Churchill, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer 1874-1965, statesman, was born, prematurely, at Blenheim Palace, his grandfather's Oxfordshire seat, 30 November 1874, the elder of the two sons of Lord Randolph Spencer Churchill [qv.], third son of the seventh Duke of Marlborough [qv.], and his wife, Jennie, daughter of Leonard Jerome, of New York. After a not particularly happy childhood, he was packed off to Harrow where, after a year, he found himself in the army class. Thence, at the third attempt, he passed into Sandhurst, but he passed out twentieth of 130 and was commissioned, 20 February 1895, in the 4th Queen's Own Hussars, a financial strain on his extravagant and recently widowed mother. In October he set off with a fellow subaltern, via New York, to Cuba to survey the rebellion there. He first saw action on his twenty-first birthday and reported it for the Daily Graphic. For the rest of his life he was able to keep himself by his journalism, took a siesta in the afternoon, and smoked cigars.
The two young officers were awarded the Spanish Order of the Red Cross, then, after a spell of London life and polo, left with their regiment for India. His mother sent Churchill books which he devoured, Gibbon and Macaulay becoming the anvil of an intensely idiosyncratic literary style. A few months in South Africa, he told her, would earn me the S.A. medal and in all probability the Company's Star. Thence hot-foot to Egypt—to return with two more decorations in a year or two—and beat my sword into an iron despatch box (Randolph Churchill, Winston S. Churchill, companion vol. i, 1967, p. 676).
In August 1897, on returning to Bangalore from leave, he hurried north after arranging to cover the campaign for two newspapers, to join Sir Bindon Blood [qv.] for reprisals upon the Pathans on the frontier. Barely a couple of months later he had completed his enthralling The Story of the Malakand Field Force, which came out in March 1898, and resumed Savrola, his only novel, which was published in 1900.
It is a pushing age and we must shove with the best, he told his mother (10 January 1898: Randolph Churchill, op. cit., p. 856). Through her influence with the prime minister, he was attached by a reluctant sirdar, the future Lord Kitchener [qv.], to the 21st Lancers as they moved on Khartoum. They engaged the Dervishes at Omdurman (2 September 1898), an earlier shoulder injury compelling Churchill to carry a pistol instead of a lance: which may have saved his life in that last cavalry charge of the dying century.
Back in Bangalore he helped the 4th Hussars to win the inter-regimental polo tournament, scoring, despite the strapped shoulder, three of their four goals in the final. Meanwhile he had completed his superb The River War, which appeared, nearly a thousand pages long, in the autumn of 1899, by when he had already resigned his commission and had been narrowly defeated in the Oldham by-election in July.
With an arrangement with the Morning Post, he set sail 14 October 1899 for South Africa alongside J. B. Atkins of the Manchester Guardian who recalled him as slim, slightly reddish-haired, pale, lively, frequently plunging along the deck with neck out-thrust as Browning fancied Napoleon (Incidents and Reflections, 1947, p. 122). Churchill himself would not have found the comparison incongruous.
He got himself to Durban, thence was swiftly involved in the Boer ambush of an armoured train. He was taken prisoner, but escaped from Pretoria, with a price on his head, and made his way back to Durban, to be carried shoulder-high. He attached himself to the South Africa Light Horse, in which his brother Jack soon joined him, but by June 1900 he was ready for home once more. There he published (1900) a couple of books based on his Morning Post dispatches, London to Ladysmith, via Pretoria and Ian Hamilton's March, and, with his accumulated royalties and the proceeds of lecture tours in England and North America, he had by now accumulated £10,000, which Sir Ernest Cassel [qv.], his father's friend, agreed to invest for him.
He was elected Unionist MP for Oldham in the khaki election of October 1900 and had barely been sworn in before he rose, 18 February 1901, from the corner-seat above the gangway which his father had occupied in 1886 after his sensational resignation, to make a maiden speech in which Winston Churchill informed the House that If I were a Boer, I hope I should be fighting in the field.
He was evidently in the wrong party and soon the tariff reform proposals of Joseph Chamberlain [qv.], which electrified the political world in May 1903, convinced Churchill of this and of his own free trade credo. By December 1903 the Oldham Unionists had disowned him and in January 1904 he was refused the Conservative whip. At the end of May he crossed the floor and took his seat on the Liberal benches.
Conservatives never forgave him: Tories have always placed a high premium upon loyalty. Joseph Chamberlain, himself a party renegade, misread his Balfour in maintaining that Winston is the cleverest of all the young men and the mistake Arthur made was letting him go (Margot Asquith, Autobiography, vol. ii, 1922, p. 134).
For Churchill January 1906 was momentous. Already in office since 15 December 1905 in Campbell-Bannerman's new administration, he issued his election address as Liberal candidate for North-West Manchester, which was followed next day by the publication of the two masterly volumes of his Lord Randolph Churchill. Few fathers have done less for their sons, his cousin was to aver. Few sons have done more for their fathers — perhaps the greatest filial tribute in the English language (Sir) Shane Leslie, The End of a Chapter, 1916, p. 110).
Churchill's exciting election meetings were crowded to the doors; refusing to be henpecked by the suffragettes, he was elected (15 January), whilst, in another part of Manchester, Balfour had lost his seat and the Stupid Party had been routed.
John Burns [qv.] having preferred to remain at the Local Government Board, Churchill was relieved of his dread of being shut up in a soup-kitchen with Mrs Sidney Webb [qv.], but to the prime minister's surprise he refused the post of financial secretary to the Treasury, choosing instead to become parliamentary under-secretary for the colonies, his chief Lord Elgin [qv.], the former viceroy of India, being in the Lords. In the Colonial Office Churchill discovered (Sir) Edward Marsh [qv.] as his private secretary and signed him on for life. In his first important state paper (2 January 1906) Churchill persuaded Elgin to abandon the new Transvaal constitution proposed by his predecessor Alfred Lyttelton [qv.], in favour of fully responsible government: to make another friend for life in Jan Christian Smuts [qv.]. But Churchill's vivid brain raced ahead of the Opposition's unforgiving prejudice which rejected the turncoat's eloquent appeal (31 July) to make the new dispensation the gift of England. Chinese labour on the Rand was another stumbling block, even though Churchill had already explained to the House in February that it might not be termed slavery without some risk of terminological inexactitude; and he badly misjudged the mood of the Commons in a carefully prepared speech about Lord Milner [qv.]. Nor was his relationship with Elgin invariably plain sailing. These are my views, one of his exhaustive memoranda concluded; but not mine, the colonial secretary subjoined (Sir Austen Chamberlain, Politics From Inside, 1936, p. 459).
Churchill was sworn of the Privy Council, 1 May 1907. Intent on seeing for himself more than public funds or criticism might allow, he arranged to write for the Strand Magazine to pay for an extended—and voluble—visit to East Africa which inevitably became an official progress. In My African Journey (1908), the final text of which he was to complete on his honeymoon, he visualized harnessing the Nile waters and the industrial development of colonial Africa.
From the industrialization of the Empire his soaring imagination and compulsive reading were already turning to social reform at home and a growing emphasis on the minimum wage began to suggest far less reluctance to sup with Mrs. Webb. In April 1908, when Asquith succeeded Campbell-Bannerman as Liberal prime minister, he offered Churchill the presidency of the Board of Trade in succession to David Lloyd George who was about to replace Asquith himself at the Exchequer. A by-election was accordingly necessary in the case of the youngest Cabinet minister since 1866 and, to unbridled Tory jubilation, Churchill was narrowly defeated in North-West Manchester. He was, however, promptly re-elected to Parliament, at Dundee, and settled down to enjoy the Board of Trade.
His engagement was announced, 15 August 1908, to Clementine Ogilvy, younger daughter of Lady Blanche Hozier, eldest daughter of the seventh Earl of Airlie and widow since 1907 of Colonel Sir Henry Hozier, secretary of Lloyd's. They were married, 12 September 1908, at St. Margaret's, Westminster, with Lord Hugh Cecil (later Lord Quickswood) [qv.] as best man, the bridegroom busily discussing the political situation with Lloyd George in the vestry during the signing of the register.
The elegant, accomplished, but dowerless twenty-three-year-old bride was to devote the rest of her very able life to helping her extraordinary husband in his career. The extent of her self-sacrifice was revealed after her death, 12 December 1977, in Clementine Churchill (1979), by her youngest daughter, Lady Soames. Marriage to a genius can never have been easy. Her invariably sound advice was always cheerfully received but rarely taken. Since Clemmie was primarily interested in Winston and so was Winston, their relationship to each other was always closer than that with their five children. They had four daughters: Diana (1909-63); Sarah (born 1914); Marigold (1918-21); and Mary (born 1922) who grew up beloved by both her parents. They had one son: Randolph (1911-68), the godson of F. E. Smith (later the Earl of Birkenhead) [qv.], the Tory sabreur into whose high-living company Churchill had plunged in the summer of 1907, to forge a steadfast friendship with perhaps the only man he recognized, warily, to be his intellectual superior.
From 1908, whilst both men readily acknowledged allegiance to Asquith's chairmanship over the next seven years, to the exasperated incomprehension of less gifted souls, Churchill with Lloyd George as his senior partner comprised a political alliance from which much of modern Britain stems. Each in his own very different way was a self-made man, the one the grandson of a duke, the other brought up by the village cobbler. Each, like the prime minister, discovered in himself the power to sway the mass meetings then still popular in a sermon-tasting age before the advent of radio. If Lloyd George told people what he sensed they wanted to listen to, Churchill told them what he, Churchill, wanted them to hear. A prodigious amount of preparation preceded his every speech which, because he had once dried in the House (22 April 1904), was always learned by heart after extensive dictation. A sheaf of notes in his right hand, shoulders hunched forward, Churchill exhibited a studied oratory in the grand manner with a highly personal vocabulary and humour, the lisp which the Boers had noted in their prisoner being turned to advantage. Because they were so assiduously rehearsed, his speeches still read well today, whereas Lloyd George's, with a few glowing exceptions, have blown away with the atmosphere which went to create them
From Lloyd George Churchill ‘was to learn the language of Radicalism’, the prime minister's daughter came to explain [Lady Violet Bonham Carter (Lady Asquith) [q.v.], Winston Churchill as I Knew Him, 1965, p. 161]. ‘It was Lloyd George's native tongue’, but it was not Churchill's and he spoke it, as it were, in translation. ‘Lloyd George was saturated with class-consciousness. Winston accepted class distinction without thought.’ Churchill's main preoccupation at this period was the alleviation of distress, whereas Lloyd George purposed to refashion the State itself. Believing, because of his own escapes from death already, that he was to die early like his father, Churchill was ‘full of the poor whom he has just discovered. He thinks he is called by providence¾to do something for them’ (Lucy Masterman, C. F. G. Masterman, 1939, p. 97). The study of socialism had been amongst Churchill's manifold activities on his East African journeyings, and on his return he had favoured an unimpressed Asquith with one of his strenuous memoranda on future policy. At the Home Office Herbert (later Viscount) Gladstone [q.v.] was to discover in Churchill the only colleague to go out of his way to support him over the Coal Mines Regulation (Eight Hours) Bill which became law in 1908.
The Board of Trade, with Sir Hubert Llewellyn Smith [q.v.] as the permanent secretary and because of the existence since 1886 of the Labour Department which he had built up there and which was shortly to be joined by George (later Lord) Askwith [q.v.], was peculiarly geared to undertake the reforms which Churchill had in mind. Throughout his long career he had the knack of galvanizing and enthusing exceptionally able civil servants and deploying the figures with which they furnished him to buttress his most uncommon powers of persuasion.
He made a beginning with ‘sweated labour’, a problem which the Home Office had neglected. The Trade Boards Act of 1909 concerned in the first instance four trades only, but empowered the Board of Trade to extend their number. And, whilst at the Local Government Board John Burns was failing to tackle unemployment, Churchill brought William Henry (later Lord) Beveridge [q.v.] into the Board of Trade to establish labour exchanges as ‘the Intelligence Department’ of labour. Then, with Asquith's concurrence, he introduced an insurance Bill against unemployment which Lloyd George himself had been planning to include in his own legislative proposals and which eventually became law as part ii of the National Insurance Act of 1911.
To pay for their welfare programme Lloyd George and Churchill caballed to cut back on defence expenditure (in Churchill's case a hereditary posture), and an exasperated prime minister found himself compelled to resort to the formula by which Reginald McKenna [q.v.], the first lord of the Admiralty, was vouchsafed an immediate four of the eight Dreadnoughts he was seeking to have laid down, the rest to come later. To pay for them as well as social insurance¾for old-age pensions were to be non-contributory¾Lloyd George came to formulate his ‘People's Budget’. In the consequent controversies over the powers of the House of Lords, if Churchill did not resort to Lloyd George's brand of ‘Limehouse’ demagogy, his own inborn pugnacity, together with a convert's over-reaction, led him into ‘teasing goldfish’¾and, of course, reinforced Tory hatred of the renegade grandson. Lloyd George even suggested that Churchill was, in fact, ‘opposed to pretty nearly every item in the Budget except the “Brat”’ (children's allowances against income tax). Nevertheless, Churchill was chairman of the Budget League and one of the most effective Liberal campaigners. He was rewarded in 1910 by the appointment of home secretary, Gladstone going out to South Africa as governor-general.
Recalling his own imprisonment, Churchill was eager to improve the lot of the prisoner and, with the aid of Sir Evelyn Ruggles-Brise [q.v.], chairman of the Prison Commission, books and entertainment were introduced into prisons and the sentences of all child prisoners were reviewed. The principal piece of Home Office legislation during Churchill's secretaryship was the Mines Act of 1911 affecting safety in the pits, with a substantial increase in the inspectorate. A Shops Bill to improve the lot of shop assistants did little (because of the shopkeepers' obduracy) to improve conditions, but at least a weekly half-holiday became compulsory. Churchill became president of the Early Closing Association (1911-39).
Much of the home secretary's time came to be occupied by questions of law and order. Churchill was, of course, suspect already as a firebrand, and two episodes in his tenure at the Home Office, the one eternally distorted, the other too much in character, cast doubts especially amongst ‘Lib-Labs’ about how genuinely naturalized as a Radical this young reformist aristocrat was at bottom. In November 1910 rioting miners on strike at Tonypandy in the Rhondda Valley were dispersed by metropolitan policemen using rolled-up mackintoshes as truncheons, but the soldiery arrived as the riot was ending. For the rest of his life Churchill was branded as having used troops against the miners at Tonypandy whereas in truth, as the relevant general (Sir) Nevil Macready [q.v.] recorded, ‘it was entirely due to Mr. Churchill's forethought ¼ that bloodshed was avoided’ (Annals of an Active Life, 2 vols., 1924).
Not long after Tonypandy, in January 1911, Churchill rushed from his bath to superintend ‘the battle of Sidney Street’ in which he was photographed apparently directing troops who were assisting police in the ambush of a gang in a house off the Mile End Road. Arthur Balfour drew acid attention in the House to the incongruity of the home secretary's presence. ‘Now Charlie. Don't be croth. It was such fun’, Churchill reassured Charles Masterman [q.v.], his remonstrating parliamentary under-secretary. Churchill lent credence to malicious criticism by his obvious enjoyment of moving bodies of troops about the country for use in emergency¾‘mistaking a coffee-stall row for the social revolution’, John Burns called it¾and his flamboyant ever-readiness throughout his life never to mind his own business did little to widen his friendships. ‘His future is the most interesting problem of personal speculation in English politics’, wrote A. G. Gardiner [q.v.] in the Daily News. ‘At thirty-four he stands before the country one of the two most arresting figures in politics, his life a crowded drama of action, his courage high, his vision unclouded, his boats burned. ¼ But don't forget that the aristocrat is still there¾latent and submerged, but there nevertheless. The occasion may arise when the two Churchills will come into sharp conflict’ (Prophets, Priests and Kings, 2nd edn., 1914, pp. 233-4).
With a major responsibility for national security as home secretary Churchill began to take a close interest in the Committee of Imperial Defence. Returning from being the guest of the Kaiser at the German maneuvres, ‘I can only thank God’, he remarked, ‘that there is a sea between England and that Army.’
The Agadir crisis (July/August 1911) led Churchill to contemplate at length what might happen if it came to war with that army. He foresaw the Germans crossing the Meuse on the twentieth, but the tide of battle turning by the fortieth, day. The Admiralty, he pointed out to Asquith, had no proper plans for an emergency, nor an appropriate staff such as Lord Haldane [q.v.] had created in the War Office.
Whilst they were on a golfing holiday together at Archerfield, on the Firth of Forth, Asquith abruptly invited Churchill to exchange places with McKenna. Churchill became first lord of the Admiralty (25 October 1911), McKenna departing stiffly to the Home Office.
Churchill's immediate task was to impose a staff system upon the navy, most hierarchical of Services, which had survived the reforms of Lord Fisher [q.v.], first sea lord in 1904-10, without one. Churchill was the last man to concur in a structure which left the war plan in the undisclosed possession not of the first lord of the Admiralty but of the first sea lord. So, Sir Arthur Knyvet Wilson [q.v.], who had succeeded ‘Jacky’ Fisher as first sea lord, departed for Norfolk in October 1911. (He was to come back in 1914.) Fisher, not wanting to return to become ‘second fiddle’, stayed in the wings advising Churchill from the Continent. Since Asquith, on Lloyd George's advice, opposed the promotion of Prince Louis of Battenberg [q.v.] beyond second sea lord at this juncture, Sir Francis Bridgeman [q.v.] arrived from the Home Fleet as first sea lord when Churchill, a month after taking office, announced his Navy Board, 28 November 1911.
Left behind by Churchill's intellectual pace and physical stamina, Bridgeman lasted precisely a year, his dismissal enabling the Opposition to raise a political storm in which Lord Charles Beresford [q.v.] was able to renew his feud with Fisher in the Commons, where the leader of the Opposition was by then Andrew Bonar Law, who distrusted Churchill profoundly despite his own close friendship with Max Aitken (later Lord Beaverbrook) [q.v.], who had been introduced to Churchill by F. E. Smith. Even so, Bonar Law was an early member of ‘The Other Club’, which Churchill and F. E. Smith had invented to straddle the benches.
On arriving at the Admiralty Churchill had immediately appointed as his naval secretary David (later Earl) Beatty [q.v.], by far the youngest flag officer in the navy. They had not encountered one another since the eve of Omdurman when the wealthy young sailor had lobbed a bottle of champagne from his gunboat to the impecunious 4th Hussar on the Nile bank.
Churchill and Beatty got along famously, Beatty at once spotting Churchill's proclivity to be utterly engrossed in the immediate. He had now discovered the navy just as three years earlier he had discovered the poor. ‘He talks about nothing but the Sea’, Beatty told his wife, 27 May 1912, ‘and the Navy and the wonderful things he is going to do.’ Lloyd George was soon complaining that he could no longer catch Churchill's political attention since he would ‘only talk of boilers’. With the powerful support of the Committee of Imperial Defence and the Cabinet, Churchill at once, January 1912, reorganized the Navy Board into an Admiralty War Staff of three divisions, Operations, Intelligence, and Mobilization, under a chief of staff. Churchill evidently wanted this officer to be answerable to himself as first lord of the Admiralty, but, as ever, he was rushing his fences and, with Haldane's support, Prince Louis, as second sea lord, successfully resisted the proposal. In the first instance the Staff was advisory only. Moreover, there were no trained staff officers. Accordingly, a staff course was instituted at the Naval War College, Portsmouth, the cost being met by suppressing the private yachts of the three shore-based commanders-in-chief. Naval tradition stood in the way of the ablest young officers being posted there, since sea service, gunnery, and navigation were the paths to promotion.
‘Tug’ Wilson had warned Churchill that responsibility uncertainly divided between the first sea lord and a chief of war staff was unlikely to be viable and Prince Louis, when he succeeded Bridgeman in December 1912, evidently held it infra dig. for the first sea lord to become chief of staff to a civilian. Not until quite long after war had broken out, and then only after a minor disaster, did the roles of first sea lord and chief of staff become fused. Until then the former remained responsible not only for operations but also for manifold administrative tasks. An additional civil lord was introduced to lessen the burden by transferring Sir Francis Hopwood (later Lord Southborough) [q.v.], whom Churchill had known in the Colonial Office, to take charge especially of contracts. But this only became another point of friction between Bridgeman and Churchill. Although Churchill did not manage to have matters all his own way, at least he had achieved the major change: war plans were no longer locked in the immaculate bosom of the first sea lord, and effective co-ordination with the War Office, via the Committee of Imperial Defence, had at last become feasible. An Expeditionary Force might now be conveyed across the English Channel.
Churchill's task was as speedily as possible to modernize and strengthen the Royal Navy which he soon held to be quintessential to Great Britain, whereas, as he incautiously pointed out in Glasgow (February 1912), Germany's fleet was ‘more in the nature of a luxury’, an observation not advancing hopes of a ‘naval holiday’. He worked incredibly long hours in wielding an intensely busy and often impulsive new broom. He visited every naval dockyard and establishment at home and in the Mediterranean in his first eighteen months in the Admiralty, during which he spent 182 days at sea, often in the Admiralty yacht Enchantress. Senior officers were scandalized by what Sir John (later Earl) Jellicoe [q.v.], the second sea lord, termed his ‘meddling’, all taking exception especially to his direct dealings with junior officers and even the lower deck in these ceaseless tours of inspection. In July 1912 Rear-Admiral (Sir) Lewis Bayly [q.v.] informed him on the bridge of the Lion in Weymouth that ‘on any repetition of his inquisitorial methods he would turn him off the ship. Winston took his drubbing very well’ (Inside Asquith's Cabinet, the diaries of Charles Hobhouse, ed. Edward David, 1977, p. 117). A year later a more serious instance arose when Sir Richard Poore, at the Nore, complained to the second sea lord, whose province was naval discipline, and the second, third, and fourth sea lords threatened resignation (Sir Peter Gretton, Former Naval Person, 1968, pp. 89-92).
Anyone who attempted naval reform was likely to find opposition among the more senior officers. The more junior found Churchill's ways exciting and in the lower deck he was popular as the only first lord to pay attention to their pay and punishments or to devise a slender promotion channel for exceptional seamen to reach commissioned rank.
The most revolutionary change lay in the field of matériel. It was decided, on Fisher's advice, to build a new fast division of battleships¾the Queen Elizabeth class¾armed with 15-inch guns and faster because driven by oil instead of coal: which necessitated the acquisition of distant oilfields and of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company and was clearly unpopular with MPs from mining constituencies. Churchill also went out of his way to encourage the Royal Naval Air Service which was experimenting with various types of aircraft, frequently flying himself and taking lessons as a pilot.
War inevitably revealed untackled weaknesses: insufficient attention had been paid to protection of the Fleet's bases from submarine attack; ammunition supply to gun turrets was poorly designed, and so were shells. Churchill had rubbed a lot of people up the wrong way, from the King downwards, by his impulsive, opinionated, and constant interference, and he had strained his relationship with his Cabinet colleagues, especially Lloyd George, because of the cost of his revolutionary changes (F. W. Wiemann in Lloyd George: Twelve Essays, ed. A. J. P. Taylor, 1971); yet the German naval attaché could report to Admiral Tirpitz (4 June 1914): ‘On the whole the Navy is satisfied with Mr. Churchill, because it recognizes that he has done and accomplished more for them than the majority of his predecessors in office. There is no doubt that there has been friction between Mr. Churchill and the officers at the Admiralty as well as those at sea. That is not surprising with such a stubborn and tyrannical character as Mr. Churchill. The intensive co-operation of all forces for an increase in the power and tactical readiness of the English Navy has under Mr. Churchill's guidance not only not suffered but has experienced rather energetic impulses and inspiration. The English Navy is very much aware of it’ (Arthur J. Marder, From The Dreadnought to Scapa Flow, vol. i, 1961, pp. 263-4). As Kitchener was to tell Churchill when they parted in May 1915: ‘There is one thing, at least, they can never take away from you. When the war began, you had the Fleet ready.’
Engrossed as Churchill was during his four years in the Admiralty in getting the navy expensively readied for war, he could never ignore the obligations of party in a Liberal Cabinet. Nor did he forget¾and this was characteristic of him throughout his life¾the calls of friendship, as Lloyd George had cause to remember over the Marconi affair (1912-13). He found it needful, too, for party reasons, ‘to mingle actively in the Irish controversy’. With typical courage the Churchills, for his wife went with him, had fulfilled a speaking engagement in Belfast in February 1912. Two years later he was involved, once more, as a member of the Cabinet committee from which the ‘Curragh incident’ emerged. Characteristic ardour led him to overplay his hand both in demanding at Bradford (14 March 1914) to ‘put these grave matters to the proof’ and in directing the third battle squadron (under the self-same Lewis Bayly) to Lamlash on 19 March, to overawe Belfast: a flamboyant order which Asquith countermanded. In this episode the vindictive distrust of the Opposition, Bonar Law's especially, was intensified by their suspicion of Churchill.
In July 1914 the trial mobilization of the fleets, which had been decided on as less expensive than maneuvres, was in train and, in view of the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia, Prince Louis took the decision to cancel their dispersal. Churchill returned from a family holiday in Cromer to confirm this. When Austria declared war on 30 July, with Asquith's concurrence Churchill ordered the fleets to their battle stations. Unlike some of his Cabinet colleagues, he housed no doubts but was ‘geared up and happy’ and ‘the splendid condottiere at the Admiralty’ (as Viscount Morley of Blackburn [q.v.] affectionately called him in his Memorandum on Resignation, 1928) influenced Lloyd George towards the arbitrament of war. On the evening of 1 August 1914 Churchill ‘went straight out like a man going to a well-accustomed job’ (Lord Beaverbrook, Politicians and the War, 2 vols., 1928 and 1932, vol. i, p. 36).
Churchill's brief popularity from having the fleet ready on the outbreak was dissolved by his intervention in Antwerp in early October 1914. He went there post-haste, at the request of his Cabinet colleagues, and, with complete disregard for his own safety, personally superintended the defence of the city. A week was gained and the Channel ports (Dunkirk, Calais, and Boulogne) saved before the Allied line was stabilized¾till March, 1918. But some of the newly formed Naval Division perished or were interned and Churchill, who clearly enjoyed the whole affair, was accused of having neglected his primary duties at the Admiralty for a characteristically impulsive adventure. So enthralled had he been by being in action once more that he offered to take military command, a suggestion which his colleagues, Kitchener apart, treated with incredulous laughter. Not for the first time Asquith came to question Churchill's priorities.
Not long afterwards Churchill was to make the mistake which led to his political downfall. Prejudice having forced the resignation (29 October 1914) of Prince Louis as first sea lord, Churchill, against advice (the King's especially), brought in Fisher to succeed him. Those who knew them both, Beatty, for example, or Admiral R. E. Wemyss (later Lord Wester Wemyss) [q.v.], realized that the arrangement involving such domineering characters, each used to having his own way, fond as they were of each other, would not work; it was only a matter of time before an irreconcilable clash. Moreover, their timetables, like their age-groups (for Fisher was seventy-three and Churchill not yet forty) were too incompatible. Fisher got up early and finished his work in the daytime to be off to bed by 9 p.m., by when Churchill, having slept in the afternoon, was just getting his second wind.
After a series of setbacks and a defeat at Coronel (2 November 1914) the navy badly needed a success. Moreover, the British Expeditionary Force was bogged down in Flanders. Trench warfare evoked Churchill's two most signal contributions. ‘Impatient, resourceful and undismayed’, as Asquith noted 27 October 1914, Churchill saw clearly that the alternatives were to break through by new methods or to outflank: hence his part in the evolution of the tank by establishing the Admiralty landship committee under (Sir) E. H. W. Tennyson-d'Eyncourt [q.v.] in February 1915; and his initiation of the Dardanelles campaign.
‘Are there not other alternatives’, he had asked Asquith (29 December 1914) ‘than sending out armies to chew barbed wire in Flanders? Further, cannot the power of the Navy be brought more directly to bear upon the enemy?’
His first preoccupation lay in the Baltic and Fisher was enthusiastic about seizing the island of Borkum, to block the German Navy's exit. On the far-off opposite flank, Churchill envisaged opening up the passage to the sea of Marmora where the fleet might turn its guns on Constantinople and help to relieve the hard-pressed Russians. In early January 1915 the Grand Duke Nicholas asked for a demonstration to relieve Turkish pressure in the Caucasus. Fisher was willing to use obsolete pre-Dreadnought battleships unfit for service in the North Sea but Kitchener was reluctant at this stage to provide military support in the Mediterranean. As a result, an exasperated Churchill contemplated forcing the Dardanelles by naval forces alone. Admiral (Sir) S. H. Carden [q.v.], commanding in the Eastern Mediterranean, replied: ‘I do not think that the Dardanelles can be rushed but they might be forced by extended operations.’ This was enough for Churchill, whose ardour was whetted by Fisher's suggestion that the Queen Elizabeth should conduct her trials by demolishing the Dardanelles forts.
‘The idea caught on at once’, reported Maurice (later Lord) Hankey [q.v.], who was secretary of the War Council. ‘The whole atmosphere changed. Fatigue was forgotten. The War Council turned eagerly from the dreary vista of a “slogging match” on the Western Front to brighter prospects, as they seemed, in the Mediterranean. The Navy, in whom everyone had implicit confidence and whose opportunities had so far been few and far between, was to come into the front line. ¼ Churchill had secured approval in principle to the naval attack on the Dardanelles on which he had set his heart. Fisher alone, whose silence had not meant consent as was generally assumed, was beginning to brood on the difficulties of his position which were eventually to lead to his resignation’ (The Supreme Command 1914-1918, vol. i, 1961, pp. 265-7). At the end of January 1915 Asquith saw Churchill and Fisher together before the War Council assembled. ‘I am the arbitrator’, he told them (28 January 1915), ‘I have heard Mr Winston Churchill and I have heard you and now I am going to give my decision. ¼ The Dardanelles will go on’ (Henry Pelling, Winston Churchill, 1977, p. 192).
Should the naval demonstration appear successful, military action would be called for and Kitchener agreed in mid-February that a regular division, the 29th, should be available to stiffen the proposed expeditionary force of Australians and New Zealanders, to whom Churchill added his own favourite Naval Division. Delay compounded delay. Churchill grew tempestuously impatient. The Turkish guns could not be silenced until the mines were swept; the mines could not be swept until the guns were silenced. By mid-March Admiral (Sir) John De Robeck [q.v.], who had succeeded Carden, paused to co-ordinate his activities with Sir Ian Hamilton [q.v.], the military commander. There were muddles too about the transports and it was not until 25 April that the military assault began: by then the enemy was ready.
Fisher insisted on the return of the Queen Elizabeth to safer waters and by mid-May it was evident that he was in a highly nervous state. Arriving at the Admiralty on Saturday, 15 May, he was met with an overnight draft list from Churchill of the naval vessels they had agreed to send to the Mediterranean, but which now included two submarines which had not been part of the previous day's bargain between them. Unwilling to face Churchill's relentless persuasiveness any longer, Fisher resigned and left the Admiralty. Attempts to get him to withdraw led him to lay down impossible terms for his return. Sir Arthur Wilson, who had been serving with Fisher and Churchill on the War Council, persuaded the other sea lords not to resign with Fisher and showed himself most generously willing to serve as first sea lord under Churchill. Asquith, who was facing an additional crisis over an attack in The Times on the shell shortage in France, seized the opportunity to form a coalition. Amongst Bonar Law's conditions for Opposition adherence was that Haldane should leave the Government and Churchill the Admiralty. Dumbfounded, Churchill went on begging to stay on, but on 20 May 1915 Asquith told him in writing: You must take it as settled that you are not to remain at the Admiralty.’ Mrs Churchill joined his pleas. ‘Winston may in your eyes’, she wrote to the prime minister, & in those with whom he has to work have faults but he has the supreme quality which I venture to say very few of your present or future Cabinet possess¾the power, the imagination, the deadliness, to fight Germany’ (Roy Jenkins, Asquith, 1964, p. 361). On 22 May her husband took his dignified leave of the departmental heads in the Admiralty where Balfour succeeded him. He became chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster but with continued membership of the War Council, now to be renamed the Dardanelles Committee. ‘If he could do things over again, he said without rancour (27 May 1915), he would do just the same with regard to appointing Fisher, as ¼ he has done really great organising work’ (Lady Cynthia Asquith, Diaries 1915-18, 1968, p. 31).
The Dardanelles Commission, which a reluctant Asquith was obliged to set up in September 1916 was eventually in its report of March 1917 to exonerate Churchill from the widely held suspicion that he had wilfully persisted in the enterprise without the concurrence of his naval experts or the co-operation of the War Office and more blame came to be laid at Asquith's door for his failure in timely and effective co-ordination and, by implication, on Kitchener who by this time had perished in the Hampshire (June 1916).
Meanwhile Churchill, not knowing quite what to do with himself¾‘my veins threatened to burst from the fall in pressure’¾took refuge in the silent recreation of painting.
His Conservative colleagues vetoed a personal visit to the Dardanelles and when Sir Edward (later Lord) Carson [q.v.] joined the Dardanelles Committee, Churchill's support of Hamilton's continued operations was outweighed. He urged yet another naval attempt to force a way through, but by the end of October 1915 Sir Charles C. Monro [q.v.] replaced Hamilton and recommended evacuation.
Churchill, who had again asked Asquith for a military command on the western front, was not included in the smaller War Committee which replaced the Dardanelles Committee. He now faced no alternative but to resign from a post of ‘well-paid inactivity’. On 18 November 1915 Major Churchill crossed to France to rejoin his yeomanry regiment, the Oxfordshire Hussars. After a brief attachment to the reluctant 2nd battalion, Grenadier Guards, to experience trench warfare, and disappointed, as a result of Asquith's intervention, of his hope of a brigade, he was posted in January 1916 to command the 6th battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers in the 9th (Scottish) division and was allowed Sir Archibald Sinclair (later Viscount Thurso) [q.v.] as his second-in-command. Churchill was a fearless and well-liked commanding officer.
Perforce out of touch, Churchill baffled the House of Commons, when on leave in March 1916, by calling for Fisher's recall. Pressed by Beaverbrook to return to politics, Churchill, deprived by seniority when the 6th battalion had to be merged with the 7th because of manpower shortage, took the opportunity to resume his parliamentary and political duties. He returned to England in May 1916.
His family had to be provided for and he began a series of well-paid articles, first for the Sunday Pictorial, then for the London Magazine.
When Lloyd George formed his Government in December 1916 Churchill was still awaiting his exoneration. The new prime minister, using the two newspaper proprietors, Beaverbrook and Sir George (later Lord) Riddell [q.v.] as intermediaries, tried to propitiate Churchill in his frustrated loneliness. After the second session in May 1917 Lloyd George and Churchill met behind the Speaker's chair and ‘he assured me of his determination to have me at his side. From that day, although holding no office, I became to a large extent his colleague. He repeatedly discussed with me every aspect of the war and many of his secret hopes and fears’ (Winston S. Churchill, The World Crisis, 5 vols., 1923-31, vol. ii, p. 1144). But it was not until July 1917 that Lloyd George felt himself strong enough to ride off organized Conservative opposition to Churchill's reinstatement in high office and, even then, Bonar Law had difficulty with his back-benchers. Only then did a chastened Churchill himself come to appreciate the problem posed by the firm Tory prejudice against him: political alignments made Lloyd George's attitude unavoidably ambivalent. It was a measure of Churchill's stature that, despite the personal unpopularity of his old ministerial ally, the prime minister sought opportunity to risk the reabsorption of his unique energy into the war effort.
Churchill resumed office as minister of munitions (17 July 1917), but was outside the War Cabinet. He swiftly took grip of the sprawling empire in the Hotel Metropole by establishing a Munitions Council of business men already enrolled in the ministry, Lloyd George's ‘men of push and go’: to be served by a proper secretariat organized by Sir W. Graham Greene [q.v.] and (Sir) James E. Masterton-Smith, whom he had known in the Admiralty. Because he was at last happy again himself, he could assure the prime minister, early in September, that ‘this is a very happy Department’ (Pelling, op. cit., p. 232). There were frontier incidents with Sir Eric C. Geddes [q.v.], the new first lord, since the Admiralty retained control of its own supply, and with Lord Derby (seventeenth Earl) [q.v.] at the War Office. A War Priorities Committee was established by the prime minister under J. C. Smuts's chairmanship¾it had been at Churchill's suggestion that Lloyd George had taken General Smuts into his Cabinet¾and if squabbles over munition workers, leaving certificates, wage rates, and differentials continued to arise, stoppages, because of Churchill's imaginative approach, were rarely serious or extensive. Churchill proved himself a quite exceptional departmental head in successfully imposing coherence upon a vast organization. He kept closely in touch with his French and American counterparts and was at pains as ‘a shopman at the orders of the War Cabinet’ to serve the needs of his customers. He gradually wore down Sir Douglas (later Earl) Haig's [q.v.] suspicion of him; indeed, the commander-in-chief arranged to put the Château Verchocq in the Pas de Calais at his disposal.
Although Churchill was not a member of the War Cabinet, Lloyd George was increasingly glad to avail himself in private of Churchill's courage and resourcefulness as well as his first-hand reports. When Churchill returned from a visit to his old division in the Third Army when the German March offensive began, Lloyd George and Sir Henry H. Wilson [q.v.], the new CIGS, dined with the Churchills at 33 Eccleston Square (24 March). Churchill was the prime minister's chosen emissary to Clemenceau (who shared Churchill's love of danger) following the appointment of Foch to the Supreme Command. In August he flew over to Amiens to witness a British tank attack and Haig went out of his way to refer to ‘the energy and foresight which you have displayed as Minister of Munitions’ (Pelling, op. cit., p. 241).
Mollified by the implied offer of post-war Cabinet membership, Churchill agreed to fight the general election of December 1918 as a Coalition Liberal and was again returned for Dundee. Lloyd George had evidently been impressed by his departmental ability and asked him to move to the War Office (with which he combined responsibility for the Air Ministry) to deal with the frictions arising from demobilization. With Haig's agreement, he scrapped the existing scheme and substituted one based on age, length of service, and wounds, ‘to let three men out of four go, and to pay the fourth double to finish the job’. His decisive formula was successful and more than two and a half million men were released, leaving under a million for garrisons abroad whilst the peace treaties were being negotiated.
Whereas Lloyd George was anxious to terminate British aid to the anti-Bolshevik forces in Russia as soon as possible, Churchill, not without some Conservative support, gave the impression of being himself far from averse to much more positive action. Happily (though not in his view), war weariness undermined further crusades and, somewhat ignominiously, Allied intervention dribbled away leaving Churchill worsted. ‘So ends in disaster’, wrote Sir Henry Wilson savagely in his diary, March 1920, ‘another of Winston's military attempts¾Antwerp, Dardanelles, Denikin’ (Major-General Sir C. E. Callwell, Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson, vol. ii, 1927, p. 231).
Impressed by the inexpensive intervention of the Royal Air Force in Somaliland, Churchill supported Sir Hugh (later Viscount) Trenchard [q.v.] in his struggle for an independent air force as imperial policeman, particularly in view of the tasks created by the new territories falling under British control in the eastern Mediterranean. Lloyd George seized upon Churchill's suggestion that the Colonial Office should take charge of new territories, with the RAF keeping the peace. At the end of an inconclusive 1920 he sent Churchill to the Colonial Office, from which Milner was retiring, and by 1 March Churchill had brought a new Middle Eastern Department into existence and, to the envy of George Nathaniel Curzon (later Marquess Curzon of Kedleston) [q.v.], a grandiose conference, which T. E. Lawrence [q.v.] was to attend, was arranged at the Semiramis Hotel in Cairo to determine the future, especially of Iraq. ‘First, we would repair the injury done to the Arabs and to the House of the Sherifs of Mecca by placing the Emir Feisal upon the throne of Iraq as King, and by entrusting the Emir Abdulla with the government of Trans-Jordania. Secondly, we would remove practically all the troops from Iraq and entrust its defence to the Royal Air Force. Thirdly, we suggested an adjustment of the immediate difficulties between the Jews and Arabs in Palestine which would serve as a foundation for the future’ (Churchill, Great Contemporaries, 1937, p. 134).
Churchill's economical dispositions lasted longer than many expected and even in Palestine, where Sir Herbert (later Viscount) Samuel [q.v.], his old, pre-war, Cabinet colleague, was by now the high commissioner, there was a period of comparative quiet. Churchill reasserted the Balfour Declaration in Jerusalem but received Arab delegates to assure them that Great Britain, as ‘the greatest Moslem state in the world’, cherished Arab friendship.
Whilst he was still at the War Office Churchill had attempted to reassert British control in Ireland but Lloyd George had come to realize that some sort of political settlement was called for. The dominant figures on the Government side in the negotiations with the Sinn Fein representatives were Lloyd George himself and Birkenhead but Churchill's personal rapport with Michael Collins [q.v.], the leader of the Irish Republican Army, was a significant factor. ‘Tell Winston’, Collins said, ‘we could never have done anything without him.’ Fighting continued after a treaty which left the Tories most unhappy and it was General Sir Nevil Macready, commanding in Ireland, whose blind eye enabled the Provisional Government to survive.
At Chanak (15 September 1922), the episode which brought the Government down, Sir Charles Harington [q.v.] was the general whose blind eye saved the Government from head-on collision with Mustapha Kemal in the Dardanelles. Churchill himself had been trying to dissuade a too euphoric prime minister who was increasingly rude to him¾theirs was ‘the relationship of master and servant’, he was to tell Robert (later Lord) Boothby years afterwards (Robert Boothby, I Fight to Live, 1947, p. 45)¾from over-enthusiastic support of the Greeks, but in the event joined him in a solemn warning to Kemal. Churchill's request, as colonial secretary, for Dominion support unluckily became public; and so was the rebuff (J. G. Darwin, ‘The Chanak Crisis’, History, vol. 65, 1980). The Tories in the coalition had been made to take too much from the Liberals. The Carlton Club meeting ensued, 19 October 1922, and Lloyd George resigned. At the subsequent general election, 15 November 1922, Churchill, himself recovering from acute appendicitis, was beaten into fourth place at Dundee and found himself ‘without a seat, without a party, and without an appendix’. He was appointed a Companion of Honour in the resignation honours list, 1922.
By February 1923 serialization of his World Crisis began in The Times, the whole torrential book (save the Aftermath some years later, 1929) appearing by the end of October. It was ‘a brilliant autobiography disguised’, as Balfour told a friend, ‘as a history of the universe’, a staggering performance from a man who for most of the time when he was dictating the huge volumes had been still busy in high office. Rhetorical as it inevitably is, for it is an orator's autobiography, there are magnificent passages in it which Churchill himself scarcely ever bettered.
He was by now politically isolated. He fought his last election as a Liberal and free trader in Leicester West, where he was defeated by F. W. (later Lord) Pethick-Lawrence [q.v.], the Labour candidate (6 December 1923). Repulsed by Asquith's acquiescence in suffering the Labour Party to take minority office in January 1924, Churchill stood as an ‘Independent anti-Socialist’, with the young Brendan (later Viscount) Bracken [q.v.] among his supporters, in a by-election for the Abbey division of Westminster, only to be defeated by 43 votes in March 1924 by a Conservative.
A lifeline back to the Conservatism of his youth was uncoiled by Sir Archibald Salvidge [q.v.], his father's old Liverpool henchman. Free trade, the issue on which he had left the party twenty years before, no longer seemed quite the same shibboleth. He swallowed the McKenna duties and a form of imperial preference, which had been dividing him from Stanley Baldwin, in a speech at Liverpool in May 1924, after which he remarked of his wife at supper in the Adelphi: ‘She's a Liberal, and always has been. It's all very strange for her. But to me, of course, it's just like coming home’ (Stanley Salvidge, Salvidge of Liverpool, 1934, p. 275).
He was adopted at Epping in September and a month later was elected as a ‘Constitutionalist’ by a majority of nearly 10,000 in a high poll. Baldwin, like Lloyd George before him (and both were advised by Thomas Jones, q.v.), preferred Churchill on the inside looking out rather than sniping from the flank, but there was considerable surprise when, Neville Chamberlain having somewhat unexpectedly chosen to go to the Ministry of Health, the prime minister invited Churchill (8 November 1924) to become chancellor. ‘Of the Duchy?’ Churchill asked. ‘No, the Exchequer’, replied Baldwin. Tears came to Churchill's eyes (G. M. Young, Stanley Baldwin, 1952, p. 88): ‘You have done more for me than Lloyd George ever did’ (Thomas Jones, Whitehall Diary, ed. Keith Middlemas, vol. i, 1969, p. 303). Lord Randolph's robe, kept for thirty years in tissue paper and camphor by his widow, who had died not long before, lay ready. Birkenhead (with whom Churchill and Beaverbrook dined that night) and (Sir) Austen Chamberlain [q.v.], the other coalitionists, were also included in Baldwin's encompassing administration in which Churchill himself, in Asquith's phrase, towered like ‘a Chimborazo or Everest amongst the sandhills’ (H. H. Asquith, Letters to a Friend, 1934, p. 123).
Eventually it became fashionable in retrospect to deplore what J. M. (later Lord) Keynes [q.v.] called at the time The Economic Consequences of Mr. Churchill (1925) and Churchill's decision in his first, superbly introduced, budget to return to the gold standard: a cautious and reluctant decision, made after taking considerable advice, to return to such orthodoxy as could be had. All his five bravura budgets, each brilliantly stage-managed, were ingenious rather than fundamental in their thinking and could do little to alter the country's changed position in the post-war international economy. With Neville Chamberlain's assistance, he was able to resume both his own pre-war preoccupation with pensions and an even earlier reluctance to concede increases in defence expenditure: an issue which led to brushes with Beatty, by now first sea lord, and William C. (later Viscount) Bridgeman, the first lord of the Admiralty and perhaps Baldwin's closest ally. It also led to the consequent extension of the ‘ten years rule’-that war was unlikely for ten years¾from a more recent starting-point than 1919 when it had first made its appearance. Income tax was reduced to 4s. in the £ by the substitution of indirect taxation, such as the revival of the McKenna duties or duties on silk, real and artificial.
Churchill always went all out for victory; and, having achieved it, showed magnanimity towards the defeated. So it was over the Great War, over the Irish Treaty, and in the general strike of 1926. But if Churchill did not in this particular case want a fight to the finish, his handling of the British Gazette, which became under his strenuous editorship an anti-strikers broadsheet, served to inflame rather than to inform, since Churchill characteristically refused ‘to be impartial between the fire brigade and the fire’. He strove hard, after the strike folded, to find a settlement in the coal industry but, in the main, despite his constructive interventions, when the miners had to return to work, it was on the owners' terms. Churchill chose to close the resultant deficit, £32 million of which was attributable to strikes, by a series of juggling expedients until he ‘reached the end of (his) ¼ adventitious resources’. In the following year, again in not always easy collaboration with Neville Chamberlain, he introduced his de-rating scheme for industry, which was coupled with Chamberlain's Local Government Act (1929), transferring the powers of the old Poor Law Unions and Boards of Guardians to the counties and boroughs; and he felt able to abolish the tax on tea. Abroad, bad ‘dun’ as he was¾this was what (Sir) P. J. Grigg [q.v.], then his private secretary, called him (Prejudice and Judgment, 1948, p. 208)¾he could claim that British war debt repayments to the United States were just about balanced by the receipts from German reparations and other foreign debtors to this country.
In September 1922 he had bought Chartwell manor, an estate of 300 acres near Westerham in Kent and proceeded to rebuild it with the assistance of Philip Tilden, the architect who had redesigned Churt for Lloyd George. Although he continued to play polo¾his last game was in Malta in 1927, when he was fifty-two¾and his painting was assiduously practised, much of his time when he was not staying with friends was devoted to the development, surrounded by his family, of Chartwell, to which his wife, although she made it delightful, was less devoted than he was, and to working on and dictating his books. In 1928 he told a less assiduous Baldwin that he had spent the whole of August ‘building a cottage & dictating a book: 200 bricks and 2,000 words per day’ (Pelling, op. cit., p. 335). He lived very well but he worked very hard to live very well. His stamina, his assiduity, his fertility of mind, and his sense of enjoyment were prodigious, his conversation a unique delight.
Totally at odds with Baldwin's mildly liberal policy towards India, Churchill resigned his membership of the Conservative shadow Cabinet (January 1931) and, with minimal support, fought the Government's India Bill clause by clause, to the bitter end. He had never seemed so isolated and he found solace in preparing a huge four-volume (1933-8) life of his ancestor, the first Duke of Marlborough [q.v.] (Maurice Ashley, Churchill as Historian, 1968). In the thirties he also published My Early Life (1930), his most delightful book, followed by Thoughts and Adventures (1932), and the almost unexpectedly perceptive Great Contemporaries (1937). His political isolation made it all the harder to recover an attentive audience for a growing series of warnings about the threat of a revived and rearming Germany, about which he made sure that he was remarkably well informed. An extraneous occurrence in December 1936 cast him further into the wilderness when the abdication of King Edward VIII restored Baldwin's popularity, whereas the romantically loyal Churchill for the first time in his life was shouted down in the House of Commons. He had gathered round him a small ‘Focus’ group which challenged the Government's foreign policy but Neville Chamberlain, who had become prime minister, was determinedly pursuing his own course, deliberately impervious to Churchill's eloquent prophecies.
When the brief popularity of the Munich agreement abated, Churchill's consistency gathered more appreciation outside the Cabinet but it was not until the German invasion of Poland (1 September 1939) that he was reluctantly invited to take office once again. He returned to his room in the Admiralty. ‘Winston is back’, the Fleet was informed (Arthur Marder, Winston is back: Churchill at the Admiralty 1939-40, 1972). There were a few exciting successes: the Graf Spee sank itself in the River Plate to avoid capture; and a British ship rescued our prisoners from the Altmark in a Norwegian fjord; but in April 1940 an ill-prepared incursion into Norway, from which British forces were forced to withdraw, led to a debate in the House which revealed the strength of the opposition to Chamberlain. It was ironical that Churchill, who was the responsible minister, should emerge victorious. Two days after the debate Hitler's armour invaded France and the Netherlands and the Labour Party demanded a coalition, refusing to serve under Chamberlain, who resigned (10 May 1940). Churchill became prime minister. ‘At last I had authority to give directions over the whole scene. I felt as if I were walking with destiny ¼’ (The Second World War, vol. i, 1948, pp. 526-7).
Churchill's first task was to formulate an administration. He was determined from the outset so to construct it as, by integration under the prime minister, to avoid and render impossible the sort of clash between ‘frocks’ and ‘brass hats’ which had bedevilled Lloyd George. ‘Winston's concrete contribution to the war effort,’ Lord Attlee was to recall in the Observer (in 1965), ‘¼ the setting up of the intragovernmental machine that dealt with the war, was most important. Winston, on becoming prime minister, also became minister of defence. Within the Cabinet he formed a Defence Committee, which, of course, he dominated in his twin capacity as prime minister and minister of defence. The committee had a nucleus of permanent members: myself as deputy chairman, the service ministers, and the three chiefs of staff. Other ministers attended as required. ¼ Given Winston's knowledge of military men, his own military experience and flair, his personal dynamism, and the sweeping powers that any prime minister in wartime can have if he chooses to use them, the deadly problem of civilians-versus-generals in wartime was solved. Everybody involved should get some credit for this. But Winston's role has only to be described for its over-riding importance to be clear’ (reprinted in Churchill: a Profile, ed. Peter Stansky, 1973, pp. 189-90).
‘When we heard he was to be Prime Minister,’ Sir Ian Jacob explained, ‘¼ I well remember the misgivings ¼ in the War Cabinet Office. We had not the experience or the imagination to realise the difference between a human dynamo when humming on the periphery and when driving at the centre ¼ the lack of administrative understanding displayed by Mr. Churchill would hardly have been counterbalanced by the other qualities he possessed, if he had not been quickly harnessed to a most effective machine. ¼ It was in achieving this that General Ismay made ¼ his greatest contribution. ¼ He had to jostle the friends and adherents of Churchill who were at first like bees round a honey pot. He had to ensure that the Prime Minister received from the military machine rapid and effective service ¼ and ¼ in spite of occasional disagreements and temporary estrangements, the Prime Minister and the Chiefs of Staff came increasingly together as parts of a well-designed team. ¼ As the Prime Minister's Chief Staff Officer, and as an additional member of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, Ismay took the knocks from above and below ¼ to ensure that misunderstandings were smoothed out, and that the often exasperating vagaries of the Prime Minister and the sometimes mulish obstinacy of the Chiefs of Staff did not break up the association’ (Action This Day: Working with Churchill, ed. Sir John Wheeler-Bennett, 1968, pp. 162 and 164-5).
Churchill gave himself to the task completely. To avoid misunderstandings, everything had to be submitted on paper. He began his long day with a secretary on one side of his bed providing him with the papers and a shorthand writer on the other side taking down the answers or any other observation which might occur to him. Copies of minutes on civil topics went to the secretary of the War Cabinet, Sir Edward (later Lord) Bridges [q.v.], to be followed up by him and the civil side of the War Cabinet Office. Those on military topics were fielded by Sir Ian Jacob and duly processed.
If Churchill retained as a potential point of friction the private evaluation with which ‘the Prof’ (F. A. Lindemann, later Viscount Cherwell, q.v.) and his statistical office supplied him, he shared with the chiefs of staff an incredible flow of information from Bletchley of the enemy's decrypted wireless traffic. Rarely has a wartime organization become so rapidly coherent and never so well informed. This did not mean, however, that, in galvanizing the swiftly adjusted central machinery into a new intensity of activity which was palpable throughout Whitehall, Churchill's own dominant part in it all was impeccably clear-headed and far-sighted, with long- and short-term objectives unwaveringly tuned into strategic coherence. His brain was too active, his interests too all-embracing, his urge to leave unplucked no benefit, covenanted or uncovenanted, too strong, his energy too unremitting, for this to be straightforwardly accomplished. ‘Winston was always in a hurry’, said Attlee. ‘He didn't like to wait for the pot to boil, you know’ (Marder, From the Dreadnought to Scapa Flow, vol. ii, p. 261). He could and did waste the time of busy experts by harebrained interventions, impatient short cuts, and chimerical projects so that the central machinery operated betimes in a series of judders. Yet within it might be detected¾at least in retrospect¾a corrective mechanism, Ismay [q.v.] on the military and Bridges on the civilian side as governors, which managed to prevent disaster without subduing the incredible impetus which Churchill's genius elicited.
‘What Winston did, in my view, was to keep us all on our toes’, wrote Attlee. ‘He did very little work in the Cabinet. Churchill's Cabinets, frankly, were not good for business, but they were great fun. He kept us on our toes partly by just being Winston, and partly because he was always throwing out ideas. Some of them were not very good, and some of them were downright dangerous. But they kept coming, and they kept one going, and a lot of them were excellent ¼ the best were those that came out of his gift of immediate compassion for people who were suffering. ¼ If Winston's greatest virtue was his compassion, his greatest weakness was his impatience. He never understood that a certain time was always bound to elapse between when you ask for something to be done and when it can be effected. He worked people terribly hard, and was inconsiderate. On the whole, he did not vent his impatience on people in bursts of temper or in bullying. But ¼ he kept people working impossible hours’ (Stansky, op. cit., pp. 191-3). Such was the force of his personality, his charm as well as his purposefulness that none of the ‘secret circle’ whom he took into his family resented this: there was a war on and this was their dutiful and bewitched contribution.
‘He lived well and ate everything’, wrote Beaverbrook. ‘He exaggerated his drinking habits by his own remarks in praise of wine and brandy’ (Men and Power, 1956, p. xiv). He could never remember the time when he ‘could not order a bottle of champagne for myself and offer another to a friend’ (Lady Violet Bonham Carter, op. cit., p. 135). He invariably drank champagne at lunch and dinner followed by brandy. After his afternoon sleep and during the long evening he would sip weak whisky and water. ‘None of this affected him in the least and he was as alert and active-minded at 8 a.m. as at midnight or midday. As for his cigars he didn't really smoke them. He never inhaled and simply lit and re-lit until the cigar was half done when he threw it away’ (Sir Ian Jacob in The Listener, 25 October 1979). ‘His use of matches’, Beaverbrook noted, ‘outstripped his consumption of cigars.’ His working day suited himself; a routine which he also maintained throughout his travels. It fell into two: from when he awoke, when a secretary brought him the papers, until he withdrew after luncheon for his afternoon sleep; and from when that sleep ended until the early hours of the following morning. Many night meetings, beginning at 10 or 10.30 p.m., continued until after midnight, after which Churchill conversed with his cronies whilst the Secretariat worked through the night to have ready the minutes for the breakfast tables of all who should receive them.
Having urgently forced the central machinery to his will, he then had to inspire the British people with his own uncomplicated belief in ultimate victory and the recognition that life would be extremely unpleasant before it came. He would offer them nothing but ‘blood, toil, tears, and sweat’, and the impossibility of surrender. To inspire the French, too, was beyond him but even he was surprised to discover how bad their case was. Five abortive, even dangerous, visits, including an offer of ‘union’ of the two states, were accompanied by the eventual decision to send to France no more metropolitan fighter aircraft. His aim, if France dropped out of the struggle, was to guarantee that the minimum of gain should accrue to the enemy and the minimum of loss to the British. And he had shown the Americans that he would not desert an ally. At them his eye was cocked from the outset since, unflagging as was his belief in ultimate victory, he was far from certain how to achieve it, but he was quite clear in his own mind that it would not come about without American assistance ‘until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue’ (speech in the Commons, 4 June 1940). His first success in the systematic wooing of the Americans away from neutrality was to begin a sustained correspondence with President Roosevelt from a ‘Former Naval Person’ with a shopping list (15 May 1940) of British needs from what he already envisaged as the arsenal of democracy (Roosevelt and Churchill: their Secret Wartime Correspondence, ed. F. L. Loewenheim et al., 1975). American subventions began to be dispatched in June 1940. Political devices such as Lend-Lease kept the flow of munitions going across the Atlantic while America was still neutral, and it never ceased till the war itself ended.
On 3 July 1940 he informed the Russian ambassador cheerfully that his ‘general strategy at present is to last out the next three months’. On the same day he personally supervised the plan to seize French warships in British ports and immobilize those elsewhere, which entailed Admiral Sir James F. Somerville [q.v.] destroying three French battleships which refused an ultimatum at Oran in French North Africa. For the first time Churchill received a warm ovation from the Conservative benches in the House.
On 19 July 1940 Churchill chose Sir Alan Brooke (later Viscount Alanbrooke) [q.v.] to succeed Sir W. Edmund (later Lord) Ironside [q.v.] as C.-in-C. Home Forces, a significantly personal choice of the best man to deal with invasion. Convinced that invasion would not be attempted until the enemy had gained air supremacy over the British Isles, Churchill threw himself characteristically into measures which would defeat that enterprise, supporting to the hilt Lord Beaverbrook's frenetic acceleration of fighter aircraft production and giving urgent attention to such technical countermeasures for which, with Lindemann as interpreter, he could help to ensure priority. Persuaded by a young scientist that the Germans were bombing on a navigational beam, Churchill insisted that it should be ‘bent’ (R. V. Jones, Most Secret War, 1978). And with that unique capacity to combine fierce concentration on the immediate with awareness of the more distant problem, he sent Sir Henry Tizard [q.v.] to Washington armed with the unrestricted gift of every technical secret the British possessed, whilst at the same time he was inaugurating what were to become the airborne divisions and the commandos of the future. He had asked the President in May to send obsolete destroyers to supplement the Royal Navy and eventually achieved an arrangement by which they were exchanged for long leases for American bases in British islands in the West Indies, in Bermuda, and in Newfoundland. The affairs of the British Empire and the United States, he reported contentedly to the Commons, 20 August 1940, ‘will have to be somewhat mixed up together’.
Of the Battle of Britain itself, he was, like the rest of his fellow countrymen, an amazed spectator but, unlike them, entirely articulate and able on their behalf to voice their relief with a singularly heartening felicity. ‘Never’, he recorded, ‘has so much been owed by so many to so few.’
By 15 September 1940 he had realized that the threat of the invasion of Britain would ease (indeed, Hitler postponed Operation Sea Lion on 17 September) and Churchill's reaction was typical¾to hasten a supply of tanks, which were therefore to his mind no longer needed at home, straight through the Mediterranean to Egypt instead of by safer route via the Cape; also to strengthen the Mediterranean Fleet under Admiral Sir A. B. Cunningham (later Viscount Cunningham of Hyndhope) [q.v.].
General Sir Archibald (later Earl) Wavell [q.v.], whose vigour Churchill came to doubt, launched an offensive in the Western Desert which culminated in February 1941 in the annihilation of the Italian land forces there. But the German threat to Greece prevented successful exploitation towards Tripoli.
Meanwhile at home the blitz (from September 1940) had been withstood without undue loss of production or morale which Churchill's personal example, as he stumped about amidst the debris, did much to sustain. He had become a legend in his lifetime. Babies were all said to resemble him. Many of the population in the temporarily classless society could produce their own parody of his accents and what he might have said. Moreover, the blitz convinced the Americans that Britain could ‘take it’, and was worth support. By December 1940 Roosevelt was willing to help to put his neighbour's fire out without haggling over the price of the hose.
Chamberlain's death (9 November 1940), which Churchill himself deeply regretted, for their relations had shown both men at their best (David Dilks, ‘The Twilight War and the Fall of France’, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th series, vol. xxviii, 1978), nevertheless eased the political situation. Churchill was elected to succeed him as leader of the Conservative Party and his parliamentary majority was now assured. In September Sir John Anderson (later Viscount Waverley) [q.v.] had already succeeded Chamberlain as lord president.
The sudden death of Lord Lothian [q.v.], the British ambassador in Washington, 12 December 1940, led to other ministerial changes. Lord Halifax [q.v.] was persuaded to succeed him and (Sir) Anthony Eden (later Earl of Avon) replaced Halifax as foreign secretary. Captain David (later Viscount) Margesson [q.v.], the Conservative whip, succeeded Eden at the War Office.
In January 1941 Harry Hopkins, President Roosevelt's trusted confidant, arrived at Claridge's and Churchill's conquest of him ratified the link with Roosevelt (Robert Sherwood, The White House Papers of Harry L. Hopkins, 2 vols., 1948 and 1949).
Eden, accompanied by the CIGS (Sir John Dill, q.v.), set off for Cairo, Athens, and Ankara to attempt some sort of barrier to German expansion in the Balkans but Yugoslavia swiftly capitulated and the Allied forces sent to Greece had rapidly to withdraw, some to Crete, which was quickly lost, the rest to Egypt.
The decision to support Greece with troops will always remain controversial. No aid had gone to Poland; efforts to buttress France had proved of no avail. Was Greece to be denied succour? Churchill was at pains to allow those on the spot to make the decision which he hoped they would make. It was needful to show Roosevelt that the British meant business. The President's response to what he told Churchill was a ‘wholly justified delaying action’ in Greece was to dispatch across the Atlantic seventy-four ships bearing further munitions for Egypt.
In May 1941 Churchill easily survived a vote of confidence in the House but, as became his technique, he subsequently conceded some ministerial changes and on 29 June Beaverbrook became minister of supply, responsible for the production of tanks as previously of aircraft.
Fearful that the Germans would leap-frog into Iraq, Churchill asked the Indian Government to send troops to Basra. Sir Claude Auchinleck's rapid response as C.-in-C. India impressed Churchill in sharp contrast to Wavell's lack of immediacy. In early June Wavell had to be prodded into the invasion of Syria, where the regime was still loyal to the Vichy Government. The failure of Operation Battleaxe in the Western Desert, upon which Churchill set much store and which began on 15 June 1941, led to Auchinleck and Wavell being made to change places. When Auchinleck became C.-in-C. Middle East, at the suggestion of Randolph Churchill, who was serving in GHQ Middle East, he was joined in Cairo as minister of state by Captain Oliver Lyttelton (later Viscount Chandos), who had been until then president of the Board of Trade.
Churchill had become convinced that Russia was Hitler's next target and he personally warned Stalin of his suspicion without response. When Russia was invaded (22 June 1941) his reaction was immediate. In a strategic instant, his anti-Bolshevik past went overboard. ‘If Hitler invaded Hell,’ he had told his secretary the day before, ‘I would at least make a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons.’ In July an Anglo-Soviet agreement was signed that neither country would make a separate peace with Germany; and two squadrons of Hurricanes were sent to Murmansk to protect the northern shipping route. A supply route via Iran was also opened and in September 1941 an Anglo-American Supply Conference in London allocated to Russia what had previously been destined for Britain.
Throughout this whole period the Battle of the Atlantic was a constant anxiety. American willingness to help was useless unless the help could be delivered successfully. None knew better than Churchill that Britain could not survive if she lost command of the sea. In February 1941, through his intervention, the Western Approaches Command was moved from Plymouth to Liverpool and on 18 March a Battle of the Atlantic Committee was set up with Churchill in the chair. The Canadian and American governments extended the range of their naval activities and the sinkings by U-boats and Focke-Wulfs were brought under control. In May Churchill, remembering Frederick Leathers [q.v.] from when he himself had held a peacetime directorship in the P & O Company in 1930, combined the Ministries of Shipping and Transport, put Leathers in charge of a new Ministry of War Transport and, to avoid his being badgered in the House of Commons, sent him to the Lords as Lord Leathers (8 May). There was grave worry too in May when the Bismarck, the new German battleship, moved into the North Atlantic and sank the cruiser Hood. On 27 May the Bismarck, after an anxious hunt, was sunk in its turn.
Auchinleck was summoned home to explain why he could not resume the attack in the desert before 1 November and ‘Pug’ Ismay took ‘the Auk’ aside at Chequers to brief his old Indian Army friend about the prime minister. ‘Here is the gist of what I said. Churchill could not be judged by ordinary standards; he was different from anyone we had ever met before, or were ever likely to meet again. As a war leader, he was head and shoulders above anyone that the British or any other nation could produce. He was indispensable and completely irreplaceable. The idea that he was rude, arrogant and self-seeking was entirely wrong. He was none of these things. He was certainly frank in speech and writing, but he expected others to be equally frank with him. ¼ He was a child of nature. He venerated tradition, but ridiculed convention. When the occasion demanded, he could be the personification of dignity; when the spirit moved him, he could be a gamin. His courage, enthusiasm and industry were boundless, and his loyalty was absolute. No commander who engaged the enemy need ever fear that he would not be supported. His knowledge of military history was encyclopaedic, and his grasp of the broad sweep of strategy unrivalled. At the same time, he did not fully realise the extent to which mechanisation had complicated administrative arrangements and revolutionised the problems of time and space; and he never ceased to cry out against the inordinate “tail” which modern armies required ¼ [and] refused to subscribe to the idea that generals were infallible or had any monopoly of the military art. He was not a gambler, but never shrank from taking a calculated risk if the situation so demanded. His whole heart and soul were in the battle, and he was an apostle of the offensive. ¼ He made a practice of bombarding commanders with telegrams on every kind of topic, many of which might seem irrelevant and superfluous. I begged Auchinleck not to allow himself to be irritated by these never-ending messages, but to remember that Churchill, as Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, bore the primary responsibility for ensuring that all available resources in shipping, man-power, equipment, oil, and the rest were apportioned between the Home Front and the various theatres of war, in the best interests of the war effort as a whole. Was it not reasonable that he should wish to know exactly how all these resources were being used before deciding on the allotment to be given to this or that theatre? He was not prone to harbouring grievances, and it was a mistake to take lasting umbrage if his criticisms were sometimes unduly harsh or even unjust. ¼ The way of life of the politician was very different from that of the soldier’ (The Memoirs of Lord Ismay, 1960, pp. 269-71).
In August 1941 Churchill and Roosevelt had their long-postponed meeting at Argentia in Placentia Bay off the Newfoundland coast. Churchill arrived in the Prince of Wales, the newest battleship, just refitted after the successful sinking of the Bismarck. The upshot was the Atlantic Charter, but more important than this statement of principles was the assumption by the American navy of the task of convoying fast merchant ships as far east as Iceland, which Churchill visited on his way back to England.
Whereas it was the cardinal doctrine of the chiefs of staff that the defence of Singapore was more important than that of the Suez Canal, Churchill in his heart of hearts never adhered to this priority. He knew that he could not hope to be strong everywhere. In the Anglo-American staff talks of February and March 1941 the British had hoped that the Americans would commit themselves to the defence of Singapore, but they refused. Advice from the CIGS to reinforce the Far East found Churchill dragging his feet. He believed, mistakenly, that Singapore was capable of all-round defence. ‘I ought to have known. My advisers ought to have known, and I ought to have been told and I ought to have asked’ (The Second World War, vol. iv, p. 43). He sent out Alfred Duff Cooper (later Viscount Norwich) [q.v.] to report and he arranged that the Prince of Wales and the Repulse should be sent to the Far East, under the command of Sir Tom Phillips [q.v.], whom he had known as vice-chief of the naval staff and who shared his exaggerated view of the efficacy of battleships. They were to have been accompanied by the aircraft-carrier Indomitable but it had run aground and no substitute was forthcoming. Unprotected they proved a purposeless and expensive sacrifice.
On Sunday 7 December Churchill heard on the wireless of the Japanese attack on the American battleships in Pearl Harbor and immediately recognized that this must result in American entry into the war. ‘So we had won after all’ was his reaction, and that night he slept ‘the sleep of the saved and thankful’ (The Second World War, vol. iii, pp. 539-40). He also realized that what he had been visualizing primarily as a European struggle was now world-wide. Hitler's declaration of war against the United States helped him to keep the Americans to their agreed plan to defeat Germany first despite Pearl Harbor. He set off for the United States with a party of about eighty in the Duke of York, working over three clear-headed strategic papers with the staff on the uncomfortable voyage. He argued for American intervention in French North Africa to free the Mediterranean for Allied shipping. He hoped, too, for American troops to relieve the British in Northern Ireland and that American aircraft would begin to bomb Germany from bases in the United Kingdom. The invasion of mainland Europe he did not envisage until 1943. Throughout he was determined that that invasion should not begin until its success was as certain as it could be.
On Boxing Day 1941 he successfully addressed both Houses of Congress noting that had his father been American and his mother British ‘instead of the other way round, I might have got here on my own’. On his return to the White House he had what his accompanying physician, Sir Charles Wilson (later Lord Moran), realized had been a slight heart attack.
He accepted Roosevelt's proposal for a united Allied command in the south-west Pacific under Wavell, agreed to the establishment as a consequence of a Combined Chiefs of Staff Committee in Washington (perhaps the most important piece of administrative machinery devised in the war), and left Sir John Dill, who had just been succeeded as CIGS by Brooke, as the senior British representative there.
Before he left Washington he and Roosevelt signed the declaration which led to the creation of the United Nations Organization.
On his return to Britain he found opinion very uneasy not only about the losses of the Prince of Wales and the Repulse to Japanese aircraft but also because of German success in Cyrenaica. A three-day debate on a vote of confidence at the end of January 1942 resulted in a vote of 464 to 1 in his favour but the news continued to worsen: the Germans recaptured Benghazi and the Japanese took Singapore: ‘the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history’; the German cruisers Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, and Prinz Eugen passed apparently unscathed through the English Channel from Brest.
Again he decided to reconstruct his ministry. Sir R. Stafford Cripps [q.v.] had returned from his embassy in Moscow and, as the symbol of strong pro-Russian sentiment, was an obvious candidate for office. After some jostling, he became lord privy seal and leader of the House. Attlee was restyled deputy prime minister and also took over the Dominions Office. Beaverbrook set off for the United States and was succeeded by Oliver Lyttelton as minister of production. A surprised Sir James Grigg replaced Margesson as secretary of state for war and was found a seat in the Commons.
In April 1942 Churchill proposed a visit to Roosevelt because he felt that the President was exhibiting too lively an interest in the future of India and that Colonel Louis Johnson, the President's representative in New Delhi ostensibly dealing with war matériel, was dipping too intrusive a finger in the Indian political pie. The War Cabinet, which included several members with considerable Indian experience, was not at one in the matter and it was eventually agreed to send Sir Stafford Cripps, a friend of both Nehru [q.v.] and Gandhi [q.v.], to discuss Dominion status after the war. Churchill seemed determined to stymie whatever Cripps came up with and the mission petered out largely because Churchill preferred it that way; moreover, through American success in the Pacific war, the threat to India receded.
In May 1942 Molotov, the Russian foreign minister, began to press for a ‘Second Front’ in Europe together with recognition of the Russian frontiers of 1941. Churchill could not agree without repudiating the British guarantee to Poland. He was himself still toying with an assault on Norway (Operation Jupiter) to ‘roll the map of Hitler's Europe down from the top’. The chiefs of staff successfully frustrated this proposal and when he went to the United States in mid-June with Brooke and Ismay his plan was to revert to a joint Anglo-American assault on French North Africa. During the visit to the President's family home at Hyde Park, New York State, he agreed with Roosevelt in the strictest privacy on the manufacture of the atomic bomb in the United States instead of in Britain. On 21 June in the White House he received the news that Tobruk (which he had made symbolic of British resistance in North Africa) had capitulated with the loss of 25,000 men taken prisoner. It was a singular tribute to their relationship that Roosevelt immediately proffered help. The Americans sent 300 Sherman tanks together with 100 self-propelled guns: a gift which was to turn the tide in North Africa.
Churchill returned home to learn that a by-election at Maldon had gone against the Government and to face a motion in the House expressing dissatisfaction with the central direction of the war. His critics, headed by a long forgotten figure, Sir John Wardlaw-Milne, produced contradictory remedies and Churchill rode off the last parliamentary criticism of his wartime coalition by 475 votes to 25.
Roosevelt sent Harry Hopkins, General Marshall, and Admiral King to London to discuss future strategy. The British chiefs of staff strongly opposed invasion of Europe in 1942 and Roosevelt agreed 25 July upon an American assault on French North Africa. Churchill then set off with Brooke for Cairo to consider the Middle East Command with Smuts's help. General Sir Harold Alexander (later Earl Alexander of Tunis) [q.v.], Churchill's favourite field commander, was appointed to succeed Auchinleck, Brooke recognizing that he himself should remain as CIGS and, after Churchill's choice to command the Eighth Army¾Lt.-Gen. W. H. E. Gott [q.v.]¾almost at once was killed, Lt.-Gen. B. L. Montgomery (later Viscount Montgomery of Alamein), Brooke's choice, was summoned from England to take command at El Alamein.
Churchill then flew to Moscow to tell Stalin to his face (12 August 1942) that there could be no Second Front in 1942. He went on to explain, as Averell Harriman told the President, the advantages of attacking the ‘underbelly’ of a crocodile which he drew for Stalin, in telling him of the proposed Anglo-American assault (Operation Torch) on French North Africa. The difficult visit seemed to end amicably enough. Churchill promised a Second Front in Europe in 1943. Stalin ‘now knew the worst and yet we parted in an atmosphere of goodwill’ (Churchill, The Second World War, vol. iv, p. 430).
Back in England he instituted a weekly luncheon in 10 Downing Street with the American General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the commander designate for North Africa. Eighth Army attacked on 23 October at El Alamein with the aim of capturing the Martuba airfields in time for air cover to be furnished for the last convoy to reprovision Malta. Churchill now felt confident enough to allow church bells, silent since 1940, to be rung again (15 November 1942). A few days before, he had gone out of his way at the Mansion House to emphasize that he had ‘not become the King's First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire’.
With the conquest of North Africa on the strategic horizon it was time to meet with Roosevelt again. Stalin was unable to join them and the President and premier met (January 1943) in a curious atmosphere of picnic on the Moroccan coast at Casablanca. Churchill had been persuaded, at least temporarily, by Brooke that the cross-Channel invasion which he had promised Stalin and which General Marshall continued to demand from the American side, was not feasible in 1943 and Marshall was eventually argued into a reluctant agreement to invade Sicily. The two political leaders attempted also to effect a political settlement of French North Africa by reconciling General de Gaulle with General Giraud and Roosevelt introduced in the final stages of the meeting the concept of ‘unconditional surrender’, in which Churchill, after consulting the War Cabinet, concurred.
At Casablanca command arrangements were changed and Alexander took over 18 Army Group, under Eisenhower's over-all command, to co-ordinate what were hoped to be the rapid final stages of the North African campaign which lasted, in fact, until mid-May.
By mid-April Churchill had realized that, because of the Pacific war, shortage of shipping and landing-craft would rule out a cross-Channel invasion in 1943. Already he had had to tell Stalin of delays in polishing off North Africa and of the need to interrupt the Arctic convoys in order to mount the invasion of Sicily. The disturbing discoveries at Katyn made for further friction with the Russians.
Churchill felt that he must see Roosevelt once more. Feeling confident that the next stage should be the collapse of Italy, he travelled with the chiefs of staff in the Queen Mary, which had become a troop carrier. The American chiefs of staff remained adamant about a cross-Channel attack and it was agreed that General Marshall and the prime minister should go together to Algiers to consult Eisenhower and Alexander about the question of invading Italy. Since Eisenhower would not commit himself until he knew the fate of the invasion of Sicily, which was not due till 10 July, Churchill, who had been joined by Eden, had to face the question of what to tell Stalin. He was dissuaded because of his recent illness¾he had had pneumonia in February¾from going in person; the news by telegram was ill received.
Churchill had hoped that landing-craft, which had ‘all our strategy in the tightest ligature’, would not have to be switched too early from the Mediterranean to be available for the cross-Channel invasion (Operation Overlord), so as to imperil the development of the Italian campaign on which he had set his heart. His very eloquence served to make the Americans suspicious of his arguments, some of which were better than others. He was genuinely anxious to bring such pressure on the Germans as might relieve their pressure on the Russians and was successful to the extent that Hitler called off his Kursk offensive on 13 July 1943 to reinforce Italy. The combined chiefs of staff came round to the decision for a direct amphibious landing at Salerno Bay.
In the middle of the excitement over the collapse of Italy Churchill and Roosevelt met in Quebec in mid-August 1943 and sharp disagreements ensued. Churchill's advocacy of the development of the Italian campaign was coupled incongruously with his raising the question of Norway once more, which served to arouse suspicion of his genuine support for a cross-Channel invasion.
The Americans were also anxious to clear the Burma road to sustain China and build up air bases for an assault on Japan. Churchill sought to propitiate them by agreeing to a forward move in Burma under the newly appointed Lord Louis Mountbatten (later Earl Mountbatten of Burma) as supreme commander of a new South-East Asia Command, Churchill's own choice.
After a few days' holiday, Churchill returned as the President's guest to the White House during which visit, in the course of receiving an honorary degree at Harvard, he proposed a common citzenship for Britain and the United States.
Events in Italy led to some diminution of the German pressure on the Eastern Front and, despite his insulting remarks about Arctic convoys, Stalin let it be known that he was willing to have a meeting in Tehran with Roosevelt and Churchill. The president and prime minister conferred beforehand in Cairo where, to Churchill's discomfort, they were joined by Chiang Kai-shek. Churchill failed to get American agreement to keep enough landing-craft in the Mediterranean to allow for not only the capture of Rome but also the seizure of Rhodes and the opening up of supply routes in Yugoslavia for the partisans under Tito. Roosevelt was opposed to an attack on Rhodes unless Turkey first entered the war¾Churchill's persistent and unfulfilled hope. On their return to Cairo after meeting with Stalin in Tehran at the end of November, Roosevelt agreed to two supreme commanders being appointed, an American for Overlord, the European invasion (he chose Eisenhower in order to retain Marshall in Washington), and a British general for the Mediterranean, where the bulk of the forces would be British. Churchill chose General Sir Henry Maitland (later Lord) Wilson [q.v.], who thus became responsible for an abortive Dodecanese expedition under Churchill's pressure.
On 12 December 1943 Churchill flew to Tunis as Eisenhower's guest before a proposed visit to the Italian front, but he fell gravely ill and his wife flew out to join him. His recovery at Marrakesh was aided by the news of the sinking of the Scharnhorst while attacking an Arctic convoy, and the American agreement to delay the return of the landing-craft from the Mediterranean in order to mount an amphibious assault on Anzio. Owing to American tardiness to exploit, the result was deeply disappointing to him, and instead of the ‘wild cat’ Churchill was hoping to hurl ashore, the result was ‘a stranded whale’. The main forces, attempting to break out from the south, were held up by ferocious fighting at Monte Cassino. Churchill reassured the House of Commons: ‘We must fight the Germans somewhere, unless we are to stand still and watch the Russians. This wearing battle in Italy occupies troops who could not be employed in other greater operations, and it is an effective prelude to them.’ Not until mid-May 1944 was Alexander, deprived of troops who had returned to England to prepare for Overlord, able to renew his offensive. Rome was taken on 4 June.
On returning home from Marrakesh in January 1944, Churchill decided at last to give the invasion of Normandy priority in his attention even over the struggle with the U-boats. He instituted a weekly committee, over which he presided, to keep careful watch on how preparations were proceeding¾in the production of artificial harbours (‘Mulberry’), perhaps his own most personal contribution to the invasion, and the plans for both the airborne drop and the naval bombardment. By March he felt able to tell General Marshall in Washington that he was ‘hardening very much on this operation’.
The role of the air forces in the proposed cross-Channel invasion was in dispute and it was Churchill who furnished the working formula in his proposal that they should be co-ordinated by Eisenhower's deputy as supreme allied commander, Sir Arthur (later Lord) Tedder [q.v.], in consultation with the commanders of Bomber Command and the American Eighth Air Force. By now Churchill, who had allowed considerable independence to Sir Arthur Harris at Bomber Command when he could see no other way to assist Russia than by the bombing of Germany, was less willing to accept its effectiveness and Tedder was able to pursue an interdiction programme aimed to isolate the invasion area from early reinforcement. Churchill, however, had second thoughts when he contemplated the potential casualties which might be inflicted upon the French population. However, in the upshot, Roosevelt refused ‘to impose from this distance any restriction on military action by the responsible commanders’ and Churchill gave in.
On 15 May the King and the prime minister attended General Montgomery's presentation of his assault plans at St. Paul's School in Hammersmith. It was agreed reluctantly between them that neither should have his wish and go to sea on D-day. Churchill had to content himself with having his special train, in which he was accompanied by Smuts and Ernest Bevin [q.v.], near Eisenhower's headquarters outside Portsmouth, where de Gaulle raised last minute difficulties which led to Churchill's exasperated observation that if forced to choose between France and the United States he would always choose the latter.
Accompanied by Brooke and Smuts, Churchill paid his first visit to Normandy on 12 June, but, as the American effort in France began to bulk larger and the British contribution lessened, his influence (like Montgomery's) diminished notably and, when on 1 September Eisenhower assumed direct command of the land forces, it abated further. He was unable to persuade Eisenhower to reconsider the decision taken at Tehran to reinforce the invasion of France from the Mediterranean by landings on the Riviera, at the expense of the Italian campaign. Having failed in this, he tried at almost the last perverse moment to have the operation switched from the Riviera to Brittany instead. He had to content himself with witnessing, from the destroyer Kimberley, the invasion he had attempted to divert.
The dispute over Montgomery's criticism of how the campaign should develop left Churchill out on a limb since Eisenhower did not welcome his interference or his suggested recipe.
In Italy, where the command was predominantly British, Churchill was more welcome. He was also preoccupied with the situation in Greece, where he wished to avoid a Communist coup in Athens as the Germans began to withdraw. He agreed with Roosevelt in mid-August that a British force should be sent there. Russian behaviour over the Warsaw rising upset him deeply and he grew more sombre about the post-war world.
In September, accompanied by a large staff in the Queen Mary, he went to see Roosevelt again, and he was persuaded to agree to the Morgenthau plan to ‘pastoralize’ Germany after the war, a decision he quickly repented. He insisted that there should be a substantive British contribution to the Pacific war and Mountbatten was instructed to recapture Burma. It was, however, very evident that Admiral King, the American chief of naval staff, was reluctant to receive the assistance of the Royal Navy.
Meanwhile German resistance in the West was stiffening and the failure of the Arnhem operation presaged a harsh winter. Churchill decided to visit Stalin again to achieve some sort of agreement about Poland and Greece. Roosevelt could not go. Churchill reached a paper agreement with Stalin about spheres of influence taking no account of American views and not really tackling the Polish question. On his return he managed to secure Roosevelt's agreement to American recognition of de Gaulle's Government in France. The path was clear at last for Churchill to visit Paris, where he had a triumphant reception on 11 November 1944.
Greece was not so simple nor was it improved by a press leakage of Churchill's signal to Lt.-Gen. (Sir) R. M. Scobie, the commander of the British force sent to Athens: ‘Do not however hesitate to act as if you were in a conquered city where a local rebellion is in progress.’ He gained Roosevelt's agreement to the appointment of a regency pending elections and the return of the Greek king, and, with his customary disregard of danger, decided to go with Eden to Athens to settle the situation on the spot. About Damaskinos he inquired, ‘This Archbishop, is he a cunning, scheming prelate more interested in temporal power than celestial glory?’ and, on being told that he was, decided ‘Then, he's our man’.
In replying to Smuts's message for his seventieth birthday (30 November 1944) Churchill admitted that ‘it is not so easy as it used to be for me to get things done’. This was not only because he was influencing the Americans increasingly less and the Russians not at all, but also because he himself was tired and, through playing too many away matches, losing his grip over an increasingly irritated Cabinet. Attlee sent him a long letter, 19 January 1945, criticizing his ‘method or rather lack of method of dealing with matters requiring Cabinet decisions’ and of paying too much attention to the views of his cronies Bracken and Beaverbrook, neither of whom was in the War Cabinet.
The last meeting of the ‘Big Three’ took place in February in the Crimea. It was a sign of the times that, although Roosevelt agreed to staff talks in Malta en route, he did not wish for long discussions with Churchill himself lest they appeared to be ‘ganging up’ on Stalin. The atmosphere at Yalta was apparently cordial and agreement was reached on the establishment of the United Nations and the occupation of Germany, but the Polish question remained unsolved. Stalin was at this time still trusted by Churchill, who none the less felt that too many concessions were made to him because of American anxiety for Russian participation in the war against Japan.
After a visit to Balaclava (13 February 1945) Churchill flew to Athens, and thence to Egypt before leaving for home again.
He was determined to see for himself the closing stages of the campaign in the West and flew to Venlo (23 March) to watch the Rhine crossing with Montgomery and Eisenhower. He crossed the Rhine himself at Wesel. Eisenhower, who had already told Stalin direct, much to Churchill's annoyance, how he proposed to move into Germany, refused Churchill's advice to forestall the Russians by capturing Berlin first. Since Roosevelt supported Eisenhower, Churchill perforce dropped the matter (5 April).
On 12 April Roosevelt died suddenly and Churchill felt bereft. His first instinct was to go to Washington, but Eden, in any case due to go to the San Francisco conference later in the month, went instead. On 8 May Churchill declared the war in Europe finally at an end. On 12 May he wrote to President Harry S. Truman of his concern at the proposed early withdrawal of American forces from Europe and was reassured by the new President's swift and determined reaction to Yugoslav intransigence over Trieste.
He proposed formally to Attlee the continuation of the wartime coalition until Japan had been defeated. The Labour Party refused and Churchill formally resigned (23 May 1945) and was invited by the King to form what was to be a caretaker government until the election, which was settled for 5 July. On 28 May he took an unashamedly tearful farewell of his wartime senior ministers. It was assumed that the war against Japan might last another eighteen months.
With a contested election in prospect it would have been out of character if Churchill had not reverted to partisanship. His reference to Labour introducing some sort of Gestapo was counter-productive. Churchill and Attlee fought very different campaigns, Churchill inevitably on the grand scale, Attlee in an old car driven, none too well, by his wife. Churchill and Attlee met again at Potsdam, as had been agreed, and were told by the Americans of the successful experiment with an atomic bomb in New Mexico. There was no argument about using such a bomb against Japan. The three Englishmen, Churchill, Eden, and Attlee, returned to England on 25 July and next day it was clear that Churchill had been heavily defeated in the election. The Labour Party won a total of 393 seats whereas Churchill's supporters barely exceeded 200. Churchill at once visited the Palace to submit his resignation and advised the King to send for Attlee. He was offered the garter but felt, as did Eden, who was also offered it, that the moment was inappropriate.
‘God knows where we should be without him’, Brooke told himself (4 December 1941), ‘but God knows where we shall go with him’ (Arthur Bryant, The Turn of the Tide, 1957). Brooke was not alone in both the realization and the conjecture. It had rested with the chiefs of staff, with Brooke himself, as their eventual chairman, and with Ismay, to frustrate and divert the minister of defence when he was for striking out everywhere and anywhere and to be prepared to argue with him till far into the night without forfeiting the urgency which Churchill brought to every matter, good, bad, or indifferent.
The availability from Bletchley of information about the enemy compounded his impatience and made life intolerable for Wavell, then Auchinleck in the Middle East, wore out Pound, then Dill in Whitehall. There was scarcely an admiral but had been threatened with dismissal in his time (Stephen Roskill, Churchill and the Admirals, 1977). Unable to perceive how best he might help Russia, save by expensive and most hazardous convoys of munitions, Churchill was perforce committed, though with reluctant and increasingly disillusioned wrestling about its effectiveness, to strategic bombing until it was possible to hazard a Continental invasion.
Home affairs he had in the main to leave to others though not without bombarding them with queries and injunctions, ‘Action this Day’, which reflected an underlying recognition of the importance of domestic morale, particularly over rationing, and of achieving a proper balance between civilian and military needs, especially in the allocation of shipping. There were as a result only two backbench revolts, by the Tories against Ernest Bevin's catering wages Act in February 1943 and shortly afterwards by Labour supporters against the Government's apparently tepid attitude to the Beveridge Report. In March 1944 the Government lost a Labour amendment (which concerned the pay of women teachers) on its Education Bill (Paul Addison in British Prime Ministers, ed. J. P. Mackintosh, vol. ii, 1978, p. 25). Churchill compelled the House to reverse itself but on the whole he relied on Anderson and Attlee to cope with the Home Front for him and sensed that the size of Ernest Bevin warranted the minimum of his intrusion where manpower was concerned. Bevin for his part backed him to the hilt (Alan Bullock, Bevin, vol. ii, 1967, p. 108). Moreover, the prime minister came increasingly to spend less time in England.
As the war developed, he moved from his initial task of keeping Britain at war to trying to direct a war in which his country was to play a diminishing part. Up to September 1944 his was the most powerful voice. The last (the sixth) volume of his war memoirs exhibits his saddened recognition that his influence in Allied counsels had gone over the crest and that his voice was no longer as effective. He had come to confide in Smuts instead of Roosevelt, who was no longer listening. For five years the architect of the ‘Grand Alliance’ had done most to hold it together. The huge and welcome responsibility of war leadership did not abate the fertility of his monologue, the range of his interests and vocabulary, or his willingness to interfere in anything which crossed his path or stimulated his abundant fancy. Never readily persuaded, he became, thanks to his position at the top, less persuadable than ever before and the vastness of the work-load he set himself meant that he was ever liable to emphasize matters less important to busy chiefs of staff than they seemed to him. The chiefs of staff who with Ismay survived the war were men of considerable physical resilience and extraordinary technical competence in their own professions; Cunningham, who had succeeded Pound [q.v.] as first sea lord, in October 1943, was impervious to Churchill's spell. Brooke, Portal, and Cunningham had to be prepared to return to arguments on issues which the three of them had hoped were regarded as settled when the whim of their political master swung his searchlight once again in that direction. It was claimed at the war's end that on no matter of real import did Churchill eventually overrule them: some decisions were in any case overtaken by events. He could be petulant and unfair to individuals, and he could side-track decisions he was reluctant to take, but in the big things¾‘matters of great moment’, as he would call them¾he and the chiefs of staff, after some wrestling, had usually achieved an eventual concurrence.
Churchill took some time to adjust himself to the leadership of the Opposition. Much of the parliamentary battle he left to others and he devoted much of his time to the production of his very personal The Second World War. The theme running through his public speeches was the need for European unity in a cold war. He set the tone at Fulton, Missouri (March 1946), and at Zurich (September 1946). Again and again he harked back to the notion of ‘summit’ talks between the Americans, the British, and the Russians, which the Americans, more conscious than he appeared to be of the change in British power, were reluctant to undertake.
He returned to office in 1951 with a majority of seventeen. He resumed his old post of minister of defence for a while but the load proved too much. Earl Alexander of Tunis was brought back from Canada, where he was happily governor-general, to take over the defence portfolio, but this scarcely proved an apt appointment. Ismay was brought back from retirement to become Commonwealth secretary and an experiment with three ‘overlord’ ministers¾Lords Woolton [q.v.], Leathers, and Cherwell¾did not last long, since political responsibilities remained with the individual departments over which they were supervisory. Eden, of course, resumed as foreign secretary, and other wartime ministers came back to new offices: R. A. Butler (later Lord Butler of Saffron Walden) as chancellor of the Exchequer, Oliver Lyttelton as colonial secretary, and Harold Macmillan to deal with housing. Sir Walter Monckton (later Lord Monckton of Brenchley) [q.v.] was brought in to charm the trade unions into inactivity.
If Churchill was still vigorous in Cabinet he showed less willingness to interfere and less zeal in furthering business. Colleagues in the European movement came to feel that Churchill's hankering after a ‘special’ relationship with the United States caused him to drag his feet with regard to Europe. He himself realized that he was no longer the man he had been. He was increasingly deaf. ‘In the midst of the war’, he said, ‘I could always see how to do it. Today's problems are elusive and intangible’ (Memoirs of Lord Chandos, 1962, p. 343).
In April 1953 he accepted the garter, which he had refused at the end of the war, and was able to wear it at the coronation in June. He suffered a stroke on 23 June but forced himself to complete his four-volumed A History of the English-Speaking Peoples (1956-8), which he had begun before the war. In December he attended a meeting with President Eisenhower in Bermuda which postponed the sort of summit which he had been advocating for so long. A minor Cabinet reshuffle preceded his eightieth birthday and it became clear that he could not fight another election as prime minister. On 4 April 1955 he gave a dinner party for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at 10 Downing Street and next day made his formal resignation at the Palace. He toyed with becoming Duke of London but was dissuaded by his son who had no wish to go to the Lords. Eden, who had waited so long, was summoned to succeed him. Churchill was returned for the Woodford division at yet another election (26 May 1955). When Eden's health gave way after Suez Churchill was amongst those whom the Queen consulted about his successor. He recommended Harold Macmillan, who like himself had fought in World War I. He visited the House of Commons for the last time on 27 July 1964 and celebrated his ninetieth birthday later in the year. On 24 January 1965 he died at his home at 28 Hyde Park Gate. After the lying-in-state at Westminster Hall the funeral service was at St. Paul's Cathedral in the presence of the Queen. The final journey was by train to a station near Blenheim Palace. He was buried beside his parents in the nearby Bladon churchyard.
Chancellor of Bristol University from 1929, Churchill held honorary degrees from more than twenty universities, was an honorary freeman of more than fifty cities, and was an honorary fellow of many learned societies. He was lord warden of the Cinque Ports from 1941 and was admitted to the Order of Merit in 1946. In 1953 he won the Nobel prize for literature. He was decorated by General de Gaulle with the Cross of Liberation in 1958 and was proclaimed an honorary citizen of the United States 9 April 1963. An honour which he relished particularly was honorary Royal Academician Extraordinary (1948), and his speeches at the annual banquet were one of its features. But he was most at ease in Zion at the Harrow songs which he tried to attend every year. Churchill College, Cambridge, was founded in 1960 as a memorial, and in 1964 Churchill became its first honorary fellow. In 1965 the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was established to provide for 100 travel scholarships a year.
‘Half-American but all British’, Winston Churchill may have changed parties, or his rig, or his head-gear, readily enough, but he scarcely changed his basic concepts. ‘If anyone wishes to discover his views on the large and lasting issues of our time, he need only set himself to discover what Churchill has said or written on the subject at any period in his long and exceptionally articulate public life, in particular during the years before the First World War: [Churchill] ¼ knows with an unshakeable certainty what he considers to be big, handsome, noble, and worthy of pursuit by someone in high station, and what, on the contrary, he abhors as being dim, grey, thin, likely to lower or destroy the play of colour and movement in the universe ¼ Churchill is one of the diminishing number of those who genuinely believe in a specific world order’ (Sir Isaiah Berlin, Personal Impressions, 1980, p. 7).
This most extraordinary human being, with a lifetime in politics, seemed to have an intuitive comprehension of what might irk the ordinary man whose way of life was so conspicuously different from his own. Beneath his torrential impatience there lay an almost unexpected core of compassion. From the magniloquence peeped an impish sense of humour, Abreast as he was of modern inventions and devices, nevertheless he was impelled by an old-fashioned patriotism nourished by a sense of history and an awareness that he himself was one and not the least distinguished of a line of historical figures.
‘Churchill on top of the wave’, Beaverbrook once wrote, ‘has in him the stuff of which tyrants are made’ (Politicians and the War, vol. ii, p. 82). But he had been brought up or had brought himself up to oppose tyranny wherever he might discern it: as the duty of an Englishman; tyranny was for foreigners. Overbearing in counsel, often intolerably difficult to persuade, nevertheless he elected to be surrounded by men of great ability who could stand up to him and speak frankly¾‘we are not here to exchange compliments’. ‘All I wanted’, he would maintain, ‘was compliance with my wishes after reasonable discussion.’ Incapable of sustained rancour and too open-hearted to stoop to intrigue, in the long run, at the end of the argument, he had succeeded for the main part of the war in enforcing his own grand strategy twice over: at the time; then, in six majestic volumes, how it should come to be remembered. The ‘central sanity of his character’, the constraints imposed by having to operate within an ill-assorted alliance, and the quality of those with whom he came to work as a war leader¾all these stood in the path of tyranny. Above all, he was most happily married to someone who did not fear him in the least and could never have been a tyrant's wife.
Of the many portraits of Churchill, the National Portrait Gallery holds those by Walter Sickert (1927), Juliet Pannett (1964), and Bernard Hailstone (1965). Oscar Nemon sculpted Churchill frequently. Examples of his work are the 1946 bronze head, the 1955 study of Churchill seated (commissioned by the Guildhall), the bust in Churchill College, Cambridge, and the 1968 bust in the Conservative Central Office. Nemon also sculpted Churchill and his wife ‘in informal mood’ (1978, Blenheim Palace), and provided the House of Commons with the Churchill statue (1969). Many museums have a copy of the bronze head by (Sir) Jacob Epstein (1946). The portrait by (Sir) William Orpen (1916), a copy of which (by John Leigh Pemberton) is at Churchill College, is a good depiction of Churchill as a young Cabinet minister. A portrait by Graham Sutherland, a gift to Churchill on his eightieth birthday by both Houses of Parliament, is believed to have been destroyed.
See F. B. Woods, A Bibliography of the Works of Sir Winston Churchill (1963, 2nd revised edn. 1975).
The official life was begun by Churchill's son, Randolph, and then continued, more ably and most exhaustively, by Martin Gilbert (5 volumes, with companion volumes of documents 1966-76).
Robert Rhodes James, Churchill, a Study in Failure, 1900-1939 (1970), is useful as is his Gallipoli (1965).
The most comprehensive biography in a single volume is Henry Pelling, Winston Churchill (1974), to which this notice is greatly indebted.
Chester Wilmot's The Struggle for Europe (1952) appeared before Churchill's own final volumes v and vi came out.
The admirable Grand Strategy volumes of the official war history are most helpful, especially Michael Howard's volume iv (1972).
John Ehrman, author of volumes v and vi (1956) also compared ‘Lloyd George and Churchill as War Ministers’ in Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, 5th series, vol. ii, 1961.
See also Ronald Lewin, Churchill as Warlord (1973) and his Ultra Goes to War (1978).
There is a perceptive essay on the Statistical Office by Sir Donald MacDougall in Policy and Politics, edited by David Butler and A. H. Halsey (1978).
Elisabeth Barker, Churchill and Eden at War (1978) is helpful.
A distasteful book by Churchill's physician, Lord Moran¾Churchill, the Struggle for Survival, 1940-65 (1966)-provoked members of Churchill's personal staff to write an attractive collection of essays entitled Action this Day: Working with Churchill, edited by Sir John Wheeler-Bennett (1968). See also Sir George Mallaby, From my Level (1965); Sir David Hunt, On the Spot (1975); Sir John Colville (a contributor to Action this Day), Footprints in Time (1976). Other relevant publications are cited in the text above
Contributor: E. T. Williams