JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: REFLECTIONS ON WINSTON CHURCHILL AND THE NATURE OF HISTORY AS WE RECEIVE IT IN BOOKS – RESPONSE TO AN IMPRESSIVE VIDEO PRESENTATION BY THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK, “CHURCHILL’S WAR”   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN RUSSIA INSIDER

 [Responding to a video of David Irving’s presentation in Toronto, years ago, about his book, Churchill’s War]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=49&v=iwFzm6rZH3o

 

I was a student of WWII during one period of my life, and I read major biographies of Churchill as well as Churchill’s complete six-volume history of the war. Many war histories and the biographies of other figures, such as Roosevelt, also provide insight into Churchill.

I had not been exposed to David Irving, although I was aware of him, and I never saw the original documents that Irving has so meticulously dug out of archives and obtained in interviews with many individuals.

However, in the course of my own more casual studies, I came to the realization independently that Churchill was a very different kind of man than the one portrayed in old television documentaries. Far less heroic, far less principled, with an immensely inflated opinion of himself, considerably shabbier in his private dealings than recognized, admiring some things most of us would not see as admirable, and possessing a number of other less-than-admirable qualities. He was an aristocrat, “a great man” as he referred to himself, and a highly flawed one.

He reminds me in a number of details of Thomas Jefferson, an American figure I once studied at length and one often claimed almost as a demi-god of democracy, but who, in fact, was not an admirable man in most of his life’s dealings and who was anything but a believer in democracy. Jefferson’s myth is a fine example of what establishment historians and officialdom can manage to foist on the public, leaving a legend in many ways the opposite of the actual person upon which it is based.

Churchill’s record of supporting blundering war efforts like the Dardanelles is well known. He seemed almost to have a penchant for such efforts, although they tend to be minimized in the overall history-volume picture of him.

His support for British imperialism is fairly well known, and on more than one occasion, he was certainly ready to be brutal with locals in any way challenging British authority.

His contempt for many aspect of democracy – such as scornful comments on meeting average British voters – are also known, but again rather minimized as impish.

His starting, rather than Hitler’s doing so, the bombing of civilians in cities is covered in some books, but it is not widely featured or appreciated.

His drinking is well known, but its extent is definitely minimized and its effect softened in all the volumes I’ve read, to the point of something almost cherubic like Winnie sure does like a generous brandy with his bath.

Well, I’ve finished the video of David Irving’s talk in Toronto about Churchill’s War, and what an impressive performance it is.

I can’t embrace all of Irving’s perspective, as for example about there being no documents showing Hitler’s awareness of the Holocaust. Of course, there are no such documents. That’s the way dirty work is always conducted at the highest level. Try finding a document showing benign-looking old Dwight Eisenhower having signed off on assassinations and attempted assassinations and coups, even against democratic governments, in his day. They don’t exist, and deliberately so, but believe me those dark operations didn’t happen behind the President’s back.

But there are enough self-obviously accurate claims in Irving’s talk, supported by documentation, to be extremely entertaining and quite eye-opening, even for someone such as myself who is reasonably well-read and cynical about a figure like Churchill. Irving’s work in digging out documents is simply astonishing, as are his memory for facts and names and dates and his ability to present lucidly what he has discovered. He is impressive.

 

 

Posted June 9, 2018 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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