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Winston Churchill’s The Second World War : metanarrative, markets, and the politics of memory Gossen, David J. 2001

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WINSTON C H U R C H I L L ' S THE SECOND WORLD WAR: M E T A N A R R A T I V E , M A R K E T S , AND T H E POLITICS O F M E M O R Y B y D A V I D J. G O S S E N B . A . , The University of Lethbridge, 1979 L . L . B . , The University of Victoria, 1982 M . A . , The University of British Columbia, 1994 A THESIS S U B M I T T E D LN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F D O C T O R O F P H I L O S O P H Y in T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S (Department of History) We accept this thesis as conforming 4p the required standard T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A Apr i l 2001 © David James Gossen, 2001 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) 11 A B S T R A C T The potency of memoirs to shape collective memory makes it important to seek a critical understanding of their political and historical functions. Memoirs offer insights into the character, motives, and influence of political leaders, yet many scholars question this genre's ability to produce accurate history, insightful political analysis, or literature of merit. However, to the extent that memoirs contribute to our knowledge and understanding of the past they deserve closer study. Memoirs mediate remembrance of the recent past by functioning primarily in the interval between contemporary political discourse and professional historiography, where their reception molds historical memory. This study assesses how the past is remembered, and the political influences embedded in memory that shape collective identities, through a study of Winston Churchill 's metanarrative of the second world war, produced at a critical period in war memory formation. Exposing the politicized aspects of social memory requires examining the means by which private memories are transmitted into the public realm of collective consciousness. In the early postwar era, the dominant transmitter of war memory was the political press, which responded to war narratives by amplifying, dramatizing, or challenging their underlying political messages. Thus, we examine how Churchill 's metanarrative of war was produced and promoted by his publishing syndicate, and how his messages were received by the political press and general reading public in Britain and America. After 1945, the main stimuli for contested political memory arose from widespread fears over security, freedom, rapid social change, and historical discontinuity caused by the war. Churchill 's metanarrative of legitimation offered an explanation of the traumatic past that contained conservative lessons for political culture. His messages fused an abiding faith in the righteousness of imperial memory with a sense of historical destiny that linked the English-speaking peoples in a common cause to resist totalitarian challenges in the 20 t h century. Their reception reveals that imperial memory and the archaic language of redemption through war did not end with the first or second world wars, but gained a renewed sense of relevancy and power during the early cold war era. i i i T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S Abstract i i Preface i i v Acknowledgments v 1 C H A P T E R I Introduction. 1 C H A P T E R II Churchill 's Metanarrative: Messages and Leadership 19 2.1 Imperialism and Democracy ...........19 2.2 Unifying the English-speaking Peoples 27 2.3 Appeasement and Political Praxis 32 2.4 Churchill 's Finest Hour 46 C H A P T E R III Memoirs and Markets: The Origins of a Publishing Syndicate 55 3.1 Building a Publishing Syndicate 57 3.2 The Chartwell and Literary Trusts 65 3.3 The Artistry and Techniques of Production 71 3.5 Abridgements 83 C H A P T E R I V The Messages: Lessons from the Past for the Present 93 4.1 Imperialism and the Civi l iz ing Mission 93 4.2 The "Special Relationship" of the English-speaking Peoples 103 4.3 Leadership, Character and Vis ion in War 115 4.4 Lessons of History and Origins of the Co ld War 130 C H A P T E R V Reading Churchill: Press Reception and the Public .....155 5.1 A Literary Phenomenon 160 5.2 Empire, Commonwealth, and World Order 163 5.3 Appeasement, Leadership and the Preventable War 173 5.4 Forging the Anglo-American Fraternity 185 5.5 Fighting the Cold War 196 5.6 A Monument on Celluloid 210 C H A P T E R V I Conclusion 230 Bibliography 251 iv P R E F A C E This dissertation project had a long gestation period. It began more than 33 years ago, when a fourth grade classmate of mine handed me Time/Life''?, one-volume edition of Churchill 's memoirs with the suggestion that I might be interested in looking at it; indeed I was. Lost in my memory is why a nine-year-old child of pacifist parents and conscientious objectors would be interested in such a book about war. What I do remember most vividly is being completely entranced by the picture-book's stunning depictions of a world at war. Churchill 's stirring prose surely enhanced the experience, though I confess that it was the visual imagery of war that was most memorable at the time. Years later, while in undergraduate school, I became interested in reading The Gathering Storm during a summer recess, and found myself so taken by Churchill 's story of political failure and redemption in war that I read the entire memoirs with alacrity. I enthusiastically followed Churchill 's every step and decision on that long, tortuous road from the political wilderness to E l Alamein and victory because for the first time in my life I felt that someone was providing a powerful explanation for the complicated postwar world into which I had been born. Unwittingly, and to large extent uncritically, I absorbed into my consciousness Churchill 's conception of the principal causes for the cataclysmic events of the interwar and war years. Exactly to what extent my world view on war, peace, and international relations was molded by Churchill , and the glowing public memory of Churchill as the savior of the free world, only became apparent to me after entering graduate school in the 1990s, where I commenced a study of appeasement and the press for my Master's thesis. Though a detailed recollection of Churchill 's metanarrative had receded into the background of my memory over the decade and a half since I had last read his memoirs, I retained a lingering bias against British leaders from the 1930s who had pursued appeasement for so long without realizing its inefficacy, and who had ignored viable political alternatives that might have prevented war. In my Master's thesis, I focused on Neville Chamberlain's political alliance with Times editor Geoffrey Dawson, as the chief architects of appeasement, who allegedly chloroformed public opinion in order to promote their foreign policy agenda. Only near the latter stages of my thesis research did I re-read The Gathering Storm to flesh out the perspective of anti-appeasers who had resisted Chamberlain and Dawson. It was then that I realized just how closely my general outlook on war causation, along with that of a great many secondary sources I consulted, was premised on a thoroughly Churchillian critique of appeasement V contained in his memoirs. About a year after completing the Master's thesis, my academic advisor Dr. George Egerton recommended a dissertation project centered on the production arid reception of Churchill 's war memoirs. Despite my abiding interest in Churchill and an obvious affinity for his ideas at the time, I hesitated at first to embrace the project. For one thing, so much had been written about Churchill that I naively presumed there was little unique or original left to say about the man or his political influence. In addition, being iconoclastic by nature, it was apparent that such a research project would involve critical analysis of a man whom I still considered in a heroic light. M y study of appeasement had taken an unsympathetic view of revisionist historiography that undermined Churchill 's political legacy, since he was to me an icon of historical greatness in a time of immense turmoil and crisis who towered above the petty maneuvering of present-day politicians. Nonetheless, having taken the plunge, my research into Churchill , his politics, and war writing prompted a major reappraisal of my previous views on appeasement as a policy of weakness and ignorance, and of the British leader's prophetic wisdom. Studying Churchill 's speeches, correspondence, and literature spanning six decades enabled his world view to come into much sharper focus, and enabled me to get out from under the awesome weight of traditional historiography which had invested such tremendous authority in the man and his messages. Re-reading The Second World War, I conceived a thematic approach to the study of Churchill 's memoirs. Four thematic threads were found to comprise the author's metanarrative, all originating in his world view from before the war, and becoming entwined in the course of World War II and its aftermath. This analysis was then connected to a media study of Churchill 's reception after the war. In this sense, my dissertation constitutes a continuation of research begun in the Master's thesis, in which I attempted to weave together an analysis of appeasement, political leadership, and press influence upon the shaping of foreign policy during the 1930s. But whereas the Master's thesis was concerned with the power of politicians and the press to shape public opinion before the war, this dissertation examines the issue from the perspective of postwar memory formation, and the power of politicians and press to shape conceptions of the recent past for advancing their specific ideological agendas. vi A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S This dissertation project has consumed many years of research and writing, more than this writer could have imagined possible at its outset. Yet it would have taken even longer to complete had I not received guidance and continued encouragement from my supervisor, Dr. George Egerton, who steered me away from numerous rocky shoals upon which my venture threatened to founder. M y rather headstrong desire to go in directions that were perhaps interesting and exciting, but which were not always conducive to producing the focused results necessary for achieving the project's objectives, were thankfully kept in check by Dr. Egerton's timely and gentle admonitions. The end result of my research also would have been much less satisfactory without the patient and uncomplaining willingness of my advisor to vet draft chapters, and on several occasions the entire manuscript, in order to offer valuable criticisms which I have endeavored in all instances to incorporate into the thesis. M y debt of gratitude to him is incalculable. Many individuals along the way facilitated my research by enabling access to primary sources at Cambridge, England, the Public Record Office at Kew, and Harvard, Massachusetts. The professional archivist Clare Stephens at Churchill College, along with the librarians at Houghton and Lamont Libraries in Harvard, deserve special mention for their kindness in fielding my questions and going beyond the call o f duty to track down sources of information. A s a result, I cherish fond memories of my stays at those two institutes of higher learning. Finally, my wife Kayoko must be recognized as a vital source of inspiration and energy whose constant support, patience, and personal sacrifices, made this dissertation possible. I am supremely grateful for everything she has done to make this journey of learning a most memorable and enjoyable experience. 1 1 Introduction For millions of people in the English-speaking world, Winston Churchill is remembered as democracy's greatest political leader of the 20 t h century, credited with dramatically shaping the course of history by inspiring the successful defiance of Hitler's armed forces in Britain's finest hour during the second world war. Churchill did much to instill this heroic image in popular collective memory through a literary output that revealed his unique talent for conveying powerful emotions, dramatic images, and inspiring ideas to a wide readership. The making of an international icon was immensely facilitated by the intense publicity and acclaim accorded Churchill and his war memoirs by the press and public in most corners of the world. While all Prime Ministers since World War I who survived office considered it necessary to write their political memoirs, no one has matched the impact of Churchill 's account of war on subsequent historiography. He ranks among that rare group of leaders whose character stamped itself so powerfully on the political developments of an era that personality appeared to dominate over circumstances, making his memoirs much more than personal history.1 After the war, Churchill used his towering status as a war hero to shape memories of the recent past in the English-speaking world. Though memoirs as a genre of literature are prone to bias and special pleading, Churchill 's memoir constitutes a memory site of major significance, not least because of the author's talent for writing with true historical scope. Churchill also possessed a treasure-trove of valuable historical documents and an exceptionally good team of research assistants which enabled him to create an impressive work on the second world war that greatly influenced scholars and general readers alike in the early postwar years. Though memoirs represent a literary genre as old as antiquity, and remain ubiquitous in the modern age, they have not received a great deal of systematic critical analysis from scholars. Yet it is clear that they are capable of offering significant insights into the past, making them a potentially valuable historical source combining political, biographical, and literary characteristics. Though British historian G.P. Gooch pioneered the study of "political autobiography" in 1942, it was not until the 1988 U B C Political Memoirs Project, directed by Dr . George Egerton, that memoirs as a "polygenre" received focused scholarly attention in a series of monographs. Churchil l 's memoir was not among those analyzed, a lacuna that this study seeks to f i l l by an appraisal of his second world war metanarrative, written between 1946 and 1954. Paul Fussell's influential work on war and memory in 1975 asserted that memoirs were a kind of literary fiction, different from novels only by their "continuous implicit attestation of veracity or appeals to 2 documented historical fact."2 Thus, he felt that the same principles of analysis were applicable to the study of war memoirs as had been used in regard to other literary forms. In this respect, political memoirs can be treated like most other literature engaged in story-telling; i.e., as an instrument of power and social control that shapes collective memory of the past in order to legitimate the dominance of ruling elites. In the Political Memoirs Project, Dr. Egerton defined political memoirs as a "fascinating but problematic genre" that was polymorphous in the way it appropriated a diverse range of literary forms, including autobiography, biography, diary, history, political science, and journalism. Most commonly, it is a term used to denote the writing by a retired politician who attempts to recount his or her years in office for the purpose of vindicating a political record or presenting a pedagogy of political wisdom. The fact that it seldom achieves the purpose for which it is produced does not diminish its value as historical literature that can be utilized by scholars to gain valuable insights into the functioning of political leadership and the political systems in which they operate.3 Most important for this purpose are memoirs that contain an overarching metanarrative structure that functions as a carrier of ideology by enhancing the appeal and potency of its political messages.4 The primary function of political memoirs is to record events of historical significance that are within the writer's memory for the benefit of posterity. Except in confessional memoirs, the author attempts to place herself in the most favorable light while disparaging her detractors and political opponents. Nonetheless, her attempts to do so, as well as her evasions and omissions, can illuminate issues of authorial intentionality while enabling an appraisal of the memoirs for its "presentation of personality."5 In some instances, memoirs constitutes literature written by a person of letters or of action that closely identifies the author's personal experiences with the collective identity of a community through metanarrative.6 Literary theorist Wi l l i am Howarth identifies three essential elements in the creation of metanarrative: the writer, the work (and its technique of production), and the work's readership, which "form a single chain of relationships progressing from motive, to method, to meaning." B y analyzing each of these elements in turn we can dissect the author's strategy while distinguishing between his actions and his recollection of them. Often, an author recollects the past to satisfy a troubled mind "searching his self through history," making it not an objective and disinterested pursuit, but rather a work of personal justification. 7 Roy Pascal notes that autobiographies by politicians are almost always memoirs, since true autobiographies are possible only "where their political activity stands in an essential relationship 3 to their personality, where it can appear as the efflux of their personality." 8 Rarely does a political figure reach such a status. But the manner in which Churchill fused private and public lives through a personality that imposed itself distinctively upon world events, his robust temperament, his gift for drama and vivid imagination, all made him well-equipped to write autobiography. His memoir of the first world war was largely autobiographical, as Lord Balfour acidly attested to in 1923: "I hear that Winston has written a big book about himself and called it The World Crisis."9 One of Churchill 's most impressive literary works was his autobiography, My Early Life (1930), which wonderfully revealed his nascent world view at the turn of the century. Pascal notes, though, that Churchill was forced to write as a historian when constructing his memoir of the second world war, since the events depicted were so sweeping in scale that they overwhelmed the autobiographical aspect of the work. 1 0 Nonetheless, like The World Crisis, Churchill attempted in his later war memoir to subsume national and global events into the story of his leadership in wartime. In essence, Churchill 's memoir presented a personalized political drama that functioned as a powerful unifying narrative for a community of readers, satisfying their perceived needs and desires in the postwar era. Dr. Egerton notes: "It is the potency of political memoir in thereby shaping the popular, l iving generational memory of a culture which adds particular importance to promoting a critical understanding of its political and historical functions." With the exception of memoirs of challenge written by those seeking to overturn or subvert the status quo, such literature tends to serve an essentially conservative function by affirming the centrality of political leadership while downplaying long-term economic and social forces that drive historical change. Sometimes, memoirists unwittingly undermine this function when they expose incompetence or disunity at the upper echelons of power. But invariably their intention is not to question the system of authority itself, or the established political culture, but rather to critique political opponents operating within it in order to enhance their own position as part o f a simplistic appeal for different leadership, not structural change." Despite such limited objectives, memoirs are excellent sources for revealing the character of political leaders, while analysis of their reception offers insight into the source of their enduring popularity with the reading public. ' 2 Critical analysis also enables us to perceive how memoirists can create an illusion of linear development in their political consciousness that masks differences between past perspectives and contemporary outlooks or identity. This is especially true where they enjoy privileged access to secret or restricted information at the time of production. 1 3 It is political elites who write the vast majority of war memoirs with the principal intent to I 4 explain the meaning of a conflict by making sense of the slaughter. Writing their memoirs becomes a kind of memorial act that selectively commemorates and preserves the memory of a community. 1 4 A s a war recedes into history, the meaning of wartime experiences is constantly being negotiated between these "official" public commemorations and the private, or popular, memory that seldom finds its way into print. War becomes a dominant symbol of nationhood, as it did in Britain after 1945, when collective and individual narratives of the past are fused in cultural meaning in ways that reinforce each other within family, social, and political groups. 1 5 What war narratives share, including Churchill 's sweeping nationalist commemoration of Britain's finest hour, is a deep sense of irony derived from the fact that war is almost always worse than expected, and the end result less than anticipated. 1 6 In Churchill 's memoir, this was expressed in his final volume by a sense of disillusionment that the glorious triumph over Nazi tyranny was compromised by the tragic failure of other nations and their leaders to learn the appropriate lessons from Britain's past experience. Churchill 's pedagogical metanarrative was intended to enlighten present and future generations of English-speaking peoples of the necessity for unity of purpose to prevent future tragedies. In doing so, he sought to instill in readers the idea that changes in leadership had been the key factor in Britain's tortured path from prewar ignominy to wartime greatness, followed by the slide into postwar weakness when ineffectual leaders compromised the peace and sacrificed the empire. The power of war memoirs to shape national consciousness has been well illustrated by scholars studying the literature of post-World War I Europe. Fussell's The Great War and Modern Memory examined war memory through the literature of middle class British poets and writers. He argued that a new form of remembrance was created by them which profoundly affected public perceptions o f war during the 1920s and 30s. Fussell concluded that Wor ld War I caused a great caesura in the language of war memory, away from romantic and feudalistic discourse toward a modern form of ironic expression. 1 7 But this conclusion was derived from an exceedingly narrow focus on the experiences of a small group of highly sensitive, middle class British writers who projected their personal sense of loss onto national memory through best-selling memoirs and novels. 1 8 Consequently, historian J . M . Winter contended that the great historical caesura in the language of war did not really emerge until 1945, when the horrors of genocide and atomic holocaust produced a belief that there could be no redemption from sacrifice in war. While the carnage o f the first world war had produced a sense o f hope that "Never Aga in" would such a tragedy be revisited upon mankind, after World War II there could be no such optimism: "In contrast 5 to the post-1918 period, the rupture of language and imagery which followed the Second World War was profound and enduring." 1 9 M y study of Churchill 's war memoir tests this hypothesis by assessing public reception of the author's imperial metanarrative and its language of valor, glory and sacrifice. Whereas J . M . Winter qualified Fussell's thesis by suggesting that traditional motifs of war and redemption retained their appeal in the interwar era, this study questions whether his qualification needs to be extended well beyond 1945 before a caesura in war memory truly arose. The study of war novels and their reception reveals that the politics of war memory powerfully shapes collective identities. 2 0 The critical reception of war literature usually has more to do with the postwar state of mind than with wartime experiences. Reactions to war literature are intensified i f publication occurs at a critical moment when the mood of hope and relief following victory intersects with a growing sense of fear and foreboding over the prospect of renewed peace and prosperity. Modris Eksteins' case study of Eric Remarque's 1928 novel All Quiet on the Western Front concluded that everyone involved in the process of reception, including the author, his political supporters and critics, exploited the war memory expressed in the book for their respective political agendas in the interwar era. The same was true, he found, of the novel's film adaptation, which turned the past "into a chattel of the present."21 In a similar vein, this study w i l l examine Churchill 's memoir for authorial intendonality and messages, the postwar context of production, and the politics of reception in the early cold war era. Dr. Egerton observes that when the talent for historiography is present, the documents have been collected, and the writer is skilled at dramatic presentation, there exists the possibility for producing memoirs of "truly historical compass." 2 2 His study of L l o y d George's memoir revealed that the British leader's dramatic narration of the first world war greatly influenced interwar perceptions of political leadership in ways that acclaimed the heroism of a few and the bungling of many. 2 3 This contrasts sharply with the ironic tones of the war poets and novelists, who could find little to praise in the conduct or outcome of the war. Analysis of middle-brow writers from the 1920s and 30s reveals that their interpretation of the war most closely paralleled that of memoirists like L loyd George in their refusal to decry the conflict as futile or deny the existence of heroism. Unlike the war poets, these narratives were a staple of libraries and bookstores in the interwar era, dominating book review columns and best-seller lists in Britain. In fact, they formed the mainstay of the publishing industry, which promoted them vigorously through newly formed book clubs that appealed to middlebrow tastes.24 Through these works, the Victorian canon of war literature was 6 kept alive after 1918, re-invigorating its romantic and moral values against the onslaught of disillusioned modernism. In response to the disillusioned and fragmented tones of modernist literature, they offered positive assurances of cohesion and common meaning in the concepts of development, progress and moral perfectability. 2 5 Thus, patriotic and romantic appeals that incorporated euphemisms of battle, glory, and hallowed dead continued to be widely disseminated in both popular and elite cultures after the first world war. 2 6 In the interwar years, the imperial memory of British elites remained strong, with narratives of legitimation from this period waxing eloquent about empire as a force for good in the world, and the necessity for a strong navy to solidify Commonwealth and colonial ties. 2 7 British writers elevated the idiom of war memory to such a level that Barbara Tuchman later quipped: "No nation has ever produced a military history of such verbal nobility as the British. Retreat or advance, win or lose, blunder or bravery, murderous folly or unyielding resolution, all emerge alike clothed in dignity and touched with glory....Disasters are recorded with care and pride and become transmuted into things of beauty. " 2 8 Churchill powerfully reinforced this tradition in writing his metanarrative of war after 1945, premised on notions of imperial greatness, a heroic people, wise leadership, and Anglo-American solidarity in combating tyranny. Churchill was evidently inspired by the earlier war narrative of T .E . Lawrence, whose Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1935) he praised as "a grand and permanent contribution to English literature." In producing his memoir of Wor ld War II, he adhered to Lawrence's style of blending history, autobiography and epic in a grand metanarrative of power. Like Lawrence, Churchill was enamored with neo-classical epics in which facts were subordinated to the primary goal of achieving artistic effect, and where the author was himself portrayed as the hero of the story. 2 9 But unlike Lawrence, who wrote at a time when Britain still dominated the counsels of Europe, Churchill 's war memoir appeared when its world role, and the author's own political fortunes, were significantly diminished. Oddly, Churchill avoided any references to Seven Pillars in his memoir, instead claiming to follow the method of Daniel Defoe's Memoirs of a Cavalier in hanging the chronicle of great political and military events on the thread of his personal i n experiences in wartime. Churchill applauded those who espoused traditional values in writing about war, while he decried leftist intellectuals for anti-war abstractions.31 He believed that humans were primarily motivated to act through their emotions, not reason, and that words were not merely symbols but powerful emotive tools for stimulating the right action. 3 2 To that end, Churchil l refined his poetic 7 and artistic talents for writing gripping war stories so as to inspire the development of Anglo-American unity and strength after the war by representing the alliance as the pinnacle of human achievement to date.3 3 It was, he felt, a major step on the road to world unity and peace. However, with the notable exception of Paul Addison, historians of Churchill have focused primarily on his wartime activities, largely ignoring his important political influence after the war. Yet this period is also vitally important for an understanding of the man, less for what he did as a politician than for what he wrote in his memoir. 3 4 Churchill succeeded more than any other contemporary of the war years in shaping collective memory in the English-speaking world through his postwar writing, when perceptions of the recent past were still highly malleable. Consequently, this study assesses how his metanarrative of war was produced and promoted by publishers, and received by the reading public, during this critical historical epoch of memory formation. Analyzing the genesis and reception of Churchill 's war memoir takes its inspiration from the historiography of memory and identity formation. Scholarly analysis of historical events has broadened in the last few decades to include assessments of the manner in which events like the second world war are remembered and commemorated, and the political influences embedded in memory that shape collective identities. 3 5 Social practices and forms that represent the past and perpetuate memory within a specific collectivity are considered politicized "memory sites" that assist in identity formation. 3 6 This study focuses on one such site, the war memoir of Winston Churchill , in order to determine how his metanarrative of war influenced collective memories in Britain and America. Most political memoirs are subjective accounts of the past that reveal elitist power over the process of commemoration, utilizing compelling stories containing elements of truth and fiction. Nonetheless, the great memory theorist Jacques Le Gof f contends that it is the very process of exposing the fictional and socially constructed dimensions to such narratives that enables students of history to preserve a sense of historical objectivity and truth. 3 7 Exposing the politicized aspects of social memory requires examining the means by which private memories are transmitted into the public realm of collective consciousness. In the early postwar years, the most powerful transmitter of carefully prescribed images of war memory remained the national print media. In publicizing and responding to war narratives, the political press amplified, dramatized, or challenged their underlying political messages. It did this through a process of "vilification or heroization" within social memory, whereby unexpected historical 8 consequences were reinterpreted into conscious aims, with past heroes depicted as i f they existed only to bring about the present.38 In the decade following the war, right-wing print media in Britain played a central role in publically commemorating the past through politically constructed images of the world that lent legitimacy to imperial and conservative metanarrative. Churchill 's war memoir was a memory text that bolstered a shared sense of identity in Britain based on commonly perceived experiences of war. This study examines how war memory was politicized by Churchill and his allies in the media so as to advance their respective political agendas in the cold war. Since personal and collective memory is always selective and usually contested, says Michael Kammen, major conflicts are critical for "stimulating, defining, justifying, periodizing and filtering" memories and traditions. 3 9 In other words, identity is manifestly political, with social groups engaging in continuous political warfare to maintain or change collective perceptions. Most often, the political right uses memory to legitimize the existing social and political order, with people who are in positions of authority wielding their considerable power to manipulate public memory for conservative ends. 4 0 National political leaders are inclined to seek social unity, the preservation of existing institutions, and hegemonic control over images of the past so as to minimize conflict or ambiguity in collective consciousness. The symbolic language of patriotism is central to the right's efforts to mediate internal conflicts over national memory arising between political groups who contest the past.41 The left, on the other hand, often seeks to challenge such conceptions through a counter-narrative that urges class or "popular" struggle against the forces of social control. After World War II, the main stimuli for a contested national memory in Britain and America arose out of widespread fears over security, freedom, rapid social change, and historical discontinuity caused by the war and the advent of nuclear power. Into this atmosphere of frightening postwar disorder and danger, with its rash of domestic and foreign crises, Churchill 's metanarrative of legitimation sought to explain the past in ways that appeared to offer hopeful lessons for resolving the dilemmas of the present. Metanarrative, Dr. Egerton notes, presents a sweeping vision of history, based on what the writer perceives as the significant past, in order to justify particular attitudes and meanings toward past events. The narrative structure which a writer of history creates is determined principally by his or her world view. Metanarrative derives its power from an ability to convert the apparent chaos of complex historical events into a dramatic, didactic, story that offers an imaginative presentation of history and destiny. It presents a paradigm of meaning that is intensely felt by particular social 9 groups or classes, such as hegemonic elites who advance their political interests through narratives extolling patriotic nationalism. 4 2 Thus, effective metanarrative offers a didactic version of history that "serves ideology as a vehicle for the dramatization, communication, and socialization of political values and beliefs." It engages the recipient's beliefs and faith in forging a strong sense of collective identity. 4 3 Today, grand metanarrative no longer dominates the writing of history, a caesura in historical consciousness that began in the aftershock of the first world war, when faith in the Enlightenment's vision of social order and progress was undermined. 4 4 But as this study wi l l show, reception of Churchill 's war memoir suggests that metanarrative history continued to resonate powerfully during the 1950s, and for many still today. A metanarrative of legitimation presents overarching political and historical assumptions that justify the conduct of powerful social groups or individuals, making it an apologia for power. 4 5 It promotes national cohesion by instilling faith in a shared set of historical truths, whereas a metanarrative of challenge seeks to discredit and subvert the established order. Whenever a "conventional truth" no longer appears to comport with reality there is an opportunity for political leadership to reshape visions of nationhood, as occurred in America under F D R during the depression, and in France with de Gaulle after the humiliation of wartime occupation. 4 6 In postwar Britain, Churchill sought to combat the rise of socialist visions of a new national identity based on anti-imperialism and collectivism, since he feared they would weaken national power and prestige. His war memoir grafted together an affirmation of Britain's imperial mission with a vision of Anglo-American global hegemony through which the British people's traditional sense of purpose could be sustained in the new world order. In writing his memoir, he sought to create an idealized version of Britain's past that would inspire his countrymen to live up to what he considered their noblest qualities in advancing human civilization and leading the world toward political union. This objective, while liberal in its sense of historical progress and purposefulness, was conservative in presenting a version of national character and history that promoted ruling class hegemonic memory over the popular memory of lower classes. 4 7 Gramsci revealed that social control is secured not by ideological compulsion but by cultural leadership that manages to win the active consent of subordinate groups. Hegemonic control over such groups is achieved through the exercise of prestige that attains public consent rather than domination by coercion. Narratives of legitimation mask or defuse contradictions between social groups by establishing "common values" that render the existing power structure acceptable to all . Gramsci pinpointed the press as one of 10 the "most prominent and dynamic parts" of the ideological structure of hegemonic groups because of its ability to organize consent around certain ideas conducive to control, such as the mystique of leadership, through its promotion and dissemination of appropriate narratives.4 8 It is in c ivi l society, dominated by schools, churches, media, and political organizations, that hegemony is primarily generated through the transmitting of belief systems.4 9 In the early postwar era, Churchill enjoyed an exceptionally close relationship with all of these powerful institutions of memory and identity formation, which greatly facilitated the production and reception of his metanarrative. Ostensibly independent, media organs in the early postwar years were, in fact, ideological entities that mostly reflected and sustained Churchill 's conservative messages.5 0 Benedict Anderson's seminal work on collective identity reveals that of all civic institutions, newspapers and book publishers are the two agents of communication most effective in the formation of national consciousness. 5 1 After World War II, the press in Britain and America ensured that most citizens remembered the second world war through national and elitist "structures of signification" rather than through local totems of their own construction. The ruling classes, through control of media institutions, were able to elicit immense prestige for presenters of elitist memory, who were then able to shape and inform collective historical conceptions of the war that superceded personal experience.5 2 This was especially true when authors could disguise incompatible viewpoints through their monopoly on access to official information about the recent past. 5 3 Gramsci viewed the press as an agent of politicization through its shaping of messages that are conveyed to the public. He perceived the media as powerful hegemonic definers of value by facilitating the expression of ideas by political, military, and economic elites, while at the same time muting alternative voices of dissent. In the early postwar years, newspapers in Britain and America were still the most efficient links between politicians and the political public, providing them a central role in forging reader identification with Churchill 's war narrative. 5 4 The established press enabled influential writers like Churchill to utilize public space as a forum for the exchange, enhancement, and dissemination of conservative foreign policy views. Since most newspapers lacked the resources to cover international issues in depth, as most still do, they tended to rely on syndicated reporting from a handful of powerful national organizations whose news coverage and analysis of foreign affairs was distinctly right-wing. Consequently, several newspapers in a particular market did not necessarily ensure a multiplicity of voices receiving and responding to his metanarrative. A similar situation prevailed in the early postwar years in the book publishing 11 industry, where a small number of influential critics determined what was "serious" or "good" fare that the public should read. The writer John Farrell complained in 1945 that readers were being induced into accepting the inflated status of certain authors who had been elevated by the so-called critical elite. 5 5 Most journalists reviewing books in the press, he claimed, had sacrificed their independence for the safety of wage-earning status with major publishing houses. Such critics tended to "iconize" a few great writers who they expected the public to receive reverently, while ignoring a great amount of literature that was equally worthy. Farrell maintained that these critics were backed by great economic and political power in performing the role of ideological policemen who imparted "appropriate meaning" to important political texts. 5 6 Thus, it becomes imperative in media-based studies to assess the creator, content, and consumer of literary texts as a three-part communications continuum. In this respect, literary reception theory and the history of political thought are useful for determining how meaning is imparted to political texts through media channels connecting the author with her readers.5 7 Both literary reception theory and the history of political thought are concerned with questioning the received canons of great texts in their respective fields. Literary theory has focused on the aesthetic of production, where textual meaning is derived from author intentionality, as well as the aesthetic of reception, where textual meaning is created in the act of reading. Thus, a literary work can be seen as possessing two poles, the artistic creation of messages by an author, and the realization of meaning by the reader. It is the convergence of text and reader that brings the literary work into existence. Postmodern reception theorists have shifted the weight of emphasis decidedly toward the reader, reducing the significance of the author as a creator of textual meaning, notes Robert Holub: "Perception and not creation, reception, not production, become the constituent elements of art." While the story of an author's life may be interesting, it is the image of the author and perception of his narrative that these reception theorists consider most important. They are concerned with the reasons why a given work or author becomes famous and how that fame is perpetuated over time, thereby shifting emphasis from the writer to those persons or groups that bestow fame upon h im. 5 8 Literary theorist Martyn Thompson has offered a critique of this approach, arguing that it is too one-sided in accounting for how texts become effective. He maintains that such theorists are unduly suspicious of author intentions, leading to extreme ideas that a literary text can acquire whatever meaning the reader desires, and that only the receiver of a work is in a position to imbue 12 it with semantic unity. Reception theorists hold that a text's meaning changes over time when it is "appropriated" by different interest groups with varying ideological agendas or needs. A n author's political intentions in writing his narrative are thought unknowable, and in any event, become irrelevant when groups of readers appropriate the text for their own purposes. In other words, a text acquires meaning only through the questions that readers put to it, and "the availability of what those readers and the readers' readers [reviewers] consider appropriate evidence for answering them." 5 9 Thompson rejects this approach, and offers instead a modified reception theory that incorporates the text-based focus of new political thought. Though postmodernist literary analysis offers its share of insights, taken to extremes it makes literary history impossible or pointless. Thompson's answer is to incorporate political historical analysis from J .G.A. Pocock and Quentin Skinner to form a modified reception theory, an approach to literary reception that this project adheres to in its study of Churchill 's metanarrative. According to Skinner, textual meaning arises from a dialectical process involving author and reader equally: "[A]ny interpretation of the meaning of a text cannot be based on 'the idea of a text as an autonomous object' (as some reception theorists assert) but on an 'idea of the text as an object linked to its creator, and thus on to the discussion of what its creator may have been doing in creating i t ." 6 0 One needs to analyze literature by assessing the power relations implicit in each stage of production, distribution, and consumption of a work. Collective behavior is shaped by the production of written histories containing national metanarrative, which are then transformed into collective memory and shared visions of the future through media dissemination and absorption by readers. In effect, the author's messages and readers' perceptions of reality react with each other in a particular historical context to produce political meaning for individuals and collective groups.6 1 Both reader and author enter into a kind of "referential pact" in which the reader accepts the author's textual construct as a direct reflection of reality, reconstructing his story on the basis of textual clues to intentionality. 6 2 A reader's responses are in turn shaped by knowledge of the author's background, world view, previous achievements and writings, which set the context for his narrative. Issues of book distribution networks, edition, formatting, pricing, and display also play a role in determining who reads a book, when, with what expectations, and to what purpose. 6 3 A l l o f these issues affect the authority of an author and his work as received by the reading public. Thompson's synthetic approach recovers historical meaning by utilizing reception theory's focus on readership as a creator of textual meaning along with new political thought's concern with 13 an author's rhetorical strategies. J.G. A . Pocock acknowledged that the act of writing and the act of publishing involve a process of discourse whereby a text invites a response, leading to a counter-text, or rezeptionsgeschichte. He saw analysis of this process as combining a search for responses by elites, whose ideas were recorded in book reviews and media commentary, along with a search for reception of the "silent majority" of readers.6 4 This perspective involves assessment of the manner in which ideological beliefs are created, revised, and promoted in texts, in the course of which they acquire authoritativeness with the reading public. 6 5 Thompson's synthetic approach also reconciles the conflict between reception theory's emphasis on changing interpretations of texts over time and political thought's emphasis on the historical understanding of meaning in texts as author-centered. It pays greater attention to publishing practices, the role of media institutions in the production process, and the ideology of a work's all-important "first readers," who in most instances constitute influential media opinion makers. 6 6 In adhering to this approach, my study analyzes Churchill 's memoir by a three-staged process that begins with an examination of authorial reputation, world view, and intentions in writing his metanarrative. It then examines press institutions, their ideology, and the author's relationship to the media in Britain and America. Subsequently, it explores reception of The Second World War among politically influential opinion makers in the media, scholars, and laymen readers. M y approach to reception analysis is premised on the notion that only by studying the inter-relationship of author, publisher, and reader can a balanced assessment of textual meaning be achieved as an answer to why Churchill 's work had such a powerful impact upon collective memory and identity formation. The issue of authorial intentionality is addressed in two stages, the first one dealing with Churchill 's developing world view up to the outbreak of Wor ld War II, discussed in Chapter 2. The next chapter proceeds with an assessment of the publishing industry in the 1940s and the creation of Churchill 's publishing syndicate after the war. The fourth chapter reconstructs how Churchill 's metanarrative of imperialism, power, and leadership was shaped through the various stages of drafting his memoir. In the penultimate chapter, we address post-publication reception of Churchill 's messages in the political press, academic community, and reading public during the early postwar years. Reception is analyzed primarily through book reviews or commentary contained in the political press, as well as from personal correspondence between Churchil l and his readership. Finally, the conclusion carries my discussion of reception forward from the mid-1950s to the present day by providing an overview of second world war historiography 14 and the changing perceptions of Churchill 's influence on national cultural memory. Writing about war was a life-long endeavor for Churchill, who apparently was never happier than when he was involved in pursuing a war story. He was unique in playing a prominent leadership role during both world wars, after each conflict producing memoirs that totaled almost three million words. This massive war narrative spanned three decades of crisis-ridden history that Churchill likened to another Thirty Years ' War. His account of the second world war, published between 1948 and 1954, established a narrative structure for the conflict that profoundly influenced a generation of historiography. Reception of Churchill 's memoir was in turn greatly influenced by the altered postwar world order riven by bitterly contested ideological beliefs premised on capitalist democracy and communist totalitarianism. In America, influential rightist media power-brokers saw Churchill as a perfect symbol for marshaling public support behind their cause of resisting communism. Just as Churchill had assumed the mantle of free world leadership during the fight against Hitlerism, so again in the postwar era he was placed at the forefront of the Cold war struggle against a new tyranny from the left. It was this commonality of purpose between Tory statesman and conservative publishers that created a powerful syndicate of press owners in the early postwar years to produce, promote and distribute Churchill 's memoir. Their mutual interest was to create a compelling war narrative that legitimized the existing political order in the West while dissipating support for radical social change from the left that had gained currency during the previous decade of economic, social, and political upheaval. Churchill was an immensely marketable commodity after the war, both commercially as a source of great potential revenue for publishers of his writing, and historically as a powerful conveyor of collective memory for Britons and Americans who shared a common understanding of what the war experience meant for their nations. Publishers and readers revealed a strong personal and political interest in how Churchill 's war memoir was written and interpreted, evident by opinions expressed in correspondence with the author during the production process, and afterwards, when his volumes were published. Virtually everyone who commented on the memoir, whether approvingly or critically, was convinced that they constituted an authoritative text that would undoubtedly continue to be read and remembered for generations to come. Members of the publishing syndicate believed they were "building a property" based on Churchill 's war story that would become a permanent monument to Anglo-American greatness through unity. Many laymen 15 readers also felt a "proprietary" interest in Churchill 's memoir in the sense that they considered the author to be their generation's most eloquent spokesman for a commonly shared war experience. Collectively, their letters depict a readership convinced that Churchill was writing not just for himself, or for his class, but was committing to print an epic tale of the British people's heroic struggle against tyranny that would long be remembered in the annals of history as an instance of unparalleled courage and sacrifice. Understandably, most readers viewed Churchill 's memoir as the most important historical account of Britain's role in defeating Nazism that was likely ever to come out of the war. A t the time of publication, rightist press commentary attempted to bolster Churchill 's messages about the war as a vital lesson against weak leadership, appeasement of tyranny, and divided counsels among the democracies that enabled totalitarianism on the left to gain control of eastern Europe. Collectively, the press bestowed immense prestige and authority upon Churchill 's metanarrative that solidified his hold as a towering political icon in the minds of most Britons and Americans. His contention that the pursuit of appeasement caused British leaders to sacrifice the honor of their country by cowering before aggressive dictators, and in the process brought about the very war they had so earnestly sought to avoid, became conventional wisdom in the political culture of all English-speaking nations after the war. It was also widely accepted by American liberals and moderate leftists in Britain, who previously had been highly critical of Churchill 's conservative world view. Though the war leader's metanarrative gradually lost its hold on scholarship in the course of successive waves of revisionism during the 20 t h century, it remains ensconced in the foreign policy thinking of many political leaders and lay readers in Britain and America, evidenced by repeated references to the lessons of appeasement by a Democratic President and Labour Prime Minister during the Balkan crises of the 1990s that culminated in the Kosovo intervention. Chapter 1 Endnotes 1. George Egerton, "Politics and Autobiography: Political Memoir as Polygenre," Biography 15,3 (1992): 236. 2. G. Egerton, ed., Political Memoir: Essays on the Politics of Memory (London: Frank Cass, 1994), pp.xii-xiii,3; Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (Oxford: OUP, 1975), p.311; Michael Hanne, The Power of the Story: Fiction and Political Change (Providence: Berghahn Books, 1994), p.7. 3. Egerton, "Politics and Autobiography," Biography 15,3 (1992):222-23. 4. Ibid., p.235. 5. Ibid., pp.234-35 6. Pierre Nora, "Between Memory and History," Representations 26,1 (1989):21-22. 16 7. William Howarth, "Some Principles of Autobiography," in Autobiography: Essays Theoretical and Critical, ed. James Olney, (Princeton: PUP, 1980), pp.88; Georges Gusdorf, "Conditions and Limits of Autobiography," in Autobiography, pp.28,36. 8. Roy Pascal, Design and Truth in Autobiography (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1960), p.6. 9. John Charmley, Churchill: The End of Glory (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1993), p. 192. 10. Ibid., pp.121-23; W. Zinsser, Inventing the Truth: The Art and Craft of Memoir (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995), p. 13; W. Spengemann, The Forms of Autobiography: Episodes in the History of a Literary Genre (Yale UP, 1980), pp.37-39,52. 11. G. Egerton, ed., Political Memoir, pp.344-45,349; G. Egerton, "The Lloyd George War Memoirs: A Study in the Politics of Memory," Journal of Modern History 60 (March 1988): 56-57. 12. R. Young, "Partial Recall: Political Memoirs and Biography from the Third Republic," in Political Memoir, ed. Egerton, pp.64,74; R. Bothwell, "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: Political Memoirs and Biography in Canada," in Political Memoir, ed. Egerton, p. 121. 13. Cheryl A . Michael, "Constructing the Self," in The Uses of Autobiography, ed. J. Swindells (Taylor and Francis, 1995), p.74 14. Evelyn Cobley, Representing War: Form and Ideology in First World War Narratives (Toronto: U of Toronto, 1993), pp.8,84. 15. K . Darien-Smith, "War Stories: Remembering the Australian Home Front During the Second World War," in Memory and History in 20th Century Australia, eds. Darien-Smith and P. Hamilton, (Oxford: OUP, 1994),pp.l39-41. 16. Milton Bates, The War We Took to Vietnam: Cultural Conflict and Storytelling (Berkeley: U of Cal. Press, 1996), p.237. 17. Fussell, Modern Memory, preface. 18. Correlli Barnett, The Collapse of British Power (London: Eyre Methuen, 1972), pp.427-28. 19. J .M. Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: the Great War in European Cultural History (Cambridge: CUP, 1995), pp.2-8. 20. Modris Eksteins, Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age (Toronto: Lester and Orpen Dennys, 1989), pp.256-57,280-90. 21. Ibid., pp.294,299; George Mosse, Fallen Soldiers: Reshaping the Memory of the World Wars (Oxford: OUP, 1990), pp.6-7,197-99; M . Eksteins, "War, Memory and Politics: The Fate of the Film ,4// Quiet on the Western Front," Central European History 31,1 (1980): 60,64,70-76. 22. Egerton, "Politics and Autobiography," pp.237-38,348-49. 23. Egerton, "Lloyd George," JMH: 91; T. Travers, "The Relativity of War: British Military Memoirs from the Campaigns of Marlborough to the First World War," in Political Memoirs, ed. Egerton, p. 151. 24. Rosa Bracco, Merchants of Hope: British Middlebrow Writers and the First World War, 1919-1939 (New York: Berg, 1993), pp. 1-3. 25. Ibid., pp.11-13,200. 26. J .M. Winter 1995, p.2-4. 27. B.J.C. McKercher, "Memoirs of the British Foreign Policy Making Elite, 1919-39," in Political Memoir: Essays in the Politics of Memory, ed. George Egerton (London: Frank Cass, 1994), p.197. 28. B. Tuchman, Stilwell and the American Experience in China, 1911-1945 (New York: 1971), p.557. 29. T.E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom. New Ed. (London: Jonathan Cape, 1935, 1939); A . Rutherford, The Literature of War: Studies in Heroic Virtue (London: Macmillian, 1989), pp.45-48. 30. W.S. Churchill, The Second World War. Vol.1: The Gathering Storm. (London: Cassell, 1948), p.ix. 31. Manfred Weidhom, A Harmony ofInterests: Explorations in the Mind of Sir Winston Churchill (London: Associated University Presses, 1992), pp. 17-20,24-28. 32. R.C. Kemper, ed., Winston Churchill: Resolution, Defiance, Magnanimity, Good Will (Columbia: U of Missouri, 1996), p. 10-11. 33. M . Weidhorn, Sword and Pen: A Survey of the Writings of Sir Winston Churchill (Albuquerque: U of New Mexico, 1974), pp.9,42-45; Keith Alldritt, Churchill the Writer: His Life as a Man of Letters, (London: Hutchinson, 1992), p.101; J.H. Plumb, "The Historian," in Churchill Revised: A Critical Assessment, A.J.P. 17 Taylor, etal., (New York: Dial Press, 1969), p.142. 34. Keith Robbins, Churchill (New York: Longman, 1992), p. 150. 35. Patrick Hutton, review of History and Memory, by J. Le Goff, in History and Memory, 33,1 (1994): 95; John Meacham, "Reminiscing As a Process of Social Construction," in The Art and Science of Reminiscing: Theory, Research, Methods, and Applications, ed. B. Hoight and J.D. Webster (New York: Taylor and Francis, 1995), p.48. 36. Henry Rousso, The Vichy Syndrome: History and Memory in France Since 1944, trans. Arthur Goldhammer (Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1991), pp.3-4; Paula Hamilton, "The Knife Edge: Debates about Memory and History," in Memory and History, eds. Darian-Smith and P. Hamilton, p. 17. 37. Peter Burke, "History and Social Memory," in Memory: History, Culture and the Mind, ed. T. Butler (London: Basil Blackwell, 1989), pp.100-01; Jacques Le Goff, History and Memory, trans. Steven Rendall and Elizabeth Claman (New York: Columbia UP, 1992), pp.xvii-iii. 38. Burke, "Social Memory," in Memory, ed. Butler, pp.97-99,104,110. 39. Michael Kammen, Mystic Chords of Memory: The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture (New York: A . A . Knopf, 1991), pp.4-5,13. 40. H. Hirsch, Genocide and the Politics of Memory (Raleigh: U of N C , 1995), pp.22-23,134; M . Matsuda, The Memory of the Modern (Oxford: OUP, 1996), pp.6,17. 41. John Bodnar, Remaking America: Public Memory, Commemoration, and Patriotism in the 20th Century (Princeton: PUP, 1992), pp.4-9,13-15. 42. Egerton 1997, "Meta-narrative and Modern World Politics," unpublished; Darian-Smith and Hamilton, Memory and History, eds. Darien-Smith and Hamilton, p.2. 43. Egerton, "Collective Security as Political Myth: Liberal Internationalism and the League of Nations in Politics and History," International History Review 4 (Nov. 1983): 498,500-01. 44. Hayden White, Metahistory: The Historical Imagination in 19th Century Europe (Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 1973), pp.428-30; Maurice Mandelbaum, "The Presuppositions of Metahistory," History and Theory 19,4 (1980): 41; Cobley, Representing War, pp.118-20; S. Mailloux, Reception Histories: Rhetoric, Pragmatism and American Cultural Politics (Ithaca: Cornell, 1998), pp.39-40. 45. Michael Shapiro, ed., "Literary Production as a Politicizing Practice," in Language and Politics (Cambridge, Mass.: Basil Blackwell, 1984), p.243; Michael Hanne, The Power of the Story: Fiction and Political Change (Providence: Berghahn Books, 1994), p. 12. 46. William McNeill , Mythistory and Other Essays (Chicago: U of C. Press, 1986), pp.14,30. 47. R. Johnson, Making Histories: Studies in History-Writing and Politics (Hutchinson, 1982), p.239. 48. Stuart Hall, "The Rediscovery of Ideology: Return of the Repressed in Media Studies," in Culture, Society and the Media, eds. M . Gurevitch, et.al. (New York: Methuen, 1982), p.85; D. Forgas and G. Nowell-Smith, eds., Antonio Gramsci: Selections From Cultural Writings, trans. W. Boelhower (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1985), p. 165; B. Fontana, Hegemony and Power: On the Relation Between Gramsci and Machiavelli (Minneapolis: U of Minn. Press, 1993), p. 140. 49. N . Abercrombie, Class, Structure and Knowledge: Problems in the Sociology of Knowledge (Oxford: OUP, 1980), p.131. 50. Hanne, Power of the Story, p.22. 51. Anderson quoted in P. Schlesinger, Media, State and Nation: Political Violence and Collective Identities (Newbury Park: Sage, 1990), pp. 164-68. 52. J. Fentress and C. Wickham, Social Memory (Cambridge: Blackwell, 1992), p.125; H. Kaye, The Powers of the Past: Reflections on the Crisis and the Promise of History (New York: Harves, 1991), p.69. 53. G.H. Jamieson, Communication and Persuasion (London: Croom Helm, 1985), p.25. 54. J. Seaton and B. Pimlott, eds., The Media in British Politics (Avebury: Brookfield UP, 1987), p.ix; J. Curran, et.al., "The Study of the Media: Theoretical Approaches," in Culture, Society and the Media, Gurevitch, et.al., eds., pp.14-17; V. Berghahn, eds., Perception of History: International Textbook Research on Britain, Germany and the United States (Oxford: St. Martin's Press, 1987), p.2; C. Seymour-Uri, The British Press and Broadcasting Since 1945, 3 r d ed. (Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1968,1996), p.286-88; R. Lorimer, Mass Communication: A Comparative Introduction (Minneapolis: Minn. UP, 1994), p. 168. 18 55. L. Loft, " A Study in the Pre-Revolutionary French Press," European History Quarterly 23 (1993): 7-8; Louis Liebovich, The Press and the Origins of the Cold War, 1944-47, (New York: Praeger, 1988), p.8; Reuben Brower, "Book Reading and the Reading of Books," Daedalus 92,1 (1963): 16-17. 56. J. Farrell, "The League of Frightened Philistines," (1945) in Literary Taste, Culture and Mass Communication, 14 vols., P. Davidson, etal., eds., vol. 12: Bookselling, Reviewing and Reading, (Teaneck, NJ: Chadwyck-Healey, 1978), pp. 124-29; Marcia Landy, Film, Politics and Gramsci (Minneapolis: Minn. UP, 1994), p. 10. 57. Lorimer, Mass Communication, pp. 157-58; K .B . Jensen, Making Sense of the News: Towards a Theory and an Empirical Model of Reception for the Study of Mass Communication (Aarhus UP, 1986), pp. 15-16. 58. R. Holub, Reception Theory: A Critical Introduction (NY: Methuen, 1984), pp.xii,17-20,47-49,149. 59. Hanne, Power of the Story, p.4; Paul Hamilton, Historicism (New York: Routledge, 1996), pp.205-06; Holub, Reception Theory, p.34; Martyn Thompson, "Reception Theory and the Interpretation of Historical Meaning," History and Theory 32,3 (1993): 260. 60. Ibid., pp.248,251,255-58,267. 61. Hanne, Power of the Story, pp.24-25,36-7; Iser quoted in Thompson, "Reception Theory," History and Theory: 253. 62. K. Lever, 77ze Novel and the Reader (London: Methuen, 1961), p.44. 63. Cobley, Representing War, p.16; E. Nardoccio, ed., Reader Response to Literature: The Empirical Dimension (New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1992), pp. 16-17; Thompson, "Reception Theory," History and Theory: 256. 64. J.G. A. Pocock, Virtue, Commerce, and History: Essays on Political Thought and History (Cambridge: CUP, 1985),pp.5-6,18-20. 65. M . Thompson, "Reception and Influence: A Reply to Nelson on Locke's 'Two Treatises of Government,'" Political Studies 28,1 (1980): 100-08; "Reception Theory," History and Theory: 248-72. 66. Ibid., pp.248-50,258,269-72. 2 Churchill's Metanarrative: Messages and Leadership 19 Churchill 's grand world view encompassed what he believed was the whole of the knowable past in conceiving of history as purposeful in that it was leading toward human enlightenment and world unity. A t the forefront of this great tidal wave of human development was the British nation and empire, a force for good in the world that possessed a divine mission to lead humanity out of darkness and chaos. Churchill saw himself as a born leader for this greatest of nations because he knew best how to protect its interests and keep the world moving along the proper historical path. It was a world view fashioned in his Victorian youth and doggedly retained, with one major alteration, until his death at the age of 90. Churchill 's passion for preserving the empire did not blind him to its mounting structural weaknesses by the early 20 t h century, and he became alarmed by the deterioration in Britain's strength following the first world war. Consequently, he revised his imperial world view in the interwar era to incorporate the idea of unity among all English-speaking peoples in the world under British guidance as the great hegemonic force of the future. He envisaged an Anglo-American 'special relationship' that would ensure world domination of the English-speaking peoples, whose combined powers would be put to benevolent use in lifting humanity from its misery by securing international peace and stability. There was a darker side to this world view, though, which was premised on notions of a world divided between the forces of enlightenment and evil . It was Churchill 's conviction that repeated failures of Britain's political elites to follow the right course in past epochs were responsible for recurring outbreaks of calamity and war that periodically threatened to undermine national power. Thus, he felt it his duty to lead the country, and to teach future generations the lessons of statesmanship through his writing. Imperialism and Democracy A s a young man at the turn of the century, Churchill was thoroughly imbued with the prevailing ethos of Victorian imperial grandeur. His nation was still the world's greatest power, with large swaths of Africa and Asia under British dominion, though in Europe it was being challenged by newly industrializing powers. In the Western hemisphere, Britain's navy and commercial enterprises dominated trade, as they had for most of the 19 t h century, though America was beginning to flex its economic and political muscle in the region. When Churchill died sixty-five years later, his beloved empire was at an end, its remnants transformed into a loose association 20 of independent Commonwealth nations averse to any form of direct control from London. America had become a global superpower, with Britain a very junior partner in the fight against world communism. British national identity, so long tied to its imperial heritage, had become unhinged, fragmenting into conflicting forms that undermined its very existence. Churchill 's life-long ambition had been to prevent such an eventuality by bolstering the foundations of empire, not because he held deeply thought out views on the meaning of imperialism, but rather because he considered it necessary for his nation to be a great world power. In the first half of the 20 t h century, Churchill 's passionate and articulate defense of imperial greatness in books and speeches constituted a vain attempt to arrest long-term national decline.1 His doggedness was based on an abiding faith that history was on his side, with the trend of millennia moving toward a gradual coalescing of power into larger and larger aggregates, culminating in an all-conquering empire of English-speaking peoples. Such ideas were at the heart of Churchill 's metanarrative on war, making him the most powerful carrier of the imperial ethos among Britain's ruling elite. It was an ethos that perceived history as a continuous evolution of democratic freedoms and liberalism originating in Saxon times and surviving into the modern era, where it was carried to the rest of the world through British imperialism. 2 Thus, Churchill viewed the imperial tradition as liberating rather than confining or oppressively hegemonic; Britain was on the side of morality and justice in pursuing its national self-interests.3 Such historical assumptions of British identity and mission were class-based in considering patricians natural rulers and guardians of the institutions of empire and democratic government.4 Churchill absorbed this perspective in his youth during the reign of Queen Victoria, when it was commonplace, and retained it long after the second world war, when it was obsolescent.5 His imperial memory spanned a thousand years of history in which a heroic island nation repeatedly rallied behind a single great leader to defeat tyranny on the continent of Europe. From an early age, he believed that it was his destiny to be such a leader who would rise to the occasion in a great crisis to preserve Britain's greatness and power. 6 According to Wi l l i am M c N e i l l , more than "nationalistic self-flattery or contemptible error" was at work in Churchill 's reiteration of a historic British mission in wartime. Nations with an inherited tradition of resisting enemies successfully are more likely to act heroically in future crises than nations lacking such a tradition.7 Churchill was intensely proud of an imperial history imbued with a sense of courage and invincibility against superior foes, and he sought at every opportunity to instill in his countrymen pride in this tradition. His historical discourse with the British people 21 clothed imperial ambition in a moralistic rhetoric that sought to ensure public acceptance of colonial stewardship as "wise, enlightened and humane."8 He feared that the British national character, based on hard wi l l and realism during its Victorian heyday, was becoming soft and pacifist under the influence of socialist idealism in the 20 t h century.9 From his days as a young subaltern in the British army, it became his ambition to halt or reverse this apparently dangerous moral decay. When asked in later years what was the most impressive sight he had ever seen, Churchill declared "without a doubt, the advance of the Dervishes at the Battle of Omdurman." He considered the battle to have been "the last link in the long chain of those spectacular conflicts whose vivid and majestic splendour has done so much to invest war with glamour." 1 0 Such comments reflected a powerful self-image once prevalent within British political culture whose roots were in the "Disraelian spirit" of mid-Victorian Britain, when ruling elites were inculcated with martial values stemming from heroic struggles against foreign tyranny. The global conflict against Napoleon two generations earlier was part of a long and glorious record of English resistance to continental hegemony from hostile powers. However, the rise of social imperialism and mass politics in the late 19 t h century precipitated a new domestic danger that threatened to undermine the established order, prompting political elites to perceive foreign adventurism as an alternative focus for home-grown dissent and unrest." Churchill praised the Victorians for having taught children to appreciate "the greatness of our Empire and of our duty to preserve it. . . ." 1 2 He also paid tribute to one of the era's pre-eminent imperialists: "Joseph Chamberlain's greatest achievement that lofted him into the highest sphere for posterity was his ability to use Imperialist reform policy to revive the Tory party and make the world-spread peoples of the British Empire realise they were one." 1 3 Churchill saw himself following in this pedagogical tradition of educating Englishmen to the virtues of empire. Before the carnage of the first world war, his views on imperial wars were not unlike his contemporaries who treated it as sport, a test of manliness, honor, and courage, with combat an altruistic act on behalf of the nation. 1 4 In My Early Life he recalled his experiences as a subaltern at Sandhurst during the 1890s when only colonial "brush fires" interrupted the Victorian peace: It did seem such a pity that it [military training] all had to be make-believe, and that the age of wars between civilized nations had come to an end forever. If it had only been 100 years earlier what splendid times we should have had. Fancy being nineteen in 1793 with more than twenty years of war against Napoleon in front of one!...Luckily, however, there were still savages and barbarous peoples.15 22 Though many of his comrades died in the frontier wars of India and Sudan, he considered it "all very exciting, and for those who did not get kil led or hurt, very jo l ly . " Sti l l , he thought colonial wars a poor substitute for great power conflicts, and he "longed to have a similar store of memories to unpack and display, i f necessary repeatedly, to a sympathetic audience!" 1 6 A s a young soldier, Churchill was contemptuous of civilians "hurrying to and fro engrossed upon their petty personal interests, oblivious and indifferent to the larger issues of human government." He doubted that such weak products of democracy could retain the vast provinces and domains "gained by centuries of aristocratic and oligarchic rule." His romanticism brought tears over British acts of heroism in war, but also to fear for the future of empire. 1 7 He thought that conflict and the lust to k i l l were fundamental to man's nature, and that all other institutions and events were subordinate to war in the shaping of humanity. It was the robust willingness of Englishmen to wage war that had allowed them to carve out the greatest empire in history. 1 8 During the Boer war, he thrilled to the experience of a "real war" in a conflict pitting white against white. Churchill urged Britons to defend the empire by organizing a mass army, believing that the cost in blood and money was well worth it. When the response was less than expected, he chided his countrymen: "Are the gentlemen of England all fox-hunting? Why not an English Light Horse [regiment]? For the sake of our manhood, our devoted colonists, and our dead soldiers, we must persevere with the war." 1 9 The savagery of the Boer conflict, with its guerilla warfare, village burning, and concentration camps did not lessen Churchill 's fascination with war. Only when mechanized slaughter in 1914-18 strained Britain's imperial resources to the maximum did he begin to question the efficacy of modern war to advance national interests. Nonetheless, his faith in empire remained firm, and he was greatly disappointed to find that his countrymen did not prove equally faithful to its cause in the interwar years, or that Americans lacked appreciation for its value as a progressive institution. In My Early Life, he reflected: "I was a child of the Victorian era, when the structures of our country seemed firmly set, when its position in trade and on the seas was unrivaled....In those days the dominant forces in Great Britain were very sure of themselves and of their doctrine." That self-assuredness and faith in empire were strongly in evidence during his maiden political speech in July 1897: The [Primrose] League has indeed set itself many hard tasks in the past fifteen years. It has been teaching the people of Great Britain the splendour of their Empire....But more remains to be done. We must carry out the work of popularizing those institutions which have made this country what it is, and by which we alone can maintain our proud position. (Cheers)20 23 In his first historical work, The Malakand Field Force (1897), Churchill justified Britain's imperial rule over the vast Indian sub-continent as due to "the influence of that mysterious Power, which directing the progress of our species, and regulating the rise and fall of empires, has found a needed opportunity for a people, of whom at least it may be said that they have added to the happiness, the learning and the liberties of mankind." 2 1 His widely acclaimed study of The River War (1898), recounting Britain's re-conquest of the Sudan, professed supreme confidence in the regenerative qualities of imperial democracy. Churchill depicted life as a Homeric struggle between the forces of enlightenment and barbarism; always lurking in the background of life were evil and chaos waiting to prey upon a civilization that had lost its vigilance, self-confidence, or willpower. 2 2 Churchill 's personal manifesto at the outset of his political career called for a firm and unrelenting grip upon non-white colonial populations who were unsuited to democratic rule. He advocated "Peace and Power abroad - Prosperity and Progress at home" through a revitalized imperialism that would assert its moral authority to win the hearts and minds of subject peoples. If they resisted, as later occurred in South Africa and Ireland, political authorities should not hesitate to use military force for preserving imperial hegemony, but that magnanimity ought to prevail after the rebels had been thoroughly vanquished. 2 3 Though such views found a natural home in the Conservative Party, his political opportunism led to a falling out with Tory hardliners in November 1903, when he opposed increased spending on the army: "The strength and splendour of our authority is derived not from physical forces, but from moral ascendancy, liberty, justice, English tolerance, and English honesty." 2 4 After crossing the floor of the House of Commons to become a Liberal in 1904, Churchill became a vigorous advocate of Liberalism as a policy of social reform to ameliorate the worst hardships of workers while keeping them loyal to the imperial system and away from radical socialists. Thus, his rhetoric about the "glory and lustre" of the British empire continued to flow freely during his years as a Liberal social reformer. 2 5 Churchill believed that the British empire was a monument as great as that of Cologne cathedral, both of which took centuries to build. When constructed, these monuments served to "excite and evoke the inspiration and imagination" of all who beheld them: "This is the kind of work upon which we are engaged: Let us remember that the British empire is a far larger fabric than any that was ever planned by a man." 2 6 He lauded all the selfless Britons who had gone into the imperial system to protect natives from exploiters and speculators. But in order to preserve the gains that had been made, Britain needed to effect social reforms at home to produce more hearty members of an 24 "Imperial race" capable of shouldering the burdens of a great empire. Churchill appreciated that the era of British preeminence that followed the defeat of Napoleon a century earlier was nearing an end. The empire faced new daunting challenges in the century ahead, which he couched in terms of a stark choice between "melancholy disaster" or "the not unreasonable hope" of rejuvenation. 2 7 Churchill 's main innovative idea on empire was to propose a federated imperial system that would appease the grievances of disaffected white Boers and Irishmen by granting them limited political autonomy. He noted that "the two most formidable and powerful and progressive Powers of the modern world, the United States of America and the Empire of Germany, conduct their business and carry on their development through a gigantic system of federated states and subordinate legislatures." Thus, he called on Tories to end their obstructionism and work with Liberals in effecting the necessary structural changes to the empire: "We live in a world of unceasing change. The spirit of decay pervades all human arrangements. N o race, no empire, no institution can repose for any length of time on past virtues or past achievements. Unless we renew our strength continually...we cannot hope to preserve indefinitely our happy and prosperous situation." When world war erupted in August 1914, Churchill 's worst fears about Britain's institutions and way of life under siege from the forces of barbarism and tyranny appeared to be confirmed. 2 8 A s First Lord of the Admiralty, he poured his abundant energies into fighting the war, oblivious of his many political enemies who despised his opportunism. They were quick to capitalize on a series of military blunders that were not of his making, but which he greatly exacerbated by his restlessness impatience for action and adventurism in pushing ahead the ill-fated Gall ipol i landings, leading to his removal from office. Despite the carnage and futility of trench fighting in Europe, Churchill retained faith in the necessity of war as an essential part of life and human advancement. In his memoir on the first world war, he reflected simultaneously on the horrors of modern warfare and the courageous sense of duty engendered by i t . 2 9 War, which used to be "cruel and magnificent," in the democratic and scientific age had become "cruel and squalid." 3 0 But this somber verdict did not diminish his respect for the achievements of British forces, "inspired by love of country and human freedom," which grudged no sacrifice in the fight against tyranny. Conscious of their "race," British soldiers did their duty by throwing themselves at the enemy with honor and valor: "Unconquerable except by death, which they had conquered, they have set up a monument of native virtue which w i l l command the wonder, the reverence and the gratitude of our island people as long as we endure as a nation among 25 men." 3 1 The many acts of heroism by Britons during the bloodiest conflict known to man raised their moral claim to empire to its highest position in their nation's history, he insisted. 3 2 The horror of the first world war did not cause Churchill to lose confidence in war as a rational instrument of national policy, asserting that there were worse things than bloodshed, even on an immense scale. A n eclipse of the central imperial authority would be a far worse calamity, he felt. It was an eventuality he feared, since the British people habitually cast away hard-won victories by sliding into pacifism immediately after a danger had abated.3 3 Unl ike most other politicians, Churchill delighted in the challenges and adversities of war, convinced that only through repeated baptisms of fire could an "imperial race" remain strong and united. He found the prospect of war "the key to future delights,"assuming that through it all the empire would be sustained, an idea that showed little appreciation for economic forces undermining Britain's war-making abilities in the 20 t h century. 3 4 He and the Colonial Office thought alike in the early 1920s, expecting the empire to pay for itself, which seemed only fitting since colonial rule was a benevolent system that brought enlightenment and peace to savage peoples: "The Empire...has been given to us as a means to that great end for which Christ came into the world, the redemption of the human race." 3 5 When the cost of maintaining imperial possessions became prohibitive after Wor ld War I, Churchill optimistically assumed that the mystical ties of blood and language between Britons and Americans could be strengthened for the purpose of reviving the sagging fortunes of empire. 3 6 In the interwar era, Churchill combined the views of a realist, romantic and idealist in perceiving the British empire as the most vital link in Europe's balance of power, by which peace and world order was maintained. 3 7 He was convinced that it would never fight a war to upset that balance, and since the League of Nations was also an instrument for preserving order, Britain's imperial interests were considered to be in harmony with international law: "The fortunes of the British Empire and its glory are inseparably interwoven with the fortunes of the world. We rise or we fall together."38 However, in contrast to the progressive internationalism of Wilsonian liberalism, Churchill 's conservative internationalism saw the League as complementing, not supplanting, the British empire and Commonwealth. 3 9 While he defended the League against its many detractors in Britain, he never intended it to play a central role in foreign affairs. Rather, his strategy after the rise of Hitler to power was to solicit support from pro-League forces in Britain for his agenda of strengthening the empire through rearmament.40 In most other instances, he kept the pacifist-minded League of Nations Union at arms length throughout the 1930s.4 1 26 Churchill was greatly disillusioned by the mounting nationalist challenges to British imperial control in the interwar era. His solution was to utilize the air force for bombing rebellious villagers in remote areas while shoring up imperial power by forging tighter bonds between the Anglo-Saxon peoples: ' " H o w was it,' the historians of the future w i l l ask, 'that these vast, fairly intelligent, educated, and on the whole virtuous communities were so helpless and futile as to allow themselves to become the victims of their processes, and of what most abhorred them?' The answer w i l l be, 'They had no plan. '" 4 2 Churchill decried the "inertia and negativism" of the British people after 1918 that caused many of them to doubt their national mission and question the purpose of empire. 4 3 Nonetheless, his interwar policies were far from consistent, as he largely ignored the empire except for occasional rhetorical outbursts reminiscent of Gibbon or Macaulay that struck many of his contemporaries as out of place in the bleak, deflationary, and disillusioned 1920s. 4 4 A t the same time, he opposed imperial reforms that would have given preferential tariffs to the Dominions and stabilized relations with India. 4 5 A s Chancellor of the Exchequer, he was the darling of those seeking imperial retrenchment through defense spending cuts. Only the air force was expanded, as an inexpensive terror weapon for imperial control. 4 6 In the 1930s, Churchill immersed himself in writing an epic history of ancestor heroes and empire builders. 4 7 In his four-volume work on the life of Marlborough, he noted that after defeating Louis X I V in 1699, Europe's "Grand All iance" tragically fell apart when the people of England began clamoring for disarmament and greater freedoms: In fact, it has been an invariable rule that England, so steadfast in war, so indomitable in peril, should at the moment when the dire pressures are relaxed and victory has been won cast away its fruits. Having made every sacrifice, having performed prodigies of strength and valour, our countrymen under every franchise or party have always fallen upon the ground in weakness and futility when a very little more perseverance would have made them supreme, or at least secure.48 Churchill blamed weak leadership for such lapses, though in the 1930s he too was slow to appreciate the new threat to British security from air power and fascist dictatorships. 4 9 While he urged greater armaments to protect British power and prestige after 1933, the public would only accept increased arms expenditures for a higher moral cause, prompting him to couple rearmament policy with a plea for collective security. He expected Britons to faithfully support traditional imperial values and interests, but he offered few tangible benefits in return.5 0 Churchill considered the decision to grant Indians self-rule evidence of the nation's declining moral courage. His inflammatory rhetoric decried 27 "the greatest ev i l " brought upon the peoples of India and Great Britain. India was a source of imperial power whose loss he feared would reduce Britain to the status of a minor nation. Refusing to accept India as an evolving and sophisticated polity, he viewed it as a geographical abstraction of intense racial and religious rivalries that would collapse into tribal conflict i f left to its own devices: 5 1 The rescue of India from ages of barbarism, tyranny and internecine war, and its slow but ceaseless forward march to civilisation constitutes upon the whole the finest achievement of our history. This work has been done in four or five generations by the willing sacrifices of the best of our race....Science, healing or creative, has been harnessed to the service of this immense and, by themselves, helpless population.52 Churchill maintained that Dominion status for India would enfeeble Britain and make defense of the empire east of Suez virtually impossible. 5 3 Unlike many of his contemporaries who saw the empire as a burden that weakened Britain's ability to protect its vital interests in Europe, Churchill saw it as fundamental to national security and international order. 5 4 On the eve of war, he fervently believed that i f the British people were to save civilization from tyranny they must regain the moral courage of their great imperialist forefathers.55 Unifying the English-speaking Peoples In the same decade that Churchill came of age, Anglo-American relations underwent a sea change from the prior century-long rivalry and belligerency to an era of growing friendship and entente. In the 1890s, a series of treaty negotiations between Britain and the U S over territorial and trading rights in the Western hemisphere eased economic and political tensions that had nearly instigated war on several occasions. Germany's dramatic rise to power in the late 19 t h century after the Franco-Prussian war caused British leaders to perceive a new threat to national security, particularly after Kaiser Wilhelm removed the moderating influence of Chancellor Bismarck and initiated a massive naval arms race. British leaders immediately realized the mortal danger from Germany's emergent blue-water navy, leading to a calculated decision to appease U S interests in North and South America, and acceptance of an open-door policy for trade in East Asia . Befriending the U S enabled Britain to concentrate its fleet in home waters where it could more effectively meet a German challenge and protect the vital economic lifeline to North America . 5 6 Churchill 's American heritage on his mother's side prompted a keen interest in U S history 28 and its development as a world power. At the same time that he was absorbing Victorian notions of Britain's divinely inspired imperial mission, he came to appreciate American aspirations of manifest destiny and trans-Pacific expansionism. A s a journalist observing the Cuban rebellion against Spain in 1896, Churchill thrilled to U S intervention: "America can give the Cubans peace...and perhaps prosperity then wi l l return. American annexation is what we must all urge, but possibly we shall not have to urge very long." He welcomed American power on the international stage, largely because he saw it as complementing - rather than challenging - British imperial interests.5 7 He was not alone in perceiving Anglo-American rapprochement as a useful device for strengthening the empire. British elites in the early 20 t h century entertained romantic views of America that were an expanded version of social Darwinian concepts of Anglo-Saxon "racial" superiority. They continued to perceive the U S as a land populated by predominantly white descendants of "British stock" with similar political values, cultural traditions, and national aspirations, even though by 1900 only one third of the population actually derived from British ancestry. Immigrants from southern and eastern Europe pouring into America after the 1880s had dramatically altered the social mix from earlier times. 5 8 Ties between the two countries grew warmer when the U S also began to view Germany's industrial power and aggressive imperial policy as a threat to its hegemony in the Caribbean, prompting Washington to welcome the British navy as a friend for the first time. In 1906, Alfred Mahan, author of The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, urged President Teddy Roosevelt to accept the British empire as based "substantially on the same lines of world policy as ourselves; that its strength w i l l be our strength, and the weakening of it injury to us." Mahan's ideas on naval power and geopolitics profoundly influenced political culture in both countries, and his book was avidly read by a young Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt. 5 9 When Churchill entered politics early in the new century he was already an advocate of Anglo-American friendship. Four years later, he joined the Liberal Party over the issue of free trade, criticizing the "wanton folly" of his former Tory colleagues who vehemently opposed it: "The union of the Anglo-Saxon race is a great ideal, and i f ever it is to be achieved it w i l l be by increasing and not diminishing the friendly intercourse of trade between this country and the United States."60 Churchill believed America was a bastion of Anglo-Saxon virtue and power that should be harnessed by British leaders to bolster imperial power and more effectively confront the German challenge. B y the early 20 t h century, the German and U S economies were surging forward, while Russia was beginning to fulfill de 29 Tocqueville's prediction of a nascent superpower, all of which left Britain vulnerable and in need of allies. 6 1 A t the same time, Britain was beset by a more immediate problem in the form of Irish sectarianism that threatened to provoke civi l war. In promoting Irish Home Rule, Churchill saw an opportunity to ease tensions in Ireland while using constitutional reform to stimulate greater English-speaking unity in the colonies, and in America where a large Irish expatriate population was fomenting anti-British sentiment. Speaking in Unionist Belfast in 1912, Churchill urged the formation of a federalist imperial system as the best solution for quelling Irish-Catholic secessionism: "Great as are the difficulties which...stand in the way of a federation of the Empire, those difficulties would be sensibly diminished by a reconciliation between Great Britain and Ireland, and, far wider even than the unity of the British Empire, the great dream could be dreamed of good relations and ultimate unity with the English-speaking peoples all over the world." Six months later, Churchill appealed for English-speaking unity in a speech on naval preparedness, contending that it would facilitate mutual defense against aggressor powers. Optimistically, he asserted that a political union was already well on the road to consummation. 6 2 Churchill 's romanticism toward America was largely based on faulty historical assumptions, distorting emotions, and a poor understanding of the U S constitution, rather than on close social and political analysis. Nonetheless, after the outbreak of war in 1914 he became convinced that American power could prove decisive to the outcome.6 3 In his memoir after the war, he asserted that only a handful of British vessels separated the world from Teutonic hegemony. If they had been lost, potentially in a single naval engagement lasting an afternoon, there would only be left "far off across the Atlantic unarmed, unready, and as yet uninstructed America to maintain, singlehandedly, law and freedom among men." 6 4 In the first three years of war, Churchill claimed that a great wealth of kinship and goodwill by Americans toward the allied cause overwhelmed all legal disputes over international rights of neutral nations to trade with belligerents. Though U S demands for freedom of the seas clashed sharply with Britain's naval embargo against central Europe, Churchill later lauded the wise leaders in Washington and London who had "guarded the English-speaking world and its destiny from measureless injury." 6 5 America's entry into the war in 1917 revealed the "splendour of American manhood" marching together with their fellow Englishmen in Europe, proof of the reconciliation of two Christian civilizations who were united in a "great struggle against Teutonic and scientific barbarism." For the first time since America's independence, the two nations 30 were united militarily in a common cause against tyranny. Churchill 's views on America were widely reported in the U S press during the war, greatly contributing to his growing popularity there.6 6 He believed it a development of epochal proportions that British and American troops were fighting side by side as "the two great branches of English-speaking peoples began again to write their history in common." 6 7 Americans, though, had stayed out of the war until Britain and France were near exhaustion from three years of unprecedented bloodletting, a fact that caused much resentment among other British leaders but which Churchill brushed aside in his effort to solidify the bonds of friendship. His optimism, though, was not always reciprocated. After the war, President Wilson expressed such intense moralistic hostility to British imperialism that many British politicians became suspicious of U S motives. While Churchill in public lauded American friendship, in private he was embittered by Wilson's refusal to cancel allied war debts, complaining about the President's "selfish and extortionate policy." When British and U S delegates at Versailles fought over the peace treaty, Churchil l despaired: " I f we fall apart all that we have achieved w i l l collapse in ruin to the ground." After America retreated into isolationism, undermining the future viability of the League of Nations, Churchill warned that the U S "cannot leave that continent [Europe] in a welter of anarchy," or it would bode i l l for the stability of the postwar world order. 6 8 A t the same time, he refused to accept the fact that New York had replaced London as the financial capital of the world, maintaining that America was treating its allies as vassals on account of the unpaid war debt. In 1923, at the Washington Naval Conference, Churchill became further angered by U S assertions of naval parity with Britain, telling colleagues that the "Americans are arrogant, fundamentally hostile to us, and...wish to dominate world politics... ." 6 9 A t the same time, he noted that U S demands to abrogate the Anglo-Japanese alliance "only shows how little advantage is to be gained by making such efforts to conciliate American opinion. Whatever may have been done at enormous cost and sacrifice to keep up friendship is apparently swept away by the smallest tiff or misunderstanding, and you have to start again and placate the Americans by another batch of substantial or even vital concessions." 7 0 In the interwar era, Churchill sought to counteract American isolationism by suggesting that their nations had a mutual interest in working for peace and stability. He conducted a speaking tour of the U S and Canada in 1929, garnering much attention i f not active support from Americans for his views. Hitler 's rise to power in 1933 caused Churchill to renew appeals for Anglo-American 31 cooperation. After Germany's re-occupation of the Rhineland in March 1936, he urged the creation of a grand alliance involving the U S , Britain, and France to prevent another war. Though Prime Minister Baldwin agreed that U S cooperation was a high priority, his most powerful Cabinet colleague Neville Chamberlain was contemptuous of American politicians for talking big but doing little. 7 1 A s an isolated backbencher throughout the 1930s, Churchill could do little more than utter hopeful rhetoric about the warmth of Anglo-American relations and their mutual dislike of totalitarianism: "I declare my belief that a major war is not imminent, and I still believe there is a good chance of no major war taking place again in our time," he said during an appeal in 1938 for the English-speaking peoples to unite in resisting German expansionism. 7 2 After the Anschluss of Austria, Churchill expressed his concern that the English-speaking nations were shirking their collective duty to protect humanity from chaos and ruin. He lamented this neglect of international responsibilities in allowing tyranny to rise again in Europe. Churchill argued that i f the U S supported France and Britain against Germany there would be no risk of war, ignoring the fact that American public opinion prior to November 1938 was sympathetic to revision of the Versailles peace settlement. In fact, U S presidents from Harding to Roosevelt had maintained that Germany was Europe's industrial heartland whose economic and political rehabilitation was vital to the region's prosperity and stability. The advent of the Third Reich did not substantially alter that viewpoint. In 1936, F D R blithely claimed that the Rhineland occupation helped to dispel the "dark clouds of Versailles." Though he had no illusions about Hitler 's lawlessness, he respected German culture and its desire for an enhanced international presence. Conversely, he disdained Britain's upper classes and the "Bank of England crowd," complaining that they "took eighty percent of every deal." Feelings in the City were mutual; when Roosevelt proposed a summit in early 1938 to draft international codes for arms reduction and trade enhancement, the idea was peremptorily dismissed in London as preposterous.73 The rebuff meant that during the ensuing Czech crisis Roosevelt remained politically inactive, privately favoring appeasement of German demands while warning European leaders that the U S would not join an anti-Hitler front under any circumstances. The U S ambassador to Britain, the ardent appeaser J. Kennedy, spoke openly of giving Germany a free hand in the east, though Roosevelt later rebuked him for such talk. Following the Munich Pact, Churchil l broadcast to the U S : "We are left in no doubt where American conviction and sympathies lie; but wi l l you wait until British freedom and independence have succumbed, and then take up the cause, when it is three-32 quarters ruined, yourselves alone?" 7 4 Even after Hitler's takeover of Prague in March 1939, American leaders continued to support appeasement policies in Europe. Roosevelt's most trusted State Department advisor remained the Anglophobic Adolph Berle, whose strongly isolationist views on foreign policy prevailed until August 1940 before he was replaced by Cordell H u l l . 7 5 Despite Churchill 's inspiring rhetoric, America figured little in his calculations of world affairs prior to the start of World War II. Only after the war did he claim that F D R ' s overtures in 1938 were the last slim chance of stopping Hitler by drawing America into European affairs before its hates and fears spilled over into bloodshed: That M r . Chamberlain, with his limited outlook and inexperience o f the European scene, should have possessed the self-sufficiency to wave away the proffered hand stretched out across the Atlantic leaves one, even at this date, breathless with amazement....One cannot to-day even reconstruct the state o f mind which would render such gestures possible. 7 6 The retreat into isolationism by the U S was not reversed even with the outbreak of war in September 1939. American officials remained decidedly cool toward the dilemma of Europe's democracies, and for the first seven months of the war F D R did not even bother to respond to Churchill 's telegrams.7 7 Meanwhile, Ambassador Kennedy informed the President that the prevailing mood in Britain was strongly defeatist, with an effete and decadent ruling class showing little desire to prosecute the war, a view shared by many Americans. Churchill sought to counteract Kennedy's corrosive ideas by proclaiming in direct radio broadcasts to the American people that the British were resolved to die rather than surrender to Nazism: "It wi l l then be for you, the Americans, to preserve and to maintain the great heritage of the English-speaking peoples...." Despite a policy of strict neutrality by the U S in the first year of war, Churchill was convinced that eventually they would unite with Britain to stop Hitler and restore world order. 7 8 Appeasement and Political Praxis Churchill 's influence on British political culture in the 20 t h century produced starkly contrasting impressions of the man and his policies. He has been perceived as a genius and prophet who heroically rose to prominence in a crisis to save the world for democracy, and decried as a reckless adventurer, warmonger, and would-be dictator who was dangerous to British democracy. Prior to the second world war, most of his contemporaries, whether Tory, Liberal, or socialist agreed with the latter perspective. They disparaged Churchill as a rank opportunist whose bold and restless 33 nature propelled him to dangerous adventurism. As one pundit in the mid-1920s noted: "He obeys no one, fears no one, reveres no one. He is his own superman and is so absorbed in himself and in his own fiery purposes that he does not pay others the compliment even of being aware of them." 7 9 Liberals and Tories saw him as lacking in wisdom or judgement, while socialists despised him as a reactionary who never even attempted to understand the social and economic issues plaguing the working classes. His frequent calls to revitalize Britain's political system were widely interpreted as masking a hidden desire for dictatorship. 8 0 Ironically, it was his very audacity and egotism that enabled him during the second world war to radically reverse his negative image. Perhaps it is best to view Churchill 's political philosophy as a hybrid of 19 t h century liberalism and conservatism, since he was clearly not ideologically dogmatic. In this sense, he resembles the mid-19th century views of the philosopher L S . M i l l , who defended political democracy but recoiled from radicalism in his later writing, warning against the "tyranny of universal suffrage."81 When Churchill began his political career in 1900, he pledged to faithfully support the cause of his father's Tory democracy, which sought to combine conservative values with amelioration of the worst social abuses. Yet Churchill always viewed himself to be above party orthodoxy, his only permanent allegiances being to the monarchy, empire, and personal ambition. 8 2 Consequently, over the course of a long career, the major political themes animating his speeches changed constantly as he tacked for political advantage. A s his first major biographer R.R. James notes, these twists and turns undoubtedly enhanced the longevity of his life in politics, but they also gave it an "unimpressive looseness."8 3 Churchill 's political inconsistencies can be viewed in terms of tactical maneuvering to ensure his continued proximity to the levers of political power, but at the same time, he held firmly to faith in the empire, Parliament, and the monarchy. He would hot compromise politically when he felt that these institutions were threatened, which explains his die-hard stance on India in the 1930s and his defense of K i n g Edward in 1936, even though such actions badly undermined his political standing. His bold adventurism and naked ambition for power, so different from customary British pragmatism and selflessness, led him to make tactical judgements about partisan politics that deeply angered and alienated virtually every major political group in Britain before the second world war. Churchill 's sheer brilliance at public speaking often worked against him because the power and pyrotechnics of his oratory in defending or advancing political causes roused the venom of political opponents that exceeded and outlived their disenchantment with the issues in question. 34 Churchill was already famous for his daring and cunning even before entering Parliament in 1900. Months earlier, he had stunned Britain and the world with a daring escape from Pretoria, where he was being held captive by Boer rebels fighting against British control. His colorful story of the adventure drew huge crowds wherever he spoke, and served to launch him on his political career. A s a freshman Member of Parliament, Churchill immodestly lectured Tory leaders on the need to improve working class living standards by a policy of moderate social reform. Only in this way, he asserted, could the "dried-up drain-pipe of Radicalism" be prevented from gaining enough political backing to achieve power for implementing their Utopian v is ion. 8 4 When Churchill noted a "shocking lack of cohesion" in Tory ranks, he prepared to jump ship. Fearing the Party's hold on power was slipping, putting in doubt his chances of gaining high office through Tory patronage, Churchill began a series of scathing attacks on the Party leadership that culminated in his decision to join the Liberals. Churchill used the opportunity of a debate on free trade reform in 1904 to burn his bridges in a speech that was jeered by fellow Conservatives. Soon after, secret negotiations with Liberal functionaries prompted him to cross the floor of the Commons to jo in a Liberal Party on the Verge of wresting political power from Arthur Balfour's Conservatives. 8 5 In 1905, Churchill asserted that free trade and self-government for white colonies were the only means by which a modern liberal democracy could reconcile its interests with the responsibility to create "loyal, prosperous, powerful, and profitable colonies." He was cognizant of lessons learned from the Boer war, where reconciliation with the rebels had been swift following Britain's decision to grant South African whites a large degree of political autonomy through self-government. Liberal leaders rewarded him with a Cabinet post as Secretary of Colonial Affairs following their election victory in January 1906. 8 6 The Tories, embittered by defeat and Churchill 's acerbic attacks on their policies, carried their fight against reforms into the House of Lords, using obstructionist tactics that precipitated a constitutional crisis. Despite the fact that he was from one of Britain's most venerable aristocratic families, Churchill immediately launched a sharp assault on the "effete oligarchy" of aristocrats that he alleged was the "laughing stock of Europe." It was evidence of the lengths to which he would go in order to curry favor from those who wielded political power. Churchill issued the sharpest rebuke among Liberals against upper class privilege exemplified by the House of Lords: "Posing as a chamber of review, remote from popular passion...it nevertheless exhibits a taste for cheap electioneering, a subservience to caucus direction and a party spirit upon a level with many of the least reputed elective Chambers in the world; and beneath the imposing mask of an assembly 35 of notables...we discern the leer of the artful dodger...."87 From this time onward, many Tories would view him with suspicion as a traitor to his class. Churchil l 's class warfare reached its peak in 1909 with his articulate defense of L loyd George's People's Budget while mocking Tories for their hostility toward i t . 8 8 Behind his radical rhetoric, however, lay the fundamentally conservative purpose of preserving the empire and the established political order by cautious appeasement of working class grievances: It is here in our midst, close at home, close at hand, in the vast growing cities o f England and Scotland, and in the dwindling and cramped villages of our denuded countryside. It is there you wi l l find the seeds of Imperial min and national decay. The awful gap between rich and poor - the want o f proper discipline and training in our young people...the absence o f any established minimum standard o f life and comfort among the workers, and at the other end, the swift increase o f vulgar, joyless luxury - here are the enemies o f Britain. Beware lest they shatter the foundations o f her power. 8 9 Churchill dismissed the Tory dominated House of Lords as a "lingering relic of the feudal order" that had long outlived its usefulness. The vehemence of his speeches against the aristocracy and Tories, though popular with his working class constituents, began to arouse disquiet among his own Liberal colleagues who thought it excessive demagoguery. 9 0 Churchill 's brashness spun him in dangerous new directions in 1911, when a crisis erupted over labor unrest in England and Wales. It soon brought him into conflict with left-wing Liberals and Labour supporters for his use of excessive violence in quelling the protests. After the K i n g declared that the situation in northern England appeared more like revolution than a strike, Churchill (now Home Secretary) ordered the military onto the streets to restore calm. A s a result, he was vigorously attacked by the left for overreacting and using bad judgment, while Tories seized on the opportunity to criticize him for being too slow to act.9 1 Shortly thereafter, Churchill was removed from the Home Office and put in charge of the Admiralty when German aggressiveness during the Agadir crisis of July 1911 revealed that the navy was not prepared for war. A bold hand at the helm was deemed necessary to put British defenses in order. Churchill eagerly poured his restless energies into the task of modernizing the navy, vigorously fighting against left-wing resistance to further increases to military spending. A t the Admiralty, Churchill again displayed a disconcerting quickness to contemplate military action in an ostensibly domestic dispute. With tensions in northern Ireland mounting over Home Rule, he hastily ordered a naval squadron to Ulster as a threat to Unionist rebels without first winning Cabinet approval. This time Tories were on the opposite 36 side of the intervention issue, vilifying the move as "the Ulster Pogrom." The naval action added to their grievances with Churchill, and a year later they exacted revenge by ensuring his downfall. 9 2 Before 1914, many Britons also felt that Churchill was deliberately acting belligerently in foreign affairs, inducing a war scare that was entirely out of proportion to the circumstances then prevailing. 9 3 Nonetheless, when war came the navy was ready, enabling Churchill to repair some of the damage caused by his Ulster action, but among Conservatives he was still intensely disliked, and his support with Liberals was not as firm as he believed. Thus, when he lost the confidence of his service advisors for rashly insisting on two amphibious operations, at Antwerp in 1914 and in the Dardanelles during 1915-16, both of which turned into disasters with considerable loss of life, Churchil l found himself "utterly and completely alone" in Parliament. His fall from power was swift, yet he appeared not to have seen it coming until the last moment. In November 1915, he was forced to resign from the Admiralty, and in deep despair took a battlefield commission in France. But unlike his father before him, whose career had come to a screeching halt after resigning from Salisbury's Cabinet on a dispute over naval spending, Churchill was much luckier at reviving his political fortunes. Many contemporaries thought they saw the same instability and unsound judgement in Churchill that had marked his father's meteoric career, making him an untrustworthy ally. Nonetheless, disenchantment with Asquith's leadership and the perceived need for desperate measures led to a new government under L l o y d George in December 1916. Catastrophes on the Western front and in the Mediterranean precipitated the accession to power of an energetic and unconventional politician to lead the country's war effort. Six months later, L loyd George appointed Churchill (another maverick who he hoped could energize the war effort) Munitions Minister despite vehement opposition from Tories in the coalition. 9 4 When the war ended a year later, Churchill was appointed Secretary of State for War in the new government. But almost immediately he alienated his working class constituents by vigorously supporting military intervention in Russia's c iv i l war. The Cabinet was uneasy about becoming embroiled in the war, and L l o y d George soon distanced himself from it entirely. Yet Churchill seemed oblivious to the thin ice he was on when he urged support for Russia's disparate anti-Bolshevik forces, whose chances of success he greatly exaggerated. He became completely absorbed in the Russian war, delivering vituperative speeches around England that demonized the Bolsheviks. In the four years after World War I, Churchill 's intense fear of communist revolution caused him to rapidly move far to the right, jettisoning Liberal ideas like excess baggage in favor 37 of waging a struggle against "socialist subversives." In the same breath as he attacked the "criminality and animalism" of the Bolshevik regime in Russia, he lambasted the growing political influence of Labour in Britain. Churchill decried as "misguided and degenerate" Labour supporters who defended the cause of the Bolsheviks. Fearing that Russia's revolutionaries might ally with domestic socialism to subvert the British political system, Churchill appealed for bi-partisanship between the established centrist and right-wing parties against the left. In July 1919, he declared: "We must advance together, hand in hand. We have not only got a common cause and a common danger, but we have also got leaders who by their action and the risks they have run for their opinions have proved themselves in full harmony with modern requirements." Six months later, having lost the intervention fight, he called on Liberals and Tories to unite behind a policy of confronting extremism at home and abroad. 9 5 In the 1920s, Churchill was appalled by the advent of a mass electorate that enabled Labour to gain control of the government for the first time. He bitterly complained that broadening the franchise had debased modern British society and made the electorate unmanageable. In his autobiography, he declared: "I must explain that in those days [before universal suffrage] we had a real political democracy led by a hierarchy of statesmen, and not a fluid mass distracted by newspapers." Churchill complained that the creation of a mass electorate had resulted in the "liquefaction of the entire British political system." 9 6 He decried the passing of an era when the upper classes controlled politics "as a matter of habit and duty," and Parliament was filled with men of commanding intellect and personality. It seemed to him "a very great world" in which to live: [A] few hundred great families who had governed England for so many generations and had seen her rise to the pinnacle of her glory, were interrelated to an enormous extent by marriage. Everywhere one met friends and kinsfolk. The leading figures of Society were in many cases the leading statesmen in Parliament....In those days the glittering parties at Lansdowne House, Devonshire House or Stafford House comprised all the elements which made a gay and splendid social circle in close relation to the business of Parliament, the hierarchies of the Army and Navy, and the policy of the State."97 It was a perspective that subsumed British history into the biography of his own family, articulating a sweeping nationalist narrative through the lens of familial experience. 9 8 His biographies of Lord Randolph Churchill and Marlborough displayed immense filial piety and ancestor worship, which of course helped to elevate his own standing as their successor. In both cases, he was motivated by a desire to vindicate their records of public service from detractors by glorifying them as great men 38 of vision and statesmanship: "Every prophet has to come from civilization, but every prophet has to go into the wilderness....He must serve periods of isolation and meditation. This is the process by which psychic dynamite is made." 9 9 Vindication and self-glorification became central objectives for Churchill after the first world war, especially since the shadow of suspicion regarding his unstable character and unsound judgment continued to haunt him. In The World Crisis he sought to redeem his role in the Gallipoli operation that had ended so badly, producing what Balfour described as Churchill 's case "disguised as a history of the universe." 1 0 0 Historian M . Weidhorn contends that Churchil l "distorted history to suit the imperious needs of his voracious ego, private myths and romantic dreams" in recounting his conduct during the war. 1 0 1 The humiliation of the Gall ipol i fiasco strongly reinforced a pathological need developed in childhood to win praise and attention from an indifferent father, a disposition acknowledged decades earlier when he recalled the positive reception to his first book: "The reader must remember I had never been praised before....Now here was the great world with its leading literary newspapers and vigilant erudite critics, writing whole columns of praise!" 1 0 2 In The World Crisis, he claimed that the terrible slaughter of World War I could have been avoided by his ingenious plan to turn the enemy's flank in the Balkans, but there were no allied leaders with the courage or imagination to take the bold action required to bring it to fruition. Churchill attributed the campaign's failure to great conviction and determination by Turkish leaders, and the lack of those qualities among British leaders, who "defrauded the attackers of the reward." 1 0 3 What Churchill did not mention in his memoir was the fact that his many shifts and turns in prewar politics, his adventurism and lust for action, had resulted in a reputation for unreliability that was increasingly difficult to overcome. 1 0 4 Despite his impressive personal qualities of pugnacity, boundless energy, wit, and imagination, by the 1920s most of his contemporaries thought he lacked an essential characteristic of effective political leadership: the ability to build a network of reliable allies. Almost all of his close political associates were erratic and distrusted men, to whom he remained fiercely loyal while expecting their sycophantic devotion in return. 1 0 5 It was this reputation more than his failure in the war that caused him to lose a succession of elections between 1922-24. Following Labour's rise to power in 1924, Churchill sought to rehabilitate himself with the Tories by warning that quarrels and jealousies of the two historical parties were playing into the hands of socialists. He accused Liberals of becoming the cat's paw of Labour, whose government under Ramsey MacDonald was "one vast monument of sham and humbug" that was deliberately and 39 wantonly corrupting the character of the British nation. Shortly before crossing the floor of the House of Commons for a second time, Churchill urged Liberals to abandon their flirtation with Labour and jo in the Tories to preserve British democracy. 1 0 6 A s a born-again Tory, Churchill urged his Party to seek working class support by using inflammatory anti-socialist rhetoric since the masses were allegedly more interested in watching a dog-fight than listening to a political lecture on party doctrine. 1 0 7 His paternalistic strategy for sustaining political authority by Britain's conservative elites was to brand socialism as anti-democratic whose leaders were unfit to rule, warning: "The Socialist party can only progress by destroying and devouring the Liberal party." 1 0 8 Churchill 's attacks on Liberals in the 1920s occurred just as the Party was slipping into terminal decline, and achieved a similar result as his anti-Tory diatribes two decades earlier, earning him the lasting enmity of his former Liberal colleagues. Nonetheless, it led to Tory leader Stanley Baldwin appointing him Chancellor of the Exchequer, marking yet another miraculous recovery of his political fortunes. 1 0 9 Despite his obvious fascination with war and weaponry, Churchill gladly adhered to Baldwin 's pacific views in order to ingratiate himself with the Tory leadership after decades of estrangement. A s a delegate to the Locarno conference in 1925, he supported arrangements to normalize relations with Germany, ignoring the fact that Britain's refusal to guarantee eastern Europe's borders signaled to German leaders that future revisions to the Versailles treaty were possible. A t the Treasury, he supported sharp reductions in military spending and opposed strengthening Singapore's defenses: "I do not think in our lifetime or in that of our children you are going to see an attempt by Japan to invade and colonise Australia by force." 1 1 0 A s Minister of War in 1928, he drastically curtailed the Army ' s Tank Corps, later claiming that he did not fully appreciated the revolutionary impact of fast moving mechanized armor in battle, an excuse contradicted by The World Crisis, where he had noted the tank's great potential for future wars. Prior to 1928, Britain had been a leader in tank design, but Churchill 's actions, premised on economic imperatives, caused the country to rapidly lose ground to Germany, where the lessons of tank warfare were studied closely. In addition, Churchill 's placing of the Ten-Year Rule on a daily basis eliminated yearly reviews of war prospects and had a debilitating effect on the military's ability to modernize its forces. 1 1 1 During the 1920s, Churchill became the most hated politician on the left for aggressively resisting the 1926 General Strike, running the virulently anti-union British Gazette. Churchill 's 40 combativeness made him a target of Labour accusations that he was hostile to a negotiated settlement. Churchill responded that "a general strike in a great number of trades...obviously means, i f it were continued for any length of time, the ruin of the country." He inflamed passions further by contending that the strike was "an enemy to be crushed" by the Conservative Party, which "is now the only organized force strong enough to defend the popular liberties of Britain and to defend them against new dangers which everyone can discern quite clearly." The danger alluded to was the presumed infiltration of Bolshevik influence into the Labour Party as part of an international conspiracy by leftist extremists. Consequently, he saw no middle ground on which the Tories could reach a compromise with Labour demands. His obsession with domestic subversion also caused him to misread the emerging fascist movements in Europe, which he initially thought were "rendering a service to the whole world" by providing a necessary antidote to the "Russian virus." In connecting foreign and domestic affairs in this way, Churchill called on Tories to wage class warfare against socialism to preserve the British empire, which "must become for all o f us, now and henceforward, the main and common purpose of political action and of public l i f e . " 1 1 2 In 1929, Labour's majority in the general election forced Churchill out of office and into a ten year long political wilderness. A t first he remained an active member of Baldwin's shadow cabinet, but his irascible personality and indelicate political posturing regarding imperial reform lost him the support of Tory leaders by early 1931. A l l of the major political parties favored granting some form of local self-rule to Indians. They were completely unreceptive to Churchill 's die-hard stance that inflated the rhetoric of doom to such an extent he was no longer taken seriously by most members of Parliament. For six years he waged an incessant battle against negotiating with Gandhi, who he decried as a "fanatic and an ascetic of the fakir type well known in the East." He warned of anarchy in India, mass unemployment, and even the prospect of large-scale starvation in Britain i f the reforms were implemented, arguments which only undermined his credibility and reaffirmed the worst opinions about his poor political judgement. 1 1 3 In the midst of Churchill 's attacks on imperial reform, foreign affairs began to occupy more of his attention when he sensed an opportunity to score political points against Labour's arms policy. In 1930, he expressed disenchantment over a naval disarmament treaty between Britain, the U S , and Japan, asserting that it represented the abandonment of parity for "a declaration that the British Empire accepts the position of a second Power at sea." Churchill was irrate that Britain would no longer maintain a fleet equal or superior to the next largest naval power in the world. With typical 41 hyperbole, he called it a very grave matter that Britain had been made more defenseless than at any other time since the reign of Charles II. A year later, Churchill issued a broadside against the entire policy of disarmament, arguing that Britain alone among European and Asian powers had cut its defenses on land, sea, and air to a point of insecurity. He contended that Britain's navy should immediately be rearmed to levels commensurate with national security. A t the same time, he called for closer military cooperation with the French before seeking to resolve German grievances: "I would say to those who would like to see Germany and France on an equal footing in.armaments: 'Do you wish for war? ' " 1 1 4 It was an about-face from his prior policies in Baldwin's government, which raised questions whether it was just another ploy to regain political influence. However, disarmament remained very popular with the British public. Churchill 's warnings of dire peril in foreign affairs were not taken seriously, particularly since they were rendered in conjunction with his greatly inflated rhetoric of doom over India. Thus, few people were listening closely when in November 1932 he made a prophetic speech on "mounting European dangers," warning that Hitler and Naz i militarism were a serious threat to peace. But at the same time, Churchill equivocated on offering a response to fascism by signaling support for the traditional British policy of avoiding continental entanglements. He believed the first duty of leadership was to ensure that " i f war should break out among other Powers, our country and the King ' s Dominions can be effectively defended, and wi l l be able to preserve...that strong and unassailable neutrality from which we must never be drawn except by the heart and conscience of the nation." 1 1 5 Churchill 's attempts to scare the British public into supporting faster paced rearmament by prophecies of doom from the air were based on fallacious extrapolations of Wor ld War I bomb damage. Unwittingly, his exaggerated rhetoric lent credence to pacifists and appeasers who argued that large-scale war in the modern age was unthinkable, the only viable alternative being the reconciliation of grievances through negotiation and compromise." 6 In 1934, Churchill warned that Britain's military defenses were stretched too thin: "The idea that we can intervene usefully in sustaining the peace of Europe while we ourselves are the most vulnerable of all , are the beggars in fact, is one which cannot be held firmly by any one man who looks at this in the faithful discharge of his duty." He accused British leaders of lacking moral courage in their efforts to chloroform public opinion by masking harsh realities about military unpreparedness and foreign dangers." 7 Though generally a poor judge of character, Churchill recognized with clarity that Hitler's ethos of violence, for a time expressed only in the domestic realm, made likely the extension of German 42 military force beyond its borders. Aware that rearmament was highly unpopular with the public, but disturbed by the rise of Hitler to supreme power in Germany, Churchill joined an appeal for greater military strength with a moral cause dear to the hearts of many Liberals and socialists: "I look to the League of Nations to rally the forces which make for the peace of the civilized world and not in any way to weaken them." Unti l May 1938, though, he mostly avoided contact with pro-League groups like Focus and the League of Nations Union, only belatedly joining their campaigns to uphold the Covenant with an appeal for security through arms and collective security." 8 Contrary to what he later claimed, Churchill did not unequivocally oppose the appeasement of German grievances during the Czech crisis. Rather, his main difference with British leaders until then was to advocate appeasement from a position of armed strength: "[T]he least risk and the greatest help wi l l be found in re-creating the Concert of Europe through the League of Nations, not for the purpose of fiercely quarreling and haggling about the details of disarmament, but in an attempt to address Germany collectively, so that there may be some redress of the grievances of the German nation...before this peril of German rearmament reaches a point which may endanger the peace of the wor ld . " " 9 Churchill genuinely hated Nazism's excesses, but he also admired Hitler's amazing success at revitalizing German economic fortunes and stimulating national pride. In 1935, he suggested that it was impossible to tell i f Hitler would go down in history as a destroyer of civilization or as the man who brought Germany back into the European family circle. Though Hitler's decision one year later to occupy the demilitarized Rhineland caused Churchill to decry it as an immense blow to the League of Nations, in the same speech he called Hitler a great leader "who has raised his country so high - and I honour him for that...." His respect for power caused him in 1937 to declare: "One may dislike Hitler's system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated I hope we should find a champion as indomitable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations." 1 2 0 A t the same time, he was determined that British power not slip to where it would be vulnerable to attack. Citing Germany's tremendous arms buildup, which he exaggerated, Churchill demanded that British leaders make air parity with other major powers their first priority. It would provide a deterrence against attack and enable a flexible diplomatic approach between continental commitments and splendid isolation: "We must be free. We must preserve our full latitude and discretion of choice....We could hold our own here and take what time we chose to make up our minds, and what time we required to raise the whole vast might of the British Empire." 1 2 1 43 Churchill 's attempt to present Britain's dilemma in the starkest terms, as a choice between abject humiliation and submission to the greater power or a glorious defense of British rights and liberties, caused his warnings to be dismissed as overwrought. Yet German air power did render the nation vulnerable as never before in its history, prompting Churchill to vigorously attack Prime Minister Baldwin for the "fiasco, ludicrous i f it was not so tragical" of Britain's foreign and defense policies. After 1935, he hit hard at Baldwin's alleged political incompetence for allowing Britain's defenses to fall into such a poor state of disrepair while doing nothing to marshal international support against the dictators: "The Government simply cannot make up their minds, or they cannot get the Prime Minister to make up his mind. So they go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent." Churchill 's speech before the League of Nations Union at Albert Hal l in December 1936 launched his public appeal for collective security through a grand alliance of League members. Only much later did he claim that it marked the culmination of a four-year long effort to join his appeal for rearmament with the Covenant. 1 2 2 After a long period of political isolation, he appeared at last to be gaining a large and receptive following of concerned citizens who transected party lines in their concern for the darkening pall over world affairs. But at this critical moment, Churchill made another error that cost him politically when he began a crusade to save K i n g Edward VIII from abdicating on account of the monarch's marriage to an American divorcee. Churchill 's credibility with leftists, who were beginning to gravitate to his idea of arms and the covenant, quickly evaporated. His support among fellow Conservatives was also shattered, especially after rumors that Churchill would be asked by Edward to form a government of friends to defend the King ' s marriage. Churchill 's close association with Lord Beaverbrook brought his campaign into further disrepute, since the press baron was known to be using the abdication crisis to intrigue against Baldwin. Tory M P Robert Boothby lamented that Churchill 's defense of the K i n g "has undone in five minutes the patient reconstruction work of two years." 1 2 3 Consequently, Churchill 's continued warnings about the German peril fell on deaf ears, or were dismissed as the ravings of an eccentric. Churchill 's quirky ideas about the nature of modern dictatorship raised more doubts about his character and judgement. On the one hand, he saw fascist rule as "the fetish worship of one man - a passing phase," yet at other times he appeared to offer an apologia for its existence: 44 Something may be said for dictatorships, in periods of change and storm; but in these cases the dictator rises in true relation to the whole moving throng of events. He rides the whirlwind because he is a part of it. He is the monstrous child of emergency. He may well possess the force and quality to dominate the minds of millions and sway the course of history. Churchill later claimed to have maintained strict neutrality regarding the c iv i l war in Spain, but in fact he disgusted the left by revealing strong support for Franco's fascist rebels while attacking the legitimately elected Republican government as the tool of international communism. 1 2 4 In March 1938, Europe was thrown into turmoil after a year of relative calm by Hitler's Anschluss of Austria. Nevil le Chamberlain, who had replaced Baldwin as Prime Minister in M a y 1937, was actively promoting appeasement of German grievances and did not feel that Hitler 's action warranted jeopardizing the larger goal of a general European settlement. Churchill was ever hopeful of a Cabinet post in the new administration and did not strongly oppose the decision to tacitly accept Hitler's fait accompli. He seemed at a loss regarding what approach to take, speaking in vague rhetorical flourishes of making Britain strong again but not clearly defining how its foreign policy might further that objective. Nonetheless, the Anschluss did cause Churchill to abandon his optimism about the prospect of peace in Europe. He modified his vague advocacy of collective security through the League of Nations into a concrete proposal for a grand alliance involving Britain, France, and the Soviet Union to counteract German expansionism. Only in this way, he felt, could war be averted after Hitler had deranged the balance of power in Europe. But Churchill lacked support in the House of Commons, and even dissenters in the Conservative Party shunned him on account of his proven unreliability and suspected opportunism. 1 2 5 Anti-appeasement sentiment remained a minority opinion in Britain, and public support for Chamberlain's agenda was still very strong as Europe slid into a prolonged Czech crisis culminating in the Munich accord of September 1938. From M a y until August, Churchill supported the general government line of urging the Czechs to make concessions to Sudeten Germans by according them greater autonomy. Only when Chamberlain and the Times in early September embarked on the dangerous course of urging Czechoslovakia's partition by ceding the Sudetenland to Germany did Churchill part company with the government. However, his past reputation for adventurism and love of war came back to haunt him, as it caused even admirers to question his motives in opposing Chamberlain's decision to negotiate a peace deal with Hitler. When his demand for a joint Anglo-French warning to Germany was rebuffed, Churchill hastily flew to Paris to meet with anti-appeasers in an effort to undermine British policy. It had little effect on French government policy, but it did 45 reaffirm Chamberlain's suspicion of Churchill as politically utterly unreliable. 1 2 6 Churchil l was greatly disheartened by the Munich accord, but did not have a clear idea of what to do next. In October 1938, he rebuked the government, mimicking Attlee's critique in decrying the arrangement as a "total and unmitigated defeat." He continued his verbal assault on the accord in the ensuing months, depicting it as a "disaster and humiliation" for Britain: "The time is serious and dire. Either Britain w i l l rise again in her strength as a mighty, valiant nation, champion of lawful right, defender of human freedom, or she wi l l collapse and be despoiled, plundered, mutilated, and reduced not merely to the rank of a second-rate power but to a dependent condition, a vassal state...."127 Despite such rhetoric, Churchill was feeling pressure from within the Party to conform, and he admitted that there was little point in launching another speaking tour as the public was hostile to his message. He even wondered whether it was not actually better for Britain to seek an accord with Hitler, or whether there was any hope of organizing an anti-German alliance. Adding to his doubts about the future was the fact that his Conservative constituency association chastised him for disloyalty and narrowly avoided voting to expel him from the Party. 1 2 8 Churchill 's political life was saved only by the fact that the constituency vote came in early March 1939 amid mounting rumors that the German army was concentrating on the Czech border, followed days later by Hitler's occupation of Prague. 1 2 9 It marked a decisive turning point in Churchill 's political fortunes after a decade in which many contemporaries had written him off as a failure. Between Munich and Prague, Churchill had resigned himself to writing his history of the English speaking peoples while staying out of the public eye. He turned down several requests to launch lecture tours on behalf of the League of Nations Union to alert the public to the threat of war. He also moderated his criticisms of the government's rearmament program, admitting that great progress was being made in aircraft production that would soon put Britain's front-line strength on a par with Germany. There was talk in Whitehall of the need for a Ministry of Supply, and Churchill harbored hopes that he might wheedle the post for himself by showing support for the government's foreign policy. Thus, after the Prague takeover he claimed that there was no point resisting Germany's action. 1 3 0 Germany's liquidation of Czecho-Slovakia did not immediately end Churchill 's political isolation, but it did cause a groundswell of public support for his inclusion in the government. But Chamberlain continued to view Churchill skeptically, despite a shift in public opinion against appeasement and in favor of full-scale rearmament. Chamberlain publically acknowledged that 46 Hitler could no longer be trusted to keep his word, yet he still harbored notions of salvaging his peace policy as Europe slid toward the precipice of war. Just one day after stating that negotiations on the basis of assurances from Hitler were no longer feasible, Chamberlain accepted Nazi demands to un-freeze £six mil l ion of Czech currency reserves held by the British Treasury.' 3 1 In response, Churchill demanded that the government "not yield another yard" to the dictators, optimistically declaring that the nucleus of a grand alliance was already in the making: "We must go forward now until a conclusion is reached. Having begun to create a Grand All iance against aggression, we cannot afford to fai l ." 1 3 2 In fact, Chamberlain was not ready to consider a formal alliance in the spring and summer of 1939, least of all with the Soviet Union, telling associates that he deemed Moscow "not a respectable neighborhood" for British diplomatic initiatives. Though he abruptly issued a guarantee to Poland in A p r i l 1939 as a warning to Hitler, and then strengthened it with a treaty of assistance in the event of war, he was not prepared to make arrangements with Stalin which would have given substance to British promises.' 3 3 Rather than attacking this obvious flaw in British foreign policy making, in the months leading up to the outbreak of war Churchill assumed the role of a loyal but constructive critic of the government, approving most of its initiatives in anticipation of being invited into the Cabinet. However, no invitation was forthcoming, since Chamberlain remained dubious of Churchill 's political motives and untamed adventurism. Consequently, he kept the future war leader at arms length until Hitler forced Britain's hand by initiating a Nazi-Soviet Pact to partition Poland, thereby precipitating a second world war. 1 3 4 Churchil l 's Finest H o u r The first year of war produced a profound transformation of Churchill 's reputation from that of a dangerously eccentric and unreliable Victorian adventurer to the triumphant savior of democracy during Britain's darkest - and finest - hour. The very audacious qualities that had gotten him into trouble in the past were still in evidence, but in wartime they were exactly .what the British people needed to rouse themselves from business-as-usual complacency so as to meet the daunting challenges ahead. It was Churchill 's finest hour, and by his own admission the greatest time of his life. When Chamberlain declared war on September 3, 1939, Churchill enlisted history in the cause of freedom, speaking glowingly of a generation of Britons "ready to prove itself not unworthy of the days of yore and not unworthy of those great men" who laid the foundations of a great empire. He 47 also took the rather bold step for someone not yet officially a member of the War Cabinet to pronounce a set of sweeping war aims that would guide Britain in the future: "We are fighting to save the whole world from the pestilence of Nazi tyranny and in defense of all that is most sacred to man. This is no war of domination or imperial aggrandizement or material gain....It is a war, viewed in its inherent quality, to establish, on impregnable rocks, the rights of the individual, and it is a war to establish and revive the stature of man." 1 3 5 It was one of several key speeches by Churchill during the first year of war that set a tone of indomitable courage and defiance which inspired the British people's refusal to surrender when utter defeat stared them in the face. In the first eight months of the war, some of Churchill 's speeches were broadcast to an international audience. He used the opportunity to paint a hopeful picture of Britain's war effort by greatly exaggerating its successes in combating German surface raiders and submarine attacks on allied shipping. Churchill optimistically contended that "behind the brazen fronts of Nazidom" there were clear signs of mental and physical disintegration. In fact, this state of affairs would not come about until six years later, during the final months of the war. Nonetheless, Churchill 's radio addresses