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)

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." (3)

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." (4)

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." (5)

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." (6)

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." (7)

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." (8)

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". (9)

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." (10)

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." (11)

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." (12)

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." (13)

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. (14)

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. (15)

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. (16)

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." (17)

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. (18)

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". (19)

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." (20)

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." (21)

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. (22)

Free Trade

On 11th July 1902, Arthur Balfour replaced Earl of Rosebery as 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." (23)

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." (24)

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". (25) 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." (26)

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". (27) 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?" (28)

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." (29)

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". (30)

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. (31)

Winston Churchill in 1904
Winston Churchill in 1904

A few days later 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." (32) 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." (33) 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." (34) Edward VII put it slightly differently: "Churchill is a born cad." (35)

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." (36)

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." (37)

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." (38)

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." (39)

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." (40)

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." (41)

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." (42) 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." (43)

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." (44)

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." (45)

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." (46)

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". (47)

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." (48)

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". (49)

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." (50)

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. (51)

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." (52)

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!" (53)

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." (54) 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." (55)

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." (56)

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". (57)

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. (58)

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." (59)

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." (60)

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." (61)

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." (62)

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." (63)

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". (64) 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." (65)

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." (66) In an article published in The Nation he advocated Webbian solutions to the social problems of the time. (67)

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." (68)

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. (69)

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". (70)

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." (71)

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." (72)

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." (73)

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." (74)

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." (75)

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." (76)

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. (77)

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." (78)

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." (79)

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". (80)

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." (81)

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." (82)

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. (83)

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." (84)

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 at the time, 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. (85)

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." (86)

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 deplyed on the streets with fixed bayonets. (87)

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." (88)

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." (89)

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." (90)

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. (91)

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. (92)

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." (93)

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." (94)

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?" (95) 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". (96)

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. (97)

Churchill was also under attack 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. The main opposition came from Winston Churchill, who saw it as being "anti-democratic". He argued "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." (98)

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." (99)

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. (100)

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." (101)

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." (102)

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." (103) 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." (104)

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." (105) Churchill's speech upset radicals such as Wilfred Scawen Blunt who sorrowfully concluded that he was "bitten with Grey's anti-German policy." (106)

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." (107)

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. (108)

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. (109)

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." (110)

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". (111) 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". (112) Riddell reported there were even rumours that Churchill was "mediating... going over to the other side." (113)

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." (114)

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." (115)

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. (116)

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." (117)

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." (118)

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. When he heard what had happened, 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". (119)

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." (120)

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." (121)

In the early months of the 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). (122)

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. (123)

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." (124) The message has been described as "surely one of the most extraordinary communications ever made by a British Cabinet Minister to his leader". (125)

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." (126)

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." (127)

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". (128) Admiral Herbert Richmond wrote in his diary that "it is a tragedy that the Navy should be in such lunatic hands at this time". (129) 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". (130) Chris Wrigley commented that "there was still something of the Boys' Hero in his behaviour." (131)

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?" (132)

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. (133)

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. (134)

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". (135)

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. (136)

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. (137)

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. (138)

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. (139)

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. (140)

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." (141) 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. (142)

Despite these objections, 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. (143)

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. (144) 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." (145)

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. (146)

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. (147)

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." (148)

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." (149)

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. (150)

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. (151)

In the words of one historian, "In the annals of British military incompetence Gallipoli ranks very high indeed." (152) 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, became Minister of the Colonies 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. (153)

On 14th October, 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. (154)

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." (155)

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." (156)

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. (157)

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." (158)

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. (159)

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." (160)

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. (161)

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." (162)

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." (163)

Churchill hoped that he would be able to use the top secret "M Device", 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. (164)

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 leading to substantial unrest by unskilled workers who eventually secured a higher wage settlement. (165)

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." (166)

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. (167) 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." (168)

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." (169)

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." (170)

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. (171)

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." (172)

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. (173)

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". (174)

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. (175)

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." (176)

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." (177)

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." (178)

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 which cause great inconvenience and would leave a lively terror." (179)

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." (180)

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." (181)

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." (182) He described the Bolsheviks as "swarms of typhus-bearing vermin". (183) In article in The Evening News he claimed that the Bolsheviks had created "a poisoned Russia, an infected Russia, a plague bearing Russia." (184)

Churchill blamed Jews for the Russian Revolution. He told Lord George Curzon, the Foreign Secretary, that in his opinion that the Bosheviks 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." (185)

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)." (186)

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." (187)

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. (188)

Winston Churchill now took the controversial decision to use the stockpiles of M Device (diphenylaminechloroarsine) 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." (189)

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. (190)

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. (191)

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." (192)

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. (193)

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." (194)

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. (195)

Winston Churchill rejoins Conservative Party

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.

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. (196)

David Lloyd George was forced to resign and his party only won 127 seats in the 1922 General Election. The Conservative Party won 344 seats and formed the next government. The Labour Party promised to nationalise the mines and railways, a massive house building programme and to revise the peace treaties, went from 57 to 142 seats, whereas the Liberal Party increased their vote and went from 36 to 62 seats. (197)

Winston Churchill being defeated by E. D. Morel at Dundee in the 1922 General Election. Churchill now rejoined the Conservative Party and was successfully elected to represent Epping in the 1924 General Election.

Stanley Baldwin, the leader of the new Conservative administration, appointed Churchill as Chancellor of the Exchequer. In 1925 Churchill controversially returned Britain the the Gold Standard and the following year took a strong line against the General Strike. Churchill edited the Government's newspaper, the British Gazette, during the dispute where he argued that "either the country will break the General Strike, or the General Strike will break the country."

With the defeat of the Conservative government in 1929, Winston Churchill lost office. When Ramsay MacDonald formed the National Government in 1931 Churchill, who was now seen as a right-wing extremist, was not invited to join the Cabinet. He spent the next few years concentrating on his writing, including the publication of the History of the English Speaking Peoples.

Rise of Nazi Germany

After Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party gained power in Germany in 1933, Winston Churchill became a leading advocate of rearmament. He was also a staunch critic of Neville Chamberlain and the Conservative government's appeasement policy. In 1939 Churchill controversially argued that Britain and France should form of a military alliance with the Soviet Union.

Britain was in a very difficult situation. In 1939 Germany had a population of 80 million with a workforce of 41 million. Britain had a population of 46 million with less than half Germany's workforce. Germany's total income at market prices was £7,260 million compared to Britain's £5,242 million. More ominously, the Germans had spent five times what Britain had spent on armaments - £1,710 million versus £358 million.

Second World War

On the outbreak of the Second World War Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty and on 4th April 1940 became chairman of the Military Coordinating Committee. Later that month the German Army invaded and occupied Norway. The loss of Norway was a considerable setback for Neville Chamberlain and his policies for dealing with Nazi Germany.

On 8th May the Labour Party demanded a debate on the Norwegian campaign and this turned into a vote of censure. At the end of the debate 30 Conservatives voted against Chamberlain and a further 60 abstained. Chamberlain now decided to resign and on 10th May, 1940, George VI appointed Churchill as prime minister. Later that day the German Army began its Western Offensive and invaded the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. Two days later German forces entered France.

Winston Churchill: Prime Minister

Winston Churchill formed a coalition government and placed leaders of the Labour Party such as Clement Attlee, Ernest Bevin, Herbert Morrison, Stafford Cripps and Hugh Dalton in key positions. He also brought in another long-time opponent of Chamberlain, Anthony Eden, as his secretary of state for war. Later that year Eden replaced Lord Halifax as foreign secretary.

As soon as he gained power 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 in 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."

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."

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

References

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(68) The Contemporary Review (January, 1909)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(182) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (22nd May, 1920)

(183) Winston Churchill, The Aftermath (1929) page 263

(184) Winston Churchill, The Evening News (28th July, 1920)

(185) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 230

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

(187) Brian Horrocks, A Full Life (1960)

(188) Minutes of Cabinet meeting (23rd December, 1918)

(189) Giles Milton, Russian Roulette: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot (2013) page 252

(190) Winston Churchill, message to Major-General William Ironside (15th April, 1919)

(191) Winston Churchill, speech in the House of Commons (29th May 1919)

(192) Giles Milton, Russian Roulette: How British Spies Thwarted Lenin's Global Plot (2013) page 254

(193) Clive Ponting, Winston Churchill (1994) page 238

(194) Boris Johnson, The Churchill Factor (2014) page 316

(195) Winston Churchill, memorandum to Sir Hugh Trenchard, (29th August, 1920)

(196) Stanley Baldwin, speech at a meeting of Conservative Party members of Parliament (19th October, 1922)

(197) Frederick W. Craig, British General Election Manifestos, 1900-1966 (1970) pages 9-17

John Simkin