Churchill, Johnson and the hilarious nostalgia for empire | DayDayNews Opinion

I was stuck with novels and history books early in the pandemic when I stumbled across “Churchill Factor,” an interesting story about dramatized history written by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, aimed at Let young people know about their British heroes and remind British elders of the greatness.

Johnson, who likes to be seen as Churchill’s heir, used this “refreshing” 2014 bestseller to take national politics by storm, supporting the cause of Brexit, joining the Conservative government as foreign secretary and eventually succeeding Theresa May as prime minister in 2019 .

In the words of the American-Dutch historian Felix Klos, Johnson may have offered a “barbaric simplification” of Europe based on his political ambitions, who wrote “Churchill’s Last Battle: Unity” The Struggle in Europe.

In fact, Johnson did the old saying himself, albeit half-jokingly, “Give me the facts…I’ll twist them the way I want to fit my argument”. Here, facts are just quotes, and Churchill’s 72 volumes of 43 books, in addition to his countless essays, speeches, and letters, provide a plethora of citations to choose from.

Johnson, who vows to play “the devil’s advocate” from the start of his book, doesn’t shy away from some of Churchill’s dastardly racist beliefs, reckless decisions and wrong policies, but he’s quick to use the inexplicable The rebuttals refute them – arguments and linguistic acrobatics he learned while studying the classics at Oxford. He called them “unpasteurized” Churchills.

To Boris, Churchill’s many “joyful little wars” in the colonies pale in comparison to his “saving civilization” feats during World War II, which have been adored and popularized in countless books, articles, films, etc. The point is, one doesn’t have to like Churchill as much as I do to find him very charming.

As a self-appointed b******t authority, I could easily spot every other page of con, but as a student of British European history, I couldn’t understand what Johnson’s “savage simplification” was all about until I read Geoffrey Whitcroft’s new book, Churchill’s Shadow.

The British historian and journalist outlines prosecutors’ case against Churchill, collecting and examining evidence with forensic precision and highlighting some damning eyewitness accounts of those who knew him best, all of which ultimately led to The well-documented indictment against Johnson’s hero.

Whitcroft investigates Churchill’s indifference to human suffering since his first career as a young officer jumped from Asia to Africa, his complete failure as commander of the British navy in World War I, and his role as colonial secretary of state Opposition to self-determination and democracy for all indigenous peoples.

Most poignantly, Whitcroft’s wartime record of defeating such a venerable prime minister as Churchill in WWII, mocking his enthusiasm and pursuit of an apparently one-sided “special relationship” with the United States, and at the loss of The empire he so cherished.

He focused on Churchill’s “unpasteurized” belief in the myth of “racial superiority” of the Anglo-Saxon white race, for example, noting that he advocated for the Conservative Party’s use of the slogan “Keep England white” in the 1950s.

Whitcroft argued that Churchill’s support for Zionism was driven by a combination of British imperialism, European colonialism and “racial superiority.” Churchill believed that the Palestinians should not be entrusted to their homeland and that the Jews were a “higher race” than the Arabs.

Paradoxically, Churchill’s victory over the horrific Nazis who killed millions of Jews made the language he used to support Zionism intolerable, according to Whitcroft. This may be too optimistic.

In any event, Churchill, who had considered the establishment of a strong, free Jewish state “with great advantages over the British Empire,” ardently supported the Balfour Declaration as a cabinet member in 1917, supporting such an entity.

For the record, according to Churchill’s own sons and grandsons in their co-authored book, “The Six-Day War,” “Britain sought to arouse the Jews of the world, especially the Jews of Russia and the United States,” to gain their support for the fight against the central government. Great powers in World War I (German Empire and Austria-Hungary). It was in this pursuit that the Balfour Declaration was made public.

It is undeniable that Churchill, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953, was an incredible orator and a brilliant rhetorician who brilliantly and bravely “mobilized the English language and sent it to battle”, publishing some of the Most inspiring speech. .

His famous “Never owed so little by so much” speech, reflecting the RAF’s heroic defense of British civilians from Nazi bombardment, is truly memorable.

Alas, reality is more confusing and complex than any rhetoric. Under Churchill, the RAF was fairly ineffective against the Nazi war machine, but did prove useful in “disciplined empires” when bombing insurgent communities in Afghanistan, India, Iraq and Palestine throughout the first half of the 20th century.

In short, Whitcroft’s 640-page book is “the best single-volume indictment against Churchill ever written,” citing a New York Times review in which Churchill was seen as a greedy And cruel people, an opportunistic politician, a racist imperialist and an impulsive failed strategist.

But more than that: it’s a scathing critique of British, American and Israeli politicians’ misuse of Churchill’s record before his death and its consequences for the rest of the world.

While he doesn’t elaborate, Whitcroft’s paper is a dismantling of Johnson’s “cliché” biography. In a piece titled “Johnson to play Churchill? History will indeed repeat like a farce,” Whitcroft made no secret of his disdain for the current British Prime Minister’s attempt to draw an equator between himself and the British savior he advertises.

But the farce was by no means limited to Johnson. The British right has also resurrected Churchill’s memory, often referring to the EU as Nazi Germany.

In fact, Churchill could be many things to many people, and anything to anyone. For example, Whitcroft recounts how John F. Kennedy, Fidel Castro, Menachem Begin, Yasser Arafat and countless others put themselves before Churchill’s death On a par with Churchill.

But in America, Churchill proved to be a twisted inspiration, especially for racists and warmongers during and after the Cold War.

The neoconservative movement hailed him as a master of history and a “prophet of the Cold War,” while its mouthpiece, the Standard, called him “the man of the century.”

Churchill has long been considered the honorary founder of the state of Israel, but Israeli colonists have repeatedly cited Churchill as comparing Nazi Germany with its Middle Eastern enemies (eg Jamal Abdul Nasser in Egypt, Saddam Hussein in Iraq, etc.) Hussein, Yasser Arafat of Palestine or Ali Khamenei of Iran.

These Churchills refused to see any geopolitical compromise as a nefarious policy of appeasement, like the “appeasement” of Adolf Hitler by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in the late 1930s.

Churchill himself would later comment that sometimes appeasement, especially from a powerful position, is the best guarantee of peace. For example, the collapse of the Soviet Union was not because of a war, but because of a certain degree of appeasement in the West, which collapsed under the pressure of its own contradictions and deficiencies.

Whitcroft may have been right about Churchill’s mistakes, or his right and left heirs. But the mentality that underpinned Churchill’s support of Zionism was still greatly tolerated in important places like Britain, the United States, and Israel. As signs of a new Cold War mount, and a renegotiation of the Iran nuclear deal becomes less and less likely, Churchill abuses and appeasement abuses are back in vogue. So does the racism that underscores his views on empire, Islam, human rights and immigration.