Tariq Ali on Winston Churchill – His Times, His Crimes

Tariq Ali speaks about his latest book which challenges the national myth of Winston Churchill as the great national leader and war hero.

In his new book, Winston Churchill: His Times, His Crimes, Tariq Ali argues that the Churchill cult is out of control. His war hero image is used to stifle political debate and encourage support for modern wars. Churchill’s role in the fight against Hitler ignores his belligerence and lifelong defence of the British Empire and its brutal treatment of those subjected to its rule.

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Ali’s book unflinchingly uncovers some of the darkest aspects of Churchill’s political career that many in the British establishment, including in parliamentary politics, prefer to conveniently ignore.

The truth is that Churchill’s record in and out of office was far from an unblemished one, and, as Ali shows, he supported and pursued criminal acts both at home and abroad.

As head of the British Navy during the First World War, Churchill was responsible for calamitous errors that cost thousands of lives. His actions against Irish nationalists, striking workers in Glasgow and Tonypandy, anarchists in London’s East End and his role during the 1926 General Strike are all examined in the book.

Tariq Ali also looks at Churchill’s brutal responses to the Greek Resistance, the Bengal Famine that cost over three million Indian lives, the bombings of Dresden and Hamburg, nuclear weapons used on Japan and his policy towards Iran and Kenya in the post-war period.

Tariq Ali will discuss some of the issues covered in the new book, which is published by Verso.

As the author of more than two-dozen books on world history and politics, Tariq Ali is equally at home when writing about Latin America, India, Pakistan and Europe. Recent books include The Extreme Centre, The Dilemmas of Lenin and The Forty-Year War in Afghanistan. Ali is also a novelist, script writer and a leading anti-war activist. He is a long-standing member of the Editorial Committee of New Left Review.