a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons

zakare

Senior Member
USA
Hello,

Could someone please help me understand the following quote by Winston Churchill? I guess it's supposed to be humorous.

"If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons."

Is it to mean that Hitler is/was worse than the devil? And if so, what's this with the House of Commons?

Thanks
 
  • GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    The House of Commons is one of the houses of the British Parliament.

    Winston Churchill was Prime Minister of Great Britain during the Second World War.

    Hitler was the leader of Germany at that time.

    Britain was at war with Germany, which means that Hitler was the enemy of Britain. Germany was also at war with the Soviet Union, which had as its leader the brutal tyrant Stalin. The Soviet Union and Germany were at war because Germany had invaded the Soviet Union.

    The Prime Minister is always a member of Parliament. Churchill was a member of the House of Commons, and frequently spoke in the house.

    Churchill is here making reference to the principle of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." While Stalin was a monster, he was at least an enemy of Hitler, Britain's enemy, and therefore would have been spoken of favorably as an ally against Hitler. This does not show that Churchill admires Stalin: if the devil were fighting Hitler, then, as an enemy of Hitler, Hitler's other enemy, Churchill, would speak favorably of the devil. Churchill is obliquely comparing the Soviet Union to hell, and Stalin to the devil.

    The comment is not merely "supposed to be humorous"; it is certainly humorous.
     
    Last edited:

    zakare

    Senior Member
    USA
    Thank you, that was a very detailed explanation that raises no questions.

    Except one: Just out of curiousity, did you happen to know all of this before reading the question, or did you brush up on your history to answer?

    Thanks
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Are you asking me if, before reading your question, I knew that Churchill was Prime Minister of the UK during World War II????

    Did I know that during World War II, Germany invaded the Soviet Union, of which Stalin was the leader????

    Of course I knew this!!!!!!!

    Every item mentioned above is extremely common knowledge.
     

    zakare

    Senior Member
    USA
    OK, well if you put it like that, I guess so...

    but still impressive anyways? whatever -> compliment.
     
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