Was Churchill really the villain?
The general consensus amongst Australians and Americans alike seems to indicate that Winston Spencer Churchill was a selfish, arrogant, lying, deceitful Pommy/Limey who didn’t give a damn about the War in the Pacific or the threat from the Japanese and was quite content to leave it to the Americans to sort out, who if we are to believe this would not have been the least bit concerned had the Japanese invaded and taken Australia and was quite prepared to lose this colony for the sake of the war raging throughout Europe.
Why did he think along these lines, obviously he was privy to an enormous amount of intelligence that we can still only guess at, but there are some actions on his part that makes me, at least, wonder why.
In June of 1940 shortly after becoming Prime Minister and the leading figure in the fight against the Germans and Nazism, he set up the SOE (Special Operations Executive) which I don’t intend to expand on here except to say that their primary role was in espionage, sabotage and covert raiding operations ( The Cockleshell heroes real heroes believe me- and the St Nazaire Raid come to mind). Remember back in 1940 Great Britain was standing alone; the German machine was over-running Europe, and the British were stretched to their absolute limits. Soon there will not be any left to recall those days.
In May of 1941 during our darkest times Britain had the greatest stroke of luck, the Royal Navy corvette the HMS Aubretia in company with HMS Broadway forced the U-110 to the surface and the subs crew abandoned ship although technically speaking abandoned the boat, which didn’t sink like it was supposed to do. A boarding party from the HMS Bulldog which had come to join the party were able to capture the ‘Enigma’ machine, at that time the greatest most brilliant coding machine on earth. And the Germans never knew!
I am convinced during the 1930’s into the 1940’s the Germans were the most advanced nation when it came to preparing for war. The British had been virtually emasculated by the Washington Treaty, (and I’m not going into that what I believe was a fiasco there) which the Germans were not subjected to, and any restrictions placed upon them were conveniently forgotten ignored and brilliantly bypassed when considering the pocket battleships they produced.
Germany also had brilliant scientists the one that springs to my mind always at first is Wernher von Braun that rocket scientist who helped rain VI and V2 rockets upon London during WWII killing many innocent civilian men women and children and who after the war went on to become a great American citizen, that’s water under the bridge. Germany also had scientist working on another project which was given a much-needed boost when they took Norway, and jet propulsion for their aircraft.
The Germans were quite secure in the knowledge that the British had no idea what was going on, which was the case until the 9th May ’41 when they mislaid an ‘Enigma’ machine; from then on the whiz kids at Bletchley Park knew what they were up to, and as a result so did Churchill and his innermost sanctum. They were even reticient when it came to sharing with the USA once they came into the war.
It is believed that Churchill had advanced warning of the pending imminent attack on Pearl Harbor and that he shared this information with FDR, (remember that Churchill had a great love of things American being half American – his mother was a NY socialite) and it was Churchill’s great wish and hope that the Americans would join the fight against the German machine. It is also believed in many quarters that FDR did know and did nothing to prevent the attack knowing full well that it would take many lives because he realized that the free world needed the US involvement to stop the German machine.
The Japanese were not in the same league as the Germans when it came to power. They had a large army and navy but they did not have the scientist working towards victory, they intended to win by conventional means, their navy was meant to destroy the US Pacific Fleet and their army to take on the American army and marines and did not pose as much as a threat as the Germans.
How much information was given and shared by the British Government with their new allies is anybody’s guess, but the secret of the Enigma machine was kept to themselves I do believe.
Churchill and Roosevelt knew that the mighty German machine had to be obliterated, Churchill was no doubt well aware of the Germans advances into the production of an atomic bomb/arsenal and he also had no doubt that Hitler would have no qualms about using such a weapon, he never showed any compunction about the slaughter of civilians with his blitzkrieg’s or reluctance to drop bombs! The Germans were well on the way with rocket science and jet propulsion, and Churchill knew, because the Enigma was the safe German way of connection within their empire and they didn’t know that the British were looking in on everything they said.
Germany was a frightening power to be reckoned with and Japan was not, and this is why Churchill was prepared to let Asia go for the time being. The greatest most dangerous enemy had to be stopped first before it could get weapons of mass destruction operational. The Japanese were no where as advanced any losses were to be acceptable until Germany’s defeat. Hard fact of life.
How far advanced were the Germans when it came to nuclear bombs. Probably quite a long way, they had taken over the Norwegian heavy water plant in 1941/42 and Churchill’s SOE made plans to destroy the plant at Vermork, and to do this they recruited seven young Norwegians who’d fled Norway for England when the Germans took over their country , and signed them up for espionage and sabotage work. These young Norwegians were trained and then dropped by parachute in the middle of winter in the remote part of Norway made their way with great difficulty and blew up this plant, and they got away with it! The Germans raised all hell deployed many many troops planes and were not able to catch thes fine young men who became known as :”The Heroes of Telemark”;
As an amusing aside, Hollywood made a movie called “The Heroes of Telemark” and Kirk Douglas did the honours and went and blew up this plant and had a little fling with some young filly along the way, you know the usual Hollywood rubbish.
Here is a link to a BBC news report on the last of the heroes being honoured in London to mark the 70th anniversary of the raid which this man now aged 93 lead.
and this is a very interesting link
So to conclude; was Churchill really so stupid, ignorant callous and any other villainous thing that we can think of; or was he a very well-informed frightened man? Frightened by what the Germans had what they were capable of having and not worrying about using, frightened for the peace and safety of the whole world. The Japanese were strong and they were ruthless but they did not have the power nor were they the threat to the world that Hitler and his scientists were. The Japanese only had plenty of fanatical manpower going for it, and little else, they could not have held on to any gains for very long.
As for me I shall give Winston Spencer Churchill the benefit of any doubt!. My comment section is open for abuse 😀 🙄