Has anyone being linked to more military disasters than Churchill?

Gallipoli Norway, Greece, Singapore.
Even one should have left him a disgraced footnote in history, yet for some unfathomable reason he wasn’t Byng’d rather he kept falling upwards.

I think Hitler’s declaring war on the US and invasion of Russia would be much more in the way of disasters.

He was my first thought. Plus his meddling in military decisions throughout the war that lead to many defeats and unconditional surrender.

A big reason Churchill was “linked” to so many military disasters is that he was “linked” to a lot of military operations. He was the UK’s First Lord of the Admiralty at the outbreak of World War I, and became the UK’s Prime Minister early in World War II.

And for that matter, after Gallipoli, he didn’t fail upwards. He was sacked. He then served as a line officer on the Western Front for a year, before returning to Parliament and the government as Minister of Munitions - a position which very pointedly did not involve planning military operations.

He held several prominent positions in the 1920s, but by the 1930s was out of favor both among the general public and within his own party, and spent most of the decade in the political wilderness.

He finally returned to government in 1940, and when Neville Chamberlain presided over the Munich disaster, the Conservative party turned to him to become the PM as the only prominent Conservative MP that actually seemed to have any sort of plan to deal with Hitler.

He presided over other military disasters during World War II - but literally everyone did. Stalin and FDR had much worse military disasters on their watches than Churchill did. Name a prominent World War II general on either side - I pretty much guarantee they led at least one disastrous battle or campaign.

And there were some attempts after those other disasters to oust him, but at that point, there were no obvious alternatives, and a shaky consensus held among the UK’s political elite that the consequences of changing PMs again would be worse than the consequences of Churchill’s taste for military adventurism.

And then, before the war had even formally ended, he was booted out of office by the UK’s electorate.

He’d have had another major disaster in the Balkans in 1944 if he had had his way. His repeated calls for an invasion of the Istria peninsula had all of the hallmarks of a Churchill disaster; he wanted to send troops into an exposed position for reasons that were more political than military.

It was typical Churchill; throw some troops into a place with no good plan about what they were going to do and where they where supposed to be going after they got there.

Don’t get me wrong. Churchill had great gifts and he was the right man in the right place for most of the war. But he had some flaws as well and the UK is lucky his powers had limits.

Churchill wanted to preserve the British Empire, Roosevelt wanted countries to become democracies, and Stalin wanted to kill Germans and grab land.

This is a key part. Few men have ever been so closely involved in so much war, but from a level of command such that they weren’t able to actually get killed, and Churchiill stuck around after he was disgraced and forgotten where most men would have given up.

That said, Churchill really didn’t have a good sense of strategy. His strength was in inspiration and complete intransigence at the prospect of cutting a deal with Germany.

Here’s something I heard once, in The Great Courses series on Churchill, by the late J. Rufus Fears, which I have always found hard to believe. Fears suggested that when the Conservatives asked George VI to make Churchill Prime Minister, they did so under the assumption that Churchill would have no choice but to make peace with Nazi Germany. Having done so, he would then have to resign in disgrace (or be ousted by a vote of no confidence if he didn’t). At that point, they planned to make Lord Halifax the next PM. That would get Churchill out of the way, and let Halifax become PM without having to be the one to actually submit to Hitler.

Everybody was astonished when Churchill did not even consider making peace, but instead declared that Britain would fight on.

So, all you history folks out there. Is there anything to this idea, or is it in the category of wacky conspiracy theories? I’ve certainly never heard it even hinted at anywhere else.

That, and during WWII he was mostly limited to grand strategy type operations- dealing with the Roosevelts and Stalins, but not generally being a key player in the actual operational art involved in getting the job done. For example, he didn’t command anything or plan anything for Norway, Greece or Singapore- that was left to the actual military commanders.

Blaming Churchill for those is about as absurd as blaming Roosevelt for Pearl Harbor. Sure, they were in office when these things happened, but they weren’t in any kind of direct control over either.

It doesn’t match up to anything I’ve heard.

Churchill had returned to prominence at the time because he had always advocated resistance to Germany. There’s no reason why anyone would assume he planned on seeking an armistice.

And Chamberlain and George didn’t want Churchill and weren’t maneuvering for him to become PM. They wanted Halifax to have the job. But Churchill had become too big to ignore so they had to offer him the job and hope he would turn it down.

My automatic thought was Czar Nicholas II of Russia, first the surprise humiliating defeat of the Russo-Japanese War, then the disastrous performance of Russia in World War 1, and then finally losing the Russian Civil War.

That’s what I had thought as well. As I said, I had never heard that idea anywhere else, but then I’m by no means an expert either in history, or in the machinations of late 30s British politics.

Was his baby and he rightly paid the price for it

He agitated for it, and when it went south he only escaped blame since Chamberlain took the fall. His advice and presumptions were uniquely disastrous.

Greece 1940.
He sent troops from N Africa, where the Commonwealth was kicking Italian backsides all across the desert, and for what? It was always going to be a defeat and it ensured the N African campaign continued for 3 more years.

Churchills masterpiece. He was told many times that Singapore was vulnerable from the land side and ignored it until the Japanese were advancing from land (the local commanders had anticipated this and made plans, which they weren’t permitted to execute). Then he sends lots of men and material to a lost cause, many of which disembarked into captivity and denuding N Africa and home forces. Singapore the impregnable fell so quickly, the British still have a hard time talking about it.

In all cases he ordered operations againts the express advice of his military commanders and blamed them when disaster inevitably happened.

I think its revealing that Chuchilian disasters ended post 1942, when i) the Americans came in and their approval was needed and ii) Alan Brooke became Chief of Imperial General Staff and was a lot better at controlling Churchill than his predecessors and only allowing realistic operations to occur, like Greece 1944, (I agree with Little Nemo, a landing in Istria would have been a debacle).

Patton, Nimitz, Spruance, Hell even Bradley after Patton pulled his chestnuts out of the fire.

Nicholas wasn’t “linked” to the Russian Civil War in the sense of having a direct role in it, having been imprisoned before it started. (It did have disastrous consequences for him, but that’s something else.)

We shouldn’t forget Kaiser Wilhelm II, largely responsible for the overwhelming disaster of WWI.

On the military side, the Austro-Hungarian Chief of Staff, Franz Conrad von Hotzendorf not only helped push his country into a war that doomed the empire, he planned and presided over a series of military disasters, including the 1914 Serbian campaign (pushed back in disorder with overwhelming losses in spite of a substantial manpower advantage), failed offensive against Russia through Galicia with heavy casualties, horrendous defeat by Russia in the Brusilov offensive which essentially ended Austria-Hungary’s capacity to wage war without the help of Germany, and failed offensives against Italy in the Trentino. His Wikipedia entry notes in part:

“For decades he was celebrated as a great strategist, albeit one who was defeated in all his major campaigns. Historians now rate him as a failure whose grandiose plans were unrealistic. During his tenure, repeated military catastrophe brought the Austrian army to its near destruction.”

I think this question needs a lot more detail to be useful.

Are we asking who fucked-up the most in a single engagement or who made the worst strategic decision in history?

And there is a lot of overlap there.

Luigi Cadorna, who presided over some terrible Italian defeats in WWI. I once heard him characterized as that most dangerous of persons: full of energy but intensely stupid.

How in the hell did he lose against Russia? The second wave of Russian troops over the trench were unarmed, and instructed to pick up weapons from the guys killed in the first wave. Every Russian cartridge for the front had to be carried by sled over a frozen wasteland.

I’m sorry, I misremembered. The energy/stupidity quote was about Conrad Von Hotzendorf, a colossal knucklehead who thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread.