. He finally succeeded, and in the spring of 1941, the American lend-lease program began, which would finance the much-needed development of British military equipment.
V. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour. Three days later, Hitler declared war on the United States. Hitler’s gratuitous declaration of war against the United States on December 10, 1941, was a mistake as serious as his invasion of the Soviet Union. With America’s entry into the war, Churchill could believe that ultimate victory was certain.
VI. The German invasion of the Soviet Union, Germany’s former ally, began on June 22, 1941. It was a mistake
from which Hitler never recovered. Making use of Ultra, Churchill had warned Stalin of Hitler’s intentions. Despite his long opposition to communism, Churchill turned with intelligent alacrity to supporting the Soviet Union in every way possible in its struggle with Germany.
VII. The Americans, under General Marshall, wanted to attack the Germans directly in Europe. Churchill was dubious of a quick success in “fortress” Europe. As in World War I, Churchill was a proponent of peripheral campaigns. North Africa presented the one area in which a successful campaign against the Axis powers was possible for the British. The Americans argued strongly against it; Marshall thought Churchill’s plan was redolent of the Dardanelles. But on November 8, 1942, Operation Torch began in Morocco and Algeria. The North African campaign was a major tactical and strategic success. The German and Italian forces were caught between the Allied army in the west and the British army under Montgomery in the east. The victory at El Alamein coincided with the Allied landings. The Axis armies in North Africa were annihilated. By May 13, 1943, more than 250,000 troops had surrendered. The Allies suffered 76,000 casualties.
VIII. At the Casablanca Conference from January 14–24, 1943, Churchill won over the Americans to his plan for an invasion of Sicily to follow the North African campaign. On August 16, the American forces entered Messina and the conquest of Sicily was complete. The Allied invasion of Sicily led, on July 25, 1943, to Mussolini’s fall from power and kept German troops tied down in Italy. This was Britain’s high point of strategic influence in the war.
IX. The ever-growing might of the United States, the fact that Britain had become a debtor nation to the United States, and the growing strength of the Soviet Union all reduced Britain to a third partner in the alliance. Churchill believed, as Marlborough had, in personal diplomacy. In the course of the war, he made trip after trip to talk with Allied leaders. By the end of 1944, Churchill began to think that the defeat of Germany could bring forth an even greater threat of tyranny from the Soviet Union. At Yalta, with Roosevelt and Stalin, he little knew that, in a few months, all his power and offices would be stripped from him.

Lecture Eleven Champion of Freedom
Scope: Churchill was determined that the victory of freedom in World War II should not be squandered as it had been after World War I. Throughout his political life, Churchill despised socialism and communism, resting as they do on the denial of one of the most basic of human rights: the right to property. Believing as he did in absolute right and wrong, Churchill though it wrong to replace the tyranny of Hitler with the tyranny of Stalin in central Europe. At home, he sought to convince the British people of the dichotomy between socialism and their tradition of liberty. In the moment of victory in 1945, the British people chose not to elect Churchill. At the age of seventy, Churchill found himself again in the political wilderness, as Britain went down the road of socialism and began to dismantle its Empire. In his speech in Fulton, Missouri, in 1946, Churchill warned of an “Iron Curtain” falling across Eastern Europe. Like much else in his life, Churchill’s speech was controversial. However, like much else as well, it was prophetic. The expansionist policies of the Soviet Union led to his re-election as Prime Minister in 1951. For four years, he worked to establish the closest possible ties between Britain and the United States, the two great bastions of freedom. His last nine years saw him decline in health but never in his commitment to the principles he lived. As he told the boys of Harrow, his old school, “Never give up, never, never, never.”
I. Of the key figures of World War II, none had the military experience of Churchill, who also had a greater knowledge of history. Too, Churchill had a sense of foresight that was not shared by the other leaders. He became increasingly worried in 1943 and 1944 that the follies of World War I would be repeated. He was skeptical of the planned Normandy invasion because of his horror of massive loss of life. The powerful fortifications that the Germans had erected along the French coast reminded Churchill of the casualties incurred by the British and French by such frontal assaults in World War I. As he wrote, history can be an impediment, as well as an aid, to making decisions in the present. He believed that man was unteachable, although he himself sought to teach, as he tried to warn Roosevelt against Stalin and the Soviets. When the decision to invade Normandy was made, however, Churchill gave the operation his full support.
II. At Yalta in 1945, Churchill understood clearly that he was the junior partner in the coalition. Decisions were discussed by Stalin and Roosevelt as though he were not present. Although they had helped develop the atomic bomb, the British were not consulted when the Americans dropped the bomb. At Yalta, Churchill tried to make Roosevelt understand the danger represented by the Soviet Union. Roosevelt and the Americans were unwilling to challenge the Russian takeover of Poland. Churchill fought unsuccessfully to have the exiled Polish government play a role in post-war Poland, and Britain did not have the power to enforce his wishes.
III. In the midst of the Potsdam Conference, in July 1945, Churchill lost the British general election and ceased to be Prime Minister. In May 1945, the Labour Party held its annual convention and announced that it wanted an election. Churchill agreed. The war with Japan was still raging when the elections were called. No general election had been held during the war, and the Labour Party was insistent on holding an election as soon as possible The election was held on July 5, 1945. 
Under the British system, the voters do not directly elect the Prime Minister. They elect the members of Parliament. The party that wins the largest number of seats in Parliament then chooses the Prime Minister. The British voters wanted a change: “Cheer for Churchill, vote for Labour” was the slogan of the day. The Conservative Party was still discredited by the bungling policies of Neville Chamberlain that had led Britain into the war. The voters wanted the broad program of social and economic reform associated with the socialism of the Labour Party.Churchill ran a poor campaign, largely a negative attack on socialism. Churchill had strong opposition from the labour unions. Many ordinary British voters disliked Churchill for what they saw as his anti-labour stance and other past mistakes. For many, his support during the war rested on the belief that he alone was strong enough and determined enough to see Britain through the crisis. But, as the voters saw it, the war was now over. It was a crushing blow to Churchill. Ironically, there was much in the Labour plan of which he approved. The result, announced on July 26, was a landslide. That same day, Churchill resigned.
IV. From 1945 to 1951, Churchill remained in Parliament. He worked on his history, The Second World War, in effect, his memoirs. He painted. He brooded over the dangers of the atomic bomb. He sought to warn the free world of the Soviet menace.
V. His Iron Curtain speech at Fulton, Missouri, in March 1946 expressed this warning in its most dramatic form. As in the 1930s, many political leaders and the press attacked him for his alarmist and warmongering views. President Truman disavowed the speech.
In 1947, at the University of Zurich, he gave a speech proposing a United States of Europe, all of which would work together for harmony and peace. It would take more than fifty years for his vision to work out. Already in his speech at Fulton, Missouri, he had asked Americans to form a fraternal alliance with Britain.
Growing concerns over Soviet expansion and worries about a third world war led to a change in the British voters. In 1951, the Conservative Party won a slight majority, and Churchill returned to serve as Prime Minister from 1951–1955.
As Prime Minster for a second time, Churchill worked for European unity and for closer ties with the United States.
But he understood that although Britain and the United States might have the same ideals, they did not share all the same interests.
President Dwight Eisenhower and his administration were opposed to the continuation of the British Empire.
In fact, the British Empire was coming to an end. Churchill feared that bloodshed on a large scale would be the result of granting India her independence; he believed that the British Empire was a moral force.
But when India’s independence became a reality, Churchill offered to do everything he could to help it.
He wanted Britain to use its moral authority for détente between the Soviet Union and the United States, and after Stalin’s death, he worked tirelessly to convince President Eisenhower to begin the process of détente. But it never came about.
Churchill stepped down on April 5, 1955. His last words to his ministers were “never be separated from the Americans.”

Lecture Twelve The Legacy of Churchill
Scope: Unlike some recent American politicians, Churchill was not obsessed with his historical legacy. He was content to know that he had done his best. At Churchill’s death, Clement Attlee, the socialist who succeeded Churchill as Prime Minister in 1945, called him “the greatest Englishman of our timeI think the greatest citizen of the world of our time.” However, in death as in life, Churchill has his critics. Churchill’s greatness lay ultimately in his political principles. What did Churchill understand by liberty and democracy? What role did he see for government in securing individual and political freedom? How did Churchill reconcile his love of liberty with his belief in the British Empire and his view of the beneficent influence of British imperialism? What were the sources of these political principles, and where does he stand in the great liberal tradition, reaching back to Magna Carta and classical antiquity? How did he unswervingly uphold these principles over a political life of more than fifty tumultuous years?
As Prime Minister from 1951–1955, Churchill had worked for détente and carried a bold vision for a united Europe. He understood that the British people wanted their cradle-to-grave welfare state. He had never been opposed to many of the welfare benefits they desired.
His last years saw growing honours and failing health. In 1953, he received the Nobel Prize for Literature. Also in 1953, he finally agreed to his monarch’s wish that he be knighted and, thus, became Sir Winston Churchill.He remained a member of Parliament until 1964, when he was eighty-nine years old.He continued to paint and remained interested in his hobbies, including horse racing, tropical fish, and pigs. He travelled frequently. His History of the Second World War brought him a fortune and the Nobel Prize. His History of the English-Speaking Peoples was equally successful.
Personal tragedy struck him in 1963 when his daughter Diana died. He was very supportive of his children, especially of his son, Randolph. He was not worried about his legacy but was content that he had done his best. 
Churchill’s political philosophy was rooted in the ideal of freedom. The source for Churchill’s ideals was the great tradition of English liberty, stretching back to Magna Carta and beyond. He defined freedom in concrete terms. Does a people have the right to criticize its government, and can it change a government whenever it wishes? Are the courts and legal system fair and open, and do the poor have the same right as the rich to a fair court trial? Does the ordinary citizen have the right to live without fear of arbitrary arrest?
Churchill agreed with Franklin Roosevelt that true liberty was “freedom to worship, freedom to speak, freedom from fear, and freedom from want.” He saw World War I as a great struggle for individual liberty. For Churchill, society must have economic opportunity and free trade, but with these, there must be security for individuals from the loss of a job, from an old age without funds, from sickness without medical care.
He believed that parliamentary democracy was the true guardian of individual liberty. Churchill was, at heart, a profound democrat.
How can his imperialism be accommodated to his belief in democracy? For Churchill, the British Empire supported individual liberty. He did not believe that national independence and freedom were the same thing. He did not see freedom in turning over a country to a small clique of its own that would rule in absolute tyranny over others. He believed that for every freedom, there was also a responsibility. For Churchill, British law and administration offered protection to the many minorities in India, and the British tradition of liberty under law offered the best guidance for the future development of India. He was a Zionist from his earliest days in Parliament. He believed that a politician and a statesman must set priorities. Although he understood the horrors of war, he also understood that there were times when war had to be fought; some ideologies existed that only recognized strength. He believed that negotiation must always come from a position of strength (both military might and moral authority).
III. Churchill never lacked for critics in his own day, and historians have never left him alone. Churchill is still controversial. Some biographers and historians praise Churchill as the greatest individual of the twentieth century, who saved freedom. Others regard him as a failure and the foe of liberty. In 1966, the distinguished British historian A. J. P. Taylor published a collection of essays on Churchill, Churchill Revised: A Critical Assessment. It includes essays by Basil Liddell Hart, who regarded Churchill as a failed statesman and strategist. Robert Rhodes James, in his 1970 biography, Churchill: A Study in Failure, 1900–1939, and John Charmley, in his 1993 biography, Churchill: The End of Glory, both attack Churchill as a failure in almost everything he did.
For Charmley, Taylor, and others, the essence of Churchill’s failure lies in the fact that World War II destroyed Britain’s power. In their eyes, Churchill had wanted to make Britain great, but in the end, Britain was a third-rate power
indebted to the United States. They find Churchill outwitted by Roosevelt. They believe that the demands Churchill made on Britain’s resources crippled the country. They also focus on the fact that he left power at the time of the Dardanelles, was out of power again during the 1930s, and that his second term of office as Prime Minister achieved almost nothingall the result of personal flaws in Churchill, including his impetuosity and his inability to judge the public mood.
But Churchill did not define World War II as a struggle to make Britain great. His goal was not to expand the British Empire; it was, as he himself said repeatedly, a war for freedom. In 1947, Churchill dreamed of seeing Europe restored to a position of power. Today, the European Union fulfills that dream, with its intellect and its resources, all proceeding under peace, individual liberty, and parliamentary democracy, and Britain is an integral part of that Europe. Churchill strove for that kind of freedom, where the individual is better off than before. He rallied Britain to stand alone at a time when totalitarianism was rampant from Spain to Russia.
Shortly before his death, Churchill’s daughter Mary wrote him: “In addition to the feeling a daughter has for a loving generous father, I owe you what every Englishman, woman, and child does, liberty itself.
On January 10, 1965, Churchill suffered a massive stroke. Two weeks later he was dead. He received a state funeral at St. Paul’s Cathedral; 300,000 people visited his coffin. As his body was taken down the River Thames to the gravesite, workmen along the river raised their cranes in solitary salute. He was buried in the family cemetery at Bladon, near Blenheim Palace.
Churchill's Greatest Quotes
In War: Resolution.
In Defeat: Defiance.
In Victory: Magnanimity.
In Peace: Goodwill.
May 13 1940 in his first address as Prime Minister:'I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined the government: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."
'We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy?
'I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime.
'That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: victory; victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.'
June 4 1940 following the evacuation of forces from Dunkirk:
'We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air.

'We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing-grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills.We shall never surrender!'
June 18 1940 following the collapse of France to Nazi forces:
'Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire.
'The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.
'But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.
'Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, "This was their Finest Hour."'

August 20 1940 in tribute to the RAF:
'The gratitude of every home in our island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the world war by their prowess and by their devotion.
'Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.'

September 9 1941 on Britain's increasing strength in battle:
'The mood of Britain is wisely and rightly averse from every form of shallow or premature exultation.
'This is no time for boasts or glowing prophecies, but there is this—a year ago our position looked forlorn, and well nigh desperate, to all eyes but our own. Today we may say aloud before an awe-struck world, "We are still masters of our fate. We still are captain of our souls."'

November 10 1942 following the victory at El Alamein, North Africa:
'The Germans have received back again that measure of fire and steel which they have so often meted out to others. Now this is not the end.
'It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.'

 I am convinced that every man of you would rise up and tear me down from my place if I were for one moment to contemplate parley or surrender. If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.

- George Bernard Shaw sent him two complimentary tickets to his play with a note, “You are invited to my première. Come and bring a friend—if you have one.” Winston Churchill replied: “Impossible to be present for first performance. Will attend second—if there is one.”
- We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
- A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.
- A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril.
- All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honour, duty, mercy, hope.
- To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.
- Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.
- Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.
- A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him.
- Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.
- The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
- We contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
- An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile—hoping it will eat him last.
- The problems of victory are more agreeable than the problems of defeat, but they are no less difficult.
- From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I shall not put.
- A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.
- Bessie Braddock: “Sir, you are drunk.”
Churchill: “Madam, you are ugly. In the morning, I shall be sober.”
- Nancy Astor: “Sir, if you were my husband, I would give you poison.”
Churchill: “If I were your husband I would take it.”
- Once in a while you will stumble upon the truth but most of us manage to pick ourselves up and hurry along as if nothing had happened.
- If you are going to go through hell, keep going.
- Much of his imaginative energy was spent in trying to get the sick Roosevelt to do the sensible thing. “No lover,” he said, ever studied every whim of his mistress as I did those of President Roosevelt.”
- After being dismissed by the British electorate after WWII Mrs. Churchill commented, “Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise.” Churchill replied: “It appears to be very effectively disguised.”
- It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.
- Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.
- You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
- He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.
- If you have ten thousand regulations, you destroy all respect for the law.
- You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else.
- History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
- Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public.
- The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.
- Mussolini’s foreign minister, Count Ciano, who had married Mussolini’s daughter, had been accused of treason and shot. Churchill’s reaction: “Well, at least he had the pleasure of murdering his son-in-law.”
- I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
- A sheep in sheep’s clothing. (On Clement Atlee)
- A modest man, who has much to be modest about. (On Clement Atlee)
- Once an empty taxi drove up to the House of Commons and Clement Attlee got out.
- I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter.
- The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.
- Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.
- Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
- A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
- To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.
- When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticise or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.
- Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.
- Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.
- One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.
- When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.
- Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.
- Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
- The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
- It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.
- Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.
- Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others.
- There are a terrible lot of lies going around the world, and the worst of it is half of them are true.
- The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong.
- From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.-“The Sinews of Peace” speech, Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, March 5, 1946
- If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.
- "We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations."
- Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war.
- The price of greatness is responsibility.
- Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others.
- The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult.
- If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.
Churchill about Munich 1938: “It is a total defeat. Czechoslovakia will be swallowed up by the Nazis. And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning.
Second world war was the easiest war to be prevented.”
An Iron curtain is drawn down upon their front. We do not know what is going on behind
Churchill after Yalta to Roosevelt: “The Soviet Union has become a danger to the free world.
Churchill about Korea: “Korea does not really matter. Id never heard of the bloody place until I was seventy-four. Its importance lies in the fact that it has led to the re-arming of America.

Was the sinking of the French Navy at the Battle of Mers-el-Kebir militarily justifiable?

Like the French Army, the French Navy at the outbreak of World War II looked highly impressive on paper. With more than 660,000 tons of shipping, it was, in 1939, the fourth largest fleet in the world. In contrast to the army, it was not merely a formidable paper force, but in actuality a force to be reckoned with. Many of its ships had been built within the five years preceding the war and were state of the art except for the conspicuous absence of sonar and radar. Most important, they were manned by officers and crews who were not only well trained, but largely unaffected by the defeatism so pervasive in the army. As the Battle of France was lost, the French Navy successfully evacuated its warships to safe harbours. Richelieu, a new battleship, sailed to Dakar. Jean Bart, Richelieu’s twin ship, was still under construction but was nevertheless sailed to Casablanca. Two veteran battleships, eight destroyers, three submarines, and other minor ships were transferred to Portsmouth and Plymouth. The modern battle cruisers (heavy cruisers) Strasbourg and Dunkerque found refuge along with six destroyers, two battleships, and a seaplane carrier at Mers- el-Kébir, a French naval base in Algeria. Another six cruisers were dispatched to Algiers. Only the French submarine fleet had taken a bad hit in com- bat, with 24 of 80 having been sunk. The survivors fled to Bizerta. Except for small ships at Toulon and in the French West Indies, the balance of the fleet, including a battleship, four cruisers, and three destroyers, was at Alexandria, Egypt. 
The magnificent French fleet was saved—but for what? The terms of the humiliating armistice France concluded with Germany on June 22, 1940, called for the deactivation of the navy. On July 7, 1940, British admiral James Somerville approached Mers-el-Kébir and gave the French commander there four choices: join the fight against Germany, be interned in the West Indies or the United States for the duration of the war, scuttle his ships in place, or suffer destruction. Admiral Marcel-Bruno Gensoul decided that French honour demanded his refusal of all options. The result was the one-sided Battle of Mers-El-Kebir, in which three of the four capital ships harboured there were sunk with the loss of 1,297 lives. This battle caused the partial suspension of the German order to decommission all French ships. In the meantime, those French vessels in British-controlled ports were taken over by the British. Their crews were temporarily interned, then given the choice of repatriation at Casablanca or joining (indeed, creating) the Free French Navy. Most elected repatriation, but some decided to fight alongside the British.
The rest of the ships of the French Navy remained under the control of the Vichy Government and saw little action. After the success of Operation Torch (the American landings in North Africa), in November 1942, Adolf Hitler ordered, on November 11, the occupation of Vichy (unoccupied) France. A few days later, on November 19, he ordered the seizure of the Vichy-con- trolled fleet anchored at Toulon, about 80 warships, including three capital ships, the battle cruisers Strasbourg and Dunkerque and the battleship Provence. The seizure order was resisted, and German forces attacked the docks on November 27. The French returned fire, and during the skirmish five French submarines slipped away. Crews scuttled the rest of the fleet before the Germans could lay hands on them. With this, and except for the few ships fighting on behalf of the Allies, the French Navy of World War II came to an end.

Britain's naval situation would have been catastrophically injured if the Germans were to gain control of the French navy. Concern over this question was agitating the British government by June n, and the sailing of French warships to British ports had been Britain's absolute condition for relieving France from its promise not to make a separate peace. The French instead had agreed to armistice terms which provided for their fleet to go to metropolitan French ports, there to be demilitarized under Axis control. This opened up the possibility of their being seized by the Germans and not only replacing German losses, but, together with the Italian fleet, giving them superiority over the British. This was seen as an intolerable risk by the British government. The
alternative of relying on the promises of the French naval commander, Admiral Darlan, never to let the ships fall into German hands, looked equally dangerous to Churchill, though many British naval and polit­ical leaders were prepared to accept this alternative, especially after the French battleship Richelieu left Dakar for France and had to be chased back by the British. The idea of tying up large parts of the British navy in watching the ships of its former ally as the Germans were preparing to invade England looked like a recipe for certain disaster. On July 3, 1940, British warships attacked the French at Mers-el-Kebir in North Africa when the French refused to sail to British ports, demobilize, or sail to the French West Indies. Many French ships elsewhere were seized or immobilized. However distaste­ful this attack on an erstwhile ally, those who preferred keeping their new agreement with Germany to observing their prior treaty commit­ment to Britain could hardly expect greater consideration from the latter.
In commenting on this sad episode in his speech of July 14, 1940, Churchill added to a general report on the war and the future of France when she would again be freed, the assertion that "we are prepared to proceed to all extremities, to endure them and to enforce them" in the continuing war against Germany. That was a reference not only to the action against the French fleet which had, of course, taken place in full public view, but also the prospective battle against any invading German army. On June 15 the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Sir John Dill, had argued for the use of poison gas against any German forces which succeeded in getting ashore and could not be immediately repulsed. After initial objections from some, Churchill obtained the agreement of the Cabinet for such use of gas on June 3O. This decision on the "extremities" to which the British were prepared to resort was, ironically, assumed by the Germans in their own plans for the invasion, but is barely reflected in post-war accounts since those involved pre­ferred to veil the issue in discreet silence. In any case, the Germans, though planning to land their troops with gas masks, did not have them for the thousands of horses which were to be included in the first assault waves.
Word Count: 1941

Plan of Investigation  
The Battle of Mers-el-Kébir of July 3rd 1940 was the first military engagement between Britain and France since Waterloo, staged by the former to prevent the French Navy from being taken from the Germans. This investigation seeks to determine was the sinking of the French Navy at the Battle of Mers-el-Kebir justifiable from a military standpoint? To do so, the British situation at the time they were left to fight alone against Germany will be examined through contemporary sources such as LIFE magazine to gauge popular reaction at the time, as well as Churchill’s own justification for ordering the attack from his Nobel-prize winning memoirs. This will be questioned by focusing on both the details and omissions found in his work, as well as recent works by British historian Warren Tute and France’s only biographer of Hitler, Francois Delpla, to provide commentary from both sides of the Channel. (148) 

Summary of Evidence  
The Battle of Mers-el-Kebir, part of Operation Catapult, was set on July 3rd 1940 at 17h 57[1]. Described as “a hateful decision, the most unnatural and painful in which Churchill ever have been concerned”[2], this event saw the Royal Navy attack and destroy most of the French Fleet, having been allies two weeks before, killing 1,297 sailors and wounding 351[3]. British ships that were involved under the control of Vice-Admiral Comerville were the battle cruiser Hood, the battleships Valiant and Resolution, the aircraft carrier Ark Royal, three cruisers and many destroyers called ‘Force H’[4]. The French lost their modern battle cruiser Dunkerque and two old battleships Bretagne and Provence[5]. Battle cruiser Strasbourg and aircraft carrier Commandant Teste and five other destroyers managed to escape the British force encircling them and sail to Toulon[6].  During World War II the French Navy was the fourth biggest after Britain, the United States and Japan[7]. The French navy was holding the balance of power in the world and if it was added to the Italian, Japanese and German fleet then it would crush the United States and Great Britain[8]. The Operation was decided by Winston Churchill and accepted by De Gaulle, French General in Britain[9]. Contrary to Churchill telling the Commons ‘that the War Cabinet never hesitated’, it took a week of indecision for the War Cabinet to initiate the battle by regarding alternatives like buying the French fleet or asking the Americans to purchase them[10].  
After France signed the Armistice, which declared that all French ships should be disarmed in German and Italian ports[11], Britain was alone to fight and as Churchill said ‘the safety of Great Britain and the British Empire is powerfully, though not decisively, affected by what happens to the French fleet’[12]. Therefore Britain was resolved to fight alone and if necessary for years[13]. The British first gave five choices to the French in order for them to keep their ships safe: either sail with the British and continue fighting, or sail with reduced crews under the control of a British port, or sail the ships with the British to some French port in the West Indies (Martinique) where they would be demilitarised or entrusted to the United states and remain safe until the end of the War and lastly sink their own ships. If none of these choices were made, then the British would use whatever force to prevent the French ships from falling into German or Italian hands[14].  
The French naval commander, Admiral Darlan, immediately refused the terms and said that the French Navy would never fall into German hands and that it was contrary to French naval agreements and French honour[15]. Therefore on the 3rd of July, British sailors sank most of the French Fleet at Mers-el-Kebir, to show that the British would go ‘to proceed to all extremities’ to continue survive against Germany and get support from American by getting fifty old destroyers[16]. (503)

Warren Tute’s The Deadly Stroke was primarily written, as he states at the end of his book, to try and pay a small tribute to those who suffered and those who died during the Battle of Mers-el-Kebir[17]. All facts and conversations in this book were from French and British official and semi-official documents, making it a valuable source to use because most of the information is taken from different viewpoints from the diaries of Dr. Goebbels to French records. Also Tute wrote many details about the Battle and it is much focused. However this could be a limitation because it prevents a broader understanding of the background and of the relationship between the British and the French. This book also focuses on only on two main people; British negotiator Holland and the French admiral of the four battleships based in Oran but it does not take into account the marines that were also involved in this tragedy. However this allows Tute to describe the complicated series of negotiations and consequences during Mers-el-Kebir. Tute is a British author and therefore his book is written from a British point of view, which may influence his end conclusion that the order of this battle was justified.
François Delpla’s book Mers-el-Kebir, 3 juillet 1940-L’Angleterre rentre en guerre on the other hand states that Churchill never wanted this operation to end by force as it did and it was therefore not necessary. This book did not have a precise purpose other than to inform people of the reason behind the Battle to prevent a victory to Hitler and push Roosevelt to fight his enemies[18]. Delpla gives his readers a wide bibliography with both primary and secondary sources, but also from the British archives. His book was published recently in 2010 and shows that more research and information were able compared to 1972 for Tute. Also Delpla has written the only French biography of Hitler, and is a recognized author that research for many decades on the Second World War and in particular, 1940[19]. Both sources are quite valuable, even though they are not primary sources because few books have been published in English and French about this event despite it being one of ‘Churchill’s deadliest decision’[20], and having as much details about it is quite remarkable especially when the French people are embarrassed about this very difficult subject given the alliance of the two countries. (404)

In its historical context, the Battle of Mers-el-Kebir was a tragic, unnecessary event for some and a way to get help from the United States. The sinking of the French Fleet was viewed with surprise for everyone in the world, as Britain and France had been allies just two weeks previously[21] and were now fighting out of fear of German expansion and anxious for American support. The battle of Mers el Kebir could be interpreted, as American historian Raico Ralph believes, as a relevant minor incident[22], or a desperate solution from Britain to gain American aid.  
Churchill thought that the battle of Mers-el-Kebir was crucial for Britain to win the war because it persuaded America to give them fifty old destroyers in order to stop German armada to cross the Channel[23]. It also showed the world that Britain would do anything and fight, even destroy its former ally. The War Cabinet thought the battle was a necessity because it did not trust Hitler, who said in Article 8 of the Armistice, that the Germans and the Italians would not use the French Fleet at their own advantage[24]. The British knew that Hitler had already shown far worse treachery and as Churchill said ‘what is the value of’ Hitler’s words?’[25]. The British knew that if the French Fleet fell into Italian or German hands, it could crush both the British and the Americans and therefore Churchill tried to threaten President Roosevelt in giving them support[26]. However Roosevelt thought that it was pointless and pledged to the Americans that the United States would stay isolated from Europe’s problems. Roosevelt was also planning an election and therefore only thought about winning the vote, but as most Americans; Roosevelt already felt that Britain would be defeated soon[27]. Therefore the British had no choice than to damage the fleet, in order to keep the balance of power in the world and show the Americans that they were determined to fight[28]. 
In America, most people were puzzled about Britain fighting their old ally, and thus should have dissuaded Roosevelt to give aid to Britain. But two months after the attack Roosevelt gave Churchill the fifty boats requested and therefore Operation Catapult did achieve its goal of gaining American aid, by showing that the British was fighting for freedom.  It was not the Battle of Mers-el-Kebir that caused President Roosevelt to give aid to Britain, as Britain now looked like a “strategic write-off”[29]. A letter was sent to him from Ambassador Lothian[30], one day after the attack, in which Lothian states that Roosevelt had ‘discussed and approved’ the attack[31]. 
Therefore Roosevelt knew of Operation Catapult before it was initiated and thus proves that the American ships might not have been given due to the Battle, but to shield themselves from Germany. Also the ships were given two months after the attack; hence the sinking of the French fleet did not provoke the Americans to suddenly decide to interfere in European affairs. The British were not the only ones worried about the French fleet the Americans also thought that if taken, the French fleet with Germany and Italy could destroy the United States and therefore a want for security could have instigated Roosevelt to help Britain defeat Germany. The War Cabinet were said not to have hesitated when giving the decision, but it took at least a week of indecision and that violence could have been avoided[32]. 
Lastly the British gave France four choices, but all would have to break the armistice and France could not afford it. Yet Hitler was emphasizing on submarine warfare and did not have the manpower to take more battleships[33], thus trust and better communication could have been used to prevent the sinking of the navy, instead of worrying about Nazi Germany. The French, as they did in Toulon in 1942[34], could have sabotaged the ships to prevent German control and the United States might have still sent extra ships to Britain for protection and the defeat of Hitler as a way to protect European civilisation[35]. (689)

To some extent the Battle of Mers-el-Kebir did show the Americans that the British were determined to fight, but had no pride in doing it. The sinking of the French Navy probably played a major role in persuading Roosevelt to give those old destroyers and creating a strong and potent alliance between America and Britain. However Roosevelt knew about the operation before it took place and therefore the Battle did not trigger the War Cabinet of the United States to help the British, but a threat from Germany and Italy if the French Fleet was taken. The tragedy of Mers-el-Kebir would not have been necessary for Britain and the allies to win the war against the Germans, but it was a barrier of protection towards Germany’s attack. Nevertheless the Battle of Mers-el-Kebir shows a lack of trust and communication between Britain and France, which caused the attack in Algeria and not a need of American aid. Thus I think that the sinking of the French Navy at the Battle of Mers-el-Kebir did not help the British secure aid from America, but a protection for both allies. (186) God bless Sir Winston Churchill for having to make such difficult decisions at a time when the existence of his island nation was at its most perilous.

Books :
Azéma, Jean-Pierre. "Mers-el-Kebir: La Canonnade Fraticide." 1940, L'année Noire. [Paris]: Fayard, 2010. 235-45. Print
Brett, Bowles. ""La Tragedie De Mers-el-Kebir"and the Flimed News in France, 1940-1944." The Journal of Modern History. Vol. 76. University of Chicago, 2004. Print.
Churchill, Winston. Their Finest Hour. Vol. II. London: Penguin, 1949. Print. The Second World War.
Cornwell, E. L. The Illustrated History of Ships. New York: Crescent, 1979. Print.
Delpla, François. Mers El-Kébir, 3 Juillet 1940: L'Angleterre Rentre En Guerre. Paris: F.-X. De Guibert, 2010. Print.
Evans, Anthony A., and David Gibbons. "French Armed Forces." The Illustrated Timeline of World War II. New York, NY: Rosen Pub., 2012. 22-23. Print.
Gates, Eleanor M. End of the Affair: the Collapse of Anglo-French Alliance, 1938-1940. Los Angeles: University of California, 1981. Print.
Gilbert, Martin. "France's Agony, Britain's Resolve." The Second World War: a Complete History. New York: Henry Holt, 2004. 107. Print.
Keith, Jeanette. "France's Agony, Britain's Resolve." Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Fight: Race, Class, and Power in the Rural South during the First World War. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 2004. 103-17. Print.
Kimball, Warren F. Alliance Emerging: October 1933 - November 1942. Vol. 1. London: Collins, 1984. Print. Churchill & Roosevelt: The Complete Correspondence.
Morison, Samuel Eliot. History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. Boston: Little, Brown, 1947. Print.
Raico, Ralph. "War Crimes Discreetly Veiled." Great Wars and Great Leaders. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 2010. 89. Print.
Reynolds, David. "Their Finest Hour." In Command of History Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War. London: Penguin, 2005. 145-217. Print.
Tute, Warren. The Deadly Stroke. Barnsley, Eng.: Pen & Sword Maritime, 2007. Print.
Weinberg, Gerhard L. "New Choices in France, Britain, and the United States." A World at Arms: a Global History of World War II. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2005. 145-46. Print.
"First Pictures Arrive of the British Destruction of the French Fleet at Oran." LIFE 16 Sept. 1940: 30. Print.
Sicard, Etienne. "The Battle of Mers-el-Kebir." LIFE 4 Nov. 1940: 14-16. Print.
"Churchill's Deadly Decision." The Secrets of the Dead. Thirteen: 05112010. Television. 11 Oct 2011. .
"The Avalon Project : Franco-German Armistice : June 25, 1940." Avalon Project - Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. .
Kappes, Irwin J. "Mers-el-Kebir: A Battle Between Friends." Military History Online. 15 Mar. 2003. Web. 11 Oct. 2011. .

[1] Azéma, Jean-Pierre. "Mers-el-Kebir: La Canonnade Fraticide." 1940, L'année Noire, 234
[2] Churchill, Winston. Their Finest Hour. 205
[3] Cornwell, E. L. The Illustrated History of Ships.370
[4] Sicard, Etienne. "The Battle of Mers-el-Kebir." LIFE, 14
[5] Delpla, François. Mers El-Kébir, 3 Juillet 1940: L'Angleterre Rentre En Guerre. 15
[6] Gilbert, Martin. "France's Agony, Britain's Resolve." The Second World War: a Complete History. 107
[7] Evans, Anthony A., and David Gibbons. "French Armed Forces." The Illustrated Timeline of World War II. 23
[8] "First Pictures Arrive of the British Destruction of the French Fleet at Oran." LIFE, 30
[9] Tute, Warren. The Deadly Stroke, 15
[10] Reynolds, David. "Their Finest Hour." In Command of History Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War. 196
[11] Brett, Bowles. ""La Tragedie De Mers-el-Kebir"and the Flimed News in France, 1940-1944." The Journal of Modern History.
[12] Tute, Warren. The Deadly Stroke, 14
[13] Churchill, Winston. Their Finest Hour. 209
[14] Tute, Warren. The Deadly Stroke, 53
[15] Weinberg, Gerhard L. "New Choices in France, Britain, and the United States." A World at Arms: a Global History of World War II.145
[16] "Churchill's Deadly Decision." The Secrets of the Dead.
[17] Tute, Warren. The Deadly Stroke. 210
[18] Delpla, François. Mers El-Kébir, 3 Juillet 1940: L'Angleterre Rentre En Guerre. 12
[19] Delpla, François. Mers El-Kébir, 3 Juillet 1940: L'Angleterre Rentre En Guerre.
[20] "Churchill's Deadly Decision." The Secrets of the Dead.
[21] Keith, Jeanette. "France's Agony, Britain's Resolve." Rich Man's War, Poor Man's Fight: Race, Class, and Power in the Rural South during the First World War. 107
[22] Raico, Ralph. "War Crimes Discreetly Veiled." Great Wars and Great Leaders. 89
[23] "Churchill's Deadly Decision." The Secrets of the Dead.
[24] "The Avalon Project : Franco-German Armistice : June 25, 1940." Avalon Project - Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy.
[25] Gates, Eleanor M. End of the Affair: the Collapse of Anglo-French Alliance, 1938-1940. 301
[26] "Churchill's Deadly Decision." The Secrets of the Dead.
[27] "Churchill's Deadly Decision." The Secrets of the Dead.
[28] Tute, Warren. The Deadly Stroke, 17
[29] Tute, Warren. The Deadly Stroke, 41
[30] Kimball, Warren F. Alliance Emerging: October 1933 - November 1942. 88
[31] "Churchill's Deadly Decision." The Secrets of the Dead.
[32] Reynolds, David. "Their Finest Hour." In Command of History Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War. 196
[33] Kappes, Irwin J. "Mers-el-Kebir: A Battle Between Friends."
[34] Morison, Samuel Eliot. History of United States Naval Operations in World War II. 240
[35] Tute, Warren. The Deadly Stroke, 142

IBDP IAs devoted to Churchill

Did Churchill sacrifice Coventry in order to keep the breaking of the Enigma code a secret?

Section A: Plan of Investigation 120 words

Did Churchill sacrifice Coventry in order to keep the breaking of the Enigma code a secret? It was the book Ultra Secret through which F.W. Winterbotham first brought the conspiracy into the public domain and thus its claims will be subject to particular scrutiny. In his book, Churchill’s War, David Irving sets out the conspiracy and sites much apparent evidence researched by him personally. Martin Gilbert, Churchill’s official biographer, conversely will offer a considered attempt to refute such claims. Besides the views of such authors, Churchill’s private secretary’s account will help establish Churchill’s movements on the day of the raid, supported by the events of the actual raid,  to help to identify anything abnormal about this attack in particular.

Section B: Summary of Evidence 538 words

The significance of the conspiracy lies with the Enigma machine which was a cipher machine designed for the German military to keep communications secret. It was deciphered by British code breakers which allowed them to read much of Germany’s signal traffic in the closing years of the war. The cracking of the code was considered by western Supreme Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower to have been "decisive" to the Allied victory, and by some to have allowed allied victory to come 2 years earlier.

The primary events are as follows: on the 14th and 15th of November 1940 hundreds of German aircraft carried out an operation, codenamed Mondscheinsonate, intended to destroy much of Coventry’s factories and industrial infrastructure. The attack quickly gained notoriety as one of the most catastrophic bombings of the war and led rise to the verb “Coventrate” (meaning to devastate something by heavy bombing) by German radio stations.

Three days prior to the assault it was discovered that there was a large raid being planned. This information was gathered from two sources- a transcript from a German prisoner of war talking to a roommate planted by the British secret service, about a bombing raid on an unprecedented scale targeting both Coventry and Birmingham between then 15th and 20th and signals decoded from a captured enigma machine by Ultra. The codes broken suggested that there was an operation planned which would most likely take place during the period of full moon (14th/15th of November). Ultra also intercepted codes suggesting three possible targets which had been assigned the code names Einheitspreis, Regenschirm and Korn. The first two were decoded prior to the attack, according to McIver, as being Wolverhampton. As Einheitspreis translates to single price, the slogan for Wolverhampton based Woolworths was; nothing over a sixpence allowing the code breakers to infer that Wolverhampton was the target. The second codeword Regenschirm was decoded as being Birmingham as Regenschirm translates as umbrella - an item famously carried by ex Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain whose hometown was Birmingham. The third code word, Korn, was allegedly not decoded but assumed to be central London.

On the night of Operation Moonshine Sonata John Martin, Churchill’s Principal Private Secretary, recorded in his diary that Churchill had been preparing to leave Downing Street to spend the weekend at Ditchley Park, northwest of Oxford. As he prepared to leave,  Martin recalls handing him a top-secret message in a locked box. Churchill read it and immediately told his driver to return to Downing Street, explaining to Martin that he was not going to spend the night peacefully in the country while the capital was "under heavy attack."

At around 1pm German radio beam activity was detected although the exact direction of the beams was not identified. Then at approximately 3pm Radio Counter-Measures headquarters informed the R.A.F. that the X-Gerat beams appeared to have been aligned on Coventry, indicating that it was the target. The sources agree that the R.A.F. was informed on the night of the raid Winterbotham goes on to claim that Churchill was informed and indicated that nothing should be done. Despite this it is accepted that no civilians in Coventry were warned of this probability.

Section C: Evaluation of Sources 607 words

Churchill’s War by David Irving, 1987

Described by AJP Taylor as being of “unrivalled industry” through “good scholarship,” Hugh Trevor-Roper similarly wrote in 1977 of Irving that “no praise can be too high for his indefatigable scholarly industry.” However it is the way Irving uses such extensive research which has been severely  criticised with AJP Taylor later lambasting Irving’s double standards with historical judgement, referring specifically to Irving’s claim that due to a lack of a written “Führer” order, Hitler's personal involvement in the Holocaust was questionable. On the other hand, Trevor-Roper cites the “murder” of General Sikorski where Irving  uses the lack of a written order to prove that Churchill was involved thus holding Churchill to a different standard. It could be argued therefore that Irving's purpose is to criticise Churchill in order to reinforce his notion that “Churchill was as wicked as Hitler.” Irving himself has been accused of racism, anti semitism, fascist tendencies and holocaust denial; he has in fact been convicted of the latter both here in Germany and Austria. When asked by Daily Mail journalist Clifford Luton in 1959 what his political views were he replied "call me a mild fascist if you like.” However the extent to which these political views effect his writing remains to be discussed. Professor David Cannadine of the University of London, who in a review of Churchill’s War wrote “the arguments in this book are ... perversely tendentious and irresponsibly sensationalist” based on Irving’s tendency to present an argument with which to jump to conclusions without sufficient evidence. Nevertheless it is vital to include Irving in this investigation as his book is arguably the most important text written on the subject of the conspiracy surrounding the Coventry bombing, as it combines much of the historic evidence to support the conspiracy with many new arguments backed with research carried out by Irving himself, writing of his analysis of the Coventry Bombing that he “ set out in simple terms above is the truth as revealed by the records of the day”.

Coventry: What Really Happened by Martin Gilbert, 2008

Martin Gilbert’s account of the Coventry attack appeared in the Winter 2008-2009 edition of The Churchill Centre’s quarterly journal Finest Hour. Gilbert’s view on the conspiracy is less than ambivalent, writing how, “[o]n 12 November, Enigma had revealed a raid in prospect, but not the target. At the moment on 14 November when the German radio directional beams revealed the target, all possible counter measures had been taken without delay.” However, Gilbert’s account as well as motivation behind its writing is heavily criticised by David Irving, claiming that one would “look in vain" for any reference to his involvement  "in the official biography of Churchill written by that otherwise admirable historian Sir Martin Gilbert" pointing out that "[t]he fees paid to Gilbert for his magisterial task came in part from the Churchill Family Trust, the Chartwell Trust, but few reviewers find it seemly to dwell on that.” It is unclear as to the extent that such funding, if true, would effect the writings of Gilbert. However it must be noted that the article did appear in a journal published by the Churchill Centre, an institution which receives donations from the Chartwell Trust; would it include an article which undermined the legacy of Winston Churchill? Despite these questions as to the extent to which the article is influenced by its funding, Gilbert is an obvious point of reference in an investigation into Churchill’s involvement in the Coventry bombing given his status as official biographer with full and free access to areas of the archives  otherwise inaccessible.

Section D: Analysis 554 words

One of the principal events suggesting  that prior knowledge of the target of the attack was available to Winston Churchill is the transcript of a exchange with a German Prisoner indicating Coventry and Birmingham were possible targets for a large bombing raid. He however suggested that the attack would occur between the 15th and 20th of November (the attack in fact occurred on the 14th of November). The senior Air Intelligence Liaison officer at Bletchley, Squadron Leader Humphreys, noted, in contrast to this, that there was “pretty definite information that the attack is to be against London and the Home Counties.” His view was further reinforced when the, supposedly, partially decoded Enigma message set out the attack would occur on the 14th. Martin Gilbert writes that  “if further information were to indicate Coventry, Birmingham or elsewhere” were to be targeted, rather than London, it was hoped that the standard “Cold Water” counter-measures could occur in time. However Irving by contrast writes “soldiers cordoned off all access roads to Coventry; nobody was allowed through, even with ministry passes.” Which, if true, show that rather than Churchill not having access to sufficient information to suggest Coventry was to be attacked an effort was made to ensure that civilians within Coventry gained no information as to a major raid being planned against them.

A central point of debate is whether Churchill’s actions on the night display knowledge of an impending attack on Coventry as Irving and Christopher Hitchens will indicate, or an attack on London as Churchill, McIver and Martin suspect. Christopher Hitchens writes that Churchill often made the decision to stand on the Air Ministry roof or take a stroll through the Downing Street garden to impress his staff and subordinates “[o]n the nights when he knew that Göring's bombers would overfly London and on the nights when Enigma gave him private information about a raid on London itself, he would decamp to the country house of a wealthy friend.” Initially such accusations appear to support the claim that Churchill did have prior knowledge of a raid on Coventry as he made the decision to stay in London on the fateful night despite “pretty definite information that the attack is to be against London.” However the issue of where Churchill spent the nights when London was blitzed is down to much debate. Irving has written extensively on the topic, claiming that on days when Churchill was informed that London was to be attacked he travelled to Ditchley Park, simply  writing how “[h]e did not stay in London during air raids -- that is a popular myth generated by the Churchill fan club.” Whereas Gilbert puts it as such that “Churchill immediately told his driver to return to Downing Street, explaining to Martin that he was not going to spend the night peacefully in the country while the capital was "under heavy attack.” Thus due to these conflicting views, it seems to be the case that the only thing that can be known for sure is that the content of the secret box changed Churchill’s plans for the night considerably, although the question still remains as to whether it gave information to the opinion that Coventry was the target of the attack or whether it indicated that London was the target of the raid.

Section E: Conclusion 186 words

Throughout the investigation it has become apparent that those defending Churchill and those arguing he did have prior knowledge have entirely conflicting interpretations of the events leading up to the bombing; this can be well observed in the different interpretations of the actions of Churchill on the night of the raid. Naturally, such conflicting views make it difficult to find a middle ground between the two. However, the sources do seem to agree that their was some indication that Coventry was a possible target; but such evidence was discredited due to the lack of corroboration as well as the contrasting evidence of another raid on London (which was far more common). As such it seems likely that rather than Churchill acting maliciously in allowing Coventry to be sacrificed, sufficient information simply wasn’t present for him to know that Coventry was the definite target of the raid. As such the reason for the massive destruction of Coventry was due to the relatively stretched resources of the RAF this late into the Battle of Britain rather than an attempt to cover up the breaking of the Enigma code.


"About Sir Martin Gilbert's Books In His Own Words." Martingilbert.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.
Breuer, William B. Secret Weapons of World War II. New York: Wiley, 2000. Print.
Burnett, Thom. Conspiracy Encyclopedia: The Encyclopedia of Conspiracy Theories. New York: Chamberlain Bros., 2005. Print.
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Dean, Maurice. The Royal Air Force and Two World Wars. London: Cassell, 1979. Print.
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Gilbert, Martin. "Coventry: What Really Happened." Coventry: What Really Happened. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2014.
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Great Britain. Air Ministry. Air Staff Summary. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print. 14 Nov. 1940
Havardi, Jeremy. The Greatest Briton: Essays on Winston Churchill's Life and Political Philosophy. London: Shepheard-Walwyn, 2009. Print.
Henze, Carl G. B. "Bombs on Coventry." Bombs on Coventry. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2014.
Hitchens, Christopher. "The Medals of His Defeats." The Atlantic. Atlantic Media Company, n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2013.
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Irving, David John Cawdell. Churchill's War. Bullsbrook, W.A., Australia: Veritas Pub., 1987. Print.
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Irving, David. Churchill's War. New York: Avon, 1991. Print.
Kahn, David. Seizing the Enigma: The Race to Break the German U-boat Codes, 1939-1943. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991. Print.
Lipstadt, Deborah E. History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving. New York: Ecco, 2005. Print.
Lukacs, John. The Hitler of History. New York: A.A. Knopf, 1997. Print.
Martin, John, Sir. "Letter to The Times." The Times n.d.: n. pag. 28 Aug. 1976. Web. 15 Dec. 2013.
McIver, Peter J. "Churchill Let Coventry Burn To Protect His Secret Intelligence." Churchill Let Coventry Burn To Protect His Secret Intelligence. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2014.
McKay, Sinclair. The Secret Life of Bletchley Park: The History of the Wartime Codebreaking Centre by the Men and Women Who Were There. London: Aurum, 2010. Print.
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Winterbotham, F. W. The Ultra Secret. New York: Harper & Row, 1974. Print.

Was Winston Churchill to blame for the failings at Gallipoli?

Plan of investigation     

Was Winston Churchill to blame for the failings at Gallipoli? To investigate this, the leadership of allied forces at Gallipoli at the beginning of 1916 will be the main focus, specifically the significance of Churchill to the failings of the campaign. Key sources such as the Dardenelles Commission’s report of events entitled “Conclusions” and Dan Van Der Vat’s The Dardenelles Disaster, selected because of the author’s extensive knowledge of maritime history. Other sources written by noted historians incorporating extensive research such as Ekins’s Gallipoli, A Ridge too Far will be analysed and comparisons drawn to understand the nature of the Gallipoli conflict and where the blame lies.     
Word Count: 107

Summary of evidence  

On the 31st August 1914 the First Lord of the admiralty, Winston Churchill believed that Turkey would side with Germany and asked the Chief of the British Imperial General Staff to draw up a plan to “Seize Gallipoli”. This was the first inclination that Britain was hoping to open a second front. It is argued that this move was designed to stop Germany from buying oil from their allies to the south. However, Churchill never mentions oil in his book World Crisis.  It was thought that the Ottomans would be unable to deal with the second front however they were severely underestimated and prepared inadequately with limited numbers and minimal resources . It was designed to put further strain on the German lines because the Turkish army would need assistance causing the German military to have to split again.      

Admiral Carden was the head of the British fleet anchored off the coast of the Dardenelles; he warned Churchill that it wasn’t a sound plan , however Churchill pushed forward. Leading to the 27th September 1914, a fleet of British ships forced entrance in to the strait causing the Turkish to close the strait to all ships, laid mines and switched off lighthouses . However, now that the first assault had been made and the Turkish were fortifying the area, the plan was rushed through the war office. They again were halted when Carden became ill and Rear-Admiral Robeck was put in charge.      Under the command of Robeck on the 3rd November 1914, the British fleet opened fire on the Turkish forts . The next assaults went well and the forts of Sedd-el-Bahr and Kum Kale fell.  Hamilton and a group of hastily gathered staff then went to the Dardenelles to try to draw up a plan of attack by land these would involve English Australian French and troops from New Zealand . On he 18th March 1915, Eighteen French and British ships attacked the Dardenelles forts. The attack failed resulting in the death of seven hundred sailors and the loss of three ships .  This was when the army finally stepped in lead by Hamilton during this time the war council didn’t meet and wouldn’t meet for 2 months .  This resulted in further disaster however this is when Churchill’s role ended and it was Hamilton that took over as the navy had been exhausted and there was little they could do to support the movement of troops along the beaches .      
After the failed attacks by the navy, the army where then deployed with limited resources. Ian Hamilton was deployed to the region on 17th May 1915 however because of the “reconstruction of the government” which meant that reinforcements were postponed for “six weeks”  . When the troops finally arrived Sir Hamilton was greeted by “troops who had never been under fire”.   

Carden suggested that the troops should land immediately however it was rejected by Hamilton as he stated “My knowledge of the Dardenelles was nil; of the Turk nil” . Again showing how ill equipped he was to dealing with the Turkish and the Dardenelles . At this stage the navy was still operational in the area and Kitchener used this to reject the calls for more resources to be deployed in the region.  He asked for submarines and the latest aircraft, which Kitchener responded with “Not One” .    
Word Count: 560                  

Evaluation of Sources  

Vat, Dan Van Der. The Dardanelles Disaster: Winston Churchill's Greatest Failure. London: Duckworth Overlook, 2009. Print.   
 Published in 2010, Van der Vat provides a focused account of the event, using Churchill as one of the major instigators of the disaster. It is valuable because it is focused solely on Gallipoli. Van Der Vat is a naval military historian so this is his area of the book covers grand strategy and where it can conflict with tactical demands and short-term goals. One concern is that Van Der Vat begins by describing Gallipoli as  “Churchill’s greatest failure” which leads one to question if he is purely writing to justify his argument. Another concern is that the book does not include a map which makes it difficult to follow the events clearly, especially for one not acquainted with the area or strategic considerations. The purpose of Van der Vat’s book was to inform readers about what was happening and not provide a biased account. This is valuable throughout the book as the author takes into consideration both sides of the argument. A limitation of this is that no real conclusion is established; however this allows the reader to create his or her own opinions of the disaster.       

The Final Report of Dardanelles Commission, British Dardanelles Commision,1917      
The official Dardenelles report titled “Conclusions” was published in 1917. A benefit of the commissions report is that it includes an official map of the area, which allows the reader to visualize the scale of the operation. Another benefit is it is an official document of the events therefore does not allow for interpretation and focuses on the facts of Gallipoli. A limitation of the report was that Kitchener had recently died; this meant that the report included little about Kitchener’s failings at Gallipoli. The purpose of this source is to come to conclusion on who was to blame for the failings at Gallipoli and to inform the people of the events. The report does have evidence showing that the expedition was poorly planned and that not enough consideration was given. It focused on Churchill specifically and his decision to attack Turkish ships without permission. Nevertheless the report is limited because it doesn’t give a definitive answer to who was to blame. It is a limitation because it does not provide judgement on the issues and leaves some areas uncovered. Furthermore Van Der Vat spends the majority of book exploring the history of Gallipoli where as only 100 pages actually focuses on the battle.   
Word Count: 367  


Dan Van Der Vat argues that “Churchill was a central figure in the Dardenelles disaster of 1915” , highlighting how Churchill was involved in the operation as well as the planning stages. Prior to Churchill’s involvement in the situation there was a stalemate on the western frontier and this was seen as many as a good opportunity to open up the “underbelly of the Central Powers” . In the report it is stated, “ sufficient consideration was not given to the measures necessary to carry out such an expedition with success” . This again places Churchill in the limelight, as it was his responsibility along with others to carry out the planning stages of the operation, which according to the commission failed the soldiers deployed in the region.      
Another aspect which contributed to the failure at Gallipoli was the disagreements between other nations such as Greece and Russia over how they would split Constantinople. This was before the Greek government was taken by a pro German regime; this again disrupted the plans for Gallipoli. Another aspect, which is not mentioned in the official report “Conclusion”, is that Kitchener didn’t want to take away any troops away from the Western Front. This shows how blame may have been unduly put on Churchill, as the British Government weren’t willing to put blame on Kitchener because he had recently died. Due to the delays it allowed the Turkish to enhance their defensive positions, it also meant that German officers had time to take control of the situation. So arguably the demise of the English fleet and soldiers can be contributed to the slow planning of not only Churchill but also the foreign allies.   Churchill became involved at multiple levels during the operation, some of which he should not have been, particularly politically when acting beyond his powers to present “his Cabinet colleagues with faits accomplis,”  showing how he exceeded his designated role. The media also played a significant role in highlighting how Churchill was failing. Churchill’s colleagues leaking information about the fighting in Gallipoli supported this. The fiasco at Gallipoli almost ended his entire career as he was dismissed as Admiral of the navy .  
There were many issues with Churchill and the people he reported to, for example Lord Kitchener. Kitchener told Churchill before the operation that there were not enough troops available for the combined mission. This is supported by the commissions report in which was stated “resistance would be slight and advance rapid” . This was not the case as the troops involved didn’t have the necessary support to fully fulfil their role as they lacked the support from reinforcements or detailed reconnaissance of the area. Additionally Churchill’s blunders were when he ordered the navy to bombard the Turks giving “warning of a possible attack” . This then lead to “great strengthening of Turkish defences” .  At this stage it is extremely hard to look beyond Churchill for the failures at Gallipoli due to the lack of planning and overstepping in political jurisdiction.      
An issue supported in both sources is the lack of planning made by officers and especially Churchill. The commission stated, “the Turks were known to be led by German officers” ; during the planning stages this should have received much more attention. It became apparent that more resources would be needed ; Churchill believed that these resources would be forthcoming however the British government knew that they would have to “limit their expenditure in the Western theatre of war” . This condition was never fulfilled” showing how unprepared the allies were for the additional front.    
Churchill may have been able to prepare for war in a more effective manner or realized that it would have been better to put a halt to the mission all together. Dan Van Der Vat also writes about the lack of contingency plans that were available and that if the initial plan failed there was very little to fall back on which again places the blame back on Churchill.     
Word Count: 667      


This paper has come to the conclusion that the main reason behind the failings of Gallipoli was the lack of planning by Churchill. However saying this one must take into consideration that others contributed to the failings as well such as Lord Kitchener and Admiral Carden. With regard to the planning of the operation this must fall solely on Churchill because it was his lack of respect for the position and the “hands on” approach that caused the rushed air about the operation.  On the other hand it can be argued that Churchill was made into a scapegoat for what happened at Gallipoli. His allies such as Lord Asquith support this and Lloyd George offered no support and in the case of Lord Asquith even prevented him from speaking in his own defence, which was the standard procedure.      The planning stage of the operation was clearly not sufficient starting on the 31st of August until the invasion on 27th of September. Not only was there not sufficient planning on how to defeat the Turkish, the opposition was underestimated, when Churchill wrote “a good army of 50,000 men and sea power”  shows how the British thought of the Turkish and how they could be defeated. The failure to plan and provide sufficient support to the officers in charge giving them to few men caused the failure of this operation. These two roles were high on Churchill’s agenda, meaning that because both were done poorly, Churchill must take responsibility for the failings at Gallipoli.    
Word Count: 252
List of Sources

  Ekins, Ashley. Gallipoli: A Ridge Too Far. Wollombi, N.S.W.: Exisle, 2013. Print.  Fromkin, David. A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. New York: H. Holt, 2001. Print.  Hart, Peter. Gallipoli. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.  Humphry, Derek. Final Exit: The Practicalities of Self-deliverance and Assisted Suicide for the Dying. Eugene, Or.: Hemlock Society, 1991. Print.  Laffin, John. Damn the Dardanelles!: The Story of Gallipoli. London: Osprey, 1980. Print.  Massie, Robert K., and Robert K. Massie. Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea. New York: Random House, 2003. Print.  Overy, R. J. Why the Allies Won. New York: W.W. Norton, 1995. Print.  Putnam, George Palmer, and George Haven Putnam. Putnam's Handbook of Universal History; a Series of Chronological Tables Presenting, in Parallel Columns, a Record of the More Noteworthy Events in the History of the World from the Earliest times down to the Present Day, Together with an Alphabetical Index of Subjects. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1914. Print.  Simpson, Michael. A Life of Admiral of the Fleet Andrew Cunningham: A Twentieth-century Naval Leader. London: Frank Cass, 2004. Print.  Stanley, Peter. Quinn's Post, Anzac, Gallipoli. Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2005. Print.  Stevens, William Oliver, and Allan F. Westcott. A History of Sea Power. New York: Doubleday, Doran &, 1942. Print.  Stokesbury, James L. A Short History of World War II. New York: Morrow, 1980. Print.  Vat, Dan Van Der. The Dardanelles Disaster: Winston Churchill's Greatest Failure. London: Duckworth Overlook, 2009. Print.  Whitehouse, Arch. Amphibious Operations. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1963. Print. 


History Internal Assessment

Research Question: To what extent did the breaking of the enigma code lead to the British and their allies winning the battle of the Atlantic?

Plan of investigation:

The focus of this investigation will be “To what extent did the breaking of the enigma code lead to the British and their allies winning the battle of the Atlantic?”, and it will determine to what extent this was the main reason for the victory.
The aim of this investigation is to determine how British used the information from the enigma to infiltrate the German’s plans for the battle of the Atlantic in February of 1940, thus allowing them to win the battle (Sheffield, The Battle of the Atlantic).  This essay will focus on the time frame from when the enigma code was cracked to when the battle of the Atlantic ended. This question is important as it proves how important the breaking of the enigma was, but also how this potentially contributed to the end of the war. To determine this, this essay will look at a mix of sources, including information from the Bletchley Park museum in England but also from modern day historians that focused on Bletchley park and the Enigma code.

Identification and evaluation of sources:

Source 1:
An extract from Winston Churchill’sThe Second World War Volume 2: Their Finest Hour”

This book was published as volume 2 of Churchill’s 6 volume set. With the focus of this volume being how the British fought the Germans. The official author is Winston Churchill however he had help from many historians while writing the books. Winston Churchill was prime minister of Britain during the war, which should mean he had insight into the breaking of the enigma code and the effect that this had. However, he was also under the official secrecy act meaning he couldn't reveal all of the information he knew. The fact that the volumes have many authors can be taken as both an advantage and disadvantage, it may mean that the views that are presented can be mixed and not necessarily the official views of Winston Churchill. It was published in 1948, just a few years after the end of the war, this means some events that happened during the war were not common knowledge for the British people. Due to Britain and her allies having won the and Churchill is heavily biased in his views. This influences the way in which the arguments are presented however does not stop the book being of value to historians.

Source 2:
An extract from the book Seizing the Enigma: The Race to Break the German U-Boat Codes, 1933-1945 by American historian David Kahn

The author of this book is an American Historian named David Kahn, the world’s leading expert on the history of cryptography.  This can be seen as value as he has a good knowledge of the subject that he writes about. As it is a book it is written from the point of view of the author, which could mean his writing is biased. Written and published in 1967, after the end of the war, it meant that he was writing with hindsight, and he was able to write with having knowledge of how the war ended. However, despite this, many of the documents regarding the breaking of the enigma code were not available or disclosed after the end of the war, so how much information he was actually able to gain access to is difficult to evaluate. The book focuses on breaking of the enigma code, which is an advantage as it means the topic was well researched before the book was written and the author was able to consider many different aspects rather than just looking quickly at one point. However, he does not focus on Britain to be credited as the first country to crack the enigma code, but rather the Soviet Union. However, it is not possible to say whether this decision was due to lack on information being available on the cracking of enigma at Bletchley park.  The content of the book is also important as Kahn makes his argument clear, he proves his point of view that “code breaking neither won nor decided the war” saying it was only a secondary factor. 



During the Second World War the opposing countries were fighting many different battles. In order to protect their forces, it was imperative that the plans were kept secret. Therefore, transmission communication was encrypted. For the Germans this method of encryption was called enigma.  At the time enigma was described as unbreakable, as it was the best coding and encryption that could be used. The only way to break enigma code was to know the exact code that had been used, these codes changed every day meaning even if the enigma code was broken one day, the process would have to start again the next day. There were teams of people employed by the British Government at Bletchley Park to crack the Enigma code. Bletchley Park was a large secret within the British government at the time. However, after many years of working on it Professor Alan Turing broke the Enigma code that meant that all German messages could be read and translated by the British.  Breaking the code did not only have an effect on the battle of the Atlantic, but on the outcome of the war as a whole.  However, this is will focus only on the effect of the breaking the Enigma code had on the outcome of the battle of the Atlantic.
The battle of the Atlantic was not the only part of the war which was effected by the breaking of the enigma. However, this essay will focus only on the battle of the Atlantic as this was one of the crucial battles during world war two and the victors would gain control of the seas, something that could be devastating to the UK as they relied on the see to transport in supplies such as food. The problem was highlighted in early 1941 when the British navy was struggling to sink the German U-boats, allowing. This meant Churchill was forced to create a Battle of the Atlantic emergency committee (Sebag Montefiore, 93). This is something that is not included in Churchill’s own memoirs. However, David Reynolds argues in his own book focusing on the background behind the books written by Churchill, that this was not Churchill’s wish, but rather that he was not allowed to publish anything about the breaking of the code as this would “break the silence”, something the London Signals Intelligence center would not allow (David Reynolds, 147).
The level of influence of the breaking of Enigma code is disputed by historians. The true effect of cracking the Enigma code is unmeasurable, however as Hugh Sebag-Montefiore argues in his book Enigma: the battle for the code the breaking of the enigma code completely transformed the outcome of the battle of Atlantic (Sebag-Montefiore, 142). However, he also makes evident just how the information that was discovered by decoding each message was used. Once the code was cracked each message was translated. The messages contained the details of the location or path of one of the German ships. This information could then be used by the British to plan an attack on the German ships and avoid their own ships getting attacked. Now some historians claim that Enigma had little effect on the outcome and that the battle would have been won anyway by the allies. In June of 1943 after Enigma was broken there was a significant decrease evident in the amount of allies ships that were sunk.  As Turing himself talks about this in his book The Essential Turing the breaking of Enigma was so successful that for 23 days straight the information that was provided by Hut 8 at Bletchley park allowed re-routings to stop the north Atlantic U-boats from sighting a single convoy (Turing, 262). This means that the information was used in order to rearrange the path of the British ships in order to help marginalize the amount of accidents.
Unlike Sebag-Montefiore, Andrew Hodges focuses on the direct effects of the breaking of Enigma on the German army rather than just on the British navy. As the British army were now able to translate and make sense of the messages that were being sent by the Germans meant the British army could now predict where the German ships where going to be and thus plan an attack based on facts. Hodges states “Alan Turing’s work had denied the ocean lanes to Germany”, this was a key part to Britain being able to win the battle. The ocean lanes that he is referring to in the quote is power over the oceans, having control of the oceans does not just mean that Germany is able to attack Britain but also that it is able to control the ships importing and exporting things to Europe (Hodge, 263).
Not all historians agree on just how essential the breaking of enigma was on the outcome of the battle of the Atlantic. Jonathan Dimbleby argues “Bletchley park’s contribution to the battle of the Atlantic – though far from negligible – was at best spasmodic and therefore significantly less critical to the outcome of the struggle than in other theaters” (Dimbleby, 399) Although he does not deny that Bletchley had some effect he just argues how much affect this actually had. He almost dismisses it, giving it very little credit compared to other historians. This is important when considering his entire book is based only on the battle of the Atlantic, thus showing he clearly feels there is another, much more significant reason, the allies won the war.   There is also large controversial argument between historians regarding how the information was used. Some argue that they did not act on all the information, this was to make sure the Germans did not become suspicious. Had this happened the British would risk the Germans changing their code and they would be back at square one regarding knowing the attacks planned against them. Because of this some historians argue that it is not possible to truly determine how much effect the breaking of the code actually has. This idea is backed by David Kahn, as he writes in his book that the breaking of the code did not decide the outcome of the war. Therefore. both historians agree that cracking enigma, while was not completely obsolete, was not the reason that Britain and her allies won the war.
Assessing the facts that have been presented and the views of the historians it is clear that all agree that the cracking of the Enigma code contributed to the success of the battle.  The fact that much of the evidence regarding what happened at Bletchley Park was destroyed means that it is not possible to determine the true extent the cracking of the enigma code had. Although most of what occurred at Bletchley park is now accessible to the public, through the archives or at the museum, it is still not known exactly what occurred. Crucially this essay does not focus on the other battles that Britain fought against Germany and won. Britain’s navy had been built up and expanded for many years before Germany's and was therefore much stronger. In order to calculate how much of the victory was based on England being able to plan attacks on the Germans already knowing where they would be one must first know exactly how much chance Germany had a beating the British in the first place. Breaking the Enigma code may not have been the only reason that Britain won the battle, but it definitely brought the battle to an end sooner than without and allowed Britain to suffer significantly fewer casualties.


            Completing this investigation has allowed me to use a variety of different investigation methods, however it also brought up issues in the investigation that I did not foresee. One of these issues was the fact that all the work on enigma was kept confidential under the official secrecies act. At the start of the investigation I assumed one of the best sources would have been Winston Churchill’s series of books “the Second World War Volume”, as these were written by Winston Churchill who was prime minister of the UK during the war. However, in these books there is no mention of enigma as he was also not allowed to disclose this information.
            My trip to Bletchley park was also not as useful as I had first imagined it would have been. Bletchley park had only a small section on the battle of the Atlantic, and the rest mainly focused on Alan Turing and what the individual sheds did towards the cracking of the enigma code. One of the reasons for this is that some of the information from Bletchley park was destroyed during and after the war, in order to keep it a secret.
            Because of these it meant my investigation had to rely more on secondary sources then I had originally intended. However, this is an area that was researched a lot by historians so there is a lot of information available. In comparison to Churchill’s books, David Kahn’s book “Seizing the Enigma: The Race to Break the German U-Boat Code” had a lot more information despite being published years after the end of the war. However, he does not give much credit to the British for cracking enigma.  
            Overall despite not being able to rely on the resources I originally intended to, I found that there was enough information to answer my research question.


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David Reynolds. “Chapter 2: Their Finest Hour.” In Command of History: Churchill Fighting and Writing the Second World War, by, Basic Books, 2005, pp. 147–204.

Dimbleby, Jonathan. “The Dramatic Turnabout .” The Battle of the Atlantic: How the Allies Won the War, Penguin Books, 2016, pp. 399–399.

Dimbleby, Jonathan. The Battle of the Atlantic: How the Allies Won the War. Oxford University Press, 2016.

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Pruitt, Sarah. “Notes by Alan Turing's Team Found in the Walls of Code-Breaking Hut.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 6 Feb. 2015, www.history.com/news/notes-by-alan-turings-team-found-in-the-walls-of-code-breaking-hut.

Sebag-Montefiore, Hugh. “Suspicion: Bletchley Park, the Atlantic and Berlin .” ENIGMA: the Battle for the Code, WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON, 2017.

Sebag-Montefiore, Hugh. ENIGMA: The Battle for the Code. WEIDENFELD & NICOLSON, 2017. pp. 93-103

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Williams, Andrew. The Battle of the Atlantic: the Allies' Submarine Fight against Hitler's Gray Wolves of the Sea. Basic Books, 2004.