We have detected that you are using an older version of Internet Explorer and to have access to all the features on this site, you will need to update your browser to Internet Explorer 8. Alternatively, download Mozilla Firefox or Chrome.

Most overrated leader of WW2

LAURENCE REES: The single most overrated leader?

DAVID CESARANI: I think Churchill is terribly overrated. Churchill was saved by the men around him.

LAURENCE REES: Well, he saved Britain in May 1940 didn’t he?

DAVID CESARANI: He had a wonderful moment.

LAURENCE REES: What, one wonderful moment and then he was on the slide after that?

DAVID CESARANI: Yeah. I think Churchill is both underrated and overrated. But I prefer to talk about Montgomery.

LAURENCE REES: As the most overrated?

DAVID CESARANI: Yes, and not only in the military but also the political sphere, because, let’s remember, Montgomery was running coalition warfare. He was first of all running an Imperial Army in North Africa with lots of allies, not all of whom he got on very well with. New Zealand, Australians, he was constantly having arguments with them, treating them rather badly. And then of course his inability to hold together the coalition forces in Normandy. Now, unfortunately, Eisenhower wasn’t actually that much better, he just did it with a smile. But I think Montgomery is grossly overrated as a military leader and his political ineptitude is absolutely breathtaking. You know, how he ever became the Chief of the Imperial General Staff after the Second World War beggars the imagination.