Did Winston Churchill predict the rise of al-Qaida?
The legendary British statesman is often credited with saving Britain — and even Western civilization — through his leadership during World War II. He is also praised for recognizing the inevitability of confrontation with Hitler’s Germany when the British establishment believed Germany could be appeased.
But predict al-Qaida, the Islamist terror group that didn’t form until more than two decades after his death?
In his new book “Churchill: The Prophetic Statesman,” author and former presidential speechwriter James C. Humes says Churchill did something close to that in a 1921 speech to the House of Commons.
“He witnessed a radical militant Islamic sect that he asserted was more violent than any religious sect in history, willing to die in jihad to ensure heaven — the Wahabis,” Humes, who wrote speeches for several Republican presidents, explained to The Daily Caller in an interview.
“He predicted they would inflict violence and terror on the West. His grandson, Winston Churchill II, read passages to George W. Bush in 2007, in the Oval Office. If he didn’t quite predict 9/11, he did envision the type of al-Qaida terrorist who would carry the bomb or crash into buildings.”
Humes’ new book focuses on Churchill’s predictions, particularly those that came true. So what Churchill prophecy does Humes consider Churchill’s most remarkable?
“In 1910, as Home Secretary, he sent a memorandum to the War Department that Germany would invade France through neutral Belgium, that on the 20th day the French Army would collapse and be dispersed at the Meuse River and then on the 40th day the German advance would be stopped at the Marne River,” Hume said. “He was right precisely on both days. But the War Office dismissed it as ‘folly’ from someone who never rose above a lieutenant.”
See below TheDC’s full interview with Humes about his book, what books most influenced Churchill and which of the presidents he wrote speeches for was the smartest:
Why did you write the book and what do you say to those whose first reaction is, “not another Churchill book!”
It is the only book on Churchill that features and focuses only on his predictions.
What explains Churchill’s remarkable prescience?
A knowledge of history; the courage of a soldier, unlike Gallup poll politicians or play-it-safe bureaucrats, to risk political death by asserting ugly facts.
If you go to Churchill’s country home Chartwell, you are still able to see Churchill’s library stocked with books. Was he a voracious reader? Was he able to consume books quickly?
Yes, I’ve been to Chartwell many times. His fiction was sorted by author, his biographies by subject, the countries by region. There were thousands of books, all of which, over the years, he read at least once.