Tory Acclaim of Churchill
By Our Political Correspondent
Daily Worker - Monday January 25th 1965
It was not always so. Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill had been a Liberal and a sharp critic of the party he was later to lead. He had, never the less, always been an uncompromising anti-Socialist.
Essentially it is as leader of the wartime Coalition, as leader of the Tory Opposition from 1945 to 1951 and as Prime Minister 1951-55, when he resigned, that his admirers wish to remember him.
Born on November 30, 1874, in Blenheim Palace, the mammoth mansion commemorating the famous victory of his ancestor the soldier of fortune John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, Churchill was a son of Lord Randolph Churchill, himself third son of the seventh Duke of Marlborough.
His mother was an American, daughter of a former owner of the New York Times.
He passed through the normal ruling-class educational establishments, having an undistinguished career at Harrow.
It was said that his father was puzzled what to do with his son until one day when he saw him playing with tin soldiers, it was said he had several thousands of them.
Lord Randolph asked him whether he would like to be a soldier, and as the answer was “Yes” he was sent to Sandhurst to which he was admitted after the third attempt at the entrance examination.
In 1895 he was gazetted in the 4th Hussars and the same year voluntarily attached himself to the Spanish forces fighting the guerrillas in Cuba.
When there was "fighting on the North-West Frontier of India he joined the Malakand Field Force. He got leave from his regiment and became war correspondent for the Allahabad Pioneer. The London Daily Telegraph agreed to publish letters from him at £5 a column.
He then managed to get himself an honorary commission in the 21st Lancers and went to the Sudan, acting as war correspondent for the Tory Morning Post at £15 a column. He took part in the cavalry charge the British Army's last at the Battle of Omdurman.
In 1898 he resigned his commission to enter politics but was defeated as Tory candidate for Oldham the next year.
Once more the attraction of war led him to South Africa as war correspondent, again for the. Morning Post at £150 a month salary, with all expenses paid.
Within a fortnight of his arrival he was captured, escaping three week later (by breaking his parole, it is said) to continue his journalistic activities. (photo British concentration camp for Boer civilians)
These journalistic assignments started Churchill on an active writing career, during which he produced about 60 books, starting with "The Story of the Malakand Field Force" and including his version of the Second World War, in several large volumes.
By the age of 26 he scored his first political success, when he won Oldham in 1900; the tide was flowing to the Liberals and in 1905 he crossed the floor to join the Liberals, a deed for which many Tories never forgave him.
This was the period of his famous denunciation of the Tory Party: "A party of great vested interests, banded together in a formidable federation; corruption at home, aggression to cover it abroad; the trickery of tariff juggles, the tyranny of a well fed party machine; sentiment by the bucketful, patriotism by the imperial pint: the open hand at the public exchequer, the open door at the public house; dear food for the million, cheap labour for the millionaire."
Two years later he entered the Cabinet as President of the Board of Trade and from then until 1929 he was rarely out of office and occupied Ministerial offices, either as a Liberal or Tory, on more occasions than any other man in British politics.
Bitter class conflicts marked the period before the First World War, including dockers, miners and railway strikes.
'It was Churchill, then Home Secretary, who sent the Metropolitan Police in force into South Wales during a miners' strike, leading to serious clashes at Tonypandy in the Rhondda and the death of one miner(Samuel Boyce)..
"At the instance of Mr.Winston Churchill,"
wrote the Webbs of the 1911 railway strike,
"an overpowering display was made with the troops… without requisition by the civil authorities, at the mere request of the companies."
A strike demonstration was fired on at Llanelly and there were two ( Leonard Worsell and John John) fatal casualties (Photo left).
At this time he earned the title Napoleon of Sidney Street" for taking part in a sagely flamboyant attack on a house in this East End street where some anarchists were cornered. Enormous publicity was given with photographs of Churchill in top hat and frock coat watching as Guardsmen fired until the house went up in flames.
When the Asquith Government declared war on Germany in 1914 Churchill, as First Lord of the Admiralty, eventually persuaded the Cabinet, against military advice, to try to force the Dardenelles. Then followed the bloody battles of Gallipoli in which tens of thousands of British. Australian and New Zealand soldiers perished.
After the "khaki" election of 1918. won by the Lloyd George Coalition s promises to hang the Kaiser and build homes for heroes, Churchill became Secretary for Air and for War, then one Ministry.
He did his best to form an anti-Bolshevik bloc, arming and equipping counter-revolutionary; White Guard forces.
On him lies the main responsibility for the organisation of this attack by 14 States on the young Socialist Revolution. A British expedition landed a Murmansk, but after spending £100 million (a very large sum in those days) the interventionist were defeated—above all by the stormy "Hands off Russia" agitation in the Labour movement culminating in the Councils of Action threat of a General Strike in 1920.
He often publicly regretted the failure of the attempts, in which he played a leading part, to crush the Russian Revolution. As he put it in 1950 "the failure to strangle Bolshevism at birth lies heavy upon us today."
After the break-up of the Coalition in 1922. Churchill lost the seat in Dundee he had held since 1908, In that election William Gallacher who helped bring about Churchill's well merited defeat, polled 6,682 votes, as Communist; that was the last Dundee saw of its former Liberal M.P.
Churchill soon accepted the fact that the Liberals were in decline and by the 1924 General Election he had worked his passage back to the Tory ranks Elected for Epping he became Baldwin's Chancellor of the Exchequer.
His policy in that office led to the General Strike of May 1926 when the British trade union movement stopped work in aid the miners, whose employers were demanding heavy wage cuts and longer hours.
Churchill became strike breaker in chief, took over the Editorship of the British Gazette, the blackleg Government daily paper published after the printers went on strike.
When the rise of the Indian nationalist movement forced the Government to consider concessions. Churchill opposed, telling an Albert Hall demonstration that "I am against this surrender to Gandhi."
Among a minority of Tories, he saw the menace to British interests of the rise of Hitler in the '30s, and opposed the appeasement policy of Neville Chamberlain.
When the "phoney" war period ended in May 1940, he became Prime Minister of the Coalition Government just a few days before the fall of France and Dunkirk.
When in June 1941 Hitler attacked the Soviet Union, within in a few hours of the attack Churchill announced his support for the Russians, while making plain that he had not abandoned his lifelong opposition to Socialism and Communism.
Conditions were created for an Anglo-Soviet alliance and he took part with Roosevelt and Stalin in the Teheran and Yalta conferences, where the three leaders concerted their plans for defeating the common enemy.
But Churchill was disturbed by the prospect that a victorious Soviet army would liberate Eastern Europe and the whole of Germany not only from the Nazis but from all Big Business domination.
He was deaf throughout 1942 and 1943 to the popular demand for a Second Front in Europe.
Only in June 1944, after the Soviet army had inflicted crippling defeats on the German armies was the Second Front eventually opened. But it seems that this was mainly because he was alarmed that the Soviet forces would be first to occupy all Germany.
Many commentators have accused him of causing the heavy concentration of Anglo-American efforts in the Mediterranean and the hard battles up the Italian hilly peninsula in the hope of breaking through to restore the Balkan and eventually, all the East European, monarchies and reactionary regimes.
From his own pen comes confirmation, in his Second World War memoirs, that in March 1945 he was imbued with the desire that "a new front must be immediately created against her [Russia's] onward sweep . . that this front in Europe-should be as far east as possible."
This was soon after he had praised the Soviet army and its heroic soldiers, who had "torn the guts out" of Hitler's armies
When in 1945 President Truman and Stalin met at Potsdam he invited Attlee to attend with him at the time when the 1945 General Election result was awaiting declaration.
Hoping to cash in on his popularity as a war leader, during which his great powers of oratory were skilfully used to stimulate the nation against Hitler. Churchill made a nationwide tour for votes for the Tories.
But nothing could check the Labour landslide; in London a bewildered Churchill was booed by vast crowds.
Less than a year later, on March 5th 1946 he made the notorious speech at Fulton, Missouri, which was the declaration of the cold War and a direct rejection of his Praise for the Soviet Union in wartime and the agreements of friendship to which he was party.
Over 100 Labour M.P.s signed a resolution calling on the Government to repudiate the speech, but Premier Attlee and Mr Ernest Bevin, Foreign Secretary, avoided condemning it.
Again at Zurich, 18 months later, Churchill made yet another programme speech directed toward, bringing West Germany into the Anglo-American dominated Western alliance and so started, the process which ended with the formation of NATO.
In 1949 the Atlantic Pact was signed. The Labour leaders' acceptance of Churchill's policy of anti-Soviet war alliance helped to bring their downfall and the Tory victory of 1951
At 76 Churchill was again Prime Minister. Adopting then Policy he described as "negotiation from strength" he pursued his cold war aims.
On the other hand he saw the futility of continuing the Korean War and in 1953 was the only Western leader to call on the U.S. to make a truce. He also advocated a Summit meeting with the Soviet leaders for discussions to reduce world tension. None however took place during his Premiership, which ended on April 6, 1955, when he handed over to Sir Anthony Eden (as Lord Avon then was).
After his resignation Churchill never again achieved the dominant role he had played, although in even in his last year as M.P.he did not stand down till 1964 he was a frequent visitor to the Chamber.
While he became a Knight of the Garter in 1953 he did not take the earldom which could have been his as a past Prime Minister
Daily Worker - Monday January 25th 1965
During the 1945 General Election Churchill was heavily booed at Walthamstow Stadium the audiance demanding "We want Attlee". Next day Churchill himself was nearly hurt. On Tooting Bec Common, South London when 17 year old Michael Gloor Le Pelley, tossed a lit firecracker at the Prime Minister. During the War Churchill had been booed when visiting bombed out families and later avoided the East End.
On election eve Churchill felt victory "in his bones," warned that "if there should be a landslide to the left, many countries on the Continent would slide, not into decent socialism, but into the violence of Communism. . . .If we go down, all the ninepins of Europe will fall." Then the Prime Minister breezed off to Hendaye, in the French Basque country, source: Time MagazineJuly 16th 1945.
During the Spanish Civil War, unlike Edward Heath later Tory PM, Churchill backed the fascist Franco.Winston Churchill had stated in the Evening Standard 10th August 1936 that “The Spanish government had no legal or moral claim to support Spain, since it was being subverted and devowed by Communism” he was still supporting Franco as late as December 1938