Winston Churchill. From the war with the Bolsheviks to the war with the Germans
Fight against the Bolsheviks
After the end of the war and the re-election of the coalition government of Lloyd George, Churchill was given the post of Secretary of State for Military and Air Affairs.
«What is the point of being a military secretary if there is no war?"- he complained to Bonar Lowe, who replied:"If we thought there was going to be a war, you wouldn't get this job.».
The vengeful, draconian terms of the Treaty of Versailles were humiliating for Germany, leading to a sharp devaluation of its currency, mass unemployment, suffering, growing resentment and unrest. This actually created the conditions for the revolution. If not for the treacherous policies of the Social Democratic leaders, the German workers might have come to power. Instead, the defeat of the working class and the conditions imposed by Versailles paved the way for the rise of Adolf Hitler and another terrible war.
But in the meantime Churchill's attention was focused on something else; his instincts for inciting war were fueled by his implacable hatred of the Bolsheviks.
British troops were in Russia before Churchill became Secretary of War. They were there mainly to protect military supplies sent by Britain to aid Russia in its war against Germany, and also played a supporting role in helping whites.
They hoped that the counter-revolutionaries would crush the revolution and then resume the war with Germany, thereby tying up many of Germany's forces on the Eastern Front. Given the fact that the Russian people had already suffered enough (the number of killed, wounded and maimed in Russia exceeded the total losses of all Western allies), it should have been obvious that the Russian masses were eager to end the war with Germany. It was incredibly shortsighted to expect Russian workers and peasants to rally around whites and undergo the same bloody massacre that they had just experienced under the tsarist regime.
When the war was over, the war-weary people of Britain were tired of fighting and more than anything else wanted the soldiers back home; there was no compelling reason to keep forces in Russia. But Churchill did not lose his enthusiasm for the war. He already tried in April 1918 to deceive the Bolsheviks into continuing the war with Germany by offering them an agreement that “would protect the fruits of the revolution»In exchange for their further participation. What he wanted was to drown the Russian revolution in blood, pushing the Soviet government to renew the war with Germany. But Lenin was not so naive; the Soviet government has already signed the Brest-Litovsk Treaty with Germany (although a similar peace treaty could have been signed earlier, with much smaller losses, if not for the long disputes between Lenin (a supporter of an immediate withdrawal from the war), Trotsky (a supporter of the strategy of “no war, no peace ") And Bukharin (a supporter of the transformation of the imperialist war into a revolutionary one), as well as any delays in negotiations with Germany by Trotsky, which infuriated the German government).
Churchill, with all his maniacal energy, tried to bring about the destruction of the Bolshevik government. He tried unsuccessfully to convince Woodrow Wilson and Lloyd George to authorize full-scale military operations against the Bolsheviks. While Woodrow Wilson and Lloyd George would also like the revolution to be suppressed, the most they could offer was an agreement to provide relief aid to whites, such as supplying weapons and military equipment, food, money, as well as officers and soldiers for training purposes.
Churchill was not satisfied with this, he wanted more. In Russia, there were already military contingents from many other countries, including Italy, Japan, the United States and France, who were trying to overthrow Bolshevism. He urged them to conduct full-scale military operations alongside the white armies to destroy the revolutionaries. Lloyd George said then:
Unsurprisingly, most British high-ranking officers were against Bolshevism and therefore gladly collaborated with Churchill. When he called on volunteers to go to the North of Russia to “help in the withdrawal of the British army from Arkhangelsk”, He received about 5000 volunteers.
These volunteers naively believed that they were going there to save their compatriots from a desperate situation, but they soon discovered that they were only sent to fight for the whites in a new war.
Churchill continually lied to the British public, slandering the Bolsheviks in every way he could think of, ignoring the rape, robbery, torture and murder of innocent civilians, as well as the systematic massacres of defenseless Jewish communities that his "heroic white allies" constantly committed. Even the most senior British officers became sick of whites, not to mention the rebellious sentiments that developed among the rank and file of British soldiers.
There were several mutinous incidents in the ranks of the British troops who no longer wanted to participate in the war, which they could clearly see as a class war against the laboring masses of Russia.
With British, French and American troops, Churchill was confident that General Yudenich's offensive in October 1919 would be successful. When he heard that the White Army was only 40 kilometers from Petrograd, he sent a personal telegram to Yudenich, congratulating him and promising an early delivery of more military equipment and weapons.
However, the Bolsheviks were able to stop Yudenich's forces just 16 kilometers from Petrograd. The subsequent counterattack of the Red Army threw the Whites back, through Gatchina, through Gdov, through Yamburg, until the remnants of the Whites fled to safety across the Estonian border.
General Briggs later assessed the results of the intervention as follows:
It is also necessary to take into account the unknown thousands of dead soldiers of the Red and White armies, as well as civilians who were mercilessly killed as a result of this intervention. The crushing of the Russian revolution was clearly in the interests of British imperialism, but there was also Churchill's irreconcilable hatred of Bolshevism and a desire to make a name for himself.
In 1922, Churchill lost his post, probably becoming unpopular due to his attitude towards Russia. Then, in 1924, when the Liberal Party began to lose its weight, he left it and joined the conservatives: personal interests and high office always took priority over political principles.
The new Prime Minister Baldwin made him Chancellor, a position he held until the 1929 general election. His long tenure was marked mainly by his vigorous struggle against the strike (which his economic policies helped to provoke) in 1926.
In the years that followed, he spent most of his time writing. He also tried his hand at fiction, but his first and only attempt at writing a novel was so unsuccessful that even he was embarrassed by it. His historical works tended to find fault with others, while hiding their own mistakes and shortcomings.
"Voice in the Desert" or Churchill on the Eve of a New World War
Rumor has it that during the thirties Churchill was a "lonely voice" desperately trying to persuade incomprehensible British politicians and the public against the evils of fascism and the threat of German rearmament; he was the only one who was smart enough to foresee danger.
Any sane person was well aware of the danger of a reborn, rearmed Germany, still seething with the injustice inflicted on her by the Treaty of Versailles, straining her military muscles and reasserting herself in Western Europe as a force to be reckoned with.
Churchill and most of the leading politicians were not really anti-fascists. In fact, he, like the rest of the British establishment, hailed Nazi Germany as a buffer between Soviet Russia and Western Europe. With such conflicting ideologies, it seemed much more likely that Germany and Russia would end up fighting each other, in which case France and Britain could sit back and "enjoy the show."
But Hitler had other plans for expanding the Reich. In violation of the Treaty of Versailles, he created his own armed forces, and in March 1936 his army entered the Rhineland, which was a demilitarized zone, a buffer between Germany and France; in 1937 his Condor legion bombed Guernica; in 1938 Germany occupied Austria without encountering any resistance. In 1938, under the pretext of helping three and a half million Germans, Hitler annexed a part of Czechoslovakia known as the Sudetenland (Poland also annexed part of the Czech territory), with the consent of Great Britain, France and Italy.
Encouraged by his easy successes, Hitler decided to occupy the rest of Czechoslovakia. However, this was already too much. Britain and France guaranteed the territorial integrity of Greece, Poland, Turkey and Romania, hoping that this would slow down Hitler's expansionist policies. But…
In the early morning of September 1, 1939, the people of Poland were awakened by the noise of German planes in the sky and the stamping of German boots in the streets - the Nazi invasion of Poland began. Chamberlain immediately formed the War Cabinet, which included Winston Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty.
Both France and Great Britain issued an ultimatum to Hitler to withdraw from Poland. The ultimatum was ignored and war was declared on Germany on September 3.
The beginning of World War II
Those who commanded the naval fleet at the time, it was well understood that it was madness to "hunt" for German submarines on the high seas; the best way to defeat them is to fight them when they tried to attack the convoys. But Churchill did not want to hear about it. He insisted that the fleet must aggressively wage war against the enemy. As a result, several ships of the British fleet were sunk by the Germans. Hitler could have thanked Winston Churchill for his first major success in the war against Britain.
It is widely believed that Chamberlain and other "appeasers" were responsible for Britain's unpreparedness for war in 1939, and that Churchill was the "voice in the desert", the only one who constantly advocated the creation and modernization of the military, the only one who foresaw the threat of the Nazi Germany. This is a myth spread by Churchill and his henchmen, a lie that must be exposed.
Chamberlain was actually one of the first to call for rearmament, and ran in the 1935 General Election with a policy of improving Britain's defenses, but Baldwin stopped him from doing so.
Churchill's policy was somewhat different: in 1920, he advocated battleships, when those who knew the naval business better wanted to switch to aircraft carriers; in 1925 he opposed the strengthening of Singapore, arguing that the Japanese could never take Singapore; in 1928, he recommended an extension of the 10-year rule (deferring an increase in cash injections to the military by at least another 10 years).
Soon after the victory over Poland, it was expected that Germany would not hesitate to attempt to occupy Norway. To counter this, a plan was developed involving both the Royal Navy and ground forces. But in April 1940, when Germany nevertheless invaded Norway, attacking it at various key points along the entire coast, our "modern Nelson" again knew better than his admirals.
Troops were landed and warships were dispatched in all directions except the correct one, and as a result Germany occupied Norway with relatively little casualties. If anyone other than Churchill had shown such incompetence, even outright stupidity, he would have been fired.
Meanwhile, the Scandinavian campaign caught the attention of the House of Commons. Admiral Sir Roger Keyes made a passionate speech in which he accused everyone of defeat. In the ensuing angry debate, the accusation was diverted from Churchill and directed at Chamberlain. In one of the greatest ironies of history, it was Chamberlain who was forced to resign and Churchill to take over as prime minister.
- Vladimir Zyryanov
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