Posted by: Dr Churchill | September 17, 2017

What would Winston Churchill Do? (Chapter 47)

My grandfather Winston Churchill wrote everything there is to say about the Second World War, in his 6 volume History of the Second World War. This was his masterpiece, and was awarded the Nobel prize of Literature, largely for this Magnus Opus, and for his ebullient & stirring speeches.

 

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Therefore I am not even going to attempt to cover the whole of this Great War History,  but I will offer a tiny summation of the major strategic points that connect the post War and the post Liberation history, to our reality of today in an understandable way for the true student of History, of Leadership, of Statecraft, and of Political Science.

 

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Summary of Events of the Second World War II (1939–1945) in the European, in the Pacific, and in the Asian Theaters of War:

 

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The war in Europe actually begun when the British and the French allowed Germany to rearm and occupy the Ruhr industrial valley and to arm it’s defenses. They felt that a policy of appeasement will work, and this instead caused the German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler, to increase his appetite and swallow Austria and Czechoslovakia without raising the specter of war. War eventually was declared in September 1939, when Germany, having secured a non aggression pact with Stalin for splitting Poland in half, invaded and took over his half, and thus Britain and France responded by declaring war on Germany because they were guarantors of Polish integrity. But beyond that declaration, they took very little action over the following months. This gave Hitler the time to launch the next German military conquest by attacking Denmark and Norway, followed shortly by attacks on Belgium, the Netherlands, and France. All of these nations capitulated rapidly, and by now almost all of Continental Europe was conquered. Later in the summer of 1940, Germany launched a further attack on Britain, this time exclusively by air.

 

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This came to be called the Battle of Britain, and it was Germany’s first military failure of the Second World War, as the German air force, the Luftwaffe, was never able to overcome Britain’s Royal Air Force. As Hitler plotted his next steps, Italy, an ally of Germany, expanded the war even further by invading Greece and North Africa. The Greek campaign was a failure, and Germany was forced to come to Italy’s assistance in early 1941 causing it to delay it’s expedition towards the Russian steppes.  So later than originally planned in 1941, Germany began its most ambitious action yet, by invading the Soviet Union, although bitterly cold winter was going to set in soon. And although the Germans initially made swift progress and advanced deep into the Russian heartland, they were stopped short of Moscow.

 

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The German invasion of the USSR would prove to be the downfall of Germany’s war effort, because on their drive towards the oil rich regions of Caucasus and the Caspian sea they were again checked near Stalingrad. This caused German armies to falter and as soon as winter set in, they were surrounded and surrendered. Russia proved once more that the country was simply too big, it’s fighters inexhaustible, and the wintry conditions favored Russia’s forces, against those of any invader. And although Russia’s initial resistance was weak, the nation’s strength and determination, combined with its brutal winters, would eventually prove to be far more than whatever the German army could handle.

 

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The war in the Pacific began on December 7, 1941, when warplanes from Japan launched a surprise attack on the U.S. Navy base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. By this time, Japan had already been at war with China for several years and had seized the Chinese territories of Manchuria. After the Pearl Harbor attack, Japan began a massive campaign of expansion throughout the Southeast Asia–Pacific region. Although the Pearl Harbor attack provoked a declaration of war by the United States on Japan the very next day, it would be several months before U.S. forces would get seriously involved militarily. In late spring of 1942, the United States and Japan engaged in a series of naval battles, climaxing in the Battle of Midway on June 3–6, 1942, in which Japan suffered a catastrophic defeat.

 

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For the next year, the United States engaged Japan in a protracted struggle for the Solomon Islands, which lay near vital Allied shipping routes. Between August 1942 and February 1943, Allied forces carried out an invasion on the island of Guadalcanal—the beginning of a long series of Allied offensives that would eventually force the Japanese out of the Solomons and then pursue them from various other Pacific island chains that the Japanese had earlier seized. In the meantime, British and Indian forces were combating Japanese troops in Burma.

 

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In 1943, after the battles of Stalingrad and Kursk, Germany was forced into a full-scale retreat. During the course of 1944, the Germans were slowly but steadily forced completely out of Soviet territory, after which the Russians pursued them across eastern Europe and into Germany itself in 1945. In June 1944, British and American forces launched the D-Day invasion, landing in German-occupied France via the coast of Normandy. Soon the German army was forced into retreat from that side as well. Thus, by early 1945, Allied forces were closing in on Germany from both east and west. The Soviets were the first to reach the German capital of Berlin, and Germany surrendered in May 1945, shortly after the suicide of Adolf Hitler.

 

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Fighting continued throughout the Pacific in 1944 and early 1945, including major battles at Leyte, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. By the late spring of 1945, most of Japan’s conquests had been liberated, and Allied forces were closing in on the Japanese home islands. As they neared Japan proper, the Allies began heavy bombing campaigns against major Japanese cities, including Tokyo. This process continued through the summer of 1945 until finally, in early August, the United States dropped two atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Stunned by the unexpected devastation, Japan surrendered a few days later.

 

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Earlier, in the European theater of war, it was obvious that by the Spring of 1945, the warring spirit was declining, the whole world was exhausted, the Huns were running out of fighting bodies, and thus gradually came the time for the Liberation of the European capitals, just around the time, the month of May rolled in.

 

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This is the subject of our diatribe, for we need to understand, that it is vitally important who your Liberator or your Savior might be.

 

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It is ultimately important, both for the type of government that you are going to get, and the type of life that you are going to live.

And perhaps more importantly, for whether you will live like a Free man or like a Slave of some obscure Socialist ideology masquerading as government by popular committee or otherwise known as Communism.

 

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Caption of the photograph above: The sign on the shop doors in Copenhagen says: “Closed on account of happiness.” Next to it, two Danish resistance fighters are guarding the shop while the owner is celebrating the liberation of Denmark on the 5th of May 1945. The man on the left is wearing a captured German helmet, “Stahlhelm” while the one on the right is holding a British “Sten” automatic gun.

 

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Below photograph is of the Danish women celebrating their liberation in the city of Copenhagen, while the men are all still fighting to rid the country of the German invaders.

 

 

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Early on the morning of May 7th of 1945, at 2:41 AM at General Eisenhower’s headquarters, in a small redbrick schoolhouse in Reims France, General Alfred Jodl the representative of the German High Command, and Grand Admiral Doenitz, the designated head of the German State, signed Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender of all German land, sea, and air forces, in Europe, to the Allied forces thus ending World War II in Europe. According to the terms of the act of surrender that took effect the following day on May 8th at 11:01 PM, all German soldiers across Europe will have laid down their arms.

 

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News of the resurgence of Peace sparked tearful reunions, great liberations, and massive rejoicing throughout Europe, and the United States, as millions of people took to the streets, to hear form their leaders, and to celebrate the end of nearly six years of grueling warfare, privations, and bloody mayhem.

The signing of the Armistice that ended the Second World War took place in Reims, because Reims was an appropriately historic place to witness the end of war in Europe in 1945. For centuries, the city had served as the coronation site for French kings, beginning in the Middle Ages and continuing through the coronation of Charles X in 1825. During World War I, nearly 80 percent of Reims had been destroyed, while during the second conflict of World War Two, Allied war planes heavily bombed the Nazi-occupied city, causing it to lose again up to eighty percent of it’s building stock.

Yet it was here in Reims that for the last two years of the war, the Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Force were located in the red brick schoolhouse just northwest of the Reims train station, where Allied Commander General Eisenhower accepted the German leadership and it was here that the articles of the German surrender were signed on the cold & dark early morning’s third hour of May 7th 1945.

 

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Here above is the haughty German High Command representation, made up of General Stumpf, Marshall Keitel, and Admiral Friedeburg, while signing the German Instrument of Surrender at the Russian headquarters in Berlin on May 8th of 1945.

 

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A little more than a week earlier, as Soviet troops besieged Berlin, Adolf Hitler married his longtime mistress, Eva Braun, and the two of them committed suicide in a bunker beneath the German Chancellery. Hitler’s death left Germany under the leadership of Karl Dönitz, who opened negotiations for surrender in the hopes that the Western Allies would prove more benevolent conquerors than the Soviets.

 

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Unwilling to provoke Soviet leader Josef Stalin, however, Britain, France, and the United States, insisted Germany surrender to all the Allies simultaneously. As the surrender was being negotiated, Germany managed to transfer some 1.8 million troops, or 55 percent of the Army of the East, into the British and U.S. zones of control.

 

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Alfred Jodl, who was admiral Dönitz’s chief of staff, signed the unconditional surrender in the French city of Reims headquarters, of U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of all Allied forces in Europe. Upon signing, Jodl said: “With this signature the German people and the German armed forces are, for better or worse, delivered into the victors’ hands.” Despite the efforts of German troops to escape to Czechoslovakia, Russian troops took some 2 million German soldiers prisoner in the days surrounding the surrender. For his part in the Nazi nasty business of the concentration camps, and of the human exterminations, Jodl would be found guilty of war crimes at the Nuremburg trials and would be hanged in October of 1946.

 

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As news of the official surrender spread on May 7th relieved and exhausted citizens poured into the streets of London to welcome the war’s end and the defeat of Nazi Germany. Tens of thousands crowded Central London, cheering and partying until midnight, when a thunderstorm ended the celebrations for the night. Though British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and King George VI wanted May 7 to be celebrated as V-E Day, they acquiesced to their American allies and declared an official celebration on May 8.

 

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Street parties took place across Britain, as neighbors shared food that was still being rationed, and crowds gathered in London’s Trafalgar Square to hear Churchill’s radio broadcast from 10 Downing Street piped through giant speakers. “We may allow ourselves a brief period of rejoicing,” Churchill said, “but let us not forget for a moment the toil and efforts that lie ahead. Japan with all her treachery and greed, remains unsubdued. We must now devote all our strength and resources to the completion of our task, both at home and abroad. Advance Britannia.”

 

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Churchill later appeared before cheering crowds on the balcony of Buckingham Palace with King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, along with the Princesses Elizabeth (the future Queen Elizabeth II) and Margaret, who had been allowed to wander incognito among the crowds to experience the celebrations for themselves. That night, Buckingham Palace was lit by floodlights for the first time since 1939, and a giant V of light was projected above St. Paul’s Cathedral, ending the darkness that had blanketed London, and the rest of Britain, for nearly six years.

 

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With the announcement of the surrender on May 7th, the city of Paris exploded into celebrations. Crowds of people dashed through the Arc de Triomphe waving the Allied flags, and British, American and French servicemen celebrated, along with the crowds of civilians throughout the night. Charles de Gaulle, who led the Free French Forces from Algiers during the Nazi occupation and returned to Paris after liberation in 1944, declared: “The war has been won. This is victory. It is the victory of the United Nations and that of France. Honor to our nation, which never faltered, even under terrible trials, nor gave in to them. Honor to the United Nations, which mingled their blood, their sorrows and their hopes with ours and who today are triumphant with us.”

On that day, the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin refused to accept the German surrender agreement concluded in Reims. He argued that the Soviet representative there, General Ivan Susloparov, had not been authorized to sign the agreement, given that it differed from an earlier one Stalin had approved. As a result of this confusion, fighting continued on the German-Soviet front for another day, with the Soviet Army losing 600 more soldiers in Silesia on May 8. Late that night, on the early morning of May 9th in the Soviet Union, the German general Dönitz, signed another surrender agreement in Soviet-occupied Berlin.

 

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Rather than V-E Day on May 7th, people in the Soviet Union celebrated “Victory Day” on May 9, as fireworks exploded over the Kremlin and celebrations broke out in Red Square. Some 25-30 million Soviets died during World War II, which they called the Great Patriotic War; more than two-thirds of those were civilians. Stalin issued a radio broadcast announcing the end: “The age-long struggle of the Slav nations…has ended in victory. Your courage has defeated the Nazis. The war is over.” Still, the Soviet leader himself seemed uninterested in celebrations: When his deputy Nikita Krushchev called to congratulate him, Stalin reportedly snapped “Why are you bothering me? I am working.”

On May 8th President Harry S. Truman’s 61st birthday, the flags in the United States were still at half-mast to mark the passing of Truman’s beloved predecessor, Franklin D. Roosevelt, a few weeks earlier. Thousands crowded into New York’s Times Square with news of the surrender, and other celebrations took place in cities across the nation, but in general the reaction to V-E Day was more muted than in Europe. Truman’s message to the American people was clear: “If I could give you a single watchword for the coming months, that word is work, work, and more work. We must work to finish the war. Our victory is only half over.”

 

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The German surrender of Europe shifted the focus of World War II to Washington, as the United States by now, was the major world power with the greatest participation by far, in the war against Japan. Though some in the capital celebrated V-E Day along with the rest of the nation, The New York Times reported that “Thousands of War and Navy employees in Washington, some uniformed but mainly civilians, greeted the V-E news as soberly as their chiefs gave it to them. There was thankfulness, but no cheering. Perhaps it was in recognition that this nation had only passed the halfway mark in its global war…”

 

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However, the recognition that May 8th 1945, was the official Victory in Europe Day, was celebrated heartily throughout the United States and the preparations were made to end the war with Japan decisively through the use of the new atomic nuclear weapon.

In most people’s minds though, finally the forces of darkness had been defeated, and the generalized Evil that had bedeviled our World, had been leashed back to it’s corner.

On this Spring day of 1945, both Great Britain and the United States, celebrated and rejoiced, along with all the nations of this Earth, and this was inaugurated inHistory, as Victory in Europe Day. Cities in all nations, as well as formerly occupied cities in Western Europe, put out flags and banners, rejoicing in the defeat of the Nazi war machine, as the carnage continued in the Pacific and in some pockets of war in Europe as well.

The eighth of May spelled the day when German troops throughout Europe finally laid down their arms: In Prague, Germans surrendered to their Soviet antagonists, after the latter had lost more than 8,000 soldiers, and the Germans considerably more; in Copenhagen and Oslo; at Karlshorst, near Berlin; in northern Latvia; on the Channel Island of Sark — the German surrender was realized in a final cease-fire. More surrender documents were signed in Berlin and in eastern Germany.

 

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The main concern of many German soldiers was to elude the grasp of Soviet forces, and keep from being taken prisoner. About One million German soldiers attempted a mass exodus to the West, when the fighting in Czechoslovakia ended, but were stopped by the Russians and taken captive. The Russians also took approximately 2 million other prisoners in the period just before, and quite a few more, after the German surrender. The Soviet communist sector in Europe, quickly became a vast concentration camp…

Meanwhile, more than 13,000 British POWs were released, and sent back to Great Britain. And many more millions of innocent Jewish and other nationality prisoners were released from the German concentration camps in the waning days of the war, and especially on the Victory in Europe day.

 

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Some pockets of German vs Soviet military confrontations, continued into the next day. And on these pitched battles, just on the day of May 9th, the Soviets would lose another 600 soldiers in Silesia, before the Germans finally heard the call to surrender. Consequently, for the Soviets, the Victory in Europe Day, was not celebrated until the ninth of May in Moscow, with a radio broadcast salute from Marshal Stalin heard throughout the World. He was always Spartan in his talks, but now he said this in essence: “The age-long struggle of the Slavic nations has ended in victory. Your courage has defeated the Nazis. The war is over.”

In London, Winston Churchill gave a jubilant address to the English people and indeed to the whole world, and it was broadcast via BBC throughout the Commonwealth, and the rest of the World, in it’s entirety. You too can hear it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rePb2NadxQw

 

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However, the war in the Pacific still raged on… Japan was defiant and had rejected all terms of surrender till then. Winston’s personal friend and brother in arms, Roosevelt had passed away a few days ago without siege the Victory day. Now his office was held by his Vice President Mr Truman who had replaced him until general elections were to be held.

And as Fates had decreed, Winston’s victory celebrations were also cut short, because his governing coalition partners upon seeing the British Victory — they demanded fresh elections in order to take advantage of the winds of change, the victorious marches, and the euphoric feeling of the population and asked for a new poll that would allow them to institute a Labour government… even before victory against Japan was to be achieved.

Strange how the fates work their mysterious ways, but the scheming intrigue and the political gamble of the Labour party payed off, and as it turns out, in the 11th hour of World War II, Winston Churchill was forced to resign as British prime minister following his Conservative party’s electoral defeat at the hands of the Labour Party. It was the first general election held in Britain in more than a decade. The same day, Clement Attlee, the Labour leader, was sworn in as the new British leader.

 

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This quick summation of the Prime Minister Winston Churchill life in Service and Leadership, was given to all the persons in the British Parliament in order to remind them of Churchill’s long efforts on behalf of Peace and Country and to dissuade them from abandoning the government coalition after the VE day of May 1945:

“”Winston Spencer Churchill, born at Blenheim Palace in 1874, joined the British Fourth Hussars upon his father’s death in 1895. During the next five years, he enjoyed an illustrious military career, serving in India, the Sudan, and South Africa, and distinguishing himself several times in battle. In 1899, he resigned his commission to concentrate on his literary and political career and in 1900 was elected to Parliament as a Conservative MP from Oldham. In 1904, he joined the Liberals, serving in a number of important posts before being appointed Britain’s First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, where he worked to bring the British navy to a readiness for the war he foresaw.”

“In 1915, in the second year of World War I, Churchill was held responsible for the disastrous Dardanelles and Gallipoli campaigns, and he was excluded from the war coalition government. He resigned and volunteered to command an infantry battalion in France. However, in 1917, he returned to politics as a cabinet member in the Liberal government of Lloyd George. From 1919 to 1921, he was secretary of state for war and in 1924 returned to the Conservative Party, where two years later he played a leading role in the defeat of the General Strike of 1926. Out of office from 1929 to 1939, Churchill issued unheeded warnings of the threat of Nazi and Japanese aggression.”

 

 

“After the outbreak of World War II in Europe, Churchill was called back to his post as First Lord of the Admiralty and eight months later replaced the ineffectual Neville Chamberlain as prime minister of a new coalition government. In the first year of his administration, Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany, but Churchill promised his country and the world that the British people would “never surrender.” He rallied the British people to a resolute resistance and expertly orchestrated Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin into an alliance that eventually crushed the Axis.””

 

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Regardless of all of Winston’s popularity, and all of his electoral campaigning efforts — in July 1945, a few weeks before the defeat of Japan in World War II, his Conservative government suffered an electoral loss against Clement Attlee’s Labour Party, and Churchill resigned as prime minister.

It was not meant to be this way, however, while Churchill worked and toiled hard as the wartime Prime Minster and while he executed the massively important and difficult War effort in order to save the Nation, and while he was fighting on behalf of all the Allies of the United Nations and while trying to liberate Western Civilization — his coalition government partners, the Labour party adversarial colleagues, were undermining his authority at hime by scheming, planning and intriguing, to overthrow him. It was a plot worthy of Brutus. Clement Atlee whom Winston had included in his national unity coalition government, and his labour party colleagues, were all engaged in advanced electioneering, and secret campaigning,  in order to gather the vote in preparation for the snap election they were going to cause, when they were going to leave the coalition and thus cause the break up of the government.

The whole effort amounted to intrigue and treachery, but these are the breaks in Love, in War, and in Politics.

And although Winston Churchill’s popularity was riding high, and he was the Man of the century, and the most Important Man Alive, throughout the World — he lost the elections in Britain and became the leader of the opposition in Parliament, for the next five years.

 

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Yet in 1951 he fought the next elections bravely, and with a strong message he earned the popular mandate and was again elected Prime Minister. Two years later, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for his six-volume historical study of World War II and for his political speeches.

In 1955, he retired as prime minister but remained in Parliament until 1964, the last year before his death.

 

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To be continued:


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