“The fascists of the future will call themselves anti-fascists.” -NOT Churchill!

Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill

The question

It comes to us frequently of late, and is always the same: “I’m a reporter writing to ask whether a certain quote attributed to Winston Churchill was actually spoken or written by him.

The quote is: ‘The fascists of the future will call themselves anti-fascists.’ There does not seem to be credible information on the internet linking those words to Churchill, but I would appreciate your input.”

Fascists and anti-fascists

We are very confident that Churchill made no pronouncement about fascists of the future. Not only because the quotation or parts of it does not come up in digital searches; but because Churchill didn’t use “fascist” in the generic sense—or as a pejorative against political opponents, as so frequently today. In most of the 97 times he used the word, he referred to specific entities. Examples: the pre-World War II Yugoslav Anti-fascist Coalition, or the postwar Italian Anti-fascist Council.

For Churchill to label a political opponent a fascist would be inconceivable. We might think he would have said that, say, about Clement Attlee, his socialist opposite and successor as Prime Minister in 1945. But Churchill would never think of it.

One of the striking things about The Churchill Documents, volume 22 (1945-51) is the civility of their discourse. In debate, Churchill criticized Attlee fiercely and often, and these criticisms are in the volume. Several times in the House of Commons, he called Attlee’s competence into question. Yet they both worked to keep channels open with each other, where mutually aligned in the nation’s interest. Churchill would brook no generic criticism of Attlee, who certainly could be accused of authoritarian impulses. On the floor they went at it hammers and tongs. Off the floor there was mutual respect. It was a relationship of cordiality and fairness…

Read The Whole Story At: Winstonchurchhill.hillsdale.edu

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