How the BBC Censored Churchill’s Speeches Against Appeasement

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


This is an important history lesson for anyone who thinks that state-owned media can in any way be informative or that politically correct censorship began recently.

He was finally invited to give a talk in 1934 and used this opportunity to warn of the danger of ignoring German rearmament. That broadcast demonstrated the impact Churchill could have had in warning the country against appeasement. It was not to be. This was his last radio appearance on the subject before the outbreak of war.

Churchill did complain to a young BBC producer who visited him on the day after Chamberlain returned home from Munich. A memo records their meeting. They spent hours discussing the Nazi threat and “Churchill complained that he had been very badly treated… and that he was always muzzled by the BBC”. The producer was called Guy Burgess. The man who would become his country’s most famous traitor tried to reassure the man who would become its saviour that the BBC was not biased.

Burgess proved to be a top Soviet agent who eventually fled to Moscow. And the BBC’s alienation of Churchill helped open up the television marketplace, marginalizing the Beeb.

Some years earlier, Churchill had taken a decision that would change television for good. He had decided to break the BBC monopoly that his old enemy John Reith had considered so vital for broadcasting. He did so in the face of Reith’s hysterical warning that commercial television would be as disastrous for Britain as “dog racing, smallpox and bubonic plague”. Indeed, that wild overstatement seems to have helped overcome Churchill’s initial doubts. The grand old man explained his conversion to his doctor, Lord Moran: “For 11 years, they kept me off the air. They prevented me from expressing views that proved to be right. Their behaviour has been tyrannical.”

  • PaulRevereNow

    To informed readers, there's no surprise here. Mr. Greenfield has made the point that the BBC was just as socialist and appeasement-inclined in 1934, as it is today. But I've always wanted to know what it was that caused the British people to turn Winston out to pasture, in July 1945. Churchill had won the war for the Allies–guiding England; the country that stood alone against the armed might of Germany, for 19 months. And yet, fickle British citizens kicked Winston out. I wonder, was it the entitlement mentality, do you think?

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.corrigan1 Don Corrigan

    Same problem with the CBC in Canada, PBS in US and other state run/subsidized media. How do we prevent major advertisers or major shareholders from subverting the MSM/enmedia. Thank the web and some forms of communication for unbiased info, for the time being.

    • stevef

      But in the USA the private media have for the most part also been infected by the Marxist virus.

      • Bob the Aussie

        Just like in Australia, exactly. Fortunately, the network 10 has been taken over by the world's richest woman and mining magnate and a staunch anti-communist Gina Rhinehard who is also pushing into the prominence Australia's best and most courageous journalist Andrew Bolt.

        And if the next year the local Australian Liberal Party (the local Conservatives) win election (increasingly likely scenario) w can expect rather substantial chages in the way the mass-media function. The most probable outcome will be the dismantling and privatisation of ABC ad SBS networks which are government owned and who have become the stinkngs bogs of the communo-fascist propaganda.

        The war against the degenerative processes in mass-media and changing of the way they operate will not be easy though as some 80% of the "journolistic" world here in Aussie consist of brainwashed leftists.

        In fact, the brutal purge on a gigantic scale is needed to save the country's cllective mind.

  • PaulRevereNow

    Nothing new here. Mr. Greenfield has proved that the BBC was just as socialistic, and appeasement-inclined in the 1930's as they are today. But perhaps you could write something on why the British people kicked Winston out, in July 1945. After all, Winston had kept England in the war, for 19 months,(until Pearl Harbor) almost single-handedly, and the Allies went on to defeat Germany & Japan. For all his efforts on their behalf, the British people voted Winston out, and Clement Attlee in, in 1945. Do you suppose it was their entitlement mentality?

  • FrankLee

    JFK once asked, " Why do we Democrats have to spend $1 million to reach a conclusion on an issue when the Republicans know the conclusion innately?"

  • stevef

    Wow!!! Truly a revelation re the early history of the BBC and Soviet infiltration.

  • Bob the Aussie

    It was the time when Churchil wasn't fuly aware yet of the extent of the collaboration between the Soviets and Nazis. Today, we know that Stalin used to sent personal letters to the communist leaders all over the Europe and urging them to work with the Nazis together. Hence the communist dominated pre-war trade unions' attempts to sabotage the war efforts in Canada, US and here in Australia before the 1941 invasion of Soviet Union.
    It is also a public secret that it was the French Communist Party which was the strongest in the entire Europe that concocted the term "we don't want to die for Polish Gdansk" and paralysed the Daladier's Government to such a degree that it was unable to fulfil its obligations towards the invaded Poland and help her militarily.
    We also know that Nazis and Commies in Germany have collaborated in the destruction of Weimar Republic. Ernest Thallmann, the boss of German Commies has received a personal letter from Stalin ordering him to work with Nazis.

  • Larry

    It gets even more interesting when you consider that the two men behind the push to establish the BBC were the Canadians, Lord Beaverbrook and William "Intrepid" Stephenson, both of whom were close associates of Churchill and also aware very early on of the threat posed by Nazism.