Finest Hour 188, Second Quarter 2020
By David Freeman, April 2020
This issue commemorates the eightieth anniversary of Winston Churchill becoming prime minister in May 1940. Already the beleaguered year of 2020 has shown that Churchill remains the gold standard for crisis leadership. As political leaders around the world have struggled to meet the challenges created by a global pandemic, observers have measured their actions against Churchill’s example.
Churchill served under five different prime ministers, and five future prime ministers served under him. It is some measure of Churchill’s career that these men came from three different parties: Liberal, Labour, and Conservative. In this issue we look at each man’s Churchillian connections, and we are honored to start with a foreword by David Cameron.
Churchill received his first government appointment from Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. Fred Glueckstein introduces us to the Edwardian statesman who preferred to be known as “CB.” Promotion to the Cabinet came for Churchill with the sudden death of CB and the succession of H. H. Asquith to the premiership. T. G. Otte looks at the man whom Churchill referred to as a “Tribune” of the people.
No prime minister had more influence on the political development of Churchill than David Lloyd George. We are pleased to have Kenneth O. Morgan writing about the Welsh Wizard, who, along with Churchill, was one of Asquith’s “Terrible Twins.”
The relationships that Churchill had with the two Conservative prime ministers under whom he served can be categorized as complicated between the principals and misunderstood by posterity. In the capable hands of Philip A. Williamson and Stuart Ball, however, we are able to understand clearly just how Churchill operated alongside Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain respectively.
Iain Carter examines the connections between Churchill and the five men who succeeded him in Downing Street after serving under his leadership: Clement Attlee, Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Alec Douglas-Home, and Edward Heath.
Finally, we note the passing of Paul Addison, one of the leading Churchill scholars of his time. David Stafford remembers his friend, colleague, and fellow Churchillian.