Just about the greatest myth peddled about Winston Churchill is that he led a great anti-fascist crusade against the Axis power during World War II - his finest hour. What utter baloney. The man welcomed the coming to power of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler - viewing them as valuable bulwarks against communism. Churchill only became ‘anti-fascist’ when he felt that the British empire was threatened by the expanding ambitions of these rivals. Defending British imperial interests, not fighting a democratic crusade against fascism, was his aim during World War II.
Previously, Churchill had praised Mussolini to the skies - the man could do no wrong. Il Duce had “rendered a service to the whole world” by showing the “way to combat subversive forces”. In fact, Churchill thought, Mussolini was the “Roman genius” - the “greatest lawgiver among men”. Speaking in Rome in 1927, he told Italy’s Fascist Party: “If I had been an Italian, I would have been entirely with you from the beginning to the end of your victorious struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism.”
He heaped similar praise upon Hitler too. After the Nazis came to power, Churchill proclaimed in a 1935 article that if Britain was defeated like Germany had been in 1918, he hoped “we should find a champion as indomitable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations”. While all manner of “formidable transformations” were occurring in Europe, Churchill continued, corporal Hitler was “fighting his long, wearing battle for the German heart” - the story of that struggle “cannot be read without admiration for the courage, the perseverance and the vital force which enabled him to challenge, defy, conciliate or overcome all the authorities or resistances which barred his path”. If only things had been different, Britain could have done a deal with fascist Italy and Germany against the common enemy - ie, ‘international Bolshevism’.
The state is the product of irreconcilable class antagonisms, if it is a power standing above society and ‘increasingly alienating itself from it,’ it is clear that the liberation of the oppressed class is impossible, not only without a violent revolution, but also without the destruction of the apparatus of state power which was created by the ruling class and which is the embodiment of this 'alienation’.
Bolshevik Regiments Marching to Smolnyi (1918) One of the crack Bolshevik regiments marching to Smolnyi under banners emblazoned with All Power to the Soviets, Long Live the Revolution. Source: Albert Rhys Williams: Through the Russian Revolution. New York: Boni and Liveright. 1921.