Was Churchill's contribution overrated?

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ULTRA
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Was Churchill's contribution overrated?

Post by ULTRA » 06 Nov 2003 07:53

he's my personal idol, and i feel he played as large a part as any one person to stop Hitler.

but some say he was just a drunk adventurer playing out his fantasy yadda yadda

opinions.

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PolAntek
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Post by PolAntek » 07 Nov 2003 04:14

No doubt – Churchill was the perfect man for Britain in her hour of need. However, the blatant hypocrisy of Churchill’s abandonment of the lofty principles of the Atlantic Charter (ideals which he continued to trumpet) with regards to the treatment of the Poles is a permanent stain on his record. Buddying up with Stalin while knowing full well that he was behind the Katyn slaughter, and then selling out the Poles – whose aid proved so vital during the Battle of Britain - to this criminal murderer is etched indelibly in the historical record. Ultimately, despite his vehement criticism of Chamberlain after Munich, Churchill acted in much the same manner in kissing up to Stalin.

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Steve
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Post by Steve » 08 Nov 2003 04:10

Churchill had faults but he had bigger virtues, that Britain did not come to an agreement with Hitler in 1940 showed huge courage and leadership on Churchils part. Of course he should have supported the London Poles against Stalin but what could he do ?. An open quarrel with Stalin without Roosevelts support was idiocy. While it was thought that a post war ageement with Stalin was possible to have thrown it away over Poland was not likely. No matter what the western allies did Stalin would occupy Poland and do what he wanted, Churchill could not demand anything from Stalin. That Roosevelt and to some extend Churchill underestimated how evil Stalin was also probably played a part.

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Matt H.
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Post by Matt H. » 08 Nov 2003 15:17

Would you agree that Churchill was the better candidate for the premiership than his rival, Lord Halifax? Both were Conservatives, although Halifax was the more moderate. He was part of the pro-peace, establishment when in opposition to Churchill, but would public opinion have allowed him to do this if he had won the premiership?

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redcoat
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Post by redcoat » 08 Nov 2003 23:31

Matt H. wrote:
Would you agree that Churchill was the better candidate for the premiership than his rival, Lord Halifax?

Lord Halifax knew the answer to that question, he turned down the premiership. :D
He was part of the pro-peace, establishment when in opposition to Churchill, but would public opinion have allowed him to do this if he had won the premiership?

The first problem for him would have been attempting to get the support of the Labour party ( who were part of the coalition party )for any peace plan, for while a small majority of Conservative members may have been in favour of peace, the Labour party and a sizeable minority of Conservative members were totally against it, he may well have been unable to get a majority in the House of Commons.
If he had been able to get a majority in the House and had the Germans offered a 'reasonable' peace plan I see no major problem with public opinion, after all in truth, it was obvious Britain had been defeated, and that without major changes in the situation Britain couldn't win. The British public may have not liked it, but I believe they would have accepted it.
It was Churchill's use of his greatest weapon, the English language, which convinced the British people that Britain needed for the sake of civilisation itself to fight on, no matter the cost to Britain itself.


As for Churchill and Poland, it's a sad truth that Churchill couldn't do anything to alter the situation. The major player in the west after the war was the USA, and they refused to take note of Churchills warnings about Stalin. Without the USA, Churchill was powerless to even to put pressure on Stalin, let alone force him to back down over Poland.

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Post by PolAntek » 10 Nov 2003 05:25

Steve wrote:... Of course he should have supported the London Poles against Stalin but what could he do ?. An open quarrel with Stalin without Roosevelts support was idiocy. While it was thought that a post war ageement with Stalin was possible to have thrown it away over Poland was not likely. No matter what the western allies did Stalin would occupy Poland and do what he wanted, Churchill could not demand anything from Stalin. That Roosevelt and to some extend Churchill underestimated how evil Stalin was also probably played a part.


It is indeed safe to conclude that Stalin would likely not have conceded any of the territories he had seized. No question, the Polish dilemma was a tough one. However, the fact remains that despite all of Churchill’s and Roosevelt’s rhetoric about restoring the self-determination and sovereignty of all nations freed from German occupation in post-war Europe (and there were countless promises and reassurances of freedom and democracy to the Poles) NOTHING was done. Had there been any effort – even one obstacle placed in Stalin’s way then maybe the sense of betrayal may have been lessened. Instead, Poland was handed to Stalin in a back room deal with the Polish Government locked out of the proceedings.

And in my opinion one of the greatest outrages of all: The names of sixteen prominent leaders of the Polish Underground (likely candidates to form a post war Polish government) were given to the Soviets by Anthony Eden of the British Foreign Office. The Soviet NKVD tracked down these men who had fought the Nazi’s since day-one of the war (and the time of the Hitler – Stalin partnership), and arrested them on charges of German collaboration, subversion and espionage. All but three were found guilty on these false charges and were sentenced to prison terms. Four – including General Leopld Okulicki – the leader of the Polish Home Army who replaced Tadeusz Bor-Komorowski after his capture by the Germans - died in Soviet captivity. All the while, Britain, the United States and Poland’s other WW2 Allies observed this mockery of justice from a distance and did nothing.

The trial of sixteen innocent men (Okulicki on far left) - watched by NKVD guards with fixed bayonets:
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