Churchill: Democracy Made War Cruel and Squalid

April 14, 2016

Sir Winston Churchill addressing a joint session of the United States Congress, May 1943.

Sir Winston Churchill addressing a joint session of the United States Congress, May 1943.

“War, which used to be cruel and magnificent, has now become cruel and squalid. In fact it has been completely spoilt. It is all the fault of democracy and science. From the moment that either of these meddlers and muddlers was allowed to take part in actual fighting, the doom of war was sealed. Instead of a small number of well-trained professionals championing their country’s cause with ancient weapons and a beautiful intricacy of archaic manoeuvre, sustained at every moment by the applause of their nation, we now have entire populations, including even women and children, pitted against one another in brutish mutual extermination, and only a set of blear-eyed clerks left to add up the butcher’s bill. From the moment democracy was admitted to, or rather forced itself upon the battlefield, war ceased to be a gentleman’s game. To hell with it!”

Sir Winston S. Churchill, My Early Life: A Roving Commission (London: The Folio Society, 2007), 64-5.

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