1945: Churchill’s “Gestapo” speech
It was not his finest hour.
In the summer of 1945, the wartime coalition broke up and the parties campaigned in the first General Election campaign in nearly ten years.
Most expected Winston Churchill, rightly hailed as the nation’s wartime saviour, to lead the Tories to victory. But if this had ever been going to happen, Churchill did himself and the party serious harm with a vicious attack on Labour in a radio broadcast:
But I will go farther. I declare to you, from the bottom of my heart, that no Socialist system can be established without a political police. …No Socialist Government conducting the entire life and industry of the country could afford to allow free, sharp, or violently-worded expressions of public discontent. They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo…
The attack backfired. Voters were aghast that Churchill would level…
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