3

CHANCELLOR, 1924-1929

BACKGROUND NARRATIVE

The ‘khaki’ election of December 1918 returned Lloyd George’s coalition to power. Churchill was appointed Secretary of State for War and Air. His first task was to demobilise the largest army in British history, which he did by scrapping existing and unpopular plans, replacing them with a fairer scheme that successfully diffused tensions. It was his suggestion that led to the adoption of the ‘Ten Year Rule’, in 1919, that military spending be based on an assumption that British forces would not go to war within the next ten years. It was this same rule that led to military spending cuts, which he was to argue against in the 1930s. He presided over the creation of the Royal Air Force as a separate force, convinced as he was that air power was going to change the nature of warfare in the future.

More controversially, Churchill vigorously campaigned for greater allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. He was appalled at the nature of the Bolshevik regime, instinctively disliking its ideology and use of terror. His criticisms were vehement and, some felt, alarmist. His ambitions for further intervention were thwarted by a Britain exhausted by the Great War and facing war in Ireland. Initially, Churchill supported Lloyd George’s punitive policies in Ireland, but by 1920 was participating in the negotiations to bring about a settlement. During his tenure as Secretary of State for the Colonies,

-34-

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Churchill
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vi
  • Series Preface vii
  • Acknowledgements viii
  • Chronology ix
  • 1 - Radical, 1900-1911 1
  • 2 - Warmonger, 1911-1915 17
  • 3 - Chancellor, 1924-1929 34
  • 4 - Exile, 1929-1939 51
  • 5 - Finest Hour 69
  • 6 - Warlord, 1940-1945 86
  • 7 - Controversies 106
  • 8 - Elder, 1945-1955 122
  • Notes 140
  • Select Bibliography 151
  • Index 154
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