Uncharted Territory


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we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, 
we shall fight on the beaches, 
we shall fight on the landing grounds, 
we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, 
we shall fight in the hills; 
we shall never surrender


The contours of this story are reasonably familiar. The outcome even more so. (Just in case, a helpful text before the final credits reminds us that Germany eventually lost the war.) Churchill himself is among the most revered and studied figures of 20th-century history: a synonym for leadership; a great man in an age of monsters; a source of pithy quotations, some of which he actually said; an example to be cited by political mediocrities in need of an ego boost.


Churchill 'in the year of Trump': Darkest Hour feeds America's love for Winston

As US moviegoers and politicians see Gary Oldman as Britain’s wartime PM, more critical – and more British – views of the great man are likely to be in short supply

David Smith in Washington

Sunday 26 November 2017 07.00 GMT

“In the year of Trump and the doubts a lot of Americans have about the whole concept of leadership, Churchill is about to get an extra boost,” said Andrew Roberts, a British historian whose biography of Churchill will be published next year.

“It’s having a leader whom everyone admires and looks up to and is working towards a goal that everyone needs. It does remind people that kind of uncomplicated, unequivocal leadership can be out there.”


Americans are generally unburdened by the multiple critiques of Churchill that have arisen in the UK in recent years, Roberts argued.

Historians have pointed to his resistance to giving women the right to vote in the 1900s; his decision to send troops in to quell riots in Tonypandy, Wales, in 1910-11; his role in the Siege of Sidney Street in London in 1911; his disastrous military campaign in Gallipoli in 1915; and his imperialistic views on race, notably India.

These register less in the US, Roberts said, because the narrative of the second world war leader is still dominant. “Similarly, you and I probably think of Roosevelt as one of the great American presidents but if you go to America, you hear people raising concerns over how he funded the New Deal and other things.”


The 10 greatest controversies of Winston Churchill's career

By Tom Heyden

BBC News Magazine

26 January 2015

1. Views on race

2. Poison gas

3. Bengal famine

4. Statements about Gandhi

5. Attitudes towards Jews

6. Attitudes towards Islam

7. Treatment of strikers

8. Sidney Street siege

9. Role in Ireland

10. Cash for influence