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One In Five Brits Think Churchill Never Existed?
Captain's Quarters ^ | Feb. 04, 2008 | Ed Morrissey

Posted on 02/04/2008 5:51:05 AM PST by jdm

Every once in a while, some pollster comes up with a survey that shows what idiots Westerners can be. They especially like to pick on Americans and their rather insular attitude towards geography, being unable in large numbers to actually find Iraq on a globe or to identify the correct continent for Guyana (South America, in case anyone asks). Jay Leno has a running gag on the Tonight Show where he goes out in the street and asks people simple questions and films them getting the answers spectacularly wrong.

So I have some sympathy with our friends in Britain this morning, who have to be slapping their heads with the results of a poll taken by a television production company that found 23% of their fellow countrymen didn't believe that Winston Churchill actually existed:

Britons are losing their grip on reality, according to a poll out Monday which showed that nearly a quarter think Winston Churchill was a myth while the majority reckon Sherlock Holmes was real.

The survey found that 47 percent thought the 12th century English king Richard the Lionheart was a myth.

And 23 percent thought World War II prime minister Churchill was made up. The same percentage thought Crimean War nurse Florence Nightingale did not actually exist.

Even more laughable, the man who most exemplified peaceful protest in this century also got relegated to mythical status. Mohandas Gandhi appears in the Top Ten of Mythical Creatures in this poll. In contrast, a majority -- 58% -- believed that Sherlock Holmes was in fact a real person, and not a fictional character from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's excellent novels.

One might forgive those who consider Richard Lionheart and the Duke of Wellington mythical. Especially with the former, the myths may have overtaken the actual history, to some extent. The British can afford to have a mythical Wellington now, even if they should be grateful for having an actual Wellington when they needed him most against Napoleon.

But Churchill? Not only was Churchill the truly indispensable man of World War II, he was also captured on miles of film. He served a second term as prime minister just fifty years ago. His descendants still work in politics and speak on ceremonial occasions that celebrate his life. Most critically, Churchill produced some of the most important volumes of history during his long lifetime which grace libraries around the world.

I mean, what more does a man have to do to gain some measure of immortality?

At least 23% of Americans don't believe that FDR or Abraham Lincoln never existed. Or at least I hope they don't. Maybe we shouldn't ask questions for which we'd rather not hear the answers.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: brits; churchill; myth; winstonchurchill; worldhistory; wwii
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1 posted on 02/04/2008 5:51:07 AM PST by jdm
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To: jdm

What is the percentage of ROP citizen in Great Britain now? Maybe they are just taking their cues from the president of Iran and disbelieving anything to do with WWII.


2 posted on 02/04/2008 5:53:52 AM PST by w1andsodidwe (Jimmy Carter allowed radical Islam to get a foothold in Iran.)
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To: jdm

I bet you 90% of Brits believe Christ never existed. Welcome to post-modern ignorance.


3 posted on 02/04/2008 5:54:51 AM PST by nwrep
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To: jdm

Sounds about like the approximate number of Islamics that have moved into Great Britian. Add that to their liberal education system and there is no surprise here...only sorrow.


4 posted on 02/04/2008 5:56:57 AM PST by Jeff Head (Freedom is not free...never has been, never will be. (www.dragonsfuryseries.com))
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To: nwrep
The Holocaust never happened. 9-11 was staged by the U.S. Government. Fire doesnt melt steel. Communism works. Hugo Chavez was elected democratically. I really have given up on society.
5 posted on 02/04/2008 5:58:16 AM PST by Long Island Pete
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To: jdm

LOL. Perhaps the 23% of those polled were composed mostly of immigrants.


6 posted on 02/04/2008 5:58:59 AM PST by kabar
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To: jdm

If Al Gore can’t prove that Churchill existed, then what right have you to say otherwise?


7 posted on 02/04/2008 5:59:04 AM PST by Brilliant
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To: Jeff Head

Really sad.


8 posted on 02/04/2008 5:59:09 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (ENERGY CRISIS made in Washington D. C.)
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To: jdm

Well, looking at pathetic Britain now, who would think that they had such a great leader only sixty years ago?


9 posted on 02/04/2008 6:00:15 AM PST by MBB1984
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To: jdm

I wouldn’t assume the poll was of Westerners, just because they were British.


10 posted on 02/04/2008 6:01:54 AM PST by 668 - Neighbor of the Beast ( There is still time........brother.)
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To: jdm

Ward maybe, but Winston???


11 posted on 02/04/2008 6:03:42 AM PST by NonValueAdded (What Would Hobson Choose?)
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To: jdm
In contrast, a majority -- 58% -- believed that Sherlock Holmes was in fact a real person

He wasn't?

How about Dr. Watson?

lol

12 posted on 02/04/2008 6:06:18 AM PST by SIDENET (Hubba Hubba...)
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To: jdm
I mean, what more does a man have to do to gain some measure of immortality?

Make a bad propaganda movie for nonexistent science, then win a Nobel Prize and Academy Award.
13 posted on 02/04/2008 6:07:43 AM PST by Kozak (Anti Shahada: There is no god named Allah, and Muhammed is a false prophet)
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To: jdm

Gee. I guess since I can remember Churchill being PM, it’ll be ‘off to the camps’ for me.


14 posted on 02/04/2008 6:08:32 AM PST by Roccus (RINOs: n. Conservatives who register as Republicans)
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To: nwrep
I bet you 90% of Brits believe Christ never existed. Welcome to post-modern ignorance.

I'll take that bet, esp. since England's largest religion is now Catholicism, due to large number of Polish immigants. What are we betting?

jas3

p.s. There is more film of Churchill than Christ.
15 posted on 02/04/2008 6:13:04 AM PST by jas3
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To: jdm
If the Duke of Wellington was mythical, who do they think invented Wellington boots? They really exist.

I remember once when Jay Leno asked someone in L.A. what the large body of water nearby was and the guy said "the Atlantic Ocean."

16 posted on 02/04/2008 6:14:50 AM PST by Verginius Rufus
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
Rush said,

For liberals, history starts either the day they were born or the day they woke up.

17 posted on 02/04/2008 6:18:52 AM PST by bmwcyle (What is the American voter thinking?)
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To: jdm

I recall reading here on FR not long ago (last fall, perhaps) that British history books used in the government school system no longer even mention Churchill. How they can cover WWII without mentioning him is beyond me, but he was apparently eliminated because he is not popular with Muslims and is considered “divisive.” If you will recall, Churchill had some very accurate words about Islam and its effect on the world...


18 posted on 02/04/2008 6:24:03 AM PST by livius
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To: jdm

This poll says something interesting about people beyond “gosh they’re dumb”. If you slowly allow the freedoms that great leaders like Churchill fought for to be taken from you bit by bit, the sacrifices of those leaders and the people that served with them become irrelevant. Churchill was real then...but he isn’t now because the people carrying his legacy are throwing it away.

Examining the state of the GOP leads me to think that Ronald Reagan never existed either...


19 posted on 02/04/2008 6:24:07 AM PST by Skip Ripley
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To: jdm

Wanna bet that half of black Americans cannot say who Lincoln was or what he contributed to their history?


20 posted on 02/04/2008 6:26:13 AM PST by CodeToad
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To: MBB1984

Well, even back then they wouldn’t listen to him all through the thirties, and then tossed him aside like so much rubbish when the war was over.


21 posted on 02/04/2008 6:27:08 AM PST by ichabod1 ("Self defense is not only our right, it is our duty." President Ronald Reagan)
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To: livius

It would be a good idea for the UK to remember those words...


22 posted on 02/04/2008 6:27:23 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (ENERGY CRISIS made in Washington D. C.)
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To: jdm

And we wonder why Ron Paul gets 10 percent support here.


23 posted on 02/04/2008 6:27:56 AM PST by OCCASparky (Steely-Eyed Killer of the Deep)
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To: jdm
I just Amazon-ordered a pair of CDs with speeches of Winston Churchill.

So, either I shouldn't expect to get them, or should immediately throw the fabrications away?

24 posted on 02/04/2008 6:28:05 AM PST by C210N (The television has mounted the most serious assault on Republicanism since Das Kapital.)
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To: jdm

Down the memory hole. I guess the Holmes numbers illustrates the potency of pop culture more than anything else.


25 posted on 02/04/2008 6:29:36 AM PST by SpringheelJack
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To: jdm

The Brits are falling off the map. They, who once was one of the most powerful empires on the planet, now rate about the level of Bangladesh. A county of idiots. A country of losers. Turning their country over to a bunch of Islamic murderers. Enjoy limies. You are soon to be nonexistent.


26 posted on 02/04/2008 6:30:43 AM PST by RetiredArmy (America wants socialism. It wants it all for free. It wants the government to provide all.)
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To: Verginius Rufus

Not to mention Beef Wellington...


27 posted on 02/04/2008 6:38:12 AM PST by Sudetenland (Mike Huckabee=Bill Clinton. Can we afford another Clinton in the White House...from either party?)
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To: jdm

Probably younger people who could care less about history and think WWII was just something that happened to Grandpa.


28 posted on 02/04/2008 6:39:05 AM PST by reagan_fanatic (The fix is in for McCain. God save the Republic.)
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To: jdm

And what do they believe about Hitler? This would be most revealing.


29 posted on 02/04/2008 6:39:37 AM PST by ThisLittleLightofMine
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To: CodeToad

Double down that 50 % of white school children don’t know either.


30 posted on 02/04/2008 6:40:47 AM PST by ThisLittleLightofMine
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To: OCCASparky
Yes, it is truly astounding that Ron Paul only polls at 10%.

I thought the number of tin-hat wearers was closer to 15%.
31 posted on 02/04/2008 6:41:04 AM PST by Sudetenland (Mike Huckabee=Bill Clinton. Can we afford another Clinton in the White House...from either party?)
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To: Sudetenland

It’s what Larry Elder refers to as the “Elivs Factor”. Sadly, he’s probably right.


32 posted on 02/04/2008 6:45:00 AM PST by OCCASparky (Steely-Eyed Killer of the Deep)
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To: jdm
Mohandas Gandhi appears in the Top Ten of Mythical Creatures in this poll.

You know, I could honestly agree with that.

The Gandhi Nobody Knows

33 posted on 02/04/2008 6:55:42 AM PST by Alex Murphy ("Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time." - Amos 5:13)
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To: jdm
Most critically, Churchill produced some of the most important volumes of history during his long lifetime which grace libraries around the world.

"The History of the English-Speaking Peoples" can't be read by British any more ... it's insensitive and exclusive.

34 posted on 02/04/2008 7:10:00 AM PST by Tax-chick ("Political zombies need brains, but they hunger only for taxes." ~ NicknamedBob)
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To: CodeToad
"Wanna bet that half of black Americans cannot say who Lincoln was or what he contributed to their history?"

Then after that question ask them who was the party of the KKK?

35 posted on 02/04/2008 7:15:07 AM PST by avacado
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To: jdm

36 posted on 02/04/2008 7:19:28 AM PST by xp38
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To: jdm

Not surprising.

These are the same dolts who think 9-11 was an inside job, that Bush lied about Iraqn that we never landed on the moon and that space aliens are visiting our planet.


37 posted on 02/04/2008 7:20:14 AM PST by BenLurkin
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To: All
I would like to see the actual methodology and the precise wording of the questions. It would be important to know for example how the subjects defined mythical themselves or understood the meaning of the word.

For example people often use the term “mythic” and “legendary” interchangeably. You could say Churchill or people could have heard Churchill described as a mythic character and mean that he was a real individual who myths grew up around. I could see someone saying that Elvis was a mythic individual and still know that he was a real person.
I find it hard to believe that if you sat someone down and was very clear about what precisely you were asking that many people would get things so wrong.
What is far more likely is that fictional characters are seen as real. It took a long conversation, to convince a very well educated person that Philip Nolan never existed.

38 posted on 02/04/2008 7:36:11 AM PST by Jonah Johansen ("Coming soon to a neighborhood near you")
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To: Jonah Johansen
What is far more likely is that fictional characters are seen as real. It took a long conversation, to convince a very well educated person that Philip Nolan never existed.

If you asked me whether Philip Nolan existed I'd say yes, because I'd assume you were talking about the horse rustler and spy who was killed in Texas in 1801.

39 posted on 02/04/2008 7:41:57 AM PST by SpringheelJack
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To: avacado

“who was the party of the KKK”

LOL! I bet a few might even say MLK!


40 posted on 02/04/2008 7:52:15 AM PST by CodeToad
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To: SpringheelJack
I used a bad example,sorry. Apparently Philip Nolan (The Man with No Country)really existed the story is historical fiction. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Man_Without_a_Country
41 posted on 02/04/2008 7:52:22 AM PST by Jonah Johansen ("Coming soon to a neighborhood near you")
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To: jdm
One thing to keep in mind is this "stuff" must be ignored to teach the children the most important things,....like getting the condom on the cucumber correctly. Why should they learn dry stuff like Washington and Lincoln when you could learn about whales and baby seals. There isn't enough hours in the day to cover the real Hitler when you have Bush in office. We've taken out teaching about God, and replaced it with important things like abortion, sodomy, and the greedy corporations. The indoctrination even does away with music and PE to get in more propaganda about global warming and fisting your girlfriend.( yes, there have been sex classes on this)

I'm 56 years old and received a good public education. What I don't know is my fault. In my lifetime, it has collapsed to a point my wife and I had to home school my daughter. If you are hoping or waiting for a change, your child will graduate with brain damage, and it's too late then. Public school is permanently broken, and can't be fixed, only shunned. The liberal administrations and teacher unions have a strangle hold on a system in a death spiral. You aren't going to "vote" in school boards and politicians to fix a dead dinosaur. There isn't enough time or money to fix something this broken. It's hurting America and killing our children.

I recently watched the movie "Idiocracy". I thought it ranked as one of the worst movies ever made, but since, have decided it is a "must see" for people wanting to see the future.

42 posted on 02/04/2008 7:53:12 AM PST by chuckles
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To: ThisLittleLightofMine

“Double down that 50 % of white school children...”

I wouldn’t take that bet. I know I would lose! Just ask what the “Emancipation proclamation” is and probably 97% wouldn’t have so much as a clue.


43 posted on 02/04/2008 7:54:38 AM PST by CodeToad
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To: jdm
What are they teaching in schools these days?

—Professor Kirke, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

44 posted on 02/04/2008 7:55:18 AM PST by Constitutionalist Conservative (Global Warming Heretic -- http://agw-heretic.blogspot.com)
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To: chuckles

“I recently watched the movie “Idiocracy”. I thought it ranked as one of the worst movies ever made”

Considering how accurate is was about our pop-culture, it was one of the best movies made and scarier than any Holloween flick.


45 posted on 02/04/2008 7:56:25 AM PST by CodeToad
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To: jdm
I come to these threads want to add insight and perspective, using alliteration with intelligence,...and just can't do it.

"Sheesh," is the only word I can think of.

5.56mm

46 posted on 02/04/2008 8:00:57 AM PST by M Kehoe
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To: jdm
So? The vast majority of Americans believe in man-made global warming.

I'd say the Brits are doing pretty well in the "reality" department!

47 posted on 02/04/2008 8:09:08 AM PST by Gritty (Abandoning faith in the unseen world, Europe seems to have lost faith in the seen one-Mark Steyn)
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To: Jonah Johansen; patton; neverdem; MHGinTN; theDentist
No, I think you’re “hoping” that the people responding are confusing “legendary” and “mythical.”

I’m more cynical = They REALLY DO THINK this way - because this is what they are taught by their press and “teachers” in school:

Then again, ask about a soccer player, tennis star, movie star, or Britney’s next/latest/past boyfriend.

The mob who worshipped their Roman gladiators while the barbarians invaded Europe have nothing on today’s socialists.

48 posted on 02/04/2008 8:18:02 AM PST by Robert A. Cook, PE (I can only donate monthly, but Hillary's ABBCNNBCBS continue to lie every day!)
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To: jdm

If liberal Brits are anything like American liberals, they probably feel Churchill was responsible for the Blitz.


49 posted on 02/04/2008 8:19:57 AM PST by N. Theknow (Kennedys: Can't drive, can't fly, can't ski, can't skipper a boat; but they know what's best for us)
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To: nwrep

A long time ago I saw a column by a British columnist (now deceased) who was amused by a recent book which claimed that Jesus Christ never existed. His comment was, “if that is true, then the Thirty Years’ War wasn’t necessary.”


50 posted on 02/04/2008 8:31:33 AM PST by Verginius Rufus
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