By Chris Hastings for The Mail on Sunday
Published: 01:49 GMT, 1 December 2019 | Updated: 02:01 GMT, 1 December 2019
Oscar-winning British actor Sir Mark Rylance was last night branded ‘ludicrous’ after he provoked outrage by likening Winston Churchill to Japan’s Emperor Hirohito, the wartime fascist leader who ordered atrocities against Allied troops.
In a new Channel 4 documentary, Sir Mark, 59, claims Churchill’s impassioned plea in 1941 to British troops in Hong Kong – then under colonial rule – urging them to fight to the last man to defend the Empire was akin to Hirohito’s orders to his own soldiers.
Sir Mark, who shot to fame in the BBC drama Wolf Hall, said he believed that British troops – like their Japanese counterparts – had been ‘fooled’ into fighting ‘by ideas of Empire’.
Sir Mark Rylance, pictured, has provoked outrage by likening Winston Churchill to Japan’s Emperor Hirohito, the wartime fascist leader who ordered atrocities against Allied troops
But Andrew Roberts, a biographer of Churchill and a leading military historian, said: ‘Sir Mark should not always, as he does so often, seek to blame his own country automatically for everything that goes wrong with the world. National self-hatred ought not to be his first point of contact. He ought to read some history instead.’
In the documentary, My Grandparents’ War, Sir Mark travels to Hong Kong to