23rd August, 2013.
The newspapers reported that a high ranking UKIP official, Hugh Williams, had claimed that Churchill had admired Hitler in a history book he had published.
One thing I have learnt from delving deeper in the history of World War two is nothing is as clear as it might seem, and as the saying goes history is not black and white but a murky shade of grey.
The years before the war are particularly interesting as these are often swept under the carpet, with the power of hindsight of what followed during the war.
So it is probably some things Churchill said at one time or another before the war which has led to this claim that he admired Hitler. Churchill however, unlike some politicians of the time, seems to have disliked Hitler for years before the war, and the feeling was mutual, as way before Churchill was wartime PM, Hitler claimed Churchill was a warmonger intent on starting a war with Germany and was backed by a shadowy group of international financiers.
"I have always said that if Great Britain were defeated in war I hoped we should find a Hitler to lead us back to our rightful position among the nations. I am sorry, however, that he has not been mellowed by the great success that has attended him. The whole world would rejoice to see the Hitler of peace and tolerance, and nothing would adorn his name in world history so much as acts of magnanimity and of mercy and of pity to the forlorn and friendless, to the weak and poor. ... Let this great man search his own heart and conscience before he accuses anyone of being a warmonger." CHURCHILL, The London Times, Monday, November 7, 1938
“While all those formidable transformations were occurring in Europe, Corporal Hitler was fighting his long, wearing battle for the German heart. The story of that struggle cannot be read without admiration for the courage, the perseverance, and the vital force which enabled him to challenge, defy, conciliate, or overcome, all the authorities or resistance’s which barred his path. He, and the ever increasing legions who worked with him, certainly showed at this time, in their patriotic ardour and love of country, that there was nothing that they would not dare, no sacrifice of life, limb or liberty that they would not make themselves or inflict upon their opponents.” CHURCHILL
He also wrote this about Benito Mussolini in the 1920s.
“I could not help being charmed, like so many other people have been, by Signor Mussolini’s gentle and simple bearing and by his calm, detached poise in spite of so many burdens and dangers. Secondly, anyone could see that he thought of nothing but the lasting good, as he understood it, of the Italian people, and that no lesser interest was of the slightest consequence to him. If I had been an Italian I am sure that I should have been whole-heartedly with you from the start to finish in your triumphant struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism. I will, however, say a word on an international aspect of fascism. Externally, your movement has rendered service to the whole world. The great fear which has always beset every democratic leader or a working class leader has been that of being undermined by someone more extreme than he. Italy has shown that there is a way of fighting the subversive forces which can rally the masses of the people, properly led, to value and wish to defend the honour and stability of civilised society. She has provided the necessary antidote to the Russian poison. Hereafter no great nation will be unprovided with an ultimate means of protection against the cancerous growth of Bolshevism.” After a visit to Rome in 1927.
Some years earlier in 1920 he had wrote;
“The part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international and for the most part atheistic Jews ... is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from Jewish leaders ... The same evil prominence was obtained by Jews in (Hungary and Germany, especially Bavaria).
Although in all these countries there are many non-Jews every whit as bad as the worst of the Jewish revolutionaries, the part played by the latter in proportion to their numbers in the population is astonishing. The fact that in many cases Jewish interests and Jewish places of worship are excepted by the Bolsheviks from their universal hostility has tended more and more to associate the Jewish race in Russia with the villainies which are now being perpetrated”. CHURCHILL Illustrated Sunday Herald - 8th February 1920
Both quotes contrast sharply with his later writing and speeches.
As mentioned above, Hitler, before 1939 was judged by what was happening then, no one had a crystal ball, and many people now seem to forget this. All of us know WWII happened as it is in the past, whereas it was in their future. There were many people in Europe and America that were impressed by Hitler's transformation of Germany, which had been, when he came to power almost destitute with hyper inflation and mass unemployment. So at some point it is quite possible Churchill had a grudging admiration for Hitler, even if it was just in regards to his rise from humble origins and life as a penniless painter to become leader of one of Europe's most powerful nations. However, in answer to the question above overall did Churchill admire Hitler, obviously not, and this quote sums it up. "I hate nobody except Hitler — and that is professional."
OPINIONS ON HITLER
“He succeeded in ascending to the highest power-position in Germany with very little spilling of blood or loss of human life in a land of 68 million inhabitants. Austria was annexed without one shot being fired.” Daily Mail: (May 20, 1938)
““I have now seen the famous German leader and also something of the great change he has effected. “Whatever one may think of his methods - and they are certainly not those of a parliamentary country, there can be no doubt that he has achieved a marvelous transformation in the spirit of the people, in their attitude towards each other, and in their social and economic outlook…
It is not the Germany of the first decade that followed the war - broken, dejected and bowed down with a sense of apprehension and impotence. It is now full of hope and confidence, and of a renewed sense of determination to lead its own life without interference from any influence outside its own frontiers.
There is for the first time since the war a general sense of security. The people are more cheerful. There is a greater sense of general gaiety of spirit throughout the land. It is a happier Germany. I saw it everywhere, and Englishmen I met during my trip and who knew Germany well were very impressed with the change.
One man has accomplished this miracle. He is a born leader of men. A magnetic and dynamic personality with a single-minded purpose, as resolute will and a dauntless heart.”
ex Prime Minister David Lloyd George, (Daily Express, September 17, 1936)
"After visiting these two places (the town of Berchtesgaden and Obersalzberg) you can easily understand how that within a few years Hitler will emerge from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most significant figures who ever lived. He had in him the stuff of which legends are made." Future President of the USA, J.F Kennedy (Prelude to Leadership, the European diary of J.F Kennedy, Summer, 1945.)
“Last May, I returned, bringing my family for another sojourn, after two years spent in other European countries. I found a Germany which has advanced miraculously from the point of 1933. I found political solidarity, a wholesome tone in the life of city dweller and country dweller alike. I found living costs materially reduced and an unmistakable optimism on every hand. In every quarter I found the same answer to my questioning: Profound belief in the genius of the Leader, love and admiration for him as an individual. My observations have covered a wide range of social classification. I have talked with the humblest type of labourers, with merchants, professional men. I have yet to discover a dissenting voice to the question of loyalty to the Fuehrer. My two young daughters are attending German public schools and are receiving an education which in thoroughness could be equalled in few countries.” (John L. Garvin) The Observer Newspaper
“I think that it must be admitted that National Socialism has done a great deal for Germany. It has undoubtedly cleaned up Germany in the ordinary moral sense of the word. The defeatism, the corruption so manifest a characteristic in the days after the war has disappeared, at any rate from public view. It has given discipline and order and a sense of purpose to the great majority of young people who in earlier days did not know where to go or what they were living for.” The Marquess of Lothian: (British Ambassador to America, June 29, 1937)
“That Hitler’s conquest of the hearts and minds of all classes of Germans is now so complete that even if all his Brown Shirts and Steel Helmets were to be disbanded tomorrow he would still be easily the strongest man in Germany, and on any appeal to the electorate would be confirmed in power by a quite overwhelming majority of votes.... Hitler is recognised by the whole of the political and official intelligentsia as an exceedingly able man.... As of the militarist question, one may say with complete certainty that what Hitler said in his Reichstag speech on May 17 was exactly what he meant and accurately represents the policy that he will pursue.... I found no German who dreamed of the possibility of war, few who did not hope that it might be prevented in the future altogether. The truth is that the Nazi mind is concentrated on the internal problems of Germany and does not want to be bothered by foreign affairs for a long time to come.... Hitler has passed from the stage of party leader to being the national prophet of an exceedingly serious people, and it would need another prophet to replace him.” (Clifford Sharp, former editor of the New Statesman writing in The New Statesman and Nation and reprinted in Readers Digest, September, 1933)