1920-1939 | 1970-1979 | Backing dictatorships | Backing terror operations | Churchill's crimes | Italy | Northern Ireland



Mussolini with Hitler in Berlin in 1937
Bundesarchiv – CC License – Wikimedia

[ 3 July 1937 ]

Today in 1937, during a speech to his constituents at Wanstead, Winston Churchill reminded the crowd of his admiration for fascism. ‘If I had been an Italian,’ he confessed, ‘I should have been on Mussolini’s side fifteen years ago when he rescued his country from the horrible fate of sinking into violent communism.’1 These fascist sympathies were deep rooted, an aspect of his outlook which has been subsequently erased or overlooked by most historians. As early as 1927 when Churchill was Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Western Daily Press could comment that  ‘Mr. Churchill makes no secret of the fact that he has fallen under the thrall of Mussolini and would not be averse to follow in his footsteps.’ The newspaper then referenced a quote which was almost identical to the words he chose when speaking to his constituents ten years later. ‘If I had been an Italian’, he declared, ‘I should have been wholeheartedly with you from start to finish in your triumphant struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism.’2


[ 3 July 1972 ]

On 3 July 1972, after negotiations between the Ulster Defence Association, with its known links to Loyalist terrorism, the British Army agreed to allow Protestant paramilitaries, armed with batons and clubs, to patrol alongside them in the mixed Catholic-Protestant neighbourhood around March Street and Ainsworth Avenue in West Belfast. Official documents acknowledged that this arrangement was leading to an increase in intimidation and forcing Catholics to abandon their homes. Nevertheless, the policy of tolerating loyalist paramilitary patrols and roadblocks, while at the same time demolishing defensive barricades in Catholic residential areas, continued.3


  1. Winston Churchill cited in ‘Spanish Conflict,’ the Scotsman, 5 July 1937, p. 12.
  2. ‘Mr. Churchill and Fascism,’ the Western Daily Press, 27 January 1927, p. 6.
  3. Margaret Urwin, A State of Denial: British Collaboration with Loyalist Paramilitaries, Mercier Press, Cork, 2016, pp. 46-47.

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