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Winston Churchill discussed ordering nuclear strikes on the Soviet Union in 1951

Winston Churchill said he would consider bombing Russia and China if he was Prime Minister during the Cold War, a newly-discovered memo has revealed.

The then-76-year-old World War II hero told former-US army officer Julius Ochs Adler that if he ‘could secure the agreement’ of the US government he would give the Soviet Union ‘an ultimatum’.

It would lay down certain conditions he would want the communist super-power – lead by dictator Joseph Stalin at the time – to obey, the memo from a meeting in Churchill’s Kent home on April 29, 1951, revealed. 

If they didn’t, Churchill said he would threaten to ‘atom bomb one of 20 or 30 cities’. 

If they still didn’t comply, one of their targets would be hit ‘and if necessary, additional ones’, he said.

He also ’embraced the possibility of adopting confrontational tactics such as bombing bases in China’.

The pair did not discuss exactly why Churchill wanted to bomb the two communist superpowers, but his disdain for the spread of communism was already widely known following his 1946 speech about an ‘iron curtain’ having descended across Europe. 

Their meeting also came in the midst of the Korean war where North Korean forces – backed by the USSR and China – engaged in battle with the US.

The conflict stemmed from fears of communist expansion in Asia after Stalin already consolidated his grip on the eastern half of Europe after the end of World War II.

Winston Churchill said he would consider bombing Russia (Joseph Stalin with Churchill, pictured) if he was Prime Minister during the Cold War, a newly-emerged memo has revealed

Winston Churchill said he would consider bombing Russia (Joseph Stalin with Churchill, pictured) if he was Prime Minister during the Cold War, a newly-emerged memo has revealed

A photograph on display at The Bradbury Science Museum shows the first thermonuclear test on October 31, 1952

A photograph on display at The Bradbury Science Museum shows the first thermonuclear test on October 31, 1952

Why did Churchill consider bombing Russia and China? 

A memo from a 1951 meeting between Winston Churchill and former-US army officer Julius Ochs Adler revealed that the wartime leader discussed bombing Russia and China if he was Prime Minister.

In the meeting at Churchill’s Kent home, the pair did not discuss exactly why Churchill wanted to bomb the two communist superpowers, but his disdain for the spread of communism was already widely known.

In 1946, Churchill made a famous speech in Fulton, Missouri, about an ‘iron curtain’ having descended across Europe.

He spoke with dark foreboding about a new menace, warning: ‘From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent.’ 

Their meeting also came in the midst of the Korean war where North Korean forces – backed by the USSR and China – engaged in battle with the US.

The conflict stemmed from fears of communist expansion in Asia after Stalin already consolidated his grip on the eastern half of Europe after the end of World War II.

The meeting also came amid the ever-growing arms race between the US and the USSR.

The first atomic bomb was tested by America in 1945. The USSR tested their own bomb in 1949.

Russia’s test sparked concern as America no longer had the ultimate monopoly on devastating atomic weaponry. 

Churchill became Prime Minister for the second time on October 26, 1951, and remained in the role until April 5, 1955.

After he returned to power, a nuclear attack against the USSR was never mentioned again. 

In the memo, seen by The Times, then-general manager of the New York Times Adler said the Churchill asked him how many atom bombs the US had stored away, and how many they guessed the Soviet Union had. 

When Adler said he didn’t know, Churchill went on.

Adler said: ‘He then startled us a second time by stating that if he were prime minister and could secure the agreement of our government, he would lay down conditions to Russia … an ultimatum. 

‘Upon their refusal, the Kremlin should be informed that unless they reconsidered, we would atom bomb one of 20 or 30 cities.’

Churchill explained that he thought Russia would still not consider agreeing with the requirements outlined. 

Adler said Churchill told him that when this happens ‘we should bomb one of their targets, and if necessary, additional ones’. 

The New York Times Company documents  – uncovered by historian Professor Richard Toye – also discussed China and Hong Kong, The Daily Express reports.

The files read: ‘Churchill embraced the possibility of adopting confrontational tactics such as bombing bases in China and troop concentrations north of the Yulu Rover.

‘Churchill readily assented, but when the proposal of withdrawing from Hong Kong was reached, he said “yes, even Hong Kong, if necessary”. 

The US believed Hong Kong should be given back to China – even though the British regained control of the area in 1945 after it was invaded by Japanese forces.

Churchill was willing to take British troops out of Hong Kong temporarily because if Britain launched an attack on China, the area would become a target in retaliation, Professor Toye said. 

The then-76-year-old World War II hero (left, with Stalin) told former-US army officer Julius Ochs Adler that if he 'could secure the agreement' of the US government he would give the Soviet Union 'an ultimatum'

The then-76-year-old World War II hero (left, with Stalin) told former-US army officer Julius Ochs Adler that if he ‘could secure the agreement’ of the US government he would give the Soviet Union ‘an ultimatum’

The document is not the first time Churchill’s opinions on Russia in the years between his two terms as PM have been laid bare.

A memorandum from the FBI archives, revealed in 2014, detailed how Britain’s wartime leader urged the United States to launch a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union to win the Cold War.

The document showed how Churchill made his views known to a visiting American politician in 1947. His first term as Prime Minister ended in 1945.

Churchill believed a pre-emptive strike on Stalin’s Russia might be the only way to stop Communism conquering the West.

Britain and the Soviet Union had been allies in the Second World War (Churchill, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Stalin in 1945) until 1945, the year Churchill lost office as Prime Minister

Britain and the Soviet Union had been allies in the Second World War (Churchill, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Stalin in 1945) until 1945, the year Churchill lost office as Prime Minister

The note, written by an FBI agent, reports that Churchill urged Right-wing Republican Senator Styles Bridges to persuade President Harry Truman to launch a nuclear attack which would ‘wipe out’ the Kremlin and make the Soviet Union a ‘very easy problem’ to deal with. 

The Russians would have been defenceless against a nuclear attack at that time – they did not successfully test their own atomic bomb until 1949.  

Britain and the Soviet Union had been allies in the Second World War until 1945, the year Churchill lost office as Prime Minister. 

But he was one of the first international statesmen to recognise the post-war threat posed by the USSR, and in 1946 made a famous speech in Fulton, Missouri, about an ‘iron curtain’ having descended across Europe as Stalin consolidated his grip on the eastern half of the continent. 

Churchill and Russia: What was Britain’s wartime hero’s attitude to the communist superpower?

Britain and the Soviet Union had been allies in the Second World War until 1945, the year Winston Churchill (pictured) lost office as Prime Minister

Britain and the Soviet Union had been allies in the Second World War until 1945, the year Winston Churchill (pictured) lost office as Prime Minister

 Britain and the Soviet Union had been allies in the Second World War until 1945, the year Winston Churchill lost office as Prime Minister.

Churchill had a good relationship with Stalin – and the pair even carved up Europe together on a so-called ‘naughty document’.

Britain’s wartime leader made the secret pact with Moscow in 1944 as the Allies closed in on victory over Nazi Germany. 

The sheet of paper showed the percentages of Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Yugoslavia which would be under Soviet or British control.  

The phrase ‘naughty document’ was coined by Churchill himself, who recognised that it could come over as ‘callous’. 

Churchill said his American allies would be ‘shocked if they saw how crudely he had put it’.

The document contains a handwritten tick believed to have been scrawled by Stalin as he approved the carve-up of post-war Europe. 

But relations quickly soured as Churchill was one of the first international statesmen to recognise the post-war threat posed by the USSR.

In 1946 made a famous speech in Fulton, Missouri, about an ‘iron curtain’ having descended across Europe as Joseph Stalin consolidated his grip on the eastern half of the continent

 He spoke with dark foreboding about a new menace, warning: ‘From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent.’ 

Churchill already expressed his hard-line attitudes towards Russia prior to his divisive speech. 

A memorandum from the FBI archives, revealed in 2014, detailed how Britain’s wartime leader urged the United States to launch a nuclear attack on the Soviet Union to win the Cold War.

The document showed how Churchill made his views known to a visiting American politician in 1947. His first term as Prime Minister ended in 1945.

Churchill had a good relationship with Stalin - and the pair even carved up Europe together on a so-called 'naughty document' (pictured)

Churchill had a good relationship with Stalin – and the pair even carved up Europe together on a so-called ‘naughty document’ (pictured)

Churchill believed a pre-emptive strike on Stalin’s Russia might be the only way to stop Communism conquering the West.

The note, written by an FBI agent, reports that Churchill urged Right-wing Republican Senator Styles Bridges to persuade President Harry Truman to launch a nuclear attack which would ‘wipe out’ the Kremlin and make the Soviet Union a ‘very easy problem’ to deal with. 

The Russians would have been defenceless against a nuclear attack at that time – they did not successfully test their own atomic bomb until 1949. 

Then, a memo from a meeting in on April 29, 1951, revealed that Churchill was concidering bombing Russian and China if he was Prime Minister during the Cold War, a newly-emerged memo has revealed.

The then-76-year-old World War II hero told former-US army officer Julius Ochs Adler that if he ‘could secure the agreement’ of the US government he would give the Soviet Union ‘an ultimatum’.

It would lay down certain conditions he would want the communist super-power – lead by dictator Joseph Stalin at the time – to obey, the memo from a meeting in Churchill’s Kent home revealed.

If they didn’t, Churchill said he ‘would atom bomb one of 20 or 30 cities’.

He also ’embraced the possibility of adopting confrontational tactics such as bombing bases in China’.

Churchill became Prime Minister for the second time on October 26, 1951 and remained in the role until 1955. 

After he returned to power, a nuclear attack against the USSR was never mentioned again.

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