Yes, I thought you were going to
say that sooner or later.
I told you that these page could only be a
short answer to the very big question:
Believe me, for the sake of brevity I have
skipped a lot of very important and interesting things about him
Please be patient and read on, and whilst
you do so, remember all the time that Churchill never forgot any new
experience which he encountered in his political life (and many more
were yet to come).
It was the accumulated 39 years of
experience in politics, which, when combined with his knowledge of
history and his great gift as an orator, enabled him in 1940 to save
England from ignominious military defeat.
But before that story can be told Churchill
was to experience much trouble and personal dislike.
Remember, this man did not do at all well at
He did not go to University.
What he knew, he had taught himself or
learned from experience - often bitter.
But this was where his strength lay; for
no-one is better taught than the man who has taught himself: and just
as a wild flower must grow strong in the face of a multitude of
dangers if it is to survive: so Churchill, in passing through the
many conflicts in his tumultuous political career, remembered them,
and knew exactly what to do when the moment of the greatest danger
experienced by England in a 1000 years of history arrived.
You will see as the story unfolds, how well
he used all this accumulated knowledge, and how it gave him the
strength at the age of 65 to save England in her darkest and most
dangerous hour - but this part of our story is still 18 years in the
Churchill took up
flying again and had an accident at Crouson. His wife pleaded with
him to give up flying and so he never got his pilot's licence.
In 1921 Churchill took control of the Colonial Office, where he
was mainly concerned with the territories in the Middle East. As the Minister responsible
for the Region he inherited onerous and conflicting pledges to both
Jews and Arabs. In 1922 he confirmed Palestine as a Jewish national
home while recognising continuing Arab rights.
He reduced the number of costly troops stationed there and - again
far ahead of his time - substituted the Royal Air Force in those
territories and appointed local rulers more acceptable to British
interests. He knew T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) and relied
heavily on his advice.
Later In 1922 the government fell and in the ensuing election
Churchill lost his seat in Parliament. Gripped by a sudden attack of
appendicitis, he was not able to appear in public until two days
before the election, and then only in a wheelchair. He was defeated
humiliatingly by more than 10,000 votes. He thus found himself, as he
said, all at once
"without an office, without a seat,
without a party, and even without an appendix."
He stood again in 1923 in Leicester (a mid England small city) as a
Liberal Free Trader but again lost by over 4,000 votes. He then stood
again for the Westminster constituency against a Conservative
candidate and lost by 43 votes - but then in an election in 1924 he
won an easy victory at Epping a small town north east of London, as a
Constitutionalist (really a Conservative) and the Prime Minister - a
Mr Baldwin - offered a very surprised Churchill the post of
Chancellor of the Exchequer - the second most important post in the
difficult. The staggering financial losses caused by the great war
had completely torn apart the pre-war way of life and financial
stability. Everything seemed to be in the melting pot and no-one had
any clear idea of how to put it all together again.
Everyone was too close to these enormous changes in English life
to be able to detect a way out of the troubles.
Churchill argued for more of the social reforms he had instigated
fifteen years earlier when in the Liberal government, such as
devising and financing an extension to the compulsory National
Insurance Scheme. He fought hard to reduce taxes - for pensions for
widows and orphans and the introduction of cheap housing
"for those who could not afford
the existing prices".
He believed that
"capitalism is the foundation of
civilisation and is the only means by which the population can be
supplied with the necessities of life".
"A premium on effort is my aim and a penalty
on inertia, may well be its companion"
At the insistence of all the financial institutions - but himself
having considerable doubts - he restored the to its pre-war value of $4.86 to the pound. As he suspected
this caused serious deflation which in the end led to the miners to strike because
they were forced to work for less money. This caused such an uproar
that in 1926 a general strike of all the workers took place. But
no-one had experience of what would happen to money that was not
exchangeable for gold.
Churchill looked upon this strike as a quasi-revolution.
(an attempt to overthrow the lawful
government by force) He realised later that his
judgment had been wrong. It again made him enemies, especially among
He was not a successful Chancellor of the Exchequer
During the period he did however work with Neville Chamberlain the
Minister of Health to expand cautiously the social services and bring
into law the provision by the State - for the first time - of
pensions for widows. In 1929 the government collapsed and he lost
For the next ten years, though still a Member of Parliament, he
never held office despite his great abilities - because he was
distrusted and disliked by every political party.
During this time he spent much time and energy opposing the
proposals to grant India eventual independence. He correctly foresaw
that if this were to be granted to the people of India, the Muslims
and Hindus would be at each others throats and the slaughter would be
on an inconceivable scale. Many years later it happened as he
predicted and millions died.
He continued to earn his living with his pen and his writing once
again provided him with the financial base required by his
independent brand of politics.
His autobiographical history of the war, The World Crisis, netted
him the £20,000 with which he purchased Chartwell, a large
country house in Kent.
Churchill describe his long period out of High Office
as his 'wilderness years' and the period
during which the British government ignored the realities in Germany
as 'the years the Locusts have Eaten'
period. During these years many other political events took place
about which he wrote newspaper articles and spoke both in the House
of Commons and on public platforms. One of these was the abdication
of King Edward VIII. As the late Enoch Powell said in a
speech to the society in 1989
. . . Churchill was not a
pedantically consistent exponent of opinions once formed. He had the
ability to change with the times and to share the vicissitudes of
opinion . . . . .
Thus he shared the afterglow of Britain's
devotion to free trade; but when opinion deserted it at last, he
moved with the movement of events, unhampered by the scruples or the
impracticality of a doctrinaire.(unbending theorist)
. . . Never perhaps was there a statesman
who built up such an accumulation of damaging quotes against himself;
but a genial English common sense and an eye for the main chance
enabled him to soar gleefully above them. . . . .
. . . . Churchill's warning's of German
aggressive intention after 1934 which reinforced his personal
authority when he was called to the helm in l940, have caused to be
misunderstood the true sense in which he was prophetic. It was not so
much the triumph of distant deductive reasoning, as the long vista of
historical and personal memory which, when others were still blind,
revealed to him the nature and inevitable outcome of the resurgent
German empire. He was a man who thought with his memory . . .