Winston Churchill's speeches were overrated and some 'went down badly'

Discussion in 'Historiography' started by dbf, Aug 31, 2013.

  1. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    If you believe that I would support this so called academic in his denigration of the effect of the Churchill speeches..then you are 100% - completely unable to understand - leaving the

    references to the footballers should be aware owing to your study of the BEF and the 1940's era - that we were not doing so well at either Norway - Greece nor Crete as Churchill

    was overly influencing the Chief of Staffs Committee with HIS version of strategy and it was not until Alanbrooke ( Dec '41 ) took over as CIGS and Chairman of the Chief's that we evolved a winning

    strategy - and this was demonstrated at both Wadi El Falpha and El Alamein.....even then Churchill got it wrong when he boasted that " before El Alamein we never had a victory.. and since El Alamein

    we never had a defeat "...completely ignoring O'Connors victory at Bead Fomm - Cunningham at Cap Matapan - and again at Taranto plus the Indian Divisions victory at Somalialand and Syria - BUT

    perhaps he was drunk - again....IF so I would be the first to buy him a case of whatever to lead Great Britain apart from Mrs Thatcher you have been led by donkeys in the past 50 years


    PS - not entirely your fault as Joe appears to be the only one to pick up the best bit....
  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    The Historian is suggesting that public opinion of Churchill in 1940 wasn't so great by everyone, you yourself have admitted that it wasn't until after 1940 that he didn't start doing a great job until Alanbrooke guided him after this.

    Read the article again Tom, assuming you have read it? The speeches in question were in 1940.
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Good old Google:
  4. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  5. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    And besides all of that the author is only writing what he has found in reports written by Churchill's government in the 1940's. Do you think they are false or made up documents?
  7. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    you continue to mis interpret what I have been writing about - and yes I have read all of this thread and managed to understand it all as I recollect that I spent some sixteen years at various

    schools and universities in being instructed on how to read and understand what others write about , as obviously you fail to understand the difference of Churchills speeches and their

    reception by many and that of his Strategic capabilities which led us into many scrapes, the most obvious were Norway- Greece and Crete at that time of 1940 / 41....Alanbrooke was

    promoted to CIGS in the December of 1941 and the re - education of Churchill began as his strategy was consigned to the shredder and we started to win the war - especially as

    Joe Brown was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant..which made all the difference particularly when he moved into France in 1944....

  8. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Tom to cut to the chase.... So you disagree with the author that some people thought Churchill's speeches were overrated and went down badly?
  9. Tonym

    Tonym WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I didn't mention this in my previous post but I was on duty at the Post Office counter in Waterloo Road, London on the morning that his coffin was brought up the Thames. My colleague and I closed the post office and went up to the top floor to witness the barge carrying him. I then later went to Westminster and joined the queue, and I mean queue for nearly two hours and eventually paid my respects by his coffin.

    When I say we closed the Post Office we didn't even need to open we had no customers that morning not even an anti-Churchilian!

  10. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    you finally got the message....of course I disagree with him as he appears to be one of those people who would sooner denigrate than congratulate anyone - as long as they were dead and not

    answer back - forgetting that other people can answer - there are far too many of those types around to-day - posing as Historians....Churchill brought great comfort in the early days with his

    speeches and ability to fight....sometimes he fought the wrong battles but at least he fought....

  11. snailer

    snailer Country Member

    Regarding his speeches, he had a bit of 'previous' to say the least. His 'The Few' speech for example had been doing the rounds since the 1890's yet people seem to think he wrote it on the back of a fag packet the hour before he delivered it.

    If your heart was beating with pride by his "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few" in August 1940 then you may have been equally moved if you were a prospective voter in the 1899 Oldham By-Election by this:-

    "Never before were there so many people in England, and never before have they had so much to eat."

    or maybe in 1907 in his speech on the Legislative Council for Kenya

    "Never before in Colonial experience has a Council been granted where the number of settlers is so few."

    or possibly at the Ripon Falls over the Nile in 1908 where he uttered

    "Nowhere else in the world could so enormous a mass of water be held up by so little masonry."

    and the Irish even got their own version in 1910 when on topic of Home Rule he said

    "Never before has so little been asked and never before have so many people asked for it."

    Regurgitating the same old soundbites to fit the occasion doesn't come across to me as motivational oratory, but I suppose you had to be there to witness it. As we can see some people witnessed it and were motivated, others according to the official records available to Prof Toye were less than impressed. The 'motivated', at least the ones on this thread seem to want to stop people from looking any deeper and coming to their own conclusions based on official evidence available from archived files.
    With the advent of the internet and digitisation of files 'official facts' are becoming available to more and more people, obscure files that people may not have researched, or if they did kept private, are coming to light, authors who wrote of their exploits during the war are being found to have been economical with the truth or worse downright fantasists, maybe it's time for a new generation to study the archives and come to their own conclusions.

    Drew5233 and dbf like this.
  12. Rav4

    Rav4 Senior Member

    Where are the Churchill's now? What a mess!
  13. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    I am quite sure that no one, especially Vets, has any objection to the future students delving into recent history to find the truth , as I have the reputation of being harsh on Authors and Historians

    with very good reason that in many cases they fictionalise their interpretation of that truth..this is mainly to what I always object as they tend to bend the Truth all out of in this particular

    case - has the writer quoted many people who agreed with the Churchill's speeches or has he merely quoted the non thinkers of which they are still all around us no matter how much is spent on

    Education- as we learn from the media daily many people think that Royalty should be "put in their place and get jobs etc " forgetting no doubt that most jobs are taken up by immigrants

    who are willing to work...

  14. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    This is an interesting debate, but the fact that we are talking about this at all, suggests that the controversy of the theme of the book has achieve its objectives.

    There are too many books on sale at the moment that rely on scandal, sensationalism and written from a depressingly critical viewpoint to achieve its publishers required mass sales.

    Only this week Jamie Oliver says something to upset the poor about food and large screen TVs, resulting in massive publicity, just in time for his book release on creating meals from leftovers.

    I appreciate this may be a somewhat cynical viewpoint and tarring every modern piece of writing with the same brush.

    But, would this book have been published if it was entitled "a celebration of the speeches of Winston Churchill and their positive impact upon wartime Britain"?

  15. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

    In general without wishing to add to this specific argument history revisited is not always history revised. Cromwell with warts and all was still Cromwell.
    dbf likes this.
  16. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Yesterday afternoon I watched a painful, mind bending, two hour program on British TV dealing with
    the dreadful events of 9/11 and the destruction, by terrorists, of the Twin Towers.

    Titled "9/11, 102 Minutes thst changed America", the program contained much hitherto unpublished footage and audio clips including police tapes of those trapped in the towers being instructed by the authorities to "Stay where you are !"

    You may well ask why I bring a review of this TV program to a discussion on Richard Toye's book ?

    Give me a minute and I will try to explain..

    It is an undisputed fact that there are still some folk out there who believe and insist that no planes hit the towers, no terrorists were involved and that the towers were blown up by previously planted explosives as part of a nefarious US Government/Zionist plot.

    i am all too aware that some folk may say "They are entitled to their opinion" but to counter this, I offer the evidence of my own eyes and the eyes of countless millions around the world who watched the tragedy unfold before us on the TV screen.

    My fear is, and I have this premonition, that the future Richard Toyes of this world, not yet born, but living, say, in the year 2093, will cheerfully take and publish the views of these deranged "There were no terrorist" fantasists and offer their opinions as simply "Evidence shows that many people considered that the whole affair was part of a Government/Zionist plot"

    I ask you to re-read the opening article in this thread.

    There are some gems there, including this one;

    "One of the most vivid responses to a speech found in the archives was written by a journalist who had joined the Army and had recorded the comments of his friend George, 24, from south London.
    As George listened to Churchill’s speech on the fall of Singapore in February 1942, he reportedly said: “F------ b-------. Get on with it. What a f------ cover-up. Any normal person could see it’s just pulling the wool over their eyes.”

    In my own lifetime and particularly during my days in wartime service I came across quite a few types like George, 24, but I would never have considered recording and subsequently re-quoting any of their puerile utterances for posterity !

  17. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Censoring, or airbrushing history, is never a balanced or fair approach surely. The point remains that critics existed and criticisms were aired at the time, and ignoring that fact does not provide a full picture of the difficult task Churchill had to carry out. If you don't explain the difficulties overcome, achievements would be diminished somehow.

    I still think this is more about the reactions of the people, the actual impact of his rhetoric on them without decades of hindsight, rather than Churchill himself.

    Associating the author - "future Toyes" - with those who have anti-Zionist agendas is far-fetched. I fail to see any relevance to that argument despite the explanation.
  18. phylo_roadking

    phylo_roadking Very Senior Member

    I posted this on a non-history discussion forum when the subject of Toye came up...

    Frankly, having known enough of them - I don't give a good goddamn if Churchill was a long as he was a functioning drunk.

    And I doubt any of us would say he didn't function...!
  19. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    How odd that an author writes what some people at the time (not everyone) thought of Churchill's 'Fight them on the beaches' speech - I quote:

    And you think the author is wrong, when he has quoted the thoughts of some prominent people in 1940 that actually wrote said the above. Surely the whole point of history is to tell the truth, warts and all, even if you don't like it?

    To be fair I have listened and read the 'Full' speech several times and I think it is rather boring. It's only the key sound bites that on their own that are good, most of it was rather dreary in my opinion.
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

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