• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Were Some Contemporaries Correct In Their Belief That Churchill Was A Great War Leader?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Were Some Contemporaries Correct In Their Belief That Churchill Was A Great War Leader? In the fateful spring and early summer of 1940 the people of Britain clustered around their wireless sets to hear a defiant and uplifting speech from their new Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. On May 13th, having just assumed the burden of power from a, "weak and cowardly" Neville Chamberlain, Churchill promised a regime of "blood, toil, tears and sweat." On June 4th After the evacuation of the defeated British Army from Dunkirk, he pledged, "We shall fight on the beaches." On June 18th he proclaimed that even if the British Empire were to last for a thousand years, this would be remembered as its "finest hour." Over the course of the ensuing months Britain alone defied the vast conquering appetites of Hitlerism and, though greatly outclassed in the air, repelled the Luftwaffe's assault with a handful of gallant fighter pilots. This chilling engagement-"The Battle of Britain"-thwarted Nazi schemes for an invasion of the island fortress and was thus a hinge event in the great global conflict we now call World War II. Before the start of World War II Winston Churchill had already completed many great achievements, which some people could not complete if they were allowed to live twice. When Winston Churchill was born in 1874 his parents did not have any time for him and he spent most of his time with his nanny. In school he rebelled and had no time for Maths, Latin or Greek, the school he attended was Harrow on the outskirts of London. He did not get on well with the other students and he recalls how he once had to hide behind a tree while fellow students threw cricket balls at him. After this he vowed to be strong, as strong as anyone could be. He later entered the Royal Military School at Sandhurst and passed with honours. ...read more.

Middle

He then goes on to say that it is Churchill's fault for not being able to distinguish the difference between a practical, well thought out idea, to an idea that was completely imperceptive. This is suggesting he cannot distinguish the difference between a good or bad idea, which once again is incorrect and is used to make him appear a man who leaves everything to his Generals. Charmley always tried to create an image of Churchill as a man who had no idea of what he was doing, which is untrue as he alone inspired and led millions of men not only to death, but also to victory, something Chamberlain or other political leaders could not have done. Chamberlain had the ideal idea of peace and love where Churchill knew war was the only way forward, showing his vast experience over Chamberlain and Charmley's ridiculous comments. Charmley although criticizing makes a few good points against Churchill's ideas and plans, "At this stage of the war Churchill grossly overestimated what could be achieved by sea power. It was Churchill who fixed upon the Narvik as the object of the Allied campaign. The Norwegian campaign was flawed in concept and muddled in execution. The command structures might have been designed to result in chaos." Charmley here outlines the flaws in Churchill's plan, he tells us that the plan was overestimated and badly structured and that Churchill's campaign had flaws in it from the beginning, showing that Churchill's ideas were not all good ones and he was not always the great leader people said he was. Charmley then describes the 'End Of Glory' celebrations, "Pursuing the slogan 'Victory at all costs', Churchill was casually indifferent to what the costs might be." "Churchill stood for the British empire, for British independence and for an anti-socialist vision of Britain. By July 1945 the first of these was on the skids, the second was dependent solely on America and the third had just vanished in a Labour victory." ...read more.

Conclusion

Some of the quotes Charmley's used were very biased against Churchill and seemed only to focus on the bad points of his career to make him seem a lesser individual. Irvine and Ponting both displayed good reliable points, showing his weaknesses and strengths. I can not call the contemporaries wrong because they do give crucial points, but also none of them actually say whether he was a good or bad leader, leaving the answer open for you to decide, but they do try and influence the way in which you answer. I would say the contemporaries were right in their opinions but everybody including the Historians had different views. Historians are more likely to be critical of Churchill than the people at that time as they were just happy to have won the war and read of his exploits in the newspapers. He to them saved their lives and they considered they owed him a great debt. Historians were not there and did not know the pressures he was under. They criticize him because people say he was a great leader and they try to put him down and show his flaws not just the good points. They show the public the truth about what happened, and what people of the time blanked out, due to victory and patriotism. Here are advantages and disadvantages of Churchill's contemporaries and Historians: Advantages - Censorship, morale, newspapers, and victories. The need to believe in their leader. Disadvantages- Narvik campaign, ignored advisors, unworkable ideas, knew about bombings of places such as Coventry, USA took advantage of GB in lend lease agreement. If you notice the advantages are from or to people at the time. Disadvantages are from the historians. I think if you look closely enough into Churchill's campaign you will find flaws, but nobody is perfect both the Contemporaries and the Historians have every right to question this but never should they say he was a bad leader, as he got them through and helped win the war, something no one else dared do. This Was Our Finest Hour Rhys Parry 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Why did tension increase in Europe between 1900 and 1914?

    If the French had opposed us we would have had to withdraw. Our forces were not strong enough even to put up a moderate resistance'. * In fact Hitler had committed virtually his entire trained military forces to the reoccupation and the commanders carried sealed orders, which ordered them to retreat if opposed, but he got away with it.

  2. An Investigation Into the Way in Which Sir Winston Churchill Used Rhetoric During the ...

    In competitions for instance, for instance, debating teams are given a proposition and are told which side they must argue. They aren't judged on the honestly of their views. Students when debating formally are encouraged to see insincerity as perfectly acceptable, provided that the rhetorical skills are good enough.

  1. Iraq-Undemocratic and Turbulent Iraq-Undemocratic and Turbulent

    an agreement with Iran that temporarily settled the border question of the narrow waterway that divided part of the southern country, called the Shatt al Arab.12 Following a 1941 coup by Rashid Ali, who sought to maintain ties with the Axis powers during World War II, Britain again invaded Iraq

  2. A REPORT ON "The London Bombings: One Person's Experience"

    He makes it crystal clear that it is the fact that they want to achieve something in their lives that they carry these deeds! He also says that 'they want to live by their means' which illustrates that they are rejecting the values that this country provides and 'won't accept to fit in with the cultures of this country'.

  1. While surfing the channels on TV you might hear a lot of news about ...

    Americans are rich and have a lot of power, but they want to have more. For that, one possible tool (weapon) is oil, the so-called golden fluid. Americans seem to be interested in world politics, in world happenings, but they only get involved in those problems that they have any connections with (like Israel)

  2. Were contemporaries correct in regarding President Kennedy as the Saviour of The Western World ...

    However the flaws in this are that someone close to Kennedy would not bad mouth him, and this means that Sorenson's evidence could be considered slightly biased. The other flaw is that this evidence was given at Kennedy's funeral, with emotions running high it would be easy to exaggerate what happened in the Cuban missile crisis.

  1. Although Winston Churchill often fell in and out of the popularity with the British ...

    Churchill's most monumental accomplishment was that of the Royal Air Force's (R.A.F.) stunning victory over the German Luftwaffe. Inspiring posters could be seen on ever wall in the country. "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few"(Andrews,218).

  2. The great war plan, preparations, collapse, and recovery - a revised view

    Hitler's Germany managed to be the first to attack, by a narrow gap of a few weeks at most (Suvorov's conclusion, based on various evidence, is that Russia's Red Army was going to attack on July 6, 1941, so Hitler got ahead of them by exactly two weeks).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work