Finest Hour 161, Winter 2013-14
By Richard M. Langworth
A DISCUSSION AND SOURCES
I have some questions about Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s silence over the 1944 bombing of Monte Cassino Abbey, and his later, contradictory reconstruction of facts.
(1) Immediately after the bombing, on 15 February 1944, Churchill officially said nothing about an event on newspaper front pages all over the world. By contrast, Roosevelt tried to explain it in the White House press conference by revealing an Eisenhower letter about Italian historical monuments versus military necessity.
(2) Churchill remained silent about the bombing of the Abbey in his speech in Parliament on 22 February, although he went into great detail about the Italian military and political situation.
(3) As far as I know, Churchill described the Monte Cassino bombing only after the war, in The Second World War: “The monastery dominated the whole battlefield, and naturally General Freyberg, the Corps Commander concerned, worked to have it heavily bombarded from the air before he launched the infantry attack. The army commander, General Mark Clark, unwillingly sought and obtained permission from General Alexander, who accepted the responsibility….”
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Leading Churchill Myths
by Randolph S. Churchill
From Finest Hour 140, Autumn 2008. Excerpted by kind permission from Winston S. Churchill, vol. 2 Young Statesman 1901-1911. London: Heinemann, 1977, 374-78.
In 1911, a strike began in the coal mines at Rhondda in early November of the same year. It arose out of a dispute concerning wage differentials in the working of hard and soft seams. Many men were involved, estimates varying between 25,000 and 30,000, and many different pits were affected.
There was looting and the local authorities appealed to the War Office for troops. On hearing of this, Churchill as Home Secretary consulted the Secretary of War, Haldane, and they agreed instead to send police, but to hold some troops in reserve near by.
The editors of Finest Hour wish to bestow their 2008 Utter Excess Award on MWC (“Media With Conscience”) News in Vancouver for its November 18th editorial by Gideon Polya, charmingly entitled, “Media Lying Over Churchill’s Crimes”
“Churchill is our hero because of his leadership in World War 2,” Polya writes, “but his immense crimes, notably the WW2 Bengali Holocaust, the 1943-1945 Bengal Famine in which Churchill murdered 6-7 million Indians, have been deleted from history by extraordinary Anglo-American and Zionist Holocaust Denial.”