Winston Churchill

Tariq Ali


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Verso Books
10 May 2022
ISBN: 9781788735773
448 pages

From the publisher

A coruscating portrait of Britain’s greatest imperialist

The Churchill cult is completely out of control. In its present form, explains Tariq Ali, it was created during the Thatcher period, marked by the Falkland/Malvinas war and further embellished during the more recent conflicts in the Middle East and Africa. The cult today overshadows everything that existed during Churchill’s lifetime and the Second World War. Then, he was seen by many as an indomitable class warrior at home and abroad.

Throughout his life, Churchill never bothered to conceal his White supremacist views or his passionate defence of the British Empire. Tariq Ali challenges Churchill’s vaulted record. Throughout his long career as journalist, adventurer, MP, military leader, imperialist statesman, and historian, Chruchill’s nationalist self belief influenced his every step, with catastrophic effects. As a young man he rode into battle in South Africa, Sudan and India in order to maintain the Imperial order. As a minister during the first World War, he was responsible for a series of calamitous errors that cost thousands of lives. His attempt to crush the Irish nationalists left scars that have yet to heal. To this day he is hated in the Welsh valleys for his vindictiveness towards the miners and his intense dislike for workers who strived for better conditions and a better life.

Churchill’s crimes abroad include the brutal assault on the Greek Resistance during the last years of the war (‘Treat Athens as a colonial city’), the Bengal Famine that cost over three million Indian lives, the insistence on using nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (for which he was subjected to a mock war crimes trial in the Truman White House) and his staunch support in 1953 for the CIA/MI6 coup that toppled the democratic Mossadegh government in Iran. The British atrocities in Kenya supported by Churchill (always the white settlers friend) during the 1950’s have now been fully documented by mainly US historians.

Tariq Ali’s indictment will go some way in correcting the imbalance.