Churchill: The Unexpected Hero

By Paul Addison | Go to book overview

SEVEN
Climbing Olympus,
1945–1965

In one sense Clemmie was right about Churchill's defeat in 1945. From the point of view of his reputation, it was a blessing. Lloyd George, the conquering hero of 1918, had rapidly fallen into disrepute at the head of a peacetime government beset by troubles at home and abroad. Churchill would probably have suffered a similar fate as Prime Minister after 1945. Given the economic plight in which the British found themselves, any postwar administration would have had to enforce a further period of rationing and austerity, with appeals to the public to work hard and tighten their belts. Churchill, with his unashamed enjoyment of luxury and privilege, would have been the easiest of targets for a Labour opposition exploiting the frustration caused by post-war shortages, or cutbacks in housing and the social services.

It is also unlikely that any post-war government could have avoided the Cold War, rearmament, peacetime conscription, or British participation in the Korean War of 1950. Haunted by his reputation as a warmonger and anti-Communist, Churchill would have found it particularly hard to convince the Labour Opposition that all these policies were essential. The odds are

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Churchill: The Unexpected Hero
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • Abbreviations xi
  • Prologue 1
  • One - The Youngest Man in Europe, 1874–1901 7
  • Two - The Renegade, 1901–1911 29
  • Three - The Lilliput Napoleon, 1911–1915 57
  • Four - The Winstonburg Line, 1915–1924 82
  • Five - Respectability Won and Lost, 1924–1939 112
  • Six - The Making of a Hero, 1939–1945 153
  • Seven - Climbing Olympus, 1945–1965 216
  • Eight - Churchill Past and Present 246
  • Notes 255
  • Bibliography 275
  • Index 287
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