13 Facts about Winston Churchill
The remarkable downsides of Britain’s most famous leader.
- Churchill had a psychotic hatred toward Indians, saying, “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people.”
- When given reports of the genocidal starvation of Indians in 1944, Churchill asked why Gandhi hadn't died yet.
- In 1945, Churchill gave instructions to prepare for an assault on the Red Army. His generals told him he was mad.
1. Churchill did not invent the term “Iron Curtain” to describe the barrier between Soviet-dominated Europe and western Europe.
2. “Iron Curtain” was first used by the Nazis – above all, by their propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels.
3. Churchill did not invent the term “Middle East.” The American naval thinker Alfred T. Mahan coined it in 1902.
4. Churchill as Colonial Secretary in 1922 did draw up the frontiers that make Iraq impossible to govern as a unitary state.
5. Churchill had a psychotic hatred toward Indians, saying, “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people.”
6. Three million Bengalis died of starvation in 1943-1944 because Churchill took their land to grow jute for wartime sandbags.
7. No grain or rice was made available by Churchill to starving Bengalis, though plenty was on hand from Australia and stockpiled in imperial India.
8. When given reports of the genocidal starvation of Indians in 1943-1944, Churchill asked why Gandhi hadn’t died yet. The famine was their own fault, he declared, for “breeding like rabbits.”
9. A 1933 cartoon in The Daily Herald portrays Churchill as an SS trooper, hand flung up in a fascist salute, denouncing Gandhi’s peaceful campaign for independence.
10. Sixty of Germany’s main cities were destroyed — long after the western allies and the Red Army were closing in on Germany.
11. One million German civilians – hardly military targets – were killed or injured by bombing of cities.
12. Churchill sold out the Poles to Stalin at Yalta, then gave the green light at Potsdam for 12 million Germans to be driven from lands they had lived in for centuries.
13. In his last weeks as prime minister in 1945, Churchill gave instructions to prepare plans for “Operation Unthinkable” — intended as a surprise assault on the Red Army. His generals told him he was mad.
Source: Winston Churchill: Hagiography versus History by Denis MacShane (The Globalist, November 23, 2014); Winston Churchill: Der späte Held by Thomas Kielinger (September 15, 2014); “One man who made history” by another who seems just to make it up: Boris on Churchill by Richard J Evans (New Statesman, November 13, 2014)