The Private Papers of Hore-Belisha

The Private Papers of Hore-Belisha

The Private Papers of Hore-Belisha

The Private Papers of Hore-Belisha

Excerpt

HORE-BELISHA kept a diary fairly consistently from an early age until the end of his life; it was usually written on the night of the events described, only occasionally, when overwhelmed by work, a day or so after. He preserved his notes and reflections. The letters he received and wrote were all filed.

Did he intend to write his autobiography? Would he have wished at least to give an account of his stewardship at the War Office, of the great effort he had made--driven by a terrible sense of urgency--to prepare the Army for the war he was certain was coming, of the prejudice and opposition he encountered, of his eventual overthrow and, as he may have seen it, his ultimate betrayal?

Soon after leaving the War Office, he suggested that I might one day undertake this for him. We had many long talks, of which I kept abundant notes. But he had no wish that these revelations should be made during the critical years of war. Then, with his brief return to office in 1945 and in the hope that he would be called to serve again, he felt that publication should be still further deferred.

After he had accepted a peerage, I suggested that he should write the book himself. In due course he decided to do this. The papers were gone through. Drafts were made and corrected again and again. His relentless striving after perfection, however, prevented him from getting more than the first chapter into a form that satisfied his standards; this he recorded on tape. Some ascribed his lack of progress to a natural laziness, but that is not a characteristic which is apparent in any record of his life and work.

After his death it was suggested by Captain B. H. Liddell Hart and others that I should resume the work I had begun. I considered whether I should write a full-length biography of Hore-Belisha and came to the conclusion that in any such biography his two and a . . .

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