7

CONTROVERSIES

BACKGROUND NARRATIVE

Churchill’s long career is full of controversial episodes, from his involvement in the Tonypandy incident of 1910 to the decision to create a British hydrogen bomb in the 1950s. Because of this, his career offers many episodes that could be the focus of personal studies for AS and A2 History, as they are the subject of so much contemporary and historiographical interpretation.

This chapter looks at two controversies of his wartime leadership: the decision to bomb Dresden in 1945, and the decision not to bomb the death camp at Auschwitz in 1944-1945.


ANALYSIS (1): WHAT ROLE DID CHURCHILL PLAY IN THE DEBATE OVER WHETHER TO BOMB AUSCHWITZ?

‘We are in the presence of a crime without a name. ’ 1 This was Churchill’s reaction to the first reports of the routine mass killings that were taking place on the Eastern Front as the Nazis advanced on Moscow in the summer of 1941. He had learned of these killings from summaries produced for him by the British Secret Intelligence Service, based upon the work of their decoders. Churchill was convinced of the importance of intelligence gained from the decoding of German communications - he had played a key role in the development of British code-breaking

-106-

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Churchill
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vi
  • Series Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Chronology ix
  • 1 - Radical, 1900-1911 1
  • 2 - Warmonger, 1911-1915 17
  • 3 - Chancellor, 1924-1929 34
  • 4 - Exile, 1929-1939 51
  • 5 - Finest Hour 69
  • 6 - Warlord, 1940-1945 86
  • 7 - Controversies 106
  • 8 - Elder, 1945-1955 122
  • Notes 140
  • Select Bibliography 151
  • Index 154
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