The myths that Churchill made

by Richard North

Recently drawn to my attention was an extraordinary piece in the Irish Independent by Kevin Myers, one of the few columnists whose work commands considerable respect.

This piece, with a timing dictated by Irish events, addresses “vast falsehood” created by Churchill that in 1940, Hitler wanted to invade Britain. Says Myers, quite bluntly, “he didn’t”. He actually admired the British Empire, with its inherent presumption of racial superiority.

Furthermore, says Myers, “We know from the diaries of Lord Halifax, the British foreign minister, that Hitler offered terms that did not involve German control of Britain. Churchill refused to allow these terms to be read to the cabinet, and they remain prudently concealed under the 100-year rule”.

“Instead, Churchill’s determination to keep Britain at war turned what had been merely a continental defeat of its army into the enduring myth that in 1940, Britain faced a war for national survival”.

Had I read such a few years ago, I would have been both scandalised and dismissive, but the experience of writing The Many Not The Few changed all that. I am at one with Myers that Hitler certainly did not wish to invade Britain and only permitted the assembly of an invasion fleet as a last resort. His main effort was directed at coercing the government to sue for peace.

But what is particularly refreshing about the Myers is that he looks at the technical detail of this the “invasion fleet” that the Nazis began to assemble in the summer of 1940 and concludes that it was no more capable of invading Britain than it was Hawaii. It was, he says, “war by illusion: its purpose was to get the British to the negotiating table”. He then writes:

This “fleet” consisted of 1,900 canal barges, only one- third of which were powered, to be towed cross-channel, in clusters of three, by just 380 tugs. These barges had tiny keels, blunt prows and small rudders, with just two feet of freeboard: the distance between the water and the top of the hull. They would have been swamped during even a direct crossing of the English Channel, a shallow and violent waterway linking the raging North Sea and Atlantic. But an invasion would not be direct. The barges, with their untrained crews, would be able to make only about three knots, from the three “invasion” centres: Rotterdam, Le Havre and Boulogne. These ports are, respectively, from any south-coast landing beaches, at best, 200 miles and 60 hours, 100 miles and 30 hours, and 50 miles and 15 hours, with seasick soldiers crammed into keel-less floundering barges without toilets or water. What army would be fit to fight after a journey like that? And then there’s the 55,000 horses that the Wehrmacht would need: its transport was still not mechanised.

This and much more, Myers uses to illustrate in practical terms, an assault on defended beaches was simply not a practical proposition, a conclusion which the Germans themselves had reached by mid-August, long before the fleet was supposed to have been launched.

When I was researching for my book, what particularly captured my interest was the mechanics of unloading the barges and the transports. As opposed to the D-Day landing craft which we used, in the summer of 1940, the barges were particularly cumbersome.

According to a detailed study by German author Peter Schenk, to place the ramps and unload vehicles required a team comprising an engineer NCO and four engineer troops, plus sixteen infantry – as the pictures illustrate, this is hardly something one could countenance on a defended beach.

Furthermore, the barges could only be unloaded on a falling tide, but it could be half an hour or so between beaching and the tide dropping enough for lorries to be put ashore. And then it would be eight hours or so before the tide returned and the barges could be refloated, making them perfect targets for shore defences.

As to the transport ships, trials indicated that it would take two days to offload their cargoes and deliver them to the beaches (the morning of S-Day plus 2). Only the first assault could be thus delivered and it would be S Day plus 4 before the remainder of the first wave, and the second wave, could be handled.

Myers, as do I, thus concludes that just about everything that people believed about Hitler’s intentions towards Britain in 1940 – and still believe today – was a myth created by Churchill, which he probably came to believe himself.

Consider all the facts above, Myers writes, and then consider how that myth has endured, despite them. Makes you wonder, no?

24 responses to “The myths that Churchill made

  1. All right. We’ll call that “theory A” and then analyse it. Let us suppose that we (or that is to say: our political class) in Britain had negotiated a “peace” with these murdering-fascist leftist monsters.

    (1) What was there to suggest this would be enough to cause Hitler to leave us and the Empire alone?

    (2) What would the American People (not their government which was irrelevant) thought of us?

    (3) What would the people of the Dominions and the Empire thought of us and our political class?

    (4) Hitler would have received even more kudos than he already had, from his general Staffs as a result of his France victory, which was pre-discounted by them, and only rode on the credit of his (rather expensive as it turned out) Polish one the previous year.

    (5) All those highly-trained Luftwaffe crews and pilots – almost 3,000 men – either lost dead or captured over England in the BofB, would have been available for the start of Barbarossa -even though this was fatally-delayed by 6 weeks due to British efforts in Greece and Yugoslavia.

    (7) The USSR – be it ever so wicked and nasty in itself – would have gone down by late-November, and the whole history of the entire world would have been different. Hitler would have been politically-unassailable anywhere, even in the USA, and would have deployed the entire resources of Russia and Siberia as well as what else he had, against us, still alone as we would have been.

    So, I maintain my position on this one, that Churchill had it right.


  2. Anyway, we had nothing to “defend our beaches with”. We could not even muster one tank division by July or August 1940, and most of the “Home Guard” (they were not called that until later in the war) had only small-arms. That is why the Cabinet sanctioned the use of poison-gas weapons if the Nazis would actually invade. Not that this would have helped much as the prevailing winds on the South Coast are from the West and southwest….

  3. You will see that my take on this sort of revisionism is not quite as orgasmically-positive as it might be.

  4. I agree with David Davis. Also, that the “invasion fleet” was half-hearted crap is not some new revelation. I read it years ago in The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich by Shirer (who was a journalist in Germany at the time and actiually visited said preparations. None of the foreign journalists thought the barge flotilla credible. And this was at the time. American journalists. In 1940). So, there is nothing really new here.

  5. Churchill, by weaponizing the English Language and keeping Britain in the war, functionally-alone, ensured that the time was bought to form a coalition to prevent the world sinking under another sort of socialist tyranny using the resources of a beaten-down Russia. The result would have been the same as victorious global communism, but not as we would have known it: just very, very slightly different.

  6. What I can’t understand is why Hitler’s peace overtures have been sealed up for 100 years. The sealing of national secrets should not be to protect national myths or the government of the day, but only used where things genuinely compromise national security. There is not justification for not publishing whatever communications were received from Hitler and hidden from the cabinet by Churchill straightaway.

  7. djwebb,

    You might consider that the lies about Hitler and the Third Reich help secure the nation (ie. ethnic group) that rules over us – the English, Scots and Welsh – and by that I mean the Jews.

    So these myths are all about national security, placing Jewish actions in the diaspora beyond criticism and ensuring that ‘our’ politicians are devoted both to replacing us with immigrants in our homeland and defending ‘Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state’.

    • Blaming the Jews for WWII doesn’t get us very far towards the truth. The Polish guarantee was a mistake of a native British ruling class. There was no Jewish lobby in London in 1939 with anything like the funding and persistence of the Jewish lobby in Washington – which, even so, still hasn’t the war with Iran it is said to be demanding. Jews on the whole do not seem to have been that concerned about Nazi Germany. Jews who had left Germany were returning until the outbreak of war. Once the war had started, Jewish communists continued doing their bit for Soviet foreign policy, which was then pro-German.

      Some American Jews were useful instruments of British propaganda to get their country into the war. How useful they were is hard to tell, as the President himself was looking for excuses to join the war.

      Some kind of Israel was already on the cards in 1939. Because of the war, several million Jews didn’t live to see it. Blaming Jews for WWII needs a great deal of special pleading at the least.

      Oh, and for the avoidance of doubt, my strong belief that WWII was not in British interests doesn’t proceed from any rosy view of the Hitler dictatorship’s internal policies. It was a nasty police state that would eventually have collapsed or moderated its policies had there been no war. Hitler was a dangerous lunatic. He was surrounded by other dangerous lunatics. I just believe that his lunacy was no danger to us.

  8. Concerned Briton

    I tend to think that Kevin Myers and Sean Gabb have a point.

    Perhaps I go even further than both Kevin and Sean in my re-thinking of those wars – as I now tend to see it as being as a massive mistake for Britain, pretty unnecessary, not really any of our business to get involved in the way we did – and that the populace was lied to in order to go to war (a bit like we were lied to with the war in Iraq, and various other escapades since then).

    Like many other Englishmen, such ideas only a matter of a few years ago would probably have grated on me.

    After what I was given the impression of at school via some pretty poor history curriculum (and given the “we won the war” style narrative that permeates this country), I was a firm believer that “we would have been speaking German” after being “invaded” by the Germans, that Hitler was the worst tyrant ever to walk the Earth (which was apparently why nobody else and nobody worse seemed to ever get mentioned!), that we went to war to “save the Jews”, that Churchill was a great leader who “saved this country” etc.

    I will state right now that I am not an expert on history and I am just offering up a viewpoint that could well be wrong-headed, but in hindsight, I have been shown that things are not quite what they seem when it comes to the myths and common narratives of both World War One and Two.

    It is not an easy thing to try to come to terms with either, especially when I still feel pride and thanks for our brave servicemen who fought so valiantly and defiantly for this country and our people.

    I will never take that away from them and I am still proud of them all, despite me now thinking that they have, in hindsight, fought for nothing and were duped into action.

    This duping includes this so-called ‘threat’ of this country being taken over by Hitler – which has since been shown to be nonsense as he had no wish or desire or the means to do so. These 100 year seals of Hitler’s peace offers are now another oddity I will have to look into. It does not fit the approved ‘narrative’ of this country.

    But what else might be wrong with the narrative that most British people take as being a given? It starts to get you thinking.

    For example, some people still tend to believe the 1939-45 war was fought to save the Jews from Hitler, as this has become the prime topic now associated with Hitler. Think Hitler, think Jews, it is like a pavlovian reaction that cannot be helped. People seem to have been programmed. Not only about this, but any association to desiring homogeneity or definative or strong national identities is trotted out as being akin to “Hitler” and the “Jews”. It is very ‘convenient’ for pushing the opposite ideologies of globalism and one world governance / international socialism to say the least.

    Yet no evidence seems to supports this idea of why we went into war, or that it was something that was initially being fought for at all. In fact, it turns out that the Holocaust was likely to have been a result of the war, not a cause of it.

    After being run down after fighting the first world war, we were so weakened, apparently no thanks to Churchill’s cut backs between the wars, that we had to turn to the USA for help when it came to finishing the second world war.

    This brings us to another issue – in that it was not entirely brotherhood or benevolence on their part.

    The country that had the most to gain from destroying the British Empire was the United States, and knowing what I know now about the way the United States manipulates events to their ultimate advantage, it would not surprise me to learn they had intentions of putting us into debt and impossible situations from the start of their involvement.

    When they forced us to end our naval alliance with Japan, it ultimately cost us our Empire. After the fall of Singapore, our strength and reputation in Asia were finished – and our hurried retreat from India probably became unavoidable and it seemed to become a chain reaction of collapse. (After that, came the “guilt” and weakness that allowed the rest to follow).

    So I think in hindsight we embarked on a war which cost us our empire, cost us many of our best export markets, what was left of our naval supremacy, and most of our national wealth – which was stripped from us by Roosevelt in return for Lend-Lease supplies (from which I think we only paid the interest debt off under the last Labour term in office).

    As a direct result of all this decimation, we since sought membership of a Common Market and European Union that has since bled away our national independence, primarily to…..Germany.

    What did all our people die for again? How about that something like 38% or more of our key national infrastructure is now foreign owned? Our last shipping port was sold off only the other year. Were the brave soldiers and airmen fighting for that too?

    We have been busy selling off and demographically giving away our country on a plate ever since these poor soldiers were put under the sod in their hundreds of thousands with the aim of defending it.

    In another unfortunate choice of bedfellow, we sided with Russia and the communists. People point to Hitler as an evil tyrant, but I suspect he was a bit of a pussy-cat compared to Joseph Stalin, who we supplied with British weapons and who was fawned on by the British press and politicians, including Churchill himself.

    Yet by the time things had fully kicked off, Stalin had apparently already murdered many more people than Hitler and had invaded nearly as many countries and was later ordering British communists to subvert our war effort against the Nazis during the Battle of Britain, plus in secret alliance with Hitler, supplying the Luftwaffe with much of the fuel and resources it needed to bomb London.

    But look at things now, at the end of it all. Germany dominates most of Europe via the EU; our Empire and our naval rule of the seas have gone, we struggle with all the problems of a great civilisation in decline, and our “special friend”, the USA, overtook us.

    We apparently cannot even afford to keep a moderate sized army – who have unfortunately been doing everything but defending this country and the indigenous people whilst on their distraction escapades of facilitating regime change (and lining Tony Blairs pockets).

    In terms of human sacrifice, the European Peoples that created and sustained “Western Civilisation” accounted for somewhere around 35% of the global percentage before these wars.

    After the wars, we were down dramatically – with most of our brightest and best blown to pieces in a war against close kindred ‘brothers’, which led to a continuing a downward trend in all manners of ways, both civilisationally, technologically, demographically.

    European Peoples, Caucasians, (around the world) are now a mere 8% of the global demographic, with only 2% being women of child-bearing ability. This is a demographic catastrophe that we may not survive.

    We now see cultural Marxism, lefty socialism, soft-communist ideology attitudes (or whatever you want to call it) reign over most of Europe after the ‘long march through the institutions’ – and many of our towns and cities are being repopulated, nay colonised, by other Peoples, to the point where the indigenous people are going to be made minority by 2050 and to the degree where in large swathes of this country it already feels like living in a foreign occupied land…..after all those war heroes did to defend this country from ‘invasion’ and dominance by others.

    Would they have put their lives on the line for how this country is now, and will be in the future? I do not think so. Given the societal attitudes at the time, I think many of them would be turning in their graves if they could see the state of things today.

    But, hey – ‘we won the war’….right?..

    This is why I am getting sceptical about this “Churchill was great, we won the war, we could have been speaking German by now, our finest hour” stuff.

    Yes, we did have a finest hour braving war – but at what cost, and on what basis, and for what future, and in whose interests were these devastating wars undertaken? I do not like the answers that can tend to pop up when you start digging.

    Maybe some of that is propaganda I am being fed, but there seems to have been an awful lot of propaganda in the ‘orthodox’ national narrative of the war too.

    • Interesting stuff from Concerned Brition. I lost a grandfather at the Casablanca Landings, and several great uncles were guests of the Japanese. I grew up with the usual view of the War. It was a painful wakening to the truth, that it was for nothing at all.

  9. I did not ‘blame Jews for WWII,’ I claimed that the lies we are told about Hitler and the Third Reich were generally put into service by and for Jews.

    Dr Gabb’s response only lends credence to my theory. If the popular myths about WWII are principally designed to protect Jews from normal criticism then you should expect that in a discussion about those myths someone might pop up and abnormally protect Jews from criticism.

    Were Dr Gabb to run around forums defending himself from allegations that no-one has made we’d rightly call him paranoid. Where he performs that service on behalf of Jewry, it’s practically certain that he does so as an effect of some cause, however distant, of Jewish pressure. What else could it be? According to George C. Williams, ‘As a general rule, a modern biologist seeing an animal doing something to benefit another assumes either that it is being manipulated by the other individual or that it is being subtly selfish.’

  10. Also, where Dr Gabb’s response lends credence to my theory of Jewish origins for the popular myths of WWII, it also undermines his own claim that the war itself cannot have had a Jewish impulse and design. (Which is a question I haven’t really looked into.)

    He claims there was no (openly acting, explicitly) Jewish lobby in London in 1939 capable of pushing the British into war. Yet almost every single other point he makes draws attention to the way political actors are often manipulated against their own best interests by other parties acting covertly.

    If the majority of Dr Gabb’s points are sound, then his reasoning about why Jewry could not be responsible for pushing the British into war is not sound. He wasn’t just defending Jews from a charge no-one had made, he was defending them with a positive bias over groups.

    If I’m wrong about how about issues relating to WWII are spun to benefit Jewry, it’s odd how all the spinning in response to that claim tends in that direction.

    • If every Jew in the world had vanished in 1938, I believe there would still have been a war, and the England would still be a sinister joke. I can’t prove this, but I do strongly beleive that the collapse of western civilisation has been due to internal decadence.

  11. “No one has ever accused me of being in the pay of the Jews.”

    More of the same. No-one makes that accusation here. Weird, just weird.

  12. Nick Dean,

    I don’t see Sean defending the Jews. He’s just disagreeing with you. That’s a different thing.

  13. Ian, first of all he is defending the Jews – twice from accusations no-one has made:

    1) that Jews were behind WWII
    2) that Jews are paying him to patrol this forum!

    Second, he is not disagreeing with my rather non-controversial opinion (that Jews are behind most of the exaggerations about Hitler, the Third Reich and Nazism, and they use the myths they have created to silence criticisms of their actions own today’s world – there is a vast literature on this subject). He entirely ignores that issue (my only issue prior to his response) to focus on his hobby horse of defending Jews and smearing their critics.

    That is just how it is. Read the thread.

  14. I don’t have Halifax’s diaries to hand, but do have Andrew Robert’s biography “The Holy Fox”. That contains nothing about a peace offer from Hitler that Churchill is supposed to have refused to allow the War Cabinet to hear, and that is now sealed for until (presumably) 2040. Neither do either of John Lukac’s books ‘The Duel’ and ‘Five Days in London’, which cover the period in question in great detail. I wonder Hitler himself never mentioned it, he did after all deliver his ‘last and final’ in a speech to the Reichstag on 19 July 1940 – three days after signing Führerweisung Nr. 16 formally authorising the invasion.

    I should have thought one or other of these distinguished historians would have mentioned at least the existence of such an offer, if not its terms.

    This all seems suspiciously like common-or-garden Winnie-bashing, a la Irving.

    • I suppose we could mention the lack of any footprint this offer has left in the German archives. I think AH would have given almost anything to buy peace with us before he got down to the real mission of his life, which was the invasion of Russia. But evidence and its lack must be respected.

    • For the record, if the Elders of Zion ever request my services, I’ll wear a collar and tie to the interview. And I live in hope of a call from the Illuminati.

  15. British foreign polict pre-war was (a) to maintain naval supremacy; and (b) to resist the emergence of a superior power in Europe.


  16. Pingback: De Valera refused entry to Nazis - Page 101

  17. Bert Fiveash

    I think that all of you would benefit greatly by reading a fine series of book by Douglas Reed who was foreign correspondent for the The Times, lived in Germany and Austria, spoke German and witness the annexation of Austria and prophecied the further betrayal, fall and then annexation of Czechoslovakia. These books, all written between 1936 and 1940 are, Insanity Fair, Disgrace Abounding, All Our Tomorrows. He is a well-informed, harsh critic of the politicians and their blundering that helped precipitate the war. Rather ignored these days because of his anti-Semitism. If this puts you off, then you will be missing out on all his incisive observations of the times and events. He foresaw the establishing of Israel and deplored the bias for the Jews and ignoring of Arab rights. He also pondered about what he called ‘the dead hand’ that seemed to be secretly guiding politicians odd actions in the build-up to the war (and during it). Fascinating reading.