Churchill Was a Drunk… or was he?! – Doped WW2 Leaders Part 2

There’s no way of sugarcoating it; Winston
Churchill was a drunk. Or was he? I’m Indy Neidell and this is a World War Two special episode Winston Churchill is different things to different
people. To some, he is the greatest patriot Britons
have, leading them through their darkest hour with the imperial majesty of a lion. To others, a hopeless reactionary committed
to a racist and aristocratic worldview form the nineteenth century. But something everyone can agree on when it
comes to Churchill is that he loves to drink almost as much as he loves the British Empire. In fact, some people even say he is a high-functioning
alcoholic. Winston himself enjoys this image; playing
up to it when he can. But how much of a drunk is he? Find out in this special episode about the
very special relationship between a prime minister and his drink. You’ve probably heard some of the famous
drunk Winston stories. Perhaps the most infamous is the perhaps apocryphal
story when a female M.P. tells Winston he is disgustingly drunk, and he retorts: “yes
I am, and my dear you are ugly, but tomorrow I shall be sober and you will still be ugly’”. Now, stories like this are shrouded in a kind
of he-said/she-said mystery. But you can’t ignore the fact that there
is spirit-soaked trail of them running along his entire career. He really begins to develop a need for alcohol
during his time in India Though also an army officer, he joins the
Malakand Field Force in India as a journalist in the 1890’s. He finds the heat almost unbearable, with
water only being drinkable if cut with lime juice or whisky. Guess which one Churchill chooses. Before this point, he hadn’t ever really enjoyed
the spirit, but this experience ignites a lifelong relationship with it. Throughout his working life, Churchill will
now always be seen nursing a whiskey and soda. In 1931 he visits the States. Now, if you’ve been following our B2W series
on our TimeGhost channel, then you’ll know that America is still in the prohibition era. This doesn’t stop Churchill, who smuggles
a healthy supply of scotch. In New York he gets himself hit by a cab. He is rushed to hospital but only suffers
from a few cuts and bruises. Nevertheless, he still manages to get his
physician to secure him a prescription for more whiskey so that he can “deal” with
any pain. And Churchill by no means limits himself to
one spirit. His daily routine is to wake up early and
go over administrative matters in bed. Alongside this, he will have an ample breakfast
accompanied with a good bit of German white wine that the Brits call Hock. The rest of the morning, he nurse his trademark
whisky and soda, and then at lunch he gets really creative. A wine and sherry blend is sometimes drunk
before eating. If beef is on the menu, he’ll usually have
a good bit of beer. If stilton is present, he’ll treat himself
to some port. A bit of brandy never goes amiss after he’s
finished and he also reportedly always has liqueur handy if he wants to spice up his
coffee. But there is one tipple that he is really
passionate about. He loves it more than whisky, he loves it
more than the colonies, he loves it more than cigars. It is that sparkling wine named after the
idyllic region it is made in: Champagne. His favorite brand is the Pol Roger, which
he has ordered by the literal caseload since the early 1900’s.At dinner, it is reported
that he drinks this by the bucket. Later on life, he will admit that he could
not live without champagne, declaring that in victory it is deserved and in defeat, it
is needed. So this all sounds like Churchill spent most
of his life in the bottle. And his boozy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners
certainly are infamous, with the amount he consumes in one sitting a point of wonder
for any who witness it. But is he an out of control alcoholic? Well, it’s actually a little more complicated
than that. You see, while he can certainly put it away,
it is rare for anyone to see Winston off his tits. And when you look into it a bit more closely,
you can see why. For one, his drinking sessions are usually
alongside huge meals over long periods. The sumptuous food and frequent conversations
no doubt dilutes the oceans of alcohol entering his system. And those “bucket-loads” of champagne? Well, he actually “only” drinks a pint
of the stuff during meals. That may seem like a lot, but considering
his lunches take around two hours to finish, he levels his inebriation. As a matter of fact, in one of his frequent
musings on his beloved beverage, Churchill advices moderation in its consumption. In his account of the Malakand Field Force’s
campaign, he tells readers that: “A single glass of champagne imparts a feeling of exhilaration. The nerves are braced, the imagination is
agreeably stirred, the wits become more nimble. A bottle produces a contrary effect. Excess causes a comatose insensibility. So it is with war, and the quality of both
is best discovered by sipping.” And as for those regular scotch and sodas. Well, in reality, they are a lot more soda
than scotch. His private secretary will recall later in
life that “it was really a mouthwash. He used to get frightfully cross if it was
too strong.” Here’s the thing though, this ‘moderation’
is by normal standards not moderate, right. So how does he do it. Well, it’s safe to say that he’s an alcoholic
and a level drinker. Now, the body gets used to alcohol, so when
you drink all the time it will take much more booze to get you visibly drunk. Most of us pass out when we start approaching
2 pro-mille blood alcohol levels. Level drinkers can have above 4 pro-mille
and still walk, talk, and act as if they were sober. So by any medical definition, Churchill indeed
abuses alcohol. But he’s not actually as much of an out
of control drunk as you might think. Indeed, Churchill himself writes in his 1930
that “I had been brought up and trained to have the utmost contempt for people who
get drunk.” So, where does this image come from? Well, Churchill actually kind of enjoys it,
no doubt believing it strengthens his manly credentials. And he never misses an opportunity to play
up to it. He has a running joke with Frederick Lindemann,
his chief scientific wartime advisor. If the two men are in a dining room, Churchill
will exclaim: “Prof! pray calculate the amount of wine, champagne and spirits I have consumed
in my life and indicate how high they would reach in this room.” Lindemann will then get out his slide rule
and respond that unfortunately, it would be little more than a few inches, to which Churchill
will reply “how much to do, how little time remains!” So the whole thing is clearly a bit of a joke
to him. When he left active service as an officer
in 1916, he told his old troops that “Whatever else they may say of me as a soldier, at least
nobody can say I have ever failed to display a neat and proper appreciation of the virtues
of alcohol.” So like in a lot of things, the legend is
a bit more exciting than history. Nonetheless, there is no question that Churchill
consumes immense amounts of alcohol, and likes to remind people that he does so every chance
he gets. The reputation he has made for himself is
already being seized upon by Nazi propagandists. Though in 1940 their campaign against him
is only just getting started, the Nazi’s are already portraying the British prime-minister
as a drunken fool. And despite it all, this whisky-swilling aristocrat
is still somehow managing to lead his country through the Blitz. But let’s also not forget that like his
drinking is by 21st century standards an unhealthy addiction that defies moral standards, so
were many of his politics. For all of his achievements Churchill was
an instrumental figure in a racist, imperialist system, that subjugated, and at the least
accepted the death of millions to forward the interests of white British society.

100 thoughts on “Churchill Was a Drunk… or was he?! – Doped WW2 Leaders Part 2

  • We make an effort to approach history as unbiased as possible. The result is what we think is a balanced videos on Churchills alcohol (ab)use. For those of you who are new here, we are following World War Two Week by Week, in which we do pay a lot of attention to all those smaller but still significant events. If you would like to watch the series, make sure to subscribe and to click here to start watching from episode one:

    The TimeGhost team.

    STAY CIVIL AND POLITE we will delete any comments with personal insults, or attacks.
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  • Maybe he levels his inebriation, but the medical facts are there: That much leads to physical addiction AND to many types of damage including neurological and brain damage (Korsakoff's Syndrome for example). These can not be escaped from or mitigated, it's there in 100% of all cases of people who consume that much alcohol on a regular basis.

    You really have to wonder if you want your leaders to lose part of their thinking proces and other important neurological processes to alcohol if so much depends on it. Ask anyone who works in addict treatment: If you gave them one euro for every addict who claims to be "In control" while succumbing to their addiction, they would retire instantly and live like kings.

  • So What, the free world would not exist today if it was not for Churchhill! Churchhill is the greatest warrior in history in my opinion.

  • Ulysses S. Grant has some similarities to this, (though from the opposite end of the spectrum.) He has a reputation of being a drunk, but in truth, he drank less than most people of his time. However, this made him more susceptible, so when he drank, it affected him more than it did most people. So he'd go off on benders. It never affected his command, though, as he didn't drink when things were going on around him.

  • Playwrite Georgre Bernard Shaw, to Churchill, ''I have sent you a ticket for my new play, and one for a friend—if you have one.'' Churchill replied, can't make openning night, will go to the second show, if there is one''.

  • Churchill was a leader of a nation that needed a voice that evoked pride and hope. As a politician he was awful.
    He was that man, at that time. Booze and opioids and all.
    The US profiteered especially from WW1 and only joined WW2 post-Pearl Harbor. Cheers for that. Don't worry, we'll fight from Dunkirk to the Battle of Britain for you. No mention of Russia actually becoming the biggest threat to Hitler in the future European campaign till D-Day?!?
    God bless all the countries that held firm before the US needed Japanese bombers to force their hand!
    Greece lost 10% of its populous. They also fought so hard that Hitler's plans for Russia failed and he never took Moscow.
    The US became a superpower by abstaining from war both in WW1 & WW2 until they had to.
    Wonder what this channels take on selling arms to Turkey, for them only to invade Cyprus are based on US arms sales laws are?
    Send Kissinger? Too late. Just like the US was in both WW1 and WW2. Can the US economy survive without foreign interventionalist wars?
    That is a better question.

  • Woah… where did the woke hot-takes about “racists Imperialism”come from? Not what I would expect from this channel. I think I can safely say that most lovers of military history are NOT here for leftist white bashing, we get enough of that on a daily basis from everywhere else.😒

  • Churchill was most definitely a full-on alky but Hitler's amphetimine and other drug addictions were more severe…. Sure, he was a functioning alcoholic but the effects on his body, brain and mind were cummulative…. We can be thankful his drunker moments and orders were ignored by his generals or we would surely have lost the war…. Not a good tactition or nice guy but knew how to lead in a confused crisis (that him, his lot and The French most definitely formented with their impossibly harsh WW1 reparations on Germany et al..) – decisive, impulsive violence…. The modus operandi of your average drunk….

  • Handling your booze doesn't mean people will make excuses for your drinking. Believe me, I know. This is what's called "special treatment"

  • He was the best man for the job at the time! Nothing like throwing stones at a glass house by progressives that’s their favourite communication,casting stones while they wallow in their own filth.

  • Show me the evidence that he didn't care if millions of people died. Just prove it somehow, then I'll shut up. But if you cannot give me any reasonable evidence, it would be time for you to shut up.

  • Personally I don't care, he was there when he was desperately needed. JFK was a womanizer, does anyone doubt he was also there when needed?

  • Course he was a drunk. Who wouldn’t want to self medicate when your in charge of a very large empire in a time of crisis!🤣


  • Being an alcoholic doesn’t make you an out of control lunatic crashing through windows. Just that you rely on it to get through the day. More alcoholics around than you think, trust me.

  • Also, video unbiased, well good job until the last stretch, make a whole video on his drinking and end with " oh yeah he was a racist " really ?

  • Churchill was blamed for the debacle at Gallipoli (whereas the Royal Navy disobeyed orders and brought the massacre about). Where a modern politician would pout and say, "I said I'm sorry!" as if that was excuse enough, Churchill activated his army commission and went off to fight in the trenches. The man is a bloody hero.

  • They ran an ad for that kook AOC after the video, performing two good deeds in the process. They financially supported the World War 2 channel, and completely wasted their campaign money. I like win-win situations.

  • Churchill was a complete twat! The reason the working class did not vote him in again. Churchill was shocked, he thought his propaganda would con the voters. Only trouble was the voters were now in uniform and thousands of them were in daily contact, discussing and exchanging ideas. Not good for the Tory’s. How to stop this happening again? Stop all opportunities for the working class getting together. Destroy the unions, dismantle all large employers, Steel works, Railways, Coal pits ect, break them up and privatise them. Stop the working class gathering in pubs by banning smoking and raising tax on beer to ridiculous levels. Keep the proletariat at home so you can feed them bland propaganda via the BBC. Result! Tories back in power!

  • Bastard sent millions of young men into battle to be chopped up to pieces, in both world wars, then used his silver tongue to drag other countries into it. I'm not in the least surprised he drank, to make tolerable the bearing of his conscience. Rot in hell you fucking bastard.

  • "Maj. Heinrich Strasser: What is your nationality?
    Rick Blaine: I'm a drunkard.
    Capt. Louis Renault: That makes Rick a citizen of the world !"
    – Casablanca

  • You could say, one of the reasons why he wanted to put the liberation of France on high priority was more for liberating that Champagne.

  • Put it this way, in Britain am a heavy drinker, in France I would be a drinker in Russia I would be called a light drinker but in the USA I would be called a alcoholic.

  • Here in the States, our Puritanism never totally wore off. I was only a drunk for 2/3 years. I know Qinnie was a solid decent chap, and unstoppable as such.

  • Churchill suffered from PTSD.  He was abandoned by both his parents for all intentional purposes to a nanny and than to boarding schools.  He felt alone and abandoned.  He saw combat early in life around 1896 alongside Spanish forces in Cuba and continued to witness and experience war for the next five decades. U.S. Grant also needed booze to deal with PTSD.  Both Churchill and Grant were outstanding war time leaders by any global standard.

  • Can you imagine dealing with the heaviness of a World War where you're the only nation standing between Nazi Germany and global domination?

  • The British Empire ( white British society ) was no worse than ..Russian, Dutch, Ottoman, French , Spanish, Portuguese, Prussian, et al empires

  • Well, if he was a drunk then we need more drunkards today standing up to Putin, Jinping and the despots of today. "Drunk" Churchill certainly got more done that Chamberlain, Lebrun, Roosevelt and other non-drunks of the day who let Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito to grow and to thrive resulting in the deaths of 60,000,000 people the world 'round. "Drunk" Churchill clearly saw evil and fought it, not so "sober" leaders of the Western World. I'll take that "drunk" any day over a "sober" person.

  • This video reminds me a joke : during the time of Indian Empire two very distinguished English gentlemen Edwards and Charles find themselves all the end of the afternoon in their club in Bombay. But Edwards has to go back to London. Before parting, Charles, who is sorry, makes him promise to drink a whiskey to his memory every day at 6 pm in their London club. So every day Edwards arrives at the club and orders two Wiskys that he drinks one after another ceremoniously. One day he comes to the club and orders only one Wisky. James the Butler, who is aware of Edwards' promise to Charles, worries: "Did anything untoward happen to Mr. Charles?" – "Not at all but I decided to stop drinking"

  • Churchill suffered terribly from depression, which is caused by alcoholism. He might have lived a long time, but he spent most of it nursing the Black Dog.

  • You know you rather to be drunk before your people will remember you "the man who surrender his country to Nazis". His political party forced him to surrender, his logic forced him(to save British army), London bombs pressure him to surrender. His mind is like "let me take all the blame if we fail, so let me drunk".

  • Not sure if Indy is impersonating Churchill or emperor palpatine 😂😂
    Please Indy can you please do three lines for all us Star Wars fans…
    Its treason then
    And of course the best:

  • Is this why he always sounds so "Un-amused to have to give such a speech" (Besides an obviously horrifying war going on, with his own nation being bombed, and en-mass slaughter of innocents and all that world wide, with one round of the madness already in recent memory. Anyone would be a fool to just be full of positive energy and happy as a bird in such a time…) when those recordings of his speeches are listened to?
    His words are powerful, and have a deep message in them to be sure… but his tone sounds to be slightly …not as energetic as you would imagine reading the words only alone VS his delivery of them. Maybe it's just me as a non-native English speaker..

  • The best public speaker ever gave sow much maral whas always on the front line or in the tench pure lion. He wasn’t a sloppy drunk!whas he in the boar wars?

  • Indynihulylidilion year's from now.
    When the great Arch Duke Bishop Indy who spoketh war history like no man in history.
    I will probably be in another planet planting trees yes sir and speaking of the great historian named Indy Neidell.

  • At this point im convinced Churchill kept on fighting this war just to get the 80% champagne requisition by the germans lifted…

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