‘… We shall never surrender.’
Winston Churchill is recognised as one of Britain’s greatest Prime Ministers. Ask any child and you would get the impression that Winston had fought the war and won it single-handed. He was the founder of the Anglo-American Special Relationship; he was a co-author of the Atlantic Charter and could be considered instrumental in achieving world peace once the Second World War ended.
It has also been suggested that Churchill/ Britain were one of the key instigators of the Cold War by manipulating the United States into taking the British position in Greece and Turkey to keep the US anchored in international affairs. There is little proof to back this up though.
Before Churchill was made Prime Minister in 1940, he had served in the British Government from the beginning of the 1900’s. A long time to spend serving your country, especially considering he defected on several occasions to the opposition (Labour/Conservative/Liberal), and he had also held every great office in the United Kingdom’s Government, excluding that of Prime Minister until 1940.
Once the war was over, elections were called almost immediately, and Churchill did not get back into office. Many thought he would simply because he was the Prime Minister that won Britain the war, however, many could not see Churchill as a peacetime leader and as a result of the coalition government, and Labour had proved their worth and the people wanted reform and social welfare at the top of their post-war life. Britain was in for a hard time; rationing didn’t end until the 1950s, there was an oil crisis in 1948 and housing was a problem.
So, what is the point in today’s blog post then?
Tomorrow’s exam is on British Foreign Policy from 1938-1956. Churchill was a big factor in that as he was in the Prime Ministers chair twice during that period – the second time in office was 1951-1954, which Anthony Eden as his Deputy.
It struck me as odd, today looking through my notes and catching up with the news online, that whilst I know of a number of the Prime Ministers, I don’t really know of their Deputies. I say this, as with the political situation (the Lib Dem-Conservative coalition, the first since Churchill’s wartime government) there is much emphasis placed in the fact that Nick Clegg is David Cameron’s deputy. Anthony Eden was Churchill’s Deputy, waiting patiently for Churchill to stand aside and led Eden run the country. It slipped from his grasp much sooner than he would have liked, I’m sure, with the disastrous last-chance imperial adventure known as Suez.
Part of the reason for this particular blog is a brief revision exercise. And partly because I wanted to talk a little bit about Winston Churchill, because let’s face it, he was a great man. It’s just a shame that he was a Tory.
I don’t want to make this blog all about politics, but it seems that so far the majority my entries have had some kind of political reference in them, and for that I apologise.
Although, as a side note, I did find out yesterday that H. G. Wells was a socialist and did not much like the industrial elitism that he witnessed during his life.