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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Surprised to see no mention of his beloved poodles, Rufus I and Rufus II: [1]. This archive letter collection was recently featured by The Daily Mail and his love of animals in general was covered by The Express. It even inspired a picture book and the poodles have their own blog. Jeremy Paxman even claims that Churchill himself wished to be cremated and have his ashes sprinkled over the graves of his two dogs. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:27, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

{{sofixit}}? Rcsprinter123 (shout) @ 21:10, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
Ah, thanks for that sensitive in-depth analysis of how this fits in with our view of Winston as national hero and archetypal Englishman. I never realised the picture was so complex. Martinevans123 (talk) 21:23, 28 January 2015 (UTC)
I never knew! Just checked up on the article 7 years after helping get it to GA status. Since delisted of course. No doubt it was because of the lack of inclusion of his poodles! Who knew! LordHarris 23:12, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

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: (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))

Churchill's "black dog"[edit]

I think that the treatment of this subject in the sections 'First term as prime minister' and 'Retirement and death' ought to better register the balance of biographical evidence and authorial opinion on the nature, incidence and severity of Churchill's psychological difficulties. I imply below that these sections should include a summary indication of difficulties at least as likely characterised by 'worry' and 'anxiety' as by 'depression' in some clinical sense of the word. Moreover, I shall allude to the case for replacing the words following the comma in a sentence found in the second of the two sections, namely, the sentence: "As his mental and physical faculties decayed, he began to lose the battle he had fought for so long against the 'black dog' of depression."

The submission I make here inevitably draws on my paper 'Churchill's Black Dog at the Home Office, 1910-1911: The Evidential Reliability of Psychiatric Inference', published in the July 2013 issue of History, and on my academic monograph published in November 2014 by Palgrave Macmillan, 'Churchill and the "Black Dog" of Depression: Reassessing the Biographical Evidence of Psychological Disorder'. My approach is perhaps not consonant with the previously published opinions of many Churchill scholars, although it is consistent with the judgements of Roy Jenkins, Geoffrey Best, Elizabeth Longford, Jock Colville, Anthony Montague Browne, Paul Reid, Wyn Beasley, and also of Churchill's official biographer Martin Gilbert - I allude here to what Gilbert has to say in his book 'In Search of Churchill' in support of his understanding from the archives, and from interviews with Churchill's colleagues, that in much of what had been written about him since his death "... [Churchill's] depression seemed much exaggerated, and yet much repeated (and embellished)...".

The reference quoted above to Churchill's supposedly beginning "to lose the battle he had fought for so long against the 'black dog' of depression" unmistakably echoes the seminal interpretation of Lord Moran's black dog revelations made by Dr Anthony Storr several years after the publication of Moran's so called 'diaries'. In drawing so heavily on Moran for what he took to be the latter's first-hand clinical evidence of Churchill's lifelong struggle with "prolonged and recurrent depression" and its associated "despair", Storr produced a seemingly authoritative and persuasive diagnostic essay that, in the words of John Ramsden, "strongly influenced all later accounts." Storr was not aware that, as Moran's biographer Professor Richard Lovell has shown, Moran had no diary in the dictionary sense of the word of his years as Churchill's doctor; nor was Storr aware that Moran's book as published was a much rewritten account which mixed together some contemporaneous jottings of his with later material acquired from other sources. As I show in my academic monograph, the key black dog 'diary' entry for 14 August 1944 was an arbitrarily-dated pastiche in which the explicit reference to black dog - the first of the few in the book (with an associated footnote definition of the term) - was taken, not from anything Churchill had said to Moran, but from much later claims made to Moran by Brendan Bracken (a non-clinician, of course) in 1958. As I also show in my academic monograph, Moran later on in his book abandons his suspicion that, by the end of the Second World War, Churchill was succumbing to "the inborn melancholia of the Churchill blood"; in his final chapter, Moran states that Churchill, before the start of the First World War, "had managed to extirpate bouts of depression from his system".

Despite the difficulties with Moran's book, the many illustrations it provides of a Churchill understandably plunged into temporary low moods by military defeats and other severely adverse developments constitute a compelling portrait of a great man reacting to, but not toppled by, worry and overstrain, a compelling portrait that is entirely consistent with the portraits of others who worked closely with Churchill, for example those to be found in: 'Action This Day' edited by Sir John Wheeler-Bennett; the Colville Diaries; Lord Ismay's memoir; and Averell Harriman's memoir, written in collaboration with Elie Abel. Moreover, it can be readily deduced from Moran's book that Churchill did not receive medication for depression - the amphetamine that Moran prescribed for special occasions, especially for big speeches from the autumn of 1953 onwards, was to combat the effects of Churchill's stroke of that year (see my academic monograph referred to above).

Churchill himself seems, in a long life, to have written about black dog on one occasion only: the reference, a backward-looking one, occurs in a private handwritten letter to Clementine Churchill dated July 1911 which reports the successful treatment of a relative's depression by a doctor in Germany. His ministerial circumstances at that date, the very limited treatments available for serious depression pre-1911, the fact of the relative's being "complete cured", and, not least, the evident deep interest Churchill took in the fact of the complete cure, are shown in my book to point to Churchill's pre-1911 black dog depression's having been a form of mild (i.e. non-psychotic) anxiety-depression, as that termed is defined by Professor Edward Shorter in 'How Everyone Became Depressed'.

Perhaps it will be agreed that enough has been said in the preceding paragraphs to raise a serious doubt about the reliability of the evidential foundations of the dominant, essentially Storrian, perception that Churchill's mental health was an open-and-shut case of clinical depression. Moran himself leaned strongly in the direction of his patient's being "by nature very apprehensive"; close associates of Churchill have disputed the idea that apprehension was a defining feature of Churchill's temperament, although they readily concede that he was noticeably worried and anxious about some matters, especially in the build up to important speeches in the House of Commons and elsewhere. And Churchill himself all but openly acknowledges in his book 'Painting as a Pastime' that he was prey to the "worry and mental overstrain [experienced] by persons who, over prolonged periods, have to bear exceptional responsibilities and discharge duties upon a very large scale". The fact that he found a remedy in painting and bricklaying is a strong indicator that the condition as he defined it did not amount to 'clinical depression', certainly not as that term was understood during the lifetimes of himself and Lord Moran.

Should the foregoing meet with a favourable response, I would be happy to submit brief, referenced revisions to the sections specified for further consideration.

Since posting the foregoing, I have made the edits envisaged, and look forward to any comments that might be forthcoming.Wattenborough (talk) 22:51, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Wattenborough (talk) 22:45, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

I was vaguely aware that Moran was accused of sensationalising some of his diary (I’d have to refresh my memory of the details), but the fact that it was written up after the event is not necessarily a reason to discount it altogether – this is true of lots of diaries and “eyewitness accounts”, which is why they need to be read with a sceptical eye and cross-checked against one another and against other evidence. World religions have been based on less, one might add if one were a mischievous person.
I remember reading Anthony Storr’s seminal essay “Churchill’s Black Dog” about 25 years ago. My recollection is that Churchill liked to talk melodramatically about his urge to commit suicide etc. when he was young, and did go through a period of black despair after the Dardanelles when his career appeared to be over, which presumably lasted until he came back from the Front and resumed active politics in mid-1916. Other than that I’m inclined to agree with you that a bit too much has been read into these things. What we know for certain is that Churchill was a pugnacious, domineering character who liked to keep busy and who had a penchant for attention-seeking grand gestures throughout his career – not that he was a clinical depressive.
My advice is that it’s probably best to reference other people’s work rather than your own. It might be best to pull this out into a separate section at some stage, along with an analysis of how little evidence there actually is that he suffered from anything resembling “clinical depression”. It’s the sort of thing which people may come looking for, along with discussion of his personal eccentricities, drinking habits etc.
Martin Gilbert (in Volume 8 of his day-by-day account of WSC’s life) does mention Churchill being rather depressed (or whatever word one chooses to use) in extreme old age, when his relations with his children and his elderly and overstrained wife were less than perfect, and he had lost his mobility and his ability to work or to enjoy his hobbies. But then that’s probably true of a lot of people at that stage of life. Will be doing some more work on his later life over the next few weeks when time allows.Paulturtle (talk) 23:51, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Anyone who knows anything about psychology who has read anything about Churchill would probably form the view that he displayed classic signs of narcissistic personality disorder; his depression when the world wasn't doing his bidding was the least of his problems, and his alcoholism probably not the worst. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:30, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

The "35th Sikhs" incident[edit]

This appears, on the face of it and "assuming good faith" to be well referenced, and yet a "cn" tag was added right in the middle of the account. A citation at the end of a sentence, or the end of a paragraph, or the end of a short connected narrative should logically be taken to refer to the whole sentence, paragraph, or narrative concerned. Even if this doesn't form part of official policy, the opposite idea, that every sentence describing a single incident (or otherwise very closely connected or part of the same thought) needs to have a separate citation (particularly to the same source!) is an ugly and timewasting misapplication of the "citation needed" tag. If the description of the incident itself is at variance with what is in the sources, then the "cure" is obviously to change what is said - not to tag an errant sentence, but either eliminate it altogether or to rewrite it so that it agrees with the source rather than contradicting it. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 09:44, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

And with an explanation, please, so we know what's going on! --Soundofmusicals (talk) 09:51, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

Ploegsteert: "Quiet sector" or "most active [sector]"?[edit]

The “Western Front” section states: “During his period of command, Ploegsteert was a “quiet sector,” and the battalion did not take part in any set battle.”

The “First World War and the Post-War Coalition" states: “While in command he personally made 36 forays into no man's land, and his section of the front at Ploegsteert became one of the most active.”

These two statements appear to be at odds with each other ("quiet sector" versus "most active"). If the source materials have differing opinions, the author should explain this to the reader. If the source materials agree with each other, then the narrative should be adjusted to reflect a consistent characterization of the activity at Ploegsteert. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:12, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

Depends what you mean by "quiet" really, and I assume those sentences were written by different people at different times. In the relevant chapter of Vol III of Martin Gilbert, he mentions how the BEF was not engaged in any major offensive at that time (Loos had been the previous autumn, but now the BEF were gearing up for the Somme which kicked off on 1 July); however, he also implies that Plugstreet was a relatively dangerous part of the front, where British troops would come under fire as they moved up to the front line. At all times, well-run battalions were expected to conduct regular patrols to assert "control" over No Mans Land and even conduct raids into enemy trenches to spread fear and capture prisoners - otherwise things easily degenerated into a "live and let live" system of letting off a few shells at the same time every day. Churchill's shortcomings as a grand strategist are notorious, but by all accounts he was rather a good battalion commander. However, there is nothing in Gilbert's detailed account to suggest that Churchill's level of activity was any more than was expected of a high-calibre officer, or that if there was any increase in the level of activity that it was anything to do with Churchill.Paulturtle (talk) 04:02, 10 April 2015 (UTC)
I am assuming that this means that C as a Lt.Colonel was personally leading patrols and raids. Or at the very least overseeing wirelaying parties and outpost visits. This appears an extremely high number for such a relatively senior officer and in such a short period of command. I will dig out Roy Jenkins' excellent single volume bio. I seem to recall it mentions something of his mental state at the time. A death wish? Irondome (talk) 22:07, 10 April 2015 (UTC)
I think the figure of “36 forays” may be an exaggeration (or a misquote of the source, but as it’s quoting from a dead website it’s impossible to verify). I reckon he was in or near the front for about three months (give or take). No mention in Gilbert of him leading raids, just a quote from somebody called “Hakewill Smith” about how he “often” went into No Mans Land, (which may well include patrols) and often stood on the firestep, etc, displaying indifference to enemy fire. I don’t really see any evidence that he was actually courting a martyr’s death, just exerting hands-on leadership to the best of his abilities and leaving things in the hands of the Gods. He was lower on the ladder than he would have liked - originally he had been promised a brigade pending a division (!) by Asquith, and was incensed when Asquith backed off after Tory rumblings (Asquith was in severe trouble over conscription and other matters and was hardly going to stick his neck out for Churchill), just leaving him with a battalion. He was then passed over for a brigade command at least once. If there was any “death wish” it would have been very early in the year. There was press talk from Garvin of the Observer (which he discounted) early in the year about how he should be put in charge of the RFC. He returned to Parliament for a bit in March and made a fool of himself calling for Fisher’s return, and from that moment on he seems to have been set on a return to politics as soon as possible; he asked to be relieved of command after his March speech, but thought better of it and went back to the front for another month or so. He probably could have had a brigade by the end of April when he had served his time.Paulturtle (talk) 00:18, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
Agreed. I've dug out my Jenkins and that appears to be the sequence of events. C seems to have got the battalion up to scratch and was well regarded. The lure of parliament vied with the lure of battle and Westminster seems to have won out. After his return and the initial Fisher speech spoke constantly in the house, often making good points. A very confused period in C's career basically. The Deedes quote in mainspace about going to the front because of better booze prospects sounds like waspish crap. In any event his battalion was not Guards so that seems dubious as a source in terms of relevance, so I would question it's utility in mainspace. From his letters home he was getting 4 bottles of spirits every 10 days. To get back to the original point, I think we can say that he got a battalion into shape in a nominally "quiet" sector. Just some tweaking of wording. I see no major discrepancies. Irondome (talk) 00:39, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
He did spend some time, as a Major, with 2nd Battn Grenadier Guards in November (already in the article), having already been promised command of 56th Brigade by Sir John French just before the latter's enforced "resignation". It was done specifically to give him up-to-date front line experience. It's true that they drank tea & condensed milk at their HQ (near the front), but I don't find any account of him moving closer to the front so that he could quaff spirits. Whether Deedes misremembered the details of the story or somebody has misquoted it, I couldn't say.Paulturtle (talk) 05:33, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

"les absents sont toujours tort"[edit]

In section 5.3 European Unity : The right sentence in french should be "les absents ont toujours tort" and not "les absents sont toujours tort". The auxiliary used in this case is not the same, in french, "to have" is employed instead of "to be" in english : "you are wrong" -> "vous avez tort". Leo033 (talk) 13:00, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Quite right, and it's right in Boris' original. An error on my part transcribing it.Paulturtle (talk) 18:04, 15 April 2015 (UTC)


"...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.

Semi-protected edit request on 26 April 2015[edit]

Winston Churchill led his Conservative Party to three elections - all after leading his nation through WWII - yet never won a majority of the popular vote. (talk) 12:56, 26 April 2015 (UTC) Graeme Orr Professor (University of Queensland, electoral law).

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. Edgars2007 (talk/contribs) 14:32, 26 April 2015 (UTC)

When did Churchill loose his hair?[edit]

This picture, dated to "1900's":

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:

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 (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 (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 [2] 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)