Without Churchill What Would Have Happened?

Discussion in 'General' started by Gnomey, Jul 13, 2005.

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What would have happened without Churchill?

  1. Britain would have continued the war

    91.3%
  2. Britain would have surrendered to the Axis

    8.7%
  1. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor

    What would have happened had Churchill not become PM in June 1940. Would Britain have signed a truce with Hitler or continued the fight for freedom as happened.

    I personally think that Churchill rallied the troops and without him it would have been likely that Britain would have been out of the war in 1940.

    I'll see how this goes and I might add a poll later.

    Gnomey
     
  2. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Being I recall Churchill very well. Wonderful leader.Inspirational. But had it not n=been him it would have produced another leader, maybe of not the same high quality, but a leader anyway.

    Cometh the time cometh the man. But I remember him as one of the great world leaders, with that gift of making the nation fight on against overwhelming odds. Certainly the most powerful speaker that I ever heard,,,And then some. Martin Luther King being another.
    Sapper
     
  3. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    Without Churchill I believe that the British government (led probably by Halifax) would have signed an agreement with Hitler, promising him a free hand on the continent and return of the German colonies with Uncle Adolf kindly agreeing to 'guarantee' the British Empire. There are some historians who seriously maintain that Britain would have been better off signing this deal. As the Duke of Wellington once said: 'If you believe that, you'll believe anything.'
     
  4. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Originally posted by sapper@Jul 14 2005, 07:13 AM
    Being I recall Churchill very well. Wonderful leader.Inspirational. But had it not n=been him it would have produced another leader, maybe of not the same high quality, but a leader anyway.

    Cometh the time cometh the man. But I remember him as one of the great world leaders, with that gift of making the nation fight on against overwhelming odds. Certainly the most powerful speaker that I ever heard,,,And then some. Martin Luther King being another.
    Sapper
    [post=36434]Quoted post[/post]

    I find it difficult to say this as Sapper fought the war and my father would have been of the same view, HOWEVER I feel an agreement would have been forged and as Mark said, probably by Halifax who openly and firmly supported Chamberlain's appeasement to the Nazi regime.

    He may have wanted to ensure his "Fullness of Days" into the future as I believe from what I have read about his political career, he did not have the "Lion" in him.

    "Cometh the time cometh the man".

    Would he have been the right man in the right place at the right time?

    As you can see by my signature, I admired the hell out of Churchill all my life but I do not know whether I would have liked him as a person. Magnificent presence, could get down to ground level if the situation required it, and was afraid of no man, anytime, anyplace.

    The British wanted no one else to carry them through the war, then dumped him like a hot potato.

    Sir Hugh got Britain through the BoB and Churchill & the Air Ministry dumped him 2 weeks later.

    See the democracy process we may have lost!!!!!!!
     
  5. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    I see how you are thinking... But having been there at the time, there is one thing that you have not taken into consideration. That is the mood abroad of the British People, You that think otherwise, have made a serious misjudgement.

    In my opinion they were in no mood to make peace with the Germans, You must remember they had caused us to go to war before, and had cost us millions of lives. If it had not been Churchill it would have been someone else.

    That takes nothing away from a truly heroic figure, as said, we chucked him out afterwards, He was not the man to take the nation forward in peace time. The old days, and ways that he represented, the old class regimes, were swept away with the war. Thank God for ever! Gone the hundreds of half starved men that were deemed unfit for HM services, The shocking health of the nation. the misery, the unemployment.
    No, he did a job and a half, but when it was over, thanks and goodbye.
    Sapper
     
  6. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    Originally posted by sapper@Jul 14 2005, 09:16 PM
    I see how you are thinking... But having been there at the time, there is one thing that you have not taken into consideration. That is the mood abroad of the British People, You that think otherwise, have made a serious misjudgement.

    In my opinion they were in no mood to make peace with the Germans, You must remember they had caused us to go to war before, and had cost us millions of lives. If it had not been Churchill it would have been someone else.


    Hi Sapper,

    I did preface that this is the type of post that is totally abhorent to you and others like you who lost their youth fighting the cause. Away from home, losing their young mates, who reminded them of their little brother or the young srappers who looked up to the older ones and found that they were not invincible.

    Too scared at times to get too close to someone in case they were not there tomorrow.

    We that wern't there can have an opinion based on history you were part of the lesson.

    Regards


    Geoff
     
  7. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    Halifax was not made of as stern stuff as his people, I'm afraid. I think he would have sold Britain out, much to the population's displeasure.
     
  8. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    I would be of the same opinion as Kiwiwriter regarding Halifax and thank god for all of us that Winston took charge.
     
  9. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Agree about Halifax...
    Sapper
     
  10. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor

    So do I.

    Added Poll
     
  11. Mark Hone

    Mark Hone Senior Member

    Strictly speaking I'm not sure that an agreement with Hitler in 1940 would have been presented as a 'surrender' although in the long term that's undoubtedly what it would have been transformed into.
     
  12. jimbotosome

    jimbotosome Discharged

    There were a lot things that Churchill brought to the table that would not have been given by Halifax. One was the personality of Churchill. He endeared himself to FDR and made Britain's cause the US's cause even before the US got into the war as far as FDR was concerned. If a president could have declared war, FDR would have declared war against Hitler in 1940. He convinced FDR to send all the small arms that the US had in storage from WWI as well as shotguns, rifles and handguns that US citizens donated exodus from France were Britain had lost most of her arms but saved her soldiers and had nothing to defend the continent from paratroopers. Churchill came to his friend FDR to solicit help with the funding of weapons and FDR came up with the Lend-Lease program and took it before congress and got it passed. In effect, Churchill had the US in the war supplying arms a year before it was declared. Because of his relationship to Churchill, FDR took a large number of new Shermans and new 105mm Self-propelled guns just delivered to US forces in 1942, away from these divisions and shipped them to the British forces in Africa on the news of the fall of Tobruk through the Suez canal.

    Churchill’s diplomacy kept the relationship between each of the Allied countries from getting under each others skin. He knew to let his Generals run the war while keeping up with the details of what was going on. Churchill convinced the US to agree to the invasion of Sicily. The US wanted to got straight to Normandy and invade. I do believe in retrospect that this was beneficial.

    The biggest asset that Churchill brought was his confidence which was contagious to the Brits. In that way he reminds me of Ronald Reagan. Churchill, a master orator exuded a complete lack of fear of the Germans and of Hitler. It might be that Britain would have stayed the course without Churchill but he did make the stiff upper lip even stiffer. I remember the late 70s when we had Jimmy Carter as president, whose dealing with the brutal dictator Shah created the hostage crisis, rampant inflation, and an artificial gas shortage. The low point in the US was not the withdrawal from Vietnam, it was the failure of the Carter administration that brought most American’s to their lowest point in confidence. Carter had the country afraid of Russia and thinking we were facing a greater adversary than ourselves in the cold war. When Reagan took over, he changed the weather altogether. I remember listening to Reagan’s radio broadcast where he was horsing around with reporters at the broadcast, thinking the microphone was not on and he was not yet broadcasting. He started announcing a warning to Breshnev that he had launched all our nuclear missiles and he only had an hour to live. Nobody took it serious but it gave the country the image that our President would not falter and eradicated fear of Russia in the cold war that Carter had brought.

    In war (even in cold war), morale is crucial. There is nothing more miserable than fear. There is nothing more inspiring that leadership. It is very difficult to fight well if you are uninspired and believing you have a good chance of losing. I am not saying it is paralyzing but it does pull the “wind out of your sails”. Churchill loved to be around the action and amongst his men. The brash attitude he had was infectious. Britain was a strong country in 1940, but in my opinion Churchill made her absolutely dangerous to her adversaries. I do believe without Churchill, the US and Britain would have still be allies, but I do believe they would have been far more separate and independent of each other and much less effective. If Germany had had Churchill instead of Hitler, the Germans would have walked away with WWII. Just think about it.
     
  13. EddieSlovik

    EddieSlovik Member

    Out of interest. If Churchill had not come to the fore in 1940 what other pro-war candidates were there?

    Leaving aside Lord Halifax, Lloyd George and the other 'Peaceniks' who would have led the country in continuing the war? Would it have been politicians or a military man/men?

    Assuming that Sapper is right about the mood of the country in 1940, and I think he is, could Halifax et al have given in to the Germans anyway? Was there any risk of a Military coup being carried out by people who wanted to carry on fighting?
     
  14. mattgibbs

    mattgibbs Senior Member

    I agree with the majority of posters that Churchill was the man for the hour. I am a great admirer.

    Incidentally our massive war debts and interest was only actually finally paid 60 years after VE day. We borrowed approximately 1 Billion Pounds and the final bill will have been worth 50 Billion today.

    Regards
    MG
     
  15. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    May I with the knowledge of the "Mood of the Country at that time" add this again, and emphasise it. had Halifax, or anyone else, tried to make peace with Hitler, they, in my opinion, would have been swept away. and quickly,The British nation is by nature "lethargic" they are slow to anger, and slow to react, but when the chips are down they are utterly remorseless.

    Churchill was a great war leader. almost at though he was destined to be what he was from birth, But in all cases, No one in tis world is indispensible (Spelling?)

    To illustrate this, Put your hand in a hand in a bucket of water...the hole that is left when you take your hand out......is how much you will be missed. There is always the great leader waiting in the back ground, Just waiting to flower into greatness. maybe even better?
    Sapper
     
  16. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    (sapper @ Dec 10 2005, 06:17 AM) [post=42945]May I with the knowledge of the "Mood of the Country at that time" add this again, and emphasise it. had Halifax, or anyone else, tried to make peace with Hitler, they, in my opinion, would have been swept away. and quickly,The British nation is by nature "lethargic" they are slow to anger, and slow to react, but when the chips are down they are utterly remorseless.

    Churchill was a great war leader. almost at though he was destined to be what he was from birth, But in all cases, No one in tis world is indispensible (Spelling?)

    To illustrate this, Put your hand in a hand in a bucket of water...the hole that is left when you take your hand out......is how much you will be missed. There is always the great leader waiting in the back ground, Just waiting to flower into greatness. maybe even better?
    Sapper
    [/b]

    That is always true, Sapper, but when Churchill took the reins of the British Empirei n 1940, "the man and the hour had met." Few other people could, as he did, "mobilize the English language and send it into battle."
     
  17. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    (Kiwiwriter @ Dec 13 2005, 01:03 AM) [post=43013](sapper @ Dec 10 2005, 06:17 AM) [post=42945]May I with the knowledge of the "Mood of the Country at that time" add this again, and emphasise it. had Halifax, or anyone else, tried to make peace with Hitler, they, in my opinion, would have been swept away. and quickly,The British nation is by nature "lethargic" they are slow to anger, and slow to react, but when the chips are down they are utterly remorseless.

    Churchill was a great war leader. almost at though he was destined to be what he was from birth, But in all cases, No one in tis world is indispensible (Spelling?)

    To illustrate this, Put your hand in a hand in a bucket of water...the hole that is left when you take your hand out......is how much you will be missed. There is always the great leader waiting in the back ground, Just waiting to flower into greatness. maybe even better?
    Sapper
    [/b]

    That is always true, Sapper, but when Churchill took the reins of the British Empirei n 1940, "the man and the hour had met." Few other people could, as he did, "mobilize the English language and send it into battle."
    [/b]
    My respect for Churchill as a war leader knows no bounds however the jury is out on whether I would have liked him on a personal level.
     
  18. jamesicus

    jamesicus Senior Member

    (sapper @ Jul 14 2005, 10:16 AM) [post=36447]Quoted post[/post]</div><div class='quotemain'>..... If it had not been Churchill it would have been someone else .....[/b]
    I am not so sure that anyone other than WSC could have led the country as he did -- I certainly don't think Clement Atlee, for instance, could have done it.

    The waning days of May and the first week of June were indeed scary -- in the aftermath of Dunkirk there were rumblings afoot that the War Cabinet was debating whether to sue for peace with Hitler -- the unthinkable -- Surrender! Only later did we learn just how close we came to doing just that and of the colossal struggle between WSC and Lord Halifax (the Foreign Secretary and the leading Appeaser) in the desperate War Cabinet meetings.

    There is a superb book by Professor John Lukacs -- an eminent historian and prolific writer -- that covers the events and portents of this period in meticulous detail ..........

    Five Days in London - May 1940, John Lukacs, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 1999.

    .......... it is an absorbing but chilling read. I don't think most people realize just how close we came to surrendering to Hitler in 1940 -- I didn't.


    (sapper @ Jul 14 2005, 10:16 AM) [post=36447]Quoted post[/post]</div><div class='quotemain'>..... as said, we chucked him out afterwards, He was not the man to take the nation forward in peace time .....[/b]
    Neither was Atlee in my opinion.

    (sapper @ Jul 14 2005, 10:16 AM) [post=36447]Quoted post[/post]</div><div class='quotemain'>..... he did a job and a half, but when it was over, thanks and goodbye .....[/b]
    I was sorry to see him go -- but he came back!

    (sapper @ Jul 14 2005, 10:16 AM) [post=36447]Quoted post[/post]</div><div class='quotemain'>..... The old days, and ways that he represented, the old class regimes, were swept away with the war. Thank God for ever! Gone the hundreds of half starved men that were deemed unfit for HM services, The shocking health of the nation. the misery, the unemployment .....[/b]
    Well, I didn't have the same experiences, and I don't have the same remembrances, as you do, Sapper. Although we experienced hard times during the Depression years of the 1930s in the industrial north of England, my parents did maintain employment (as did the other members of our family). My mother operated eight looms in a cotton weaving mill and my father was a lorry driver for a washing machine manufacturer (he had been a coal miner). We, our family members, my schoolmates and their families were poor but happy -- we certainly were not in misery -- well fed and in good overall health. Although of no statistical significance, I don't recall any of my family members -- or anyone of my acquaintence -- failing the National Service physical examination upon the outbreak of WW2.
     
  19. jamesicus

    jamesicus Senior Member

    The British Coalition Government's War Cabinet after 10 May 1940 consisted of:

    Winston Churchill, Prime Minister
    Neville Chamberlain, Conservative Leader
    Lord Halifax, Foreign Secretary
    Clement Atlee, Labour Leader
    Arthur Greenwood, Asst. Labour Leader

    They were occasionally joined by Sir Edward Bridges, Cabinet Secretary.

    To his great credit, Neville Chamberlain (who was by now gravely ill with cancer) became a staunch supporter of Churchill (as did Clement Atlee) during the intense and often contentious War Cabinet meetings surrounding the collapse of France and the evacuation of the BEF at Dunkirk.
     
  20. adamcotton

    adamcotton Senior Member

    There is a trio of excellent historical novels by Michael Dobbs currently available in the shops that focus on Churchill in the period 1939-41. I thoroughly recommend them.

    I too think Churchill a war leader without par (and also one of the least well protected), but some of his peacetime actions are questionable. Wasn't it he who set British troops against the miners in the general strike of 1926?

    Ultimately, however, history will judge him on his record in the dark days of WW2, and this country was singularly fortunate to have such a man when his type was most needed. Churchill was against appeasement; he was against making peace with Germany when France fell. The tide of political opinion was against him, but he remained definantly resolute. His detractors cite these facts to level accusations of warmongery at him, but to me he epitomises the spirit of the British Bulldog in adversity. We owe him an awful, awful lot..
     

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