Comparing Sir Winston Churchill to Adolf Hitler is a ‘disgrace’, says top historian Sir Anthony Seldon after Left-wing activists claim the wartime leader was a racist
- Sir Anthony Seldon has hit back at the claim Churchill was no better than Hitler
- Branded the claim ‘disgraceful’ at the Daily Mail’s Chalke Valley History Festival
- He did not mention who made the comments, but it could be Dr Shashi Tharoor
One of Britain’s leading contemporary historians, Sir Anthony Seldon, has hit back at the ‘disgraceful’ claim that Winston Churchill was no better than Adolf Hitler.
Speaking at the Daily Mail’s Chalke Valley History Festival, he added it was particularly worrying that the provocative comments had come from educated quarters.
Sir Anthony, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, said: ‘Saying Churchill was equivalent to Hitler – I just don’t know where to begin.
‘I mean, for goodness sake, let’s all of us judge a little less and understand a little more.
‘Churchill was a very good human being who overwhelmingly did good in this world in standing up to evil. I can’t tell you, knowing the Churchill family from my time at Buckingham University, the distress that this stuff causes. It is disgraceful.’
One of Britain’s leading contemporary historians, Sir Anthony Seldon, has hit back at the ‘disgraceful’ claim that Winston Churchill was no better than Adolf Hitler
Sir Anthony did not mention who compared the former wartime leader to his Nazi nemesis.
But he may have been referring to Indian writer and politician Dr Shashi Tharoor, who once described Churchill as ‘really one of the more evil rulers of the 20th Century, only fit to stand in company of the likes of Hitler, Mao and Stalin’.
His comments, in 2017, have recently been followed by Left-wing activists seizing on the chance to trash Churchill’s reputation by saying he was racist.
Graffiti to that effect has been sprayed on his statue in London’s Parliament Square.
Sir Anthony did concede problems with colonialism, adding: ‘Too much of history has been seen in a certain way, ignoring the down side of Empire.’
The academic, the biographer of five British leaders from John Major to Theresa May, spoke at the event to launch his latest book, The Impossible Office? The History of the British Prime Minister.
Sir Anthony, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, said: ‘Saying Churchill was equivalent to Hitler – I just don’t know where to begin
Turning his attention to the current incumbent at No 10, he said: ‘Boris Johnson clearly has great flaws of being very short-term, very egotistical, not looking at detail, not being able to think ahead beyond the next gap.
And yet he has that ability to speak to the nation. He is a natural storyteller, he is an optimist and prime ministers need to be optimists as well as telling stories.
‘You need to have a vision for the nation.’
The Chalke Valley History Festival, which started as a small-scale village cricket club fundraiser in 2011, has grown into a world-renowned event featuring leading authors and broadcasters.
Covering 70 acres of Wiltshire’s picturesque Chalke Valley it has been sponsored by the Daily Mail since 2013 and now incorporates the History Festival for Schools.
This year’s festival finishes today with a schedule featuring talks by chemical weapons expert Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, a key Government adviser during the Salisbury Novichok attack, and top-selling historian Sir Antony Beevor on the trauma that hit Germany in 1945.
Last night Churchill’s grandson, the former Tory minister Sir Nicholas Soames, told The Mail on Sunday that attacks on his grandfather were fuelled by ‘the way students are led’. Speaking after his Chalke Valley talk, Chamberlain vs Churchill, he said: ‘I think there’s a lot of misunderstanding about Churchill and students need to understand the circumstances in which he became [wartime] prime minister.
‘It is very nuanced. The crimes assigned to Churchill were really in Imperial times. He was just trying to save his country and therefore the right to be educated and [for students] to now live the lives they do.’
Last night Churchill’s grandson, the former Tory minister Sir Nicholas Soames, told The Mail on Sunday that attacks on his grandfather were fuelled by ‘the way students are led’
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