Elections took place on December 14th 1918 and , due
to so many soldiers being overseas, the results were not declared
until a fortnight later.
Churchill retained his Dundee seat with a large majority and was then
appointed by the Prime Minister Lloyd George, to be Secretary of
State at the War Office. Here he had the huge task of demobilising
three and half million exhausted soldiers. This
task posed great problems. An army of a million men was required to
occupy the Rhine and 14,000 British soldiers were still engaged in
fighting in Russia. All agreed that his demobilisation plans were
fair, humane and well managed but Churchill alone - foresaw the
threat of Communism. At a public meeting he said:-
"of all the tyrannies in
history, the Bolshevik tyranny is the worst, the most destructive,
the most degrading; the atrocities committed under Lenin and Trotsky
were incomparably more hideous, on a larger scale, and more numerous
than for any which the Kaiser is responsible"
Soon after this speech he was scandalised
that the British government sent back to Russia half a million
Russian soldiers taken by the Germans - all trained men - who would
be forced to join the armies of Lenin and Trotsky - fighting against
our small British forces who were attempting to keep open the lines
of supplies and so reinforce the anti-Bolsheviks. He wrote to the
Prime Minister . . .
"This is one of the
capital blunders in the history of the world".
Had Churchill's view prevailed the
Bolsheviks could have been beaten and Russia would never have
suffered under communism. His views were ridiculed in both Parliament
and the press.
About this time Churchill inherited from a
distant cousin an estate in Northern Ireland. Its income was handsome
and ended his personal financial worries. But sorrow was to
waylay him and his wife again, when
their two and a half year old daughter Marigold suddenly died of
meningitis. They were both devastated.
After the war Churchill was appointed Secretary for War (a bit
late you might say!) and foreseeing no future European conflicts that
could lead to war, he set about reducing military expenditure with
A Peace Treaty had to be arranged. It became known as The Treaty
of Versailles. It was a mixture of American idealism with the
formation of and their inexperience in European politics and, on
the part of the French, revenge - which the British understood - but
could not restrain.
Churchill addressed the Imperial Conference in London where he set
out his vision for the reconciliation of France and Germany.
"The aim" he said
"is to get an appeasement of the fearful
hatreds and antagonisms which exist in Europe to enable the world to
settle down". Britain's role should be "the ally of France and the friend of Germany"
and to help to mitigate "the frightful rancour fear and hatred
between the two countries", for these hatreds would
"most certainly fester and within a
generation and bring about a renewal of the struggle which has only
Churchill was alarmed at the harsh terms of
The Treaty of Versailles. He was scorned
in the press for saying so.
He was proved right.
The United States of America refused to
become a member of The League of Nations and followed an
'isolationist' policy from the affairs of Europe.
Germany was excluded until 1926; and even
after being admitted many Germans looked on the League as a 'club of
The League was highly regarded by people all
over the world. In Britain alone 400,000 people showed their support
for it by joining the League of Nations Union, a body which aimed to
promote the League's work in the country - but when the time came it
The chronology of Churchill's First World
War years is as follows;-
1911-15 First Lord of the Admiralty.
1915 Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
1915-16 On active war service in France.
1917-18 Minister of Munitions.
Churchill was 45 years of age when the war ended.
It is not possible here to write at length about the period 1919
to 1922 as the subject is too large. Suffice it to say that Churchill
held high office and gained yet more experience and knowledge of
The chronology of the next 20 years is as follows:-
1919-21 Secretary of State for War and Air
1921-22 Secretary of State for the Colonies
1992-24 Out of Parliament
1923-31 Publishes The World Crisis which earns him sufficient
money to buy Chartwell.
1924-29 Chancellor of the Exchequer
1924-25 MP for Epping
1925 Rejoins Conservative Party
1930 Publishes My Early Life
1932 Publishes Thoughts and Adventures
1933-38 Publishes Marlborough: His Life and Times
1937 Publishes Great Contemporaries
1939 Publishes Step by Step