Churchill, Rothschild et les juifs: l’histoire d’une obsession

Un reportage basé sur le livre Churchill and the Jews: A Lifelong Friendship de Martin Gilbert, le biographe officiel de Winston Churchill et des fortunés Rothschild.

Version française:

Churchill et le peuple juif, une discrète amitié via ARCHIVE.ORG




Version originale anglaise:
An Unlikely Obsession: Churchill and The Jews – Part 1
An Unlikely Obsession: Churchill and The Jews – Part 2

From Director Barry Avrich (The Last Mogul, Unauthorized: The Harvey Weinstein Project) comes a powerful new documentary film based on the acclaimed Churchill biographer Sir Martin Gilbert‘s book that  examines a  neglected aspect of one of world history’s most renown leaders; Winston Churchill‘s relationship to Jews and Jewish issues. Drawing on a treasure trove of interviews featuring Churchill family members, Lord Conrad Black, Sir Martin Gilbert, Alan Dershowitz, The 11th Duke of Marlborough and others, Avrich shows how Churchill grew beyond the kind of friendship with individual British Jews to an unlikely obsession in becoming a supporter of Jewish causesmost notably being responsible for determining the future status of the Jewish National Home in Palestine. As a war leader and peacetime prime minister, this film examines the origins, implications, and results of Churchill’s commitment to Jews.


Summary (EVPL): He was unarguably one of world history most provocative and powerful political leaders. He was also obsessed with preserving one race that always seemed to be on the verge of annihilation. His obsession was wildly unpopular and almost cost him his career and his legacy. The man was Winston Churchill and his obsession was the Jews. This is the extraordinary story of how Winston Churchill devoted his life and times to protecting the Jewish faith from political, sociological and maniacal destruction. From his early days in Manchester to his early political career and then his defining era during World War II, Churchill’s almost compulsive agenda was to study the Jewish faith, learn from it and defy public opinion that called for the end of his career and his ostracized friends

Autres comptes-rendus:

Churchill, sioniste convaincu

Churchill: the greatest Jewish ally?

Documentary hails Churchill as Zionists’ greatest ally  Millions of people credit Winston Churchill, Britain’s inspiring wartime prime minister during its darkest hours, with saving the world from Hitler. By Martin Knelman Entertainment Columnist Tues., Jan. 11, 2011 (…) His next project: a documentary about veteran comedian David Steinberg, featuring a concert performance.  The proposal to make the Churchill film had come from Michael Levine, the Toronto entertainment lawyer, agent and occasional producer. Gilbert, a renowned British scholar and author, was one of Levine’s clients.  Gilbert had spent 20 years writing the official 10-volume biography of Churchill. He had also written many books on Jewish subjects. In his book about Churchill and the Jews, Gilbert argued that it was largely thanks to decades of support from Churchill (going back to World War I) that the state of Israel was born in 1948. One of Churchill’s old friends described him as being “too fond of Jews.” And it has also been said that Sir Winston’s strong support for creating a Jewish homeland did not always win him friends.  But is Alan Dershowitz, the celebrated Harvard law professor, exaggerating a tad when he claims that there really ought to be a huge statue of Sir Winston in Jerusalem? If he’s right, then Churchill ought to loom as large in the story of Israel’s birth as those legendary Zionist prophets Theodor Herzl and Chaim Weizmann. Dershowitz is one of many intellectual celebrities who appear on screen. Yes, it’s a talking heads film of the traditional variety, but what an array of heads! Among those who pop in and out of the frame, offering insights into Churchill’s and his obsession with the Jewish dream of establishing a homeland, are fallen media tycoon Conrad Black (doing his first TV interview since being released from jail), historian Margaret MacMillan (author of Paris 1919); and, of course, Sir Martin Gilbert. The off-screen narrator is that man with the golden voice, Gordon Pinsent. The starry commentators tell the story of how at a time of casual anti-Semitism at the highest social and political levels of post-Victorian British society, Churchill took inspiration from Old Testament tales, aspiring to become a latter-day Moses. Denouncing pogroms in Russia even while British voters wondered what events so far away had to do with them, Churchill hobnobbed with influential Jewish leaders and articulated the view that the foundations of modern civilization and ethics came out of Jewish history — for which he felt the rest of the world should show its gratitude. Not all historians agree with Gilbert. Some claim Churchill’s main motive was to extend the power of the British Empire, and that at some points he sacrificed Jewish interests in an effort to protect access to Arab oil.  “Churchill’s support for a Jewish homeland may have wavered now and then over the years,” Avrich says. “But mostly he was giving the cause huge support when no other world leader was doing so. Not Franklin Roosevelt in the U.S. and certainly not William Lyon Mackenzie King in Canada.”

Irving on Churchill. Dismantling Churchillian Mythology  

by Theodore J. O’Keefe

World-class historian David Irving is no stranger to readers of the IHR’s Journal of Historical Review. His address to the 1983 International Revisionist Conference, which appeared in the Winter 1984 Journal of Historical Review (« On Contemporary History and Historiography »), was something of a primer on Irving’s revisionist historiographical method. It was spiced as well with tantalizing hints of new directions in Irving’s research and new book possibilities arising from them.

Not the least among Irving’s revelations were those that touched on Winston Churchill, descendant of one of England’s greatest families and leader of his nation and its empire (as he still thought it) at what many of his countrymen and many abroad still regard as Britain’s « finest hour. » Readers will recall that Irving exposed several instances of Churchill’s venality, cowardice and hypocrisy, including Churchill’s poltroonish posturing at the time of the German air raid against Coventry and the facts of Churchill and his cronies’ secret subvention by the Czech government.

It will also be recalled that in his lecture Irving spoke of his projected book on Winston Churchill, which at the time was to be published in the U.S. by Doubleday and in Great Britain by MacMillan, two great firms entirely worthy of an author who has been churning out meticulously researched historical bestsellers for a quarter of a century. As has been pointed out in recent issues of the IHR Newsletter, Irving’s challenges to the reigning orthodoxy have become so unbearable to the Establishment that both these major houses refused to print the books as written. The task has now been undertaken by a revisionist operation in Australia. Nearing completion is the first volume of Irving’s new book Churchill’s War.

Last year David Irving made a world-wide speaking tour, visiting North America (the U.S. and Canada), Australia, South Africa, and Europe. He lectured on a wide range of topics pertaining to the troubled history of our century, with his customary flair for the pointed phrase and the telling anecdote. During one of his lectures, delivered at Vancouver, British Columbia, on March 31, 1986, Irving offered a series of mordant new facts and insights on the life and career of Winston Churchill.

At the outset of his lecture, Irving remarked that the late Harold MacMillan (Lord Stockton), recently targeted by Nikolai Tolstoy (The Minister and the Massacres) for his role in the forcible deportation of tens of thousands of anti-Communist Cossacks, Byelorussians, Ukrainians, and others to the U.S.S.R. after World War lI, had stated that Irving’s Churchill book would « not be published by his company, over his dead body. » Clearly Lord Stockton’s recent demise didn’t alter things at MacMillan, however.

Then Irving let out an electrifying piece of information:

The details which I will tell you today, you will not find published in the Churchill biography. For example, you won’t even find them published in Churchill’s own biography because there were powers above him who were so powerful that they were able to prevent him publishing details that even he wanted to publish that he found dirty and unscrupulous about the origins of the Second World War.

For example, when I was writing my Churchill biography, I came across a lot of private papers in the files of the Time/Life organization in New York. In Columbia University, there are all the private papers of the chief editor of Time/Life, a man called Daniel Longwell. And in there, in those papers, we find all the papers relating to the original publication of the Churchill memoirs in 1947, 1949, the great six-volume set of Churchill memoirs of the Second World War. And I found there a letter from the pre-war German chancellor, the man who preceded Hitler, Dr. Heinrich Brüning, a letter he wrote to Churchill in August 1937. The sequence of events was this: Dr. Brüning became the chancellor and then Hitler succeeded him after a small indistinguishable move by another man. In other words, Brüning was the man whom Hitler replaced. And Brüning had the opportunity to see who was backing Hitler. Very interesting, who was financing Hitler during all his years in the wilderness, and Brüning knew.

Brüning wrote a letter to Churchill after he had been forced to resign and go into exile in England in August 1937, setting out the names and identities of the people who backed Hitler. And after the war, Churchill requested Brüning for permission to publish this letter in his great world history, The six-volume world history. And Brüning said no. In his letter, Brüning wrote, ‘I didn’t, and do not even today for understandable reasons, wish to reveal from October 1928, the two largest regular contributors to the Nazi Party were the general managers of two of the largest Berlin banks, both of Jewish faith and one of them the leader of Zionism in Germany. »

Now there is a letter from Dr. Heinrich Brüning to Churchill in 1949, explaining why he wouldn’t give permission to Churchill to publish the August 1937 letter. It was an extraordinary story, out of Churchill’s memoirs. Even Churchill wanted to reveal that fact. You begin to sense the difficulties that we have in printing the truth today. Churchill, of course, knew all about lies. He was an expert in lying himself. He put a gloss on it. He would say to his friends, « The truth is such a fragile flower. The truth is so precious, it must be given a bodyguard of lies. » This is the way Churchill put it.

Irving went on us describe several sources of secret financial support enjoyed by Churchill. In addition to money supplied by the Czech government, Churchill was financed during the « wilderness years » between 1930 and 1939 by a slush fund emanating from a secret pressure group known as the Focus.

Irving on the Focus:

The Focus was financed by a slush fund set up by some of London’s wealthiest businessmen — principally, businessmen organized by the Board of Jewish Deputies in England, whose chairman was a man called Sir Bernard Waley Cohen. Sir Bernard Waley Cohen held a private dinner party at his apartment on July 29, 1936. This is in Waley Cohen’s memoirs … The 29th of July, 1936, Waley Cohen set up a slush fund of 50,000 pounds for The Focus, the Churchill pressure group. Now, 50,000 pounds in 1936, multiply that by ten, at least, to get today’s figures. By another three or four to multiply that into Canadian dollars. So, 40 times 50,000 pounds — about $2 million in Canadian terms — was given by Bernard Waley Cohen to this secret pressure group of Churchill in July 1936. The purpose was — the tune that Churchill had to play was — fight Germany. Start warning the world about Germany, about Nazi Germany. Churchill, of course, one of our most brilliant orators, a magnificent writer, did precisely that.

For two years, The Focus continued to militate, in fact, right through until 1939. And I managed to find the secret files of The Focus, I know the names of all the members. I know all their secrets. I know how much money they were getting, not just from The Focus, but from other governments. I use the word « other governments » advisedly because one of my sources of information for my Churchill biography is, in fact, the Chaim Weizmann Papers in the State of Israel. Israel has made available to me all Churchill’s secret correspondence with Chain Weizmann, all his secret conferences. It is an astonishing thing, but I, despite my reputation, in a kind of negative sense with these people, am given access to files like that, just the same as the Russian Government has given me complete access to all of the Soviet records of Churchill’s dealings with Ivan Maisky, Joseph Stalin, Molotov and the rest of them. I am the only historian who has been given access to these Russian records. It is a kind of horse trading method that I use when I want access to these files, because it is in these foreign archives we find the truth about Winston Churchill.

When you want the evidence about his tax dodging in 1949 and thereabouts, you are not going to look in his own tax files, you’re going to look in the files of those who employed him, like the Time/Life Corporation of America. That’s where you look. And when you’re looking for evidence about who was putting money up for Churchill when he was in the wilderness and who was funding this secret group of his, The Focus, you’re not going to look in his files. Again, you’re going to look in the secret files, for example, of the Czech government in Prague, because that is where much of the money was coming from.

Irving then revealed further details of Churchill’s financing by the Czechs, as well as the facts of Churchill’s financial rescue by a wealthy banker of Austro-Jewish origins, Sir Henry Strakosch, who, in Irving’s words, emerged « out of the woodwork of the City of London, that great pure international financial institution. » When Churchill was bankrupted overnight in the American stock market crash of 1937-1938, it was Strakosch who was instrumental in setting up the central banks of South Africa and India, who bought up all Churchill’s debts. When Strakosch died in 1943, the details of his will, published in the London Times, included a bequest of £20,000 to the then Prime Minister, eliminating the entire debt.

Irving dealt with Churchill’s performance as a wartime leader, first as Britain’s First Lord of the Admiralty and then as Prime Minister. The British historian adverted to Churchill’s « great military defeat in Norway, which he himself engineered and pioneered, » and mentioned the suspicion of Captain Ralph Edwards, who was on Churchill’s staff at the time, that Churchill had deliberately caused the fiasco to bring down Neville Chamberlain and replace him as prime minister, which subsequently happened.  Irving spoke of Dunkirk:

In May 1940, Dunkirk, the biggest Churchill defeat of the lot. It wasn’t a victory. It wasn’t a triumph. Nothing for the British to be proud of. Dunkirk? If you look at the Dunkirk files in the British archives now, you will find, too, you’re given only photocopies of the premier files on Dunkirk with mysterious blank pages inserted. And you think, at first, how nice of them to put these blank pages in to keep the documents apart. Not so. The blank pages are the ones that you really want to be seeing. In some cases, of course, the blank pages are genuinely censored with intelligence matters. But the other blank pages are letters between Churchill and the French Prime Minister, Paul Reynaud, which revealed the ugly truth that Churchill, himself, gave the secret order to Lord Gort, the British General in command of the British expeditionary force at Dunkirk, « Withdraw, fall back, » or as Churchill put it, « Advance to the coast. » That was Churchill’s wording. « And you are forbidden to tell any of your neighboring allies that you are pulling out. The French and the Belgians were left in the dark that we were pulling out.

I think it’s the most despicable action that any British commander could have been ordered to carry out, to pull out and not tell either his allies on his left and right flanks that he was pulling out at Dunkirk. The reason I knew this is because, although the blanks are in the British files, I got permission from the French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud’s widow. His widow is still alive. A dear old lady about 95, living in Paris. And guiding her trembling hand, I managed to get her to sign a document releasing to me all the Prime Minister’s files in the French National Archives in Paris. And there are documents, the originals of the documents which we’re not allowed to see in London. and there we know the ugly truth about that other great Churchill triumph, the retreat to Dunkirk. If peace had broken out in June of 1940, Churchill would have been finished. No brass statue in Parliament Square for Mr. Winston Churchill. He would have been consigned to the dustbin of oblivion, forgotten for all time and good riddance I say, because the British Empire would have been preserved. We would, by now, have been the most powerful race — can we dare use the word, the British race, the most powerful race on Earth.

Irving pointed out that Churchill rejected Hitler’s peace offers in 1939, 1940, and 1941. (Irving supports the thesis that Rudolf Hess’s flight to Scotland was ordered by the Führer). Irving pinpointed one critical moment, and supplied the background:

The crucial moment when he managed to kill this peace offensive in England was July 1940. If we look at the one date, July the 20th, this I think was something of a watershed between the old era of peace, the greatness of the British Empire and the new era, the new era of nuclear deterrent and the holocaust, the nuclear holocaust. July 20, 1940: Mr. Churchill is lying in bed that Sunday out in Chequers, when he gets a strange message. It’s an intercept of a German ambassador’s telegram in Washington to Berlin. It’s only just been revealed, of course, that we were reading all of the German codes — not only the German Army, Air Force and Navy Codes, but also the German embassy codes. And if you’re silly enough to believe everything that’s written in the official history of British Intelligence, you will understand that the only reason that they released half of the stories is to prevent us from trying to find out the other half. And what matters is that we are reading the German diplomatic codes as well. On July 20th, the German ambassador in Washington sent a message to Berlin saying that the British ambassador in Washington had asked him very quietly, very confidentially, just what the German peace terms were. This, of course, was the one thing that Churchill could never allow to happen, that the British find out what Hitler’s peace terms are. He sends an immediate message to the foreign office, to Lord Halifax, saying, « Your ambassador in Washington is strictly forbidden to have any further contacts with the German ambassador, even indirectly. » They were communicating through a Quaker intermediary.

Now, on the same day, Churchill sent a telegram to Washington ordering Lord Lothian, the British ambassador in Washington, to have nothing to do with the German ambassador. And the same day, he takes a third move to ensure that the peace moves in Britain are finally strangled at birth. He orders Sir Charles Portal to visit him at Chequers, the country residence of British prime ministers. Sir Charles Portal was Commander in Chief of Bomber Command. Now what is the significance? Well, the significance is this. Up to July 1940, not one single German bomb has fallen on British towns. Hitler had given orders that no British towns are to be bombed and, above all, bombing of London is completely forbidden and embargoed. Churchill knows this, because he’s reading the German code. He’s reading the German Air Force signals, which I can now read in the German files. Churchill is reading the signals, and he knows that Hitler is not doing him the favor.

Hitler is still hoping that this madman in England will see reason or that he will be outvoted by his cabinet colleagues. So he’s not doing Churchill the favor of bombing any English towns. Churchill is frantic because he thinks he’s being outsmarted by Hitler. On July the 20th he sends for Sir Charles Portal, the Chief of Bomber Command, and he says to Sir Charles Portal, as we know from records from Command to the Air Ministry, « When is the earliest that you could launch a vicious air attack on Berlin? » Sir Charles Portal replies to Winston, « I’m afraid we can’t do it now, not until September because the nights aren’t long enough to fly from England to Berlin and back in the hours of darkness. September, perhaps, and in September we will have the first hundred of the new Sterling bombers … » But he also says, « I warn you, if you do that, the Germans will retaliate. At present they’re not bombing English targets, they’re not bombing civilian targets at all and you know why. And if you bomb Berlin, then Hitler will retaliate against English civilian targets. » And Churchill just twinkles when he gets this reply, because he knows what he wants.

We know what he wants because he’s told Joe Kennedy, the American Ambassador – Joseph P. Kennedy, father of the late President – « I want the Germans to start bombing London as early as possible because this will bring the Americans into the war when they see the Nazis’ frightfulness, and above all it will put an end to this awkward and inconvenient peace movement that’s afoot in my own Cabinet and among the British population. » I’ve opened Kennedy’s diary. I’ve also read Kennedy’s telegrams back to the State Department in Washington. They’re buried among the files. You can’t find them easily, but they are worth reading, and you see in detail what Churchill was telling him. What cynicism. Churchill deliberately provoking the bombing of his own capital in order to kill the peace movement. He’s been warned this would be the consequence, but he needs it. And still Hitler doesn’t do him the favor.

Irving then gave a detailed account of the cynical manoeuvrings of Churchill to escalate the aerial campaign against Germany’s civilian population to the point at which Hitler was driven to strike back against Britain’s cities, supplying the spurious justification for the R.A.F.’s (and later the U.S. Army Air Force’s) monstrous terror attacks against centuries-old citadels of culture and their helpless inhabitants.  The British historian further expanded on a theme he had touched on in his address to the IHR’s 1983 conference: Churchill the drunkard. Irving substantiated his accusation with numerous citations from diaries and journals, the originals of which often differ from heavily laundered published editions. He concluded his address with an anecdote of a ludicrous incident which found Churchill pleading with William Lyon Mackenzie King, wartime prime minister of Canada, to shift production in his country’s distilleries from raw materials for the war effort to whiskey and gin, twenty-five thousand cases of it. According to Mackenzie King’s private diary, the Canadian prime minister tore up Churchill’s memorandum on the subject at precisely twenty-five minutes to eight on August 25, 1943, and Sir Winston had to soldier on through the war with liquid sustenance from other lands and climes. As Irving emphasized, Churchill’s drunken rantings, often during cabinet meetings, disgusted many of his generals, as when, at a meeting on July 6, 1944, the prime minister told his commanders to prepare to drop two million lethal anthrax bombs on German cities. Of this meeting Britain’s Flrst Sea Lord, Admiral Cunningham, wrote, according the Irving: « There’s no doubt that P.M. is in no state to discuss anything, too tired, and too much alcohol. »  Irving’s demolition of the Churchill myth, based on a wealth of documentary evidence, most of which has been studiously avoided by the keepers of the Churchill flame, may constitute his most important service to Revisionism. The legendary V-for-victory- waggling, cigar-puffing « Winnie » is for many of a centrist or conservative bent the symbol and guarantee that Britain and America fought and « won » the Second World War for traditional Western values, rather than to bleed Europe white and secure an enormous geopolitical base for Communism.  Irving’s Churchill biography promises to make trash of such authorized studies as that of Martin Gilbert (which has already been described in private by one Establishment historian as « footnotes to Churchill’s war memoirs »). The publication of the first volume of Churchill’s War later this year should be an historiographical event of the first importance.

From The Journal of Historical Review, Winter 1986 (Vol. 7, No. 4), pp. 498 ff. 


See also:

Focus on Winston Churchill

Douglas Sued for Libeling Churchill and Jew

Winston Churchill Discreetly Veiled, Part 1, By Ralph Raico

Christians United for Israel calls Netanyahu’s speech a ‘Churchill moment’

Jerusalem unveils bust of Sir Winston Churchill

Blood, Sweat and Booze: Churchill’s Debts and the Moguls Who Saved Him Churchill liked the company and money of Jewish millionaires, too. One of them, Austrian-born Sir Henry Strakosch, rescued him from two major crises. On June 18, 1940, just one day after 4,000 British soldiers, sailors and civilians were killed when the Germans sank the RMS Lancastria, Strakosch wrote a check for 5,000 pounds. In today’s terms, that’s 250,000 pounds, or 1.25 million shekels ($332,000). (…) The evidence of donations from wealthy Jews could serve as fodder for hatemongers, who often claim that the Jews controlled the British leader. Lough is aware of this and stresses that Churchill never gave wealthy Jews anything in return for their money. He found no connection between Jewish money and Churchill’s efforts against Nazi Germany before the war. (LOL!!)

Churchill’s « Jewish mother » by David Burbridge (« David B. ») Sa mère n’était pas juive, en tout cas il n’existe pas la moindre preuve permettant d’affirmer que sa mère était juive. Cet article montre que ceux qui affirment que Churchill avait une mère juive réfèrent tous au même article du JPost, or cet article du JPost ne présente aucun élément de preuve ni le moindre petit indice. Il ne fait que déclarer la chose comme étant un « fait » et c’est tout.




Le sioniste fanatique Churchill se révèle comme l’un des pères fondateurs non-juifs d’Israël… Parler de père fondateur d’Israël n’est même pas exagéré dans le cas de Churchill, même si certains préfèreront encore dire que c’est Hitler le vrai père fondateur d’Israël ! En tout cas c’est incomparablement plus évident et vérifiable dans le cas de Churchill que dans celui d’Hitler ! Les faits abondent et sont là pour le prouver.

VIDEO – Alison Weir: Against Our Better Judgment  @46:25: Explications détaillées sur le lien secret entre la Première Guerre mondiale et la création d’Israël…

La Palestine compte ouvrir le dossier des crimes historiques de l’occupation contre le peuple palestinien
Palestine Urges Arab League to help Sue Britain over 1917 Balfour Declaration which Established A “Homeland for the Jewish people.”
Les Palestiniens veulent porter plainte contre Londres pour la déclaration de Balfour en 1917
Le Royaume-Uni bientôt poursuivi en justice pour la création d’Israël?
How the Balfour Declaration Continues to Haunt Britain This week the Palestinian leadership threatened to sue the U.K .for the Balfour Declaration, ahead of its centenary. The threat was later commuted to a request for an apology. It’s a symbolic move – but also a cry of despair.
Palestine: Britain Should Apologise for the Balfour Declaration, Not ‘Celebrate’ ItLe président palestinien veut poursuivre le Royaume-Uni pour la déclaration Balfour

This World War II-era illustration pinpointed the role of the Rothschild-controlled British Empire dominating the peoples of the planet.

Right, Winston Churchill, long in the pay of Jewish interests: a Rothschild gunman.  “John Bull”—symbol of Britain—is shown (correctly) on the leash of Jewish plutocrats.

  • Author : The Barnes Review
  • Title : Volume 20 Number 1
  • Year : 2014

Table of contents. (…) Even before he was prime minister, Winston Churchill concocted a plan with Josef Stalin to allow the USSR to invade and occupy Finland if the Soviet leader would permit France and England to seize the rest of Scandinavia. Churchill even had plans to intern the Swedish and Norwegian military.  …



À ceux et celles qui seraient amourachés du candidat démocrate Bernie Sanders en raison de sa sympathie affichée pour le pro-palestinisme et de son alignement sur la gauche juive newyorkaise pro-droits civiques et pro-communiste. J’ai le regret de vous informer que l’autre côté de la médaille n’est pas très reluisant: sur la question du « changement de régime » et du rôle interventionniste guerrier des États-Unis, Sanders prend pour modèle non pas un JFK ou un Obama mais bien Winston CHURCHILL, cet épouvantable fauteur de guerres, responsable de la course aux armes de destruction massive (particulièrement la course aux armes biologiques)!

Voir le reportage complet ici
February 12, 2016

Bernie Sanders Was Right To Condemn Henry Kissinger. But Why Did He Praise Winston Churchill?  

The former prime minister was, indeed, a “fan of regime change,” among other things.

BY Branko Marcetic

Foreign policy has always been something of a sore spot for the Democratic Party. While less eager for war than the GOP, Democrats feel they have to look “tough” and “credible” on foreign policy, typically done by proving they’re just as ready to fight America’s supposed enemies when push comes to shove. That’s exactly what the Democratic candidates spent much of last night’s debate doing.

With some important exceptions, such as the issue of regime change, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s foreign policies were largely on the same page, as they have been throughout the campaign. Sanders joined in with Clinton over the prevailing fear of Russia, praising NATO’s recent provocative amassing of troops along Russia’s border, its largest deployment since the Cold War. The candidates then went on to separately embrace two of history’s worst war mongers.

It’s puzzling as to why, of all people, Sanders chose a figure with a record this bloody to cite as an influence, particularly after having denounced Kissinger so vehemently earlier in the debate.
Clinton went first. After Sanders criticized her earlier embrace of her predecessor Henry Kissinger, calling him “one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country,” Clinton doubled down, arguing that whatever complaints one may have of Kissinger, “his opening up of China and his ongoing relationships with the leaders of China is an incredibly useful relationship.”
Clinton’s earlier mention of Kissinger wasn’t just name-dropping. She appears to genuinely view him as a role model while serving as Secretary of State. In a 2014 review of his latest book, she called him a “friend.” Her praise has raised eyebrows among liberals, given Kissinger’s well-documented record of war crimes, including the illegal bombing of Cambodia that killed tens of thousands of civilians and brought the genocidal Khmer Rouge to power.
In this context, Sanders’ avowal that “Henry Kissinger is not my friend” played well. It was a good moment for him, forcing Clinton to publicly defend Kissinger—a reviled figure among older Democrats and the Left as a whole—while calling attention to the establishment ties he’s tried to hammer her on throughout the campaign.
And then he mentioned Winston Churchill.
Asked by a Facebook user which foreign leader the candidates took inspiration from when it came to foreign policy, Sanders cited the former British Prime Minister.
“He was kind of a conservative guy in many respects,” said Sanders. “But nobody can deny that as a wartime leader he rallied the British people when they stood virtually alone against the Nazi juggernaut, and rallied them, and eventually won an extraordinary victory.”
Churchill is undoubtedly famed for his wartime speeches, which have become the stuff of folk history, and his image is virtually synonymous with the fight against Hitler. But for a candidate denouncing Kissinger and his record of atrocities, Churchill is an odd choice as an “influence,” to say the least.
Where to start? Churchill’s contribution to the war effort cheered by Sanders helped contribute to the 1943 Bengal famine, which Churchill later callously exacerbated, leading to the fatal starvation of around 3 million people. According to author Madhusree Mukerjee, during World War II, Churchill exported huge amounts of food from India to Britain and various war theaters, despite being repeatedly warned that continued exhaustion of India’s food supplies would lead to famine.
He continued to demand more rice even as India starved, declined offers of wheat from the United States and Canada, and had Australian ships carrying wheat bypass India and travel straight to Europe. Leopold Amery, then the Secretary of State for India, recorded in his diary Churchill saying that “the starvation of anyhow under-fed Bengalis is less serious than sturdy Greeks.”
While leading the UK in the 1950s, Churchill was responsible for other crimes. One of these was the CIA- and MI6-engineered coup in Iran, which saw the democratically elected Mohammad Mossadeq overthrown in 1953 after he nationalized British oil holdings in the country. Churchill had approved the plan and later told the main agent in the plot that he “would have loved nothing better than to have served under your command in this great venture.” (Incidentally, this was the same coup that Sanders denounced earlier in the debate as an example of how the United States should not act on the world stage.)
In the same decade, Churchill also presided over the brutal suppression of the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya, which saw at least 11,000 killed and many thousands more tortured. Rebels, including President Barack Obama’s grandfather, were rounded up in concentration camps that make Abu Ghraib look like Disneyworld. Those strong of stomach can read accounts of what the British did to the prisoners for themselves.
Churchill was also not above using chemical weapons against his enemies. In 1919, he pushed for and executed a chemical attack on the Russian Bolsheviks using the so-called “M Device,” an explosive shell that released a poisonous gas that caused victims to cough up blood and vomit uncontrollably. Churchill also wanted to use the weapon against the northern Indian tribes rebelling against British rule, and was frustrated by his colleagues’ hesitancy to do so, saying: “Why is it not fair for a British artilleryman to fire a shell which makes the said native sneeze?”
Later, during World War II, at the same time that he was rallying the British public with the inspirational speeches cited by Senator Sanders, Churchill produced a secret memorandum that made clear his desire to “drench” German cities with poison gas so that “most of the population would be requiring constant medical attention.” “I want the matter studied in cold blood by sensible people and not by the particular set of psalm-singing uniformed defeatists which one runs across,” he explained.
Churchill didn’t get his wish, but he did get to play a hand in another World War Two atrocity that would arguably come to be most associated with his name: the carpet bombing of Germany. Churchill’s bombing of German cities, part of the “extraordinary victory” celebrated by Sanders, deliberately made no distinction between combatants and civilians and killed around 400,000 civilians.
Dresden has become the most notorious instance of this, though by no means is it the only one. As World War II drew to a close, Britain indiscriminately bombarded the city with more than 4,500 tons of explosives, reducing the city to smoldering rubble and ash and killing between 18-25,000 people. The bombing turned the city streets into bubbling, molten tar and created a fiery vortex that sucked in everything around it.
It’s puzzling as to why, of all people, Sanders chose a figure with a record this bloody to cite as an influence, particularly after having denounced Kissinger so vehemently earlier in the debate. Even Clinton went with the safe choice of Nelson Mandela in her response. Maybe Churchill was just the first name that came to the Vermont Senator’s mind. But it’s also true that Churchill has come to stand as a symbol for military competence and far-sightedness, easy shorthand for politicians attempting to shore up an image of strength. It’s no surprise that George W. Bush elected to keep a bust of Churchill loaned to him by the British government in the Oval Office throughout his presidency.
Sanders’ choice of Churchill may be symbolic, but it’s a pointed symbol. While he has staked out differences with Clinton on certain aspects of foreign policy throughout the campaign, he’s been far less willing to break with establishment foreign policy thinking than his counterpart in the UK, Jeremy Corbyn.
Corbyn’s opposition to intervention in Syria, his general anti-war stance and his criticism of the UK’s Trident nuclear program have caused the bulk of the conflict over his leadership, with one British general warning of “mutiny” among the armed forces if Corbyn put some of his ideas into place. Other than some mocking of his lack of knowledge of foreign policy, Sanders has received no such pushback in the United States.
The Sanders campaign, however, is built on the idea that political expediency has no place in his presidency. It’s disappointing, to say the least, that this principle doesn’t seem to apply to his views on foreign policy.
Branko Marcetic is a regular contributor to In These Times. He hails from Auckland, New Zealand, where he received his Masters in American history, a fact that continues to puzzle everyone who meets him. You can follow him on Twitter at @BMarchetich or email him at

Bernie Sanders has a Winston Churchill problem

Updated by Amanda Taub on February 12, 2016, 12:37 p.m. ET @amandataub
« The world has seen many great leaders in history. Can you name two leaders, one American and one foreign, who would influence your foreign policy decisions? »
As primary debate questions go, that one is a gimme — the sort of thing that is so commonly asked it practically orders candidates to recite a prepared snippet of hagiography, in the manner of a beauty pageant contestant or a child competing for a school prize.
And, indeed, when that question was posed during last night’s Democratic debate, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders started strong. He selected Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the American leader who had influenced him, smoothly sidestepping the question of foreign policy and moving straight into praising the New Deal for reducing unemployment and FDR for uniting the country in the face of a great crisis — both points firmly on-message for the Sanders campaign.
But then it was time to select a foreign leader. There was a momentary pause, the slightest flicker of panic across Sanders’s face as he cast about for an answer. I watched with eager curiosity, wondering whom he would pick. A deposed Cold War leftist like Chile’s Salvador Allende? Or perhaps a freedom fighter like South Africa’s Nelson Mandela?
Winston Churchill’s politics were not my politics. He was kind of a conservative guy in many respects. But nobody can deny that as a wartime leader, he rallied the British people when they stood virtually alone against the Nazi juggernaut and rallied them and eventually won an extraordinary victory.
To be sure, Churchill led Britain through its long, heroic, and ultimately successful fight against the Nazis. He did rally the British people during a time of national catastrophe, and mounted the effort to fight Hitler’s gruesome fascism.
But that’s not all he did. Any fair evaluation of Churchill’s record as an influential leader in foreign policy must also consider his policies toward countries outside of Europe. His commitment to fighting tyranny in Europe doesn’t look quite as principled when contrasted with his commitment to maintaining it elsewhere.
On its own, this gaffe isn’t disqualifying. Sanders presumably thinks of Churchill as a friendly ally against fascism, and did not know that the British leader was also a chemical weapons enthusiast and unreconstructed racist who cut a swath of suffering and death across three continents.
But it is very worrying. Thus far, Sanders’s foreign policy appears to be composed of one vote against the Iraq War and a handful of lessons from the early Cold War. That wouldn’t be a problem if it were just an artifact of a campaign more focused on domestic issues than foreign ones. But Sanders’s choice of Churchill as a « great leader » who has influenced his thinking on foreign policy suggests he’s not doing much thinking on foreign policy at all. That is a big problem.

Churchill on the Indian famine that killed up to 3 million: « If food is so scarce, why hasn’t Gandhi died yet? »

In 1943, famine broke out in the Indian region of Bengal, precipitated by the Japanese occupation of Burma, which reduced the availability of rice. India was then a British colony and so was subject to British rule on matters of grain imports and exports, which meant it was at Churchill’s mercy when it came to famine relief.
That mercy turned out to be limited. Churchill’s government insisted that India continue exporting grain even as Bengal was collapsing into starvation, shipping out 260,000 tons of rice in the fiscal year 1942-’43. Grain imports that could have eased the devastation were diverted elsewhere, to feed Britain and create stockpiles that could be used to feed Europeans in the event they were liberated from Nazi rule.
Some historians contend that Churchill could not have done more to ease the starvation in Bengal because his options were limited by the harsh realities of World War II. But they are being far more charitable to Churchill than he ever was to the people of India. Time and time again, he dismissed their humanity with a grim, thuggish racism, mocking the plight of starving people and blaming them for their own destruction.
« I hate Indians, » Churchill told his secretary of state for India, Leopold Amery. « They are a beastly people with a beastly religion. » Amery accused Churchill of having a « Hitler-like attitude » toward Indians, but Churchill was unmoved.
When Amery and the British viceroy in India begged him to release more food to prevent mass starvation, Churchill responded with a telegram asking, « If food is so scarce, why hasn’t Gandhi died yet? »
In Churchill’s opinion, Indians were simply inferior, and their starvation was unimportant when compared with the plight of Europeans. « The starvation of anyway underfed Bengalis is less serious, » he told Amery, « than that of sturdy Greeks. »
He even seemed to view the catastrophic famine as a reasonable punishment for India’s high birthrate, telling his war cabinet that the famine was Indians’ own fault for « breeding like rabbits. »
Approximately 3 million Indians died in the famine.

Churchill’s « inspiring » foreign policy also included torture, chemical weapons, and violent oppression

Nor was the Indian famine some sort of wartime aberration from an otherwise reasonable record. In 1919, Churchill declared that he was « strongly in favor of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes, » and enthusiastically supported its use against « Bolshies » in Russia.
(The British did use chemical weapons against Russia; the Guardian reports that « Bolshevik soldiers were seen fleeing in panic as the green chemical gas drifted towards them. Those caught in the cloud vomited blood, then collapsed unconscious. »)
In the 1920s, as the British secretary of state for war, Churchill created the notorious « Black and Tans, » in Ireland, a paramilitary militia that he recruited to maintain British control and suppress the IRA. That strategy backfired: The Black and Tans were so violent toward Irish civilians that they provoked popular anger and likely ended up increasing support for independence.
When Churchill returned as prime minister in postwar Britain, he presided over the brutal suppression of Kenya’s anti-colonial Mau Mau rebellion, in which Britain herded thousands of people into concentration camps that the Harvard historian Catherine Elkins has described as « Britain’s gulags. »
Although official British estimates were that 80,000 members of Kenya’s Kikuyu ethnic group were detained, Elkins believes the true figures were closer to twice that — and that up to 100,000 Kikuyu died as a result. Those imprisoned in the camps were subjected to torture, including sexual violence like castration and rape.
Colonial records show that Churchill’s government was well aware of what was happening but failed to stop it, even as it received reports of detainees being burned alive during interrogations.

Sanders presumably didn’t know about Churchill’s record — but that’s not great, either

There is no reason to believe that Sanders was aware of Churchill’s horrifying human rights record when he identified him as a hero. It seems most likely, particularly given that Sanders had just selected FDR as a great American leader, that Sanders had World War II on his mind and simply reached for a US ally who would play into his message about FDR’s greatness.
But even if Sanders didn’t actually intend to praise the trail of destruction and discrimination that Churchill carved through the 20th century, his ignorance is still concerning.
Sanders has been notably unwilling to engage seriously with foreign policy during his campaign. As I have written previously, his position is more about what America should be than about what actual policies it should pursue abroad. That is understandable for the campaign trail, and thus far it seems to have been quite effective.
But the implicit promise of that campaign style is that Sanders will be able to handle foreign policy when the time comes — that he is not incompetent in that area but merely focused on other things at present, and his ideals will ultimately carry him through.
His stated admiration of Churchill undermines that argument, because it suggests a very limited view of history and a worrying lack of understanding of how that history continues to shape the world today.
The legacy of colonialism is not a matter of the distant past, but rather an ongoing and in many cases hugely important issue in much of the world.
Countries such as Kenya and India are still dealing with the economic and political burdens of British rule. And so is the UK: In the past five years, the British government has been forced to pay millions of pounds in compensation to survivors of its Kenyan gulags, and thousands more cases still continue.
To be fair, Sanders was not alone last night in praising one of history’s monsters: Clinton also defended her relationship with Henry Kissinger, who, Sanders rightly pointed out, has his own record of atrocities. Clinton’s ongoing relationship with Kissinger is in many ways more worrying than Sanders’s praise of a long-dead British prime minister.
But Clinton also has significant foreign policy experience and has given detailed information about her advisers and worldview, so her relationship with Kissinger is just one small part of her overall record. Sanders, by contrast, has offered so little information about his foreign policy beliefs that even small details like calling Churchill « great » end up taking on outsize importance.
Ironically, on the rare occasions Sanders has engaged substantively with foreign policy, he has rooted his arguments in history, citing the United States’ role in overthrowing leftist governments like that of Allende in Chile and Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran as evidence of the folly of regime change.
Although limited, those discussions seemed to hint at a genuine worldview resting on a comprehensive understanding of world history. But Sanders’s praise for Churchill suggests that might be a mirage — that his beliefs might just be leftover Cold War–era grievances masquerading as a doctrine.
It was just one offhand moment in one debate, and it would be unfair to write off Sanders based on that alone, but the dissonance with his stated ideals is still concerning, particularly how frequently vague he has been on foreign policy.
If Sanders wants to be a serious candidate for president, he is going to need to do better than that.

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