Tuesday 6 November 2018

The Pope, Peron and other disastrous figures from history

General Peron was a socialist. He belonged to the Labor Party and was not, as I had thought, a fascist. He was one of the great disastrous leaders of history and dragged Argentina, which had been richer than Canada, from the First to the Third World. The Pope, who grew up under Peron and is often called a Peronist, has an immigration policy that if implemented would make Europe part of the Third World. 

He is in the eyes of many a very unsatisfactory defender and teacher of the faith, but be that as it may, his political views, which Catholics are free to ignore and do, are horribly misguided. I think he is a very poor climatologist too. 

Who were the worst political leaders in history, apart from Peron?

Without thinking too hard, I'd say:

Adolf Hitler, obviously. 

King Charles XII of Sweden, obviously.

President Francisco Solano López, the Paraguayan dictator who led his country into war with the Triple Alliance of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.

Leader of the Young Turks, Enver Pasha - had he allied with Britain instead of Germany, Turkey would now rule a peaceful Middle East and the Armenians would not have been massacred.

The Emperor Francis Joseph who destroyed European civilisation by declaring war on Serbia in 1914.

Perhaps Tsar Nicholas II for the same reason, though his declaration of war was justified.

Mussolini, who could have kept Italy out of the war.

Some would say James Buchanan, but I rather admire him and would instead choose Lincoln, responsible for an unjust and unnecessary civil war.

Lenin, unlike Hitler, was in his own terms a huge success.

If you are a Catholic, King Henry VIII.

George W. Bush, obviously.

Angela Merkel, obviously.


  1. The three worst political leaders of all time were

    1. Winston Churchill
    2. Winston Churchill
    3. Winston Churchill

    None of the others come anywhere close. He is the man who instead of concluding a phony war and putting his country and Empire’s interests first, turned it into a war of annihilation for his own personal glory and because he was a willing tool for those who paid off his gambling debts.

    He knew that in doing so, he was ending the British Empire because Roosevelt spelled this out very clearly to him before America joined that there would be no room in the new world order for European colonial empires.

    His deliberate choice to deceive the British public into thinking they were fighting to preserve their Empire when he knew they were fighting to destroy it, resulted not only in the loss of that empire but to the loss of national confidence and gelded the political Right not just in Britain and everywhere else so that no serious opposition to racial and cultural subversion could be made. Had Churchill ceased hostilities none of this would have happened.

    1. I think Churchill was an Edwardian who failed to understand how weak the British empire was. It was not Churchill, who until the war started was a powerless backbencher, who took Britain to war with Germany, but Chamberlain, Halifax and the Tory leadership, backed by public opinion.

    2. Alan Clark, who was a very insightful historian, thought that peace after the fall of France would have been a humiliation for England but peace after the Battle of Britain would not. Robert Tombs thinks that had we made peace we would have been lost our standing in the world and become a German satellite, but on the other hand we could have just been buying time, while Hitler and Stalin perhaps fought each other. Had we made peace I imagine, though one cannot be sure of course, that Japan would not have attacked us and therefore the USA would have remained neutral. My guess is that in those circumstances Russia would probably still have defeated Germany and united Germany under a Communist government.

    3. British and French did move a long way to the left as a result of the war and the war did fatally weaken the British and French empires, but they would not have survived into our times in any case, and nor would the old hierarchical, conservative order.

    4. British and French did move a long way to the left as a result of the war and the war did fatally weaken the British and French empires, but they would not have survived into our times in any case, and nor would the old hierarchical, conservative order.

      That order was doomed by the First World War. And Churchill played a definite role in starting that war.

      But the fatal mistake that destroyed Europe was Britain's entry into the Entente with France. Without the alliance with Britain the French would never have had the guts to go to war in 1914. And without the guarantee of French participation in war the Russians would have been much less bellicose and war might well have been averted.

      The British statesmen, diplomats and generals who dragged Britain into alliance with the French must count as the most disastrous leaders in history.

      Rule number one for the British should be - never ally with France.

    5. France on Saturday August 1, 1914 ordered a general mobilisation after Germany declared war against France's ally Russia. France did not then know if the UK would go to war with Germany. On August 3, 1914 Germany declared war on France and invaded neutral Belgium, which as Asquith said, simplified things for the UK. Britain sent an ultimatum to Germany, rejected by the Germans, to withdraw from Belgium. “The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime,” British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey remarked to a friend on the evening of August 3. Great Britain declared war on Germany the next day.

      I long thought we were wrong to go to war in 1914. Dr. Robert Tombs, whose 'The English and their History' I just read, thinks war was necessary for British self-defence and makes a powerful case. The subject deserves a blog post of it own.

  2. Woodrow Wilson perhaps? The First World War was a tragedy but western civilisation might have survived it had it not been for Wilson.

    1. Wilson was a disaster and the man who destroyed Austria Hungary, though I am not sure it would have survived even had he never been born. He is the archetypal Democrat in foreign affairs, though George W. Bush was a Wilsonian. I am not sure he did as much harm as the other people in my list, though. Central Europe would have been reorganised on ethnic lines without his help and the Peace Settlement would have probably been disastrous without him. Germany should have been treated much more harshly and broken up into small states.

    2. Germany should have been treated much more harshly and broken up into small states.

      That's actually what should have been done to the French in 1815.

    3. Why?

      The French have been a menace to civilisation for centuries. France was the birthplace of the Enlightenment. France supported the rebels in the American War of Independence, which led to the establishment of the first state organised upon the vicious principles of the Enlightenment. The French Revolution began the process of destroying European civilisation. The French Revolution exported atheism and other pernicious doctrines like egalitarianism.

      The French have always been nothing but trouble. You name a destructive intellectual pestilence and it nearly always turns out to have originated in France, from modern feminism (created by the ghastly Simone de Beauvoir) to postmodernism.

    4. I agree with that but after 1815 France was not a threat to the European comity of nations. It had become a satisfied power. The tragedy is that the two versions of the monarchy installed in 1814 and 1830 did not survive. Napoleon III was a tragic figure, tragic because he allowed Italy and Germany to be united. He united Romania too, something of which I approve

    5. Yes France has done huge harm and continues to do so with Macron. But I admire Dr Gaulle, who thought of restoring the monarchy, and, despite his republicanism, Clemenceau.