CHURCHILL, Winston S. Typed letter signed ("Winston S. Churchill"), to Admiral Beatty, Windsor Castle, 24 April 1927. 6 pages, 4to, Windsor Castle stationery, paper clip burn and pencil notations in top left corner (by a later, unknown hand). Marked "Personal, Private and Secret."
"A GREAT DEAL OF RED BLOOD": KILLING SEASON IN SHANGAI AND HANKOW
Churchill the imperialist lion is in full roar in this remarkable letter, written against the backdrop of Chiang Kai-shek's seizure of power and his ouster of British and Japanese bases in Nanking and Hankow. Churchill is itching for a fight: "I am sure Chamberlain is right in thinking Hankow the place above all others at which to strike... It was at Hankow that we received an affront and injury far greater than the disorders of Nanking." He thinks it was British weakness which caused the loss of their Chinese concession "and forced [us] to sign a most unworthy agreement with Chen." This sets a dangerous precedent as far as Britain's other colonies are concerned, and "it is this injury I wish to repair rather than what happened at Nanking." He wants to reclaim Britain's role in China by force, and thinks Her Majesty's Government should follow the example of the Japanese, who "made a most determined stand at Hankow, and in spite of being booted out of their Concession as we were out of ours, they fired with rifles and machine guns upon the mob and held their own without serious loss of life either to themselves or the Chinese...They seem resolute to maintain themselves at this point, and I should like to see us take our stand at their side."
Churchill is heartened, however, by the clashes between Chang Kai-shek's Koumitang and the "Bolshevist Russians." "I think...his split with the Reds is real. At any rate it is real enough for him to have shed a great deal of red blood." In April 1927 Chiang declared the Chinese Republic, with its capital in Nanking, and simultaneously unleashed a bloody assault upon the communists and other rivals for power. In Shangai alone, in April 1927, Chiang's forces murdered some 12,000 people. Massacres occurred in other cities across the country, triggering a decade of horrific civil war. Published in Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill, Companion Volume V, Part 1, 991.