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Britains Warlord..

Discussion in 'History of Britain during World War II' started by Jim, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. Jim

    Jim New Member

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    Three days after becoming Prime Minister, Winston Spencer Churchill (1874-1965) told the Commons: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat,” but he promised “victory, however long and hard the road may be.” This speech was the first of many that inspired the country. After Dunkirk, with invasion seemingly inevitable, Churchill vowed: “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.” And at the height of the Battle of Britain he paid his immortal tribute to the RAF: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”


    The British loved that unmistakable voice coming from their wireless sets, with its growling inflections and snarled references to “the Narzies”. And they loved, too, his two-fingered V-for-victory sign, the no-nonsense siren suit, the massive cigars and the bulldog look. Churchill surrounded himself with able men, but men who would bend to his will. He made himself Minister of Defence, and thereby became effective warlord, and a ruthless “hirer and firer” of generals and admirals. His judgments were seldom wrong, and brought to the fore such architects of victory as Montgomery, Cunningham and Alexander. In his conduct of the war he sometimes gambled outrageously and made a few costly mistakes, such as the attempt to capture the Dodecanese islands in 1943. However, he knew the need to keep on the offensive, and once said “Safety first is ruin in war”. He saw the importance of defeating the Germans in North Africa, and weakened Britain's defensive forces by sending reinforcements there, a gamble that paid off handsomely.



    When the Soviet Union and USA entered the war, Churchill developed a strange love-hate relationship with Stalin, who he admired but did not trust. But he struck up a warm friendship with Roosevelt. It was a friendship which survived Roosevelt's taunt that “Churchill has a hundred ideas a day, and only four of them are any good” (to which Churchill replied that the remark came ill from a man who never had any ideas at all). When D-Day came, Churchill wanted to sail with the invasion fleet, but the King dissuaded him. However, as the Germans retreated he made many visits to the front, a constant worry for those responsible for his safety. When the war in Europe ended, Winston enjoyed the accolades he so richly deserved. Addressing a large crowd in Whitehall he announced: “This is your victory.” The crowd responded: “No, it is yours.” But two months later he was defeated at the polls. The British, who had adored him as their war leader, just did not see him as the man to win the peace.
     
  2. Cabel1960

    Cabel1960 recruit

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    Really surprises me that just a few months after the war his party was kicked out of the leadership, when just a few months earlier he himself was God??
     
  3. mikandrews

    mikandrews New Member

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    Churchill was definitely a great man, and sometimes one has to wonder if the war would have even turned out the same if someone else where in power at the time?
     
  4. Spitfire XIV-E

    Spitfire XIV-E New Member

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    The British people wanted change. Churchill was a great War Leader but he represented the old guard in Peace Time. Once the Nazis were defeated, Atlee distanced himself from Churchill. When the Coalition government broke up prior to the first General Election for over 6 years in July 1945, Atlee was aware that a change was afoot. What could Churchill offer the British people once the war was over ? Although Churchill was favourite to win Atlee and the Labour Party were sure that they had the people's ear with some of the reforms that they wanted to bring in. Chief amongst these being the "Welfare State" and "The National Health Service" which would give people a minimum level of subsistance during difficult times for the cost of a weekly insurance stamp, what we now call "National Insurance" and also access to medical treatment. This was mooted in the "Beverage Plan" but was almost swept under the carpet by some in the coalition government during the war, especially the tories who saw it as going too far. Labour won a landslide victory in the July 1945 General Election. The Labour Government which followed was seen as one of the most reforming and radical governments for a generation. And we still see many of the things that were done during it's tenure today.
     

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