I think, perhaps, thesegastoner, your views on history are a trifle unusual. You pass over Stalin with a brief and approving nod, but both of the things you accused Churchill of can be more convicingly said of Uncle Joe.
As for whether one can enjoy Churchill as a character, I rather get the impression he was more personable than Stalin. He didn't terrify any of his friends into thinking he was going to have them executed, and none of his children defected to his worst enemy.
And of course Churchill ensured we live in a society where one is free to criticise authority, whereas Stalin created one where you could be murdered just for the suspicion of having reasons to be critical.
In the context of the culture of censoriousness and 'cancel culture' pervading the present: “What is needed is the right to print what one believes to be true, without having to fear bullying or blackmail from any side.” George Orwell. (1984)
Well, if we are looking at it that way, yes, Stalin united the Russian Federation the same way Hitler united parts of Europe.... There is this famous picture of Father Stalin with that little girl for propaganda reasons. The same girl and her whole family and their people were not soon after wiped out because they belonged to an undesirable lesser people.
Edit: My granddad has a whole picture album he took (forbiddenly) of the invasion of Russia. One picture shows the Wehrmacht soldiers being greeted by happy Russians, showering my granddad in flowers because they were celebrated as liberators. From Stalin. Talk about a rock and a hard place.
If one wants to get into history/politics, then this is a question about racial superiority (Churchill) vs. political beliefs/resistance (Stalin). Stalin united countries under a common goal, Churchill enslaved and "conquered" countries and let their indigenous people suffer and die for the pure benefit of his nation.
Where did Churchill enslave and conquer? I will grant you that he's widely blamed for the early 1940s famine in India, but I'm not sure I've ever seen it claimed that that was a deliberate and intended consequence of making food available for the war effort; however, I can't think of anywhere that Churchill was involved in taking over (I suppose you could make an argument for the Sudan, but that would be a grotesque oversimplification). Whereas Stalin united countries under a common goal through warfare, murder, terror, and ethnic cleansing of minorities; and the Ukranian famine caused by Stalin's policies is often reported as a planned genocide.
Apparently, the best way to judge two-metre social distancing is to imagine the size of a cow.
You know it would be strange to live life in a cage And only believe the things you see that are written on the page How easy would it be home in time for tea
Despite Churchill's obvious flaws, he was very much of his time and also his class. He kept this country believing when it was on it's arse and about to be steam-rolled and massacred by the Nazi war machine. So much so that when the war ended, Britain was in such poor shape it took us 3 decades to really recover. Parts of bombed out cities were still waste lands in the 70s and 80s.
I'm not a fan of some of his opinions and practices, but viewing history with todays values and sensibilities doesn't necessarily work that well.
I must admit I had a chuckle at some posts on this thread. It's lucky there's currently a box around Churchill's statue so we can't see the Olde English gesture he's making...
I'll resist the HUGE temptation to get too involved but in brief: those who insulted Churchill in life (and many did, even in wartime - MPs, hecklers, letter-writers) got a spoken or written reply in response - sometimes withering, sometimes even agreeing and frequently witty. Those who Stalin even thought had criticised him, or failed to lavish sufficient praise on him, were shot or sent to die in the gulags. In sheer murder-count, he might well be the most bloody dictator in human history, yes, even worse than the Nazis and that's saying something.
Churchill was a democrat, and British Prime Ministers do not have even the personal elected right to office of the U.S. or French presidents. Even at the height of his wartime power, a simple vote of no confidence in Parliament could have removed him in an instant if MPs had so chosen. (Even lack of sufficient support while winning a vote could have done this, as happened to his predecessor Chamberlain.)
When the British people voted him out in 1945, he went into loyal Oppostion and after six years (and some nifty policy changes), the British people voted him and his party back in.
Some people think he was a villain; I think he was and is our greatest national hero and it is to be hoped (since we never want to need saving from another horror like WWII) that he will remain so. In life, and after, he was and is disliked and revered and people were not and are not afraid to say so openly. That will always be his true victory.
My general approach is that Doctor Who is primarily entertainment for children and young adults, so I don't take as much issue with the naked (and sometimes literal) whitewashing of history. As adult fans, I think it's important that we be able to appreciate these stories for what they are, but also necessary for us to acknowledge their propagandistic elements--whether we think they're benign or not. In other words, I accept giving children simplistic, highly romanticized historical myths in lieu of history, but I expect them to eventually grow up and recognize that those simplified myths are just that.
So I think the problem here has less to do with how Doctor Who chooses to present problematic historical figures, and more with our peers who accept these sanded-down depictions at face value and insist on their accuracy, or try to placate them with equivocating nonsense like, "things were different back then," or, "everyone has flaws."
TL;DR Churchill was a monster, but I think it's fine that Doctor Who does not portray him as such. That said, I agree that presenting more accurate renditions of historical figures like Churchill would likely result in opening up many interesting story concepts. The Eleventh Doctor Meeting a Churchill who is just "a friend" is substantially less inherently compelling, I think, than the Eleventh Doctor meeting a Churchill who is very similar to a Dalek.
Last Edit: Jul 13, 2020 6:23:42 GMT by Kestrel: Typos
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