Millions of lives would have been saved. All the “acclaimed horrors” of WWII would have been avoided, those true, and untrue. Why was this not the end?
David Irving spoke of Dunkirk:
In May 1940, Dunkirk, the biggest Churchill defeat of the lot. It wasn’t a victory. It wasn’t a triumph. Nothing for the British to be proud of. Dunkirk? If you look at the Dunkirk files in the British archives now, you will find, too, you’re given only photocopies of the premier files on Dunkirk with mysterious blank pages inserted. And you think, at first, how nice of them to put these blank pages in to keep the documents apart. Not so. The blank pages are the ones that you really want to be seeing. In some cases, of course, the blank pages are genuinely censored with intelligence matters. But the other blank pages are letters between Churchill and the French Prime Minister, Paul Reynaud, which revealed the ugly truth that Churchill, himself, gave the secret order to Lord Gort, the British General in command of the British expeditionary force at Dunkirk, “Withdraw, fall back,” or as Churchill put it, “Advance to the coast.” That was Churchill’s wording. “And you are forbidden to tell any of your neighboring allies that you are pulling out. The French and the Belgians were left in the dark that we were pulling out.
I think it’s the most despicable action that any British commander could have been ordered to carry out, to pull out and not tell either his allies on his left and right flanks that he was pulling out at Dunkirk. The reason I knew this is because, although the blanks are in the British files, I got permission from the French Prime Minister Paul Reynaud’s widow. His widow is still alive. A dear old lady about 95, living in Paris. And guiding her trembling hand, I managed to get her to sign a document releasing to me all the Prime Minister’s files in the French National Archives in Paris. And there are documents, the originals of the documents which we’re not allowed to see in London. and there we know the ugly truth about that other great Churchill triumph, the retreat to Dunkirk. If peace had broken out in June of 1940, Churchill would have been finished. No brass statue in Parliament Square for Mr. Winston Churchill. He would have been consigned to the dustbin of oblivion, forgotten for all time and good riddance I say, because the British Empire would have been preserved. We would, by now, have been the most powerful race — can we dare use the word, the British race, the most powerful race on Earth.
Irving pointed out that Churchill rejected Hitler’s peace offers in 1939, 1940, and 1941. (Irving supports the thesis that Rudolf Hess’s flight to Scotland was ordered by the Führer). Irving pinpointed one critical moment, and supplied the background:
The crucial moment when he managed to kill this peace offensive in England was July 1940. If we look at the one date, July the 20th, this I think was something of a watershed between the old era of peace, the greatness of the British Empire and the new era, the new era of nuclear deterrent and the holocaust, the nuclear holocaust. July 20, 1940: Mr. Churchill is lying in bed that Sunday out in Chequers, when he gets a strange message. It’s an intercept of a German ambassador’s telegram in Washington to Berlin. It’s only just been revealed, of course, that we were reading all of the German codes — not only the German Army, Air Force and Navy Codes, but also the German embassy codes. And if you’re silly enough to believe everything that’s written in the official history of British Intelligence, you will understand that the only reason that they released half of the stories is to prevent us from trying to find out the other half. And what matters is that we are reading the German diplomatic codes as well. On July 20th, the German ambassador in Washington sent a message to Berlin saying that the British ambassador in Washington had asked him very quietly, very confidentially, just what the German peace terms were. This, of course, was the one thing that Churchill could never allow to happen, that the British find out what Hitler’s peace terms are. He sends an immediate message to the foreign office, to Lord Halifax, saying, “Your ambassador in Washington is strictly forbidden to have any further contacts with the German ambassador, even indirectly.” They were communicating through a Quaker intermediary.
Now, on the same day, Churchill sent a telegram to Washington ordering Lord Lothian, the British ambassador in Washington, to have nothing to do with the German ambassador. And the same day, he takes a third move to ensure that the peace moves in Britain are finally strangled at birth. He orders Sir Charles Portal to visit him at Chequers, the country residence of British prime ministers. Sir Charles Portal was Commander in Chief of Bomber Command. Now what is the significance? Well, the significance is this. Up to July 1940, not one single German bomb has fallen on British towns. Hitler had given orders that no British towns are to be bombed and, above all, bombing of London is completely forbidden and embargoed. Churchill knows this, because he’s reading the German code. He’s reading the German Air Force signals, which I can now read in the German files. Churchill is reading the signals, and he knows that Hitler is not doing him the favor.
Hitler is still hoping that this madman in England will see reason or that he will be outvoted by his cabinet colleagues. So he’s not doing Churchill the favor of bombing any English towns. Churchill is frantic because he thinks he’s being outsmarted by Hitler. On July the 20th he sends for Sir Charles Portal, the Chief of Bomber Command, and he says to Sir Charles Portal, as we know from records from Command to the Air Ministry, “When is the earliest that you could launch a vicious air attack on Berlin?” Sir Charles Portal replies to Winston, “I’m afraid we can’t do it now, not until September because the nights aren’t long enough to fly from England to Berlin and back in the hours of darkness. September, perhaps, and in September we will have the first hundred of the new Sterling bombers …” But he also says, “I warn you, if you do that, the Germans will retaliate. At present they’re not bombing English targets, they’re not bombing civilian targets at all and you know why. And if you bomb Berlin, then Hitler will retaliate against English civilian targets.” And Churchill just twinkles when he gets this reply, because he knows what he wants.
We know what he wants because he’s told Joe Kennedy, the American Ambassador – Joseph P. Kennedy, father of the late President – “I want the Germans to start bombing London as early as possible because this will bring the Americans into the war when they see the Nazis’ frightfulness, and above all it will put an end to this awkward and inconvenient peace movement that’s afoot in my own Cabinet and among the British population.” I’ve opened Kennedy’s diary. I’ve also read Kennedy’s telegrams back to the State Department in Washington. They’re buried among the files. You can’t find them easily, but they are worth reading, and you see in detail what Churchill was telling him. What cynicism. Churchill deliberately provoking the bombing of his own capital in order to kill the peace movement. He’s been warned this would be the consequence, but he needs it. And still Hitler doesn’t do him the favor.
Irving then gave a detailed account of the cynical maneuverings of Churchill to escalate the aerial campaign against Germany’s civilian population to the point at which Hitler was driven to strike back against Britain’s cities, supplying the spurious justification for the R.A.F.’s (and later the U.S. Army Air Force’s) monstrous terror attacks against centuries-old citadels of culture and their helpless inhabitants.
The British historian further expanded on a theme he had touched on in his address to the IHR’s 1983 conference: Churchill the drunkard. Irving substantiated his accusation with numerous citations from diaries and journals, the originals of which often differ from heavily laundered published editions. He concluded his address with an anecdote of a ludicrous incident which found Churchill pleading with William Lyon Mackenzie King, wartime prime minister of Canada, to shift production in his country’s distilleries from raw materials for the war effort to whiskey and gin, twenty-five thousand cases of it. According to Mackenzie King’s private diary, the Canadian prime minister tore up Churchill’s memorandum on the subject at precisely twenty-five minutes to eight on August 25, 1943, and Sir Winston had to soldier on through the war with liquid sustenance from other lands and climes. As Irving emphasized, Churchill’s drunken rantings, often during cabinet meetings, disgusted many of his generals, as when, at a meeting on July 6, 1944, the prime minister told his commanders to prepare to drop two million lethal anthrax bombs on German cities. Of this meeting, Britain’s First Sea Lord, Admiral Cunningham, wrote, according to the Irving: “There’s no doubt that P.M. is in no state to discuss anything, too tired, and too much alcohol.”
Irving’s demolition of the Churchill myth, based on a wealth of documentary evidence, most of which has been studiously avoided by the keepers of the Churchill flame, may constitute his most important service to Revisionism. The legendary V-for-victory- waggling, cigar-puffing “Winnie” is for many of a centrist or conservative bent the symbol and guarantee that Britain and America fought and “won” the Second World War for traditional Western values, rather than to bleed Europe white and secure an enormous geopolitical base for Communism.
Irving’s Churchill biography promises to make trash of such authorized studies as that of Martin Gilbert (which has already been described in private by one Establishment historian as “footnotes to Churchill’s war memoirs”). The publication of the first volume of Churchill’s War later this year should be a historiographical event of the first importance.
From The Journal of Historical Review, Winter 1986 (Vol. 7, No. 4), pp. 498 ff.