Was Winston Churchill Racist? | History Hit LIVE on Timeline

published on June 29, 2020

hello everybody welcome to history hit

live we're here it's Friday afternoon in

the UK Friday morning in North America

hope you're well we've got a big chunky

topic to discuss this week we're

following on from the struggle for

racial justice which we've seen on our

streets in our politics in our press

over the last few weeks and here in the

UK there's been a lot of discussion

around Winston Churchill one of the most

towering figures of British history

really be discussing him wartime Prime

Minister many 80 years ago this month

was preparing the nation to face the

onslaught of Hitler's Luftwaffe we were

talking about him warts and all was he a

racist and does that matter

when you're talking about figures in the

past we've got two historians joining us

today see we may be doing few of these

but they're gonna get better and but let

me tell you go to stories we got

Professor Richard toy usually co-author

of the upcoming book the Churchill mist

we got dr Warren doctor author of

Churchill and the Islamic world from now

on where every Friday 8:00 am Pacific

11:00 am Eastern and 4:00 pm UK time

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hello hey Carolyn in Toronto good to see

Elizabeth in DC always thank you Tom in


hello now Kiwi in New Zealand it is 3:00

am on Saturday morning we're a great

day but I'm worried about you you need

to get some sleep Kiwi and hello in


hello an olden gull wrasse points out

that Oldham was one of Winston

Churchill's previous constituencies

although as we might be hearing a lot of

constituencies here in the UK he dotted

around that's for sure and Susannah ello

and Mississippi how are you

now thanks to your generous donations

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really get more ambitious all the

informations you choose to me Richard

Warren thank you for joining me thank

you for having me

it's great to have you guys here we've

got them very well we got big big

Winston Churchill knowledge here right

on this live stream so let's okay well

let's I mean let's go in with the big

question a lot of quick the question

everyone here and the UK's ask

themselves at the moment is um and we'll

start we'll start with you Oren

was Winston Churchill a racist as we

would understand it today well I think

it's interesting that you say is we

would understand it today because

essentially it comes down to how we

define racism I think if racism is a

binary then he was a racist he said

racist things in his life particularly

against Indians and Hindu Indians in

particular um Richard knows a lot more

about the particular knees that he said

but I do think that Winston Churchill

was a racist in the sense that most

people were during the time but you know

he holds on to a peculiarly Victorian

notion of racism far past many people

contemporaries even who would have

denounced his views for instance on

India as being backwards and out of

touch even into the thirties okay

Richard what do you what do you think

both let's deal with both because

actually Lawrence exactly right by

today's standards known even by the

stands of his own time well I think that

you know again throughout his career and

particularly as time went on so I think

that if one was a sort of look at the

1890s for example and in if we sort of

distinguish somewhat between his racial

his imperial views we can see that he

was sort of pushing the envelope on on

the right of the spectrum on what he

thought about the expansion of the

British Empire and was sort of

concretely arguing it for it to get

bigger at the same time and he was

criticized for that I mean the people

who were saying this is he's clearly

really pushing the envelope here it's a

bit extreme but people weren't talking

about his views of race which he did

Express at that time as throughout his

career so at that time he wasn't really

criticised for

whereas you know through the 1920s the

1930s through to the 1950s these are the

end of his active career people were

starting to say well actually because

he's these these racial views that he's

expressing you know often ones which he

expected cry but it should be said

rather than things which he said

publicly that these sort of show that he

is you know he's old-fashioned he's out

of touch he is as extreme as some of the

most extreme white Kenyan settlers who

were really you know some very some of

the most racist people really in the

world and in the 1920s for example and

so but but I would just sort of qualify

what Warren says to a degree in that

clearly his Victorian background was

important but it wasn't that his ideas

got frozen at the point when Queen

Victoria died there was at he would

remember that he switched parties twice

so he joined the Liberals in 1904 and

then switched back to the Conservatives

in the mid 1920s and at the beginning of

that liberal phase he gets his first

ministerial job

in the colonial often sister julienne

Minister in 1905 and I would say that

maybe sort of the first six months of

1906 he'd actually been criticized and

you know not only from from the Reich

but actually across the political

spectrum for being too radical radical

with a capital R which is sort of as not

you know not quite equivalent saying

left-wing but sort of it at that end of

the spectrum and so he's being accused

of Mis ative to the white settlers in

places like South Africa not

understanding you know the problems that

they face with sort of majority black

populations and so on and so he's being

presented by by some critics as as a

little Englander which is a term which

implies some news you know not very

interested in the Empire or is hostile

to it he's being portrayed even as a

danger to the Empire so my argument is

that actually it's in the interwar years

that he consciously takes a right-wing

term and you know knows what he's doing

he's aware of the significance of the

kind of language that he uses so he's an

simply stuck in the past this is an

active choice this is why I said in my

book Churchill's Empire which has

published 10 years ago now but it was in

the interwar years that Churchill

decided to become a Victorian that is to

say he knew the significance of this

Victorian imagery and he decided to

exploit it with such a good point I mean

pathar Parkman who else Churchill's

career spanned several decades so of

course it's gonna be a huge amount of

change and and of what quite a lot

political expediency going that tough

Carl Childers thank you very much for

your kind donation we're very honoured

good to have you good to have you on the

road from Royal Terre Hill County Mead I

love the Royal toriel and that's very

cool to have you on the stream as well

one of the Rangers there and so can I

ask Warren did there's a lot of people

on the feed already a lot of people are

saying look if he was raised it was just

normal for the time we can't be judging

people by those

come to and I'll come to whether we

should or shouldn't be worried about

that in a second but let's just try and

drill down if I may into the kind of

standards of the time we heard a little

bit from Richard there and importance of

the dividing out the Imperial views from

racist views what were late Victorians

just endemically racist is that is that

is that would have really imbibed that

with his mother's milk well I I think

it's a really excellent point it goes

back to sir what Richard said earlier

about Churchill consciously deciding to

become Victorian in the 1930s because

actually I argue in my book turn from

the Islamic world but as as a sort of

Victorian soldier he's kind of fairly

progressive as a Victorian in fact

because he's writing that that even NATO

should be awarded the Victoria Cross and

things after his experiences on the

northwest frontier in Sudan so there is

certainly a period of time but I think

you know where he is he's thinking about

these things in a more equitable way

than we would traditionally imagine but

I do think that that for him it's an

imperial mindset let and that's

essentially what's fueling his views not

so much concepts of race because he

really isn't talking so much about race

he's more talking about cultures and an

sort of imagines kind of cultural

hierarchy in which he places I at least

into the abour deianeira

this this comes out of his book my

African journey and after his tent his

colonial undersecretary 1907 1908 um

where he establishes his firm hierarchy

which of course white Protestant British

people at the top and then it sort of

cascades down and you know one of the

interesting things I discovered is that

he has greater sympathies with Muslims

and one would suspect owing in part

because of the shared a Brahmin

traditions with Judaism and Christianity

and Islam so I think he's thinking

imperially and culturally less racially

if that makes sense

um Thank You Lauren Shane both such

loyal viewers really appreciate your

donations that's very very kind Richard

we've heard from more in there that he


uncovered evidence of Churchill's

attitude towards the Islamic world what

do you think of some of the revelations

that have been well some of the insights

that we've gained over the last few

years that helped to give us a fuller

picture of Churchill's views on issues

around race of this kind and cultural

hierarchy well I think that you know

people have including Warren have looked

at Churchill's views more systematically

so it's not it's not simply a question

of finding revelations in the archives

there are some of those still to be

found it's not that you necessarily find

one killer document which reveals

everything but I think that he's looking

at and he's trying to look at the his

views systematically and and the the you

raise the question of does this matter

well it does matter it to us as

historians and if he's the case that you

know we're interested I think they want

to speak for Warren but you know for me

I'm not interested in sort of passing

moral judgment on the Churchill I'm

interested in trying to understand how

he fitted into the culture of the time

so he's an interesting question exactly

where did his ideas come from you say

didn't come with his mother's milk well

I don't I don't think they did I think

that they oh he was very much influenced

by his schooling for example at Harrow

school where there was a

self-consciously Imperial tradition

where the headmaster JC weld them

explicitly wanted to do sort of

inculcate an Imperial mentality and so

that's clearly got the explanation so I

think that it is trying to consider the

the range of opinions that were around

Churchill and I think that um you know

people say well everybody thought this

way well of course not everybody did

think exactly like Churchill there was a

spectrum of opinion there were there

people you know there were sort of angry

differences about the empire within

British politics during the late 19th

century that doesn't mean that there was

one set of people who were sort of

perfectly politically correct if you

by modern standards but certainly they

had very different views from Churchill

and I think one of the most you know why

is Churchill worth studying is because

he expressed his views which were they

were complex they were quite

sophisticated in terms of the way that

they are expressed compared to many of

his contemporaries and he wrote so much

and over such a long period that it is

you know possible to make these these

long term analytical comparisons what

I've got so many questions Richard why

I've got you I'm just gonna ask about

the Bengal famine could you could you

explain a little bit about the

background and why this has become a

kind of totemic charge leveled at

Churchill by so many people particularly

here on the social media platforms sure

and well first of all remember this was

a devastating famine which sort of

started in 1943 you know huge numbers of

people did die of course the fact that

the you know Japanese had invaded Burma

and the destruction of rice supplies and

all sorts of things going on in the war

helped explain why this occurred now

this was something which you know in in

Britain at the time it wasn't a big


it wasn't something which Churchill was

ever criticized for his own lifetime in

part I suspect because the very large

number of life proportion of the people

in Britain were indifferent to the fate

of people in Bengal and also because it

wasn't being reported to a great extent

in in the UK either so um we're why then

just was Churchill get blamed well from

the 1970s when the famines started to be

studied as a very serious example of you

know why famines are caused and what

brings them about and this was also the

time at which revelations came out of

about with what Churchill had said

because of new documentary

locations and releases and in 1980s for

example Leo Amery diary the Secretary of

State for India's the diary of Leo Amery

was published which contained a Murray's

anger and frustration that he couldn't

get Churchill's take this problem

seriously so there are real serious

cruises are to be made of Churchill

insofar as he certainly didn't react

quickly enough and he said some really

really horrible things in cabinet

meetings which which a memory recorded

about sort of Indians breeding like

rabbits and so on so it's certainly one

of the you know greatest stains on his

record but at the same time there's a

difference between saying that he was to

a considerable extent indifferent to the

fate of the people who were dying in

Bengal versus the idea that he actually

planned this as an act of genocide which

of course is a you know while

exaggerated well it's not going to score

the exaggeration suggest he's got some

truth in it he wasn't wasn't trying to

kill people in India he failed to react

quickly enough to save them now of

course you know in due course he got

around to agreeing to divert some

shipping and so forth so and that is

what his defenders say and so I think

that this has become one of the main

reasons why he is now criticised in

contrast to you can sort of look at

critical biography published in even in

the 1990s where you know either this

wasn't mentioned at all or it wasn't a

theme so it's partly about documents

becoming available but in order for

documents to be regarded as publicly

significant some historian has to take

them up and start making arguments on

the basis of

Warren let's say that there have been

have been people the voices in the UK

and elsewhere calling focus Churchill's

vast actually I've got let me get my

picture of Churchill statue up here in

my virtual background and people have

been been calling for this statue to be

taken down

Warren let's start with you do you think

as any story interview anything to say

about that do you think he's starting to

get involved Mike and stuff or indeed

there's any merits in the taking down

the statues like Churchill's well couple

things I personally don't think that the

Churchill statue should come down

because in the end I do think Winston

Churchill played such a large role in

forming the 20th century and in the

statue acts as an object as we've seen

which allows us to discuss both the ills

you know both devices and the virtues so

in that way it's people on Churchill as

long as we're talking about it but at

the same time the present has to exist

in discourse with history and you know

it depends on how we use the statute do

people want to engage in these

conversations around the statue or do

they want to just say he's a hero and

that's it and that's the problem

actually is when we think of him as a

God or as a myth and not as a man who

was obviously and I just you know

Richard and I probably are slightly

different on the bingo Fame and I think

there's there's evidence you know that

Churchill did try to get through through

particularly in August and September

1943 both from Australia Canada there

was even a I think a an idea that maybe

grain from Iraq would go there but

because the Allies including the US when

of course Churchill still trying to

project strength

he's loath to ask the US for help but he

has to and he does but ultimately

because the war is still ongoing and the

Japanese still largely owned the Pacific

it makes it very very difficult and so

okay I do fundamentally agree with

Richard that Churchill's role in this is

quite callous but some journalists have

really taken this too it's almost in

illogical extremes of comparing this to

what Stalin did in the Ukraine

there there's they're nothing they're

not alike at all and I think that that's

an important differentiation because in

the in the end Churchill was trying to

help the people in India and ultimately

he appoints wave all right and then wave

Viceroy Wavell is the one that helps

bring it into the family so you know he

may indirectly have solved the famine

now he was by Callison as Richard said

fairly indifferent and that's you know

that's the problem he did have prejudice

particularly against Hindus there but it

would not have driven his policy there

in the way that

Richard what's your just briefly what

was your view of taking down statues and

that and it's Churchill's in particular

well I mean I'm not aware I mean there

may be some comment which I've missed on

some corner of social media I'm not

aware that anybody actually has proposed

to take down the statute rather at least

one newspaper has started a petition

saying the statue is under threat you

know we must have a petition to story

being taken down there is an element of

people trying to sort of work up feeling

about the stat new to make it seem as

he's under threat well certainly of

course it was it was defaced and you

know but I as I said I don't think

anybody has seriously proposed taking

you down I wouldn't pose take it down I

think you've got to you know with

Churchill is clearly a possible set of

rational arguments that you can make as

to why he deserves a statue and you can

sort of people may disagree but you can

sort of have a have a reasonable

discussion about that if you take the

statue of Edward Colston for example the

one that was pulled down to the fire

direct action a couple of weeks ago in

Bristol well that guy was a slave trader

who traded at least sort of 80,000

people and I don't think that anybody's

really been able to come up with any

credible defense of anything needed at

all so to me I mean whether or not you

approve of sort of intervening to pull

them down by the action of the crowd

certainly there are there seemed to be

no justification for having a statue of

this guy and I know sort of shocking and

mind-boggling that is a Bristol counsel

had not even managed to get around to

agreeing to have a sort of an

explanatory Clarke saying well actually

this guy was pretty dubious well we've

got a short clip which I want to show

you here featuring Andrew Roberts or

alongside Richard and Warren has written

well-known books on on Winston Churchill

I interviewed him for history here which

is my new digital History Channel

and put this question to Andrew let's

let's have a listen to what he said

recently Indian historians are reminding

us of the Churchill's involvement in

things that now appear to be you know

far less attractive so imperialism do

you in the past have written books

celebrating Napoleon celebrating

Churchill unashamedly and yet somebody

demonstrating Churchill's views towards

race or towards Empire now would be

would be unacceptable in multiple so how

do you how does this how does that work

more than an acceptable obscene I mean

it would be absurd and obscene to

believe that white people were

biologically superior to non-white

people but that is what the Darwinists

took or at least the Neo Darwinists took

to be a scientific fact back in those

days however absurd that might be today

people like actually believed that you

could you could extend our winners

principles to believe that one

particular race of humans was superior

to the other it was just something that

people accept so that was andrew roberts

churchill biographer talking about

talking about how he thinks that

Churchill was upright of his time

rich Richard was it was it we've dealt

with this I mean it's difficult to say

that because we're all sorts of views in

the time when he was appointed to be

secretary State for the colonies was

that regarded as a a controversial was

he regarded as having fairly out their

views they did they sit within the

mainstream well and I don't think you

know remember that this was a coma

remember he became Daniel secretary in

1921 and he was a member of a coalition

government which was dominated by

conservatives but also had liberals

obviously Lloyd George was at the head

of it and so again there was obviously a

spectrum of opinion

within the within the government and

there were people like Edwin Montague

who was a liberal who was one of those

who felt that Churchill's views were

outrageous he was the one who sort of

compared to him to sort of the canyon

settlers this was the time when

Churchill was was saying things like

that Gandhi should be um you know tied

up and trampled by an elephant in front

of the Viceroy Palace and so forth and

so I in terms of the public opinion I of

course he you know he was responsible

and during the period just beforehand

when he'd been Secretary of State for

war and continuing as colonial secretary

to some extent for all the state of

affairs in Ireland where there had been

a very brutal repression with the group

of auxiliaries called the Black and Tans

who took reprisals on suspected IRA

terrorists by essentially burning down

people's houses and and so on

so from the point of view of some people

at the time you know Irish Republicans

would certainly have seen Phil as being

you know sort of a die-hard extremist

but of course one also has to

acknowledge there is another side of the

story which is that in due course when

the British really realized that they

weren't gonna be able to win the

anglo-irish war then Churchill sat down

and negotiated with Michael Collins who

was the sort of key IRA leader

obviously there there were others

involved as well but this led to the

anglo-irish treaty you know and so he

played something of a peacemaker role

and his defenders will also of course

point out that he did condemn the

Amritsar massacre of 1919 so he made up

a speech in common in 1920 where a sort

of said that these these methods of you

know essentially terror or barbarism

were were inadmissible so he wasn't

there there were people on

the conservative side who were defending

general Dyer who perpetrated the

massacre he went to great lengths to

raise money for him in his retirement

and so you know Churchill was not

actually at that time on the most

extreme right wing or imperialist end of

the British political spectrum we've got

video short sale you since I'm the

archive of Winston Churchill

particularly during World War two I want

to come under that now because as you

mentioned his statue is there because of

his role because they're all he played

in World War two and possibly petit Li

because of Roy paid in the summer of

1940 exactly 80 years ago now Warren um

didn't I talk to Lucy Noakes at Essex

University Professors you know she

points out that he was both you can be

all these things at once you can be a

great warning that whilst having some

probably you know suspect nowadays views

on on things like racial hierarchy and

imperial domination describe for us just

how important he was what role did he

perform in the summer of 1940 well I I

think I mean this is I completely agree

with Lucy notes and I do think Winston

Churchill that was the moment for him

you know and you know to give to give

Andrew his creams are actually Churchill

his own creams he was walking with

destiny he was the man for that moment

and I you know I think that a few things

happen number one I do think that he was

sort of the lone voice to stand up and

push against the Nazis because there

were there was this feeling you know

from Halifax and now there's an even

Churchill later some memoirs of course

his history the Second World War heat

that everyone was in agreement we since

found out that that wasn't true so I

think Churchill is a key player in that

but Churchill also and this is something

Richards written quite a lot about is

extraordinarily important in giving the

the voice for the roar of the lion

you know his speeches helped motivate

people I mean certain people in Britain

done you know misremember it or didn't

like it as much as they thought they did

what he did was he projected

to the American audience in many ways

bringing America in which is also very

particularly Churchillian tonight

because he's half American himself is a

key way in which he has to be the man

for the moment right because he sees

America has an important player that he

can bring them into the war convinced

Roosevelt that there should be an

alliance and he is very successful in

that and I think that these are all

things and and a final point that I'll

say here this signing kind of goes back

to one of the reasons you just put in s

Colonial Secretary is because Churchill

was was selected for that

George ultimately because of his drive

in his energy and Churchill brought a

drive and an energy for all Prime

Minister that Neville Chamberlain didn't

have and couldn't have because as we

found out later he was quite ill come in

Churchill you know in that way really

changed I think the shape of the

argument of the context in which it was

happening and you know made it

believable right that the Nazis could be

beat and Warren it's interesting on the

on whenever you mentioned Churchill on

Twitter again discussions or we look at

the feeder of this live stream people

get very upset because we are talking

about with some Churchill isolation

perhaps and we're not saying enough

about what was going on on the other

side of the channel in central Eastern

Europe with one of the one of the most

savage genocides and massacres of human

beings in the history of mankind said is

it should we acknowledge that whilst

also talking about

Churchill's views which are unpalatable

nowadays in many different ways

well I mean that's it's a part of the

whole spectrum of what we were

discussing that Churchill was able to

recognize even as early as 1932 just how

sinister Nazism was particularly towards

Jewish people and that they had you know

orchestrated or would ultimately come to

orchestrate this kind of a thing you

know the Holocaust ultimately is

remarkable there and he didn't say that

that's what happened in 1932 I don't

mean to say that but that he saw that

there was a sinister intention here that

early on I think is remarkable and you

know he's got some some foresight there

but I don't think you can separate that

out I mean this is the problem is that

he is a man he recognizes that there's

certain danger and darkness on the

horizon at the same time he holds views

that we today fine fairly contemptible

you know what I mean so it is like Lucy

note says only you have to take him

works and all you have to

I did you know see that he's not it's

not like a point system where you get

good guy point bad guy points hey you

know he's a human being I'm just

wondering talking you know listening to

you I mean just dirt should a store do

historians have heroes they probably

don't right because I mean everyone in

the past is gonna be it's gonna be it's

gonna flawed in some way justice just as

we all are

I well I don't know I mean I'll go ahead

and tell you I'm not gonna you know

shock anybody Winston Churchill is one

of my heroes I wrote a book about him

but at the same time that's problematic

and it's easy for me to have a hero like

Winston Churchill because I was a white

guy won in Tennessee you know and I'm

very conscientious of my own a sort of

position of whiteness as it were because

I can I can have Winston Churchill as a

hero because he didn't systematically

oppress my people like like those in

mau-mau or those in India if I had been

Indian in my position probably would be

different in terms of my heroes but you

know I do like Winston Churchill because

he stood up in that crucial moment but

he is still a human being right even

heroes have faults and that it's

important that we discuss them and in

come to terms because I think ultimately

at the heart of what we're trying to

figure out here isn't so much about

Winston Churchill but it's about Britain

reconciling its own past and coming to

terms of its own Imperial legacy which

is I think at the core of this issue

particularly now you know that we are in

sort of Britain of 2020 you know what I


Richard what do you think I mean I think

the one solution is for us not to have

statues and heroes at all just to talk

about historical figures in their own in

their own terms and not feel that some

that we need like I don't do I need for

Francis Drake to inspire me and motivate

me today I'm not sure I do

Drake but I'm I'm not sure I need the

guy well and I suppose I just wanted to

quickly go back to your previous

question which is you know of course we

should recognize and acknowledge that

Churchill Warren said recognize the

danger of the Nazis he battled against

them he was he obviously was opposed to

the genocide of European

he recognized these were terrible crimes

as historians what you have to do is try

and explain why he could take that

position at the same time as having

views about many different races which

you know certainly weren't ones of

equality he certainly explicitly said he

was in favor of white supremacy thought

that thought the english-speaking

peoples wiped the white anglo-saxons

easy would have you actually were

superior so he's trying to reconcile

these things we've got to reconcile as

well the fact that you know he in order

to defeat Hitler he had to ally himself

with Stalin who committed also terrible

crimes as Warren was referring to

earlier on so there's an awful lot of

complexity here and I think that you

know all about heroes should we have

them certainly don't either war and I

are he's saying that people shouldn't

admire Churchill if having come to an

awareness of all the facts of his career

that that's what they the the balance

judgement that they want to reach what

we're saying and what people really

don't like is that we're not saying a

sort of uncomplicated heroism or do we

think that that history historians I'm

sure do very often have heroes but we

don't see the purpose of history as

being to locate heroes and sort of spend

all that time saying how wonderful they

were so you know we have to recognize

that an awful lot of people and do look

at history in this kind of heroes and

villains way we're trying to to

complicate that we recognize we you get

some Steve from it we have to recognize

that we live in a world where you know

doing away with statues in general is

not realistic or probably even desirable

so people have reacted in the past to

the statues that are in London for

example and saying well wire you know

90% or more of them of men and when they

were women why they mostly of Queen

Victoria shouldn't we put up

who statues to some women who seems you

know very fair enough but then locate to

try and locate women who also were sort

of absolute Paragons of virtue and can't

be criticized for anything well we've

seen with the Nancy Astor statue down in

Plymouth you she was the first woman MP

to take commendable and sort of

forthright from that point of view but

we also know that she had you know

anti-semitic views too and so people

have been protesting it's that statute

so we never there there is no easy

solution to the problem of statues I

think you can only we can't say that all

statues must remain in place come what

may under any circumstances and they

matter who they're off or what those

people did I don't not sure if if

American viewers will be aware but there

was a TV personality and DJ called Jimmy

Savile who was very popular during his

own lifetime but was revealed after his

death to have been a serial sex criminal

and if they were actually statues of him

which were taken down and nobody is

saying well you know no you mustn't

alter history Jimmy Savile is part of

our history so you could only look at

statues on sort of on a case-by-case

basis and make arguments about whether

or not a particular person who deserves

to have one or whether in fact that you

know statue should be taken away or

destroyed or put in a museum or whatever

right guys so this we're gonna go

quick-fire thank you very much guys

we've got questions coming in I just

just tell you second thoughts on these

ones um either of you just put your hand

up and go for it we've got Philip Demick

um did did his quote/unquote racist

reputation contribute to him being voted

out in 1945 so 80 years 75 years ago

this summer that's an interesting

question Richard go for it I don't think


I would say that he was regarded by many

people as a as a reactionary somebody

who was and asked conservative they

looked at his record going back to at

least the time of Gallipoli they looked

at his record during the generals

but in general although there was some

relatively sort of low-key criticism of

his imperial views during World War two

I don't think that was actually a major

factor in him losing office okay do we

and asks do you think his mental health

affected his views just any one

particular tell us why is because he

famously struggled with mental health

just if you could tell us that perhaps

that would that was something no doubt

that yep go for it one so Churchill did

struggle off and on with a very mild

form of depression although some

biographers particularly in the States

for instance William Manchester has

painted Churchill's struggles with

depression is far more difficult than

they were he was not sort of morbidly

depressed or anything like that he did

suffer from a sort of anxious depression

there's been a lot of work done on this

curiously some people tried to deny that

but he did he did suffer from that I

think the only point of which you can

say his mental health became potentially

a problem was after his stroke in 1953

because it took him so long to recover

and he was still writing his own

speeches and things afterwards but I

don't think he was as quick or as as

sharp as he used to be just because he

was so old ok perfect guys John wake

says did he ever pray because of huge

numbers of Indian troops were serving in

the British Army both in the first war

did was he on record praising

criticizing ignoring in any other way

commenting on the performance these

Indian troops more so so I I do know

that he praised the Indian troops both

in the first in the Second World War as

Indian troops a remarkable thing though

was that he sort of labored under the

kind of misapprehension that there was

always a majority of Muslim troops as

opposed to Hindu truth which is

factually incorrect and this is a sort

of kind of again a kind of a Torian

holdover in his thinking I don't know if

he like Richard was saying earlier chose

to make that a part of his political

identity or not but he certainly

confused those numbers but he did praise

the Indian troops

lovely and then it was a good idea at

the time

asks what do you think was Churchill's

greatest accomplishment very short

answer guys what do you think was a

great compliment well I will say I do

think the course is the recognizing

danger the Nazis in the 1930s his

leadership of the 1940s I would say one

of his great skills perhaps not

sufficiently recognized is that when he

was making those speeches it wasn't

necessarily all about sort of the

wonderful phrases it was about his

consistent willingness to tell the truth

to the British people and not offer sort

of false promises of easy victory so

making clear from the beginning that the

war was going to last a very very long

time victory would come in the end it

wasn't clear how but that a lot of

patience and a lot of perseverance was

required Lauren what do you think I I do

think it is His grace ikari comes down

to that summer in 1940 and being able to

become a symbol of will and resistance

against the Nazis I think it's

absolutely right Richard now I've talked

about some of those speeches he made in

a podcast that's coming out in the next

few days those incredible speeches now

Richard speaking of Richard books you've

got a book called the Churchill myths

coming out okay I wanna know the biggest

may thought one of the biggest myths

about Churchill and what is the actual

truth that you can tell us well and I

just declare epified of the book the

Churchill myths is about the way in

which Churchill is being discussed after

his death so it's really about the ways

in which politicians have tried to make

use of his memory but to answer your

question I would say that the myth does

actually concern the speeches which I

would argue we're very very good

speeches they're successful for

different reasons than we really think

so there is a myth that you know

virtually all of the British population

received these speeches with great

enthusiasm were energized and galvanized

by them there was much more comment

critical comment and controversy aroused

by these

Beaches than one might think even if a

majority of people did like them and so

I would say that actually this is

actually cast Churchill in a better

light because rather than it being easy

for him to sort of persuade everybody of

his viewpoint he actually had to

struggle against criticism which he was

certainly aware that existed and that it

was his ability to tell a coherent story

to explain to the British people and to

analyze what was going on was actually

considerably more important than the you

know the phrases which he did come up

with which is certainly wonderful from a

literary quality but he wasn't

necessarily the literary phrases or the

speech used to the containment that were

the the most important or even the most

persuasive now Richard there's another

myth with those speeches that you told

me and it blew my little mind I didn't

even know is that most of those speeches

were not even broadcast on the radio at

the time so people wouldn't have heard

them well that's right I mean just to

clarify that he gave it he did make a

series of broadcasts during 1940 but

with the the exception of the finest

hour speech on 18th of June which he

made in the House of Commons and then

repeated over the airwaves that evening

the really famous ones were not ones

that were broadcast and so the blood

toil tears and sweat speech was given in

the House of Commons the fighting on the

beaches was given in the House of

Commons and not repeated over the

airwaves whereas in fact one of his most

successful speeches given in the middle

of July well that we can see from the

the survey evidence was possibly the

most popular speech he ever gave but it

doesn't contain any famous phrases and

it hasn't gone down in history in the

same way so people think Churchill made

brilliant speeches which we can which we

can quote and we know he gave broadcasts

and therefore he must have broadcast the

ones which contain the great phrases but

actually you know some of you've heard

them on many documentaries and on the

radio you've heard of all the TV

and that is because in 1949 Churchill

went into the recording studio and

recorded some of his greatest hits for

posterity things which which haven't

been recorded at the time so when you

think you're listening to Churchill

talking about fighting all the beaches

in 1940 he's actually talking about

fighting on the beaches in 1949 I mean

Richard I thought that blew that but I

mean I had admit I didn't melt down

there I couldn't believe it

my whole image of the everyone on the

pub gathered around the wireless

listening to real fight well anyway guys

thank you very much indeed for coming on

this live stream we've got Professor

Richard toy thank you to you and we've

also got dr Warren doc Oh doctor thank

you so much taking the time really

appreciate that we are back everybody

next Friday at 4:00 pm UK time 11:00

am Eastern 8:00 am Pacific it's

gonna be absolutely awesome we're

getting bigger and better all done we've

got some big plans later in the summer

check this out and and of course you're

going to get a history hit TV you can

watch some of these documentaries like

the one I featured in this show and if

you use the code timeline you've got a

special introductory offer you can hear

wonderful podcast people like Richard

it's all brilliant the world's best

history job thank you very much guys

thank you Warren thank you Richard and

goodbye thank you


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