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David Lloyd George

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David Lloyd George

Lloyd George's peerage title was hyphenated even though his family name was not.
The Right Honourable
The Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
6 December 1916[1] – 19 October 1922[2]
Monarch George V
Preceded by H. H. Asquith
Succeeded by Andrew Bonar Law
Father of the House
In office
31 May 1929 – 26 March 1945
Preceded by T. P. O'Connor
Succeeded by Earl Winterton
Leader of the Liberal Party
In office
14 October 1926 – 4 November 1931
Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald
Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by H. H. Asquith
Succeeded by Herbert Samuel
Secretary of State for War
In office
6 June 1916 – 5 December 1916
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
Preceded by The Earl Kitchener
Succeeded by The Earl of Derby
Minister of Munitions
In office
25 May 1915 – 9 July 1916
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
Preceded by Office Created
Succeeded by Edwin Samuel Montagu
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
12 April 1908 – 25 May 1915
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
Preceded by H. H. Asquith
Succeeded by Reginald McKenna
President of the Board of Trade
In office
10 December 1905 – 12 April 1908
Prime Minister Henry Campbell-Bannerman
H. H. Asquith
Preceded by The Marquess of Salisbury
Succeeded by Winston Churchill
Member of Parliament
for Carnarvon Boroughs
In office
10 April 1890 – 26 March 1945
Preceded by Edmund Swetenham[3]
Succeeded by Seaborne Davies
Personal details
Born (1863-01-17)17 January 1863
Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, England, UK
Died 26 March 1945(1945-03-26) (aged 82)
Tŷ Newydd, Llanystumdwy, Caernarfonshire, Wales, UK
Citizenship British
Nationality Welsh
Political party Liberal
(1890–1916 and 1924–1945)
National Liberal (1916–1924)
Spouse(s) Margaret Lloyd George
(née Owen; m.1888–1941; her death)
Frances Lloyd George
(née Stevenson; m.1943–1945; his death)
Children 5
Profession Lawyer, politician
Religion Nonconformist, agnostic

David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, OM PC (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was a British Liberal politician and statesman.

As welfare state. His most important role came as the highly energetic Prime Minister of the Wartime Coalition Government (1916–22), during and immediately after the First World War. He was a major player at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 that reordered Europe after the defeat of Germany in the Great War. He arguably made a greater impact on British public life than any other 20th-century leader, thanks to his pre-war introduction of Britain's social welfare system, his leadership in winning the war, his post-war role in reshaping Europe and his partitioning Ireland (between the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland which remained part of the UK).[4]

He was the last Liberal to serve as Prime Minister. Parliamentary support for the coalition premiership was mostly from Conservatives rather than his own Liberals. The Liberal split led to the long-term decline of that party as a serious political force. Although he became leader of the Liberal Party in the late 1920s, he was unable to regain power, and by the 1930s he was a marginalised and widely mistrusted figure. In the Second World War he was known for defeatism.

Although many MORI, and in 2002 he was named among the 100 Greatest Britons following a UK-wide vote.[8][9]


  • Upbringing and early life 1
  • Member of Parliament 2
  • Cabinet Minister (1906–1916) 3
    • People's Budget, 1909 3.1
    • Marconi scandal 3.2
    • Welsh Church Act 1914 3.3
    • First World War 3.4
    • Minister of Munitions 3.5
    • Secretary of State for War 3.6
  • Prime Minister (1916–1922) 4
    • War leader (1916–1918) 4.1
      • Forming a Government 4.1.1
      • Nivelle Affair 4.1.2
      • U-Boat War 4.1.3
        • Shipping
        • Convoys
      • Russian Revolution 4.1.4
      • Imperial War Cabinet 4.1.5
      • Passchendaele 4.1.6
      • Supreme War Council 4.1.7
      • Manpower crisis and the unions 4.1.8
      • Strategic priorities 4.1.9
      • Home front 4.1.10
      • Crises of 1918 4.1.11
    • Postwar Prime Minister (1918–1922) 4.2
      • Coupon election of 1918 4.2.1
      • Versailles 1919 4.2.2
      • Postwar social reforms 4.2.3
      • Ireland 4.2.4
      • Fall from power 1922 4.2.5
  • Later political career (1922–1945) 5
    • Liberal leader 5.1
    • Marginalised 5.2
    • Lloyd George's "New Deal" 5.3
    • Appeasement of Germany 5.4
    • Last years 5.5
  • Family 6
  • Lloyd George's cabinets 7
    • War Cabinet 7.1
      • War Cabinet changes 7.1.1
      • Other members of Lloyd George's war government 7.1.2
    • Peacetime government, January 1919 – October 1922 7.2
      • Peacetime changes 7.2.1
  • Honours 8
    • Peerage 8.1
    • Decorations 8.2
    • Academic 8.3
    • Freedoms 8.4
    • Namesakes 8.5
  • Cultural references 9
  • See also 10
  • Notes 11
  • References 12
  • Further reading 13
    • Primary sources 13.1
  • External links 14

Upbringing and early life

Lloyd George was born to [12]

Birmingham to attend the first meeting of Chamberlain's National Radical Union, but he had his dates wrong and arrived a week too early. In 1907, he was to say that he thought Chamberlain's plan for a federal solution correct in 1886 and still thought so, that he preferred the unauthorised programme to the Whig-like platform of the official Liberal Party, and that, had Chamberlain proposed solutions to Welsh grievances such as land reform and disestablishment, he, together with most Welsh Liberals, would have followed Chamberlain.

On 24 January 1888 he married Margaret Owen, the daughter of a well-to-do local farming family. Also in that year he and other young Welsh Liberals founded a monthly paper Udgorn Rhyddid (Bugle of Freedom) and won on appeal to the Divisional Court of Queen's Bench the Llanfrothen burial case; this established the right of Nonconformists to be buried according to their own denominational rites in parish burial grounds, a right given by the Burial Laws Amendment Act 1880 that had up to then been ignored by the Anglican clergy. It was this case, which was hailed as a great victory throughout Wales, and his writings in Udgorn Rhyddid that led to his adoption as the Liberal candidate for Carnarvon Boroughs on 27 December 1888.

In 1889 he became an JP (1910)[13] and chairman of Quarter Sessions (1929–38),[14] and DL in 1921.[13]

Member of Parliament

Lloyd George in 1895

Lloyd George was returned as Liberal MP for Carnarvon Boroughs – by a margin of 19 votes – on 13 April 1890 at a by-election caused by the death of the former Conservative member. He sat with an informal grouping of Welsh Liberal members with a programme of disestablishing and disendowing the Church of England in Wales, temperance reform, and Welsh home rule. He would remain an MP until 1945, 55 years later.

As backbench members of the House of Commons were not paid at that time, he supported himself and his growing family by continuing to practise as a Criccieth. In 1897 he merged his growing London practice with that of Arthur Rhys Roberts (who was to become Official Solicitor) under the name of Lloyd George, Roberts and Co..

He was soon speaking on Liberal issues (particularly temperance – the "Manchester Guardian. When Gladstone retired in 1894 after the defeat of the second Home Rule Bill, the Welsh Liberal members chose him to serve on a deputation to William Harcourt to press for specific assurances on Welsh issues; when those were not provided, they resolved to take independent action if the government did not bring a bill for disestablishment. When that was not forthcoming, he and three other Welsh Liberals (David Alfred Thomas, Herbert Lewis and Frank Edwards) refused the whip on 14 April 1894 but accepted Lord Rosebery's assurance and rejoined the official Liberals on 29 May. Thereafter, he devoted much time to setting up branches of Cymru Fydd (Young Wales), which, he said, would in time become a force like the Irish National Party. He abandoned this idea after being criticised in Welsh newspapers for bringing about the defeat of the Liberal Party in the 1895 election and when, at a meeting in Newport on 16 January 1896, the South Wales Liberal Federation, led by David Alfred Thomas and Robert Bird moved that he be not heard.

He gained national fame by his vehement opposition to the H. H. Asquith, R. B. Haldane and others were supporters of the war and formed the Liberal Imperial League.

David Lloyd George in 1902

Lloyd George had been impressed by his journey to Canada in 1899. Although sometimes wrongly supposed – both at the time and subsequently – to be a Little Englander, he was not an opponent of the British Empire per se, but in a speech at Birkenhead (21 November 1901) stressed that it needed to be based on freedom – including for India – not “racial arrogance”.[15]

His attacks on the government's Education Act 1902, which provided that county councils would fund church schools, helped reunite the Liberals. His successful amendment that the county need only fund those schools where the buildings were in good repair served to make the Act a dead letter in Wales, where the counties were able to show that most Church of England schools were in poor repair. Having already gained national recognition for his anti-Boer War campaigns, his leadership of the attacks on the Education Act gave him a strong parliamentary reputation and marked him as a likely future cabinet member.

Cabinet Minister (1906–1916)

David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill in 1907

In 1906 Lloyd George entered the new Liberal Cabinet of Sir Kaiser Wilhelm II. Two weeks later, however, his great excitement was crushed by his daughter Mair's death from appendicitis.

On Campbell-Bannerman's death he succeeded Asquith, who had become Prime Minister, as Germany and Britain that contributed to the outbreak of the First World War.

People's Budget, 1909

Portrait of David Lloyd George as Chancellor of the Exchequer by Christopher Williams (1911)

Although old-age pensions had already been introduced by Asquith as Chancellor, Lloyd George was largely responsible for the introduction of state financial support for the sick and infirm (known colloquially as "going on the Lloyd George" for decades afterwards)—legislation often referred to as the Liberal reforms.

In 1909 he introduced his National Insurance Act 1911, making provision for sickness and invalidism, and a system of unemployment insurance. He was helped in his endeavours by forty or so backbenchers who regularly pushed for new social measures, and often voted with the Labour Party on them.[16] These social reforms began in Britain the creation of a welfare state and fulfilled the aim of dampening down the demands of the growing working class for rather more radical solutions to their impoverishment.[17]

David Lloyd George circa 1911

Marconi scandal

In 1913 Lloyd George, along with Welsh Church Act which disestablished the Anglican Church in Wales (though, upon the outbreak of war, the actual coming into force of the Act was postponed by the Suspensory Act 1914 until 1920), removing the opportunity of the six Welsh Bishops in the new Church in Wales to apply ex officio to sit in the House of Lords and removing (disendowing) certain pre-1662 property rights.

First World War

Lloyd George was considered an opponent of war until the Agadir Crisis of 1911, when he had made a speech attacking German aggression. Nevertheless, he supported the entry of the British Empire into the First World War, not least as Belgium, for whose defence Britain was supposedly fighting, was a "small nation", like Wales or indeed the Boers.[18] For the first year of the war he remained in office as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Minister of Munitions

David Lloyd George in 1915

Lloyd George gained a heroic reputation with his energetic work as Minister of Munitions, 1915–16, setting the stage for his move up.[19]

When the Minister of Munitions in a new department created after a munitions shortage.[20] In this position he won great applause, which formed the basis for his political ascent. All historians agree that he boosted national morale and focused attention on the urgent need for greater output, but many also say the increase in munitions output in 1915-16 was due largely to reforms already underway, though not yet effective, before he arrived. The Ministry broke through the cumbersome bureaucracy of the War Office, resolved labour problems, rationalised the supply system and dramatically increased production. Within a year it became the largest buyer, seller, and employer in Britain.[21]

Lloyd George was not at all satisfied with the progress of the war. He wanted to "knock away the props", by attacking Germany's allies – he argued for the sending of British troops to Greece (this was done – the [22]

Lloyd George persuaded Kitchener, the Secretary of State for War, to raise a Welsh Division, but not to recognise nonconformist chaplains in the Army.[23]

Late in 1915 Lloyd George became a strong supporter of general conscription, and he helped to put through the Ideal Films, suppressed, rediscovered in 1994, and first shown in 1996.[132] Norman Page played the role of Lloyd George.

A television series

Political offices
Preceded by
The Marquess of Salisbury
President of the Board of Trade
Succeeded by
Winston Churchill
Preceded by
Herbert Henry Asquith
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Succeeded by
Reginald McKenna
New title Minister of Munitions
Succeeded by
Hon. Edwin Samuel Montagu
Preceded by
The Earl Kitchener
Secretary of State for War
Succeeded by
The Earl of Derby
Preceded by
Herbert Henry Asquith
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
7 December 1916 – 22 October 1922
Succeeded by
Andrew Bonar Law
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edmund Swetenham
Member of Parliament for Caernarvon Boroughs
Succeeded by
Seaborne Davies
Party political offices
Preceded by
Herbert Henry Asquith
Leader of the British Liberal Party
Succeeded by
Sir Herbert Samuel
Preceded by
Henry N. Gladstone
President of the Welsh Liberal Federation
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Earl Beatty
Rector of the University of Edinburgh
Succeeded by
Stanley Baldwin
Honorary titles
Preceded by
T. P. O'Connor
Father of the House
Succeeded by
The Earl Winterton
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor
Succeeded by
Richard Lloyd George
Viscount Gwynedd
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Frederick G. Banting
Cover of Time Magazine
3 September 1923
Succeeded by
Jack Dempsey
  • Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by David Lloyd George
  • More about David Lloyd George on the Downing Street website.
  • Lloyd George Society website
  • BBC Wales History – Profile of David Lloyd George
  • Portraits of David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George at the National Portrait Gallery, London
  • Archival material relating to David Lloyd George listed at the UK National Archives

External links

  • Cross, Colin, ed. Life with Lloyd George: The Diary of A.J. Sylvester 1975.
  • Jones, J Graham. The Lloyd George papers at the National Library of Wales & Other Repositories (National Library of Wales Aberystwyth 2001)
  • Lloyd George, David. The Truth About the Peace Treaties. 2 vols. (1938) vol 1 online
  • Lloyd George, David, War Memoirs of David Lloyd George. 2 vols. (1933). An unusually long, detailed and candid record.
  • Lloyd George, David. The Great Crusade: Extracts from Speeches Delivered During the War (1918) 307 pages online edition
    • George W. Egerton, "The Lloyd George War Memoirs: A Study in the Politics of Memory," The Journal of Modern History Vol. 60, No. 1 (Mar. 1988), pp. 55–94 in JSTOR
  • Morgan, Kenneth O., ed. Lloyd George Family Letters, 1885–1936. 1973.
  • Taylor, A. J. P., ed. My Darling Pussy: The Letters of Lloyd George and Frances Stevenson. 1975.
  • Taylor, A. J. P., ed. Lloyd George: A Diary by Frances Stevenson. 1971.

Primary sources

  • Adams, R. J. Q. "Delivering the Goods: Reappaising the Ministry of Munitions: 1915-1916." Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies (1975) 7#3 pp: 232-244. a basic overview in JSTOR
  • Adams, R. J. Q. Arms and the wizard: Lloyd George and the Ministry of Munitions, 1915-1916 (London: Cassell, 1978)
  • Cassar, George. Lloyd George at War, 1916–1918 (2009) excerpt and text search
  • Creiger, Don M. Bounder from Wales: Lloyd George's Career Before the First World War. (1976).
  • Fry, Michael G. Lloyd George and Foreign Policy. Vol. 1: The Education of a Statesman: 1890–1916. (1977)
  • Gilbert, Bentley Brinkerhoff. David Lloyd George: A Political Life: The Architect of Change 1863–1912 (1987); David Lloyd George: A Political Life: Organizer of Victory, 1912–1916 (1992). a standard scholarly biography
  • Grigg, John. Lloyd George 4 vols. (1973–2002), Whitbread Award winner; the most detailed biography; ends Nov. 1918
    • The Young Lloyd George (1973); Lloyd George: The People's Champion, 1902–1911 (1978); Lloyd George: From Peace to War, 1912–1916 (1985); Lloyd George: War Leader, 1916–1918 (2002)
  • Hattersley, Roy David Lloyd George: The Great Outsider Little Brown (2010)
  • Hart, Peter. 1918: A Very British Victory, Phoenix Books, London. 2008. ISBN 978-0-7538-2689-8
  • Johnson, Matthew. "The Liberal War Committee and the Liberal Advocacy of Conscription in Britain, 1914–1916", Historical Journal, Vol. 51, No. 2 (Jun. 2008), pp. 399–420 JSTOR 20175167
  • Jones, Thomas. Lloyd George 1951. Short and well-regarded online edition
  • Lloyd George, David. War Memoirs of David Lloyd George 2 vols. (1933). An unusually detailed and candid record.
  • Morgan, Kenneth O. "George, David Lloyd, first Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor (1863–1945)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004; online
  • Murray, B. K. The People's Budget, 1909–1910: Lloyd George and Liberal politics (Oxford University Press 1980)
  • Rowland, Peter. David Lloyd George: A Biography (1976), 872pp, detailed but lacking interpretation or synthesis
  • Searle, G. R. A New England? Peace and war, 1886–1918 (Oxford University Press 2004), large-scale survey of political and social history
  • Suttie, Andrew. Rewriting the First World War: Lloyd George, Politics & Strategy, 1914–1918 (2006) 282p
  • Taylor, A. J. P. Lloyd George: rise and fall (1961)
  • Wilson, Trevor. The Myriad Faces of War: Britain and the Great War 1914–1918 (1989) excerpt and text search 864pp; covers both the homefront and the battlefields

Further reading

  • Adams, R. J. Q. Arms and the Wizard: Lloyd George and the Ministry of Munitions. (1978)
  • Adams, R. J. Q. "Andrew Bonar Law and the Fall of the Asquith Coalition: the December 1916 Cabinet Crisis." Canadian Journal of History 1997 32(2): 185–200. Issn: 0008-4107 Fulltext: in Ebsco
  • Adams, W.S. "Lloyd George and the Labour Movement," Past and Present No. 3 (Feb. 1953), pp. 55–64 in JSTOR
  • Lord Beaverbrook. The Decline and Fall of Lloyd George (Collins, 1963) 342pp online edition
  • Bennett, G. H. "Lloyd George, Curzon and the Control of British Foreign Policy 1919–22," The Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 45, 1999 online edition
  • Campbell, John. Lloyd George, The Goat in the Wilderness, 1922–31 (1977), ISBN 0-224-01296-7
  • Cregier, Don M. "The Murder of the British Liberal Party," The History Teacher Vol. 3, No. 4 (May 1970), pp. 27–36 online edition, blames Asquith, Lloyd George and the voters
  • Creiger, Don M. Bounder from Wales: Lloyd George's Career Before the First World War. U of Missouri Press, 1976.
  • Ehrman, John. "Lloyd George and Churchill as War Ministers," Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 5th Ser., Vol. 11 (1961), pp. 101–115 in JSTOR
  • Fair, John D. "Politicians, Historians, and the War: A Reassessment of the Political Crisis of December 1916," The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 49, No. 3, On Demand Supplement. (Sep. 1977), pp. D1329–D1343. in JSTOR
  • French, David. The Strategy of the Lloyd George Coalition, 1916–1918 (Oxford U.P. 1995) online edition
  • Fry, Michael G. Lloyd George and Foreign Policy. Vol. 1: The Education of a Statesman: 1890–1916. Montreal, 1977.
  • Fry, Michael. "Political Change in Britain, August 1914 to December 1916: Lloyd George Replaces Asquith: The Issues Underlying the Drama," The Historical Journal Vol. 31, No. 3 (Sep. 1988), pp. 609–627 in JSTOR
  • Gilbert, Bentley B. "David Lloyd George: The Reform of British Landholding and the Budget of 1914," The Historical Journal, Vol. 21, No. 1 (Mar. 1978), pp. 117–141 in JSTOR
  • Gilbert, Bentley Brinkerhoff. "David Lloyd George: Land, The Budget, and Social Reform," The American Historical Review Vol. 81, No. 5 (Dec. 1976), pp. 1058–1066 in JSTOR
  • Gilbert, Bentley Brinkerhoff. David Lloyd George: A Political Life: The Architect of Change 1863–1912 (1987); David Lloyd George: A Political Life: Organizer of Victory, 1912–1916 (1992)
  • Grigg, John. Lloyd George 4 vols. (1973, 1978, 1985 & 2002), Whitbread Award winner; the most detailed biography; ends Nov. 1918
  • Hankey, Lord. The Supreme Command, 1914–1918. 2 vols. 1961.
  • Havighurst, Alfred F. Twentieth-Century Britain. 1966.
  • Hazlehurst, Cameron. "Asquith as Prime Minister, 1908–1916," The English Historical Review Vol. 85, No. 336 (Jul. 1970), pp. 502–531 in JSTOR
  • Jeffery, Keith (2006). Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson: A Political Soldier. Oxford University Press.  
  • Kernek, Sterling J. "Distractions of Peace during War: The Lloyd George Government's Reactions to Woodrow Wilson, December, 1916-November, 1918," Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Ser., Vol. 65, No. 2 (1975), pp. 1–117 online edition
  • Jones, J Graham. entry in Dictionary of Liberal Thought Brack & Randall (eds.) Politico's Methuen, 2007
  • Jones; Thomas. Lloyd George (1951) online edition
  • Keynes, John Maynard, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1920) famous criticism of versailles Treaty as too harsh on Germany, by leading economist full text online
  • Lentin, Antony. Lloyd George and the Lost Peace: From Versailles to Hitler, 1919–1940 (2004)
    • Lentin, Antony. "Maynard Keynes and the ‘Bamboozlement’ of Woodrow Wilson: What Really Happened at Paris?" Diplomacy & Statecraft, Dec 2004, Vol. 15 Issue 4, pp. 725–763, (AN 15276003), why veterans pensions were included in reparations
  • MacMillan, Margaret. Peacemakers: The Paris Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War (2003)
  • Millman, Brock. "A Counsel of Despair: British Strategy and War Aims, 1917–18." Journal of Contemporary History2001 36(2): 241–270. Issn: 0022-0094 in Jstor
  • Millman, Brock. "The Lloyd George War Government, 1917–18" Totalitarian Movements & Political Religions Winter 2002, Vol. 3 Issue 3, pp. 99–127; sees proto-fascism
  • Morgan, Kenneth O. Lloyd George. 1974.
  • Morgan, Kenneth O. "Lloyd George's Premiership: A Study in 'Prime Ministerial Government.'" The Historical Journal 13 (March 1970). in JSTOR
  • Morgan, Kenneth O. "Lloyd George and Germany." Historical Journal 1996 39(3): 755–766. in JSTOR
  • Mowat, Charles Loch. Britain between the Wars, 1918–1940 (1955) 694 pp; online edition
  • Murray, Bruce K. "The Politics of the 'People's Budget'", The Historical Journal Vol. 16, No. 3 (Sep. 1973), pp. 555–570 in JSTOR
  • Owen, Frank. Tempestuous Journey: Lloyd George, His Life and Times (1955), 850pp online edition
  • Powell, David. British Politics, 1910–1935: The Crisis of the Party System 2004
  • Price, Emyr. David Lloyd George in the series Celtic Radicals, (University of Wales Press, 2006)
  • Purcell, Hugh. Lloyd George in the series British prime ministers (Haus publications, 2006)
  • Taylor, A. J. P. English History, 1914–1945. 1965.
  • Taylor, A. J. P., ed., Lloyd George: twelve essays (1971). essays by scholars
  • Turner, John. British Politics and the Great War: Coalition and Conflict, 1915–1918 (1992)
  • Walsh, Ben. GCSE Modern World History. Hodder Murray, 2008
  • Wilson, Trevor. "The Coupon and the British General Election of 1918," The Journal of Modern History Vol. 36, No. 1 (Mar. 1964), pp. 28–42 in JSTOR
  • Wilson, Trevor. The Downfall of the Liberal Party 1914–1935. Collins, 1966.
  • Woodward, David R. Lloyd George and the Generals F. Cass, 2004. online edition
  • Woodward, David R. "Field Marshal Sir William Robertson", Westport Connecticut & London: Praeger, 1998, ISBN 0-275-95422-6
  • Woodward, Sir Llewellyn. Great Britain and the War of 1914–1918. 1967.
  • Wrigley, Chris. David Lloyd George and the British Labour Movement: Peace and War (1976)


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Martin Pugh, "Lloyd George," in John Cannon, ed. The Oxford Companion to British History, (2002) 583–5
  5. ^ A. J. P. Taylor, "Lloyd George, Rise and Fall" (1961)
  6. ^ Although, in Parliament, Prime Minister James Callaghan represented a district in Wales (Cardiff), Callaghan was English by birth and language.
  7. ^ Harnden, Toby (2011). "Dead Men Risen: The Welsh Guards and the Real Story of Britain's War in Afghanistan". p. 11. Quercus, 2011
  8. ^ "Rating British Prime Ministers". Ipsos MORI. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  9. ^ "100 great Britons – A complete list". Daily Mail. 21 August 2002. 
  10. ^ Crosby, Travis. L. The Unknown David Lloyd George: A Statesman in Conflict. Chapter 1, The Education of a Statesman, page 2 - The Unknown David Lloyd George: A Statesman in Conflict (IB Tauris and Co. Ltd. 2014). Retrieved August 23, 2014. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Frank Owen, Tempestuous Journey: Lloyd George, His Life and Times (1955) p 31
  13. ^ a b c d Kelly's Handbook of the Titled, Landed and Official Classes, 1945. Kelly's. p. 1185. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, 1949. Burke's Peerage Ltd. p. 1241. 
  15. ^ Grigg 2002, p. 61
  16. ^ Whigs, Radicals, and Liberals, 1815–1914, by Duncan Watts
  17. ^ Gilbert, "David Lloyd George: Land, The Budget, and Social Reform," The American Historical Review Vol. 81, No. 5 (Dec. 1976), pp. 1058–1066
  18. ^ a b Gilbert, David Lloyd George: A Political Life: Organizer of Victory, 1912–1916 (1992)
  19. ^ R. J. Q. Adams, "Delivering the Goods: Reappaising the Ministry of Munitions: 1915-1916." Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies (1975) 7#3 pp: 232-244. a basic overview in JSTOR
  20. ^ Peter Fraser, "The British 'Shells Scandal' of 1915," Canadian Journal of History (1983) 18#1 pp 77–94
  21. ^ Adams, "Delivering the Goods: Reappaising the Ministry of Munitions: 1915-1916."
  22. ^ Gordon Corrigan, "Mud, Blood and Poppycock", (2003), p. 316.
  23. ^ Gordon Corrigan, "Mud, Blood and Poppycock", (2003), pp. 309–11.
  24. ^ Jeffery 2006, p. 176
  25. ^ Gordon Corrigan, "Mud, Blood and Poppycock", (2003), p. 317.
  26. ^ Woodward, 1998, pp. 37–8
  27. ^ Woodward, 1998, pp. 62–3
  28. ^ Woodward, 1998, pp. 64–5, 71–2
  29. ^ Woodward, 1998, pp. 79–83
  30. ^ Woodward, 1998, p. 79
  31. ^ David Lloyd George, War Memoirs (1933) v 1 p 602
  32. ^ Woodward, 1998, pp. 119–20
  33. ^ Woodward, 1998, pp. 83–5
  34. ^ Woodward, 1998, pp 88-90
  35. ^ Roy Hattersley, David Lloyd George (2010) pp 426-33
  36. ^ John Grigg, Lloyd George: War Leader, 1916-1918 (2002) pp 35-44, 81-98
  37. ^ Peter Rowland, Lloyd George (1975) p 391
  38. ^ Gordon Corrigan, "Mud, Blood and Poppycock", (2003), pp. 322–3.
  39. ^ Woodward, 1998, pp 90-3
  40. ^ A.J.P. Taylor, English History: 1914-1945 (1965) pp 80-81, 86
  41. ^ Grigg 2002, pp. 45–7, 49
  42. ^ Grigg 2002, pp. 47–9
  43. ^ Grigg 2002, p. 49
  44. ^ Grigg 2002, pp. 51, 53
  45. ^ Grigg 2002, pp. 50, 52
  46. ^ Grigg 2002, pp. 52–3
  47. ^ Grigg 2002, pp. 45, 49, 52–3
  48. ^ Grigg 2002, pp. 58–9
  49. ^ Grigg 2002, pp. 60–1
  50. ^ Grigg 2002, pp. 62–3
  51. ^ Woodward, 1998, pp. 136–8
  52. ^ Woodward, 1998, p. 80
  53. ^ Woodward, 1998, pp. 136–140
  54. ^ Woodward, 1998, pp. 139–142
  55. ^ Not only did this turn much of the battlefield into barely passable swamp in which men and animals sometimes drowned, but the mud and rain severely reduced the accuracy and effectiveness of artillery, the dominant weapon of the time.
  56. ^ Woodward, 1998, pp. 144–6
  57. ^ a b Woodward, 1998, pp. 190–1
  58. ^ Woodward, 1998, pp. 146–8
  59. ^ Woodward, 1998, pp. 148–9
  60. ^ Woodward, 1998, p. 191
  61. ^ Woodward, 1998, pp. 192–4
  62. ^ Woodward, 1998, pp. 173–4, 178
  63. ^ Geddes’ Memorandum of 3 December 1917 showed that of 3,600,000 men of military age in civilian life, only 100,000 were Category A (“fighting fit") and aged 18–25, and only around 100,000 in the lower categories were available. Almost all the older men who could be called up for the army were doing war work.
  64. ^ Grigg 2002, p. 366
  65. ^ Lloyd George was sceptical of the generals' advice that standing on the defensive would be almost as costly as attacking, but advice later obtained from the French, at his insistence, largely confirmed that Petain’s lower casualty rates (he had been conducting limited French offensives whilst Third Ypres had been in progress) were largely a function of the scale of operations rather than being influenced by whether he was attacking or defending. In the event, British casualties in 1918, both during the German Spring Offensives and the "Hundred Days" in the autumn, would be far higher than those of 1917.
  66. ^ Grigg 2002, pp. 366–9
  67. ^ The size of the Army in Britain was to be reduced from 8 divisions to 4 (Haig’s forces consisted of over 50 divisions), freeing about 40,000 men for service in France, but the Army was scheduled to receive only 150,000 new recruits rather than the 600,000 they had officially demanded.
  68. ^ a b Grigg 2002, pp. 369–70
  69. ^ Grigg 2002, pp. 380–3
  70. ^ Gordon Corrigan, "Mud, Blood and Poppycock", (2003), p. 323.
  71. ^ Woodward, 1998, pp. 155–9
  72. ^ Grigg 2002, pp. 371–5
  73. ^ Havighurst, pp. 134–5
  74. ^ A. J. P. Taylor, English History, 1914–1945 (1965) pp. 100–106
  75. ^ Grigg, Lloyd George vol 4 pp 478–83
  76. ^ Alan J. Ward, "Lloyd George and the 1918 Irish Conscription Crisis," Historical Journal (1974) 17#1 pp. 107–129 in JSTOR
  77. ^ Grigg, Lloyd George vol 4 pp 465–88
  78. ^ Peter Hart, "1918: A Very British Victory", (2008), p. 229.
  79. ^ John Gooch, "The Maurice Debate 1918," Journal of Contemporary History (1968) 3#4 pp. 211–228 in JSTOR
  80. ^ John Grigg, Lloyd George: War leader, 1916–1918 (London: Penguin, 2002), pp 489–512
  81. ^ A. J. P. Taylor, English History, 1914–1945 (1965) pp 108–11
  82. ^ Collier 1974
  83. ^  
  84. ^ "The Victory Election – Pacifists Swept Away".  
  85. ^ John Turner, British Politics and the Great War: Coalition and Conflict, 1915–1918 (1992) pp 317–33
  86. ^ Trevor Wilson, "The Coupon and the British General Election of 1918," Journal of Modern History (1964) 36#1 pp. 28–42 in JSTOR
  87. ^ Inbal Rose (1999). Conservatism and Foreign Policy During the Lloyd George Coalition 1918–1922. Psychology Press. pp. 14–15. 
  88. ^ Alfred F. Havighurst (1985). Britain in Transition: The Twentieth Century. U. of Chicago Press. p. 149. 
  89. ^ A.J.P. Taylor, English History, 1914–1945 (1965) pp 127–8
  90. ^ Havighurst, p. 151
  91. ^ Margaret MacMillan, Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World (2003)
  92. ^ Journal of Contemporary History Vol. 6, No. 3, 132–154 (1971), doi:10.1177/002200947100600309
  93. ^ Sean Cashman (1988). America in the Age of the Titans: The Progressive Era and World War I. NYU Press. p. 526.  
  94. ^ C. P. Hill, British Economic and Social History 1700–1964
  95. ^ a b Mastering Economic and Social History by David Taylor
  96. ^ a b Foundations of the Welfare State by Pat Thane
  97. ^ Mastering Modern World History by Norman Lowe, second edition
  98. ^ a b c d e A History of Wales by John Davies
  99. ^ The Five Giants: A Biography of the Welfare State by Nicholas Timmins
  100. ^ Disability, sport, and society: an introduction by Nigel Thomas and Andy Smith
  101. ^ Welfare Services in the Netherlands and United Kingdom by Sita Radhakrishnan
  102. ^ Hamilton, Mary Agnes (1941). "Women at Work: A Brief Introduction to Trade Unionism for Women". 
  103. ^ Britain Between The Wars 1918–1940 by Charles Loch Mowat
  104. ^ Social Services: Made Simple by Tony Byrne, BA, BSc(Econ.), and Colin F. Padfield, LLB, DPA(Lond)
  105. ^ Pearce, Malcolm; Stewart, Geoffrey (2002). British political history, 1867–2001: democracy and decline.  
  106. ^ John Campbell, The Goat in the Wilderness is a study of this period
  107. ^ Campbell 1977, pp. 47–7
  108. ^ "Our Former Presidents: London Welsh Centre".  
  109. ^ Jones, pp. 238–39
  110. ^ Stella Rudman, Lloyd George and the Appeasement of Germany, 1919–1945 (2011), ch 5–8
  111. ^ Jones, p. 247.
  112. ^ a b Jones, p. 248.
  113. ^ Colin Cross (ed.), Life with Lloyd George: The Diary of A. J. Sylvester (Macmillan, 1975), p. 281.
  114. ^ David Reynolds, From World War to Cold War: Churchill, Roosevelt, and the International History of the 1940s (Oxford University Press, 2006), p. 79.
  115. ^ Paul Addison, The Road to 1945. British Politics and the Second World War (London: Pimlico, 1994), pp. 224–225.
  116. ^ John Grigg, "Lloyd George, the people's champion, 1902–1911", Eyre Methuen, 1978, p. 146.
  117. ^ Gordon Corrigan, "Mud, Blood and Poppycock", (2003), p. 309.
  118. ^ Ruth Longford, "Frances, Countess Lloyd George: more than a mistress", Gracewing Publishing, 1996, p. 6.
  119. ^ Ruth Longford, "Frances, Countess Lloyd George: more than a mistress", Gracewing Publishing, 1996, p. 1.
  120. ^ Ruth Longford, "Frances, Countess Lloyd George: more than a mistress", Gracewing Publishing, 1996, pp. 11–12.
  121. ^ Ruth Longford, "Frances, Countess Lloyd George: more than a mistress", Gracewing Publishing, 1996, p. 12.
  122. ^ Ruth Longford, "Frances, Countess Lloyd George: more than a mistress", Gracewing Publishing, 1996, pp. 154–6.
  123. ^ Jennifer Longford, Memories of David Lloyd George, 2001, accessed on Lloyd George Society website 5 October 2010
  124. ^ "Dan Snow: History boy - Profiles - People - The Independent".  
  125. ^ "Next generation takes charge", Financial Times, 25 April 2007, p. 20
  126. ^ Who's Who, 1945. A and C Black. p. 1185. 
  127. ^ Estonian State Decorations, President of the Republic of Estonia. Retrieved 2011-01-22 This does not appear among the collection of his decorations at the David Lloyd George Museum in Llanystumdwy.
  128. ^ "Blackpool Council – Mayor – General Information – Honorary Freemen". Retrieved 14 January 2013. 
  129. ^ Akrigg, G. P. V.; Akrigg, Helen B. (1997). British Columbia Place Names. UBC Press. p. 155.  
  130. ^ Time's staff (23 June 1961). "Books: The Welsh Wizard".  
  131. ^ Goodlad, Graham; Wells, Tom (2010). "Sempringham eLearning – England, 1900–1924: This is the song: Lloyd George Knew My Father". Sempringham publishing. Retrieved 7 September 2010.  "Copied from the Welsh Liberal Democrats website"
  132. ^ "2010 UK Memory of the World Register", United Kingdom National Commission for UNESCO, 2010. Accessed 4 June 2011.
  133. ^ IMDb details of The Life and Times of David Lloyd George series.


  • Statue of David Lloyd George, Parliament Square

See also

In the Ian Bannen.

[133] A feature film,

"Onward, Christian Soldiers". The origin and meaning of the song are disputed.[130][131]

Cultural references

A locomotive on the Ffestiniog Railway is named after Lloyd George who grew up near the railway and also travelled on it. The locomotive was built in 1992.

Kibbutz Ramat David in the Jezreel Valley in northern Israel and the adjacent Ramat David Airbase are named after him.


A470 road, connecting the city of Cardiff to Cardiff Bay.


Lloyd George was honorary Freeman of the following cities and towns:[14]


LLD 1918[14]
DCL 1908[13]
Fellow of Jesus College 1910



Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, Viscount Gwynedd, of Dwyfor in the county of Caernarvonshire – created 1 January 1945.



  • May 1919 – Sir Auckland Geddes succeeds Sir Albert Stanley as President of the Board of Trade. Sir Eric Geddes becomes Minister of Transport.
  • October 1919 – Lord Curzon of Kedleston succeeds Balfour as Foreign Secretary. Balfour succeeds Curzon as Lord President. The Local Government Board is abolished. Christopher Addison becomes Minister of Health. The Board of Agriculture is abolished. Lord Lee of Fareham becomes Minister of Agriculture. Sir Eric Geddes becomes Minister of Transport.
  • January 1920 – George Barnes leaves the cabinet.
  • March 1920 – Sir Robert Horne succeeds Sir Auckland Geddes as President of the Board of Trade. Thomas McNamara succeeds Horne as Minister of Labour.
  • April 1920 – Sir Hamar Greenwood succeeds Ian Macpherson as Chief Secretary for Ireland. Sir Laming Worthington-Evans joins the Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio.
  • February 1921 – Winston Churchill succeeds Lord Milner as Colonial Secretary. Sir Laming Worthington-Evans succeeds Churchill as War Secretary. Lord Lee of Fareham succeeds Walter Long at the Admiralty. Sir Arthur Griffith-Boscawen succeeds Lee as Minister of Agriculture.
  • March 1921 – Austen Chamberlain succeeds Bonar Law as Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the Commons. Sir Robert Horne succeeds Chamberlain at the Exchequer. Stanley Baldwin succeeds Horne at the Board of Trade.
  • April 1921 – Lord French resigns from the cabinet, remaining Lord Lieutenant. Christopher Addison becomes a Minister without Portfolio. Sir Alfred Mond succeeds him as Minister of Health. The Ministry of Munitions is abolished.
  • November 1921 – Sir Eric Geddes resigns from the cabinet. His successor as Minister of Transport is not in the Cabinet. The Attorney General, Sir Gordon Hewart, enters the Cabinet.
  • March 1922 – Lord Peel succeeds Edwin Montagu as India Secretary.
  • April 1922 – The First Commissioner of Works, Lord Crawford, enters the Cabinet.

Peacetime changes

The War Cabinet was formally maintained for much of 1919, but as Lloyd George was out of the country for many months this made little difference. In October 1919 a formal Cabinet was reinstated.

Peacetime government, January 1919 – October 1922

Other members of Lloyd George's war government

  • May — August 1917 – In temporary absence of Arthur Henderson, Minister of Pensions acts as a member of the War Cabinet.
  • June 1917 – Jan Smuts enters the War Cabinet as a Minister without Portfolio
  • July 1917 – Sir Edward Carson enters the War Cabinet as a Minister without Portfolio
  • August 1917 – George Barnes succeeds Arthur Henderson (resigned) as Minister without Portfolio and Labour Party member of the War Cabinet.
  • January 1918 – Carson resigns and is not replaced
  • April 1918 – Austen Chamberlain succeeds Lord Milner as Minister without Portfolio.
  • January 1919 Law becomes Lord Privy Seal, remaining Leader of the House of Commons, and is succeeded as Chancellor of the Exchequer by Chamberlain; both remaining in the War Cabinet. Smuts is succeeded by Sir Eric Geddes as Minister without Portfolio.

War Cabinet changes

War Cabinet

Lloyd George's cabinets

[125] The Canadian historian

His son, Megan, both followed him into politics and were elected members of parliament. They were politically faithful to their father throughout his life, but after 1945 each drifted away from the Liberal Party, Gwilym finishing his career as a Conservative Home Secretary and Megan becoming a Labour MP in 1957, perhaps symbolising the fate of much of the old Liberal Party.

His second marriage caused severe tension between Lloyd George and his children by his first wife.[122] He had five children by his first wife: Richard (1889–1968), Mair (1890–1907, who died during an appendectomy), Olwen (1892–1990), Gwilym (1894–1967) and Megan (1902–1966), and possibly one child by Stevenson,[123] a girl named Jennifer (1929–2012).

[121] In October 1943, aged 80, and to the disapproval of his children, he married his secretary and mistress,

Lloyd George had a considerable reputation as a womaniser, which led to his being nicknamed "the Goat" (coined by Sir [117] He remained married to Margaret, and remained fond of her until her death[118] on 20 January 1941; Lloyd George was deeply upset by the fact that bad weather prevented him from being with her when she died.

David Lloyd George with his daughter Megan in 1911


A great boulder marks his grave; there is no inscription. However a monument designed by the architect Sir Lloyd George Museum, also designed by Williams-Ellis and opened in 1963.

As it happened, he did not live long enough to take his seat in the House of Lords. He died of cancer on 26 March 1945, aged 82, his wife Frances and his daughter Megan at his bedside. Four days later, on Good Friday, he was buried beside the river Dwyfor in Llanystumdwy.

Lloyd George's grave, Llanystumdwy
Increasingly in his late years his characteristic political courage gave way to physical timidity and hypochondria. He continued to attend Castle Street Baptist Chapel in London, and to preside over the

A pessimistic speech by Lloyd George on 7 May 1941 led Churchill to compare him with Philippe Pétain. On 11 June 1942 he made his last-ever speech in the House of Commons, and he cast his last vote in the Commons on 18 February 1943 as one of the 121 MPs (97 Labour) condemning the Government for its failure to back the Beveridge Report. Fittingly, his final vote was in defence of the welfare state which he had helped to create.[115]

In the last important parliamentary intervention of his career, which occurred during the crucial [113] He wrote to the Duke of Bedford in September 1940 advocating a negotiated peace with Germany after the Battle of Britain.[114]

Last years

Rudman argues that Lloyd George was consistently pro-German after 1923. He supported German demands for territorial concessions and recognition of its "great power" status; he paid much less attention to the security concerns of France, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Belgium.[110] The Germans welcomed him as a friend in the highest circles of British politics. In September 1936 he went to Germany to talk with the German dictator Neville Chamberlain led him to disavow Chamberlain's appeasement policies.

Appeasement of Germany

[109] In January 1935 Lloyd George announced a programme of economic reform, called "Lloyd George's New Deal" after the American

Lloyd George in 1932

Lloyd George's "New Deal"

In 1931 an illness prevented his joining the London Welsh Centre, Gray's Inn Road, from 1934 until 1935.[108]


Ethel Snowden, and Philip Snowden

The disastrous election result in 1924 left the Liberals as a weak third party in British politics. As Asquith had lost his seat in the Commons, Lloyd George became chairman of the Liberal MPs then, in 1926 succeeded him as Liberal leader. Lloyd George used his fund to finance candidates and put forward innovative ideas for public works to reduce unemployment (as detailed in pamphlets such as the "Yellow Book" and the "Green Book"). Lloyd George was also helped by Father of the House, the longest-serving member of the Commons.

Liberal leader

Throughout the 1920s Lloyd George remained highly visible in politics; predictions that he would return to power were common, but it never happened.[106] Before the US-style Prohibition to appeal to newly enfranchised women voters), there is no evidence that this was his intent.[107] At the 1924 general election, Baldwin won a clear victory, the leading coalitionists such as Austen Chamberlain and Lord Birkenhead (and former Liberal Winston Churchill) agreeing to serve under Baldwin and thus ruling out any restoration of the 1916–22 coalition.

David Lloyd George

Later political career (1922–1945)

A statue of Lloyd George was unveiled opposite Caernarfon Castle in 1921, in recognition of his work as local MP and Prime Minister

The coalition was dealt its final blow on 19 October 1922. After criticism of Lloyd George over the

Deep fissures quickly emerged in Lloyd George's coalition. The more traditional wing of the Unionist Party had no intention of introducing reforms, which led to three years of frustrated fighting within the coalition both between the National Liberals and the Unionists and between factions within the Conservatives themselves. Many Conservatives were angered by the granting of independence to the Irish Free State and by accountability as Prime Minister, claiming that he never turned up to Cabinet meetings and banished some government departments to the gardens of 10 Downing Street.

Lloyd George in 1922

Fall from power 1922

Lloyd George began to feel the weight of the coalition with the Conservatives after the war. In calling the 1917–18 Government of Ireland Act 1920 which established Northern Ireland in May 1921, during the Anglo-Irish War, which led to the negotiation of the Anglo-Irish Treaty in December 1921 with Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins and the formation of the Irish Free State. At one point, he famously declared of the IRA, "We have murder by the throat!" However, he was soon to begin negotiations with IRA leaders to recognise their authority and end the conflict.


The reforming efforts of the Coalition Government were such that, according to the historian Geddes Axe, which cut public expenditure by £76 million, including substantial cuts to education.[105]

Old age pensions were doubled, efforts were made to help returning soldiers find employment, and the Whitley Councils were established to arbitrate between employees and employers.[98][102] In 1919, the government set up a Ministry of Health, a development which led to major improvements in public health in the years that followed.[98] whilst the Unemployed Workers' Dependants (Temporary Provisions) Act of 1921 provided payments for the wives and dependent children of unemployed workers.[103] The Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act (1920) prohibited the employment of children below the limit of compulsory school age in railways and transport undertakings, building and engineering construction works, factories, and mines. The legislation also prohibited the employment of children in ships at sea (except in certain circumstances, such as in respect of family members employed on the same vessel).[104]

The 1920 Blind Persons Act provided assistance for unemployed blind people and blind persons who were in low paid employment,.[100] Rent controls were continued after the war, and an "out-of-work donation" was introduced for ex-servicemen and civilians.[96] The 1920 National Health Insurance Act increased insurance benefits, and eligibility for pensions was extended to more people. The means limit for pensions was raised by about two-thirds, aliens and their wives were allowed to receive pensions after living in Britain for ten years, and the imprisonment and "failure to work" disqualifications for receiving pensions were abolished.[98] In addition, pensions were introduced for blind persons aged fifty and above.[101]

The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 provided that "A person shall not be disqualified by sex or marriage from the exercise of any public function, or from being appointed to or holding any civil or judicial office or post, or from entering or assuming or carrying on any civil profession or vocation, or for admission to any incorporated society...". The Rent Act of 1920 safeguarded working-class tenants against exorbitant rent increases.[97] The Unemployment Insurance Act 1920 extended national insurance to 11 million additional workers. This was considered to be a revolutionary measure, in that it extended unemployment insurance to almost the entire labour force, whereas only certain categories of workers had been covered before.[98] As a result of this legislation, roughly three-quarters of the British workforce were now covered by unemployment insurance.[99] The Agriculture Act 1920 provided for farm labourers to receive a minimum wage while the state continued to guarantee the prices of farm produce until 1921. Is also provided tenant farmers with greater protection by granting them better security of tenure[95] In education, teachers' salaries were standardised (in 1921) through the Burnham Scale.[98]

A major programme of social reform was introduced under Lloyd George in the last months of the war, and in the post-war years. The Representation of the People Act 1918 greatly extended the franchise for men (by abolishing most property qualifications) and gave the vote to many women over 30, and the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918 enabled women to sit in the House of Commons. The Education Act 1918 raised the school leaving age to 14, increased the powers and duties of the Board of Education (together with the money it could provide to Local Education Authorities), and introduced a system of day-continuation schools which youths between the ages of 14 and 16 "could be compelled to attend for at least one day a week".[94] The Housing and Town Planning Act 1919 provided subsidies for house building by local authorities, and a total of 170,000 homes were built under this Act. This was a landmark measure, in that it established, according to A. J. P. Taylor, "the principle that housing was a social service".[95] Under the 1919 Housing Act, 30,000 houses were constructed by private enterprise with government subsidy.[96]

David Lloyd George circa 1920

Postwar social reforms

Lloyd George represented Britain at the Free City of Danzig. Poles were grateful that he had saved that country from the Bolsheviks but were annoyed by his comment that Poles were "children who gave trouble".[92] Asked how he had done at the peace conference, he commented, "I think I did as well as might be expected, seated as I was between Jesus Christ [Wilson] and Napoleon Bonaparte [Clemenceau]."[93]

Georges Clemenceau, David Lloyd George and Vittorio Orlando at Versailles

Versailles 1919

His "National Liberal" coalition gained an overwhelming victory, winning 525 of the 707 seats contested; however, the Conservatives had control within the Coalition of more than two-thirds of its seats. Asquith's independent Liberals were crushed and emerged with only 33 seats, although they were still the official opposition as the two Liberal factions combined had more seats than Labour.[90]

The election was fought not so much on the peace issue and what to do with Germany, although those themes played a role. More important was the voters' evaluation of Lloyd George in terms of what he had accomplished so far and what he promised for the future. His supporters emphasised that he had won the Great War. Against his strong record in social legislation, he himself called for making "a country fit for heroes to live in".[89]

  1. Trial of the exiled Kaiser Wilhelm II;
  2. Punishment of those guilty of atrocities;
  3. Fullest indemnity from Germany;
  4. Britain for the British, socially and industrially;
  5. Rehabilitation of those broken in the war; and
  6. A happier country for all.

In the [86] He did not say, "We shall squeeze the German lemon until the pips squeak" (that was Sir Eric Geddes), but he did express that sentiment about reparations from Germany to pay the entire cost of the war, including pensions. He said that German industrial capacity "will go a pretty long way". We must have "the uttermost farthing", and "shall search their pockets for it".[87] As the campaign closed, he summarised his programme:[88]

Coupon election of 1918

At the end of the war Lloyd George's reputation stood at its zenith. Bonar Law said, "He can be dictator for life if he wishes."[83] Headlines at this time declared a "huge majority win" and that "pacifists, even 'shining lights' such as Arnold Lupton, had been completely overthrown by Ramsey McDonald and Phillip Snowden".[84]

Snowed under.
The St. Bernard Pup (to his Master). "This situation appeals to my hereditary instincts. Shall I come to the rescue?"
[Before leaving Switzerland Mr. Lloyd George purchased a St. Bernard pup.]
Cartoon from Punch 15 September 1920

Postwar Prime Minister (1918–1922)

Also in 1918 George was one of the many infected during the 1918 flu pandemic, but he survived.[82]

Meanwhile the German offensive stalled. By summer the Americans were sending 10,000 fresh men a day to the Western Front, a speedup made possible by leaving their equipment behind and using British and French munitions. The German army had used up its last reserves and was steadily shrinking in number and weakening in resolve. Victory came on 11 November 1918.[81]

[80][79] The prime minister had used incorrect information furnished by the War Department office headed by Major-General Sir [78] At one point Lloyd George unknowingly misled the House of Commons in claiming that Haig's forces were stronger at the start of 1918 than they had been a year earlier – in fact the increase was in the number of labourers, most of them Chinese, Indians and black South Africans, and Haig had fewer infantry, holding a longer stretch of front.

Despite strong warnings that it was a bad idea, the War Cabinet decided to impose conscription on Ireland. The main reason was that trade unions in Britain demanded it as the price for cutting back on conscription exemptions for certain workers. Labour wanted the principle established that no one was exempt, but it did not demand that conscription actually take place in Ireland. The proposal was enacted but never enforced. The Catholic bishops for the first time entered the fray and called for open resistance to conscription. Many Irish Catholics and nationalists moved into Sinn Féin, a decisive moment marking the dominance of Irish politics by a party committed to leaving the UK altogether.[76][77]

In rapid succession in spring 1918 came a series of military and political crises.[74] The Germans, having moved troops from the Eastern front and retrained them in new tactics, and now had more soldiers on the Western Front than the Allies. Germany launched the full scale Lord Milner.[75]

Crises of 1918

Most of the organisations Lloyd George created during the First World War were replicated with the outbreak of the Second World War. As

Conscription put into uniform nearly every physically fit man, six million out of ten million eligible. Of these about 750,000 lost their lives and 1,700,000 were wounded. Most deaths were of young unmarried men; however, 160,000 wives lost their husbands and 300,000 children lost their fathers.[73]

The War Cabinet was a very successful innovation. It met almost daily, with Maurice Hankey as secretary, and made all major political, military, economic and diplomatic decisions. Rationing was finally imposed in early 1918 for meat, sugar and fats (butter and oleo) – but not bread; the new system worked smoothly. From 1914 to 1918 trade-union membership doubled, from a little over four million to a little over eight million. Work stoppages and strikes became frequent in 1917–18 as the unions expressed grievances regarding prices, liquor control, pay disputes, "dilution", fatigue from overtime and from Sunday work, and inadequate housing.

Home front

Relations with General Robertson had worsened further over the creation of the Supreme War Council at Versailles and he was eventually forced out over his insistence that the British delegate there be subordinate to Robertson as CIGS in London.

[72] In the winter of 1917/18 Lloyd George secured the resignations of both the service chiefs. Removing the First Sea Lord

Lloyd George had told Palestine the main theatre of operations by having Allenby make the impossible demand that thirteen extra divisions be sent to him.[70][71] Allenby captured Jerusalem in December 1917.

Strategic priorities

[69] In the House of Commons (20 December) Lloyd George also argued that the collapse of Russia and

Hankey’s eventual report reflected Lloyd George's wishes: it gave top priority to shipbuilding and merchant shipping (not least to ship US troops to Europe), and placed Army manpower below both weapons production and civilian industry.[67][68]

[66] The first meeting of the Manpower Committee was on 10 December, and it met twice the next day and again on 15 December. Lloyd George questioned Generals

A Manpower Committee was set up (6 December 1917) consisting of the Prime Minister, Curzon, Carson, Maurice Hankey and Auckland Geddes (Minister of National Service – in charge of Army recruitment) in regular attendance.[63][64]

Manpower crisis and the unions

In December 1917, Lloyd George remarked to C. P. Scott that: "If people really knew, the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don't know, and can't know."

In reply to Robertson's 19 November memo, which warned (correctly) that the Germans would use the opportunity of [62]

[61] The Italians suffered disastrous defeat at

Lloyd George played a critical role in the Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour's famous Declaration in favour of "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people".

Supreme War Council

[57] At a meeting at Boulogne (25 September) Lloyd George broached with

The Cadorna called off his offensive (21 September).[56]

The Flanders Offensive was reluctantly sanctioned by the War Policy Committee on 18 July and the War Cabinet two days later, on condition it did not degenerate into a long drawn-out fight like the Somme. The War Cabinet promised to monitor progress and casualties and, if necessary call a halt, although in the event they made little effort to monitor progress until September. Frustrated at his inability to get his way, Lloyd George talked of resigning and taking his case to the public.[54]

Haig believed that a Flanders Offensive had good chance of clearing the Belgian coast, from which German submarines and destroyers were operating (a popular goal with politicians), and that victory at Ypres "might quite possibly lead to (German) collapse". Robertson was less optimistic, but preferred Britain to keep her focus on defeating Germany on the Western Front, and had told Haig that the politicians would not "dare" overrule both soldiers if they gave the same advice. Haig promised he had no "intention of entering into a tremendous offensive involving heavy losses" (20 June) whilst Robertson wanted to avoid "disproportionate loss" (23 June).[53]

[52] explicitly telling the War Policy Committee (21 June 1917) that he wanted Italian soldiers to be killed rather than British.[51] Lloyd George set up a War Policy Committee (himself, Curzon, Milner, Law and Smuts, with


An Imperial War Cabinet, including representatives from Canada, Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India, met in March–May 1917 (a crisis period of the war) and twice in 1918. The idea was not entirely without precedent as there had been Imperial Conferences in 1902, 1907 and 1911, whilst the Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes had been invited to attend the Cabinet and War Committee on his visit to the UK in the spring of 1916. The South African Jan Smuts was appointed to the British War Cabinet in the early summer of 1917.[50]

David Lloyd George circa 1918

Imperial War Cabinet

Lloyd George gave a cautious welcome to the suggestion (19 March on the western calendar) of the Russian Foreign Minister Kenneth Rose's biography of the King was published in 1963.[49]

Lloyd George welcomed the Prince Lvov, not least as the war could now be portrayed as a clash between liberal governments and the autocratic Central Powers. Like many observers he had been taken by surprise by the exact timing of the revolution (it had not been predicted by Lord Milner or General Wilson on their visit to Russia a few weeks earlier) and hoped – albeit with some concerns – that Russia’s war effort would be invigorated like that of France in the early 1790s.[48]

Russian Revolution

Lloyd George’s personal efforts to promote convoys were less consistent than he (and Churchill in The World Crisis and Beaverbrook in Men and Power) later claimed; the idea that he, after a hard struggle, sat in the First Lord's chair (on his 30 April visit to the Admiralty) and imposed convoys on a hostile Board is a myth. However, in Grigg's view the credit goes largely to men and institutions which he set in place, and with a freer hand, and making fewer mistakes, than in his dealings with the generals, he and his appointees took decisions which can reasonably be said to have saved the country. "It was a close-run thing … failure would have been catastrophic."[47]

[46] The new Commander of the

Lloyd George later claimed in his memoirs that the delay in introducing convoys was because the Admiralty mishandled an experimental convoy between Britain and Norway, and because Jellicoe obtained, behind Maclay's back, an unrepresentative sample of merchant skippers claiming that they lacked the skill to "keep station" in convoy. In fact Hankey's diary shows that Lloyd George’s interest in the matter was intermittent, whilst Frances Stevenson's diaries contain no mention of the topic. He may well have been reluctant, especially at a time when his relations with the generals were so poor, for a showdown with Carson, a weak administrator who was as much the mouthpiece of the admirals as Derby was of the generals, but who had played a key role in the fall of Asquith and who led a significant bloc of Conservative and Irish Unionist MPs.[45]

In February 1917 Hankey wrote a memorandum for Lloyd George calling for the introduction of "scientifically organised convoys", almost certainly after being persuaded by Commander Sir Edward Carson (First Lord of the Admiralty) and Admirals Jellicoe and Duff agreed to "conduct experiments". However, convoys were not in general use until August, by which time the rate of shipping losses was already in decline after peaking in April.[44]

Lloyd George had raised the matter of convoys at the War Committee in November 1916, only to be told by the admirals present, including Jellicoe, that convoys presented too large a target, and that merchant ship masters lacked the discipline to "keep station" in a convoy.[43]

Main article: Convoys in World War I


In accordance with a pledge Lloyd George gave in December 1916, nearly 90% of Britain’s merchant shipping tonnage was soon brought under state control (previously less than half had been controlled by the Admiralty), whilst remaining privately owned (similar measures were in force at the time for the railways). Merchant shipping was concentrated, largely on Chiozza Money's initiative, on the transatlantic route where it could more easily be protected, instead of being spread out all over the globe (this relied on imports coming first into North America). Maclay began the process of increasing ship construction, although he was hampered by shortages of steel and labour, and ships under construction in the United States were confiscated when she entered the war. In May 1917 Eric Geddes, based at the Admiralty, was put in charge of shipbuilding, and in July he became First Lord of the Admiralty.[42]

In early 1917 the Germans were seeking victory on the John Anderson (then only thirty-four years old) and included Arthur Salter. A number of shipping magnates were persuaded, like Maclay himself, to work unpaid for the ministry (as had a number of industrialists for the Ministry of Munitions), who were also able to obtain ideas privately from junior naval officers who were reluctant to argue with their superiors in meetings. The ministers heading the Board of Trade, for Munitions (Addison) and for Agriculture and Food (Lord Rhondda), were also expected to co-operate with Maclay.[41]


Main article: U-boat Campaign (World War I)

U-Boat War

In the event the British attack at the [40]

The plan was to put Haig under Nivelle's command for the great 1917 offensive.[35][36] The British would attack first, thereby tying down the German reserves. Then the French would strike and score an overwhelming victory in two days. It was announced at a War Cabinet meeting on 24 February, to which neither Robertson nor Lord Derby (Secretary of State for War) had been invited. Ministers felt that the French generals and staff had shown themselves more skillful than the British in 1916, whilst politically Britain had to give wholehearted support to what would probably be the last major French effort of the war. The Nivelle proposal was then given to Robertson and Haig without warning on 26–27 February. They protested vehemently. Finally a compromise was reached whereby Haig would be under Nivelle but would keep a certain freedom of action "if he saw good reason".[37] Minutes from the War Cabinet meeting were not sent to the King until 28 February, so that he did not have a prior chance to object.[38][39]

Lloyd George engaged almost constantly in intrigues calculated to reduce the power of the generals, including trying to subordinate British forces in France to the French General Nivelle. He backed Nivelle because he thought he had 'proved himself to be a Man' by his successful counterattacks at Verdun, and because of his promises that he could break the German lines in 48 hours. Nivelle increasingly complained of Haig's dragging his feet rather than co-operating with their plans for the offensive.[34]

Nivelle Affair

At the Rome Conference (5–6 January 1917) Lloyd George was discreetly quiet about plans to take Jerusalem, an object which advanced British interests rather than doing much to win the war. Lloyd George proposed sending heavy guns to Italy with a view to defeating Austria-Hungary, possibly to be balanced by a transfer of Italian troops to Salonika, but was unable to obtain the support of the French or Italians, and Robertson talked of resigning.[33]

Lloyd George wanted to make the destruction of Turkey a major British war aim, and two days after taking office told Robertson that he wanted a major victory, preferably the capture of Jerusalem, to impress British public opinion.[32]

After December 1916, Lloyd George relied on the support of Conservatives and of the press baron Lord Curzon, Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons Andrew Bonar Law, and Minister without Portfolio Lord Milner) and Arthur Henderson, unofficially representing Labour.

[31], Lloyd George compared himself with Asquith:War MemoirsThe fall of Asquith as Prime Minister split the Liberal Party into two factions: those who supported him and those who supported the coalition government. In his

Forming a Government

War leader (1916–1918)

Prime Minister (1916–1922)

After Germany's offer (12 December 1916) of a negotiated peace, Lloyd George rebuffed President Wilson's request for the belligerents to state their war aims by demanding terms tantamount to German defeat.[30]

Although during the political crisis Robertson had advised Lloyd George to "stick to it" and form a small War Council, Lloyd George had planned if necessary to appeal to the country, his Military Secretary Colonel Curzon were also sympathetic to campaigns to increase British power in the Middle East.[29]

The weakness of Asquith as a planner and organiser was increasingly apparent to senior officials. After Asquith had refused to agree to Lloyd George's demand that he be allowed to chair a small committee to manage the war, he was forced out in December 1916, and Lloyd George became Prime Minister, with the nation demanding he take vigorous charge of the war.[18] A Punch cartoon of the time showed him as "The New Conductor" conducting the orchestra in the "Opening of the 1917 Overture".

Much of the press still argued that the professional leadership of Haig and Robertson was preferable to civilian interference which had led to disasters like [28]

Lloyd George was increasingly frustrated at the limited gains of the Somme Offensive, criticising General Haig to Ferdinand Foch on a visit to the Western Front in September (British casualty ratios were worse than those of the French, who were more experienced and had more artillery), proposing sending Robertson on a mission to Russia (he refused to go), and demanding that more troops be sent to Salonika to help Romania. Robertson eventually threatened to resign.[27]

Lloyd George told a journalist, Roy W. Howard, in late September that “the fight must be to a finish – to a knockout”, a rejection of President Wilson’s offer to mediate.[26]

In June 1916 Lloyd George succeeded Kitchener (whose ship was sunk by a mine while on his way to Russia) as Secretary of State for War, although he had little control over strategy, as General Robertson had been given direct right of access to the Cabinet so as to bypass Kitchener. However, he did succeed in securing the appointment of Sir Eric Geddes to take charge of military railways behind British lines in France, with the honorary rank of major-general.[25]

Lloyd George in 1916

Secretary of State for War


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