Talk:Winston Churchill

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Former good article Winston Churchill was one of the History good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
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Bombing Germany[edit]

Shouldn't the article mention that Churchill had already bombed German cities including Cologne from 15th May 1940, nearly four months before Hitler ordered the London Blitz on 7th September 1940? (HarryLogwood (talk) 19:34, 12 February 2015 (UTC))

Wasnt the 15/16 May 1940 attacks against industrial targets in the Ruhr? MilborneOne (talk) 15:59, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
Dortmund was one target. See Rotterdam Blitz#Aftermath. See also Bombing of Cologne in World War II. Martinevans123 (talk) 16:15, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
Cologne was bombed on 18th May 1940. The RAF had already bombed Wilhelmshaven on 3rd/4th September 1939. The article needs to mention the fact that the Blitz was in direct response to the bombing of Germany. (HarryLogwood (talk) 18:46, 13 February 2015 (UTC))
It might need to be mentioned, if it's a view held by a reputable historian and reported in a WP:RS. Martinevans123 (talk) 18:49, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
"The Daily Telegraph" says the official records show the first intentional area bombing of civilians was ordered by Churchill at Monchengladbach on 11th May 1940: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/world-war-two/11410633/Dresden-was-a-civilian-town-with-no-military-significance.-Why-did-we-burn-its-people.html (HarryLogwood (talk) 19:06, 13 February 2015 (UTC))
I don't doubt that is a fact. I'm sure Dominic Selwood is an excellent writer. The bit I was wondering about was "the fact" that the Blitz was in direct response to the bombing of Germany. And, more to the point, how relevant this is to the life of Churchill. It seems quite relevant to me, but I'm not a reputable WP:RS historian. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:13, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
Hitler ordered the Blitz in direct response to the bombing of German cities by the RAF. We paid a very heavy price for bombing Germany first in 1939. (HarryLogwood (talk) 19:17, 13 February 2015 (UTC))
That may well be true. But we need a reliable source. And for it to appear in this particular article a cogent argument, from an expert, that Churchill, and not just the Government, was "directly responsible". Martinevans123 (talk) 19:21, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
The blitz was a direct attempt to terror bomb the British population into panic and insurrection, which backfired badly on the Germans in the coming years. The puny pinpricks that BC inflicted were just a propagandist excuse on the part of the Nazi leadership for mass area bombing. The september raids expressly targeted naval installations, as did the Luftwaffe with their attacks on the Firth of Forth. This cause and effect argument I find simplistic. Irondome (talk) 19:56, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
My word, we're awash with scholarly sources here (?). Martinevans123 (talk) 20:00, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
The German bombing of British cities was actually far smaller than the British bombing of German cities in 1940. (HarryLogwood (talk) 20:43, 13 February 2015 (UTC))
All of the above can be sourced perfectly well, but I can't be arsed frankly. I'm amazed that anyone responds to this stuff. A similar editor using very similar wording has just had his "contribution" hatted on the Bombing of Dresden in World War II talk article. WP:NOT FORUM Irondome (talk) 20:13, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
The Blitz was reluctantly ordered by Hitler in retaliation for the bombing of German cities by the RAF. Germany was fighting a defensive war against an empire in 1914 and 1939. (HarryLogwood (talk) 20:12, 13 February 2015 (UTC))
See what I mean Martin? Chuckle. Irondome (talk) 20:20, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
Poor old Adolf, eh? Martinevans123 (talk) 20:25, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
Basically. Suggest hatting if it continues. Irondome (talk) 20:29, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
"See that homburg, that's your Mum, that is." Martinevans123 (talk) 20:37, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
I loved that. I hope you are not referring to the Bombing of Homburg? Shame on you Irondome (talk) 20:44, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
It was Britain that was occupying a quarter of the world, holding onto India and Burma by force. The fact is that we broke our pact with Poland and then bombed Germany first - just as we had in 1914. The only good thing about World War II is that it completely destroyed the UK as a world power. (HarryLogwood (talk) 20:40, 13 February 2015 (UTC))
And do you still have the uniform, Harry? Martinevans123 (talk) 20:46, 13 February 2015 (UTC)

To be honest this is of only peripheral relevance to Churchill, but needs to be discussed better in the relevant articles - battle articles tend, in my experience, to be written by MilHist enthusiasts who are more comfortable with military details than with the political context. It is true that, contrary to myth, deliberate terror bombing of civilians was started by the Allies in May 1940 (the bombing of Warsaw and Rotterdam, although made much of by Allied propaganda, seem to have been aimed at military targets and in the latter case was more cockup than conspiracy), and was part and parcel with the Allied blockade in WW1, which the Germans and others regarded as a dreadful war crime (but they lost the war, so they didn't get to write the history). However, it's too simplistic to blame the Blitz just on retaliation: it was part of a three-pronged strategy (along with U-Boats and the half-hearted invasion plans) designed to bully Britain into suing for peace (and Hitler's blunder of diverting bombers from RAF airfields to London seems to have been made in the mistaken belief that the RAF was beaten, not because he was mad and angry). The final session of the Blitz in Spring 1941 (including the bombing of Liverpool) seems to have been a bluff designed to persuade the Soviets that Hitler was still intending to invade Britain, and it worked. Richard Overy (The Bombing War, recently out in paperback) discusses all this in detail.Paulturtle (talk) 03:14, 22 March 2015 (UTC)

That the Bombing of Warsaw in World War II was not terror bombing seems a remarkable claim. I am talking about the 1939 attacks. Indiscriminate artillery fire does not help this claim either. Deliberate terror bombing was started by the Axis forces, who graded their targets on racial lines. Pesky Slavs and Jews. Indeed they fought the entire war in that grotesque fashion. Does the well attested machine gunning and bombing of refugee columns by the Luftwaffe in both the Polish and Western campaigns not count as terror bombing? The idea that "terror bombing" was initiated by the Allies is pretty weak stuff. Irondome (talk) 01:11, 23 March 2015 (UTC)

"Terror bombing" was poor choice of words on my part. The important point is not that civilians were bombed or were terrified, but rather that bombing took place divorced from ground operations and with a major or even sole aim of killing civilians for the sake of killing civilians, the very thing that everybody had signed pious agreements not to do. The attacks on Warsaw and Rotterdam do not strictly speaking fall within this definition, although the Germans couldn't resist boasting about the power of the Luftwaffe and these attacks were used by the British to ease their qualms about launching a strategic bombing campaign. As far as the Germans were concerned, strategic bombing was, like the blockade of WW1 (which had increased mortality rates amongst children and the elderly long before it had any real impact on Germany's war-making capacity) yet more schrecklichkeit from the hypocritical British. We all like to demonise our enemies. But, as I said, retaliation wasn't the sole reason for the Blitz - Hitler was to some extent trying to "bomb Britain back to the conference table", to use the Nixon/Kissinger phrase. More on this anon, as Churchill's role in strategic bombing obviously needs better treatment.Paulturtle (talk) 00:14, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

It was actually the RAF that deliberately bombed civilians for the first time in World War II, on 11 May 1940. (Varislie (talk) 17:07, 3 June 2015 (UTC))

Mille[edit]

"...The Churchills' children were entrusted to a French nursery governess in Kent named Mlle."

I believe Mlle should point to Mademoiselle_(title). I've very little knowledge of history but it also seems odd to say she was named "Mlle." I apologize if this note doesn't follow guidelines which I'm striving to understand.

When did Churchill loose his hair?[edit]

This picture, dated to "1900's":

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Winston_Churchill_1874_-_1965_Q113382.jpg

Has the following caption:

"A young Winston Churchill on a lecture tour of the United States in 1900".

In this picture, Churchill clearly has a full head of hair.

In the following picture, dated 1904, Churchill has major frontal recession:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Churchill_1904_Q_42037.jpg

Obviously, based on his hairloss, we can conclude the first picture was taken before the second, thus dating the first picture prior to 1904 (but after 1 Jan 1900). This begs the question -- did Churchill have any underlying medical condition during this time to cause this rapid hair loss? This is really a cosmetically significant amount of hair loss to occur only in four years time. Is it known what condidtion he was suffering at the time of his hair loss, and should it be documeted in this article? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.65.91.78 (talk) 18:54, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

I was thinking about this more, and maybe his alcoholism is related to his hair loss? Do we know when Churchill became a heavy Scotch drinker? (I bet it was between the 1900-04 period when he started losing his hair.) Most alcoholics seem to age faster/wrinkle and lose their hair prematurely. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 69.65.91.78 (talk) 19:15, 3 May 2015 (UTC)
Do we know when Churchill became a heavy Scotch drinker? According to the man himself, over five days in August 1897, at Nowshera.
Opera hat (talk) 11:17, 6 June 2015 (UTC)

He did indeed go bald in his thirties and was facially middle-aged by his late thirties. However, this is not entirely uncommon and not necessarily a sign of illness. Prince William is in his early thirties and seems to be losing a lot of hair. I even had a friend at university who was balding at eighteen and was often mistaken for a mature student. According to Roy Jenkins, Churchill was still relatively vigorous and youthful in gait until about 1930 (his mid fifties) when he began to age dramatically and carry himself like an older man.Paulturtle (talk) 20:20, 3 May 2015 (UTC)

That Churchill should appear older than he was when in his thirties may have been influenced by his periods from age 21 in the tropics on military service and journalistic work. (Avoiding sunstroke and heat related sickness was more important a consideration than effects on skin have come to be in our greater consciousness of UV rays in skin cancer.) The cosmetic ageing would have been more noticeable among his working class contemporaries.Cloptonson (talk) 05:39, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

Possibly, but I don't think I've ever come across a biography making that claim (happy to be corrected) and his father had a similar hair loss pattern at a similar age (photos easy to find online). The original claim was that he was a heavy Scotch drinker to the point of affecting his health, which I suspect is probably nonsense. There are plenty of eyewitness accounts (even one by Eisenhower during the war) that Churchill deliberately cultivated an image as a heavy drinker by sipping from a very weak glass of whisky ("little more than mouthwash") all day, rather like the cigars which he constantly relit because he never actually smoked them all that much. Apart from that he seems to have drunk a few glasses of wine and champagne most days. There were occasions on which he seems to have "dined rather well", e.g. for some of his wartime speeches, but one simply does not come across stories of him being completely drunk the way one does about Asquith or F.E.Smith, both of them men of high intellect who for years were able to function drunk until the drink got the better of them like it does for everybody in the end.Paulturtle (talk) 16:30, 3 June 2015 (UTC)

He was clearly starting to lose his hair at the temples in the photograph from 1900. (Varislie (talk) 17:10, 3 June 2015 (UTC))

Semi-protected edit request on 28 May 2015[edit]

I would like to edit the page with the following text:

Winston Churchill & Racism


Churchill & Gandhi


London, Sept. 20 : Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill wanted to eliminate "bad man" Mahatma Gandhi, the leader of India’s freedom struggle. Second World War archives reveal a conversation that Churchill had with South African leader Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts, which showed the former blaming the latter for Britain’s troubles in India. On one occasion, Churchill told Smuts: “You are responsible for all our troubles in India – you had Gandhi for years and did not do away with him.” According to The Telegraph, Smuts replied: “When I put him in prison – three times – all Gandhi did was to make me a pair of bedroom slippers.” When Mahatma Gandhi went on hunger strike during the war, Churchill told his Cabinet: “Gandhi should not be released on the account of a mere threat of fasting. We should be rid of a bad man and an enemy of the Empire if he died.” Churchill was informed by a ministerial colleague Grigg that Gandhi was getting glucose in his orange juice, and another cabinet minister said he had oil rubbed into him which was nutritious’, allowing Churchill to claim that: "it is apparently not a fast merely a change of diet."


• The Guardian, Thursday 28 November 2002

"I will not pretend that, if I had to choose between communism and nazism, I would choose communism." Speaking in the House of Commons, autumn 1937


"I do not understand the squeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisonous gas against uncivilised tribes." Writing as president of the Air Council, 1919


"It is alarming and nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east, striding half naked up the steps of the viceregal palace, while he is still organising and conducting a campaign of civil disobedience, to parlay on equal terms with the representative of the Emperor-King."


Commenting on Gandhi's meeting with the Viceroy of India, 1931 (India is) "a godless land of snobs and bores."


In a letter to his mother, 1896 I do not admit... that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia... by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race... has come in and taken its place. Churchill to Palestine Royal Commission, 1937


(We must rally against) a poisoned Russia, an infected Russia of armed hordes not only smiting with bayonet and cannon, but accompanied and preceded by swarms of typhus-bearing vermin. Quoted in the Boston Review, April/May 2001


"The choice was clearly open: crush them with vain and unstinted force, or try to give them what they want. These were the only alternatives and most people were unprepared for either. Here indeed was the Irish spectre - horrid and inexorcisable.Writing in The World Crisis and the Aftermath, 1923-31


"The unnatural and increasingly rapid growth of the feeble-minded and insane classes, coupled as it is with a steady restriction among all the thrifty, energetic and superior stocks, constitutes a national and race danger which it is impossible to exaggerate... I feel that the source from which the stream of madness is fed should be cut off and sealed up before another year has passed." Churchill to Asquith, 1910


"One may dislike Hitler's system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as admirable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations." From his Great Contemporaries, 1937


"You are callous people who want to wreck Europe - you do not care about the future of Europe, you have only your own miserable interests in mind." Addressing the London Polish government at a British Embassy meeting, October 1944


"So far as Britain and Russia were concerned, how would it do for you to have 90% of Romania, for us to have 90% of the say in Greece, and go 50/50 about Yugoslavia?" Addressing Stalin in Moscow, October 1944

"This movement among the Jews is not new. From the days of Spartacus-Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, and down to Trotsky (Russia), Bela Kun (Hungary), Rosa Luxembourg (Germany), and Emma Goldman (United States)... this worldwide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation and for the reconstitution of society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality, has been steadily growing. It has been the mainspring of every subversive movement during the 19th century; and now at last this band of extraordinary personalities from the underworld of the great cities of Europe and America have gripped the Russian people by the hair of their heads and have become practically the undisputed masters of that enormous empire." Writing on 'Zionism versus Bolshevism' in the Illustrated Sunday Herald, February 1920


Research by [1] Amy Iggulden

Themowgli1 (talk) 10:47, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

Red question icon with gradient background.svg Not done: it's not clear what changes you want to be made. Please mention the specific changes in a "change X to Y" format. You seem to have suggested a very large textual addition, but it's not clear where you think it should go or how it could be integrated with the existing content Martinevans123 (talk) 10:57, 28 May 2015 (UTC)
No issue with adding specific quotes, but I don’t really see that this belongs together in a separate section. Much of it is in the article already, or at any rate touched on, e.g. his dislike of Gandhi (in which he probably spoke for grassroots British opinion, but not that of the more realistic political world) or that he was somewhat more sympathetic to fascism than the man in the street supposes. Some of it – his belief as a young man in the destiny of the Anglo-American “race”, or his belief in eugenics, is covered in many biographies, but such views were not uncommon in men of his generation. The comment about Ireland is just a brutal statement of what was going on in Ireland late in 1920, at the time full martial law was declared in Munster – to which Churchill in fact agreed very reluctantly after a great deal of lobbying by Henry Wilson.
The comment about India being full of “snobs and bores” dates from 1896 and almost certainly refers to the other British officers and expats whom he met at that time, although it is true that his views India never subsequently developed much.
The “percentages agreement” with Stalin had nothing to do with racism – it was realpolitik to keep the Soviets out of the Mediterranean, and given that the USA eventually took over Britain’s role as protector of Greece and Turkey (the Truman Doctrine) and after a few wobbles and massacres of the pro-British factions, Yugoslavia eventually finished up semi-detached from the Eastern Bloc, Churchill didn’t get it too badly wrong.Paulturtle (talk) 20:09, 28 May 2015 (UTC)

60 millions of Hindu killed by Churchill[edit]

Ethnic cleansing commited by him should be mentioned. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.244.136.107 (talk) 14:41, 17 July 2015 (UTC)

When did that happen? And how? Martinevans123 (talk) 14:56, 17 July 2015 (UTC)
I think this can only refer to the Bengal famine of 1943. 60 million was the total population of Bengal at the time. About 3 million people died (many of whom were actually Muslim rather than Hindu). Quite horrible enough without hysterical hyperbole, of course.
There exists some controversy about policy that allowed this to happen, and Churchill's part in this, as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom at the time. This is in fact "mentioned" - read the section "Indian Independence" which as well as covering the Bengal famine, also makes it quite clear exactly why the Indian people are in fact entitled to have a jaundiced view of Churchill. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 12:36, 19 July 2015 (UTC)
I wonder if anything else was going on in 1943. Maybe Churchill got a little distracted? Martinevans123 (talk) 16:07, 19 July 2015 (UTC)
Point is that what the OP is referring to is well and truly "mentioned" - i.e. his implication that the article is "biased" is nonsense. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 22:15, 19 July 2015 (UTC)

Farming[edit]

In the late 1940s Churchill was a keen farmer and was a member of the National Farmers Union. He owned two farms in Kent, including Chartwell Farm and Bardogs Farm close to the summit of Toys Hill. See BBC's Countryfile. He was also a member, along with Clementine, of the Kent Beekeepers' Association. 86.175.158.99 (talk) 18:24, 26 July 2015 (UTC)