Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill was born in Blenheim Palace, on 30th November, 1874, just seven and a half months after his parents, Randolph Churchill, a Conservative politician and Jennie Jerome, the daughter of Leonard Jerome, a New York businessman, were married. His father was the third son of the seventh duke and a descendant of John Churchill, first duke of Marlborough. (1)

Clive Ponting, the author of Winston Churchill (1994) has pointed out: "Winston Churchill was born into the small, immensely influential and wealthy circle that still dominated English politics and society. For the whole of his life he remained an aristocrat at heart, deeply devoted to the interests of his family and drawing the majority of his friends and social acquaintances from the elite. From 1876 to 1880 he was brought up surrounded by servants amongst the splendors of the British ascendancy in Ireland." (2)

Churchill's relationship with his parents was typical of upper-class Victorian children. His childhood was largely spent in the nursery and he rarely saw his parents. He was a neglected child, even by the standards of aristocratic families of the time. He later commented: "Solitary trees if they grow at all, grow strong... a boy deprived of a father's care often develops, if he escape the perils of youth, an independence and vigour of thought which may restore in after life the heavy loss of early days." (3)

Churchill later said that he adored his mother, but from afar, "like the Evening Star". His only real emotional support as a boy came from his nanny, Elizabeth Everest. In his autobiography, he claimed "I loved my mother dearly - but at a distance. My nurse was my confidante. Mrs Everest it was who looked after me and tended all my wants. It was to her I poured out all my many troubles." (4)

Winston Churchill was sent to an expensive preparatory school, St George's at Ascot, just before his eighth birthday in November 1882. This was followed by a period in a boarding school in Brighton. He was considered to be a bright pupil with a phenomenal memory but he took little interest in subjects that did not stimulate him. It was claimed that he was "negligent, slovenly and perpetually late." He was very lonely and wrote to his mother: "I am wondering when you are coming to see me? I hope you are coming to see me soon... You must send someone to see me." (5)

In April 1888 Winston Churchill was sent to Harrow School. He was good in English and History but struggled in Latin and Mathematics. His behaviour remained bad. At the end of his first term his housemaster reported to his mother: "I do not think... that he is in any way wilfully troublesome: but his forgetfulness, carelessness, unpunctuality, and irregularity in every way, have really been so serious... As far as ability goes he ought to be at the top of his form, whereas he is at the bottom. Yet I do not think he is idle; only his energy is fitful, and when he gets to his work it is generally too late for him to do it well." (6)

It has been claimed that Randolph Churchill had a difficult relationship with his son: "As Winston Churchill used to tell his own children, he never had more than five conversations with his father - or not conversations of any length; and he always had the feeling that he didn't quite measure up to expectations. He spent his youth in the certainty, relentlessly rubbed in by Randolph, that he must be less clever than his father. Randolph had been to Eton, whereas it was thought safer to send young Winston to Harrow - partly because of his health (the air of the hill being deemed better for his fragile lungs than the dank air by the Thames) but really because Harrow, in those days, was supposed to be less intellectually demanding." (7)

Winston Churchill started his 16 month course at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst in September, 1893. During this period he had to witness the physical and mental decline of his father, who had served as Chancellor of the Exchequer, under Marquis of Salisbury. He experienced alternating phases of mania and euphoria. He was brought back from holiday in Canada in a straight-jacket. He died at the age of forty-five on 24th January 1895. His neurologist diagnosed his illness as syphilis, though it has recently been argued that his symptoms could have been caused by a tumour on the brain." (8)

Elizabeth Everest, his formal nanny also died that year. When he heard she was very ill, he visited the house she was living in Finsbury Park. Churchill wrote in My Early Life (1930): "Death came very easily to her. She had lived such an innocent and loving life of service to others and held such a simple faith that she had no fears at all, and did not seem to mind very much. She had been my dearest and most intimate friend during the whole of the twenty years I had lived." (9)

Churchill took a train from London to Harrow to tell his younger brother, Jack Churchill, the news, wanting to spare him the anguish of a telegram. Churchill told his mother: "He was awfully shocked, but tried not to show it." He added that he ordered a wreath in his mother's name, as "I thought you would like to send one". He also told her that "I shall never know such a friend again." Churchill organized the funeral making sure the "coffin was covered in wreaths" and later arranged for a headstone to be put on her grave." (10)

Churchill joined the Fourth Hussars in 1895 and he asked his mother to use her influence to get him posted to the Sudan, where Lord Kitchener was mounting a campaign to re-conquer the territory. She was unable to do this but she did manage to persuade General Bindon Blood to arrange for him to see active service on the North-West Frontier with the Malakand Field Service. Churchill welcomed the news with the words: "I have faith in my star - that I am intended to do something in the world." (11)

Churchill took part in the Battle of Omdurman in September, 1898. "Although British forces were outnumbered by more than two to one in facing a collection of 60,000 natives, they had the Maxim gun and their opponents did not. The result was less a battle than wholesale slaughter. The British and Egyptian armies killed about 10,000 and wounded at least another 15,000 and suffered only forty-eight killed and 428 wounded themselves." (12)

Churchill shot and killed at least three of the enemy with his Mauser pistol, was cool and courageous but lucky to survive a bout of hand-to-hand fighting in which 22 British officers and men lost their lives. However, it is estimated that over 30,000 of the enemy were killed. Churchill told his mother he had a "keen desire to kill several of these odious dervishes." He added that "another fifty or sixty casualties would have made our performance historic and made us proud of our race and our blood". (13)

While in the army Churchill supplied military reports for the Daily Telegraph and wrote books such as The Story of the Malakand Field Force (1898) and The River War (1899). According to John Charmley, Churchill became involved in writing as a means of entry into politics: "In this, as in his tireless self-promotion, Churchill showed himself a child of the new political age which dawned after the 1884 Reform Act... The old methods of electioneering would no longer do; it was necessary, if a larger audience was to be reached." (14)

In the spring of 1899 Churchill completed his tour of duty in India, returned home, and resigned his commission. By the time of the outbreak of the South African War, Churchill had negotiated a contract with The Morning Post which made him the highest-paid war correspondent of the day, with a salary of £250 per month with all his expenses paid. A fellow journalist, John Black Atkins, who worked for the Manchester Guardian, commented: "He (Churchill) was slim, slightly reddish-haired, pale, lively.. when the prospects of a career like that of his father, Lord Randolph, excited him, then such a gleam shone from him that he was almost transfigured. I had not before encountered this sort of ambition, unabashed, frankly egotistical, communicating its excitement, and extorting sympathy." (15)

Winston Churchill was on the way to the front-line in a military train when it was ambushed. After an exchange of fire, he was captured on 15th November, 1899. He was interned with other British captives in Pretoria. He told a fellow prisoner, Captain Aylmer Haldane, that he was keen to take advantage of his military exploits. He believed that his own heroism during the fight over the train would significantly enhance his chances of getting into Parliament. In an attempt to gain his freedom he wrote to the Boer authorities: "I have consistently adhered to my character as a press representative, taking no part in the defence of the armoured train and being quite unarmed." (16)

Paul Addison, one of his biographers, has pointed out: "Later it was sometimes alleged that Churchill gave his word to his captors that if released he would not take up arms against them, and subsequently broke his parole. As no promise to release him was ever made, this was untrue. But he did persuade Captain Aylmer Haldane and Sergeant-Major Brockie to include him in their escape plan, on the understanding that all three would leave together. In the event Churchill climbed out first and, finding that his fellow escapees were unable to join him, set off on his own. After a series of adventures worthy of John Buchan's hero Richard Hannay he escaped via Portuguese East Africa and arrived in triumph in Durban." (17)

Churchill was portrayed in the British national newspapers as "the heroic Briton who had outwitted the Boers". Over the next six months he reported on a series of military successes. He was later accused of double standards in his reporting. The British used dum-dum bullets against the Boers even though that had been prohibited for use in international warfare by the Hague Convention of 1899. However, when the Boers used them he described them as "illegal" and "improper" and thought they illustrated their "dark and spiteful character", adding that a person who was fully human would not use them. (18)

Churchill accompanied Lord Frederick Roberts on his march through the Orange Free State. He reported on the Battle of Paardeberg (27th February 1900) where Roberts forced the Boer General Piet Cronjé to surrender with some 4,000 men and the capture of the Free State capital Bloemfontein (13th March). Roberts resumed his offensive towards the Transvaal, capturing its capital Pretoria on 31st May. (19)

1900 General Election

In June 1900 Churchill returned to Britain as "a famous figure in every British household with access to a newspaper". He went on a lecture tour of England and the United States amassing the tremendous sum of £10,000. He also wrote about his experiences in the book, London to Ladysmith (1900). A member of the Conservative Party he was selected as the prospective parliamentary candidate for Oldham. (20)

On 25th July, a motion on the Boer War, caused a three way split in the Liberal Party. A total of 40 "Liberal Imperialists" that included Herbert Asquith, Edward Grey, Richard Haldane, and Archibald Primrose, Lord Rosebery, supported the government's policy in South Africa. Henry Campbell-Bannerman and 34 others abstained, whereas 31 Liberals, led by David Lloyd George voted against the motion.

Robert Cecil, the Marquess of Salisbury, decided to take advantage of the divided Liberal Party and on 25th September 1900, he dissolved Parliament and called a general election. Lloyd George, admitted in one speech he was in a minority but it was his duty as a member of the House of Commons to give his constituents honest advice. He went on to make an attack on Tory jingoism. "The man who tries to make the flag an object of a single party is a greater traitor to that flag than the man who fires upon it." (21)

Henry Campbell-Bannerman with a difficult task of holding together the strongly divided Liberal Party and they were unsurprisingly defeated in the 1900 General Election. The Conservative Party won 402 seats against the 183 achieved by Liberal Party. However, anti-war MPs did better than those who defended the war. David Lloyd George increased the size of his majority in Caernarvon Borough. Other anti-war MPs such as Henry Labouchere and John Burns both increased their majorities. In Wales, of ten Liberal candidates hostile to the war, nine were returned, while in Scotland every major critic was victorious. (22)

Churchill became the Tory MP for Oldham, a largely working-class area. He was part of a highly undemocratic political system where the majority of adults could not vote in elections. All women were denied the franchise and about 40 per cent of men were excluded and many others had more than one vote through additional business votes. Churchill defended the system on the grounds that it made "government dignified and easy and the intercourse with foreign states more cordial" and in an act of self-denial wrote, "parliament was elected on a democratic franchise". (23)

Edward T. Reed, Winston Churchill (27th February, 1901)
Edward T. Reed, Winston Churchill (27th February, 1901)

Churchill gave the impression he was very ambitious and people who met him tended to be very critical of his personality. He came "across as overbearing, wearing people down by his refusal to stop talking about himself or politics, his two real interests in life". Churchill did not seem interested in other people or what they thought and therefore found it difficult to make close personal relationships. The veteran politician, Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke, described him as "about the most ambitious man I had ever met". Henry Cabot Lodge, the American diplomat, wrote to President Theodore Roosevelt about Churchill, saying, "I have met him several times. He is undoubtedly clever but conceited to a degree which it is hard to express either in words or figures." (24)

Beatrice Webb was also under whelmed when she met him for the first time: "First impression: restless - almost intolerably so, without capacity for sustained and unexciting labour - egotistical, bumptious, shallow-minded and reactionary, but with a certain personal magnetism, great pluck and some originality - not of intellect but of character. More of the American speculator than the English aristocrat. Talked exclusively about himself and his electioneering plans... But I daresay he has a better side - which the ordinary cheap cynicism of his position and career covers up to a casual dinner acquaintance. Bound to be unpopular - too unpleasant a flavour with his restless, self-regarding personality, and lack of moral or intellectual refinement... His bugbears are Labour, N.U.T. and expenditure on elementary education or on the social services. Defines the higher education as the opportunity for the 'brainy man' to come to the top. No notion of scientific research, philosophy, literature or art: still less of religion. But his pluck, courage, resourcefulness and great tradition may carry him far unless he knocks himself to pieces like his father." (25)

Winston Churchill made few speeches in the House of Commons. He preferred to give lectures where he was paid large sums of money. In 1901 he earned £690 for 14 lectures. When he did speak in Parliament it was usually to attack the government on its spending proposals. It was based on the idea that was employed by his father when he first entered Parliament. It was believed that if a backbencher made life difficult on certain selected issues they would attract attention and encourage the offer of a ministerial post to ensure their silence. (26)

Free Trade

On 11th July 1902, Arthur Balfour became Prime Minister. Churchill was disappointed when he was not offered a job in the government. Churchill now wrote that what was needed was a "government of the middle - the party which shall be free at once from the sordid selfishness and callousness of Toryism on the one hand and the blind appetites of the Radical masses on the other." (27)

In that year's budget the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Michael Hicks Beach, imposed what he called a small "registration duty" on imported wheat in order to provide extra money to finance war expenditure. Churchill spoke in favour in Parliament, voted for it and defended it in public to his constituents, arguing that a tax on food was justified because "it is the most convenient method of raising the money... and because unless the whole community bear a share in the burden of taxation, what check is there upon expenditure." (28)

On 15th May 1903, Joseph Chamberlain, the Colonial Secretary, exploded a political bombshell with a speech in Birmingham advocating a system of preferential colonial tariffs. Herbert Asquith was convinced that Chamberlain had made a serious political mistake and after reading a report of the speech in The Times he told his wife: "Wonderful news today and it is only a question of time when we shall sweep the country". (29) It has been claimed that Chamberlain was undermining the leadership of Arthur Balfour. "A Prime Minister who has not won his own position is always vulnerable, and when the most powerful figure in the Conservative and Unionist alliance chose to challenge one of the fundamental dogmas of British politics, that vulnerability." (30)

Churchill made his opposition to tariff reform clear in a letter to Balfour and said that if he disavowed Chamberlain, he "would command my absolute loyalty", but warned that if tariff reform became party policy "I must reconsider my position in politics". (31) In a speech in the House of Commons he argued: "The idea of giving a preference to the colonies in matters which we must in any case tax for revenue, has now been extended to a definite proposal for the taxation of foodstuffs, and although it is perfectly clear that this proposal of protective duties on food will please agriculturists, or, at any rate, will please the bulk of them, what about the working man?" (32)

On 1st July, 1903, Churchill was one of 53 Conservative MPs who established a Free Food League. However, they were outnumbered by those supporting tariff reform. Churchill was aware that his Oldham constituency was strongly pro-free trade and he began to consider the possibility of leaving the Conservative Party. He wrote to Hugh Cecil: "I am an English Liberal. I hate the Tory party, their men, their words and their methods. I feel no sort of sympathy with them." He added that he considered the Liberal Party as the best refuge "against the twin assaults of capital and labour." (33)

Churchill predicted that "tariff reform" or "protection" would result in a landslide victory for the Liberals at the next election. It would be such a disaster that the "old Conservative Party" would "disappear" and be replaced by a new party that would be "rich, materialist and secular". In a letter to Lord Northcliffe, he complained of "the smug contentment and self-satisfaction of the Government, neither Protectionist nor pro-Boer, which will deal with the shocking administrative inefficiency which prevails". (34)

Churchill became convinced that the Liberal Party would win Oldham at the next general election because of the town's views on free trade. Churchill had several meetings with senior Liberal figures such as David Lloyd George and Herbert Gladstone about the possibility of switching parties. It was agreed that on 14th February 1904 he would vote with the Liberals on a Free Trade motion in the House of Commons. However, it was not until the 29th March that he told Parliament that he intended joining the Liberals. In protest, all the Conservative Party MPs walked out of the chamber. (35)

Randolph S. Churchill, the author of Winston Churchill (1967) pointed out: "He (Churchill) entered the Chamber of the House of Commons, stood for a moment at the Bar, looked briefly at both the Government and Opposition benches and strode swiftly up the aisle. He bowed to the Speaker and turned sharply to his right to the Liberal benches. He sat down next to Lloyd George in a seat that his father had occupied when in opposition - indeed, the same seat on which Lord Randolph had stood waving his handkerchief to cheer the downfall of Gladstone in 1885." (36)

Churchill argued that David Lloyd George was a major influence on his early political life: "Naturally such a man greatly influenced me. When I crossed the floor of the House and left the Conservative Party in 1904, it was by his side I took my seat." (37) It has been argued that Lloyd George became a father figure to Churchill. John Grigg, Lloyd George's biographer, has claimed that "Churchill soon fell under Lloyd George's spell and for the rest of his life never ceased to regard the Welshman as his master." (38)

Winston Churchill in 1904
Winston Churchill in 1904

Robert Lloyd George has argued that there were political reasons for this relationship. "Churchill looked up to the older man, and sought to his counsel and advice. He wanted to demonstrate his commitment to the Liberal Party by moving towards its more radical wing, which was led by Lloyd George. At this stage Churchill was still, in many ways, the overgrown schoolboy - a genius, certainly, but impetuous, impressionable, grasping the ideas of Liberalism with all the passion of a convert to a new religion, anxious to prove his sincerity and commitment before the older acolytes of the faith." (39)

Lloyd George's devoted secretary and mistress, Frances Stevenson, provides an interesting insight into the relationship. "The plain fact was he (Lloyd George) had not much time for friendship... There was an aloof and withdrawn quality, an essential secretiveness which forbade access to any abiding intimacy... In his relations with Churchill there was a difference... From the earliest political days these two were strangely and prophetically drawn together. Each divined in the other, the quality of genius, which separated them from the ordinary run of men, and drew them together - the village boy and the Duke's grandson." (40)

Violet Bonham Carter argued that "Lloyd George and Churchill had the closest, and in some ways the most incongruous alliance... the most curious and surprising feature of their partnership was that while it exercised no influence whatsoever on Lloyd George, politically or otherwise, it directed, shaped and coloured Winston Churchill's mental attitude and his political course during the next few years. Lloyd George was throughout the dominant partner. His was the only personal leadership I have ever known Winston to accept unquestioningly in his whole political career. He was fascinated by a mind more swift and agile than his own, by its fertility and resource, by its uncanny intuition and gymnastic nimbleness and by a political sophistication which he lacked." (41)

A few days after he left the Conservative Party he admitted to a close friend he might have made a mistake as Arthur Balfour seemed to be turning against the idea of tariff reform: "As the Free Trade issue subsides it leaves my personal ambitions naked and stranded on the beach." (42) Michael Hicks Beach, warned Churchill that "Radical tendencies in a Tory, or Tory tendencies in a Radical, however agreeable to the conscience, handicap a man severely on the run." (43) As the historian, John Charmley, has pointed out: "There is no room in politics for an independent Conservative. Every political Party values loyalty above independence of judgment, but only the Conservatives regard it as the ark of the covenant." (44) Edward VII put it slightly differently: "Churchill is a born cad." (45)

Churchill was now selected to stand for the Liberal Party in North West Manchester. Under pressure from the British Brothers' League, the Conservative government introduced an Alien Act, an attempt to reduce immigration to Britain. Balfour claimed that the measure would save money for the country. "Why should we admit into this country people likely to become a public charge? Many countries which exclude immigrants have no Poor Laws they have not those great charities of which we justly boast. The immigrant comes in at his own peril and perishes if he cannot find a living. That is not the case here. From the famous statute of Elizabeth we have taken on ourselves the obligation of supporting every man, woman, and child in this country and saving them from starvation. Is the statute of Elizabeth to have European extension? Are we to be bound to support every man, woman, and child incapable of supporting themselves who choose to come to our shores? That argument seems to me to be preposterous. When it is remembered that some of these persons are a most undesirable element in the population, and are not likely to produce the healthy children... but are afflicted with disease either of mind or of body, which makes them intrinsically undesirable citizens, surely the fact that they are likely to become a public charge is a double reason for keeping them out of the country." (46)

Although the word "Jew" was absent from the legislation, Jews formed the vast bulk of the "aliens" category. Speaking during the committee stage of the Alien Bill, Balfour argued that Jews should be prevented from arriving in Britain because they were not "to the advantage of the civilization of this country... that there should be an immense body of persons who, however patriotic, able and industrious, however much they threw themselves into the national life, they are a people apart and not only had a religion differing from the vast majority of their fellow countrymen but only intermarry amongst themselves." (47)

The Liberal Party did not strongly oppose this proposed measure but Churchill was aware of the significant number of Jews in his constituency. He did not oppose the legislation on moral grounds but that it would be ineffective. "By the admission of the Home Secretary the following case might occur: a ship with 300 immigrants on board arrived at a scheduled port, 285 passed the various tests, and were allowed to land and go forward as trans migrants, while the fifteen who were rejected simply went on to another port in another ship in possession of the same line of steamers, and got in there. He submitted to the Home Secretary that the machinery he was setting up would result in the residuum of immigrants rejected at any one of he specified ports going on to other ports not scheduled, and landing there with perfect impunity." (48)

Arthur Balfour now began to have second thoughts on this policy of Free Trade and warned Joseph Chamberlain about the impact on the electorate in the next general election: "The prejudice against a small tax on food is not the fad of a few imperfectly informed theorists, it is a deep rooted prejudice affecting a large mass of voters, especially the poorest class, which it will be a matter of extreme difficulty to overcome." (49)

Asquith made speeches that attempted to frighten the growing working-class electorate "to whom cheap food had been a much cherished boon for the last quarter of a century and it annoyed the middle class who saw the prospect of a reduction in the purchasing power of their fixed incomes." As well as splitting the Conservative Party it united "the Liberals who had been hitherto hopelessly divided on all the main political issues." (50)

Churchill now concentrated on writing his father's biography. Churchill wrote to most of Lord Randolph's former colleagues in the Conservative Party and asked them for help with the book. Most of them refused as they were still angry by his recent defection to the Liberals. "Churchill chose to represent his father's career as a Greek tragedy. He portrays his father not as a man of ambition but as a man of principle who invented 'Tory Democracy' in the early 1880s... Lord Randolph's resignation is seen as a supreme act of self-sacrifice, undertaken for the cause of public economy and as a result of deep political differences between Lord Randolph and Lord Salisbury rather than personal incompatibility or clashing ambitions." (51)

John Charmley has argued convincingly that the book, Lord Randolph Churchill (1905) "established its author's reputation as an historian, but that was only half its work; the other half was to establish the suitability of its hero as a role-model for his son." (52) Lord Randolph is presented as the true heir of Benjamin Disraeli who had been destroyed by the reactionaries in the Tory Party. Wilfred Scawen Blunt wrote in his diary that Churchill was "playing precisely his father's game" and was now looking "to a leadership of the Liberal Party and an opportunity of full vengeance on those who caused his father's death." (53)

Arthur Balfour resigned on 4th December 1905. Henry Campbell-Bannerman became the next prime minister. He immediate called for the dissolution of Parliament. The 1906 General Election took place the following month. The Liberal Party won 397 seats (48.9%) compared to the Conservative Party's 156 seats (43.4%). The Labour Party, led by Keir Hardie did well, increasing their seats from 2 to 29. In the landslide victory Balfour lost his seat as did most of his cabinet ministers. Margot Asquith wrote: "When the final figures of the Elections were published everyone was stunned, and it certainly looks as if it were the end of the great Tory Party as we have known it." (54)

Campbell-Bannerman appointed H. H. Asquith as Chancellor of the Exchequer. Other important appointments included Edward Grey (Foreign Secretary), David Lloyd George (Board of Trade), Richard Haldane (Secretary of State for War) and John Burns (President of the Local Government Board). Campbell-Bannerman announced that: "Our purpose is to substitute morality for egoism, honesty for honour, principles for usages, duties for properties, the empire of reason for the tyranny of fashion; dignity for insolence, nobleness for vanity, love of glory for the love of lucre... powerful and happy people for an amiable, frivolous and wretched people: that is to say every virtue of a Republic that will replace the vices and absurdities of a Monarchy." (55)

On 15th November, 1899, Churchill volunteered for an early-morning reconnaissance mission on an armoured train, which was a steam engine pulling iron-clad carriages. The Boers blew up the railway line and derailed the engine, before mounting an attack by armed horsemen. The commanding officer was killed and despite his non-combatant status, Churchill took charge of the situation. He tried to get the engine back on the rails and reverse it towards the British camp. After an exchange of fire, he was captured. (56)

Winston Churchill won North West Manchester and Campbell-Bannerman appointed him as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. He selected Edward Marsh as his Private Secretary, "an aesthete involved in many aspects of the arts world and also at the centre of the homosexual circle in Edwardian society." Almost immediately they became devoted to each other and Marsh held the post for the next 23 years. Churchill wrote that "Few people have been so lucky as me to find in the dull and grimy recesses of the Colonial Office a friend whom I shall cherish and hold to all my life." (57)

Soon afterwards Churchill issued a memorandum on the future status of South Africa. He also had to face questions on what became known as "chinese slavery". In opposition the Liberals had condemned the importation of Chinese labourers into the Transvaal as being a return to slavery. However, Churchill was now forced to admit that in his opinion, the terms upon which the Chinese were employed could not be described as "slavery" without "some risk of terminological inexactitude". (58)

Frederick Smith, the recently elected Conservative MP for Liverpool Walton, attack on Churchill became one of the most famous maiden speeches in Parliamentary history, made reference to the wording of the Government's motion that the election result gave "unqualified" approval to Liberal policies. Smith argued that to "call a man an "unqualified slave", was to say that he could "be honestly described as completely servile, and not, merely, as semi-servile", but to call a man "an unqualified medical practitioner, or an unqualified Under-Secretary" was, he sneered, to say that "he is not entitled to any particular respect, because he has not passed through the normal period of training or preparation." (59)

Churchill caused considerable controversy when he made an attack on Lord Alfred Milner, the British High Commissioner at the time of the Boer War, who was deeply respected by the Conservative Party. In a debate on 21st March, 1906, he spoke of Milner with a patronising condescension which sounded both "impertinent" and "pompous", referring to him as a "retired Civil Servant without any pension or gratuity" and a man who "has ceased to be a factor in public life". (60)

Such language used by a junior minister in his early thirties about an imperial statesman was not appreciated by the House of Commons. Tory MPs renewed their criticisms of Churchill. One remarked that even Judas, had, after all, had the decency to hang himself afterwards. Churchill's advocacy of greater self-government for South Africa made him appear to be liberal in his attitude to the British Empire, but he remained a staunch imperialist. "There is no question for him but that the British Empire was a great engine of civilisation and an instrument for good. What he condemned were imperial actions which fell below what he regarded was the level of behaviour appropriate to those who bore the white man's burden." (61)

In September 1907 Churchill was given permission by the prime minister to go on a tour of Africa. He travelled by special train through Kenya (stopping on many occasions to "hunt" local wildlife). He also visited Uganda and Egypt. Questions were asked when it became public that he wrote tourist accounts for Strand Magazine. After allowing for expenses, Churchill made a profit of about £1,200 from his tour on Colonial Office business. (62)

In his book My African Journey (1908) he argued that the world was divided into races of very different aptitudes - the Europeans at the top, followed by Arabs and Indians and then at the bottom of the pile the Africans. "Armed with a superior religion and strengthened with Arab blood, they maintain themselves without difficulty at a far higher level than the pagan aboriginals among whom they live... I reflected upon the interval that separates these two races from each other, and on the centuries of struggle that the advance had cost, and I wondered whether the interval was wider and deeper than that which divides the modern European from them both." (63)

Winston Churchill irritated his boss, Victor Alexander Bruce, 9th Earl of Elgin, with his habit of minuting his views in strong words on papers which would be read by subordinates. He also upset Sir Francis John Hopwood, the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Colonial Office. "He (Churchill) is most tiresome to deal with and will, I fear, give trouble... The restless energy, uncontrollable desire for notoriety and the lack of moral perception make him an anxiety indeed!" (64)

Churchill later recalled that he had hoped to enter the House of Commons to join forces with his father but his death destroyed that ambition. "All my dreams of comradeship with him, of entering Parliament at his side and in his support, were ended. There remained for me only to pursue his aims and vindicate his memory." He admitted that he had gone into politics to vindicate Lord Randolph's reputation and to "raise the tattered flag from the stricken battlefield" which his father had let fall. (65)

It was suggested that Churchill deserved promotion to the Board of Education. This idea was rejected by Henry Campbell-Bannerman who pointed out that Churchill was a "very recent convert, hardly justifying cabinet rise." (66) Campbell-Bannerman told another government minister, Augustine Birrell: "Winston's promotion would be what the public might expect, and what the Press is already booming; he has done brilliantly where he is, and is full of go and ebullient ambition. But he is only a Liberal of yesterday, his tomorrow being a little doubtful... Also, wholly ignorant of and indifferent to the subject." (67)

Henry Campbell-Bannerman suffered a severe stroke in November, 1907. He returned to work following two months rest but it soon became clear that the 71 year-old prime minister was unable to continue. On 27th March, 1908, he asked to see Asquith. According to Margot Asquith: "Henry came into my room at 7.30 p.m. and told me that Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman had sent for him that day to tell him that he was dying... He began by telling him the text he had chosen out of the Psalms to put on his grave, and the manner of his funeral... Henry was deeply moved when he went on to tell me that Campbell-Bannerman had thanked him for being a wonderful colleague." (68)

Churchill developed a surprising close friendship with David Lloyd George, one of the most left-wing members of the Liberal Party. Lloyd George told his constituents in 1902: "Last week there was a very interesting speech by a brilliant young Tory member, Mr Winston Churchill. There is no greater admirer of his talent, I assure you, than the individual now addressing you - and many a chat we have had about the situation. We do not always agree, but we do not black each other's eyes." (69)

Campbell-Bannerman suggested to Edward VII that Herbert Asquith should replace him as Prime Minister. However, the King with characteristic selfishness was reluctant to break his holiday in Biarritz and ordered him to continue. On 1st April, the dying Campbell-Bannerman, sent a letter to the King seeking his permission to give up office. He agreed as long as Asquith was willing to travel to France to "kiss hands". (70)

Asquith decided to promote Churchill to the cabinet as President of the Board of Trade. Aged 33, he was the youngest Cabinet member since 1866. However, at that time it was necessary for new Ministers had to submit themselves for re-election. Churchill had upset too many people over the last two years and he lost North West Manchester to William Joynson-Hicks, the Conservative Party candidate, by 429 votes. Asquith now had to force Edmund Robertson, the MP for Dundee, to go to the House of Lords, and he was elected to this seat in May, 1908, with a comfortable majority. (71)

Paul Addison has described Churchill as "a great admirer of beautiful women, but self-centred and gauche in their company, Churchill had already proposed to Pamela Plowden and Ethel Barrymore, only to be rejected by both". He met Clementine Hozier at a dinner party in 1908. "Clementine was twenty-three; her background was relatively impoverished and a little bit rackety - in the sense that her mother, Lady Blanche Hozier, had enjoyed so many extra-marital amours that Clementine was not entirely sure as to the identity of her father." (72)

Clementine held strong hostile views against the Tories. Churchill attempted to convince her that he shared her views: "The Conservative Party is filled with old doddering peers, cute financial magnates, clever wirepullers, big brewers with bulbous noses. All the enemies of progress are there - weaklings, sleek, slug, comfortable, self-important individuals." (73)

In August he proposed marriage and it was accepted. Violet Asquith, the daughter of Herbert Henry Asquith, the prime minister, wrote in her diary when she heard the news: "I must say I am much gladder for her sake than I am sorry for his. His wife could never be more to him than an ornamental sideboard as I have often said and she is unexacting enough not to mind not being more. Whether he will ultimately mind her being as stupid as an owl I don't know - it is a danger no doubt - but for the moment at least she will have a rest from making her own clothes and I think he must be a little in love. Father thinks that it spells disaster for them both." (74)

Winston and Clementine were married at St Margaret's, Westminster, on 12th September 1908. "Churchill expected his wife to be a loyal follower, and it was a role she was content to play. The unhappy child of a disastrous marriage and a financially precarious home, Clementine found in Winston a faithful husband who loved her, sustained her in material comfort, and placed her in the front row of a great historical drama." (75)

Churchill admitted to Asquith when he was appointed as President of the Board of Trade that he was "ignorant of social issues". This was a problem as the Board of Trade was one of the key ministries in the social field. During his political career he had never questioned the immense inequalities in British society, where about a third of the population lived in poverty "where a third of the national income went to just three per cent of the population; half of the nation's capital belonged to one-seventieth of the population; the average national wage was 29s a week and most people were unable to make provision for old age, sickness and unemployment." (76)

Churchill had a strictly limited view of the scope. Throughout his political life the major theme of his thinking was a concern about the stability of society and preservation of the existing order. However, he was aware that change was necessary in order to achieve "national efficiency". He had regular meetings with Beatrice Webb and explored her views on the subject. She wrote that Churchill was "very anxious to be friends and asked to be allowed to come and discuss the long-term question". (77) According to Webb on another occasion he "made me sit next to him and was most obsequious - eager to assure me that he was willing to absorb all the plans we could give him." (78)

John Charmley has commented that: "Churchill may not have had any great insight into how to deal with the social problems of the masses, but he knew a lady who did. If Mrs Webb was anxious to be part of a secular priesthood, 'disinterested experts' devising 'a blueprint for society', then Churchill was eager to grant her wish." (79) In an article published in The Nation he advocated Webbian solutions to the social problems of the time. (80)

Churchill, like most politicians, was deeply worried about how Britain's share of world markets were passing to the United States and Germany. Churchill was greatly influenced by the reforms introduced by Otto von Bismarck in the 1880s. As The Contemporary Review reported: "English progressives have decided to take a leaf out of the book of Bismarck who dealt the heaviest blow against German socialism not by laws of oppression... but by the great system of state insurance which now safeguards the German workmen at almost every point of his industrial career." (81)

In the autumn of 1908 Winston Churchill advocated the introduction of unemployment insurance. The scheme was restricted to trades which suffered from cyclical unemployment (shipbuilding, engineering and construction) and excluded those in decline, those with a large amount of casual labour and those with substantial short-time working (such as mining and cotton spinning). It would cover only about two million workers. The plan was that employees would contribute twice as much per week as the State and employers. The benefit would only be paid for a maximum of fifteen weeks and at a low enough rate to "imply a sensible and even severe difference between being in work or out of work." (82)

In April 1909, Churchill presented the draft Bill to the Cabinet. Employer and State contributions had increased but benefits had decreased and were to be calculated on a stiff sliding-scale over the fifteen weeks so that so that, as Churchill told fellow ministers, "an increasing pressure is put on the recipient of benefit to find work". The Cabinet was divided over the issue. Some like David Lloyd George wanted a more generous and more wide-ranging scheme. Lloyd George took over responsibility of the introduction of a national insurance scheme but the paying of unemployment benefits did not take place until four years later. (83)

Churchill's first task was taking the Trade Board Bill through the House of Commons. The measure organised employers to create a minimum wage in certain trades with the history of low wages, because of surplus of available workers, the presence of women workers, or the lack of skills. It was designed to cover only 200,000 workers in just four carefully defined trades, chain-making, ready-made tailoring, paper-box making, and the machine-made lace and finishing trade. (84)

Churchill argued: "It is a serious national evil that any class of His Majesty's subjects should receive less than a living wage in return for their utmost exertions. It was formerly supposed that the working of the laws of supply and demand would naturally regulate or eliminate that evil. The first clear division which we make on the question to-day is between healthy and unhealthy conditions of bargaining. That is the first broad division which we make in the general statement that the laws of supply and demand will ultimately produce a fair price. Where in the great staple trades in the country you have a powerful organisation on both sides, where you have responsible leaders able to bind their constituents to their decision, where that organisation is conjoint with an automatic scale of wages or arrangements for avoiding a deadlock by means of arbitration, there you have a healthy bargaining which increases the competitive power of the industry, enforces a progressive standard of life and the productive scale, and continually weaves capital and labour more closely together. But where you have what we call sweated trades, you have no organisation, no parity of bargaining, the good employer is undercut by the bad, and the bad employer is undercut by the worst; the worker, whose whole livelihood depends upon the industry, is undersold by the worker who only takes the trade up as a second string, his feebleness and ignorance generally renders the worker an easy prey to the tyranny." Churchill made it clear that such State interference was only justified in exceptional circumstances and should not be extended to industry as a whole". (85)

In the midst of the worst recession since 1879, the Government was under increasing pressure to take some action to deal with unemployment and the labour market. William Beveridge proposed a national scheme of labour exchanges. It was based on the system used in Germany whose 4,000 exchanges that filled over one million jobs a year. Churchill shared Beveridge's passion for efficiency and a hatred of waste and his views on the working class. Beveridge told his brother-in-law, R. H. Tawney: "The well-to-do represent on the whole a higher level of character and ability than the working class because in the course of time the better stocks have come to the top. A good stock is not permanently kept down: it forces its way up in the course of generations of social change, and so the upper classes are on the whole the better classes." (86)

Winston Churchill told the Cabinet that labour exchanges would not in themselves create more jobs. The exchanges were viewed as a way of improving the efficiency of the industrial system, providing "intelligence" about the state of industry and saving economic waste through the more efficient use of labour. It was also hoped that exchanges would have a social and moral function since they would, as Churchill predicted "enable the idle vagrant to be discovered unmistakably and sent to an institution for disciplinary detention." (87)

The proposal for creating labour exchanges was announced on 17th February 1909. There would be a network of several hundred exchanges as part of a national reporting system on the labour market. The trade union movement initially opposed the scheme as they feared that labour exchanges would be used to break strikes. The only concession he made to the unions was that a man would not to be penalised for refusing to accept a job at less than union rates. He told the Engineering Employers Association: "If anybody had said a year ago that the trades unions would have agreed to a government labour exchange sending 500 or 1,000 men to an employer whose men are out on strike... nobody would have believed it all." (88)

Churchill's proposals were so lacking in radicalism that they were fully supported by the Conservative Party. However, to those who wish to see Churchill as a friend of the poor, this measure was very important in helping the working-class find work. Geoffrey Best, the author of Churchill: A Study in Greatness (2001), claimed that even though Churchill's reforms "were small and limited measures in themselves, mere particles in the radiant beams of his grand vision of Britain... they were none the less pioneering pieces of the structure which, forty years later, would become the British welfare state." (89)

Roy Jenkins took a different view: "Churchill's approach although liberal, was highly patrician. There was never any attempt to pretend that his own often urgent need for large sums of money in order to sustain his extravagences bore any relation to the problems of the deserving poor. He did not pretend to understand these from the inside, merely to sympathize with them on high. He was of a different order, almost of a different race." (90)

By February 1910, 61 exchanges were open and a year later the total had risen to 175. Nearly all of them were situated in converted buildings in the worst parts of towns in order to save money. In the first year nearly one and a half million applications were registered, but jobs were found for only a quarter of the applicants. "They never took over any other function than providing a place where a limited number of jobs were advertised; they did not help to organise the labour market and there is no evidence that they helped to create employment. They were strongly disliked by the trade unions, who suspected them of undercutting union rates and providing blackleg labour." (91)

In 1909 David Lloyd George announced what became known as the People's Budget. This included increases in taxation. Whereas people on lower incomes were to pay 9d. in the pound, those on annual incomes of over £3,000 had to pay 1s. 2d. in the pound. Lloyd George also introduced a new super-tax of 6d. in the pound for those earning £5,000 a year. Other measures included an increase in death duties on the estates of the rich and heavy taxes on profits gained from the ownership and sale of property. (92)

Ramsay MacDonald argued that the Labour Party should fully support the budget. "Mr. Lloyd George's Budget, classified property into individual and social, incomes into earned and unearned, and followers more closely the theoretical contentions of Socialism and sound economics than any previous Budget has done." MacDonald went on to argue that the House of Lords should not attempt to block this measure. "The aristocracy... do not command the moral respect which tones down class hatreds, nor the intellectual respect which preserves a sense of equality under a regime of considerable social differences." (93)

David Lloyd George admitted that he would never have got his proposals through the Cabinet without the strong support of Herbert Asquith and Winston Churchill. He spoke at a large number of public meetings of the pressure group he formed, the Budget League. Churchill rarely missed a debate on the issue and one newspaper report suggested that he had attended one late night debate in the House of Commons in his pajamas. Lloyd George told a close friend: "I should say that I have Winston Churchill with me in the Cabinet, and above all the Prime Minister has backed me up through thick and thin with splendid loyalty." (94)

Churchill launched a bitter attack on the House of Lords: " When I began my campaign in Lancashire I challenged any Conservative speaker to come down and say why the House of Lords... should have the right to rule over us, and why the children of that House of Lords should have the right to rule over our children. My challenge has been taken up with great courage by Lord Curzon. No, the House of Lords could not have found any more able and, I will add, any more arrogant defender... His claim resolves itself into this, that we should maintain in our country a superior class, with law-giving functions inherent in their blood, transmissible by them to their remotest posterity, and that these functions should be exercised irrespective of the character, the intelligence or the experience of the tenant for the time being and utterly independent of the public need and the public will. Now I come to the third great argument of Lord Curzon... 'All civilization has been the work of aristocracies.' Why, it would be much more true to say the upkeep of the aristocracy has been the hard work of all civilizations." (95)

Despite the passionate speeches of Churchill and Lloyd George it was clear that the House of Lords would block the budget. Herbert Asquith asked the King to create a large number of Peers that would give the Liberals a majority. Edward VII refused and his private secretary, Francis Knollys, wrote to Asquith that "to create 570 new Peers, which I am told would be the number required... would practically be almost an impossibility, and if asked for would place the King in an awkward position". (96)

On 30th November, 1909, the Peers rejected the Finance Bill by 350 votes to 75. Asquith had no option but to call a general election. During the campaign Churchill led the Liberal onslaught against the House of Lords. He argued that "the time has come for the total abolition of the House of Lords" and described the former Foreign Secretary, Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne, as "the representative of a played out, obsolete, anachronistic Assembly, a survival of a feudal arrangement utterly passed out of its original meaning, a force long since passed away, which only now requires a smashing blow from the electors to finish it off for ever." (97)

In January, 1910 General Election, the Liberals lost votes and was forced to rely on the support of the 42 Labour Party MPs to govern. John Grigg, the author of The People's Champion (1978) argues that the reason why the "people failed to give a sweeping, massive endorsement to the People's Budget" was that the electorate in 1910 was "by no means representative of the whole British nation". He points out that "only 58 per cent of adult males had the vote, and it is a fair assumption that the remaining 42 per cent would, if enfranchised, have voted in very large numbers for Liberal or Labour candidates. In what was still a disproportionately middle-class electorate the fear of Socialism was strong, and many voters were susceptible to the argument that the Budget was a first installment of Socialism." (98)

Home Secretary

On the day the election results were announced Churchill accepted the post of Home Secretary, with the responsibility for the police, prisons, and prisoners. Only Robert Peel, the founder of the police force, had held the office at an earlier age, thirty-three. The prospects of the new office filled him "with excitement and exhilaration". From his first days as Home Secretary he embarked upon a comprehensive programme of prison reform. This included reducing the time someone could spend in solitary confinement. (99)

In March 1910, he created a distinction between criminal and political prisoners. "I have given my best consideration to this subject with reference not solely to the treatment of women suffragist prisoners, but generally to the regulations which govern the treatment of political prisoners. I do not feel that any differences of prison treatment should be based upon a consideration of the motives which actuated the offender. Motives are for the Courts to appraise, and it must be presumed that all due consideration has been given to them in any sentence which is imposed... I feel, as did my predecessor, that prison rules which are suitable to criminals guilty of dishonesty or cruelty, or other crimes implying moral turpitude, should not be applied inflexibly to those whose general character is good and whose offences, however reprehensible, do not involve personal dishonour." (100)

Churchill upset the trade union movement during the Newport Docks strike in May 1910. With the dockers on strike, the owners wanted to bring in outside labour to break the strike and the local magistrates, alarmed at the possibility of mass disorder, asked the Home Office to provide troops or police to protect the blacklegs. Churchill was on holiday and Richard Haldane, who was in charge at the time, refused. Churchill quickly returned to London and authorised the use of 250 Metropolitan police, with 300 troops in reserve, to support the owners and protect the outside labour they brought in. (101)

Six months later Churchill was faced with another dispute in South Wales, this time in the Rhondda valley where a lock-out and strike following a conflict over pay rates for a difficult new seam led to a bitter ten-month strike. Once again Churchill was asked to send troops after strikers rioted. At first Churchill called for arbitration. The following day he was attacked by Conservative newspapers, particularly by The Times, that declared that if "loss of life" occured as a result of the riots, "the responsibility will lie with the Home Secretary." (102)

On 8th November, 1910, Churchill sent in the cavalry and went on patrol in Tonypandy and the neighbouring valleys. He also deployed 900 Metropolitan police and 1,500 officers from other forces to support two squadrons of hussars and two infantry companies stationed in the area. James Keir Hardie, the leader of the Labour Party, protested against the "impropriety" of sending in troops and the "harsh methods" being used. Churchill told King George V that the "owners are very unreasonable" and "both sides are fighting one another regardless of human interests or the public welfare." However, the troops, remained in the area for eleven months, supporting the police, and were at times deployed on the streets with fixed bayonets. (103)

Women's Suffrage

As a senior member of the Liberal Party government Winston Churchill became a target for the Women's Social & Political Union. Churchill had been a long-term opponent of votes for women. As a young man he argued: "I shall unswervingly oppose this ridiculous movement (to give women the vote)... Once you give votes to the vast numbers of women who form the majority of the community, all power passes to their hands." His wife, Clementine Churchill, was a supporter of votes for women and after marriage he did become more sympathetic but was not convinced that women needed the vote. When a reference was made at a dinner party to the action of certain suffragettes in chaining themselves to railings and swearing to stay there until they got the vote, Churchill's reply was: "I might as well chain myself to St Thomas's Hospital and say I would not move till I had had a baby." However, it was the policy of the Liberal Party to give women the vote and so he could not express these opinions in public. (103a)

In public he supported the principle of women's suffrage as it was party policy. In private he was totally opposed as he thought it would be to the disadvantage of the Liberal Party. Should women be given the vote on the same limited basis as men (which would favour the Conservative Party) or should there be a massive extension of the franchise to enable all adults to vote (which would favour the Labour Party). Churchill warned the Cabinet that if the government introduced plans for women's suffrage he would probably have to resign. (103b)

Catherine Corbett, Adela Pankhurst, Maud Joachim and Helen Archdale decided to disrupt Churchill's public meeting at Kinnaird Hall in Dundee. Pankhurst and two men, Owen Clark and William Carr, hid themselves in an attic and threw stones, bricks and slates at the roof-light of the hall, calling out "votes for women". Meanwhile, Corbett, Joachim and Archdale, led a group of supporters that charged the barricades thrown up around the hall. (103c)

The Dundee Courier reported: "Their sudden appearance (Catherine Corbett, Maud Joachim and Helen Archdale) had a magical effect on the mob. Surging round the women, they threw themselves against the solid wall of police. The officers fought valiantly, but were utterly helpless to stem the great human tide… Meanwhile the crowd time and again charged the police, and succeeded in reaching the barricades… The crowd in Reform Street were now incensed to fever pitch, and several ugly rushes were made to force a way to Bank Street." (103d)

The women were arrested but Corbett later paid tribute to the courage of the Dundonians who had rioted for three hours: "they would not stop until they got the barricades down, they were glorious." (103e) Each woman made a lengthy speech in court and was sentenced to ten days in prison. They all went on hunger-strike. Churchill disagreed and told the local newspaper that the women were "a band of silly, neurotic women". (103f)

Catherine Corbett later spoke about her time in prison: "I was removed to a cell in which there was not furniture, but a log fixed on the floor and a shell fixed into the wall. Afterwards I was taken into a ward and dressed by force in prison clothes. In contrast to Holloway Prison, the baths were spotlessly clean. On my return to my cell I started a hunger strike, and took no water until 10.30 on Friday, when I was suffering a great pain and becoming so ill that I was visited every two hours. I took a little water, which brought me great relief. The nights were terrible, and I could not sleep. Every persuasion was used to make me take food, but I refused always." (103g)

Drawing of Theresa Garnett accosting Winston Churchill (November, 1909)
Drawing of Theresa Garnett accosting Winston Churchill (November, 1909)

In an act of revenge, on 13th November 1909, Theresa Garnett accosted Winston Churchill with a horse whip. She shouted "take that you brute", however, she later admitted she missed him but did "knocked his hat about". She was arrested for assault but was found guilty of disturbing the peace and was sentenced to a month's imprisonment in Horfield Prison. (103h) Her friend, Mary Blathwayt, wrote in her diary on 15th November: "Miss Garnett got one month for whipping Mr. Churchill across the face and not hurting him. I bought fruit and sent it to the prisoners before they were taken away." (103i)

Seige of Sidney Street

The following month Churchill was once again in the headlines. Max Smoller, and Fritz Svaars rented a house, 11 Exchange Buildings in Houndsditch. Svaars told the landlord that he wanted it for two or three weeks to store Christmas goods. According to one newspaper account: "This particular house in Exchange Buildings was rented and there went to live there two men and a woman. They were little known by neighbours, and kept very quiet, as if, indeed, to escape observation. They are said to have been foreigners in appearance, and the whole neighbourhood of Houndsditch containing a great number of aliens, and removal being not infrequent, the arrival of this new household created no comment." (104)

On 16th December 1910, a gang that is believed to included Smoller, Svaars, Peter Piaktow (Peter the Painter), Max Smoller, Fritz Svaars, George Gardstein, Yakov Peters, Yourka Dubof, Karl Hoffman, John Rosen and William Sokolow, attempted to break into the rear of Henry Harris's jeweller's shop from Exchange Buildings. A neighbouring shopkeeper, Max Weil, heard their hammering, informed the City of London Police, and nine unarmed officers arrived at the house. Sergeant Robert Bentley knocked on the door of 11 Exchange Buildings. The door was open by Gardstein and Bentley asked him: "Have you been working or knocking about inside?" Bentley did not answer him and withdrew inside the room. Bentley gently pushed open the door, and was followed by Sergeant Bryant. Constable Arthur Strongman was waiting outside. "The door was opened by some person whom I did not see. Police Sergeant Bentley appeared to have a conversation with the person, and the door was then partly closed, shortly afterwards Bentley pushed the door open and entered." (105)

According to Donald Rumbelow, the author of The Siege of Sidney Street (1973): "Bentley stepped further into the room. As he did so the back door was flung open and a man, mistakenly identified as Gardstein, walked rapidly into the room. He was holding a pistol which he fired as he advanced with the barrel pointing towards the unarmed Bentley. As he opened fire so did the man on the stairs. The shot fired from the stairs went through the rim of Bentley's helmet, across his face and out through the shutter behind him... His first shot hit Bentley in the shoulder and the second went through his neck almost severing his spinal cord. Bentley staggered back against the half-open door and collapsed backwards over the doorstep so that he was lying half in and half out of the house." (106)

Sergeant Robert Bentley was very badly injured. The burglars also opened fire on the other policemen. Two bullets hit Sergeant Charles Tucker, who was killed outright. Constable Arthur Strongman, not knowing the sergeant was dead, carried him to safety, followed by one of the gunmen, who kept firing, but missed. Constable Walter Choate saw a gunman running through the shadows. "With almost suicidal courage, he grabbed him and refused to let go even as bullets hit him. His action probably saved PC Strongman's life, because two other burglars now ran to their captured confederate's assistance, firing at PC Choate, until he finally let go." Within 24 hours, the death toll had risen to three, when Bentley and Choate died in hospital. (107)

The men escaped but on 1st January, 1911, the police was told that they would find the men in the lodgings rented by a Betsy Gershon at 100 Sidney Street. It seems that one of the gang, William Sokolow, was Betsy's boyfriend. This was part of a block of 10 houses just off Commercial Road. The tenant was a ladies tailor, Samuel Fleischmann. With his wife and children he occupied part of the house and sublet the rest. Other residents included an elderly couple and another tailor and his large family. Betsy had a room at the front of the second floor. Superintendent Mulvaney was put in charge of the operation. At midday on 2nd January, two large horse-drawn vehicles concealing armed policeman were driven into the street and the house placed under observation. By the afternoon over 200 officers were on the scene, with armed men stationed in shop doorways facing the house. Meanwhile, plain-clothed policemen began to evacuate the residents of 100 Sidney Street. (108)

Winston Churchill and his private secretary, Edward Marsh, decided to go to Sidney Street. One of Churchill's biographers, Roy Jenkins, pointed out that Churchill "could not resist going to see the fun himself... both of them top-hatted and Churchill made more conspicuous by a fine astrakhan-collared overcoat, they provided a wonderful photographic opportunity, which was duly exploited." (109)

Siege of Sidney Street
Winston Churchill and Edward Marsh (both in top hats) at the Siege of Sidney Street.

Clive Ponting has also been very critical of Churchill's actions. commented: "He arrived just before midday and characteristically took charge of the operation - calling up artillery to demolish the house and personally checking on possible means of escape. When the house caught fire he ordered, probably with police consent, the fire brigade not to attempt to put it out. When the fire burnt itself out, two bodies were found and Churchill left the scene just before 3pm. His presence had been unnecessary and uncalled for - the senior Army and police officers present could easily have coped with the situation on their own authority. But Churchill with his thirst for action and drama could not resist the temptation." (110)

Martin Gilbert took a very different view and believed that the Conservative Party saw this as an opportunity to unfairly attack Churchill. Arthur Balfour remarked in the House of Commons: "He (Churchill) was, I understand, in a military phrase, in what was known as the zone of fire - he and a photographer were both risking valuable lives. I understand what the photographer was doing, but what was the right honourable gentleman doing?" The Palace Theatre in London showed film of the Siege of Sidney Street but the audience booed Churchill and shouted out "shoot him". Edward Marsh remarked, "Why are the London music-hall audiences so bigoted and uniformly Tory?" (111) Churchill blamed the Pro-Tory press and in a letter published in The Times he protested at the "sensational accounts" of the siege that had appeared in the newspapers and at "the spiteful comments based upon them". (112)

That summer Churchill once again became involved in another industrial dispute. He became convinced that German money was funding a dock and rail strike over union recognition in Liverpool and on the 14th August 1911 he sent in the army who opened fire on strikers. It is estimated that about 50,000 soldiers arrived in the city. "His attitude was openly partisan; in every case of a protest about police or military violence he simply accepted the official account and dismissed the version from the strikers." David Lloyd George intervened and persuaded the employers to settle the dispute. When he heard the news he immediately telephoned Lloyd George to complain as he wanted an open conflict followed by a clear defeat for the unions. (113)

Winston Churchill had been a long-term opponent of votes for women. As a young man he argued: "I shall unswervingly oppose this ridiculous movement (to give women the vote)... Once you give votes to the vast numbers of women who form the majority of the community, all power passes to their hands." His wife, Clementine Churchill, was a supporter of votes for women and after marriage he did become more sympathetic but was not convinced that women needed the vote. When a reference was made at a dinner party to the action of certain suffragettes in chaining themselves to railings and swearing to stay there until they got the vote, Churchill's reply was: "I might as well chain myself to St Thomas's Hospital and say I would not move till I had had a baby." However, it was the policy of the Liberal Party to give women the vote and so he could not express these opinions in public. (114)

Under pressure from the Women's Social and Political Union, in 1911 the Liberal government introduced the Conciliation Bill that was designed to conciliate the suffragist movement by giving a limited number of women the vote, according to their property holdings and marital status. According to Lucy Masterman, it was her husband, Charles Masterman, who provided the arguments against the legislation: "He (Churchill) is, in a rather tepid manner, a suffragist (his wife is very keen) and he came down to the Home Office intending to vote for the Bill. Charlie, whose sympathy with the suffragettes is rather on the wane, did not want him to and began to put to him the points against Shackleton's Bill - its undemocratic nature, and especially particular points, such as that 'fallen women' would have the vote but not the mother of a family, and other rhetorical points. Winston began to see the opportunity for a speech on these lines, and as he paced up and down the room, began to roll off long phrases. By the end of the morning he was convinced that he had always been hostile to the Bill and that he had already thought of all these points himself...He snatched at Charlie's arguments against this particular Bill as a wild animal snatches at its food." (115)

Churchill argued in the House of Commons: "The more I study the Bill the more astonished I am that such a large number of respected Members of Parliament should have found it possible to put their names to it. And, most of all, I was astonished that Liberal and Labour Members should have associated themselves with it. It is not merely an undemocratic Bill; it is worse. It is an anti-democratic Bill. It gives an entirely unfair representation to property, as against persons.... Of the 18,000 women voters it is calculated that 90,000 are working women, earning their living. What about the other half? The basic principle of the Bill is to deny votes to those who are upon the whole the best of their sex. We are asked by the Bill to defend the proposition that a spinster of means living in the interest of man-made capital is to have a vote, and the working man's wife is to be denied a vote even if she is a wage-earner and a wife.... What I want to know is how many of the poorest class would be included? Would not charwomen, widows, and others still be disfranchised by receiving Poor Law relief? How many of the propertied voters will be increased by the husband giving a £10 qualification to his wife and five or six daughters?" (116)

First Lord of the Admiralty

Winston Churchill was extremely proud of the British Empire but he was very concerned about its future. Superficially the empire seemed the strongest power in the world. However, he was aware that it was in trouble. This vast, sprawling Empire was not integrated politically, economically or strategically and was a drain on Britain's very limited resources. An island of some forty million people with an economy that was being rapidly overtaken by other powers such as the United States and Germany. It has been argued that during this period "Churchill came up against the fundamental factor that was to shape all his political life - Britain's position as a great power was declining." (117)

Reginald McKenna, First Lord of the Admiralty, became involved in an arms race with German Navy. In 1909 authorized an additional four dreadnoughts, hoping that Germany would be willing to negotiate a treaty about battleship numbers. If this did not happen, an additional four ships would be built. In 1910, the British eight-ship construction plan went ahead, including four Orion-class super-dreadnoughts. Germany responded by building three warships, giving the United Kingdom a superiority of 22 ships to 13. Negotiations began between the two countries but talks foundered on the question on whether British Commonwealth battlecruisers should be included in the count. (118)

David Lloyd George complained bitterly to H. H. Asquith about the demands being made by Reginald McKenna to spend more money on the navy. He reminded Asquith of "the emphatic pledges given by us before and during the general election campaign to reduce the gigantic expenditure on armaments built up by our predecessors... but if Tory extravagance on armaments is seen to be exceeded, Liberals... will hardly think it worth their while to make any effort to keep in office a Liberal ministry... the Admiralty's proposals were a poor compromise between two scares - fear of the German navy abroad and fear of the Radical majority at home... You alone can save us from the prospect of squalid and sterile destruction." (119)

Lloyd George was constantly in conflict with McKenna and suggested that Winston Churchill, should become First Lord of the Admiralty. H. H. Asquith took this advice and Churchill was appointed to the post on 24th October, 1911. McKenna, with the greatest reluctance, replaced him at the Home Office. He was now in charge of the greatest naval establishment in the world, "with its fleet patrolling the seven seas, and its training schools and dockyards and warehouses and harbours forming a service that embodied British might." (120)

Churchill was very excited by this new post. He had told his wife two years earlier that he should be in charge of the armed forces: "These military men very often fail altogether to see the simple truths underlying the relationships of all armed forces, & how the levers of power can be used upon them. Do you know I would greatly like to have some practice in the handling of large forces. I have much confidence in my judgment on things, when I see clearly, but on nothing do I seem to feel the truth more than in tactical combinations. It is a vain and foolish thing to say - but you will not laugh at it. I am sure I have the root of the matter in me - but never I fear in this state of existence will it have a chance of flowering - in bright red blossom." (121)

Churchill's appointment worried the press: "The Conservative journals, invariably pro-Navy had little faith in Churchill's appointment, fearful that his rhetorical style and changeable moods, as they saw it, were unsuitable to that pre-eminent administrative post." (122) Some of Britain's newspapers questioned his appointment. For example, the Sunday Observer commented: "We cannot detect in his career any principles or even any consistent outlook upon public affairs. His ear is always on the ground; he is the true demagogue, sworn to give the people what they want, or rather, and that is infinitely worse, what he fancies they want. No doubt he will give the people an adequate Navy if they insist upon it." (123)

Churchill also concerned himself with land forces. On 13th August, 1911, he sent a memorandum to the Committee of Imperial Defence. He warned that in event of a war France would have great difficulty holding a German attack. Churchill " outlined the measures Britain should take, including 107,000 men to be sent to France on the outbreak of war and 100,000 troops of the British Army in India who should be moved at once out of India, enabling them to reach Marseilles by the fortieth day." It would be vital that during the progress of the war that the size of the British Army should be increased so as "to secure or re-establish British interests outside Europe, even if, through the defeat or desertion of the allies, we were forced to continue the war alone." (124)

The Spectator claimed that Churchill "has not the loyalty, the dignity, the steadfastness to make an efficient head of a great office." However, he gained the support of the Conservative press when he made a speech on 9th November, 1911, making it clear that Britain would retain her existing margin of superiority over the German Navy even if the Germans stepped up their rate of building. This brought him plaudits from old enemies like Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe, whose newspapers, The Daily Mail, The Times, The Daily Mirror and The Evening News, had constantly attacked the Liberal government, told Churchill: "I judge public men on their public face and I believe that your inquiring, industrious mind is alive to the national danger." (125) Churchill's speech upset radicals such as Wilfred Scawen Blunt who sorrowfully concluded that he was "bitten with Grey's anti-German policy." (126)

One of Churchill's first decisions was to set up the Royal Naval Air Service. He also established an Air Department at the Admiralty so as to make full use of this new technology. Churchill was so enthusiastic about these new developments that he took flying lessons. The Army envisaged its air service as primarily one of reconnaissance, avoiding, wherever possible, any actual air battles. "Churchill wanted the Navy to use aircraft more aggressively; both bomb-dropping and machine-gunnery became part of the experimentation and training of the Royal Naval Air Service." (127)

On 7th February, 1912, Churchill made a speech where he pledged naval supremacy over Germany "whatever the cost". Churchill, who had opposed naval estimates of £35 million in 1908, now proposed to increase them to over £45 million. The German Naval Attaché, Captain Wilhelm Widenmann, wrote to Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz, in an attempt to explain this change in policy. He claimed that Churchill was "clever enough" to realise that the British public would support "naval supremacy" whoever was in charge "as his boundless ambition takes account of popularity, he will manage his naval policy so as not to damage that" even dropping "the ideas of economy" which he had previously preached. (128)

The Admiralty reported to the British government that by 1912 Germany would have seventeen dreadnoughts, three-fourths the number planned by Britain for that date. At a cabinet meeting David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill both expressed doubts about the veracity of the Admiralty intelligence. Churchill even accused Admiral John Fisher, who had provided this information, of applying pressure on naval attachés in Europe to provide any sort of data he needed. (129)

Admiral Fisher refused to be beaten and contacted King Edward VII about his fears. He in turn discussed the issue with H. H. Asquith. Lloyd George wrote to Churchill explaining how Asquith had now given approval to Fisher's proposals: "I feared all along this would happen. Fisher is a very clever person and when he found his programme in danger he wired Davidson (assistant private secretary to the King) for something more panicky - and of course he got it." (130)

Winston Churchill now advocated spending £51,550,000 on the Navy in 1914. The "new ruler of the King's navy demanded an expenditure on new battleships which made McKenna's claims seem modest". (131) Lloyd George remained opposed to what he saw as inflated naval estimates and was not "prepared to squander money on building gigantic flotillas to encounter mythical armadas". According to George Riddell, a close friend of both men, recorded they were drifting wide apart on principles". (132) Riddell reported there were even rumours that Churchill was "mediating... going over to the other side." (133)

First World War

On 28th July, 1914, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. The following day the Kaiser Wilhelm II promised Britain that he would not annex any French territory in Europe provided the country remained neutral. This offer was immediately rejected by Sir Edward Grey in the House of Commons. On 30th July, Grey wrote to on Theobold von Bethmann Hollweg: "His Majesty's Government cannot for one moment entertain the Chancellor's proposal that they should bind themselves to neutrality on such terms. What he asks us in effect is to engage and stand by while French colonies are taken and France is beaten, so long as Germany does not take French territory as distinct from the colonies. From the material point of view the proposal is unacceptable, for France, without further territory in Europe being taken from her, could be so crushed as to lose her position as a Great Power, and become subordinate to German policy. Altogether apart from that, it would be a disgrace to us to make this bargain with Germany at the expense of France, a disgrace from which the good name of this country would never recover. The Chancellor also in effect asks us to bargain away whatever obligation or interest we have as regards the neutrality of Belgium. We could not entertain that bargain either." (134)

C. P. Scott, the editor of the Manchester Guardian, made it clear what he thought of the conflict. "Not only are we neutral now, but we could, and ought to remain neutral throughout the whole course of the war... We wish Serbia no ill; we are anxious for the peace of Europe. But Englishmen are not the guardians of Serbia well being, or even of the peace of Europe. Their first duty is to England and to the peace of England... We care as little for Belgrade as Belgrade does for Manchester." (135)

At a Cabinet meeting on Friday, 31st July, more than half the Cabinet, including David Lloyd George, Charles Trevelyan, John Burns, John Morley, John Simon and Charles Hobhouse, were bitterly opposed to Britain entering the war. Only two ministers, Winston Churchill and Sir Edward Grey, argued in favour and H. H. Asquith appeared to support them. At this point, Churchill suggested that it might be possible to continue if some senior members of the Conservative Party could be persuaded to form a Coalition government. (136)

Churchill wrote to Lloyd George after the Cabinet meeting: "I am most profoundly anxious that our long co-operation may not be severed... I implore you to come and bring your mighty aid to the discharge of our duty. Afterwards, by participating, we can regulate the settlement." He warned that if Lloyd George did not change his mind: "All the rest of our lives we shall be opposed. I am deeply attached to you and have followed your instructions and guidance for nearly 10 years." (137)

On 1st August the Governor of the Bank of England, Sir Walter Cunliffe, visited Lloyd George to inform him that the City was totally against British intervening in the war. Lloyd George later recalled: "Money was a frightened and trembling thing. Money shivered at the prospect. Big Business everywhere wanted to keep out." Three days later The Daily News argued that it would help business if Britain kept out of the war, "if we remained neutral we should be able to trade with all the belligerents... We should be able to capture the bulk of their trade in neutral markets." (138)

Later that day Grey told the French Ambassador in London that the British government would not stand by and see the German Fleet attack the French Channel Ports. On 2nd August another Cabinet meeting took place. Marvin Rintala, the author of Lloyd George and Churchill: How Friendship Changed Politics (1995) points out: "A major change had clearly taken place within the cabinet. That change centred on Lloyd George. According to Asquith, on the morning of 2 August, Lloyd George was still against any kind of British intervention in any event ... Throughout that long Sunday he had contemplated retiring to North Wales if Britain went to war. It appears that until 3 August he intended to resign from the Cabinet upon any British declaration of war ... In fact, Lloyd George was first firmly against war, and then equally firmly for war." (139)

Lloyd George's change of mind shocked government ministers. John Burns immediately resigned as he now knew war was inevitable. Charles Trevelyan, John Morley and John Simon also handed in letters of resignation with "at least another half-dozen waited upon the effective hour". (140) According to the historian, A. J. P. Taylor: "At 10.30 p.m. on 4th August 1914 the king held a privy council at Buckingham Palace, which was attended only by one minister and two court officials. The council sanctioned the proclamation of a state of war with Germany from 11 p.m. That was all. The cabinet played no part once it had resolved to defend the neutrality of Belgium. It did not consider the ultimatum to Germany, which Sir Edward Grey, the foreign secretary, sent after consulting only the prime minister, Asquith, and perhaps not even him." (141)

Asquith supported the war but was deeply disturbed by the way some Cabinet ministers such as Winston Churchill responded: "Winston dashed into the room radiant, his face bright, his manner keen and told us - one word pouring out on the other - how he was going to send telegrams to the Mediterranean, the North Sea and God knows where! You could see he was a really happy man, I wondered if this was the state of mind to be in at the opening of such a fearful war as this." (142)

Frances Stevenson, Lloyd George's secretary and mistress, was also shocked by Churchill's reaction to the outbreak of war. She was with a group of friends when "upon this grave assembly burst Churchill, a cigar in his mouth, radiant, smiling with satisfaction. 'Well!' he exclaimed. 'The deed is done!' The dream of his life had come to pass. Little he recked of the terrors of war and the price that must be paid. His chance had come!" (143) As one historian has pointed out: "Seldom has there been a statesman as good as glorifying war, and as indecently eager to wage war, as Winston Churchill. All his works demonstrate his love of war, glamorize its glories and minimize its horrors." (144)

In the early months of the First World War the German Army made significant gains in France and Belgium. Winston Churchill sent naval artillery and areoplanes from his Royal Naval Air Service. and established bases near Dunkirk. He also landed a brigade of Marines at Ostend. Under his instructions carried out Britain's first-ever military bombing operations (attacks on Zeppelins and their hangers). (145)

By 28th September, 1914, Antwerp was under siege. King Albert I and his Belgian government were based in the city. There was also 145,000 trained Belgian troops, within its fortified perimeter. On 1st October, H. H. Asquith wrote to Venetia Stanley about the situation in Antwerp that "its fall would be a great moral blow to the allies" but added "of course it would be idle butchery to send" British soldiers to defend the city. (146)

Churchill ignored Asquith's views and gained permission from Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, to go to organise the defence of Antwerp. He took with him 2,000 men of the Royal Marine Brigade to support those who were already in Antwerp. On 5th October he sent a message to Asquith, where he offered to resign his office and "undertake command of relieving and defensive forces assigned to Antwerp in conjunction with Belgian Army, provided that I am given necessary military rank and authority, and full powers of a commander of a detached force in the field. I feel it my duty to offer my services because I am sure this arrangement will afford the best prospects of a victorious result to an enterprise in which I am deeply involved." (147) The message has been described as "surely one of the most extraordinary communications ever made by a British Cabinet Minister to his leader". (148)

Lord Kitchener was prepared to agree to his request and make him a Lieutenant-General but Asquith over-ruled him and Churchill was ordered back to Britain. Ted Morgan, the author of Winston Churchill (1983) has argued that Churchill's decision to try and hold Antwerp was wrong: "Holding Antwerp was an article of faith for Churchill. Imbued as he was with a sense of historical precedent, he must have remembered that during the Napoleonic Wars, the British had landed on Walcheren Island, only thirty miles from Antwerp... Instead of defending Antwerp, a pocket cut off from the rest of the allied front, the Belgians should have seen themselves as part of an overall Continental strategy and pulled back their Army to fight jointly with the French." (149)

King Albert I and his Belgian government left Antwerp on 9th October and the city surrendered the next day. The price of Churchill's intervention was that the Royal Naval Division lost a total of 2,610 men, most of whom were either prisoners of war or interned in the neutral Netherlands. Reaction to Churchill's adventure was highly critical and badly damaged his reputation. Asquith wrote that he thought the use of the professional Royal Marine Brigade was justified but "nothing can excuse Winston (who knew all the facts) from sending in the other Naval Brigades." (150)

David Lloyd George agreed with Asquith and told his mistress, Frances Stevenson, that he was "rather disgusted" with Churchill who had "behaved in a rather swaggering way when over there, standing for photographers and cinematographers with shells bursting near him". (151) Admiral Herbert Richmond wrote in his diary that "it is a tragedy that the Navy should be in such lunatic hands at this time". (152) The leader of the Conservative Party, Andrew Bonar Law was also highly critical of the Antwerp operation, describing it as "an utterly stupid business" and suggested that Churchill as having an "entirely unbalanced mind". (153) Chris Wrigley commented that "there was still something of the Boys' Hero in his behaviour." (154)

Winston Churchill was one of the first to realise that the First World War would last for several years. He was especially concerned about the stalemate on the Western Front. In December, 1914 he wrote to Asquith that neither side was likely to be able to make much impression on the other, "although no doubt several hundred thousand men will be spent to satisfy the military mind on the point." He then suggested some alternative strategies to "sending our armies to chew barbed wire in Flanders?" (155)

Churchill also took a keen interest in new technology. Soon after the war started he was told about how Colonel Ernest Swinton and Colonel Maurice Hankey, both became convinced that it was possible to produce an armoured tracked vehicle that would provide protection from machines gun fire. Colonel Swinton was sent to the Western Front to write reports on the war. After observing early battles where machine-gunners were able to kill thousands of infantryman advancing towards enemy trenches, Swinton wrote that "petrol tractors on the caterpillar principle and armoured with hardened steel plates" would be able to counteract the machine-gunner. (156)

To maintain secrecy, Swinton coined the euphemism tank, to describe the new weapon. However, he faced real problems from his boss, Lord Kitchener, the Secretary of State of War. His style of leadership was very authoritarian and was reluctant to experiment. Swinton later argued that after putting the idea to Kitchener without getting any support he hesitated to press too hard because he dreaded a direct order to drop it. (157)

Churchill became very interested in this project and according to Boris Johnson, the author of The Churchill Factor (2014) he became part of the development team. He suggested that an experiment should be performed. He suggested that they should "take two steam rollers and yoke them together with long steel rods... so that they are to all intents and purposes one roller covering a breadth of at least 12 to 14 feet." Johnson argues that "this is Churchill at his dizzing best... An idea was being born. Perhaps without even knowing it, he was describing caterpillar tracks". (158)

Richard Hornsby & Sons also worked on the project and eventually produced the Killen-Strait Armoured Tractor. The tracks consisted of a continuous series of steel links, joined together with steel pins. The Killen-Strait was tested out in front of Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George at Wormwood Scrubs. The machine successfully cut through barbed wire entanglements. Churchill became convinced that this new machine would enable trenches to be crossed quite easily. (159)

Colonel Ernest Swinton persuaded the newly-formed Inventions Committee to spend money on the development of a small land-ship. and drew up specifications for this new machine. This included: (i) a top speed of 4 mph on flat ground; (ii) the capability of a sharp turn at top speed; (iii) a reversing capability; (iv) the ability to climb a 5-foot earth parapet; (v) the ability to cross a 8-foot gap; (vi) a vehicle that could house ten crew, two machine guns and a 2-pound gun. Winston Churchill wrote to H. H. Asquith, the prime minister about Swinton's ideas. (160)

Winston Churchill arranged for the Admiralty to spend £70,000 on building an experimental "land ship" (Swinton insisted on calling them tanks). A month later Churchill agreed that eighteen prototypes should be built (six were to have wheels and twelve tracks). However, most of the major work was undertaken by the War Office and Ministry of Munitions. (161)

Churchill was also concerned about the threat that Turkey posed to the British Empire and feared an attack on Egypt. He suggested that the seizure of the Dardanelles (a 41 mile strait between Europe and Asiatic Turkey that were overlooked by high cliffs on the Gallipoli Peninsula). At first the plan was initially rejected by H. H. Asquith, David Lloyd George, Admiral John Fisher and Lord Kitchener. Churchill did manage to persuade the commander of the British Mediterranean Squadron, Vice Admiral Sackville Carden, that the operation would be successful. (162)

On 11th January 1915, Vice Admiral Carden proposed a three-stage operation: the bombardment of the Turkish forts protecting the Dardanelles, the clearing of the minefields and then the invasion fleet travelling up the Straits, through the Sea of Marmara to Constantinople. Carden argued that to be successful the operation would need 12 battleships, 3 battle-cruisers, 3 light cruisers, 16 destroyers, six submarines, 4 sea-planes and 12 minesweepers. Whereas other members of the War Council were tempted to change their minds on the subject, Admiral Fisher threatened to resign if the operation took place. (163)

Admiral Fisher wrote to Admiral John Jellicoe, Commander of the Grand British Fleet, arguing: "I just abominate the Dardanelles operation, unless a great change is made and it is settled to be made a military operation, with 200,000 men in conjunction with the Fleet." (164) Maurice Hankey, secretary of the Imperial War Cabinet, agreed with Fisher and circulated a copy of the Committee of Imperial Defence assessment that was against a purely naval assault on the Dardanelles. (165)

Despite these objections, Churchill and Asquith decided that "the Dardanelles should go forward." On 19th February, 1915, Admiral Carden began his attack on the Dardanelles forts. The assault started with a long range bombardment followed by heavy fire at closer range. As a result of the bombardment the outer forts were abandoned by the Turks. The minesweepers were brought forward and managed to penetrate six miles inside the straits and clear the area of mines. Further advance up into the straits was now impossible. The Turkish forts were too far away to be silenced by the Allied ships. The minesweepers were sent forward to clear the next section but they were forced to retreat when they came under heavy fire from the Turkish batteries. (166)

Winston Churchill became impatient about the slow progress that Carden was making and demanded to know when the third stage of the plan was to begin. Admiral Carden found the strain of making this decision extremely stressful and began to have difficulty sleeping. On 15th March, Carden's doctor reported that the commander was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Carden was sent home and replaced by Vice-Admiral John de Robeck, who immediately ordered the Allied fleet to advance up the Dardanelles Straits. (167) Reginald Brett, who worked for the War Council, commented: "Winston is very excited and jumpy about the Dardanelles; he says he will be ruined if the attack fails." (168)

On 18th March eighteen battleships entered the straits. At first they made good progress until the French ship, Bouvet struck a mine, heeled over, capsized and disappeared in a cloud of smoke. Soon afterwards two more ships, Irresistible and Ocean hit mines. Most of the men in these two ships were rescued but by the time the Allied fleet retreated, over 700 men had been killed. Overall, three ships had been sunk and three more had been severely damaged. Altogether about a third of the force was either sunk or disabled. (169)

At an Admiralty meeting on 19th March, Churchill and Fisher agreed that losses were only to be expected and that four more ships should be sent out to reinforce De Robeck, who responded with the news that he was reorganising his force so that some of the destroyers could act as minesweepers. Churchill now told Asquith that he was still confident that the operation would be successful and was "fairly pleased" with the situation. (170)

On 10th March, Lord Kitchener finally agreed that he was willing to send troops to the eastern Mediterranean to support any naval breakthrough. Churchill was able to secure the appointment of his old friend, General Ian Hamilton, as Commander of the British Forces. At a conference on 22nd March on board his flagship, Queen Elizabeth, it was decided that soldiers would be used to capture the Gallipoli peninsula. Churchill ordered De Roebuck to make another attempt to destroy the forts. He rejected the idea and said that the idea that the forts could be destroyed by gunfire had "conclusively proved to be wrong". Admiral Fisher agreed and warned Churchill: "You are just eaten up with the Dardanelles and can't think of anything else! Damn the Dardanelles! they'll be our grave." (171)

Arthur Balfour suggested delaying the landings. Churchill replied: "No other operation in this part of the world could ever cloak the defeat of abandoning the effort at the Dardanelles. I think there is nothing for it but to go through with the business, and I do not at all regret that this should be so. No one can count with certainty upon the issue of a battle. But here we have the chances in our favour, and play for vital gains with non-vital stakes." He wrote to his brother, Major Jack Churchill, who was one of those soldiers about to take part in the operation: "This is the hour in the world's history for a fine feat of arms, and the results of victory will amply justify the price. I wish I were with you." (172)

Asquith, Kitchener, Churchill and Hankey held a meeting on 30th March and agreed to go ahead with an amphibious landing. Leaders of the Greek Army informed Kitchener that he would need 150,000 men to take Gallipoli. Kitchener rejected the advice and concluded that only half that number was needed. Kitchener sent the experienced British 29th Division to join the troops from Australia, New Zealand and French colonial troops on Lemnos. Information soon reached the Turkish commander, Liman von Sanders, about the arrival of the 70,000 troops on the island. Sanders knew an attack was imminent and he began positioning his 84,000 troops along the coast where he expected the landings to take place. (173)

The attack that began on the 25th April, 1915 established two beachheads at Helles and Gaba Tepe. Another major landing took place at Sulva Bay on 6th August. By this time they arrived the Turkish strength in the region had also risen to fifteen divisions. Attempts to sweep across the peninsula by Allied forces ended in failure. By the end of August the Allies had lost over 40,000 men. General Ian Hamilton asked for 95,000 more men, but although supported by Churchill, Lord Kitchener was unwilling to send more troops to the area. (174)

Frances Stevenson reported that King George V had become concerned about Churchill's drinking. "The Dardanelles campaign, however, does not seem to be the success that was prophesied. Churchill very unwisely boasted at the beginning, when things were going well, that he had undertaken it against the advice of everyone else at the Admiralty... LG (David Lloyd George) says Churchill is very worried about the whole affair, and looking very ill. He is very touchy too. Last Monday LG was discussing the Drink question with Churchill, and Samuel and Montague were also present. Churchill put on the grand air, and announced that he was not going to be influenced by the King, and refused to give up his liquor - he thought the whole thing was absurd. LG was annoyed, but went on to explain a point that had been brought up. The next minute Churchill interrupted again. 'I don't see' - he was beginning, but LG broke in sharply: 'You will see the point', he rapped out, 'when you begin to understand that conversation is not a monologue!' Churchill went very red, but did not reply, and LG soon felt rather ashamed of having taken him up so sharply, especially in front of the other two." (175)

In the words of one historian, "In the annals of British military incompetence Gallipoli ranks very high indeed." (176) Churchill was blamed for the failed operation and Asquith told him he would have to be moved from his current post. Asquith was also involved in developing a coalition government. The Conservative leader, Andrew Bonar Law, insisted that Churchill should be removed from the War Cabinet. James Masterton-Smith, Churchill's private secretary, told Asquith, that "on no account ought Churchill to be allowed to remain at the Admiralty - he was most dangerous there". (177) Asquith agreed and Churchill's long-term enemy, Arthur Balfour, became the new First Lord of the Admiralty. Churchill was now relegated to the post of the Chancellorship of the Duchy of Lancaster. (178)

On 14th October, General Ian Hamilton was replaced by General Charles Munro. After touring all three fronts Munro recommended withdrawal. Lord Kitchener, initially rejected the suggestion but after arriving on 9th November 1915 he visited the Allied lines in Greek Macedonia, where reinforcements were badly needed. On 17th November, Kitchener agreed that the 105,000 men should be evacuated and put Munro in control as Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean. (179)

About 480,000 Allied troops took part in the Gallipoli campaign, including substantial British, French, Senegalese, Australian, New Zealand and Indian troops. The British had 205,000 casualties (43,000 killed). There were more than 33,600 ANZAC losses (over one-third killed) and 47,000 French casualties (5,000 killed). Turkish casualties are estimated at 250,000 (65,000 killed). "The campaign is generally regarded as an example of British drift and tactical ineptitude." (180)

In November, 1915, Churchill was removed as a member of the War Council. He now resigned as a minister and he told Asquith that his reputation would rise again when the whole story of the Dardanelles came out. He also criticised Asquith in the way the war had so far been managed. He ended his letter with the words: "Nor do I feel in times like these able to remain in well-paid inactivity. I therefore ask you to submit my resignation to the King. I am an officer, and I place myself unreservedly at the disposal of the military authorities, observing that my regiment is in France." (181)

Winston Churchill rejoined the British Army and on 18th November, 1915, he arrived in France. Edward V. Lucas wrote in his satirical column in The Star: "Mr Winston Churchill leaves for the front. Panic among the enemy." He was given command of a battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers on the Western Front. They were resting some miles behind the front line, trying to recover strength and morale after suffering terrible losses at Loos. He did not see any action and this brief period of active service was twice broken by weeks of leave: 2nd - 13th March and 19th - 27th April. On 6th May he was given permission to return to his parliamentary duties. (182)

On 5th December, 1916, Herbert Asquith, who had been prime minister for over eight years, was replaced by David Lloyd George. He brought in a War Cabinet that included only four other members: George Curzon, Alfred Milner, Andrew Bonar Law and Arthur Henderson. There was also the understanding that Arthur Balfour attended when foreign affairs were on the agenda. Lloyd George was therefore the only Liberal Party member in the War Cabinet. The Daily Chronicle attacked the role that Alfred Harmsworth, Lord Northcliffe, and the other Conservative Party supporting newspaper barons had removed a democratically elected government. It argued that the new government "will have to deal with the Press menace as well as the submarine menace; otherwise Ministries will be subject to tyranny and torture by daily attacks impugning their patriotism and earnestness to win the war." (183)

Lloyd George told Churchill he wanted to include him in his new government but the Conservatives in his Cabinet had made it clear that they would only join on condition he was excluded. Churchill told a close friend that this was "the downfall of all my hopes and desires". A few days later Lloyd George sent George Riddell to see Churchill and told him that there was no intention to keep him out of office permanently. In return Churchill was expected not to criticise his new government. Churchill agreed and he was "politically quiescent" and his comments in the House of Commons were "constructive" during the first months of 1917. (184)

In July 1917, Lloyd George told the Cabinet that he intended to appoint Churchill as his Minister of Munitions. Sir George Younger, Chairman of the Conservative Party, made a formal protest and the General Council of the Conservative National Union passed a resolution that Churchill's recall would be "an insult to the Army and Navy and an injury to the Country." George Curzon warned the Prime Minister: "It will be an appointment intensely unpopular with many of your chief colleagues... He is a potential danger in opposition. In the opinion of us he will as a member of the government be an active danger in our midst." (185)

Although back in the government Churchill was no longer part of the inner circle and as he was not a member of the War Cabinet he played no part in the crucial discussions on strategy. Even in his own field of responsibility he was often ignored. He tried very hard to overcome this situation but in August 1917, the Chief of the Imperial Staff William Robertson complained to Lloyd George about Churchill's interference in their work. Soon afterwards the First Lord of the Admiralty, Eric Geddes, objected to Churchill involving himself in questions such as destroyer design. (186)

Winston Churchill developed a close relationship with Brigadier General Charles Howard Foulkes, the General Officer Commanding the Special Brigade responsible for Chemical Warfare and Director of Gas Services. Foulkes worked closely with scientists working at the governmental laboratories at Porton Down near Salisbury. Churchill urged Foulkes to provide him with effective ways of using chemical weapons against the German Army. In November 1917 Churchill advocated the production of gas bombs to be dropped by aircraft. However, this idea was rejected "because it would involve the deaths of many French and Belgian civilians behind German lines and take too many scarce servicemen to operate and maintain the aircraft and bombs." Churchill accepted this advice but told the French Minister of Armaments, Louis Loucheur that "I am in favour of the greatest possible development of gas-warfare." (187)

According to Giles Milton, the author of Russian Roulette: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot (2013): "Trials at Porton suggested that the M Device was indeed a terrible new weapon. The active ingredient in the M Device was diphenylaminechloroarsine, a highly toxic chemical. A thermogenerator was used to convert this chemical into a dense smoke that would incapacitate any soldier unfortunate enough to inhale it... The symptoms were violent and deeply unpleasant. Uncontrollable vomiting, coughing up blood and instant and crippling fatigue were the most common features.... Victims who were not killed outright were struck down by lassitude and left depressed for long periods." (188)

M Device was an exploding shell that released a highly toxic gas derived from arsenic. Foulkes called it "the most effective chemical weapon ever devised". The scientist, John Haldane, later described the impact of this new weapon: "The pain in the head is described as like that caused when fresh water gets into the nose when bathing, but infinitely more severe... accompanied by the most appalling mental distress and misery." Foulkes argued that the strategy should be "the discharge of gas on a stupendous scale". This was to be followed by "a British attack, bypassing the trenches filled with suffocating and dying men". However, the war came to an end in November, 1918, before this strategy could be deployed. (189)

Government control of the munitions industry meant that the ministry was inevitably drawn into questions of industrial organisation and labour relations. He wanted to use the wartime concessions to permanently weaken the role of the trades unions and the position of the skilled worker. He could not understand that the "restrictive practices" were the only way skilled workers could protect their interests against the much more powerful employers. He eventually got into problems over wage differentials, his award of a rise to skilled workers, led to substantial unrest by unskilled workers who eventually secured a higher wage settlement. (190)

Secretary of State for War and Air

David Lloyd George did a deal with Arthur Bonar Law that the Conservative Party would not stand against Liberal Party members who had supported the coalition government and had voted for him in the Maurice Debate in the 1918 General Election. It was agreed that the Conservatives could then concentrate their efforts on taking on the Labour Party and the official Liberal Party that supported their former leader, H. H. Asquith. The secretary to the Cabinet, Maurice Hankey, commented: "My opinion is that the P.M. is assuming too much the role of a dictator and that he is heading for very serious trouble." (191)

Lloyd George ran a campaign that questioned the patriotism of Labour candidates. According to Duff Cooper, Lloyd George feared his tactics were not working and he asked the the main newspaper barons, Lord Northcliffe, Lord Rothermere and Lord Beaverbrook, for help in his propaganda campaign. (192) They arranged for candidates to be sent telegrams that demanded: "For the guidance of your constituency will you kindly state whether, if elected, you will support the following: (i) Punishment of the Kaiser (ii); Full payment for the war by Germany (iii); The expulsion from the British isles of all Enemy Aliens." (193)

Churchill urged very radical measures during the campaign. He urged the future government to consider a heavy tax on all war profits. "Why should anybody make a great fortune out of the war? Why everybody has been serving the country, profiteers and contractors and shipping speculators have gained fortunes of a gigantic character." His proposal was that the Government should "reclaim everything above, say, £10,000 (to let the small fry off)". This would enable Britain to substantially reduce its war debt "from the coffers of the war profiteers." (194)

Churchill demanded measures that some people claimed were socialistic. He called for the nationalisation of the railways, for the control of monopolies "in the general interest", and for taxation levied "in proportion to the ability to pay". However, he was a strong opponent of communism and was concerned about the political consequences of the Russian Revolution. In one speech he warned of the dangers of Bolshevism: "Civilisation is being completely extinguished over gigantic areas, while Bolsheviks hop and caper like troops of ferocious baboons amid the ruins of cities and the corpses of their victims." (195)

The General Election results was a landslide victory for David Lloyd George and the Coalition government: Conservative Party (382); Coalition Liberal (127), National Labour Coalition (4) and Coalition National Democrats (9) . The Labour Party won only 57 seats and lost most of its leaders including Arthur Henderson, Ramsay MacDonald, Philip Snowden, George Lansbury and Fred Jowett. The Liberal Party returned 36 seats and its leader H. H. Asquith was defeated at East Fife. (196)

Churchill was appalled by the success of the Labour Party who now became the official opposition. He did not see them as a legitimate political party as they were "innately pledged to the fundamental subversion of the existing social and economic civilisation and organised for that purpose alone." He told David Lloyd George: "The Labour Party... espouse and proclaim doctrines fundamentally subversive not only of the State and of the Empire, but of economic civilisation... I regard effectual resistance to Socialism - revolutionary or evolutionary - as a prime duty for those who wish to preserve the greatness of Britain and avert the establishment of a Socialist tyranny." (197)

On 10th January 1919, Winston Churchill was appointed Secretary of State for War and Air. Churchill wanted to keep conscription but in July, under financial pressure, he was forced to bring it to an end. He proposed a permanent peacetime army of 209,000 but this was rejected by his colleagues who insisted on returning to an army smaller than before 1914. Churchill also advocated large military cuts and suggested that there should be no new naval construction for many years. In August he suggested that expenditure on the Navy should be set at about two-thirds of the pre-war level. (198)

Hugh Trenchard, Chief of the Air Staff, proposed a large peacetime force of 154 squadrons and 100,000 men for the Royal Air Force. Churchill rejected this idea as he was only willing to spend £13 million out of an overall allocation of £75 million a year for the Army and Air Force. Although he kept the RAF short of money, Churchill insisted that its officers were drawn from the same exclusive background and followed the same traditions as the Royal Navy and Army. In July, 1919, he wrote a paper setting out the policy the RAF should adopt. Officer recruits should be chosen "by competitive examination, preferably from the public schools", because their most important characteristic should be "the discipline and bearing of an officer and a gentleman". (199)

After the war the ending of price controls, prices rose twice as fast during 1919 as they had done during the worst years of the war. That year 35 million working days were lost to strikes, and on average every day there were 100,000 workers on strike - this was six times the 1918 rate. There were stoppages in the coal mines, in the printing industry, among transport workers, and the cotton industry. There were also mutinies in the military and two separate police strikes in London and Liverpool. (200)

The government formed a Cabinet Strike Committee to deal with the crisis. Churchill was the key member of the committee and deployed 23,000 troops, with 30,000 more in reserve, to protect the railways and drive food lorries. General Douglas Haig, attended the first meeting and described Churchill as being the "most energetic and talked more than anyone". In August 1919 he sent in troops to Liverpool to defeat a local police strike. His main enemy was the miners and he argued that: "This is the time to beat them. There is bound to be a fight. The English propertied classes are not going to take it lying down." (201)

Winston Churchill thought Britain was on the verge of a revolution. He told the Supplies and Transport Committee of the Cabinet: "The country would have to face in the near future an organised attempt at seizing the reins of Government in some of the large cities, such as Glasgow, London and Liverpool... It was not unlikely that the next strike would commence with sabotage on an extensive scale." (202)

David Lloyd George agreed with Churchill and became convinced that Britain was on the verge of revolution that he was determined to suppress it. After inquiring about the number of troops available to him he asked Sir Hugh Trenchard, Chief of the Air Staff: "How many airman are available for the revolution? Trenchard replied that there were 20,000 mechanics and 2,000 pilots, but only a hundred machines which could be kept going in the air... The pilots had no weapons for ground fighting. The PM presumed they could use machine guns and drop bombs." (203)

Churchill remained convinced that the military should be able to use chemical weapons against civilians in order to protect the British Empire. In April 1919, Churchill asked for permission to use mustard gas (a gas that causes severe blistering and kills about ten per cent of those affected) in Mesopotamia: "I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas... I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gases against uncivilised tribes. The moral effect should be so good that the loss of life should be reduced to a minimum... Gases can be used which cause great inconvenience and would leave a lively terror." (204)

Churchill also used chemical weapons in May 1919 to subdue rebels in Afghanistan. When the India Office objected to this policy he replied: "The objections of the India Office to the use of gas against natives are unreasonable. Gas is a more merciful weapon than high explosive shell and compels an enemy to accept a decision with less loss of life than any other agency of war. The moral effect is also very great. There can be no conceivable reason why it should not be resorted to." (205)

Churchill held a very low opinion of the Arabs and felt they deserved to lose their home to more advanced Europeans. He described the Arabs as acting like a "dog in a manger". He told the Peel Commission: "I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger, even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit, for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, or at any rate, a more worldly-wise race, to put it that way, has come in and taken their place." (206)

However, his main enemy during this period was communism. He feared that the revolution would spread from Russia to western Europe. All the members of the government opposed Bolshevism but no one hated it like he did. He told the House of Commons that "Bolshevism is not a policy; it is a disease. It is not a creed; it is a pestilence." (207) He described the Bolsheviks as "swarms of typhus-bearing vermin". (208) In article in The Evening News he claimed that the Bolsheviks had created "a poisoned Russia, an infected Russia, a plague bearing Russia." (209)

Sidney Strube, The Daily Express (8th September, 1919)
Sidney Strube, The Daily Express (8th September, 1919)

Churchill blamed Jews for the Russian Revolution. He told Lord George Curzon, the Foreign Secretary, that in his opinion that the Bolsheviks had created a "tyrannical government of these Jew Commissars". In a letter to Frederick Smith he described them as "these Semitic conspirators" and "Semitic internationalists". In one speech he called the Russian government "a world wide communistic state under Jewish domination." At a public meeting in Sunderland he spoke of "the international Soviet of the Russian and Polish Jew." (210)

In an article in the Illustrated Sunday Herald he argued: "The part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international and for the most part atheistic Jews ... is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from Jewish leaders ... The same evil prominence was obtained by Jews in (Hungary and Germany, especially Bavaria)." (211)

Churchill had supported the sending of British troops to help the White Army in the Russian Civil War, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel John Ward. However, it had not been a success Ward later told one of his officers, Brian Horrocks: "I believe we shall rue this business for many years. It is always unwise to intervene in the domestic affairs of any country. In my opinion the Reds are bound to win and our present policy will cause bitterness between us for a long time to come." Horrocks agreed: "How right he was: there are many people today who trace the present international impasse back to that fatal year of 1919." (212)

Churchill argued that the British had not sent enough troops. He argued in a Cabinet meeting that Britain should intervene "thoroughly, with large forces, abundantly supplied with mechanical appliances". He also suggested a campaign to recruit a volunteer army to fight in Russia. David Lloyd George admitted that the Cabinet was united in its hostility to the Bolsheviks but they did have support in Russia. He added that Britain had no right to interfere in their internal affairs and anyway lacked the means to do so. (213)

Winston Churchill now took the controversial decision to use the stockpiles of M Device against the Red Army. He was supported in this by Sir Keith Price, the head of the chemical warfare, at Porton Down. He declared it to be the "right medicine for the Bolshevist" and the terrain would enable it to "drift along very nicely". Price agreed with Churchill that the use of chemical weapons would lead to a rapid collapse of the Bolshevik government in Russia: "I believe if you got home only once with the Gas you would find no more Bolshies this side of Vologda." (214)

In the greatest secrecy, 50,000 M Devices were shipped to Archangel, along with the weaponry required to fire them. Winston Churchill sent a message to Major-General William Ironside: "Fullest use is now to be made of gas shell with your forces, or supplied by us to White Russian forces." He told Ironside that this "thermogenerator of arsenical dust that would penetrate all known types of protective mask". Churchill added that he would very much like the "Bolsheviks" to have it. Churchill also arranged for 10,000 respirators for the British troops and twenty-five specialist gas officers to use the equipment. (215)

Some one leaked this information and Winston Churchill was forced to answer questions on the subject in the House of Commons on 29th May 1919. Churchill insisted that it was the Red Army who was using chemical warfare: "I do not understand why, if they use poison gas, they should object to having it used against them. It is a very right and proper thing to employ poison gas against them." His statement was untrue. There is no evidence of Bolshevik forces using gas against British troops and it was Churchill himself who had authorised its initial use some six weeks earlier. (216)

On 27th August, 1919, British Airco DH.9 bombers dropped these gas bombs on the Russian village of Emtsa. According to one source: "Bolsheviks soldiers fled as the green gas spread. Those who could not escape, vomited blood before losing consciousness." Other villages targeted included Chunova, Vikhtova, Pocha, Chorga, Tavoigor and Zapolki. During this period 506 gas bombs were dropped on the Russians. Lieutenant Donald Grantham interviewed Bolshevik prisoners about these attacks. One man named Boctroff said the soldiers "did not know what the cloud was and ran into it and some were overpowered in the cloud and died there; the others staggered about for a short time and then fell down and died". Boctroff claimed that twenty-five of his comrades had been killed during the attack. Boctroff was able to avoid the main "gas cloud" but he was very ill for 24 hours and suffered from "giddiness in head, running from ears, bled from nose and cough with blood, eyes watered and difficulty in breathing." (217)

Major-General William Ironside told David Lloyd George that he was convinced that even after these gas attacks his troops would not be able to advance very far. He also warned that the White Army had experienced a series of mutinies (there were some in the British forces too). Lloyd George agreed that Ironside should withdraw his troops. This was completed by October. The remaining chemical weapons were considered to be too dangerous to be sent back to Britain and therefore it was decided to dump them into the White Sea. (218)

Winston Churchill created great controversy by the creation of Iraq. According to Boris Johnson: "He (Churchill) was the man who decided that there should be such a thing as the state of Iraq, if you wanted to blame anyone for the current implosion, then of course you might point the finger at George W. Bush and Tony Blair and Saddam Hussein - but if you wanted to grasp the essence of the problem of that wretched state, you would have to look at the role of Winston Churchill." (219)

David Low, Evening Standard (21st January, 1920)
David Low, Evening Standard (21st January, 1920)

An uprising of more than 100,000 armed tribesmen took place in 1920. It was estimated that around 25,000 British and 80,000 Indian troops would be needed to control the country. However, he argued that if Britain relied on air power, you could cut these numbers to 4,000 (British) and 10,000 (Indian). The government was convinced by this argument and it was decided to send the recently formed Royal Air Force to Iraq. Over the next few months the RAF dropped 97 tons of bombs killing 9,000 Iraqis. This failed to end the resistance and Arab and Kurdish uprisings continued to pose a threat to British rule. Churchill decided to use chemical weapons on the rebels. He told Sir Hugh Trenchard, Chief of the Air Staff, that "mustard gas could be used "without inflicting grave injury" on its victims. (220)

At a meeting on 14th October, 1922, two younger members of the government, Stanley Baldwin and Leo Amery, urged the Conservative Party to remove Lloyd George from power. Andrew Bonar Law disagreed as he believed that he should remain loyal to the Prime Minister. In the next few days Bonar Law was visited by a series of influential Tories - all of whom pleaded with him to break with Lloyd George. This message was reinforced by the result of the Newport by-election where the independent Conservative won with a majority of 2,000, the coalition Conservative came in a bad third. (221)

Another meeting took place on 18th October. Austen Chamberlain and Arthur Balfour both defended the coalition. However, it was a passionate speech by Baldwin: "The Prime Minister was described this morning in The Times, in the words of a distinguished aristocrat, as a live wire. He was described to me and others in more stately language by the Lord Chancellor as a dynamic force. I accept those words. He is a dynamic force and it is from that very fact that our troubles, in our opinion, arise. A dynamic force is a terrible thing. It may crush you but it is not necessarily right." The motion to withdraw from the coalition was carried by 187 votes to 87. (222)

Winston Churchill, a candidate for the David Lloyd George Liberals, was taken ill suffering from appendicitis during the early stages of the 1922 General Election. He was therefore unable to campaign in Dundee to just before the vote took place. The statement issued that explained his decision did not help his cause as it emphasized his wealthy background: "Mr Churchill's medical advisors, Lord Dawson, Sir Crisp English and Dr Hartigan, have consented to his fixing provisionally Saturday, November 11th, as the date when he can address a public meeting in Dundee." (223)

The Conservative Party did not put up a candidate against Churchill. His main rival was E. D. Morel, the Labour Party candidate. Morel was the founder of the Union of Democratic Control (UDC), the main organisation that opposed the First World War. Another opponent was William Gallacher, a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, who had also been an anti-war activist. From his Dorset Square nursing home Churchill attacked the policies of Morel and Gallacher: "A predatory and confiscatory programme fatal to the reviving prosperity of the country, inspired by class jealously and the doctrines of envy, hatred and malice, is appropriately championed in Dundee by two candidates both of whom had to be shut up during the late war in order to prevent them further hampering the national defence." (224)

Churchill launched a bitter campaign against Morel and Gallacher and accused them of belonging to a "band of degenerate international intellectuals". He added: "Mr Gallacher is only Mr Morel with the courage of his convictions, and Trotsky is only Mr Gallacher with the power to murder those whom he cannot convince." In this working-class constituency Churchill's obvious wealth and English upper-class attitudes, worked against him. On 13th November 1922 Churchill tried to make a public speech but he was shouted down and had to abandon the meeting. (225) During the campaign Benito Mussolini took power in Italy and Edwin Scrymgeour, observed that it would not surprise him in the event of civil war in Britain "if Mr Churchill were at the head of the Fascisti party". (226)

Morel defeated Churchill by 30,292 votes to 20,466. The Conservative Party achieved 344 seats and formed the next government. The Labour Party, who promised to nationalise the mines and railways, a massive house building programme and to revise the peace treaties, went from 57 to 142 seats. In third place came the Liberals. They accounted for nearly a third of the vote but were badly split - Lloyd George's faction won forty-seven seats, those supporting H. H. Asquith, forty and uncommitted members twenty-nine. (227)

Winston Churchill rejoins the Conservative Party

General Edward Louis Spears, offered to resign as coalition Liberal MP for Loughborough in order that Churchill could return to the House of Commons. Churchill refused as he now realised that the Liberal Party would never again take power. If he wanted to become a minister again he would have to rejoin the Conservative Party. Churchill left England at the end of November 1922 and spent the next six months living near Cannes working on his war memoirs. The first volume was published on 10th August, 1923. In its review the New Statesman commented: "He (Churchill) has written a book which is remarkably egotistical, but which is honest and which will certainly long survive him." (228)

In the second volume of World Crisis: 1911-1918 (1923) Churchill attempted to explain his actions during the Dardanelles Campaign. He sent a copy to Stanley Baldwin who replied a few days later that, "If I could write as you do, I should never bother about making speeches!" The book contained many of the documents that the Dardanelles Commission had refused to publish." Leo Amery, the First Lord of the Admiralty, wrote of his admiration "for the skill of the narrative itself" and of his sympathy for Churchill "in your struggle against the impregnable wall of pedantry or in the appalling morasses of irresolution." (229)

It was not until May, 1923, that he made it clear he intended to return to politics. In a speech that he made at the Aldwych Club he made an attack on Asquith who had refused to work with the Conservatives. He said it was the responsibility of politicians to do everything possible to prevent the growth of the Labour Party. He wanted to join forces with any party with "the clear purpose of rallying the greatest number of persons of all classes... to the defence of the existing constitution" so as to resist "the ceaseless advance and... victorious enforcement of the levelling and withering doctrines of socialism". (230)

Churchill also argued that Conservative politicians would never undo the achievements of the Liberal Government of which he had been a member. In private Churchill put it rather differently. He told senior figures in the Tory party it was only because of the political situation that forced him to be a Liberal minister for most of the last seventeen years. He told Sir Robert Horne that "force of circumstances has compelled me to serve with another party, but my views have never changed, and I should be glad to give effect to them by rejoining the Conservatives." (231)

On 17th May, 1923, Andrew Bonar Law was told he was suffering from cancer of the throat, and gave him six months to live. Five days later he resigned and was replaced by Stanley Baldwin. It was a difficult time for the government and it was faced with growing economic problems. This included a high-level of unemployment. Baldwin believed that protectionist tariffs would revive industry and employment. However, Bonar Law had pledged in 1922 that there would be no changes in tariffs in the present parliament. Baldwin came to the conclusion that he needed a General Election to unite his party behind this new policy. On 12th November, Baldwin asked the king to dissolve parliament. (232)

During the election campaign, Baldwin made it clear that he intended to impose tariffs on some imported goods: "What we propose to do for the assistance of employment in industry, if the nation approves, is to impose duties on imported manufactured goods, with the following objects: (i) to raise revenue by methods less unfair to our own home production which at present bears the whole burden of local and national taxation, including the cost of relieving unemployment; (ii) to give special assistance to industries which are suffering under unfair foreign competition; (iii) to utilise these duties in order to negotiate for a reduction of foreign tariffs in those directions which would most benefit our export trade; (iv) to give substantial preference to the Empire on the whole range of our duties with a view to promoting the continued extension of the principle of mutual preference which has already done so much for the expansion of our trade, and the development, in co-operation with the other Governments of the Empire, of the boundless resources of our common heritage." (233)

Baldwin's strategy made it impossible for Churchill to become a member of the Conservative Party. Having left the Conservatives on the issue of Free Trade twenty years earlier, he could hardly rejoin them on the basis of protection now. Churchill agreed to stand as the Liberal Party candidate for West Leicester. He appealed for the unity of both wings of the party led by David Lloyd George and H. H. Asquith. In a speech made during the campaign he stated that "Liberalism" was the only "sure, sober, safe middle course of lucid intelligence and high principle". (234)

Churchill's main opponent was Frederick Pethick-Lawrence, the Labour Party candidate, who had played a major role in the women's suffrage campaign and was one of the main financial supporters of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU). Churchill was heckled at public meetings with shouts of "What about the Dardanelles?" On one occasion he replied: "What do you know about the Dardanelles? The Dardanelles might have saved millions of lives. Don't imagine I am running away from the Dardanelles. I glory in it." (235)

The 1923 General Election was held on 6th December, a week after Churchill's forty-ninth birthday. Pethick-Lawrence had an easy victory and beat Churchill by 13,634 to 9,236 votes. The election was won by the Conservatives with 258 seats. The Labour Party was in second place with 191 seats. Asquith announced that the Liberal Party would not keep the Tories in office. If a Labour Government were ever to be tried in Britain, he declared, "it could hardly be tried under safer conditions". The Daily Mail warned about the dangers of a Labour government and the Daily Herald commented on the "Rothermere press as a frantic attempt to induce Mr Asquith to combine with the Tories to prevent a Labour Government assuming office". (236) John R. Clynes, the former leader of the Labour Party, argued: "Our enemies are not afraid we shall fail in relation to them. They are afraid that we shall succeed." (237)

On 22nd January, 1924, Stanley Baldwin resigned. At midday, the 57 year-old, Ramsay MacDonald went to Buckingham Palace to be appointed prime minister. He later recalled how George V complained about the singing of the Red Flag and the La Marseilles, at the Labour Party meeting in the Albert Hall a few days before. MacDonald apologized but claimed that there would have been a riot if he had tried to stop it. (238)

Robert Smillie, the Labour MP for Morpeth, believed that MacDonald had made a serious mistake in forming a government. "At last we had a Labour Government! I have to tell you that I did not share in that jubilation. In fact, had I had a voice in the matter which, as a mere back-bencher I did not, I would have strongly advised MacDonald not to touch the seals of office with the proverbial barge pole. Indeed, I was very doubtful indeed about the wisdom of forming a Government. Given the arithmetic of the situation, we could not possibly embark on a proper Socialist programme." (239)

Winston Churchill believed that the Liberal Party would never be strong enough to form another government and that he would have to rejoin the Conservative Party as the best way of becoming a minister again. However, he was hated by most Tory politicians who remembered the vicious attacks on the party after he joined the Liberals. Churchill convinced himself that he had always been a Conservative at heart and only an unfortunate set of circumstances had forced him to join the Liberal Party. (240)

On 22nd February, 1924, Churchill discovered there was to be a by-election in the strongly Conservative seat of Westminster Abbey. He approached the Conservative Party and offered to become its candidate. This was rejected by Stanley Baldwin and was told to wait for another opportunity. Austen Chamberlain wrote to Churchill's friend, Frederick Smith, Lord Birkenhead: "We want to get him (Churchill) and his friends over, and although we cannot give him the Abbey seat, Baldwin will undertake to find him a good seat later on when he will have been able to develop naturally his new line and make his entry into our ranks much easier than it would be today. Our only fear is lest Winston should try and rush the fence." (241)

Churchill explained: "I found myself free a few months later to champion the anti-Socialist cause in the Westminster by-election, and so regained for a time at least the goodwill of all those strong Conservative elements, some of whose deepest feelings I share and can at critical moments express, although they have never liked or trusted me. But for my erroneous judgment in the General Election of 1923 I should have never have regained contact with the great party into which I was born and from which I had been severed by so many years of bitter quarrel. (242)

Winston Churchill ignored the advice of Austen Chamberlain and stood as an anti-socialist candidate, because the Labour Government was a challenge to "our existing economic and social civilisation". Otho Nicholson the Conservative candidate won by 43 votes but Churchill's intervention allowed Fenner Brockway, the Labour candidate to finish a close third. Soon afterwards he was given the safe Conservative seat of Epping. (243)

Clementine and Winston Churchill at Aldershot (1910)
David Lloyd George: "Here, I say, this is my mount."
Winston Churchill: "No, it isn't. I thought of it first."
Leonard Raven-Hill, The Fight for the Favourite (4th June, 1924)

During the 1924 General Election campaign he argued "I represent uncompromising opposition to the subversive movement of Socialism, and I equally oppose those who are willing to make... compromising bargains with the Socialists." (244) In another speech he insisted that "I am in favour of developing trade within the Empire, but I am not in favour of risking our money on Russia and other foreigners." (245)

The Daily Mail published the Zinoviev Letter on 25th October 1924, just four days before the 1924 General Election. Under the headline "Civil War Plot by Socialists Masters" it argued: "Moscow issues orders to the British Communists... the British Communists in turn give orders to the Socialist Government, which it tamely and humbly obeys... Now we can see why Mr MacDonald has done obeisance throughout the campaign to the Red Flag with its associations of murder and crime. He is a stalking horse for the Reds as Kerensky was... Everything is to be made ready for a great outbreak of the abominable class war which is civil war of the most savage kind." (246)

Winston Churchill campaigning during the 1924 General Election
Winston Churchill campaigning during the 1924 General Election

Bob Stewart claimed that the letter included several mistakes that made it clear it was a forgery. This included saying that Grigory Zinoviev was not the President of the Presidium of the Communist International. It also described the organisation as the "Third Communist International" whereas it was always called "Third International". Stewart argued that these "were such infantile mistakes that even a cursory examination would have shown the document to be a blatant forgery." (247)

The rest of the Tory owned newspapers ran the story of what became known as the Zinoviev Letter over the next few days and it was no surprise when the election was a disaster for the Labour Party. The Conservatives won 412 seats and formed the next government. Lord Beaverbrook, the owner of the Daily Express and Evening Standard, told Lord Rothermere, the owner of The Daily Mail and The Times, that the "Red Letter" campaign had won the election for the Conservatives. Rothermere replied that it was probably worth a hundred seats. (248)

Chancellor of the Exchequer

Churchill defeated the Liberal candidate, Gilbert Granville Sharp, by nearly 10,000 votes. Austen Chamberlain advised Stanley Baldwin to put Churchill in the Cabinet: "If you leave him out, he will be leading a Tory rump in six months' time." (249) Thomas Jones, one of Baldwin's leading advisers, commented: "I would certainly have him inside, not out" and suggested sending him to the Board of Trade or the Colonial Office. Baldwin eventually decided to offer him the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer. Churchill replied: "This fulfils my ambition. I still have my father's robes as Chancellor. I shall be proud to serve you in this splendid office." (250)

Churchill had no experience of financial or economic matters when he went to the Treasury in November 1924. He made it clear to Sir Richard Hopkins, the chairman of the Board of Inland Revenue that he had no intention of increasing taxes on the rich: "As the tide of taxation recedes it leaves the millionaires stranded on the peaks of taxation to which they have been carried by the flood... Just as we have seen the millionaire left close to the high water mark and the ordinary Super Tax payer draw cheerfully away from him, so in their turn the whole class of Super Tax payer will be left behind on the beach as the great mass of the Income Tax payers subside into the refreshing waters of the sea." (251)

Churchill's first major decision concerned the Gold Standard. Britain had left the gold standard in 1914 as a wartime measure, but it was always assumed by the City of London financial institutions that once the war was over Britain would return to the mechanism that had seemed so successful before the war in providing stability, low interest rates and a steady expansion in world trade. However, at the end of the First World War, the British economy was in turmoil. After a short-term boom in 1919 gross domestic fell by six per cent and unemployment rose rapidly to 23 per cent. (252)

Montagu Norman, the governor of the Bank of England and Otto Niemeyer, a senior figure at the Treasury, were both strong supporters of a return to the gold standard. Niemeyer said to dodge the issue now would be to show that Britain had never really "meant business" about the Gold Standard and that "our nerve had failed when the stage was set." Norman added that in the opinion "of educated and reasonable men" there was no alternative to a return to Gold. The Chancellor would no doubt be attacked whatever he did but "in the former case (Gold) he will be abused by the ignorant, the gamblers and the antiquated industrialists". (253)

Churchill was not convinced as he was aware of the alternative ideas of John Maynard Keynes. He told Niemeyer: "The Treasury has never, it seems to me, faced the profound significance of what Mr Keynes calls `the paradox of unemployment amidst dearth'. The Governor shows himself perfectly happy in the spectacle of Britain possessing the finest credit in the world simultaneously with a million and a quarter unemployed. Obviously if these million and a quarter were usefully and economically employed, they would produce at least £100 a year a head, instead of costing up at least £50 a head in doles." (254)

Churchill also sought the advice of Philip Snowden, who had served as Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the previous Labour government. Snowden said he was in favour of a return to the Gold Standard at the earliest possible moment. On 17th March, 1925, Churchill gave a dinner that was attended by supporters and opponents of returning to the Gold Standard. He admitted that Keynes provided the better arguments but as a matter of practical politics he had no alternative but to go back to Gold. (255)

Roy Jenkins has argued that the return to the Gold Standard was the gravest mistake of the Baldwin government: "Churchill was deliberately a very attention-attracting Chancellor. He wanted his first budget to make a great splash, which it did, and a considerable contribution to the spray was made by the announcement of the return to Gold. Reluctant convert although he had been, he therefore deserved the responsibility and, if it be so judged, a considerable part of the blame." (256)

Other measures in his first budget included a move towards Imperial Preference and some modest tariffs to help members of the British Empire: sugar (West Indies), tobacco (Kenya and Rhodesia), wines (South Africa and Australia) and dried fruits (Middle East). This marked his move away from the doctrinaire liberalism of his earlier years. He also announced a reduction of income tax by sixpence to four shillings in the pound. "He made out to be beneficial to the worse off as well as the prosperous, but which pleased the latter most." The wealthy were also pleased by a reduction in super tax. (257)

Churchill was attempting to deal with the social problems of the country without recourse to Socialism. Philip Snowden, the former Labour chancellor of the exchequer, called it "the worst rich man's budget ever presented". (258) Treasury officials, including the Permanent Secretary Sir Warren Fisher, thought that it was a very bad budget as it gave too much away and so would cause problems for the next few years. Fisher told Neville Chamberlain that Churchill was "a lunatic... an irresponsible child, not a grown man" and complained that all the senior officials in the Treasury had lost heart - "they never know where they are or what hare W.C. will start". (259)

As a result of returning to the Gold Standard the country took little part in the world boom from 1925 to 1929 and its share of world markets continued to fall. The balance of payments surplus recorded in 1924 disappeared and overpriced British exports slumped. The overvalued pound meant that costs had to be reduced in an unavailing attempt to keep exports competitive. This meant cuts in labour costs at a time when real wages were already below 1914 levels. Attempts to impose further wage reductions inevitably led to industrial disputes, lock-outs and strikes. It has been estimated that returning to the Gold Standard made as many as 700,000 people unemployed. (260)

Despite the problem of low Government revenues Churchill was determined not to increase personal taxes. In 1925 the majority of people did not pay income tax - only 2½ million people were liable and just 90,000 paid super-tax. The standard rate of income tax was reduced from four shillings and sixpence to four shillings in the pound. The super-tax was reduced by £10 million, which was substantial in relation to the total yield of the tax at £60 million: "This was of substantial benefit to the rich, not only as individual taxpayers but also in the capacity of many of them as shareholders, for income tax was then the principal form of company taxation." (261)

In a letter to James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury, the leader of the House of Lords, he argued that "the rich, whether idle or not, are already taxed in this country to the very highest point compatible with the accumulation of capital for further production." (262) In a second letter he stated that cutting taxes was a "class measure" that was designed to help the comfortably off and the rich." (263)

Clementine and Winston Churchill at Aldershot (1910)
Bernard Partridge, The Colossus of Roads (17th February, 1926)

Churchill was warned that he needed to find ways of balancing the budget. He was unwilling to increase income-tax and super-tax and so he decided to raid the "Road Fund", for which revenue had risen to the substantial sum of £21.5 million. It was assumed that this money would be used for building new roads. Churchill disagreed and took £7 million from the Road Fund that year. When the Automobile Association complained about this Churchill wrote "such contentions are absurd, and constitute at once an outrage upon the sovereignty of Parliament and upon commonsense." (264)

Churchill's social conservatism was also apparent during discussions within the Government over changes to unemployment insurance. The scheme that the Liberal government had introduced in 1911 had collapsed after the war because of large-scale structural unemployment, particularly among trades that were not covered by the scheme. A benefit (the dole) was first introduced for unemployed ex-servicemen, later extended to others and then made subject to a means test in 1922. Churchill thought that far too many people were drawing the "dole". (265)

Winston Churchill spoke in the House of Commons of the "growing up of a habit of qualifying for unemployment relief" and the need for an enquiry. (266) Three weeks later he told Thomas Jones, the Deputy Secretary of the Cabinet, that "there should be an immediate stiffening of the administration, and the position should be made much more difficult for young unmarried men living with relatives, wives with husbands at work, aliens, etc." (267)

Clementine and Winston Churchill at Aldershot (1910)
John Bull : "Who failed to cut the tree down?"
Winston Churchill: "I will not tell a lie. With my little hatchet
I have failed to make much impression. But I will keep trying. "
Leonard Raven-Hill, Last Orders (5th May, 1926)

Churchill wrote to Arthur Steel-Maitland, the Minister of Labour, to explain his ideas. He suggested that when the legislation to pay for the dole expired in 1926, rather than reduce the benefit, as most of his colleagues wanted to do, they should abolish it altogether. Churchill said: "It is profoundly injurious to the state that this system should continue; it is demoralising to the whole working class population... it is charitable relief; and charitable relief should never be enjoyed as a right." Churchill told Steel-Maitland that the huge number of unemployed families would have to depend on private charity once their insurance benefits were exhausted. The Government might make some donations to charities but money would only be given to "deserving cases" and that "by proceeding on the present lines we are rotting the youth of the country and rupturing the mainsprings of its energies". (268)

Churchill attempted to get his ideas supported by Stanley Baldwin, the prime minister: "I am thinking less about saving the exchequer than about saving the moral fibre of our working classes." (269) Churchill did not get his way. The other members of the Government, regardless of any possible moral consequences, could not face the political impact of ending the ‘dole' at a time when over a million people were out of work. "Nevertheless he was able to achieve the objective he referred to as less important – reducing the cost to the Exchequer by cutting the level of benefits for the unemployed. In 1926 the Treasury's contribution to the health and unemployment schemes was reduced by eleven per cent (to save £2.5 million on the health scheme) and a Royal Commission recommendation to extend the schemes was ignored. In 1927 the unemployment benefit for single men was reduced by a shilling a week." (270)

Winston Churchill was successful with persuading his cabinet colleagues that the test that the unemployed had to pass was stiffened: they now had to prove that they were "genuinely seeking work" even if there were no jobs available. The Government was able to increase, as a matter of deliberate policy, the rejection rate from three per cent in 1924 to over eighteen per cent by 1927. In November 1925 he was also able to convince his colleagues that "to the utmost extent possible Government unemployment relief schemes should be closed down" in order to save money. (271)

The General Strike

Churchill was a strong supporter of introducing legislation to weaken the labour movement. He was especially keen to force trade union members to voluntarily 'contract in' to pay the political levy to the Labour Party. The right-wing Tory MP, Frederick A. Macquisten, introduced his own private members bill on the subject. Macquisten argued that trade unions were guilty of imposing taxes on its members. "What I am proposing now is to relieve the working man of this liability to be taxed." (272)

In the House of Commons, Churchill supported the measure but Stanley Baldwin rejected the idea on moral grounds as the the trade unions were weak at this time because of increasing unemployment. "We find ourselves, after these two years in power, in possession of perhaps the greatest majority our party has ever had, and with the general assent of the country. Now how did we get there? It was not by promising to bring this Bill in; it was because, rightly or wrongly, we succeeding in creating an impression throughout the country that we stood for stable Government and for peace in the country between all classes of the community." He appealed to his own Party's sense of British fair-play, they should not, he said, push home their advantage at a "time like this". Baldwin claimed that "stability at home and abroad was what was needed" and he was unwilling to "fire the first shot". He concluded with an appeal from the Book of Common Prayer: "Give peace in our time, O Lord." (273)

On 30th June 1925 the mine-owners announced that they intended to reduce the miner's wages. Will Paynter later commented: "The coal owners gave notice of their intention to end the wage agreement then operating, bad though it was, and proposed further wage reductions, the abolition of the minimum wage principle, shorter hours and a reversion to district agreements from the then existing national agreements. This was, without question, a monstrous package attack, and was seen as a further attempt to lower the position not only of miners but of all industrial workers." (274)

On 23rd July, 1925, Ernest Bevin, the general secretary of the Transport & General Workers Union (TGWU), moved a resolution at a conference of transport workers pledging full support to the miners and full co-operation with the General Council in carrying out any measures they might decide to take. A few days later the railway unions also pledged their support and set up a joint committee with the transport workers to prepare for the embargo on the movement of coal which the General Council had ordered in the event of a lock-out." (275) It has been claimed that the railwaymen believed "that a successful attack on the miners would be followed by another on them." (276)

In an attempt to avoid a General Strike, the prime minister, Stanley Baldwin, invited the leaders of the miners and the mine owners to Downing Street on 29th July. The miners kept firm on what became their slogan: "Not a minute on the day, not a penny off the pay". Herbert Smith, the president of the Miners' Federation of Great Britain, told Baldwin: "We have now to give". Baldwin insisted there would be no subsidy: "All the workers of this country have got to take reductions in wages to help put industry on its feet." (277)

The following day the General Council of the Trade Union Congress triggered a national embargo on coal movements. On 31st July, the government capitulated. It announced an inquiry into the scope and methods of reorganization of the industry, and Baldwin offered a subsidy that would meet the difference between the owners' and the miners' positions on pay until the new Commission reported. The subsidy would end on 1st May 1926. Until then, the lockout notices and the strike were suspended. This event became known as Red Friday because it was seen as a victory for working class solidarity. (278)

Herbert Smith pointed out that the real battle was to come: "We have no need to glorify about a victory. It is only an armistice, and it will depend largely how we stand between now and May 1st next year as an organisation in respect of unity as to what will be the ultimate results. All I can say is, that it is one of the finest things ever done by an organisation." (279)

Red Friday was a great success for Smith and Arthur J. Cook, general secretary of the MFGB. However, Margaret Morris has argued that they had a difficult relationship: "Smith was temperamentally and politically the antithesis of Cook. Where Cook was emotional and voluble, Smith was dour and short of words. He was an old-style union leader, used to dominating the miners in Yorkshire... Relations between Smith and Cook were not always harmonious; neither of them really trusted the other's judgement, but each could respect that the other was dedicated to serving the miners. Neither of them was a very good negotiator: Cook was too excitable, and Smith perhaps a little too defensive in his tactics." (280)

The General Strike began on 3rd May, 1926. Arthur Pugh, the chairman of the Trade Union Congress, was put in charge of the strike. The Trade Union Congress adopted the following plan of action. To begin with they would bring out workers in the key industries - railwaymen, transport workers, dockers, printers, builders, iron and steel workers - a total of 3 million men (a fifth of the adult male population). Only later would other trade unionists, like the engineers and shipyard workers, be called out on strike. Ernest Bevin, the general secretary of the Transport & General Workers Union (TGWU), was placed in charge of organising the strike. (281)

The TUC decided to publish its own newspaper, The British Worker, during the strike. Some trade unionists had doubts about the wisdom of not allowing the printing of newspapers. Workers on the Manchester Guardian sent a plea to the TUC asking that all "sane" newspapers be allowed to be printed. However, the TUC thought it would be impossible to discriminate along such lines. Permission to publish was sought by George Lansbury for Lansbury's Labour Weekly and H. N. Brailsford for the New Leader. The TUC owned Daily Herald also applied for permission to publish. Although all these papers could be relied upon to support the trade union case, permission was refused. (282)

The government reacted by publishing The British Gazette. Baldwin gave permission to Winston Churchill to take control of this venture and his first act was commandeer the offices and presses of The Morning Post, a right-wing newspaper. The company's workers refused to cooperate and non-union staff had to be employed. Baldwin told a friend that he gave Churchill the job because "it will keep him busy, stop him doing worse things". He added he feared that Churchill would turn his supporters "into an army of Bolsheviks". (283)

Winston Churchill, along with Frederick Smith, Lord Birkenhead, were members of the government who saw the strike as "an enemy to be destroyed." Lord Beaverbrook described him as being full of the "old Gallipoli spirit" and in "one of his fits of vainglory and excessive excitement". Thomas Jones attempted to develop a plan that would bring the dispute to an end. Churchill was furious and said that the government should reject a negotiated settlement. Jones described Churchill as a "cataract of boiling eloquence" and told him that "we are at war" and the battle should continue until the government won. (284)

John C. Davidson, the chairman of the Conservative Party, commented that Churchill was "the sort of man whom, if I wanted a mountain to be moved, I should send for at one. I think, however, that I should not consult him after he had moved the mountain if I wanted to know where to put it." (285) Neville Chamberlain found Churchill's approach unacceptable and wrote in his diary that "some of us are going to make a concerted attack on Winston... he simply revels in this affair, which he will continually treat and talk of as if it were 1914." (286)

Davidson, who had been put in overall charge of the government's media campaign, grew increasingly frustrated by Churchill's willingness to distort or suppress any item which might be vaguely favourable to "the enemy". Davidson argued that Churchill's behaviour became so extreme that he lost the support of the previously loyal Lord Birkenhead: "Winston, who had it firmly in his mind that anybody who was out of work was a Bolshevik; he was most extraordinary and never have I listened to such poppycock and rot." (287)

Churchill called for the government to seize union funds. This was rejected and Churchill was condemned for his "wild ways". John Charmley has argued that "Churchill had a sentimentalist upper-class view of grateful workers co-operating with their betters for the good of the nation; he neither understood, nor realised that he did not understand, the Labour movement. To have written about the TUC leaders as though they were potential Lenins and Trotskys said more about the state of Churchill's imagination than it did about his judgment." (288)

Walter Citrine, the general secretary of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), was desperate to bring an end to the General Strike. He argued that it was important to reopen negotiations with the government. His view was "the logical thing is to make the best conditions while our members are solid". Baldwin refused to talk to the TUC while the General Strike persisted. Citrine therefore contacted Jimmy Thomas, the general secretary of the National Union of Railwaymen (NUR), who shared this view of the strike, and asked him to arrange a meeting with Herbert Samuel, the Chairman of the Royal Commission on the Coal Industry. (289)

Without telling the miners, the TUC negotiating committee met Samuel on 7th May and they worked out a set of proposals to end the General Strike. These included: (i) a National Wages Board with an independent chairman; (ii) a minimum wage for all colliery workers; (iii) workers displaced by pit closures to be given alternative employment; (iv) the wages subsidy to be renewed while negotiations continued. However, Samuel warned that subsequent negotiations would probably mean a reduction in wages. These terms were accepted by the TUC negotiating committee, but were rejected by the executive of the Miners' Federation. (290)

Herbert Smith was furious with the TUC for going behind the miners back. One of those involved in the negotiations, John Bromley of the NUR, commented: "By God, we are all in this now and I want to say to the miners, in a brotherly comradely spirit... this is not a miners' fight now. I am willing to fight right along with them and suffer as a consequence, but I am not going to be strangled by my friends." Smith replied: "I am going to speak as straight as Bromley. If he wants to get out of this fight, well I am not stopping him." (291)

Walter Citrine wrote in his diary: "Miner after miner got up and, speaking with intensity of feeling, affirmed that the miners could not go back to work on a reduction in wages. Was all this sacrifice to be in vain?" Citrine quoted Cook as saying: "Gentleman, I know the sacrifice you have made. You do not want to bring the miners down. Gentlemen, don't do it. You want your recommendations to be a common policy with us, but that is a hard thing to do." (292)

Herbert Smith asked Arthur Pugh if the decision was "the unanimous decision of your Committee?" Pugh replied that it was the view that the General Strike should come to an end. Smith pleaded for further negotiations. However, Pugh was insistent: "That is it. That is the final decision, and that is what you have to consider as far as you are concerned, and accept it." (293)

On the 11th May, at a meeting of the Trade Union Congress General Committee, it was decided to accept the terms proposed by Herbert Samuel and to call off the General Strike. The following day, the TUC General Council visited 10 Downing Street and attempted to persuade the Government to support the Samuel proposals and to offer a guarantee that there would be no victimization of strikers.

Clementine and Winston Churchill at Aldershot (1910)
Bernard Partridge, Under Which Flag (12th May 1926)

Baldwin refused but did say if the miners returned to work on the current conditions he would provide a subsidy for six weeks and then there would be the pay cuts that the Mine Owners Association wanted to impose. He did say that he would legislate for the amalgamation of pits, introduce a welfare levy on profits and introduce a national wages board. The TUC negotiators agreed to this deal. As Lord Birkenhead, a member of the Government was to write later, the TUC's surrender was "so humiliating that some instinctive breeding made one unwilling even to look at them." (294)

In 1927 the British Government passed the Trade Disputes and Trade Union Act. This act made all sympathetic strikes illegal, ensured the trade union members had to voluntarily 'contract in' to pay the political levy to the Labour Party, forbade Civil Service unions to affiliate to the TUC, and made mass picketing illegal. As A. J. P. Taylor has pointed out: "The attack on Labour party finance came ill from the Conservatives who depended on secret donations from rich men." (295)

The legislation defined all sympathetic strikes as illegal, confining the right to strike to "the trade or industry in which the strikers are engaged". The funds of any union engaging in an illegal strike was liable in respect of civil damages. It also limited the right to picket, in terms so vague that almost any form of picketing might be liable to prosecution. As Julian Symons has pointed out: "More than any other single measure, the Trade Disputes Act caused hatred of Baldwin and his Government among organized trade unionists." (296)

One of the results of this Trade Disputes and Trade Union Act was that trade union membership fell below the 5,000,000 mark for the first time since 1926. However, despite its victory over the trade union movement, the public turned against the Conservative Party. Over the next three years the Labour Party won all the thirteen by-elections that took place. Stanley Baldwin considered offering government help to relieving distress in high unemployment areas but Winston Churchill, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, insisted that "we must harden our hearts". (297)

Winston Churchill was a great admirer of Benito Mussolini and welcomed both his anti-socialism and his authoritarian way of organising and disciplining the Italians. He visited the country in January 1927 and wrote to his wife, Clementine Churchill, about his first impressions of Mussolini's Italy: "This country gives the impression of discipline, order, goodwill, smiling faces. A happy strict school... The Fascists have been saluting in their impressive manner all over the place." (298)

Churchill met Mussolini and gave a very positive account of him at a press conference held in Rome. Churchill claimed he had been "charmed" by his "gentle and simple bearing" and praised the way "he thought of nothing but the lasting good... of the Italian people." He added that it was "quite absurd to suggest that the Italian Government does not stand upon a popular basis or that it is not upheld by the active and practical assent of the great masses." Finally, he addressed the suppression of left-wing political parties: "If I had been an Italian, I am sure that I should have been whole-heartedly with you from the start to the finish in your triumphant struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism." (299)

Churchill like Mussolini always disliked the idea of democracy. In the first volume of his autobiography, Churchill wrote: "All experience goes to show that once the vote has been given to everyone and what is called full democracy has been achieved, the whole political system is very speedily broken up and swept away." (300) Churchill told his son that democracy might destroy past achievements and that future historians would probably record "that within a generation of the poor silly people all getting the votes they clamoured for they squandered the treasure which five centuries of wisdom and victory had amassed." (301)

Stanley Baldwin, wanted to change the image of the Conservative Party to make it appear a less right-wing organisation. In March 1927 He suggested to his Cabinet that the government should propose legislation for the enfranchisement of nearly five million women between the ages of twenty-one and thirty. This measure meant that women would constitute almost 53% of the British electorate. The Daily Mail complained that these impressionable young females would be easily manipulated by the Labour Party. (302)

Churchill was totally opposed to the move and argued that the affairs of the country ought not be put into the hands of a female majority. In order to avoid giving the vote to all adults he proposed that the vote be taken away from all men between twenty-one and thirty. He lost the argument and in Cabinet and asked for a formal note of dissent to be entered in the minutes. There was little opposition in Parliament to the bill and it became law on 2nd July 1928. As a result, all women over the age of 21 could now vote in elections. (303)

There was little opposition in Parliament to the bill and it became law on 2nd July 1928. As a result, all women over the age of 21 could now vote in elections. Many of the women who had fought for this right were now dead including Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Barbara Bodichon, Emily Davies, Elizabeth Wolstenholme-Elmy, Constance Lytton and Emmeline Pankhurst. Millicent Fawcett, the leader of the NUWSS during the campaign for the vote, was still alive and had the pleasure of attending Parliament to see the vote take place. That night she wrote in her diary that it was almost exactly 61 years ago since she heard John Stuart Mill introduce his suffrage amendment to the Reform Bill on May 20th, 1867." (304)

In January 1929, 1,433,000 people in Britain were out of work. Churchill was widely blamed for the poor state of the economy. However, he refused to take action to reduce the problem. He told Maxwell Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook, that unemployment was not a political issue for the Conservatives: "Unemployment was confined to certain areas, which would go against the Government anyhow, but it was not sufficiently spread to have a universal damaging influence all over the country." (305)

Churchill resisted attempts by his colleagues who suggested he took action to reduce unemployment. In his opinion the British economic position was sound and that there was "a more contented people and a better standard of living for the wage earners than at any other time in our own history". He thought the Government should not allow itself to be "disparaged abroad and demoralised at home" by the unemployment figures". This was because they did not represent genuine unemployment,only "a special culture developed by the post-war extensions of the original Unemployment Insurance Act." He told the Cabinet that "it is to be hoped that we shall not let ourselves be drawn by panic or electioneering into unsound schemes to cure unemployment". (306)

1929 General Election

Baldwin was urged to take measures that would protect the depressed iron and steel industry. Baldwin ruled this out owing to the pledge against protection which had been made at the 1924 election. Agriculture was in an even worse condition, and here again the government could offer little assistance without reopening the dangerous tariff issue. Baldwin was considered to be a popular prime minister and he fully expected to win the general election that was to take place on 30th May, 1929. (307)

In its manifesto the Conservative Party blamed the General Strike for the country's economic problems. "Trade suffered a severe set-back owing to the General Strike, and the industrial troubles of 1926. In the last two years it has made a remarkable recovery. In the insured industries, other than the coal mining industry, there are now 800,000 more people employed and 125,000 fewer unemployed than when we assumed office... This recovery has been achieved by the combined efforts of our people assisted by the Government's policy of helping industry to help itself. The establishment of stable conditions has given industry confidence and opportunity." (308)

The Labour Party attacked the record of Baldwin's government: "By its inaction during four critical years it has multiplied our difficulties and increased our dangers. Unemployment is more acute than when Labour left office.... The Government's further record is that it has helped its friends by remissions of taxation, whilst it has robbed the funds of the workers' National Health Insurance Societies, reduced Unemployment Benefits, and thrown thousands of workless men and women on to the Poor Law. The Tory Government has added £38,000,000 to indirect taxation, which is an increasing burden on the wage-earners, shop-keepers and lower middle classes." (309)

In a speech made during the campaign Churchill told the Anti-Socialist and Anti-Communist Union (one of his favourite organisations) gathered at the Queen's Hall that if Labour won "they would be bound to bring back the Russian Bolsheviks, who will immediately get busy in the mines and the factories, as well as among the armed forces, planning another general strike" and the Government would be manipulated by "a small secret international junta". (310)

This was Churchill's theme throughout the campaign. On 15th April he delivered his fifth Budget and Neville Chamberlain described how he "kept the House fascinated and enthralled by its wit, audacity, adroitness and power". Two weeks later, as part of the election campaign, Churchill made his first radio broadcast. He urged his listeners to vote Conservative: "Avoid chops and changes of policy; avoid thimble-riggers and three-card-trick men; avoid all needless borrowings; and above all avoid, as you would the smallpox, class warfare and violent political strife." (311)

In the 1929 General Election the Conservatives won 8,656,000 votes (38%), the Labour Party 8,309,000 (37%) and the Liberals 5,309,000 (23%). However, the bias of the system worked in Labour's favour, and in the House of Commons the party won 287 seats, the Conservatives 261 and the Liberals 59. The Conservatives lost 150 seats and became for the first time a smaller parliamentary party than Labour. Thomas Jones was with Churchill when the results came in. "At one desk sat Winston... sipping whisky and soda, getting redder and redder, rising and going out to glare at the tape machine himself, hunching his shoulders, bowing his head like a bull about to charge. As Labour gain after Labour gain was announced, Winston became more and more flushed with anger, left his seat and contronted the machine in the passage; with his shoulders hunched he glared at the figures, tore the sheets and behaved as though if any more Labour gains came along he would smash the whole apparatus. His ejaculations to the surrounding staff were quite unprintable." (312)

David Lloyd George, the leader of the Liberals, admitted that his campaign had been unsuccessful but claimed he held the balance of power: "It would be silly to pretend that we have realised our expectations. It looks for the moment as if we still hold the balance." However, both Baldwin and MacDonald refused to form a coalition government with Lloyd George. Baldwin resigned and once again MacDonald agreed to form a minority government. (313)

Winston Churchill was furious with both David Lloyd George and Stanley Baldwin that they had allowed this to happen. Lloyd George argued that he had no choice but to do this as his manifesto promises were much closer to the policies of the Labour Party. Churchill replied: "Never mind, you have done your best, and if Britain alone among modern States chooses to cast away her rights, her interests and her strength, she must learn by bitter experience." (314)

Churchill hoped that Baldwin would be removed and he would replace him as leader of the Conservative Party. He feared that the party would select someone on the left of the party such as Neville Chamberlain. While visiting Canada he wrote to Clementine Churchill that if Chamberlain "or anyone else of that kind" was made leader "I will clear out of politics and see if I cannot make you and the kittens a little more comfortable before I die." He explained that his thoughts were on the premiership. "Only one goal attracts me, and if that were barred I should quit the dreary field for pastures new." (315)

Churchill was in New York City on 29th October, 1929, when the Wall Street Crash took place. His own shareholdings plummeted and his losses were in excess of £10,000, more than £600,000 in the money values of 2018. The following day he saw from his bedroom window "a gentleman cast himself down fifteen storeys and was dashed to pieces, causing a wild commotion and the arrival of the fire brigade". Later that day he visited the floor of the Stock Exchange where members walked "like a slow-motion picture of a disturbed ant heap, offering each other enormous blocks of securities at a third of their old prices" and "finding no one strong enough to pick up the sure fortunes they were compelled to offer." (316)

Winston Churchill and Stanley Baldwin

While he was away in the United States the Conservative Shadow Cabinet agreed with Stanley Baldwin that they would support the Labour Government's pland for India. The decision, announced by the Viceroy of India, was to grant Dominion Status to India. While retaining a Viceroy appointed from London, and British military control of defence, India would be ruled within a few years by Indians at both the national and provincial levels. Churchill was certain this was a wrong decision and that the people of India were not ready to govern themselves. He wrote an article in The Daily Mail defending British rule of India: "Justice has been given - equal between race and race, impartial between man and man. Science, healing or creative, has been harnessed to the service of this immense and, by themselves, helpless population." (317)

Churchill now concentrated on writing his first volume of his autobiography. Entitled, My Early Life (1930), it covered his career from birth to his separation from the Conservative Party in 1903. It has been argued by Roy Jenkins, the author of Churchill (2001): "Many consider this to be Churchill's best book, and some would put it as one of the most outstanding works of the twentieth century... What most distinguished the book was that it was designed not to prove a point or to advance a theory but to entertain. In consequence there disappeared the somewhat portentous and tendentiously partial citation of documents, which, even though interspersed by pages of sparkling description and polemic, somewhat marred both The World Crisis and The Second World War. They were replaced by a most agreeable mockery of himself and of others with whom he came into contact." (318)

Winston Churchill's handling of the economy was blamed for the Conservative government's defeat in 1929. Churchill's opposition to the party's policy on India also upset Stanley Baldwin, the leader of the party, who was attempting to make the Conservatives a centre party. In 1931 when Baldwin, joined the National Government, he refused to allow Churchill to join the team because his views were considered to be too extreme. This included his idea that "democracy is totally unsuited to India" because they were "humble primitives". When the Viceroy of India, Edward Wood, told him that his opinions were out of date and that he ought to meet some Indians in order to understand their views, he rejected the suggestion: "I am quite satisfied with my views of India. I don't want them disturbed by any bloody Indian." (319)

Churchill also questioned the idea of democracy and asked "whether institutions based on adult suffrage could possibly arrive at the right decision upon the intricate propositions of modern business and finance". He then suggested a semi-corporatist, anti-democratic alternative that would have been similar to the authoritarian state imposed on Italy by Benito Mussolini and Germany by Adolf Hitler. Churchill had been an early supporter of Mussolini: "Fascismo's triumphant struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism... proved the necessary antidote to the Communist poison." (320)

In an article published in the Evening Standard in January, 1934, he declared that with the advent of universal suffrage the political and social class to which he belonged was losing its control over affairs and "a universal suffrage electorate with a majority of women voters" would be unable to preserve the British form of government. His solution was to go back to the nineteenth-century system of plural voting - those he deemed suitable would be given extra votes in order to outweigh the influence of women and the working class and produce the answer he wanted at General Elections. (321)

On 7th June 1935, Ramsay MacDonald went to see George V to tell him he was resigning as head of the National Government. Henry Channon, the Conservative MP for Southend, commented in his diary: "I am glad Ramsay (MacDonald) has gone: I have always disliked his shifty face, and his inability to give a direct answer. What a career, a life-long Socialist, then for 4 years a Conservative Prime Minister, and now the defender of Londonderry House. An incredible volte-face. He ends up distrusted by Conservatives and hated by Socialists." (322)

Stanley Baldwin became Prime Minister for the third time. Parliament was dissolved on 25th October and the 1935 General Election set for 14th November. On 31st October, Baldwin declared "I give you my word there will be no great armaments." Churchill disagreed with Baldwin and he responded by publishing an article in The Daily Mail where he stressed the need to build up Britain's armed forces: "I do not feel that people realise at all how near and how grave are the dangers of a world explosion." (323)

In the 1935 General Election the Conservative-dominated National Government lost 90 seats from its massive majority of 1931, but still retained an overwhelming majority of 255 in the House of Commons. Churchill held his seat with an increased majority. He fully expected to be invited to join the government but Baldwin ignored his claims. Churchill later wrote: "This was to me a pang and, in a way, an insult. There was much mockery in the press. I do not pretend that, thirsting to get on the move." (324)

The Rise of Fascism

Churchill gave support to Benito Mussolini in his foreign adventures. On 3rd October 1935, Mussolini sent 400,000 soldiers to invade Abyssinia (Ethiopia). Haile Selassie, the ruler of appealed to the League of Nations for help, delivering an address that made him a worldwide figure. As might have been expected, given his views of black people, Churchill had little sympathy for one of the two last surviving independent African countries. He told the House of Commons: "No one can keep up the pretence that Abyssinia is a fit, worthy and equal member of a league of civilised nations." (325)

As the majority of the Ethiopian population lived in rural towns, Italy faced continued resistance. Haile Selassie fled into exile and went to live in England. Mussolini was able to proclaim the Empire of Ethiopia and the assumption of the imperial title by the Italian king Victor Emmanuel III. The League of Nations condemned Italy's aggression and imposed economic sanctions in November 1935, but the sanctions were largely ineffective since they did not ban the sale of oil or close the Suez Canal, that was under the control of the British. Despite the illegal methods employed by Mussolini, Churchill remained a loyal supporter. He told the Anti-Socialist Union that Mussolini was "the greatest lawgiver among living men". (326) He also wrote in The Sunday Chronicle that Mussolini was "a really great man". (327)

Sir Samuel Hoare, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, joined with Pierre Laval, the prime minister of France, in an effort to resolve the crisis created by the Italian invasion of Abyssinia. The secret agreement, known as the Hoare-Laval Pact, proposed that Italy would receive two-thirds of the territory it conquered as well as permission to enlarge existing colonies in East Africa. In return, Abyssinia, was to receive a narrow strip of territory and access to the sea. This was "the policy that Churchill had favoured all along". (328)

Details of the Hoare-Laval plan was leaked to the press on 10th December, 1935. Clement Attlee, the leader of the Labour Party, moved a vote of censure. He accused Stanley Baldwin of winning the 1935 General Election on one policy and pursuing another. "There is the question of the honour of this country, and there is the honour of the Prime Minister... If you turn and run away from the aggressor, you kill the League, and you do worse than that... you kill all faith in the word of honour of this country." (329)

Sir Austen Chamberlain, the Conservative MP, condemned the Pact and said: "Gentlemen do not behave in such a way". The Conservative Chief Whip told Baldwin: "Our men won't stand for it". The Government withdrew the plan, and Hoare was forced to resign. Churchill decided to keep out of the debate in case it put him in a bad light. Attlee wrote to his brother: "I fear that we are in for a bad time. The Government has no policy and no convictions. I have never seen a collection of ministers more hopeless after so short a time since an election." (330)

Adolf Hitler knew that both France and Britain were militarily stronger than Germany. However, their failure to take action against Italy, convinced him that they were unwilling to go to war. He therefore decided to break another aspect of the Treaty of Versailles by sending German troops into the Rhineland. The German generals were very much against the plan, claiming that the French Army would win a victory in the military conflict that was bound to follow this action. Hitler ignored their advice and on 1st March, 1936, three German battalions marched into the Rhineland. Hitler later admitted: "The forty-eight hours after the march into the Rhineland were the most nerve-racking in my life. If French had then marched into the Rhineland we would have had to withdraw with our tails between our legs, for the military resources at our disposal would have been wholly inadequate for even a moderate resistance." (331)

The British government accepted Hitler's Rhineland coup. Sir Anthony Eden, the new foreign secretary, informed the French that the British government was not prepared to support military action. The chiefs of staff felt Britain was in no position to go to war with Germany over the issue. The Rhineland invasion was not seen by the British government as an act of unprovoked aggression but as the righting of an injustice left behind by the Treaty of Versailles. Eden apparently said that "Hitler was only going into his own back garden." (332)

Winston Churchill agreed with the government position. In an article in the Evening Standard he praised the French for their restraint: "instead of retaliating with arms, as the previous generation would have, France has taken the correct course by appealing to the League of Nations". (333) In a speech in the House of Commons he supported the government's policy on appeasement and called on the League of Nations to invite Germany to state her grievances and her legitimate aspirations" so that under the League's auspices "justice may be done and peace preserved". (334)

Clement Attlee attacked Churchill, Baldwin and Eden and the Conservative government for the acceptance that Hitler was allowed to march into the Rhineland without any measures taken against Germany. He spoke of the dangers of accepting Hitler's actions as merely righting one of the punitive wrongs of Versailles. "In the last five years we have had quite enough of dodging difficulties, of using forms of words to avoid facing up to realities... I am afraid that you may get a patched-up peace and then another crisis next year." (335)

Churchill supported General Francisco Franco and his Nationalist forces during the Spanish Civil War. He described the democratically elected Republican government as "a poverty stricken and backward proletariat demanding the overthrow of Church, State and property and the inauguration of a Communist regime." Against them stood the "patriotic, religious and bourgeois forces, under the leadership of the army, and sustained by the countryside in many provinces... marching to re-establish order by setting up a military dictatorship." (336)

As Geoffrey Best, the author of Churchill: A Study in Greatness (2001) has pointed out: "He (Churchill) was relatively unconcerned about what else went on in Europe. Eschewing the liberal-cum-socialist practice of bracketing together the two fascist dictators, he clung for long to a hope that Mussolini (whose regime in any case he correctly assessed as much less unpleasant than Hitler's) could be kept friendly or neutral in the forthcoming conflict. He was an anti-Nazi, not an anti-Fascist until very late in the day. He failed to give serious thought to the issues at stake in the Spanish Civil War and he did his own anti-Hitler campaign no good by appearing at that time to be pro-Franco." (337)

As C. P. Snow pointed out: "He (Churchill) lived until he was over ninety. If he had died at sixty-five, he would have been one of the picturesque failures in English politics - a failure like his own father, Lord Randolph Churchill, or Charles James Fox... His life, right up to the time when most men have finished, had been adventurous and twopence coloured, but he had achieved little. Except among his friends - and I mean his few real friends - he had never been popular. In most of his political life he had been widely and deeply disliked." (338)


During this period Churchill was a supporter of the government's appeasement policy. In April 1936 he called on the League of Nations to invite Germany "to state her grievances and her legitimate aspirations" so that "justice may be done and peace preserved". (339) Churchill believed that the right strategy was to try and encourage Adolf Hitler to order the invasion of the Soviet Union. He wrote to Violet Bonham-Carter suggesting an alliance of Britain, France, Belgium and Holland to deter Germany from attacking in the west. He expected that Hitler would turn eastwards and attack the Soviet Union, and he proposed that Britain should stand aside while his old enemy Bolshevism was destroyed: "We should have to expect that the Germans would soon begin a war of conquest east and south and that at the same time Japan would attack Russia in the Far East. But Britain and France would maintain a heavily-armed neutrality." (340)

Stanley Baldwin's health so deteriorated that he announced that he would retire in May 1937. Neville Chamberlainwas the obvious replacement. Churchill hoped that Chamberlain would offer him a post in his government. However, like Baldwin before him, Chamberlain was resolved to keep Churchill out of power. Blanche Dugdale reported that "It seems clear that Winston will not be invited to join Chamberlain's Cabinet. He (Chamberlain) quoted with approval a description of him made by Haldane when they were in Asquith's Cabinet: It is like arguing with a Brass band." (341)

On 17th September, Churchill praised Hitler's domestic achievements. In an article published in The Evening Standard after highlighting Germany's achievements in the First World War he wrote: "One may dislike Hitler’s system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated I hope we should find a champion as indomitable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations. I have on more than one occasion made my appeal in public that the Führer of Germany should now become the Hitler of peace." (342)

Churchill went further the following month. "The story of that struggle (Hitler's rise to power), cannot be read without admiration for the courage, the perseverance, and the vital force which enabled him to challenge, defy, conciliate or overcome, all the authority or resistances which barred his path.". He then considered the way Hitler had suppressed the opposition and set up concentration camps: "Although no subsequent political action can condone wrong deeds, history is replete with examples of men who have risen to power by employing stern, grim and even frightful methods, but who nevertheless, when their life is revealed as a whole, have been regarded as great figures whose lives have enriched the story of mankind. So may it be with Hitler." (343)

In a speech at the Conservative Party conference on 7th October, 1937, he made it clear that he opposed the government's policy on India but supported its appeasement policy: "I used to come here year after year when we had some differences between ourselves about rearmament and also about a place called India. So I thought it would only be right that I should come here when we are all agreed... let us indeed support the foreign policy of our Government, which commands the trust, comprehension, and the comradeship of peace-loving and law-respecting nations in all parts of the world." (344)

On 12th March, 1938, the German Army invaded Austria. Churchill, like the Government and most of his fellow politicians, found it difficult to decide how to react to what seemed to be a highly popular peaceful union of the two countries. During the debate in the House of Commons, Churchill did not advocate the use of force to remove German forces from Austria. Instead he called for was discussion between diplomats at Geneva and still continued to support the government's appeasement policy. (345)

Winston Churchill now decided to become involved in discussions with representatives of Hitler's government in Nazi Germany. In July, 1938, Churchill had a meeting with Albert Forster, the Nazi Gauleiter of Danzig. Forster asked Churchill whether German discriminatory legislation against the Jews would prevent an understanding with Britain. Churchill replied that he thought "it was a hindrance and an irritation, but probably not a complete obstacle to a working agreement." (346)

The Munich Agreement

In September 1938, Neville Chamberlain met Adolf Hitler at his home in Berchtesgaden. Hitler threatened to invade Czechoslovakia unless Britain supported Germany's plans to takeover the Sudetenland. After discussing the issue with the Edouard Daladier (France) and Eduard Benes (Czechoslovakia), Chamberlain informed Hitler that his proposals were unacceptable. Neville Henderson, the British ambassador in Germany, pleaded with Chamberlain to go on negotiating with Hitler. He believed, like Lord Halifax, the Foreign Secretary, that the German claim to the Sudetenland in 1938 was a moral one, and he always reverted in his dispatches to his conviction that the Treaty of Versailles had been unfair to Germany. "At the same time, he was unsympathetic to feelers from the German opposition to Hitler seeking to enlist British support. Henderson thought, not unreasonably, that it was not the job of the British government to subvert the German government, and this view was shared by Chamberlain and Halifax". (347)

Benito Mussolini suggested to Hitler that one way of solving this issue was to hold a four-power conference of Germany, Britain, France and Italy. This would exclude both Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union, and therefore increasing the possibility of reaching an agreement and undermine the solidarity that was developing against Germany. The meeting took place in Munich on 29th September, 1938. Desperate to avoid war, and anxious to avoid an alliance with Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union, Chamberlain and Daladier agreed that Germany could have the Sudetenland. In return, Hitler promised not to make any further territorial demands in Europe. (348)

The meeting ended with Hitler, Chamberlain, Daladier and Mussolini signing the Munich Agreement which transferred the Sudetenland to Germany. "We, the German Führer and Chancellor and the British Prime Minister, have had a further meeting today and are agreed in recognizing that the question of Anglo-German relations is of the first importance for the two countries and for Europe. We regard the agreement signed last night and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as Symbolic of the desire of our two peoples never to go to war with one another again. We are resolved that the method of consultation shall be the method adopted to deal with any other questions that may concern our two countries." (349)

Neville Henderson defended the agreement: "Germany thus incorporated the Sudeten lands in the Reich without bloodshed and without firing a shot. But she had not got all that Hitler wanted and which she would have got if the arbitrament had been left to war... The humiliation of the Czechs was a tragedy, but it was solely thanks to Mr. Chamberlain's courage and pertinacity that a futile and senseless war was averted." (350)

On 3rd October, 1938, Clement Attlee, the leader of the Labour Party, attacked the Munich Agreement in a speech in the House of Commons. "We have felt that we are in the midst of a tragedy. We have felt humiliation. This has not been a victory for reason and humanity. It has been a victory for brute force. At every stage of the proceedings there have been time limits laid down by the owner and ruler of armed force. The terms have not been terms negotiated; they have been terms laid down as ultimata. We have seen today a gallant, civilised and democratic people betrayed and handed over to a ruthless despotism. We have seen something more. We have seen the cause of democracy, which is, in our view, the cause of civilisation and humanity, receive a terrible defeat.... The events of these last few days constitute one of the greatest diplomatic defeats that this country and France have ever sustained. There can be no doubt that it is a tremendous victory for Herr Hitler. Without firing a shot, by the mere display of military force, he has achieved a dominating position in Europe which Germany failed to win after four years of war. He has overturned the balance of power in Europe. He has destroyed the last fortress of democracy in Eastern Europe which stood in the way of his ambition. He has opened his way to the food, the oil and the resources which he requires in order to consolidate his military power, and he has successfully defeated and reduced to impotence the forces that might have stood against the rule of violence." (351)

Winston Churchill now decided to break with the government over its appeasement policy and two days after Attlee's speech made his move. Churchill praised Chamberlain for his efforts: "If I do not begin this afternoon by paying the usual, and indeed almost invariable, tributes to the Prime Minister for his handling of this crisis, it is certainly not from any lack of personal regard. We have always, over a great many years, had very pleasant relations, and I have deeply understood from personal experiences of my own in a similar crisis the stress and strain he has had to bear; but I am sure it is much better to say exactly what we think about public affairs, and this is certainly not the time when it is worth anyone’s while to court political popularity."

Churchill went on to say the negotiations had been a failure: "No one has been a more resolute and uncompromising struggler for peace than the Prime Minister. Everyone knows that. Never has there been such instance and undaunted determination to maintain and secure peace. That is quite true. Nevertheless, I am not quite clear why there was so much danger of Great Britain or France being involved in a war with Germany at this juncture if, in fact, they were ready all along to sacrifice Czechoslovakia. The terms which the Prime Minister brought back with him could easily have been agreed, I believe, through the ordinary diplomatic channels at any time during the summer. And I will say this, that I believe the Czechs, left to themselves and told they were going to get no help from the Western Powers, would have been able to make better terms than they have got after all this tremendous perturbation; they could hardly have had worse."

It was now time to change course and form an alliance with the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany. "After the seizure of Austria in March we faced this problem in our debates. I ventured to appeal to the Government to go a little further than the Prime Minister went, and to give a pledge that in conjunction with France and other Powers they would guarantee the security of Czechoslovakia while the Sudeten-Deutsch question was being examined either by a League of Nations Commission or some other impartial body, and I still believe that if that course had been followed events would not have fallen into this disastrous state. France and Great Britain together, especially if they had maintained a close contact with Russia, which certainly was not done, would have been able in those days in the summer, when they had the prestige, to influence many of the smaller states of Europe; and I believe they could have determined the attitude of Poland. Such a combination, prepared at a time when the German dictator was not deeply and irrevocably committed to his new adventure, would, I believe, have given strength to all those forces in Germany which resisted this departure, this new design." (352)

Invasion of Czechoslovakia

On 15th March 1939, Nazi tanks entered Prague and destroyed the Munich agreement. The annexation of an area peopled by non-Germans showed that Hitler was going further than redressing the harshness of the Treaty of Versailles. At a Cabinet meeting it was agreed that the government would find a form of words in order to back out of honouring what amounted to a moral guarantee to Czechoslovakia implicit in the Munich agreement, but never formally ratified in the months which followed by Britain, France, Germany and Italy. Chamberlain refused to accept that his appeasement policy had failed: "Though we may have to suffer checks and disappointments, from time to time, the object that we have in mind is of too great significance to the happiness of mankind for us lightly to give it up." (353)

Maxim Litvinov, Commissar for Foreign Affairs, denounced Hitler's decision to occupy Prague. Later that day, the British Foreign Office, asked Litvinov what would be the Soviet Union's attitude be towards Hitler if he ordered the invasion of countries such as Poland and Rumania. Joseph Stalin replied when he proposed an alliance between Britain, France and the Soviet Union, where the three powers would jointly guarantee all the countries between the Baltic and the Black Sea against aggression. (354)

On 18th March, 1939, the Cabinet met to discuss Stalin's proposal to convene a conference of Britain, France, the Soviet Union, Poland, Rumania and Turkey to find a collective means of resisting further aggression. Chamberlain did not like the idea. He wrote to a friend: "I must confess to the most profound distrust of Russia. I have no belief whatever in her ability to maintain an effective offensive, even if she wanted to. And I distrust her motives, which seem to me to have little connection with our ideas of liberty, and to be concerned only with getting everyone else by the ears." (355)

The chiefs of staff supported the idea of an Anglo-Soviet alliance. On 16th May, Ernle Chatfield, 1st Baron Chatfield, Minister for Coordination of Defence, strongly urged the conclusion of an Anglo-Soviet agreement. He warned that if the Soviet Union stood aside in a European war it might "secure an advantage from the exhaustion of the western powers" and that if negotiations failed, a Nazi-Soviet agreement was a strong possibility. Chamberlain rejected the advice and said he preferred to "extend our guarantees" in eastern Europe rather than sign an Anglo-Soviet alliance. (356)

A debate on the subject took place in the House of Commons on 19th May, 1939. The debate was short and was "practically confined to the leaders of Parties and to prominent ex-Ministers". Chamberlain made it clear that he had severe doubts about Stalin's proposal. David Lloyd George, the former prime minister called for an alliance with the Soviet Union. Clement Attlee had been campaigning for a military alliance with the Soviet Union since September, 1938, during the crisis over Czechoslovakia. (357) Attlee argued in the House of Commons that the government should form a "firm union between Britain, France and the USSR as the nucleus of a World Alliance against aggression". The government was "dilatory and fumbling" and was in danger of letting Stalin slip out of their grasp and into Hitler's hands." (358)

Winston Churchill, made a passionate speech where he urged Chamberlain to accept Stalin's offer: "There is no means of maintaining an eastern front against Nazi aggression without the active aid of Russia. Russian interests are deeply concerned in preventing Herr Hitler's designs on eastern Europe. It should still be possible to range all the States and peoples from the Baltic to the Black sea in one solid front against a new outrage of invasion. Such a front, if established in good heart, and with resolute and efficient military arrangements, combined with the strength of the Western Powers, may yet confront Hitler, Goering, Himmler, Ribbentrop, Goebbels and co. with forces the German people would be reluctant to challenge." (359)

On 24th May, 1939, the Cabinet discussed whether to open negotiations for an Anglo-Soviet alliance. The Cabinet was overwhelmingly in favour of an agreement. This included Lord Halifax who feared that if Britain did not do so the Soviet Union would sign an alliance with Nazi Germany. Chamberlain conceded that "in present circumstances, it was impossible to stand out against the conclusion of an agreement" but he stressed the "question of presentation was of the utmost importance." He therefore insisted that attempts should be made to hide any agreement under the banner of the League of Nations. (360)

On 28th August, 1939, the Nazi-Soviet Pact was signed in Moscow. It was reported: "Late Sunday night - not the usual time for such announcements - the Soviet Government revealed a pact, not with Great Britain, not with France, but with Germany. Germany would give the Soviet Union seven-year 5% credits amounting to 200,000,000 marks ($80.000,000) for German machinery and armaments, would buy from the Soviet Union 180,000.000 marks' worth ($72,000,000) of wheat, timber, iron ore, petroleum in the next two years". (361) Apparently, the day after the agreement was signed, Stalin told Lavrenti Beria: "Of course, it's all a game to see who can fool whom. I know what Hitler's up to. He thinks he's outsmarted me, but actually it's I who have tricked him." (362)

On 31st August, 1939, Adolf Hitler gave the order to attack Poland. The following day fifty-seven army divisions, heavily supported by tanks and aircraft, crossed the Polish frontier, in a lightning Blitzkrieg attack. A telegram was sent to Hitler warning of the possibility of war unless he withdrew his troops from Poland. That evening Chamberlain told the House of Commons: "Eighteen months ago in this House I prayed that the responsibility might not fall on me to ask this country to accept the awful arbitration of war. I fear I may not be able to avoid that responsibility". (363)

Soviet-Finnish War

On the outbreak of the Second World War Chamberlain asked Winston Churchill to join his cabinet as First Lord of the Admiralty. Churchill suggested that Anthony Eden and Archibald Sinclair, the Liberal Party leader, should be appointed to the War Cabinet. "Aren't we a very old team? I make out that the six you mentioned to me yesterday aggregate 386 years, or an average of over 64, only one year short of the old age Pension! If, however, you added Sinclair (49) and Eden (42), the average comes down to 57½. If the Daily Herald is right that Labour will not come in, we shall certainly have to face a constant stream of criticism, as well as the many disappointments and surprises of which war largely consists. Therefore it seems to me all the more important to have the Liberal Opposition firmly incorporated in our ranks." (364)

The Soviet Union invaded Finland on 30th November 1939 with 21 divisions, totaling 450,000 men, and bombed Helsinki, inflicting substantial damage and casualties. The following day the Soviet Union formed a puppet government, called the Finnish Democratic Republic and headed by Otto Willie Kuusinen, in the parts of the country occupied by the Red Army. (365)

The Manchester Guardian reported: "Russia invaded Finland early yesterday morning, and at once began to try to enforce submission by air attacks. The Finnish Government resigned early this morning. It is reported from Copenhagen that Dr. Tanner, the Finnish Finance Minister, who was one of the Finnish delegates to Moscow, will form a new Government to open negotiations with Russia... The invasion of Finland without any declaration of war has cause the greatest indignation throughout the world, especially in other Scandinavian countries and in the United States, Italy, and Spain." (366)

Winston Churchill later pointed out: "It is probable that the Soviet Government had counted on a walkover. Their early air-raids on Helsingfors and elsewhere, though not on a heavy scale, were expected to strike terror. The troops they used at first, though numerically much stronger, were inferior in quality and ill-trained. The effect of the air-raids and of the invasion of their land roused the Finns, who rallied to a man against the aggressor and fought with absolute determination and the utmost skill.... The country here is almost entirely pine forests, gently undulating and at the time covered with a foot of hard snow. The cold was intense. The Finns were well equipped with skis and warm clothing, of which the Russians had neither." (367)

Marshal Carl Mannerheim, the Commander-in-Chief of the Finish Army, was responsible for the construction and defence of the Mannerheim Line, that stretched across 65 miles of Finland's south-eastern frontier. Tomas Ries has pointed out: "Few at the time expected the tiny Finnish nation of 3.6 million to survive. But despite the odds Finland reacted with desperate determination. On the one hand the country was determined to fight, and the full field army of some 160,000 men had been mobilized and sent eastwards into position along the front during the fall. On the other hand Finland also was grimly prepared for the worst, and began sending her national treasure - her children - to safety in Sweden, to cover the possibility of a Soviet victory and Stalin's national extermination programmes." (368)

Although the advance of Soviet troops was halted at Kemijarvi, Suomussalmi and most spectacularly in the south at the Mannheim Line on the Karelian isthmus, was a great surprise to observers and a costly embarrassment for the Soviet forces. (369) Winston Churchill argued that the British government should send military help to Finland. This desire reflected the Conservative view that the real enemy was not Nazi Germany but the Soviet Union. Lord Halifax agreed: "One important result of the Nazi-Soviet Agreement was the danger of Bolshevism spreading to Western Europe... It was the danger however we had to face, and we had to make up our minds whether we should tackle it by drawing apart from Russia or even declaring war upon her... The alternative policy was to concentrate first on the German menace, and it was this policy which the United Kingdom Government had decided to adopt." (370)

John Boyle, 14th Earl of Cork, the director of plans at the Admiralty responsible for Scandinavia policy, told Churchill, that "British aid was perhaps the last of mobilizing the anti-Bolshevik forces of the world on our side." This reflected not only strong ideological dislike of the Soviet Union but a disdain for Soviet military strength. "The idea of attacking the Soviet Union was justified in on the grounds that it was helping Germany economically, but there may well have been the hope in ministers' minds that Germany (under another government) would still see sense and unite against the common enemy." (371)

Neville Chamberlain disagreed with this view and still thought it was possible to negotiate a peace agreement with Adolf Hitler. Chamberlain wrote on 3rd December, 1939: "Stalin's latest performance, which seems to have provoked far more indignation than Hitler's attack on Poland, though it is no worse morally, and in its developments is likely to be much less brutal... I am as indignant as anyone at the Russians' behaviour, but I am bound to say that I don't think the Allied cause is likely to suffer thereby. It has added a great deal to the general feeling that the ways of dictators make things impossible for the rest of the world, and in particular it has infuriated the Americans, who have a sentimental regard for the Finns because they paid off their war debt. (372)

The British and French governments eventually decided to send an Anglo-French expeditionary force of 100,000 men was hastily assembled. The government wanted to show Great Britain's impartial hostility towards dictatorships, Communist and Fascist, if she took on both Soviet Russia and Germany at once. Churchill had a more subtle intention. The expeditionary force would have to cross Norway and Sweden before reaching Finland. On the way it would seize Narvik, the Norwegian port from which the iron ore was shipped to Germany, and would then go on to wreck the Swedish iron mines. In this was successful, German industry would be crippled. (373)

The British Chiefs of Staff warned that, as a military operation, the expeditionary force would not work; even mild opposition from Sweden, as now seemed likely, would make it impossible for the Anglo-French force to reach Finland in time to be of help, or even to reach the iron ore fields en route, "before a German force could get there". The government was warned that by sending aircraft to help Finland would "weaken ourselves against Germany." Hitler, aware of the danger of British involvement in the war, issued details of a plan to occupy Norway and Denmark that "would anticipate English action against Scandinavia and the Baltic, would secure our supplies of iron ore from Sweden, and would provide the Navy and Air Force with expanded bases for operations against England." (374)

When the government announced it had agreed to send the expeditionary force to Finland. "British expectations rose high, encouraged by confident utterances from Chamberlain and Churchill." (375) The action was criticised. According to one historian: "The motives for the projected expedition to Finland defy rational analysis. For Great Britain and France to provoke war with Soviet Russia when already at war with Germany seems the product of a madhouse, and it is tempting to suggest a more sinister plan: switching the war on to an anti-Bolshevik course, so that the war against Germany could be forgotten or even ended." (376)

On 4th March, 1940, Soviet forces launched a massive attack on the Finnish city of Vyborg. One Soviet column crossed thirty-four miles of ice, attacking the Finnish coastline in the rear of the city's defenders. Soviet artillery set up its positions offshore, bombarding Vyborg. The Finnish Government, unable to resist the renewed military onslaught, accepted the Soviet Union's offer of peace talks.As the Finns had lost more that 20 per cent of their 200,000 soldiers in three months they accepted the offer. On 12th March, Finland agreed to the Soviet demands and made peace. (377)

The British and French governments were humiliated. At a Cabinet meeting on 8th April it was agreed to send help to Norway. However, it was too late and Germany took over Denmark unopposed and seized every important Norwegian port from Oslo to Narvik. Chamberlain received a hostile reception in the House of Commons. Chamberlain complained about being "continually interrupted with shouts, sneers, and derisive laughter" and "my depression is increased by the partisanship and personal prejudice shown by the Labour Party". (378)

Chamberlain wrote in his diary: "This has been one of the worst, if not the worst, week of the war... We hadn't reckoned on the way in which the Germans had poured in reinforcements of men, guns, tanks, and areoplanes. In particular, this brief campaign has taught our people, many of whom were much in need of teaching, the importance of the air factor." (379)

Criticism increased when British troops were forced to retreat from Norway. Chamberlain wrote: "I am thankful that at least we got our men out of Norway... We could not give them what they wanted most, namely fighter aircraft, because we had no aerodrome from which they could operate. I rather doubt whether our experts realised before the power of an unopposed air arm... We have plenty of man-power, but it is neither trained nor equipped. We are short of air power. If we could weather this year, I believe we should be able to remove our worst deficiencies." (380)

In a debate in the House of Commons on 7th May, 1940, Admiral Roger Keyes, the Conservative Party MP for Portsmouth North, attacked the government's military strategy including the role played by Winston Churchill as First Lord of Admiralty: "I came to the House of Commons to-day in uniform for the first time because I wish to speak for some officers and men of the fighting, sea-going Navy who are very unhappy. I want to make it perfectly clear that it is not their fault that the German warships and transports which forced their way into Norwegian ports by treachery were not followed in and destroyed as they were at Narvik. It is not the fault of those for whom I speak that the enemy have been left in undisputable possession of vulnerable ports and aerodromes for nearly a month, have been given time to pour in reinforcements by sea and air, to land tanks, heavy artillery and mechanised transport, and have been given time to develop the air offensive which has had such a devastating effect on the morale of Whitehall. If they had been more courageously and offensively employed they might have done much to prevent these unhappy happenings and much to influence unfriendly neutrals." He then went on to compare the operation with Churchill's failure at Gallipoli. (381)

Leo Amery, another Tory MP, argued in the House of Commons: "Just as our peace-time system is unsuitable for war conditions, so does it tend to breed peace-time statesmen who are not too well fitted for the conduct of war. Facility in debate, ability to state a case, caution in advancing an unpopular view, compromise and procrastination are the natural qualities - I might almost say, virtues - of a political leader in time of peace. They are fatal qualities in war. Vision, daring, swiftness and consistency of decision are the very essence of victory." Looking at Chamberlain he then went onto quote what Oliver Cromwell said to the Long Parliament when he thought it was no longer fit to conduct the affairs of the nation: "You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go." (382)

The following day, Clement Attlee, the leader of the Labour Party demanded a vote of no confidence in Chamberlain. In his speech Chamberlain claimed he had the support of the Cabinet. At this point, the 77-year-old David Lloyd George, made an important intervention: "It is not a question of who are the Prime Minister's friends. It is a far bigger issue. He has appealed for sacrifice. The nation is prepared for every sacrifice so long as it has leadership, so long as the Government show clearly what they are aiming at, and so long as the nation is confident that those who are leading it are doing the best... I say solemnly that the Prime Minister should give an example of sacrifice, because there is nothing which can contribute more to victory in this war than that he should sacrifice the seals of office." (383).

The government defeated the Labour motion by 281 to 200 votes. But over 30 Conservatives voted against Chamberlain and another 134 abstained. This indicated the extent to which the government had haemorrhaged authority. It was clear that drastic changes were essential if the government was to restore its authority. Chamberlain invited Attlee to join a National Government but he refused and said he would only accept if the prime minister resigned. (384)

Chamberlain told King George VI that he had no choice but to resign. In his diary he wrote: "The Amerys, Duff Coopers, and their lot are consciously, or unconsciously, swayed by a sense of frustration because they can only look on, and finally the personal dislike of Simon and Hoare had reached a pitch which I find it difficult to understand, but which undoubtedly had a great deal to do with the rebellion. A number of those who voted against the government have since either told me, or written to me to say, that they had nothing against me except that I had the wrong people in my team." (385)

The King and Chamberlain wanted Lord Halifax to become prime minister. Halifax had the support of some Labour MPs like Hugh Dalton and Herbert Morrison, but not Attlee who wanted Churchill. With the Labour Party unwilling to serve under his leadership, Chamberlain had little option but to resign. The King attempted to insist on Halifax but eventually he agreed to ask Winston Churchill to become prime minister. As Martin Gilbert pointed out: "Churchill, the principal critic of the pre-war policies, and a man whom the Labour leaders believed would have the will and ability to direct the war with energy and zeal." (386)

Clive Ponting, the author of Winston Churchill (1994) has argued: "It was perhaps the crowning irony of his career that he should become Prime Minister because of the need to bring the Labour Party, which had so far only formed two minority governments, into a national coalition. One of the main motivating forces of his political life in the previous twenty years was his outright opposition to the claims of Labour and the trade unions, reflected in his often expressed belief that not only were they unfit to govern the country but that they were engaged in a campaign to subvert its political, economic and social institutions." (387)

Churchill wrote in his autobiography that he offered Attlee and the Labour Party "more than a third of the places (in the Cabinet)" and "two seats in the War Cabinet". This was accepted: "During these last crowded days of the political crisis my pulse had not quickened at any moment. I took it all as it came. But I cannot conceal from the reader of this truthful account that as I went to bed at about 3 a.m., I was conscious of a profound sense of relief. At last I had the authority to give directions over the whole scene. I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial." (388)

The Daily Telegraph reported: "Winston Churchill takes up the duty of national leadership at a great hour in the life of our country. By the inspiration of a bold and fertile genius, by long study and aptitude for the direction of war, by experience in administration hardly to be rivaled, and above all by force of will and hearty understanding of that stubbornness and fire which have made the British Nation great in arms, he has the qualities to make his arduous task glorious... Socialist leaders were quick to realise their duty. Their position was not without its difficulty, for their party has been sensitively jealous of association with any other in a Coalition Government... They will now do their part - as the part which both the political and the industrial wings of Labour can play is of high importance - to ensure that the new Government holds and keeps the complete confidence of the nation." (389)

Winston Churchill: Prime Minister

Winston Churchill also served as the government's defence minister. Clement Attlee became deputy prime minister with responsibility for domestic matters. Other Labour Party members who held senior posts included Ernest Bevin (Minister of Labour), Arthur Greenwood (Minister without Portfolio), Herbert Morrison (Minister for Home Security), Hugh Dalton (Minister of Economic Warfare) and Albert Alexander (First Lord of the Admiralty). Other important members of the government included Edward Wood, Lord Halifax (Foreign Secretary), Sir Kingsley Wood (Chancellor of the Exchequer), Sir John Anderson (Home Secretary), Anthony Eden (Minister for Dominion Affairs), Herbrand Sackville, 9th Earl De La Warr (President of the Board of Education) and Neville Chamberlain (Lord President). (390)

David Low was pleased when Winston Churchill became prime minister and responded with the cartoon, All Behind You, Winston. The cartoon showed members of his coalition government marching behind Churchill. Low later wrote about the background to this cartoon: "In Britain, criticism of the Government's short-comings reached a climax. Winston Churchill became Prime Minister and formed a National Government including Labour and Liberal leaders. He promised nothing but 'blood, sweat and tears'. The people were inspired with new energy and confidence." (391)

David Low, All Behind You, Winston (14th May, 1940) People featured include: Clement Attlee, Ernest Bevin, Herbert Morrison, Leo Amery, Neville Chamberlain, Arthur Greenwood, Lord Halifax, Duff Cooper and Anthony Eden.
David Low, All Behind You, Winston (14th May, 1940) People featured include:
Clement Attlee, Ernest Bevin, Herbert Morrison, Leo Amery, Neville Chamberlain,
Arthur Greenwood, Lord Halifax, Duff Cooper and Anthony Eden.

Adolf Hitler began making plans to send 30 divisions of the German Army through Holland and Belgium, hold the Allied armies and stop them disengaging. The German military strategy of using of fast-moving tanks, with motorized infantry and artillery supported by dive-bombers, and concentrating on one part of the enemy sector, became known as Blitzkrieg (lightning war) had been highly successful in the invasion of Poland in 1939. The strategy relied on the independent operation of mobile armoured units striking forward of the main armies to achieve surprise and swift tactical success. (392)

The main force of 45 divisions, including seven Panzer divisions, would attack in the centre, focused on Sedan, and move across northern France to the Channel, cutting the Allied armies in two. The remaining units would be deployed opposite the Maginot Line from the Ardennes to the Swiss border to hold the French troops in their positions. The German attack began on 10th May and Holland was quickly overrun and the key Belgian defences were captured by glider-borne troops. (393)

The opposing forces in the campaign were of roughly equal strength, with German forces of two and a half million men in 128 divisions (of which 104 were infantry), arranged in three army groups under General Gerd von Rundstedt, General Fedor von Bock and General Wilhelm von Leeb. They faced 100 French divisions deployed on France's north-eastern border with the support of 11 British, 22 Belgian and 10 Dutch divisions (148 in all). Although the two sides also employed roughly the same number of armoured vehicles (about 4,000), many of the Allied tanks were slow and unmanoeuvrable. In aircraft, the Luftwaffe had a qualitative as well as quantitative advantage (3,000 aircraft against 1,400) and, most importantly, was organized to support the Army's tactical operations. (394)

Field Marshal Paul von Kleist later wrote: "My first encounter with the British was when my tanks came upon, and overran, an infantry battalion whose men were equipped with dummy cartridges, for field exercises. This was a sidelight on the apparent unexpectedness of our arrival... Our advance met no serious opposition after the breakthrough. Reinhardt's Panzer Corps had some fighting near Le Cateau, but that was the only noteworthy incident. Guderian's Panzer Corps, sweeping farther south, reached Abbeville, thus splitting the Allied armies. (395)

The British newspapers gave a very positive view of the situation. "British and French troops, having raced across Belgium, are now fighting alongside the Dutch in repelling the German invasion of the Low Countries. R.A.F. planes have heavily bombed the airport of Rotterdam, which had been seized by German air-borne troops. A great battle is taking place in Rotterdam itself, where the Dutch are busy mopping up more German air-borne troops who have been succeeded in reaching the centre of the city." (396)

On the evening of 12th May, Churchill was told that 76 British aircraft had been lost in the two days of fighting. At five o'clock that morning King George, asleep at Buckingham Palace, was woken by a police sergeant to be told that Queen Wilhelmina, wished to speak to him. "I did not believe him, but went to the telephone and it was her. She begged me to send aircraft for the defence of Holland. I passed this message on to everyone concerned and went back to bed... It is not often that one is rung up at that hour, and especially by a Queen. But in these days anything may happen, and far worse things too." (397)

In a speech to the House of Commons the prime minister said: "I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: 'I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.' We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realised; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal. But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope." (398)

By 14th May, 1940, the German tanks led by General Heinz Guderian had crossed the Meuse and had opened up a a fifty-mile gap in the Allied front. The advance towards the Channel was largely unchallenged. Guderian now wanted to cut off the escape of the British Army from Dunkirk. However, Adolf Hitler was preoccupied with the possibility of a French counter-attack from the south, and personally intervened to halt the advance which had reached the Oise on the night of the 16th. (399)

Franz Halder, the Chief of General Staff in the German Army wrote in his diary: "The Führer is terribly nervous. Frightened by his own success, he is afraid to take any chance and so would rather pull the reins on us." (400) The following day he added: "Every hour is precious, Führer's H.Q. sees it quite differently. Führer keeps worrying about south flank. He rages and screams that we are on the way to ruin the whole campaign. He won't have any part in continuing the operation in a westward direction." (401)

The halt was only temporary, the motorized infantry was quick in following up, and on the evening of the 18th May, 1940, Hitler was persuaded to allow the tanks to resume their advance. Guderian now headed for the Swiss frontier, which produced the collapse of the remaining armies in France. (402) Paul Reynaud telephoned Winston Churchill that a French counter-attack on the German forces had failed, but "the road to Paris was open" and the "battle was lost". Churchill now sent a telegram to President Franklin D. Roosevelt: "The small countries are simply smashed up, one by one, like matchwood... We expect to be attacked here ourselves, both from the air and by parachute and air-borne troops in the near future, and are getting ready for them." (403)

Hitler still refused to give orders to advance on Dunkirk. Franz Halder could not understand the hesitation and on 26th May he wrote in his diary: "The orders from the top make no sense. In one area they call for a head-on attack against a front retiring in orderly fashion, and elsewhere they freeze the troops to the spot where the enemy rear could be cut into at any time. Von Rundstedt, too, cannot stand it, and has gone up forward to Hoth and Kleist to look over the land for the next armoured moves." Later that day he wrote: "Brauchitsch summoned to Führer. Returns beaming. At last the Führer' has given permission to move on Dunkirk to prevent further evacuations." (404)

General Günther Blumentritt, who worked very closely with Hitler during the invasion of France, gave a very interesting interview to Basil Liddell Hart after the war about the Führer's decision about Dunkirk. " He (Hitler) admitted that the course of the campaign had been 'a decided miracle', and gave us his opinion that the war would be - finished in six weeks. After that he wished to conclude a reasonable peace with France, and then the way would be free for an agreement with Britain. He then astonished us by speaking with admiration of the British Empire, of the necessity for its existence, and of the civilization that Britain had brought into the world... He compared the British Empire with the Catholic Church - saying they were both essential elements of stability in the world. He said that all he wanted from Britain was that she should acknowledge Germany's position on the Continent. The return of Germany's lost colonies would be desirable but not essential, and he would even offer to support Britain with troops if she should be involved in any difficulties anywhere. He remarked that the colonies were primarily a matter of prestige, since they could not be held in war, and few Germans could settle in the tropics. He concluded by saying that his aim was to make peace with Britain on a basis that she would regard as compatible with her honour to accept." (405)

Chemical Weapons

As soon as he gained power Winston Churchill considered using chemical weapons. He changed his mind when informed by military intelligence that Germany was capable of dropping three of four times more chemical bombs than Britain. However, plans were put in place to use gas-warfare if Adolf Hitler ordered an invasion of Britain. On 30th May, 1940, he told the Cabinet "we should not hesitate to contaminate our beaches with gas". By the end of September, with the invasion scare over, he decided against first use of the weapon. He instructed General Hastings Ismay, his Chief of Staff, that stocks should be maintained: "I am deeply anxious that gas warfare should not be adopted at the present time... We should never begin but we must be able to reply." (406)

In 1943, when it became clear that Germany's ability to drop chemical weapons on Britain had declined, Churchill began again to consider the use of poison gas against Germany. In 1943 the Cabinet agreed that if the Germans used gas against the Soviet Union then Britain would retaliate. Winston Churchill told General Ismay, "We shall retaliate by drenching the German cities with gas on the largest possible scale." (407)

On 13th June 1944, London was attacked by the first V-1 missiles (also known as a flying bomb, buzz bomb or doodlebug). It was a pilotless monoplane that was powered by a pulse-jet motor and carried a one ton warhead. Churchill argued that this gave Britain the opportunity to launch a chemical attack on Germany. The chiefs of staff rejected the idea of retaliating with gas because it would divert the bombers from their primary tasks. (408)

Churchill was however keen to act now that the British had built far larger stocks of poison gas than Germany. He wrote to General Ismay: "It is absurd to consider morality on this topic when everybody used it in the last war without a nod of complaint from the moralists or the Church... It is simply a question of fashion changing as she does between long and short skirts for women... One really must not be bound by silly conventions of the mind." (409)

Churchill also wrote to his Chiefs of Staff: "I may certainly have to ask you to support me in using poison gas. We could drench the cities of the Ruhr and many other cities in Germany in such a way that most of the population would be requiring constant medical attention... If we do it one hundred per cent. In the meanwhile, I want the matter studied in cold blood by sensible people and not by that particular set of psalm-singing uniformed defeatists which one runs across now here now there." (410)

The Chiefs of Staff produced their report in three days. It admitted that Britain was in a better position than Germany to use chemical weapons. However, they doubted whether it would cause many difficulties to the German authorities, but warned of serious problems if the Germans retaliated by using these weapons against the British population. After reading the report Churchill concluded gloomily, "I am not at all convinced by this negative report. But clearly I cannot make head against the parsons and the warriors at the same time." (411)

Churchill realised straight away that it would be vitally important to enlist the United States as Britain's ally. Randolph Churchill, on the morning of 18th May, 1940, claims that his father told him "I think I see my way through.... I mean we can beat them." When Randolph asked him how, he replied with great intensity: "I shall drag the United States in."

Churchill now sent William Stephenson to the United States. Stephenson's main contact was Gene Tunney, a friend from the First World War, who had been World Heavyweight Champion (1926-1928) and was a close friend of J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the FBI. Tunney later recalled: "Quite to my surprise I received a confidential letter that was from Billy Stephenson, and he asked me to try and arrange for him to see J. Edgar Hoover... I found out that his mission was so important that the Ambassador from England could not be in on it, and no one in official government... It was my understanding that the thing went off extremely well." Stephenson was also a friend of Ernest Cuneo. He worked for President Franklin D. Roosevelt and according to Stephenson was the leader of "Franklin's brain trust". Cuneo met with Roosevelt and reported back that the president wanted "the closest possible marriage between the FBI and British Intelligence."

On his return to London, Stephenson reported back to Churchill. After hearing what he had to say, Churchill told Stephenson: "You know what you must do at once. We have discussed it most fully, and there is a complete fusion of minds between us. You are to be my personal representative in the United States. I will ensure that you have the full support of all the resources at my command. I know that you will have success, and the good Lord will guide your efforts as He will ours." Charles Howard Ellis said that he selected Stephenson because: "Firstly, he was Canadian. Secondly, he had very good American connections... he had a sort of fox terrier character, and if he undertook something, he would carry it through."

Churchill now instructed Stewart Menzies, head of MI6, to appoint William Stephenson as the head of the British Security Coordination (BSC). Menzies told Gladwyn Jebb on 3rd June, 1940: "I have appointed Mr W.S. Stephenson to take charge of my organisation in the USA and Mexico. As I have explained to you, he has a good contact with an official (J. Edgar Hoover) who sees the President daily. I believe this may prove of great value to the Foreign Office in the future outside and beyond the matters on which that official will give assistance to Stephenson. Stephenson leaves this week. Officially he will go as Principal Passport Control Officer for the USA."

As William Boyd has pointed out: "The phrase (British Security Coordination) is bland, almost defiantly ordinary, depicting perhaps some sub-committee of a minor department in a lowly Whitehall ministry. In fact BSC, as it was generally known, represented one of the largest covert operations in British spying history... With the US alongside Britain, Hitler would be defeated - eventually. Without the US (Russia was neutral at the time), the future looked unbearably bleak... polls in the US still showed that 80% of Americans were against joining the war in Europe. Anglophobia was widespread and the US Congress was violently opposed to any form of intervention." An office was opened in the Rockefeller Centre in Manhattan with the agreement of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI. In 1940 a BSC agent approached Donald Chase Downes and told him that he was working under the direct orders of Winston Churchill. "Our primary directive from Churchill is that American participation in the war is the most important single objective for Britain. It is the only way, he feels, to victory over Nazism."

Churchill had a serious problem. Joseph P. Kennedy was the United States Ambassador to Britain. He soon came to the conclusion that the island was a lost cause and he considered aid to Britain fruitless. Kennedy, an isolationist, consistently warned Roosevelt "against holding the bag in a war in which the Allies expect to be beaten." Neville Chamberlain wrote in his diary in July 1940: "Saw Joe Kennedy who says everyone in the USA thinks we shall be beaten before the end of the month." Averell Harriman later explained the thinking of Kennedy and other isolationists: "After World War I, there was a surge of isolationism, a feeling there was no reason for getting involved in another war... We made a mistake and there were a lot of debts owed by European countries. The country went isolationist.

William Stephenson knew that with leading officials supporting isolationism he had to overcome these barriers. His main ally in this was another friend, William Donovan, who he had met in the First World War. "The procurement of certain supplies for Britain was high on my priority list and it was the burning urgency of this requirement that made me instinctively concentrate on the single individual who could help me. I turned to Bill Donovan." Donovan arranged meetings with Henry Stimson (Secretary of War), Cordell Hull (Secretary of State) and Frank Knox (Secretary of the Navy). The main topic was Britain's lack of destroyers and the possibility of finding a formula for transfer of fifty "over-age" destroyers to the Royal Navy without a legal breach of U.S. neutrality legislation.

It was decided to send Donovan to Britain on a fact-finding mission. He left on 14th July, 1940. When he heard the news, Joseph P. Kennedy complained: "Our staff, I think is getting all the information that possibility can be gathered, and to send a new man here at this time is to me the height of nonsense and a definite blow to good organization." He added that the trip would "simply result in causing confusion and misunderstanding on the part of the British". Andrew Lycett has argued: "Nothing was held back from the big American. British planners had decided to take him completely into their confidence and share their most prized military secrets in the hope that he would return home even more convinced of their resourcefulness and determination to win the war."

William Donovan arrived back in the United States in early August, 1940. In his report to President Franklin D. Roosevelt he argued: "(1) That the British would fight to the last ditch. (2) They could not hope to hold to hold the last ditch unless they got supplies at least from America. (3) That supplies were of no avail unless they were delivered to the fighting front - in short, that protecting the lines of communication was a sine qua non. (4) That Fifth Column activity was an important factor." Donovan also urged that the government should sack Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, who was predicting a German victory. Donovan also wrote a series of articles arguing that Nazi Germany posed a serious threat to the United States.

On 22nd August, William Stephenson reported to London that the destroyer deal was agreed upon. The agreement for transferring 50 aging American destroyers, in return for the rights to air and naval basis in Bermuda, Newfoundland, the Caribbean and British Guiana, was announced 3rd September, 1940. The bases were leased for 99 years and the destroyers were of great value as convey escorts. Lord Louis Mountbatten, the British Chief of Combined Operations, commented: "We were told that the man primarily responsible for the loan of the 50 American destroyers to the Royal Navy at a critical moment was Bill Stephenson; that he had managed to persuade the president that this was in the ultimate interests of America themselves and various other loans of that sort were arranged. These destroyers were very important to us...although they were only old destroyers, the main thing was to have combat ships that could actually guard against and attack U-boats."

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Churchill developed a strong personal relationship with Franklin D. Roosevelt and he asked him for help to beat Nazi Germany. On 17th December, 1940, Roosevelt made a speech to the American public: "In the present world situation of course there is absolutely no doubt in the mind of a very overwhelming number of Americans that the best immediate defence of the United States is the success of Great Britain in defending itself; and that, therefore, quite aside from our historic and current interest in the survival of democracy in the world as a whole, it is equally important, from a selfish point of view of American defence, that we should do everything to help the British Empire to defend itself... In other words, if you lend certain munitions and get the munitions back at the end of the war, if they are intact - haven't been hurt - you are all right; if they have been damaged or have deteriorated or have been lost completely, it seems to me you come out pretty well if you have them replaced by the fellow to whom you have lent them." The Lend Lease agreement of March 1941 allowed Britain to order war goods from the United States on credit.

Although he provided strong leadership the war continued to go badly for Britain and after a series of military defeats Churchill had to face a motion of no confidence in Parliament. However, he maintained the support of most members of the House of Commons and won by 475 votes to 25. Churchill continued to be criticized for meddling in military matters and tended to take too much notice of the views of his friends such as Frederick Lindemann rather than his military commanders. In April 1941 he made the serious mistake of trying to save Greece by weakening his forces fighting the Desert War.

One of the major contributions made by Churchill to eventual victory was his ability to inspire the British people to greater effort by making public broadcasts on significant occasions. A brilliant orator he was a tireless source of strength to people experiencing the sufferings of the Blitz.

After Pearl Harbor Churchill worked closely with Franklin D. Roosevelt to ensure victory over Germany and Japan. He was also a loyal ally of the Soviet Union after Adolf Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa in June, 1941. Churchill made a public statement that if Germany used chemical bombs against the Soviet Union he would order instructions that Britain would also use these weapons. Churchill told General Hastings Ismay, his Chief of Staff: "We would retaliate by drenching the German cities with gas on the largest possible scale."

Churchill held important meetings with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin at Teheran (November, 1943) and Yalta (February, 1945). Although Churchill's relationship with Stalin was always difficult he managed to successfully develop a united strategy against the Axis powers.

Despite intense pressure from Stalin to open a second-front by landing Allied troops in France in 1943, Churchill continued to argue that this should not happen until the defeat of Nazi Germany was guaranteed. The D-Day landings did not take place until June, 1944 and this delay enabled the Red Army to capture territory from Germany in Eastern Europe.

In March 1944 Churchill ordered 500,000 anthrax bombs from the United States. These bombs were to be dropped "well behind the lines, to render towns uninhabitable and indeed dangerous to enter without a respirator". Churchill was now told by military intelligence that the British had far larger stocks of poison gas than Nazi Germany. He wrote to General Hastings Ismay, his Chief of Staff, on 6th July, 1944: "It is absurd to consider morality on this topic when everybody used it in the last war without a nod of complaint from the moralists of the Church... It is simply a question of fashion changing as she does between long and short skirts for women... One really must not be bound by silly conventions of the mind."

Churchill now sent a message to his chiefs of staff: "I may certainly have to ask you to support me in using poison gas. We could drench the cities of the Ruhr and many other cities in Germany in such a way that most of the population would be requiring constant medical attention... If we do it, let us do it one hundred per cent. In the meantime, I want the matter studied in cold blood by sensible people and not by that particular set of psalm-singing uniformed defeatists which one runs across now here now there."

On 28th July 1944, the chief of staffs reported to Churchill that gas warfare was possible and that Britain could drop more than Germany but they doubted whether it would cause many difficulties to the German authorities in controlling the country. However, they were deeply concerned by the possibility that Germany would retaliate as they feared the British public would react in a different way to those in Germany: "the same cannot be said for our own people, who are in no such inarticulate condition". After reading the chiefs of staff assessment Churchill concluded gloomily, "I am not at all convinced by this negative report. But clearly I cannot make head against the parsons and the warriors at the same time."

Winston Churchill and 1945 General Election

In public Winston Churchill accepted plans for social reform drawn up by William Beveridge in 1944. However, he was unable to convince the electorate that he was as committed to these measures as much as Clement Attlee and the Labour Party. In May 1945, Churchill made a radio broadcast where he attacked the Labour Party: "I must tell you that a socialist policy is abhorrent to British ideas on freedom. There is to be one State, to which all are to be obedient in every act of their lives. This State, once in power, will prescribe for everyone: where they are to work, what they are to work at, where they may go and what they may say, what views they are to hold, where their wives are to queue up for the State ration, and what education their children are to receive. A socialist state could not afford to suffer opposition - no socialist system can be established without a political police. They (the Labour government) would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo."

Clement Attlee's response the following day caused Churchill serious damage: "The Prime Minister made much play last night with the rights of the individual and the dangers of people being ordered about by officials. I entirely agree that people should have the greatest freedom compatible with the freedom of others. There was a time when employers were free to work little children for sixteen hours a day. I remember when employers were free to employ sweated women workers on finishing trousers at a penny halfpenny a pair. There was a time when people were free to neglect sanitation so that thousands died of preventable diseases. For years every attempt to remedy these crying evils was blocked by the same plea of freedom for the individual. It was in fact freedom for the rich and slavery for the poor. Make no mistake, it has only been through the power of the State, given to it by Parliament, that the general public has been protected against the greed of ruthless profit-makers and property owners. The Conservative Party remains as always a class Party. In twenty-three years in the House of Commons, I cannot recall more than half a dozen from the ranks of the wage earners. It represents today, as in the past, the forces of property and privilege. The Labour Party is, in fact, the one Party which most nearly reflects in its representation and composition all the main streams which flow into the great river of our national life."

In the 1945 General Election Churchill's attempts to compare a future Labour government with Nazi Germany backfired and Attlee won a landslide victory. Churchill became leader of the opposition and when visiting the United States in March 1946, he made his famous Iron Curtain speech at Fulton, Missouri. He suffered the first of several strokes in August 1946 but this information was kept from the general public and he continued to lead the Conservative Party.

Churchill's cousin, Clare Sheridan had lunch with him in June 1948. "Winston, in his dreadful boiler suit was looking pale. He rants, of course, about the inefficient ignorant crowd now in power, who are what he calls throwing the British Empire away. He is almost heartbroken. All his life he has been such a great Imperialist. He is so brilliant, but unless one can make notes in shorthand one cannot recapture all he says. He quotes so aptly, which I envy, having myself no memory. He quoted Hamlet several times which illustrates his spirit of despondency... He has finished three volumes of his new book The Second World War, and only the possibility of being called back into politics prevents him going on with it."

Chrurchill remained leader of the Conservative Party. Some cartoonists, such as David Low, suggested he was past his best. Low often portrayed him as "Micawber" who was not fully committed to the the development of the Welfare State. On 27th January 1950 Low published a cartoon showing Rab Butler, the leader of the liberal wing of the party, being squashed by a backward-looking Churchill who faces a somnolent Lord Woolton, chairman of the party. The road sign gives two possiblities, "Tax Cuts" or "Welfare State".

David Low, The Salute with both hands now (3rd July, 1934)
David Low, Daily Herald (27th January, 1950)

Churchill returned to power after the 1951 General Election. After the publication of his six volume, The Second World War, Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Churchill's health continued to deteriorate and in 1955 he reluctantly retired from politics. Clare Sheridan remembers visiting his home in London after he left politics. She found him very depressed. He told her that he felt a failure. She replied: "How can you!" You beat the Nazis." Churchill remained sunk in gloom: "Yes.... we had to fight those Nazis - it would have been too terrible had we failed. But in the end you have your art. The Empire I believed in has gone."

Winston Churchill died on 24th January, 1965.

Primary Sources

(1) Beatrice Webb, diary entry (8th July, 1903)

Went into dinner with Winston Churchill. First impression: restless - almost intolerably so, without capacity for sustained and unexciting labour - egotistical, bumptious, shallow-minded and reactionary, but with a certain personal magnetism, great pluck and some originality - not of intellect but of character. More of the American speculator than the English aristocrat. Talked exclusively about himself and his electioneering plans-wanted me to tell him of someone who would get up statistics for him. "I never do any brainwork that anyone else can do for me" an axiom which shows organising but not thinking capacity. Replete with dodges for winning Oldham against the Labour and Liberal candidates. But I daresay he has a better side - which the ordinary cheap cynicism of his position and career covers up to a casual dinner acquaintance. Bound to be unpopular - too unpleasant a flavour with his restless, self-regarding personality, and lack of moral or intellectual refinement. His political tack is economy: the sort of essence of a moderate; he is at heart a little Englander. Looks to haute finance to keep the peace - for that reason objects to a self-contained Empire as he thinks it would destroy this cosmopolitan capitalism - the cosmopolitan financier being the professional peacemaker of the modern world, and to his mind the acme of civilisation. His bugbears are Labour, N.U.T. and expenditure on elementary education or on the social services. Defines the higher education as the opportunity for the "brainy man" to come to the top. No notion of scientific research, philosophy, literature or art: still less of religion. But his pluck, courage, resourcefulness and great tradition may carry him far unless he knocks himself to pieces like his father.

(2) Winston Churchill, letter to Clementine Hozier (27th April 1908)

The Conservative Party is filled with old doddering peers, cute financial magnates, clever wirepullers, big brewers with bulbous noses. All the enemies of progress are there - weaklings, sleek, slug, comfortable, self-important individuals.

(3) David Low, Autobiography (1956)

As might be expected from his origins and temperament, Churchill was inwardly contemptuous of the 'common man' when the 'common man' sought to interfere in his (the 'common man's) own government; but bearing with the need to appear sympathetic and compliant to the popular will. In those days, whenever I heard Churchill's dramatic periods about democracy, I felt inclined to say: "Please define." His definition, I felt, would be something like "government of the people, for the people, by benevolent and paternal ruling-class chaps like me."

Churchill was witty and easy to talk to until I said that the Australians were an independent people who could not be expected to follow Britain without question. They were, in the case of new wars, for instance, not to be taken for granted, but would follow their own judgment.

Churchill was one of the few men I have met who even in the flesh give me the impression of genius. George Bernard Shaw is another. It is amusing to know that each thinks the other is overrated.

(3) Winston Churchill, Illustrated Sunday Herald (8th February, 1920)

The part played in the creation of Bolshevism and in the actual bringing about of the Russian Revolution by these international and for the most part atheistic Jews ... is certainly a very great one; it probably outweighs all others. With the notable exception of Lenin, the majority of the leading figures are Jews. Moreover, the principal inspiration and driving power comes from Jewish leaders ... The same evil prominence was obtained by Jews in (Hungary and Germany, especially Bavaria).

Although in all these countries there are many non-Jews every whit as bad as the worst of the Jewish revolutionaries, the part played by the latter in proportion to their numbers in the population is astonishing. The fact that in many cases Jewish interests and Jewish places of worship are excepted by the Bolsheviks from their universal hostility has tended more and more to associate the Jewish race in Russia with the villainies which are now being perpetrated.

(4) Philip Snowden, An Autobiography (1934)

The most surprising of the Ministerial appointments made by Mr. Baldwin was the constituted his government in November 1924 was the selection of Mr. Winston Churchill as Chancellor of the Exchequer. What induced Mr. Baldwin to offer Mr. Churchill this important post still remains an inscrutable mystery.

As an ex-Chancellor it fell to me to lead the Opposition in the Budget debates, and I found Mr. Churchill a foe worthy of my steel. Mr. Churchill, during these years, gradually developed as a Parliamentary debater. He learnt to rely less on careful preparation of his speeches and more upon spontaneous effort. However much one may differ from Mr. Churchill, one is compelled to like him for his finer qualities. There is an attractiveness in everything he does. His high spirits are irrepressible. Mr. Churchill was as happy facing a Budget deficit as in distributing a surplus. He is an adventurer, a soldier of fortune.

(5) Jennie Lee made her first speech in the House of Commons soon after she was elected in a by-election in 1929.

Winston Churchill was at that time Chancellor of the Exchequer and I directed my attack mainly against his budget proposals. Later in the day, in the Smoking Room, he came over to me and congratulated me on my speech. He assured me that we both wanted the same thing, only we had different notions of how to get it. The richer the rich became, the more able they would be to help the poor. That was his theme and he said he would send me a book that would explain everything to me. The book duly arrived. It was The American Omen by Garet Garrett, a right-wing economist who was despised by most of us for his extreme views.

(6) J. R. Clynes, Memoirs (1937)

I met Churchill in 1901 during his Election campaign in Oldham, having been chosen to lead a group of local Labour supporters to interview him, and obtain from him an exposition of his views on certain Labour topics. I found him a man of extraordinarily independent mind, and great courage. He absolutely refused to yield to our persuasions, and said bluntly that he would rather lose votes than abandon his convictions.

Churchill was, and has always remained, a soldier in mufti. He possesses inborn militaristic qualities, and is intensely proud of his descent from Marlborough. He cannot visualize Britain without an Empire, or the Empire without wars of acquisition and defence. A hundred years ago he might profoundly have affected the shaping of our country's history. Now, the impulses of peace and internationalism, and the education and equality of the working classes, leave him unmoved.

(7) Kingsley Martin, Father Figures (1966)

The General Strike of 1926 was an unmitigated disaster. Not merely for Labour but for England. Churchill and other militants in the cabinet were eager for a strike, knowing that they had built a national organization in the six months' grace won by the subsidy to the mining industry. Churchill himself told me this on the first occasion I met him in person. I asked Winston what he thought of the Samuel Coal Commission. When Winston said that the subsidy had been granted to enable the Government to smash the unions, unless the miners had given way in the meantime, my picture of Winston was confirmed.

He was a delicious and witty guest, quite willing to talk freely to young academics. I then regarded him as the most dangerous of all politicians. He combined brilliance with the most foolish and antiquated views, which would have condemned us without hope of reprieve to war between classes and nations; he had tried to make war with Russia in 1919, and he waged successful war against the workers in 1926. The economic disasters of the thirties were inaugurated by his return to the Gold Standard in 1925; he was to be a supporter of Mussolini and Franco, and would have carried out a disgracing war in India. All the more remarkable that I was to become his admirer in the later thirties and to write a eulogy of him as our indispensable leader in 1940.

(8) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons on the resignation of Anthony Eden as Foreign Secretary (22nd February, 1938)

The resignation of the late Foreign Secretary may well be a milestone in history. Great quarrels, it has been well said, arise from small occasions but seldom from small causes. The late Foreign Secretary adhered to the old policy which we have all forgotten for so long. The Prime Minister and his colleagues have entered upon another and a new policy. The old policy was an effort to establish the rule of law in Europe, and build up through the League of Nations effective deterrents against the aggressor. Is it the new policy to come to terms with the totalitarian Powers in the hope that by great and far-reaching acts of submission, not merely in sentiment and pride, but in material factors, peace may be preserved.

A firm stand by France and Britain, under the authority of the League of Nations, would have been followed by the immediate evacuation of the Rhineland without the shedding of a drop of blood; and the effects of that might have enabled the more prudent elements of the German Army to gain their proper position, and would not have given to the political head of Germany the enormous ascendancy which has enabled him to move forward. Austria has now been laid in thrall, and we do not know whether Czechoslovakia will not suffer a similar attack.

(9) On 16th April, 1939, the Soviet Union suggested a three-power military alliance with Great Britain and France. In a speech on 4th May, Winston Churchill urged the government to accept the offer.

Ten or twelve days have already passed since the Russian offer was made. The British people, who have now, at the sacrifice of honoured, ingrained custom, accepted the principle of compulsory military service, have a right, in conjunction with the French Republic, to call upon Poland not to place obstacles in the way of a common cause. Not only must the full co-operation of Russia be accepted, but the three Baltic States, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, must also be brought into association. To these three countries of warlike peoples, possessing together armies totalling perhaps twenty divisions of virile troops, a friendly Russia supplying munitions and other aid is essential.

There is no means of maintaining an eastern front against Nazi aggression without the active aid of Russia. Russian interests are deeply concerned in preventing Herr Hitler's designs on eastern Europe. It should still be possible to range all the States and peoples from the Baltic to the Black sea in one solid front against a new outrage of invasion. Such a front, if established in good heart, and with resolute and efficient military arrangements, combined with the strength of the Western Powers, may yet confront Hitler, Goering, Himmler, Ribbentrop, Goebbels and co. with forces the German people would be reluctant to challenge.

(10) Winston Churchill wrote about Operation Dynamo in his book The Second World War(1949)

Ever since May 20, the gathering of shipping and small craft had been proceeding under the control of Admiral Ramsay, who commanded at Dover. After the loss of Boulogne and Calais only the remains of the port of Dunkirk and the open beaches next to the Belgian Frontier were in our hands. On the evening of the 26th an Admiralty signal put Operation Dynamo into play, and the first troops were brought home that night.

Early the next morning, May 27, emergency measures were taken to find additional small craft. The various boatyards, from Teddington to Brightlingsea, were searched by Admiralty officers, and yielded upwards of forty serviceable motor-boats or launches, which were assembled at Sheerness on the following day. At the same time lifeboats from liners in the London docks, tugs from the Thames, yachts, fishing-craft, lighters, barges and pleasure-boats - anything that could be the use along the beaches - were called into service.

(11) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (4th June, 1940)

Our losses in men (at Dunkirk) have been 30,000 killed, wounded and missing. Against this we might set the far heavier loss certainly inflicted upon the enemy. We have lost nearly 1,000 guns and all our transport and all the armed vehicles that were with the army in the north.

The best of all we had to give, has gone with the B.E.F. and although they had not the number of tanks they were a very well and finely equipped army. They had all the first fruits of all our industry had to give, and that is gone.

An effort the like of which has never been seen in our records is now being made. Work is proceeding everywhere night and day, Sundays and weekdays. Capital and labour have cast aside their interests, rights and customs, and put them into the common stock.

Already the flow of munitions has leapt forward. There is no reason why we should not, in a few months overtake the sudden and serious loss that has come upon us without retarding development of our general programme.

(12) William Joyce, Germany Calling (21st August, 1940)

Winston Churchill was one of those who did most to procure England's declaration of war last September. And we now have his admission that nearly a year later his country is neither properly equipped nor has it properly started. Surely the time to think of proper equipment was before the war was launched! One day the British people will have cause to remember this confession of the chief warmonger - that he drove them into this disastrous conflict well knowing, as he did, that they were not prepared to wage it. Out of his mouth, Churchill stands convicted as a traitor to England. But this much the people of England have failed to realise. It was, until very recently, that their war was fought by proxy. They had not heard the roar of those engines of destruction, which, thanks to Churchill, descended on their cities, towns, factories, docks and railways.

It will not be long before Britain has to yield to the invincible might of German arms, for Germany started when the war began, and was equipped before that. But this also I feel, that short as the time may be, every day will have the length of a year for the people whom Churchill has condemned to ruin in his crazy and fantastic plan to blockade Europe, the dictator of this little island showed the depths of his immoral malice.

(13) Randolph Churchill, remembering the morning of 18th May, 1940, quoted in Their Finest Hour, edited by Martin Gilbert.

I went up to my father's bedroom. He was standing in front of his basin and was shaving with his old fashioned Valet razor. He had a tough beard, and as usual he was hacking away.

"Sit down, dear boy, and read the papers while I finish shaving:" I did as told. After two or three minutes of hacking away, he half-turned and said: "I think I see my way through." He resumed shaving.

I was astounded, and said: "Do you mean we can avoid defeat? (which seemed credible), or beat the bastards?" (which seemed incredible).

He flung his razor into the basin, swung around, and said: "Of course I mean we can beat them."

Me: "Well I'm all for it, but I don't see how you can do it."

By this time he had dried and sponged his face and turning around to me, said with great intensity: "I shall drag the United States in."

(14) As commander of the 9th Armed Division Brian Horrocks had responsibility for protecting the Brighton coastal area.

It wasin Brighton that I first met the Prime Minister, Mr. Winston Churchill. He came down to have a look at our defences and watch the Royal Ulster Rifles carry out a small exercise. Though no one knew of his visit, he was quickly spotted and a large and enthusiastic crowd soon gathered. The complete confidence shown in him was most touching, and rather frightening to us who knew that, to all intents and purposes, the military cupboard was bare. During one of these spontaneous demonstrations of affection I found myself standing at the back beside Mrs. Churchill. There were tears in her eyes, and I heard her murmur, " Pray God we don't let them down."

(15) The Manchester Guardian (10th April, 1941)

It was a solemn House of Commons that heard Mr. Churchill today, which was natural. Mr. Churchill's was a solemn speech. It said in effect that the Allies are facing another crisis. Though it is not comparable with the gravity of the crisis that followed the collapse of France, no reader of Mr. Churchill's speech will doubt that it is grave enough. The House had sensed the occasion. It was full in all its parts.

He was as masterful as ever. Indeed, he was masterful enough at times as to be quite casual. Think of Hitler addressing his Reichstag with both hands thrust deep in his trouser pockets! Yet that was Mr. Churchill. It was in this way that he announced that the Germans had entered Salonika at four o'clock this morning. He almost did it in an aside. Intended or not, the manner took a lot of the force out of the blow.

But what was the tale as a whole? We had lost Benghazi, and the Germans and Italians were pressing us so hard that we must expect severe fighting not only to defend the rest of Cyrenaica but Egypt. Against that had to be set the victories in Eritrea, Italian Somaliland, and Abyssinia and the freeing of the Red Sea. Then there was the shattering naval victory of Matapan. Nothing, Mr. Churchill said amid cheers could detract from these brilliant achievements or diminish our gratitude to our forces.

Mr. Churchill is clearly not comfortable about France, in spite of his welcome of Marshall Petain's declaration that she will never fight her old ally. He sees how dependent Vichy is on Hitler. But his warning that we shall maintain our blockade aroused the greatest cheer of the speech. The next biggest cheer greeted his declaration that we should not tolerate any movements of French warships from African ports to the ports of Metropolitan France, for that would alter the balance of naval power in the Atlantic affecting the United states as much as ourselves.

(16) Winston Churchill, letter to Charles Portal in a reply to a report on the need to use more terror bombing attacks on Nazi Germany (27th September, 1941)

It is very disputable whether bombing by itself will be a decisive factor in the present war. On the contrary, all that we have learnt since the war began shows that its effects, both physical and moral, are greatly exaggerated. There is no doubt that British people have been stimulated and strengthened by the attack made upon them so far. Secondly, it seems very likely that the ground defences and night-fighters will overtake the air attack. Thirdly, in calculating the number of bombers necessary to achieve hypothetical and indefinite tasks, it should be noted that only a quarter of our bombs hit the targets. Consequently an increase of bombing to 100 per cent would in fact raise our bombing force to four times its strength. The most we can say is that it will be a heavy and I trust a seriously increasing annoyance.

(17) While he was at a Mansion House luncheon Winston Churchill heard a rumour that Japan had attacked Pearl Harbor. He immediately telephoned President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In two or three minutes Mr. Roosevelt came through. "Mr. President, what's this about Japan? "It's quite true," he replied. "They have attacked us at Pearl Harbor. We are all in the same boat now."

No American will think it wrong of me if I proclaim that to have the United States at our side was to me the greatest joy. I could not foretell the course of events. I do not pretend to have measured accurately the martial might of Japan, but now at this very moment I knew the United States was in the war, up to the neck and in to the death. So we had won after all!

Yes, after Dunkirk; after the fall of France; after the horrible episode of Oran; after the threat of invasion, when, apart from the Air and the Navy, we were an almost unarmed people; after the deadly struggle of the U-boat war - the first Battle of the Atlantic, gained by a hand's-breath; after seventeen months of lonely fighting and nineteen months of my responsibility in dire stress. We had won the war. England would live; Britain would live; the Commonwealth of Nations and the Empire would live.

How long the war would last or in what fashion it would end no man could tell, nor did I at this moment care. Once again in our long Island history we should emerge, however mauled or mutilated, safe and victorious. We should not be wiped out. We should not be wiped out. Our history would not come to an end. We might not even have to die as individuals. Hitler's fate was sealed. Mussolini's fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder.

(18) Henry Wallace had lunch with Winston Churchill at the White House on 22nd May, 1943. That night he wrote about the meeting in his diary.

He made it more clear than he had at the luncheon on Saturday that he expected England and the United States to run the world and he expected the staff organizations which had been set up for winning the war to continue when the peace came, that these staff organizations would by mutual understanding really run the world even though there was a supreme council and three regional councils.

I said bluntly that I thought the notion of Anglo-Saxon superiority, inherent in Churchill's approach, would be offensive to many of the nations of the world as well as to a number of people in the United States. Churchill had had quite a bit of whiskey, which, however, did not affect the clarity of his thinking process but did perhaps increase his frankness. He said why be apologetic about Anglo-Saxon superiority, that we were superior, that we had the common heritage which had been worked out over the centuries in England and had been perfected by our constitution. He himself was half American, he felt that he was called on as a result to serve the function of uniting the two great Anglo-Saxon civilizations in order to confer the benefit of freedom on the rest of the world.

(19) General Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote about Winston Churchill in his book Crusade in Europe (1948)

An inspirational leader, he seemed to typify Britain's courage and perseverance in adversity and its conservatism in success. He was a man of extraordinarily strong convictions and a master in argument and debate. Completely devoted to winning the war and discharging his responsibility as Prime Minister of Great Britain, he was difficult indeed to combat when conviction compelled disagreement with his views. In most cases problems were solved on a basis of almost instant agreement, but intermittently important issues arose where this was far from true. He could become intensely oratorical, even in discussion with a single person, but at the same time his intensity of purpose, made his delivery seem natural and appropriate. He used humor and pathos with equal facility, and drew on everything from the Greek classics to Donald Duck for quotation, cliché, and forceful slang to support his position.

I admired and liked him. He knew this perfectly well and never hesitated to use that knowledge in his effort to swing me to his own line of thought in any argument. Yet in spite of his strength of purpose, in those instances where we found our convictions in direct opposition, he never once lost his friendly attitude toward me when I persisted in my own course, nor did he fail to respect with meticulous care the position I occupied as the senior American officer and, later, the Allied commander in Europe. He was a keen student of the war's developments and of military history, and discussion with him, even on purely professional grounds, was never profitless. If he accepted a decision unwillingly he would return again and again to the attack in an effort to have his own way, up to the very moment of execution. But once action was started he had a faculty for forgetting everything in his desire to get ahead, and invariably tried to provide British support in a greater degree than promised. Some of the questions in which I found myself, at various periods of the war, opposed to the Prime Minister were among the most critical I faced, but so long as I was acting within the limits of my combined directive he had no authority to intervene except by persuasion or by complete destruction of the Allied concept. Nevertheless, in countless ways he could have made my task a harder one had he been anything less than big, and I shall always owe him an immeasurable debt of gratitude for his unfailing courtesy and zealous support, regardless of his dislike of some important decisions. He was a great war leader and he is a great man.

(20) General Alan Brooke, Chief of Imperial General Staff (diary entry, 12th April 1945)

We had to consider this morning one of Winston's worst minutes I have ever seen. I can only believe that he must have been quite tight when he dictated it. My God! How little the world at large knows what his failings and defects are!

(21) Tom Hopkinson, Of This Our Time (1982)

A consequence of this seemingly unending series of disasters was that now for the first time there began to be criticism of Churchill as Prime Minister. This took two different slants. Popular criticism, such as was to be heard in pubs, air-raid shelters and in general talk, took the line that the 'old man' himself was still the only possible war leader, but that he was failing to share the burden sufficiently with others, and also being 'let down' by commanders in the field. Simultaneously a body of 'insider' criticism began to be heard which followed an opposite line, that it was Churchill who was the cause of our continuing setbacks through his taking far too much upon himself. Confidential meetings took place, at one or two of which I was asked to be present, attended by MPs of all parties, two or three editors and influential journalists, and some renowned admirals and generals no longer in active posts but carefully briefed, it seemed to me, by top brass who were unable - or thought it unwise - to attend in person.

(22) Arthur Harris, Bomber Command (1947)

I was frequently bidden to Chequers, especially during the weekends when Winston was normally there. I never failed to return from these visits invigorated and full of renewed hope and enthusiasm, in spite of the appalling hours that Winston habitually kept. If it was a mixed party - which was not very often - and I could take my wife, I knew that we might get home somewhere between midnight and one in the morning, but when I was asked alone, it would be anywhere between three and four before I got back. Not that I minded.

After dinner Winston would talk; he was really thinking aloud about how things were going. He would get repeated reminders that a film show was waiting for him, and eventually we would all go up to the gallery - the household staff, and the rest of the family, and even the military guard from outside - to see the picture. There the Prime Minister would sit, occasionally making amusing comments about the drama. One realised, of course, that he was really resting himself in this atmosphere and that his thoughts were often far away. Sometimes one could hear him rehearse a phrase for a telegram he would send later. Well after midnight we would go back down to the hall and he would get down to another batch of work, sending signals, dictating to his secretaries, and so on, while at intervals one of his family, and sometimes his naval A.D.C. would attempt to steer him off to bed, as his doctors had advised, but invariably without the least success. He went to bed when he wanted to.

I think the first thing that impresses one about Winston is the extraordinary mixture in him of real human kindness and of sometimes impish mischief, all overlaid with an immense, thrusting, purposeful determination to reach the goal which he so clearly sees. The affection which the whole Churchill family feel for one another is very obvious and most refreshing.

Th'e worse the state of the war was, the greater was the support, enthusiasm, encouragement and constructive criticism that one got from this extraordinary man; it was all done with the utmost kindness, though not without a mischievous dig now and again just for the fun of it. He did not mind your expressing views contrary to his own, but he was difficult to argue with for the simple reason that he seldom seemed to listen long to sides of a question other than his own. He has, in fact, developed to a perhaps extreme degree this rather unfortunate trait of the man who has almost absolute power, knows his own mind, and really does not want to be bothered with everybody else's ideas. He is a bad listener, and frequently interrupts anyone who is expressing views, whether they are opposed to his own or not, halfway through a sentence; then he is off at a tangent, holding forth, always with interest and generally on sound lines, on some other aspect of the subject under discussion, or even on some entirely different subject.

The last occasion when I went to Chequers to see Winston was on the day after it had been decided to break up the National Government; I remember feeling horrified by the certainty with which Winston asserted that the coming election would go in his favour. I was equally certain that this showed a complete blindness to political realities, and when I left that night, or rather in the small hours of the next morning, I knew that I should never again go to Chequers as the guest of Winston Churchill.

(23) Joseph Goebbels, diary (27th March, 1945)

The Führer is right when he says that Stalin is in the best position to do an about-turn in war policy, since he need take no account of his public opinion. It is rather different with England. It is quite immaterial whether Churchill wants to pursue a different war policy; even if he did, he couldn't; he is too dependent on internal political forces which are already semi-bolshevistic in character, to say nothing of Roosevelt, who shows not the smallest sign of any intention to change course.

The objective which the Führer has in mind is to discover some possibility of an accommodation with the Soviet Union and then to pursue the struggle against England with brutal violence. England has always been the mischief-maker in Europe; if she was finally swept out of Europe, then we should have peace and quiet, at least for a time.

(24) Winston Churchill, election broadcast (4th June, 1945)

I must tell you that a socialist policy is abhorrent to British ideas on freedom. There is to be one State, to which all are to be obedient in every act of their lives. This State, once in power, will prescribe for everyone: where they are to work, what they are to work at, where they may go and what they may say, what views they are to hold, where their wives are to queue up for the State ration, and what education their children are to receive. A socialist state could not afford to suffer opposition - no socialist system can be established without a political police. They (the Labour government) would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo.

(25) Clement Attlee, election broadcast (5th June, 1945)

The Prime Minister made much play last night with the rights of the individual and the dangers of people being ordered about by officials. I entirely agree that people should have the greatest freedom compatible with the freedom of others. There was a time when employers were free to work little children for sixteen hours a day. I remember when employers were free to employ sweated women workers on finishing trousers at a penny halfpenny a pair. There was a time when people were free to neglect sanitation so that thousands died of preventable diseases. For years every attempt to remedy these crying evils was blocked by the same plea of freedom for the individual. It was in fact freedom for the rich and slavery for the poor. Make no mistake, it has only been through the power of the State, given to it by Parliament, that the general public has been protected against the greed of ruthless profit-makers and property owners.

The Conservative Party remains as always a class Party. In twenty-three years in the House of Commons, I cannot recall more than half a dozen from the ranks of the wage earners. It represents today, as in the past, the forces of property and privilege. The Labour Party is, in fact, the one Party which most nearly reflects in its representation and composition all the main streams which flow into the great river of our national life.

(26) Winston Churchill, speech in Fulton, Missouri (5th March, 1946)

A shadow has fallen upon the scenes so lately lighted by the Allied victory. Nobody knows what Soviet Russia and its Communist international organization intends to do in the immediate future, or what are the limits, if any, to their expansive and proselytizing tendencies. I have a strong admiration and regard for the valiant Russian people and for my wartime comrade Marshal Stalin. There is sympathy and goodwill in Britain - and I doubt not here also - toward the peoples of all the Russias and a resolve to persevere through many differences and rebuffs in establishing lasting friendships.

We understand the Russians need to be secure on her western frontiers from all renewal of German aggression. We welcome her to her rightful place among the leading nations of the world. Above all we welcome constant, frequent, and growing contacts between the Russian people and our own people on both sides of the Atlantic. It is my duty, however, to place before you certain facts about the present position in Europe - I am sure I do not wish to, but it is my duty, I feel, to present them to you.

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of central and eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest, and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in the Soviet sphere and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and increasing measure of control from Moscow. Athens alone, with its immortal glories, is free to decide its future at an election under British, American, and French observation. The Russian-dominated Polish government has been encouraged to make enormous and wrongful in-roads upon Germany, and mass expulsions of millions of Germans on a scale grievous and undreamed of are now taking place.

The Communist parties, which were very small in all these Eastern states of Europe, have been raised to preeminence and power far beyond their numbers and are seeking everywhere to obtain totalitarian control. Police governments are prevailing in nearly every case, and so far, except in Czechoslovakia, there is no true democracy. Turkey and Persia are both profoundly alarmed and disturbed at the claims which are made upon them and at the pressure being exerted by the Moscow government. An attempt is being made by the Russians in Berlin to build up a quasi-Communist Party in their zone of occupied Germany by showing special favors to groups of left-wing German leaders.

(27) Milovan Djilas, Rise and Fall (1985)

Filled with curiosity and joyous anticipation, we went to see Churchill at his London house, an establishment' no larger or more luxurious than the average middle-class villa at Dedinje - the type that our top Yugoslav officials acquired after the war. We found him in his bedroom, in bed. He begged our pardon for receiving us thus and at once invited us to dinner. We had a prior engagement for dinner with the British government, and so had to decline, with genuine regret. Churchill then said, "I have a feeling that you and we are on the same side of the barricade." We confirmed his feeling, whereupon he inquired with delight, "And how is my old friend Tito?"

On the way to his house I had entertained the thought of reproaching him for having once offended Tito, so when Brilej or Dedijer replied that Tito felt fine, I added, "But you said he had deceived you." "When? Where?" Churchill asked in surprise. "In-your speech at Fulton, Missouri, in 1946." With an expression of discomfort Churchill replied, "Oh, I've said a lot of silly things in my life." I then added, with a smile, "But we took no offense at your words. We understood them as a sort of acknowledgment." He gave a sardonic laugh.

Churchill then said to me: "You're a member of the Politburo, you've got a feeling for the Soviet mentality. If you belonged to the Soviet Politburo, would you invade Europe?" I replied that I would not. "But I would, you see!" he said. "What's Europe - disarmed, disunited? In two weeks the Russians would push right through to the English Channel. This island would defend itself one way or another, but Europe? If it weren't for atomic weapons, the Russians might have made their move already." One of us pointed out that the Russians were exhausted and had not yet recovered from the war. "The fact the Russians haven't invaded by now shows they don't intend to invade Europe," I observed. "Yes," said Churchill, "they're held in check because Stalin is smart enough to shun adventures. And old - he's got no stomach for running around Siberia dodging atom bombs!"

At one point Churchill became quite carried away by strategic considerations. "Yes, the Russians are held back by their fear of atom bombs. They're a centralized empire. If atom bombs were dropped on their communications centers - which wouldn't cause heavy civilian casualties - the periphery would loosen up and start to fall away. Stalin knows that well." Here Churchill reared up in bed, toothless, in his nightcap, and with fingers spread and pointed down, began to imitate the falling of bombs - a specter in whom the spirit of battle blazed on undiminished.

(28) Henry (Chips) Channon, diary entry (15th January, 1944)

I went early to the House hearing that the PM was due back. The secret had been well kept, but I soon twigged that they wanted to stage a demonstration of enthusiasm and the surprise would add to it. It did. He came in just before 11.30 and smiled. The House cheered and rose, a courteous, spontaneous welcome which under the dramatic circumstances was legitimate, but curiously cold. Churchill is not loved in the House. He has never had any ovation to equal several of Mr Chamberlain's, and this morning's performance proved it. I thought he looked disappointed, but his health and colour have returned.

(29) Herbert Morrison, An Autobiography (1960)

His sense of humour was uncertain. He excelled at making pithy comments about events and about Hitler and Mussolini - and about some of his colleagues, whether they were present or not. There was rarely anything vicious about these jokes: they were leg pulling jokes which only the sensitive and pompous found annoying.

But he had to be the joker, and not the victim. Once or twice I essayed a joke at his expense. Immediately his smile vanished. He gave a perfect masculine version of Queen Victoria's "We are not amused". The aristocratic Churchill came to the fore; there was a frown on his face, and then he would move to the business of the meeting.

The few who tried this sort of thing, even Bevin who could get away with very earthy comments in basic Anglo-Saxon terms to describe anyone else, received similar black looks if the Prime Minister was the butt. None of us minded, for we all had a real affection for the man, and liked him the more for a foible or two.

Churchill's dissertations about military strategy rankled and irritated the service chiefs more than anything, so far as I could see. They did not hide their view that if his ideas were adopted it might have been unfortunate for the outcome of the war. They may have been right. I think that Churchill often put forward his views on strategy just to stimulate their brains and his own. He did not necessarily believe what he was advocating.

(30) Harold Wilson, Memoirs: The Making of a Prime Minister, 1916-64 (1986)

These were three very unhappy years, the worst I have ever had to live through in nearly four decades in the House of Commons. Our own dissensions soured the atmosphere and, for those of us who knew and held him in high regard, there was the sad spectacle of the decline of Winston Churchill. His lapses were becoming more frequent.

The world itself was changing. The nuclear developments which had ended the Japanese war did not stop there. The atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima were dwarfed by the thermo-nuclear weapon the United States had created. This had been detonated over Bikini in the Pacific. There were reports of clouds of noxious fumes capable of being blown 5,000 miles and threatening life over all that area. The House of Commons debated the issue. An ageing Churchill replied in terms uncharacteristic of a lifetime in the House of Commons, no doubt reflecting an unimaginative Foreign Office brief, but taken by the House as showing insensitivity. The reception to which he was then subjected totally unnerved him, and those of us sitting on the Opposition side close to the Speaker's chair saw him go out deeply upset on the arm of the Chief Government Whip.

(31) Matt Zalen, Jerusalem Post (11th March, 2007)

Weeks before he became British prime minister in 1940, Winston Churchill may have stopped the publication of an article he had written in which he suggested that the Jews were partially responsible for "the antagonism from which they suffer," according to a paper published by a Cambridge University researcher.

The Churchill article, titled "How The Jews Can Combat Persecution," was written in 1937, and argued that "the wickedness of the persecutors" was not the sole reason for the ill-treatment of Jews throughout the ages. While Churchill described Jews as "sober, industrious and law-abiding" and praised their willingness to fight and, if necessary, die for the country they lived in, he added: "Yet there are times when one feels instinctively that all this is only another manifestation of the difference, the separateness of the Jew."

Further, Churchill criticized the Jewish refugees' willingness to work for low wages as "bad citizenship," and he suggested that it fostered anti-Semitism because it forced English workers out of jobs.

"While most people would accept that Churchill was no anti-Semite, this sheds fascinating new light on his views about Jews, which were very inconsistent," said Dr. Richard Toye, the historian who discovered the document.

The article was originally intended for publication in 1937, but was only accepted by the Sunday Dispatch three years later. However, by 1940 Churchill had backtracked on his desire to publish the piece and refused to allow the article to go to print.

"At the time publication was attempted he was trying to keep his head down in political terms and avoid controversy. It is quite possible that he had second thoughts about what he had written three years earlier."

"It was perverse to argue that low-paid Jewish workers were the victims of their Jewish bosses and, at the same time, that they were acting unfairly by taking employment from 'English people'."

Debate over Toye's findings have been quick to follow the publication of his paper, with at least one expert questioning the authenticity of the Churchill article.

According to a report by The Observer, Sir Martin Gilbert, an eminent historian and Churchill biographer, said that the article was not written by Churchill at all, but rather his ghost writer, Adam Marshall Diston. He added that Churchill's instructions for the article were different in both tone and content from what Diston eventually wrote, and pointed out that Diston was a supporter of Oswald Mosley, the notorious fascist and anti-Semite.

(32) Clive Ponting, 1940: Myth and Reality (1990)

I can still remember the impact that reading Churchill's history of the Second World War had on me many years ago; its wonderful language redolent of Macaulay and Gibbon, its dramatic story so clearly told, its moral message so apparent. Some years later, when I was reading the government papers of the time in the Public Record Office, I began to realize that the story was far more complex and that there was much that had been oversimplified or even left out altogether in Churchill's account. Despite all its virtues, his six-volume history is a politician's memoir designed to relate his version of events and to present the story as he wanted. On returning to the archives recently I was even more struck by how much the accepted story of 1940 differed from the picture that emerges from the government papers.

The current widely accepted view of what happened in 1940 could be summarized as follows. In the 1930s the British Empire was one of the strongest powers in the world, but through a misguided and craven policy of appeasement and failure to rearm it allowed the aggressor states (Germany, Italy and Japan) to expand until war became inevitable. Britain and France missed a golden opportunity to defeat Germany in the autumn of 1939 and then in April 1940 Chamberlain's incompetent direction of the war let Hitler conquer Denmark and Norway. Popular discontent with the government swept Churchill into the premiership as the war leader acclaimed by all. The old policy of appeasement and British weakness disappeared under Churchill's inspiring leadership. Immediately on taking office he had to face the collapse of France caused by the numerically superior and highly mechanized German army using waves of modern tanks in a new style of blitzkrieg warfare. The British army, let down by the French and betrayed by the Belgians, fought its way back to the coast, where it was evacuated by a fleet of small boats from the beaches of Dunkirk. Left alone, the British government, refusing even to entertain the possibility of peace with Germany, decided to fight on to final victory. Facing a determined threat to invade Britain, brilliant direction of the RAF defeated a German air force that held all the advantages in the Battle of Britain. Morale in Britain remained high, as the country, united as never before and inspired by Churchill's regular radio broadcasts, was guided by a benevolent government which had great faith in the strength and steadfastness of the British people. The Blitz, one of the heaviest bombing campaigns ever mounted, began when Hitler started the policy of bombing major cities. Well-prepared and efficiently organized emergency services ensured that there were few problems in dealing with the results of the Blitz. Churchill, working closely with his friend President Roosevelt and taking advantage of the strong identity of interest between Britain and the United States, brought the Americans to the brink of entering the war. By the end of 1940, Britain was still a great power and firmly established on the road to victory.

When we examine the historical record, however, not one of these statements turns out to be true.

(33) Clive Ponting, 1940: Myth and Reality (1990)

It was in this fervid atmosphere that the war cabinet formally considered whether Britain should seek a compromise peace. None of this was made public, although the American government was aware very quickly of what was happening inside the war cabinet. In public Churchill had declared, in his first speech as Prime Minister, that the government's policy was "victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival". After the war Churchill was determined to maintain the heroic myths that by then already surrounded the dramatic days of the early summer of 1940. He wrote in his war memoirs: "Future generations may deem it noteworthy that the supreme question of whether we should fight on alone never found a place upon the War Cabinet agenda ... we were much too busy to waste time upon such unreal, academic issues." The first part of that statement is just about technically correct in that most of the discussions in the war cabinet about whether to sue for peace were under the heading of "Italy: Suggested Direct Approach to Signor Mussolini", but it is an example of Churchill being extremely economical with the truth. The second part of the statement is untrue and designed to conceal the five meetings held by senior ministers during the three days 26-28 May at which the questions of peace and whether Britain should fight on alone were debated at length.

(34) Clare Sheridan , letter to her daughter Margaret (June 1948)

Winston, in his dreadful boiler suit was looking pale. He rants, of course, about the inefficient ignorant crowd now in power, who are what he calls "throwing the British Empire away." He is almost heartbroken. All his life he has been such a great Imperialist. He is so brilliant, but unless one can make notes in shorthand one cannot recapture all he says. He quotes so aptly, which I envy, having myself no memory. He quoted Hamlet several times which illustrates his spirit of despondency. I said I didn't feel it was any use working physically hard to carve statues, or indeed, do anything creative, for which he admonished me. "You can't go on strike" It is true; one can't sit down with folded hands and just wait for the clap of thunder! He has finished three volumes of his new book The Second World War, and only the possibility of being called back into politics prevents him going on with it. After lunch he took me into his studio where he is painting a big still-life-this consists of a huge black ebony Buddha inlaid with gold and Winston has it on a table against a sage-green velvet drapery. On the left of the Buddha is a silver vase with a vivid scarlet amaryllis lily-very effective. He removed the picture from the easel and the two of us crawled about on the floor, struggling to get the canvas into a frame. Then we hammered the nails in place. When I picked it up from the floor to place it back on the easel, he commented: "How strong you are!" Of course I am strong; however the picture was not heavy. Later we joined the horticultural expert in the garden, and Winston spent some time in a chair on the edge of the pond. When he calls to the big golden carp they come in a shoal to be fed. He told me the tragedy of the black swans who nested on the island. Mother swan had produced a family when a fox killed her. Winston said the father swan behaved so wonderfully to the babies and carried them about on his back! He is wondering what will happen next spring. .. If I can judge of swans by my experience with geese, his daughters will become his wives! After tea Winston led me off to his study. He tried so hard, bless him, to be interested in my concerns, but he can't sustain interest outside himself for more than a few minutes. However, he was very affectionate and I believe he's fonder of me than I know. When we parted, he called to me from the top of the stairs: "Write whenever you want me to do something for you - remember our relationship is eternal." I think it was uttered by his subconscious!

(35) Clare Sheridan , letter to Colonel Peter Wilson (25th August, 1950)

I feel I should tell you about my day with Winston yesterday - just he & Clemmie, myself & Douglas, the U.S. Ambassador.

Almost too much to tell - so interesting.

Of course he was depressed - says everything he has worked for all his life (the British Empire) has been thrown away by the socialists in power - he accused the U.S. of having been instrumental in breaking up our Colonial Empire, especially India - (Douglas nodded gravely). Whereupon I, emboldened by two glasses of Champagne at lunch, dared to say across the table to the Ambassador "and you let the Mongolians into central Europe." I expected a crushing snub from Winston, but being slightly deaf, he made me repeat my statement - whereupon Mr. Douglas fixing me with his one eye (a black patch covers the other) said I was quite right in my statement & enlarged upon it: he said that he at that time was Advisor to Eisenhower & Gen. Clay -& that he warned them "If you let this happen (withdrawing Allied troops from Yugoslavia etc. & letting the Russians into Berlin) you are laying the foundations of a Third World War." Winston nodded approvingly. By tea time when he had one more brandy & soda he was throwing discretion to the winds - "we are completely defenceless" he said, and "we are in mortal danger" - could he say more? I wonder if he'll be as frank tonight at 9.15. Clemmie was at her worst - she really doesn't like me - resented fiercely that I asked for Winston's introduction to the Pope - she said "get your Catholic friends to do it - ask Shane - why should you make use of Winston?"

Dear Winston disregarded her, carried me off to his sanctum, gave me a birthday present of a cheque for £100 & promised to do what he could about the Pope "I don't like writing direct to a Holiness" he said. "I'll ring up the Foreign Office & ask which way it had best be done." What Bevin will advise I can't think - but maybe he'll suggest a word from Winston to our Ambassador at the Vatican - Winston hinted he'd rather like to go over to Ireland & see one of his horses run in some race - he didn't know what sort of a reception he'd get, but that if a madman fired a shot at him, well - his life is pretty well finished & at an end, & that would be a dramatic ending.

I was exhausted at the end of the day - Clemmie's hostility & Winston's affection - rather bewildering. Douglas was gentle & charming & asked if he could do anything for me at the Vatican - I think he sensed Clemmie's hostility. Indeed, it was not even veiled! In the end Clemmie seeing that Winston was determined to do something for me, muttered something about his being a "kind old silly" - which isn't really the summing up of Winston's personality that we are accustomed to!

(35) Clare Sheridan, Four Winds (1957)

I had lunch with them at No. 10 before leaving. I sat between Winston and "Monty." Winston said to me, "You still have your taste for life, you give me the feel of it." But I was horrified by the conversation that then took place across me and I had to bite my tongue - obviously Monty has no time for a mere woman and the fact that I know and love and understand the Arab world meant nothing to him whatever. Nor did he seem to care for France from which our language and our civilization springs. I felt like chipping in with "I suppose you disapprove of the Roman Empire too." Winston just gave grunts, he was dead tired and his chin sunk down on his chest. No brandy, no champagne, only a little white wine which obviously fails to cheer him - but you know the way he rallies and he isn't done yet.

(36) Winston Churchill, quotations

(1) "History will be kind to me for I intend to write it."

(2) "The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see."

(3) "I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught."

(4) "History is written by the victors."

(5) "I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else."

(6) “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile - hoping it will eat him last.”

(7) "In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies."

(8) "He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire."

(9) "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."

(10) "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen."

(11) "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

(12) "All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope."

(13) "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give."

(14) "The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."

(15) A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

(16) "Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things."

(17) “I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.” Winston Churchill apparently said this to both Bessie Braddock and Lady Astor.

(18) "We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

(19) “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

(20) "To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often."

(21) “In war, resolution; in defeat, defiance; in victory, magnanimity.”

(22) “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

(23) "We contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle."

(24) Lady Astor: “Winston, if I were your wife I’d put poison in your coffee.” Winston Churchill: “Nancy, if I were your husband I’d drink it.”

(25) “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

(26) “Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.”

(27) “If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”

(28) “To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.”

(29) “The Americans will always do the right thing… after they’ve exhausted all the alternatives.”

(30) "Perhaps it is better to be irresponsible and right, than to be responsible and wrong."

(31) "Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others."

(32) “If you are going through hell, keep going.”

(33) “The Germans have received back again that measure of fire and steel which they have so often meted out to others. Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

(34) "You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life."

(35) “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

(36) “To have the United States at our side was to me the greatest joy. Now at this very moment I knew the United States was in the war, up to the neck and in to the death. So we had won after all!…Hitler’s fate was sealed. Mussolini’s fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder.”

(37) “I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this government: I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”

(38) "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

(39) “We (The British) have not journeyed across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy.”

(40) “You ask, What is our policy? I will say; ‘It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.’ You ask, What is our aim? I can answer with one word: Victory - victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.”

(41) “If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”

(42) “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”

(43) “We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and the oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

(44) “True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information."

(45) "Great and good are seldom the same man."

(46) "I'm just preparing my impromptu remarks."

(47) "In war, you can only be killed once, but in politics, many times."

(48) "True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information."

(49) "War is mainly a catalogue of blunders."

(50) "The great defense against the air menace is to attack the enemy's aircraft as near as possible to their point of departure."

(51) "The strongest argument against democracy is a five minute discussion with the average voter."

Student Activities

The Middle Ages

The Normans

The Tudors

The English Civil War

Industrial Revolution

First World War

Russian Revolution

Nazi Germany

United States: 1920-1945


(1) Paul Addison, Winston Churchill : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(2) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 3

(3) John Charmley, Churchill: The End of Glory (1993) page 10

(4) Winston Churchill, My Early Life (1930)

(5) Winston Churchill, letter to Jennie Churchill (February 1884)

(6) H. O. D. Davidson, letter to Jennie Churchill (12th July, 1888)

(7) Boris Johnson, The Churchill Factor (2014) pages 45-46

(8) Paul Addison, Winston Churchill : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(9) Winston Churchill, My Early Life (1930)

(10) Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (1991) page 53

(11) Winston Churchill, The Churchill Documents, Volume II: Young Soldier, 1896-1901 (2006) page 784

(12) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 29

(13) Douglas S. Russell, Winston Churchill, Soldier: the Military Life of a Gentleman at War (2005) page 225

(14) John Charmley, Churchill: The End of Glory (1993) page 21

(15) John Black Atkins, Incidents and Reflections (1947) page 122

(16) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 34

(17) Paul Addison, Winston Churchill : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(18) Winston Churchill, The Morning Post (12th April, 1900)

(19) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 38

(20) John Charmley, Churchill: The End of Glory (1993) page 24

(21) David Lloyd George, speech at Caernarvon (19th September, 1900)

(22) Richard Toye, Churchill's Empire (2010) page 79

(23) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 40

(24) Ted Morgan, Winston Churchill (1983) page 184

(25) Beatrice Webb, diary entry (8th July, 1903)

(26) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 41

(27) Winston Churchill, letter to Earl of Rosebery (October, 1902)

(28) Winston Churchill, speech (13th January, 1902)

(29) Margot Asquith, diary entry (16th May 1903)

(30) John Charmley, Churchill: The End of Glory (1993) page 30

(31) Winston Churchill, letter to Arthur Balfour (25th May, 1903)

(32) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (28th May, 1903)

(33) Winston Churchill, letter to Hugh Cecil (24th October, 1903)

(34) Winston Churchill, letter to Lord Northcliffe (1st September, 1903)

(35) John Charmley, Churchill: The End of Glory (1993) page 33

(36) Randolph S. Churchill, Winston Churchill: Volume II (1967) page 284

(37) Winston Churchill, Thoughts and Adventures (1932) page 60

(38) John Grigg, The People's Champion (1978) page 64

(39) Robert Lloyd George, David & Winston: How a Friendship Changed History (2005) page 32

(40) Malcolm Thompson, David Lloyd George: The Official Biography (1950) page 17

(41) Violet Bonham Carter, Winston Churchill As I Knew Him (1966) pages 160-161

(42) Winston Churchill, letter to Hugh Cecil (24th October, 1903)

(43) Michael Hicks Beach, letter to Winston Churchill (12th April, 1904)

(44) John Charmley, Churchill: The End of Glory (1993) page 34

(45) King Edward VII, diary entry (26th July, 1905)

(46) Arthur Balfour, speech in the House of Commons (2nd May 1905)

(47) Geoffrey Alderman, Modern British Jewry (1998) page 133

(48) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (27th June, 1905)

(49) Arthur Balfour, letter to Joseph Chamberlain (18th February, 1905)

(50) Robert Blake, The Conservative Party from Peel to Churchill (1970) pages 180-181

(51) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 55

(52) John Charmley, Churchill: The End of Glory (1993) page 36

(53) Wilfred Scawen Blunt, My Diaries: 1888-1914 (1932) page 518

(54) Margot Asquith, The Autobiography of Margot Asquith (1962) page 245

(55) Henry Campbell-Bannerman, statement (8th January, 1906)

(56) Robert Lloyd George, David & Winston: How a Friendship Changed History (2005) page 20

(57) Christopher Hassall, Edward Marsh (1959) page 142

(58) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (29th February, 1906)

(59) Frederick Smith, speech in the House of Commons (29th February, 1906)

(60) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (21st March, 1906)

(61) John Charmley, Churchill: The End of Glory (1993) page 42

(62) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 70

(63) Winston Churchill, My African Journey (1908) pages 41-43

(64) Roy Jenkins, Churchill (2001) page 106

(65) Winston Churchill, My Early Life (1930) page 76

(66) Henry Campbell-Bannerman, letter to H. H. Asquith (5th January, 1907)

(67) Robert Lloyd George, David & Winston: How a Friendship Changed History (2005) page 6

(68) John Wilson, C. B. A Life of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannermann (1973) page 499

(69) Margot Asquith, The Autobiography of Margot Asquith (1962) page 247

(70) Colin Clifford, The Asquiths (2002) page 134

(71) Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (1991) page 195

(72) Boris Johnson, The Churchill Factor (2014) page 123

(73) Winston Churchill, letter to Clementine Hozier (27th April 1908)

(74) Violet Asquith, letter to Venetia Stanley (14th August, 1908)

(75) Paul Addison, Winston Churchill : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(76) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 80

(77) Beatrice Webb, letter to Mary Playne (2nd February, 1908)

(78) Beatrice Webb, letter to Sidney Webb (21st February 1908)

(79) John Charmley, Churchill: The End of Glory (1993) page 50

(80) Winston Churchill, The Nation (7th March, 1908)

(81) The Contemporary Review (January, 1909)

(82) Winston Churchill, memorandum to William Beveridge (6th June, 1909)

(83) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) pages 88-89

(84) Chris Wrigley, Winston Churchill: A Biographical Companion (2002) page 327

(85) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (28th April 1909)

(86) Paul Addison, The Road to 1945 (1975) page 212

(87) Jose Harris, Unemployment and Politics a Study of English Social Policy (1972) page 285

(88) Winston Churchill, message to Engineering Employers Association and the Shipbuilding Employers Federation (18th August, 1909)

(89) Geoffrey Best, Churchill: A Study in Greatness (2001) page 34

(90) Roy Jenkins, Churchill (2001) page 152

(91) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 88

(92) Hugh Purcell, Lloyd George (2006) page 28

(93) Frank Owen, Tempestuous Journey: Lloyd George and his Life and Times (1954) page 174

(94) Roy Jenkins, Churchill (2001) page 160

(95) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (17th December, 1909)

(96) Francis Knollys, letter to Herbert Henry Asquith (28th November, 1909)

(97) Winston Churchill, speech at Leven (9th January 1910)

(98) John Grigg, The People's Champion (1978) pages 240-241

(99) Roy Jenkins, Churchill (2001) pages 211-212

(100) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (15th March, 1910)

(101) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 98

(102) The Times (9th November, 1910)

(103) Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (1991) page 221

(103a) Robert Lloyd George, David and Winston: How a Friendship Changed History (2006) pages 70-71

(103b) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) pages 134-135

(103c) Votes for Women (29th October, 1909)

(103d) The Dundee Courier (18th October 1909)

(103e) Diane Atkinson, Rise Up, Women!: The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes (2018) page 178

(103f) Votes for Women (19th November, 1909)

(103g) Catherine Corbett, Votes for Women (29th October 1909)

(103h) Diane Atkinson, Rise Up, Women!: The Remarkable Lives of the Suffragettes (2018) page 178

(103i) Mary Blathwayt, diary entry (15th November, 1909)

(104) The Daily Telegraph (17th December, 1910)

(105) Solomon Abrahams, statement (17th December, 1910)

(106) Donald Rumbelow, The Siege of Sidney Street (1973)

(107) Andy McSmith, The Independent (11th December, 2010)

(108) Superintendent William Mulvaney, statement (4th January, 1911)

(109) Roy Jenkins, Churchill (2001) page 195

(110) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 111

(111) Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (1991) pages 224-225

(112) Winston Churchill, letter to The Times (12th January, 1911)

(113) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 100

(114) Robert Lloyd George, David and Winston: How a Friendship Changed History (2006) pages 70-71

(115) Lucy Masterman, C. F. G. Masterman (1939) pages 165-166

(116) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (12th July, 1910)

(117) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 115

(118) Lawrence Sondhaus, Naval Warfare 1815–1914 (2001) pages 203-204

(119) Roy Hattersley, David Lloyd George (2010) page 245

(120) Ted Morgan, Winston Churchill (1983) page 293

(121) Winston Churchill, letter to letter to Clementine Churchill (30th May 1909)

(122) Barry Gough, Churchill and Fisher (2017) page 164

(123) The Sunday Observer (29th October, 1911)

(124) A report on a memorandum sent by Winston Churchill to the Committee of Imperial Defence (13th August, 1911)

(125) John Charmley, Churchill: The End of Glory (1993) page 74

(126) Wilfred Scawen Blunt, diary entry (30th January, 1912)

(127) Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (1991) page 240

(128) Captain Wilhelm Widenmann, letter to Admiral Alfred von Tirpitz (28th October, 1911)

(129) Bentley B. Gilbert, David Lloyd George: Architect of Change (1987) page 365

(130) David Lloyd George, letter to Winston Churchill (3rd January, 1909)

(131) Roy Hattersley, David Lloyd George (2010) page 306

(132) George Riddell, diary entry (15th June, 1912)

(133) George Riddell, diary entry (27th July, 1912)

(134) Sir Edward Grey, letter to Theobold von Bethmann Hollweg (30th July, 1914)

(135) C. P. Scott, Manchester Guardian (29th August, 1914)

(136) Frank Owen, Tempestuous Journey: Lloyd George and his Life and Times (1954) page 259

(137) H. H. Asquith, diary entry (1st August, 1914)

(138) The Daily News (4th August, 1914)

(139) Marvin Rintala, Lloyd George and Churchill: How Friendship Changed Politics (1995) page 117

(140) Frank Owen, Tempestuous Journey: Lloyd George and his Life and Times (1954) page 266

(141) A. J. P. Taylor, English History: 1914-1945 (1965) page 27

(142) Colin Clifford, The Asquiths (2002) page 229

(143) Frances Stevenson, diary entry (3rd August, 1914)

(144) Peregrine Worsthorne, Why Winston Churchill is not Really a War Hero (22nd October, 2008)

(145) Geoffrey Best, Churchill: A Study in Greatness (2001) pages 54-55

(146) H. H. Asquith, letter to Venetia Stanley (1st October, 1914)

(147) Winston Churchill, message sent to H. H. Asquith (5th October, 1914)

(148) C. R. M. F. Cruttwell, A History of the Great War (1934) page 216

(149) Ted Morgan, Winston Churchill (1983) page 391

(150) H. H. Asquith, letter to Venetia Stanley (13th October, 1914)

(151) Frances Stevenson, diary entry (23rd October, 1914)

(152) Admiral Herbert Richmond, diary entry (14th October, 1914)

(153) Robert Blake, The Unknown Prime Minister: The Life and Time of Andrew Bonar Law (1955) page 234-235

(154) Chris Wrigley, Churchill (2006) page 41

(155) Winston Churchill, memorandum to H. H. Asquith (29th December, 1914)

(156) Keith Grieves, Ernest Swinton : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(157) Ernest Dunlop Swinton, Over my Shoulder: The Autobiography of Major-General Sir Ernest D.Swinton (1951) page 121

(158) Boris Johnson, The Churchill Factor (2014) page 180

(159) Martin Gilbert, First World War (1994) page 124

(160) Jason Richie, Weapons: Designing the Tools of War (1999) page 95

(161) Clive Ponting, Churchill (1994) page 211

(162) Geoffrey Best, Churchill: A Study in Greatness (2001) pages 65-56

(163) Winston Churchill, World Crisis: 1911-1918 (1923) page 48

(164) Admiral John Fisher, memorandum to Admiral John Jellicoe (21st January, 1915)

(165) Maurice Hankey, Report of the Committee of Imperial Defence circulated to the War Council (24th January, 1915)

(166) Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (1991) page 298

(167) Roy Jenkins, Churchill (2001) page 265

(168) Reginald Brett, Viscount Esher, diary entry (20th March, 1915)

(169) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) pages 176-177

(170) H. H. Asquith, letter to Venetia Stanley (21st March, 1915)

(171) Admiral John Fisher, memorandum to Winston Churchill (5th April, 1915)

(172) Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (1991) page 309

(173) Les Carlyon, Gallipoli (2001) pages 189-190

(174) Basil Liddell Hart, History of the First World War (1930) page 138

(175) Frances Stevenson, diary entry (19th May, 1915)

(176) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 177

(177) Frances Stevenson, diary entry (24th May, 1915)

(178) Geoffrey Best, Churchill: A Study in Greatness (2001) page 70

(179) George Barrow, The Life of General Sir Charles Carmichael Monro (1931) page 65

(180) Stephen Pope & Elizabeth-Anne Wheal, The Macmillan Dictionary of the First World War (1995) page 184

(181) Winston Churchill, letter to H. H. Asquith (15th November, 1915)

(182) Geoffrey Best, Churchill: A Study in Greatness (2001) page 76

(183) The Daily Chronicle (7th December, 1916)

(184) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) pages 206-207

(185) George Curzon, letter to David Lloyd George (8th June 1917)

(186) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) pages 208-209

(187) Winston Churchill, letter to Louis Loucheur (6th April, 1918)

(188) Giles Milton, Russian Roulette: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot (2013) page 251

(189) The Guardian (1st September, 2013)

(190) Chris Wrigley, Churchill (2006) page 45

(191) Roy Hattersley, David Lloyd George (2010) page 488

(192) Duff Cooper, diary entry (3rd December, 1918)

(193) Martin Pugh, Speak for Britain: A New History of the Labour Party (2010) page 123

(194) Winston Churchill, memorandum to David Lloyd George (21st November, 1918)

(195) Winston Churchill, speech in Dundee (26th November, 1918)

(196) Roy Hattersley, David Lloyd George (2010) page 488

(197) Winston Churchill, letter to David Lloyd George (26th December, 1918)

(198) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 223

(199) Winston Churchill, report on the future of the Royal Air Force (June, 1919)

(200) Frank McLynn, The Road Not Taken: How Britain Narrowly Missed a Revolution (2013) page 365

(201) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 226

(202) Kathleen Burk, Britain, America and the Sinews of War (1985) page 81

(203) Thomas Jones, Whitehall Diaries, Volume I (1969) page 94

(204) Winston Churchill, memorandum to the Cabinet (12th May 1919)

(205) Winston Churchill, memo to India Office (22nd May, 1919)

(206) Winston Churchill, evidence to the Peel Commission (12th March, 1937)

(207) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (22nd May, 1920)

(208) Winston Churchill, The Aftermath (1929) page 263

(209) Winston Churchill, The Evening News (28th July, 1920)

(210) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 230

(211) Winston Churchill, Illustrated Sunday Herald (8th February, 1920)

(212) Brian Horrocks, A Full Life (1960)

(213) Minutes of Cabinet meeting (23rd December, 1918)

(214) Giles Milton, Russian Roulette: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot (2013) page 252

(215) Winston Churchill, message to Major-General William Ironside (15th April, 1919)

(216) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (29th May 1919)

(217) Giles Milton, Russian Roulette: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot (2013) page 254

(218) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 238

(219) Boris Johnson, The Churchill Factor (2014) page 316

(220) Winston Churchill, memorandum to Sir Hugh Trenchard, (29th August, 1920)

(221) Robert Blake, The Conservative Party from Peel to Churchill (1970) page 205

(222) Stanley Baldwin, speech at a meeting of Conservative Party members of Parliament (19th October, 1922)

(223) Roy Jenkins, Churchill (2001) page 371

(224) Winston Churchill, statement (27th October, 1922)

(225) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) pages 274-275

(226) Chris Wrigley, Churchill (2006) page 53

(227) Frederick W. Craig, British General Election Manifestos, 1900-1966 (1970) pages 9-17

(228) The New Statesman (August, 1923)

(229) Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (1991) pages 458-459

(230) Winston Churchill, speech at the Aldwych Club (4th May, 1923)

(231) George Riddell, diary entry (30th May, 1923)

(232) Stanley Ball, Stanley Baldwin : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(233) Conservative Party Manifesto (November, 1923)

(234) Winston Churchill, speech in Manchester (16th November, 1923)

(235) Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (1991) page 459

(236) The Daily Herald (2nd January, 1924)

(237) The Daily Herald (4th January, 1924)

(238) Robert Shepherd, Westminster: A Biography: From Earliest Times to the Present Day (2012) page 313

(239) Torquil Cowan, Labour of Love: The Story of Robert Smillie (2011) page 358

(240) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 277

(241) Austen Chamberlain, letter to Frederick Smith, Lord Birkenhead (26th Feburary 1924)

(242) Winston Churchill, Thoughts and Adventures (1932) pages 9-10

(243) Chris Wrigley, Churchill (2006) page 55

(244) Winston Churchill, speech in Wanstead (15th October, 1924)

(245) Winston Churchill, speech in Harlow (16th October, 1924)

(246) The Daily Mail (25th October 1924)

(247) Bob Stewart, Breaking the Fetters (1967) page 161

(248) A. J. P. Taylor, Beaverbrook (1972) page 223

(249) David Dilks, Neville Chamberlain (1984) page 398

(250) John Charmley, Churchill: The End of Glory (1993) page 200

(251) Winston Churchill, letter to Sir Richard Hopkins (28th November, 1924)

(252) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 294

(253) Roy Jenkins, Churchill (2001) page 399

(254) Winston Churchill, memorandum to Otto Niemeyer, a senior figure at the Treasury (22nd February, 1925)

(255) Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (1991) page 469

(256) Roy Jenkins, Churchill (2001) page 401

(257) Geoffrey Best, Churchill: A Study in Greatness (2001) page 120

(258) John Charmley, Churchill: The End of Glory (1993) page 214

(259) Neville Chamberlain, diary entry (1st November, 1925)

(260) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 298

(261) Roy Jenkins, Churchill (2001) page 404

(262) Winston Churchill, letter to James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury (9th December, 1924)

(263) Winston Churchill, letter to James Gascoyne-Cecil, 4th Marquess of Salisbury (27th December, 1924)

(264) Roy Jenkins, Churchill (2001) page 408

(265) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 304

(266) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (30th April, 1925)

(267) Thomas Jones, diary entry (17th May, 1925)

(268) Winston Churchill, letter to Arthur Steel-Maitland (19th September, 1925)

(269) Winston Churchill, letter to Stanley Baldwin (20th September, 1925)

(270) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 305

(271) Cabinet Papers (24th November, 1925)

(272) Frederick A. Macquisten, speech in the House of Commons (6th March, 1925)

(273) Stanley Baldwin, speech in the House of Commons (6th March, 1925)

(274) Will Paynter, My Generation (1972) page 30

(275) Christopher Farman, The General Strike: Britain's Aborted Revolution? (1972) page 40

(276) Tony Lane, The Union Makes us Strong (1974) page 121

(277) Alan Bullock, The Life and Times of Ernest Bevin (1960) page 277

(278) Anne Perkins, A Very British Strike: 3 May-12 May 1926 (2007) page 53

(279) James Klugman, History of the Communist Party of Great Britain: The General Strike 1925-1926 (1969) page 34

(280) Margaret Morris, The General Strike (1976) page 127

(281) Julian Symons, The General Strike (1957) pages 137-138

(282) Margaret Morris, The General Strike (1976) page 241

(283) John C. Davidson, Memoirs of a Conservative (1969) page 238

(284) Thomas Jones, diary entry (7th May, 1926)

(285) John C. Davidson, Memoirs of a Conservative (1969) page 246

(286) Neville Chamberlain, diary entry (9th May, 1926)

(287) Christopher Farman, The General Strike: Britain's Aborted Revolution? (1972) page 167

(288) John Charmley, Churchill: The End of Glory (1993) pages 218-219

(289) Paul Davies, A. J. Cook (1987) page 99

(290) Julian Symons, The General Strike (1957) pages 198-199

(291) Margaret Morris, The General Strike (1976) page 263

(292) Walter Citrine, Men and Work (1964) page 194

(293) Julian Symons, The General Strike (1957) page 203

(294) Frank McLynn, The Road Not Taken: How Britain Narrowly Missed a Revolution (2013) page 461

(295) A. J. P. Taylor, English History: 1914-1945 (1965) page 318

(296) Julian Symons, The General Strike (1957) page 226

(297) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 314

(298) Winston Churchill, letter to Clementine Churchill (6th January, 1927)

(299) Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (1991) page 480

(300) Winston Churchill, My Early Life (1930) page 373

(301) Winston Churchill, letter to Randolph Churchill (8th January, 1931)

(302) The Daily Mail (28th April, 1928)

(303) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 314

(304) Millicent Fawcett, diary entry (2nd July 1928)

(305) Maxwell Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook, letter to Leo Amery (12th November, 1928)

(306) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) pages 325-326

(307) Stuart Ball, Stanley Baldwin : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(308) The Conservative Manifesto: Mr. Stanley Baldwin's Election Address (May, 1929)

(309) The Labour Manifesto: Labour's Appeal to the Nation (May, 1929)

(310) Winston Churchill, speech at the Queen's Hall (12th February, 1929)

(311) Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (1991) page 489

(312) Thomas Jones, diary entry (30th May, 1929)

(313) Roy Hattersley, David Lloyd George (2010) page 608

(314) Winston Churchill, letter to David Lloyd George (28th July, 1929)

(315) Winston Churchill, letter to Clementine Churchill (27th August, 1929)

(316) Winston Churchill, diary entry (30th October, 1929)

(317) The Daily Mail (16th November, 1929)

(318) Roy Jenkins, Churchill (2001) page 420

(319) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 338

(320) The New York Times (21st January, 1927)

(321) Winston Churchill, The Evening Standard (24th January, 1934)

(322) Henry Channon, diary entry (June, 1935)

(323) Winston Churchill, The Daily Mail (12th November, 1935)

(324) Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life (1991) page 547

(325) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (24th October 1935)

(326) Winston Churchill, speech (17th February, 1933)

(327) Winston Churchill, The Sunday Chronicle (26th May, 1935)

(328) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 376

(329) Clement Attlee, speech in the House of Commons (19th December, 1935)

(330) Francis Beckett, Clem Attlee (2000) page 131

(331) Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (1962) page 345

(332) Frank McDonough, Neville Chamberlain, Appeasement and the British Road to War (1998) page 27

(333) Winston Churchill, The Evening Standard (13th March, 1936)

(334) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (6th April, 1936)

(335) Clement Attlee, speech in the House of Commons (26th March, 1936)

(336) Winston Churchill, The Evening Standard (10th August, 1936)

(337) Geoffrey Best, Churchill: A Study in Greatness (2001) page 155

(338) C. P. Snow, Variety of Men (1967) page 127

(339) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (6th April, 1936)

(340) Winston Churchill, letter to Violet Bonham-Carter (25th May 1936)

(341) Blanche Dugdale, diary entry (27th February, 1937)

(342) Winston Churchill, The Evening Standard (17th September 1937)

(343) Winston Churchill, The Evening Standard (14th October, 1937)

(344) Winston Churchill, speech at the Conservative Party conference at Scarborough (14th October, 1937)

(345) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (12th March, 1938)

(346) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 394

(347) Peter Neville, Nevile Henderson : Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004-2014)

(348) Graham Darby, Hitler, Appeasement and the Road to War (1999) page 56

(349) Statement issued by Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler after the signing of the Munich Agreement (30th September, 1938)

(350) Neville Henderson, Failure of a Mission (1940) page 167

(351) Clement Attlee, speech in the House of Commons (3rd October, 1938)

(352) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (5th October, 1938)

(353) The Times (16th March, 1939)

(354) Isaac Deutscher, Stalin (1949) page 422

(355) Neville Chamberlain, letter to Ida Chamberlain (26th March, 1939)

(356) Robert A. Parker, Chamberlain and Appeasement (1993) page 228

(357) John Bew, Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee (2016) page 226

(358) Clement Attlee, speech in the House of Commons (19th May, 1939)

(359) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (19th May, 1939)

(360) Cabinet minutes (24th May, 1939)

(361) Time Magazine (28th August, 1939)

(362) Nikita Khrushchev, Khrushchev Remembers (1971) page 111

(363) Neville Chamberlain, speech in the House of Commons (1st September, 1939)

(364) Winston Churchill, letter to Neville Chamberlain (2nd September, 1939)

(365) William R. Trotter, The Winter War: The Russo–Finnish War of 1939–40 (2002) pages 58-61

(366) Manchester Guardian (1st December, 1939)

(367) Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm (1953) page 428

(368) Tomas Ries, Lessons of the Winter War, National Defence Collegeof Finland (2001)

(369) Elizabeth-Anne Wheal & Stephen Pope, The MacMillan Dictionary of the Second World War (1989) page 437

(370) David Charlton, Anthony Eden (1981) page 156

(371) Clive Ponting, 1940: Myth and Reality (1990) page 48

(372) Keith Feiling, The Life of Neville Chamberlain (1970) page 427

(373) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 416-417

(374) Martin Gilbert, The Second World War (1989) pages 46-47

(375) Keith Feiling, The Life of Neville Chamberlain (1970) page 437

(376) A. J. P. Taylor, English History: 1914-1945 (1965) pages 572-573

(377) Martin Gilbert, The Second World War (1989) page 47

(378) Keith Feiling, The Life of Neville Chamberlain (1970) page 430

(379) Neville Chamberlain, diary entry (27th April, 1940)

(380) Neville Chamberlain, diary entry (4th May, 1940)

(381) Roger Keyes, speech in the House of Commons (7th May, 1940)

(382) Leo Amery, speech in the House of Commons (7th May, 1940)

(383) David Lloyd George, speech in the House of Commons (8th May, 1940)

(384) John Bew, Citizen Clem: A Biography of Attlee (2016) page 240

(385) Neville Chamberlain, diary entry (11th May, 1940)

(386) Martin Gilbert, The Second World War (1989) page 62

(387) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 431

(388) Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm (1953) pages 526-527

(389) The Daily Telegraph (11th May, 1940)

(390) Roy Jenkins, Churchill (2001) pages 587-588

(391) David Low, Years of Wrath (1949) page 109

(392) Elizabeth-Anne Wheal & Stephen Pope, The MacMillan Dictionary of the Second World War (1989) page 61

(393) Clive Ponting, 1940: Myth and Reality (1990) pages 81-82

(394) Elizabeth-Anne Wheal & Stephen Pope, The MacMillan Dictionary of the Second World War (1989) page 502

(395) Basil Liddell Hart, The Other Side of the Hill (1948) page 183

(396) The Observer (12th May, 1940)

(397) King George VI, diary entry (13th May, 1940)

(398) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (13th May, 1940)

(399) Alan Bullock, Hitler: A Study in Tyranny (1962) page 585

(400) Franz Halder, diary entry (17th May, 1940)

(401) Franz Halder, diary entry (18th May, 1940)

(402) Basil Liddell Hart, The Other Side of the Hill (1948) page 62

(403) Winston Churchill, telegram to President Franklin D. Roosevelt (15th May, 1940)

(404) Franz Halder, diary entry (26th May, 1940)

(405) Basil Liddell Hart, The Other Side of the Hill (1948) pages 200-201

(406) Winston Churchill, memorandum to General Hastings Ismay (28th September, 1940)

(407) Winston Churchill, memorandum to General Hastings Ismay (27th February, 1943)

(408) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 627

(409) Winston Churchill, memorandum to General Hastings Ismay (6th July, 1943)

(410) Winston Churchill, memorandum to the Chiefs of Staff (6th July, 1943)

(411) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 628

John Simkin