Tuesday, March 14, 2006


In 1904, Churchill left the Conservatives and crossed the floor of the House of Commons to join the Liberals. He was rewarded two years later by becoming a member of the Liberal government. This would curb the power of the House of Lords and pass the National Insurance Act, the foundation stone of the welfare state.When the First World War began, Churchill was already First Lord of the Admiralty. He had helped to establish the Royal Naval Air Service and generally prepared the navy for war. However, his involvement with the and in the failed campaigns at Antwerp (when he was condemned for sending in raw recruits against the Germans) and tarnished his reputation. When Prime Minister Asquith formed a coalition government in May 1915, he was demoted to chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.Unhappy with this position, Churchill returned to soldiering (his first career choice) and commanded a battalion of Royal Scots Fusiliers on the Western Front. However, when Lloyd George became prime minister in December 1916, Churchill rejoined the Cabinet as minister of munitions and later became secretary of state for war and then for air.In the 1930s, Churchill was one of the few establishment voices that warned against Germany's rearmament programme. He became prime minister on 10 May 1940, the same day that Hitler launched his attack on the west.


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