Winston Churchill’s Wartime Politics: Lessons to be Learned

Churchill detested the Labour Party and their trade union allies but knew Britain needed a government of national unity in 1940. The Labour leader Clement Attlee became his deputy. Attlee brought trade union leaders with him as part of the bargain. Churchill directed the war effort and Attlee the Home Front. This continued until May 1945.

Churchill made many unpalatable decisions during the war. Entering coalition was one of them. He worked with Attlee for five years. An indication of just how hateful he found this came immediately after the war. His infamous ‘Gestapo’ speech showed him at his rhetorical worst.1 Campaigning in the post-war election, Churchill said voting for Labour was a vote for Gestapo style politics. Churchill said this about the men he’d successfully worked with throughout the war years.


Churchill aged 23 prior to the battle of Omdurman, 1898

Churchill was a Victorian imperialist. In 1898 he took part in a cavalry charge at Omdurman, in the Sudan. He had Eisenhower imposed on him as Commander in Chief in December 1943. British Armed Forces in Europe were henceforward under American command. All principal military decisions were made by Eisenhower and Roosevelt. Strategy was discussed with Churchill but the ultimate decision was theirs. It was Eisenhower who had the final say over the D Day invasion of France for example. Britain lost military independence permanently from 1943 because Churchill accepted Eisenhower as C-in-C. ‘A price worth paying’, he rightly believed.

The lessons for Julia Lopez and Andrew Rosindell are obvious. Churchill did things he detested in the national interest. Why can’ t they?


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