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Young Statesman: 1901-1914

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1901



"A Certain Splendid Memory"

Winter found Churchill speaking in Boston, where he was introduced by Mark Twain: "England sinned when she got herself into a war in South Africa which she could have avoided, just as we have sinned in getting into a similar war in the Philippines. Mr. Churchill by his father is an Englishman, by his mother he is an American, no doubt a blend that makes the perfect man. England and America; we are kin. And now that we are also kin in sin, there is nothing more to be desired. The harmony is perfect‹like Mr. Churchill himself, whom I now have the honour to present to you." Twain inscribed for Churchill a collection of his works: "To be good is noble; to teach others how to be good is nobler, & no trouble."

While in America, Winston's friend, Bourke Cockran, arranged for him to meet President McKinley and to dine with New York Governor Theodore Roosevelt. Queen Victoria died in January and Churchill sailed from New York to England on February 2nd, the day of her funeral.

The House of Commons was full on the night of Churchill's maiden speech February 18th. Beginning with the Boer War, he defended the Army's conduct in prosecuting it: "From what I saw of the war, and I sometimes saw something of it, I believe that as compared with other wars, especially those in which a civil population took part, this war [was] carried on with unusual humanity and generosity." But he criticized proposals to impose a military government over the Boers, advocating instead a civil government: "As soon as it is known that there is in the Transvaal a government under which property and liberty are secure, so soon as it is known that in these countries one can live freely and safely, there would be a rush of immigrants from all parts of the world to develop the country and to profit by the great revival of trade which usually follows war of all kinds."

Churchill concluded with a graceful reference to his late father, Lord Randolph: "I cannot sit down without saying how very grateful I am for the kindness and patience with which the House has heard me, and which have been extended to me, I well know, not on my own account, but because of a certain splendid memory which many hon. Members still preserve."


"Rising Political Star"

The Spring of 1901, William Manchester wrote, was when Churchill "established himself as a rising political star." In the House in March, he spoke in support of the Government against an amendment seeking to appoint a Commission to enquire into the Army's dismissal of Major General Sir Henry Colville as Commander-in-Chief of Gibraltar. Colville had been dismissed when official enquiries into his conduct in South Africa disclosed he had failed to attempt to relieve beleaguered British troops despite being in a position to do so. Colville refused to go quietly, and appealed to supporters in Parliament, claiming that he had not been criticized at the time in official dispatches.

Churchill came to the rescue of a government described by his son, Randolph, as "hard-pressed to resist" the amendment, helpfully explaining to the House that "those who have not themselves had any actual experience of war may have some difficulty in understanding" why Colville was not criticized at the time. The reason, Churchill continued, was that the military in wartime typically did not tell the truth: "I say that I have noticed in the last three wars in which we have been engaged a tendency among military officers...to hush everything up, to make everything look as fair as possible, to tell what is called the official truth....all the ugly facts are smoothed and varnished over, rotten reputations are propped up, and officers known as incapable are allowed to hang on and linger in their commands in the hope that at the end of the war they may be shunted into private life without a scandal."

Nevertheless, Churchill went on, politicians must rarely, if ever, interfere with the War Department's promotion and dismissal of officers because that process‹Selection‹is "the only hope for increased efficiency in the army." Secretary of State for War St. John Brodrick, expressed his gratitude in a note to Churchill: "May I say you will never make a better speech than you made tonight....It was a great success and universally recognized."

Mr. Brodrick's comments on the next Churchill speech in the House on military matters were not so kind, expressing the hope that one day "the hereditary qualities he possesses of eloquence and courage may be tempered also by discarding the hereditary desire to run Imperialism on the cheap." Churchill had attacked Brodrick's plan for Army Reform, featuring the creation of three regular army corps. On May 13th, Churchill spoke trenchantly against "Mr. Brodrick's Army": "I contend that [it] ought to be reduced by two army corps, on the ground that one is quite enough to fight savages, and three are not enough even to begin to fight Europeans....A European war cannot be anything but a cruel, heartrending struggle, which, if we are ever to enjoy the bitter fruits of victory, must demand, perhaps for several years, the whole manhood of the nation, the entire suspension of peaceful industries, and the concentrating to one end of every vital energy in the community....a European war can only end in the ruin of the vanquished and the scarcely less fatal commercial dislocation and the exhaustion of the conquerors. Democracy is more vindictive than Cabinets. The wars of peoples will be more terrible than those of kings." In the event, Churchill's views prevailed, with the support of the Liberal opposition, and Mr. Brodrick did not receive his three army corps.


"The Hughligans"

The war in South Africa droned on, and the expense of paying for it was the major issue. Speaking in the House on 17 July, Churchill said: "What is of great importance is that this House as a whole is thoroughly agreed upon the principal features of the policy that has led to all this expenditure which everyone deplores. But hon. members opposite have indeed advocated a somewhat curious policy. The Rt. Hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition I believe hopes to check the expenditure and to bring the war to an end at an early date by combining the policy of swords with that of olive branches. That is an extraordinary policy, and I quite agree with the Rt. Hon. Gentleman that the party opposite is the only party in the State who could carry it out, for it is the only party which has in itself all the elements which make for peace and for war."

It was during this period that Churchill joined forces with a few other dissident young Tory MPs, Ian Malcolm, Lord Percy, Arthur Stanley, and Lord Hugh Cecil. As Churchill's son wrote in the Official Biography, "Later they were on occasion to be outrageous in their Parliamentary manners and the critics dubbed them the Hughligans, or Hooligans." Together, they made things hot for the Tory establishment.

Churchill spent the last week of August and most of September in Scotland, including visits with the Duke of Sutherland, Lord Londonderry and Churchill's uncle, Lord Tweedmouth.

During his stay in Scotland, he wrote several letters to The Times defending the sanitary conditions in the Scottish tweed industry against an anonymous correspondent, who had suggested that "scrupulously cleanly persons will hesitate to wear such garments." Churchill replied: "Of course it may be possible that your correspondent is only one of those pseudo-scientific persons who have a mania for discovering bacilli in everything; and who, when they are neither anonymous nor insignificant, from time to time, and particularly in the holiday time, endeavour to alarm the British public through the columns of the newspapers."

1906


Autumn/Winter 1906 (Age 32)

Facing a long autumn. WSC wangled an invitation to attend German Army maneuvers in September. In the interim he went to Deauville, staying with Sir Ernest Cassel. He reported he was living an idle and dissipated life, gambling until five in the mornings — but he left about £260 (then $1250 ahead. At Trouville he played on a British polo team which played a French team, but lost to another British team by a goal. Then it was on to Switzerland where, "in perfectly glorious weather." he climbed a number of Alps — including the 9625-foot Eggishorn.

At the maneuvers he was impressed by the discipline of the German Army but thought that it did not show appreciation for the deadly power of modern weapons. (The Germans reached the same conclusion and began to change their tactics.) Kaiser Wilhelm chatted with WSC for 20 minutes, mostly about the Boer War and a rising of natives in German South West Africa. The Kaiser later sent WSC pictures of thc maneuvers and Churchill responded with a copy of "Lord Randolph Churchill."

In Moravia WSC hunted partridges and hares at Baron de Forest’s palace in Eichhorn: in Vienna and Venice he bad a quiet week, followed by a tour with Lady Helen Vincent and Murial Wilson in Lionel Rothschild’s motorcar, at the blinding speed of 40 mph.

Churchill’s cousin Sunny (later ninth Duke of Marlborough) and his wife Consuclo — two of WSC’s dearest friends — separated. Divorce was unthinkable: Consuelo moved into London. Winston’s father-in-law, George Cornwallis-West, lost £8000 to an unscrupulous lawyer and went broke. Winston and Jack loaned him a little money, arranged a secret loan from West’s estranged brother-in-law, the Duke of Westminister.

He also attended a fateful party, where he and Eddie Marsh first laid eyes on a young lady named Clementine Hozier.

1907


Autumn 1907 (Age 33)

After observing French Army maneuvers in September, Churchill traveled through Italy to Vienna, Syracuse and Malta, where he was "installed in much state" in the palace of the Grand Masters of the Knights of Malta. Then the cruiser Venus was placed at his disposal for travel to Cyprus and Africa.

From Nairobi, he traveled north, partly on the Nile, visiting Omdurman where he’d fought 12 years before, and Khartoum, where his manservant Scrivings died suddenly of food poisoning. This startled WSC, who realized ". . . how easily it might have been me."

Though thousands of miles from home, Churchill never left the limelight. Punch published an article, "Winston Day By Day," and colleagues followed his journey in the press. He kept in touch with his mother and brother Jack, and inundated the Colonial Office with correspondence, much to the chagrin of permanent undersecretary Sir Francis Hopwood, who warned Lord Elgin: "Churchill is most troublesome.. . and will I fear give trouble as his father did." (London would have been more upset if it had known that WSC, as he wrote confidentially to Jennie, was involved in a plan to extend the jurisdiction of the Empire without consulting Elgin.) He also was permitted to write directly to King Edward VII about his experiences.

An offer from Strand Magazine for five articles brought him £750, and the £500 for book rights to MY AFRICAN JOURNEY (Woods Al 2)—a widely read account of his experiences—resulted in an unexpected profit from the expedition.

On his return to London, Churchill was guest of honor at an 18 January 1908 dinner of the National Liberal Club, which he harangued skillfully and at great length. His topic was ostensibly his African journey, and the prospects for Britain’s vast new dominions in East Africa. But in reality his speech signified his return to the domestic political wars, into which he plunged with happy vigor.

1908



On return from Africa, Winston’s claims to Cabinet appointment could no longer be denied and most believed his promotion was imminent. King Edward and Herbert Asquith, planning the latter’s succession to ailing Campbell-Bannerman as Prime Minister, heard gossip that WSC wanted to enter the Cabinet keeping his post of Under-Secretary. But the King desired another, more suitable office for Winston. On 12 March Asquith offered WSC either the Colonial Office, the Local Government Board or the Admiralty; WSC asked for the Colonial Office, but on 8 April the new Prime Minister chose to offer his young colleague the Board of Trade.

Churchill was now actively speaking and writing. Having an opportunity to combine these joys and talents, he told the Authors’ Club of London that "to sit at one’s table on a sunny morning, with four clear hours of uninterruptible security, plenty of nice white paper, and a Squeezer pen—that is true happiness."

He frequently spoke on his recent trip to Africa, East Africa’s future development, and Africa and the Cotton Trade —as well as the need for a progressive social philosophy. Some doubted his sincerity. Beatrice Webb wrote in her diary, "Winston has a hard temperament, with the American capacity for the quick appreciation and rapid execution of new ideas, whilst hardly comprehending the philosophy beneath them." But Charles Masterman noted that WSC felt called upon by Providence to do something for the poor "whom he has just discovered."

On the eve of his Cabinet appointment WSC attended a party at his mother’s. One of the guests was Clementine Hozier.


Neither Clementine Hozier nor Winston Churchill had wished to attend the dinner party at Lady St. Helier’s, but a change of mind favored both. Clemmie later recalled that WSC "made a bad impression on me," but was eventually won over by his "dominating charm and brilliancy." Although she accompanied her mother to Europe, she and Winston kept in constant touch by mail.

Newly-appointed Ministers were then required to seek reelection—usually a formality, but not in Winston’s case. Despite the support of free traders, the cotton and commercial community of Manchester, he was defeated. The Tory Daily Telegraph gleefully headlined: "Winston Churchill is out, OUT, OUT!" Immediately invited to run in Dundee, then solidly Liberal, WSC embarked on his first involvement in the politics of social reform—a natural extension, he believed, of his father’s Tory Democracy. His own philosophy was outlined in an article in The Nation entitled "The Untrodden Field of Politics" (Woods C34).

On Clementine’s return from Europe, she and WSC met several times but mainly on social occasions. Unmarried girls did not lunch or dine alone with men. The center of much attention, WSC published a shortened version of MY AFRICAN JOURNEY in the Strand (Woods C35). Most observers expected great things from him. Quoting Virgil’s The Aeneid, Curzon wrote "sic itur ad astra"—"so shalt thou scale the stars."


This was the summer of courtship between WSC and Clementine Hozier. At Blenheim in August, WSC proposed. Among the torrent of congratulations was a note from King Edward. Winston’s future best man, Lord Hugh Cecil, told him "it will be excellent for you mentally, morally and politically. A bachelor is regarded as morally unprincipled."

Just prior to his proposal, Winston was staying wish his friend Freddie Guest, when a fire broke out. In his element, the pyjama-clad Churchill donned overcoat and fireman’s helmet, directing the fire brigade. He wrote Clemmie that "the fire was fun and we all enjoyed it thoroughly," although Freddie Guest was distraught wish the losses. Also this summer, his brother Jack married Lady Gwendeline Bertie ("Goonie"), who remained a lifelong friend of Winston and Clementine.

Politically WSC was creating his place in the reform wing of the Liberal Party, associating himself with his father’s interest in miner’s problems and supporting "the strong current of evolution" which would give women the vote. In foreign affairs he called the idea of war between Britain and Germany nonsense, and condemned those who saw a menace in the German navy. One month’s fighting, he said, would destroy more wealth than five years of successful trading. Years later, WSC’s son was to call this "the same wrong-headed position as other Radicals on the Left and in the Liberal Party."


Large, enthusiastic crowds cheered the wedding party at St. Margaret’s, Westminster on 12 September. After a honeymoon trip to Austria and Italy, the couple took up residence in Churchill’s house on Bolton Street. WSC felt confined as President of the Board of Trade: "There is nothing in this pie for me. Lloyd George has taken all the plums." But the two quickly fashioned a remarkable program of social reform: legislation on sweated labor, a system of labor exchanges, old-age pensions and unemployment insurance. Not dogmatic for either state or private participation in economic and social affairs, Churchill believed a union of the resources of the state and the personal energies of the people would alleviate the worst sources of poverty and ignorance.

Winston and Lloyd George, who were rapidly becoming known as the House of Commons’ "terrible twins," fretted about the House of Lords. When the Lords killed a Liquor Licensing Bill Winston roared," . . . we shall send them up a budget in June as shall terrify them. They have started a class war, they had better be careful."

WSC reported his income for the year as £3091 (£2466 from LORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL, £2000 from articles and MY AFRICAN JOURNEY, £800 expenses and £225 from a reprint of SAVROLA).

On the day of his wedding, Churchill had been honored with the distinction of appearing as a waxwork effigy at Madame Tussaud’s. It was the first of a total of seven effigies throughout his life.

1909



Randolph called this period his father’s "new departure." Was he truly "an architect of the modern welfare state" or merely a defender of traditional class society? Historians disagree. RSC referred to the reciprocal fascination, friendship and partnership between WSC and Lloyd George. But Margot Asquith wrote, "From Lloyd George he was to learn the language of Radicalism. It was Lloyd George’s native tongue, but it was not his own, and despite his efforts he spoke it with a difference." Margot wrote him frequently, usually encouraging his support for her husband, the Prime Minister, even asking him to intervene with the editor of the Manchester Guardian because of its critical stand. But Churchill replied that papers had better be left alone.

Churchill planned to visit Paris, but Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey made him promise not to meddle in foreign policy. Grey warned him that he could not discuss politics abroad as a private individual: "Importance will be attached to all you say.

WSC published My African Journey (Woods A12), a longer version of his account in The Strand (A35), but with only 45,000 words it had large type. It sold for 5/. He bought and sold many books via Eddie Marsh, who considered Newman’s Sermons, Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Macauley ‘s History of England, Gibbon. Froude and Carlyle. Nearly 200 books were bought and sold.


The prospects of the brilliant Asquith Government were dim because of by-election losses and the economic depression. But the crisis looming between the reactionary Tory back-benchers and the House of Lords on one side, and the Liberal backbenchers and their Labour allies on the other, was to be the Government’s salvation.

The focus of the battle was the "Peoples’ Budget" of Lloyd George and the results were the death of the old laissez-faire Liberalism and the first light of day for the welfare state. Throughout the debate, Churchill took pride that he had drawn a line "below which we will not allow persons to live and yet above which they may compete with all the strength of their manhood."

Although The Times called the budget "unadventurous," it was a divisive influence within the Marlborough family. Clementine, noting that Winston’s cousin Sunny was preoccupied with the budget, predicted that "it will make politics very bitter for a long time." Expecting their first child, Clementine and Winston prepared to move to a new house at 33 Eccleston Square in Pimlico. They took an 18-year lease at £195 per year.

In May, Winston participated in the annual camp of the Oxfordshire Yeomanry in the park at Blenheim. While the men camped the women were often entertained in the Palace, but Clementine declined to participate this year. Winston wrote his pregnant wife: "I don’t like your having to bear pain and face this ordeal. But we are in the grip of circumstances and out of pain joy will spring and from passing weakness new strengths arise."


The first Churchill child, Diana, was born on 11 July. The birth was very trying for Clementine and she spent the summer with her mother recuperating in Sussex where, she wrote Winston, "the butter is yellower, the cream thicker and the honey sweeter." The baby remained in London with her father. "The P.K. [Puppy Kitten] is very well," he wrote, "but the nurse is rather inclined to glower at me as if I was a tiresome interloper. I missed seeing her [the PK] take her bath this morning. But tomorrow I propose to officiate"

On the political front the battle raged with fellow Liberal ministers as well as with the Tories. Within Cabinet the row was over how many dreadnoughts were required to meet the German naval challenge. McKenna, the First Lord, wanted six; Lloyd George and WSC maintained that four were sufficient. Sir John Fisher, the First Sea Lord, recognized the formidable political power of the Lloyd George-Churchill partnership when he suggested, with delicious irony, that four dreadnoughts be named "No. 1. WINSTON, No. 2. CHURCHILL, No. 3. LLOYD, No. 4. GEORGE. How they would fight! Uncircumventable!"

The price extracted by LG and WSC for the dreadnoughts was the "People’s Budget," which increased taxes, particularly of the property owners. Although Lloyd George questioned the depth of Churchill’s support, ("He had a soft spot for dukes— Blenheim and all that,") the latter’s actions brought opprobrium from his class on him.

Winston’s mother sent him a draft of a play she was writing. He replied, "The utility of most things can be measured in terms of money. I do not believe in writing books which do not sell, or plays which do not play."


The "People’s Budget" dominated the attention of the nation and Churchill. A principal protagonist in the looming battle between the Commons and the Lords, he told Clementine that he could not make up his mind "whether to be provocative or conciliatory . . . But on the whole I think it will be the former!" He was. He accused the Lords of thinking "they were the only persons fit to serve the Crown. They regard the government as their perquisite and political authority as merely an adjunct to their wealth and titles." It was not the kind of remark likely to earn the affection of his own class.

In September Churchill went to Germany to observe maneuvers of the German army and visit German Labor Exchanges. Of the former, he was impressed by the size and armaments, and by the fact that the army could march 35 miles in a day. Of the Labor Exchanges, he commented that "the honour of introducing them into England would be in itself a rich reward."

Back in England, WSC and Clementine frequently attended shooting and dinner parties where politics and personalities were usually discussed. At one, after quantities of champagne and Madeira were consumed, he stated that "the difference between Balfour and Asquith was that Balfour was wicked and moral, while Asquith was good and immoral."

To settle the Lords-Common dispute, Asquith prorogued Parliament and the "Peers vs. People" election campaign began. WSC was attacked while campaigning by a suffragette who lashed at him with a whip: "Take that in the name of the insulted women of England."

1910



As Secretary of State for the Home Office, Churchill was a senior official in the Asquith Government. Only one predecessor in that office had been younger -Sir Robert Peel.

A transport workers strike in South Wales, called while Churchill was holidaying in Switzerland, nearly provoked the use of troops and London Police, but it was settled without violence. His support of the activities of a non-party Conciliation Committee on female suffrage was conditional on the support of other leaders and did not commit him to any specific legislation.

He assumed a traditional task of the Prime Minister in writing a nightly letter to the King on the affairs of the House. In two years, he would write 138 letters to his sovereigns, Edward VII and George V. The letters were factual but also replete with personal comments. For example, on the issue of precedents for the extraordinary use of the Royal Prerogative in creating Peers, he informed the King that Lord High Cecil had cited the creation of 12 new Peers to destroy the Whig Majority in 1711. This was, Churchill wrote, "a singularly unsatisfactory example from the history of the past."

King Edward, resentful that the Liberals were using him against the Lords, informed his secretary that he would be pleased if Asquith, Lloyd George and Churchill did not meet him on his return to England from Europe.


In April, the Lords finally passed the "People's Budget," but the Liberals, determined to prevent the Lords from ever vetoing Commons legislation, introduced the Parliament Bill. Churchill assumed the responsibility for piloting it through the Commons.

The death of King Edward VII in May brought a brief respite from political strife. In June the new sovereign, King George V, called an All-Party Constitutional Conference, but it failed to produce an acceptable compromise. Although an initial proposal for a coalition Cabinet excluded Churchill, he was eventually considered for the War Office. In the end, the Tories would have no truck with either Churchill or Lloyd George.

In July, WSC introduced to the House major reforms in the prison system: time would be allowed to pay debts instead of debtors being sent to prison; suspended sentences were provided for trivial offenses; offenses punishable by prison sentences were reduced for drunkards and youthful offenders. "The first real principle which should guide anyone trying to establish a good system of prisons," Churchill said, "should be to prevent as many people as possible getting there at all."

Following a cruise in the eastern Mediterranean with Clementine, he returned to face a strike in the mines of South Wales which would eventually result in an incident in a town whose name would leave a perhaps undeserved blemish on the record of one of the greatest Home Secretaries. The town was Tonypandy.


Social unrest dominated British political life at this time and, as Home Secretary, WSC carried primary responsibility for government response to the ferment. Worker riots centered on the Welsh mining town of Tonypandy. Churchill's actions earned him severe criticism of both the Left and the Right. The Left attacked him for excessive use of force; the Right charged that he should have used troops, not police, to quell the disturbances.

The calling of an election killed the Conciliation Bill or the Parliamentary Franchise (Women) Bill. On what the suffragettes called Black Friday (18 November) many women were beaten in a demonstration on Parliament Square. Despite Churchill's desire to pre- vent this, he was held responsible. On 22 November he supervised police action in another demonstration at Downing Street. A few days later, he was physically attacked by a male supporter of the suffragettes. For many years he was perceived as a special villain by many Labour supporters and suffragettes.

He made prison reform a personal concern. He noted that sons of the working class faced jail terms for offenses which were perceived to be manifestations of exuberant spirits in sons of other classes. He proposed time to pay debts instead of jail sentences. Capital punishment cases caused him much anguish.

Bonar Law challenged Churchill to run against him in Manchester, the loser to stay out of the succeeding Parliament. Winston declined, ran and won in Dundee. Clementine helped, even to the extent of making a short speech on the danger of an increased cost of living if Tariff Reform was introduced.

1911



After spending Christmas at Blenheim, Churchill was at home at Eccleston Square when he was informed that the infamous Houndsditch gang, wanted anarchists, was trapped at 100 Sidney Street in Stepney. As Home Secretary he ordered the use of the Scots Guards and the Horse Artillery, and as an unregenerate activist, he went himself to observe the siege which ended in the burning of the house.

Churchill's relationship with the King, George V, was uneven. Asquith had assigned him the task of writing a nightly letter, to the King on the work of the House. In one letter, after proposing labor colonies for tramps and wastrels, he added: "it must not be forgotten that there are idlers and wastrels at both ends of the social scale," The King was offended by this remark which evoked considerable correspondence between the Royal secretary, Lord Knollys, and WSC.

Churchill's relations with the monarch were considerably enhanced by his defense of the King against a charge by an Edward Mylius, in a republican and anarchist paper, that the King had been previously married while serving with the Mediterranean Fleet. Because Churchill had been in complete charge of the legal challenge, the conviction of Mylius for criminal libel sweetened the relationship with George V.

At this time Max Aitken (later Lord Beaverbrook), a former Canadian financier recently elected as a Conservative MP was walking on the terrace of the House of Commons with Winston's friend, F.E. Smith. He commented that he would give five pounds to dine with "that fellow Churchill." Smith brought them together and so began a lifetime friendship, if at times sorely tried by tensions between them.


Expecting their second child (dubbed "the Chumbolly"), the Churchills celebrated Easter at Blenheim. On 28 May a son, Randolph, was born at their home on Eccleston Square, London.

Shortly after, Winston attended his annual camp with the Oxfordshire Yeomanry at Blenheim.

On 22 June they attended the first of three coronations they would see during their lives. Clementine was not expected to attend but, through the kind offices of King George V, a royal carriage was sent for her and returned her to the hungry Randolph immediately after the ceremony.

Along with Home Office duties, Winston piloted the Parliament Bill through the House of Commons. When the House of Lords amended it out of recognition, it was obvious that the final battle was at hand.

Meanwhile, the Government searched for a solution to the perennial Irish problem. The acrimony created by these political battles was somewhat mitigated by the creation of The Other Club. The genesis of The Other Club is unclear. Some claim that Parliament was the first club but The Other Club's official historian suggests that the founders, Winston Churchill and F.E. Smith, started it in response to their failure to secure election to The Club, in Oxford. The first dinner was held on 18 May 1911 and The Other Club still meets in the Pinafore Room of the Savoy Hotel.


The record heat of the summer matched the political heat in Parliament. Ireland, Labour disputes, Parliamentary reform and Germany all vied for Churchill's attention. Nothwithstanding his father's old position, Winston became an active proponent of a united Ireland. Scions of other great families from the 1880s fight were also Involved; Austen Chamberlain (son of Joseph) and Lord Hugh Cecil (son of Lord Salisbury) bitterly opposed the Government's plans. As Home Secretary, Churchill had first responsibility for law and order. This involved him directly in the dockworkers' and transport workers' strikes. His use of troops further alienated organized labour and the Left, which henceforth regarded him as a conservative enemy despite the many reforms passed during his tenure in office.

On the International scene he was reappraising his position. Although he and Lloyd George had led the opposition to increased armaments spending, they now perceived that Germany was an aggressive power. When a German gunboat appeared off Agadir in Morocco to intimidate the French, it unintentionally impressed the two British politicians who would have the greatest impact during the First World War. Asquith appointed Churchill to the Cabinet's Committee on Imperial Defence. Later he wrote: "Once I got drawn in (to the preparation for war with Germany), it dominated all other interests in my mind."


In September Clementine visited her austere grand- mother in Scotland while Winston conversed with the King at Balmoral. He then motored in his new red Napier (which had cost £610) to the Prime Minister's home on the East Lothian coast of Scotland. This was not an unusual event since WSC was a favourite of Asquith and a friend of his daughter, Violet. It was, however. not to be a normal visit. During the visit he was advised that he was to be the new First Lord of the Admiralty. His elation and determination are reflected in his comment to Violet: "This is a big thing - the biggest thing that has ever come my way - the chance I should have chosen before all others. I shall pour Into it everything I've got."

Just as he could not refrain from involvement in military matters when he was in the Home Office, now, as he prepared to take over the Admiralty, he immersed himself in domestic issues, particularly in opposing the extension of the franchise to women. Fearing that the government would "go down on Petticoat politics," he stated that he would be willing to abide by the results of a referendum. He told the owner of News of the World that "we already have enough ignorant voters and we don't want any more."

Home Rule also drew his attention and support, partly because it was a natural part of the evolution from Empire to Commonwealth: ". . . we are now in the full-tide of a successful experiment in regard to self-government. South Africa and Canada are the fruits of the lmperialism of peace and freedom . . ."  But the Admiralty attracted most of his inexhaustible energies and for assistance he turned to a retired First Sea Lord, Baron (Jackie) Fisher; thus began a tempestuous relationship which would alter the history of the world.

1912



As Churchill assumed control of the Admiralty he became more convinced that Germany was intent on a war for control of Europe, and that the Naval War Staff was required to prepare the Royal Navy for the coming struggle. In order to reorganize the Royal Naval high command he asked for the resignation of the First Sea Lord, Sir Arthur Wilson, and replaced him with Sir Francis Bridgeman.

As Second Sea Lord he appointed Prince Louis of Battenberg. His views on the Royal Navy were later expressed in The World Crisis: ". . . when I went to the Admiralty I found that there was not a moment in the career and training of a naval officer when he was obliged to read a single book about naval war. . . . The Royal Navy had made no important contribution to naval literature."

He viewed the Royal Navy as crucial to Britain's very existence: "The British Navy is to us a necessity and, from some points of view, the German Navy is to them more In the nature of a luxury. . . It is the British Navy which makes Great Britain a great power. But Germany was a great power. respected and honoured all over the world, before she had a single ship. . . "


In late March Churchill went to Portland to review the Fleet, conquering his seasickness with a medicine called Mothersill. Winston greatly admired the counsel of Admiral "Jackie" Fisher, but he offended the great man with three of his naval appointments. Fisher thought that the First Lord had been unduly influenced by the King to appoint Court favourites. On 22 April he wrote Churchill: "I fear this must be my last communication with you in any matter at all ... I am sorry for it but I consider you have betrayed the Navy. . ."

Nevertheless, when Churchill and Prime Minister Asquith toured the Mediterranean on HMS Enchantress, Fisher was pleased to come aboard at Naples. In addition to wooing Fisher, the purpose of this extensive voyage with a considerable entourage was to provide information for Churchill in his campaign to alter the disposition of the Fleet from the Mediterranean to the North Sea, to counter the growing German naval challenge.


Historically, Germany had been a land power with hardly any naval tradition, so when the Kaiser announced that "our future ties on the water," the challenge to Britain's naval predominance was on. Grand-Admiral Tirpitz's naval building program inflamed this rivalry and Churchill's entire summer was devoted to responding to the crisis.

The support of the Empire was crucial and Churchill spent most of his time hosting a contingent of Canadian ministers led by Prime Minister Robert Borden. He hoped to entice Borden to contribute funds to pay for the construction of three dreadnoughts. Despite Borden's acquiescence, there was considerable opposition within Canada to this proposal.

The argument over the disposition of the Fleet in the Mediterranean and Home waters was resolved by recognizing the needs of the North Sea as a priority but keeping a Mediterranean battle fleet equal to the "one-power Mediterranean standard, excluding France," which meant that Britain would equal the challenge of any single power on the body of water, excluding her ally. This response to the German challenge was expensive but Churchill willingly assumed responsibility.

When Lloyd George told him that responsibility stared him in the face. Churchill responded: "Your only chance is to get 5 million pounds next year - and put the blame on me. Then you will be in clover again for the rest of Parliament."

He observed the Fleet's tactical exercises at Portsmouth and cruised up the coast to Scotland on HMS Enchantress. Lloyd George told him: "You have become a water creature. You think we all live on the sea, and all your thoughts are devoted to sea life, fishes, and other aquatic creatures. You forget that most of us live on land."


Disputes with high personages marked this season for the First Lord of the Admiralty.

One was with the Admiralty's senior commander, Sir Francis Bridgeman, whom WSC urged to retire on the grounds of ill-health because the "burden may be more than you could sustain." Bridgeman did not wish to go quietly but acquiesced when told that Churchill's conclusion "must necessarily be final." The Bridgeman resignation became a major political problem for Churchill in the House and the Press. Five Sea Lords had been retired by Churchill who was accused of wanting to run the show himself. He appointed Prince Louis of Battenberg as the new First Sea Lord and Sir John Jellicoe as Second Sea Lord.

The greatest personage with whom Churchill disputed was King George V over the naming of the Royal Navy's capital ships. When Churchill proposed the names of King Richard I, King Henry V, Queen Elizabeth and Oliver Cromwell, the Sovereign took serious issue with the last name. Neither side seemed inclined to relent until Prince Louis of Battenberg advised the First Lord that Kings historically had the last word in naming ships. Oliver Cromwell became Valiant.

His cousin, "Sunny," Ninth Duke of Marlborough, wrote from France that he had purchased Winston a Christmas present, a bathrobe, because "I have been shocked at the manner in which you display your person when travelling to and from the bathroom, and I am making an effort to find you an appropriate leaf."


The year ended with a bitter storm in Parliament over Churchill's behaviour in forcing the resignation of Sir Francis Bridgeman as First Sea Lord. On 20 December an acrimonious debate occurred in the House of Commons. The criticism was led by Andrew Bonar Law and Lord Charles Beresford. Although Churchill vigorously defended his actions, it was generally believed that he had not behaved well and that Bridgeman had been a victim. Criticism of the First Lord within the Navy was considerable.

Ultimately, Churchill required the assistance of the King to quieten the episode. Immediately after his audience with the monarch, Bridgeman withdrew his request for publication of all correspondence.

In January, Churchill accompanied the Prime Minister on a tour of naval facilities in the north of Scotland. Speaking at his home constituency of Dundee, he claimed that the Navy was strong and the Army was efficient, and that that strength would be used "to preserve peace, to bring disputing parties together, to smooth away difficulties and to compact an abiding settlement ... based upon justice and equality." On 30 January he boarded the Admiralty yacht Enchantress and headed south. Four days later he was at Portsmouth and Spithead where he was joined on board by King George V.

He loved working on Enchantress. Between 1911 and 1914 he would spend a total of eight months aboard it. A critic in the Commons charged that it was not necessary for the First Lord to go to sea at all, and that, because naval stations were dotted round the coast on land, they would be visited more quickly and cheaply by rail. Churchill responded that in the event of war the personnel of the yacht would be transferred to fighting ships and the vessel itself would be used as an auxiliary hospital ship.

While Winston was afloat, Clementine visited the Asquiths at their country home even though she strongly disapproved of the Prime Minister's open appreciation of feminine pulchritude.

Ulster continued to be a serious problem for Britain. In a speech before a Home Rule Council Luncheon, WSC called for moderation in language and accused the Tory leader of preparing himself for Prime Minister by recklessly adopting the extreme language of the rabid partisans in his party.

1913



The year ended with a bitter storm in Parliament over Churchill's behaviour in forcing the resignation of Sir Francis Bridgeman as First Sea Lord. On 20 December an acrimonious debate occurred in the House of Commons. The criticism was led by Andrew Bonar Law and Lord Charles Beresford. Although Churchill vigorously defended his actions, it was generally believed that he had not behaved well and that Bridgeman had been a victim. Criticism of the First Lord within the Navy was considerable.

Ultimately, Churchill required the assistance of the King to quieten the episode. Immediately after his audience with the monarch, Bridgeman withdrew his request for publication of all correspondence.

In January, Churchill accompanied the Prime Minister on a tour of naval facilities in the north of Scotland. Speaking at his home constituency of Dundee, he claimed that the Navy was strong and the Army was efficient, and that that strength would be used "to preserve peace, to bring disputing parties together, to smooth away difficulties and to compact an abiding settlement ... based upon justice and equality." On 30 January he boarded the Admiralty yacht Enchantress and headed south. Four days later he was at Portsmouth and Spithead where he was joined on board by King George V.

He loved working on Enchantress. Between 1911 and 1914 he would spend a total of eight months aboard it. A critic in the Commons charged that it was not necessary for the First Lord to go to sea at all, and that, because naval stations were dotted round the coast on land, they would be visited more quickly and cheaply by rail. Churchill responded that in the event of war the personnel of the yacht would be transferred to fighting ships and the vessel itself would be used as an auxiliary hospital ship.

While Winston was afloat, Clementine visited the Asquiths at their country home even though she strongly disapproved of the Prime Minister's open appreciation of feminine pulchritude.

Ulster continued to be a serious problem for Britain. In a speech before a Home Rule Council Luncheon, WSC called for moderation in language and accused the Tory leader of preparing himself for Prime Minister by recklessly adopting the extreme language of the rabid partisans in his party.


On 13 March the First Lord presented his naval estimates of £48 millions to the House of Commons. Concerns over Britain's ability to compete with Germany overcame the reservations expressed by Lloyd George about the country's ability to afford it. In fact, other views, expressed by Lord Charles Beresford, argued that the navy was still understaffed and ill- prepared. However, the Daily Telegraph stated that "the Navy has never in its long history had a more persuasive spokesman in Parliament than the present Minister."

In April Churchill was involved in what came to be known as the Marconi Scandal. His colleague, Lloyd George, was accused of improperly trading in shares of the Marconi Company. Churchill vociferously defended his friend. When the editor of the Financial News testified that Churchill himself had profited by trading, the accused exploded. He charged that anyone who stated anything other than his innocence "was a liar and a slanderer." Not only was he believed to be innocent by the public but his friends were impressed by his self-defence. One wrote: "it is in affairs like these that breeding asserts itself."

In May the Churchills set out on a Mediterranean cruise on Enchantress. They were accompanied by the Asquiths and their daughter, Eddie Marsh and Winston's mother. At the time, Jennie was unhappily divorcing her husband, George Cornwallis-West, who had deserted her. They toured Venice in a gondola, visited Dubrovnick and went fishing in Vallona Bay on the Albanian coast. At a picnic luncheon Winston kept quoting Gray's Ode to Spring. "At ease reclined in a rustic state. . . . "

At Athens they saw the Parthenon. Churchill, distressed at the sight of the collapsed columns, wanted to bring in a group of naval blue-jackets to set them upright. In Sicily Prime Minister Asquith, having reviewed his Thucydides for the occasion, entertained the party with an account of the Sicilian Expedition.

The British press followed their journey with much interest. Punch published a cartoon showing the First Lord and Prime Minister relaxing on the deck of Enchantress. The Prime Minister is scanning a newspaper as Churchill asks him: "Any Home News?" To which Asquith replies, "How can there be with you here?"

At Malta the First Lord disembarked, visited the naval station and rejoined the party at Palermo. On visiting Corsica, Eddie Marsh and Churchill called at Napoleon's house and stood together "for a full moment in silent cogitation." Violet Asquith, the Prime Minister's daughter, remembered particularly the evening card-games. Eddie Marsh was a serious bridge player who was often bemused by Churchill's unconventional play. "I can still hear Eddie's cry of pain" she has recorded, "when Winston, having led up to and sacrificed his partner's king, declared, "Nothing is here for tears. The king cannot fall unworthily if he falls to the sword of the ace" - a dictum which left Eddie's tears over his fallen king un-dried."

Another amusing story from the voyage involved Clementine. On paying a visit to the galley to talk to the cook, she found a large and, to her beautiful, turtle. When it became obvious that it was destined for soup she obtained a dinghy and a party of men and returned the intended victim to the Mediterranean. Despite his love of culinary pleasures, Winston approved.


Ireland was prominent in Churchill's attention. He had been an early supporter of Home Rule, contrary to the policy espoused by his father. However, when he had moved die second reading of the Home Rule Bill in April 1912, he acknowledged the need for some concessions: "I admit that perfectly genuine apprehensions of the majority of the people of North-East Ulster constitute the most serious obstacle to a thoroughly satisfactory settlement ... but whatever Ulster's rights may be, she cannot stand in the way of the whole of the rest of Ireland."

He accused the Tory leader, Andrew Bonar Law, of treasonable activity and of inciting the Orangemen. In a letter to The Times he wrote: "In a constitutionally governed country ... there is no need and no excuse for violence.... All this talk of violence, of bayonets and bullets, of rebellion and civil war has come from one side alone. " He charged the Tories with using the fanaticism of the Orangemen as a short-cut to office.

During the previous winter the debate on Ulster had become so intense that the Speaker adjourned the House. When Churchill waved his handkerchief in response to a taunt of "rats," he was hit and cut on the head with a copy of Standing Orders, hurled from the Tory benches.

By the summer of 1913 the Bill had twice been passed by the Commons and both times rejected by the Lords, reminiscent of ft fate of Gladstone's Bill in the 1880's. But now the Lords could not stop a Bill from becoming law after a third reading in the Commons.

Unable to win in the Commons the Tories turned to the King in the hope that he would dissolve Parliament. So violent was Tory opposition that Churchill and Lloyd George and some other Ministers were anxious to find a settlement. Churchill hoped to discuss the matter with Bonar Law when both were invited to Balmoral in September. Despite Bonar Law's threat of civil war, Churchill and Asquith were prepared to carry forward with Home Rule but agreed that some compromise was necessary with Ulster.

Churchill also had a protracted disagreement with the King over the naming of vessels in His Majesty's Navy. While they agreed on Hero, Agincourt and Raleigh for the new battleships they differed on the name Pitt, which the King considered neither "euphonious nor dignified. " Nor did the King like Ark Royal which seemed to him a misnomer to apply to a ship of metal. He feared that it would eventually be known as the Noah's Ark.

Churchill & King George V had disagreed on the matter of mining ships before so the First Lord reminded His Majesty of a Minister's responsibility for the action so that public criticism could not be directed at the Crown. The King replied that the officers and men of the Royal Navy would like to feel that the ships were named with the approval of the Sovereign particularly as the present king was a former Royal Navy officer.

While in Scotland on Enchantress, he wrote Clementine about the affection he had for his family: "Tender love to you my sweet one and to both those little kittens and especially the radiant Randolph. Diana is a darling too but somehow he seems a more genial, generous nature, while she is mysterious: but I repent to have expressed a preference. They are very beautiful and will win us honour some day when everyone is admiring her and grumbling about him.


Britain's naval strength vis-a-vis the Germans concerned Churchill greatly. He had 59 dreadnoughts in the Royal Navy and planned to add two for every one Germany built. The Dominions' contributions had to be considered as well. Australia had launched a navy; South Africa was considering a contribution but New Zealand had refused. Canada's House of Commons had approved the contribution of three dreadnoughts, but the Senate had defeated the bill.

In addition to battleships, Churchill worked to build up the Naval Air Arm and continued his own flying lessons. He was also attempting to respond to the admonition of Lord Fisher: "Re- member that the submarine is now the dominating sea fighting factor and you are not building enough of them." Churchill knew that he had to take an Empire view on the matter. "It is high time that the Dominions had the true strategic conception on which the Empire is conducted impressed upon them. On general grounds I do not think it is practicable without serious disadvantage to resist the widespread desire of the Dominions to confer on naval matters. "

He had little hope that the Germans would accept any deal to stop the naval race. "They will just butt in on the water as in the air."

The political problems within the Admiralty were often reported to others on the outside. One Admiral informed Churchill that he had a chatterbox in the department: Sir Francis Hopwood, a Civil Lord of the Admiralty who had come with WSC from the Home Office but who seemed to take the side of the Admirals in most disputes.

In November Hopwood wrote in a gossip letter to the private secretary of the King that "there is a fierce quarrel between Churchill and his Naval Lords. Churchill very foolishly travels around the coast holding reviews and inspections and so forth without reference to Naval opinion and regulation.

He is also much addicted to sending for junior officers and discussing with them the proceedings of their superiors; this naturally enrages the latter and is very mischievous to the former." One incident very nearly led to the resignation of the four Sea Lords, but Churchill believed that his actions were in the best interests of the ordinary seamen. In a letter to Lord Fisher he stated this concern for their welfare: "As for the dockyard workmen, it is socially just that men who work all their lives faithfully for the State should have permanency and pension guaranteed, just like Admirals!"

The other danger Churchill confronted was a split in national unity over Home Rule in Ireland. On the Prime Minister's behalf he had discussed the matter with the Unionist leader, Andrew Bonar Law, at Balmoral in September. In October Churchill spoke of the need for conciliation to meet the claims of Ulster but reiterated the intent of the Government to bring in Home Rule.

Churchill had close friendships with many Tory leaders, the closest of whom was F.E. Smith. Smith came to accept the fact that Home Rule might be inevitable, but hoped to exclude Ulster. Another friend was Austen Chamber- lain, a son of the great Joe and half-brother of the lesser Neville. In discussions with Chamberlain aboard Enchantress, Churchill suggested excluding Ulster until she "voted herself in." Chamberlain concluded from this conversation that "Winston genuinely wants a settlement and so do Lloyd George, Grey and Asquith, but that as to the means they have no clear idea. And that the hot and cold fits succeed each other pretty quickly; that Asquith means to wait and see and will not give his casting vote till the last moment. "

It was during Churchill's visit to Balmoral that his friendship with the Prince of Wales bloomed. He sent this account to Clementine: "Last night I had a long talk with the young Prince and we went through all my Admiralty boxes together. He is so nice and we have made rather friends. They are wor- ried a little about him, as he has become very spartan - rising at 6 and eating hardly anything. He requires to fall in love with a pretty cat, who will prevent him from getting too strenuous."


In November 1913, Austen Chamberlain visited Churchill aboard the Admiralty yacht Enchantress, and then wrote a long memorandum to Bonar Law on their discussions. Churchill had told him that Ulster would never be allowed to veto Home Rule for Ireland but he did not exclude the possibility of separate treatment for Ulster.

Churchill believed that public opinion required a shock to force a solution to the impasse. "Both sides had to make speeches full of party claptrap and no surrender, and then insert a few sentences at the end for the wise and discerning on the other side to see and ponder. A little red blood had to flow and then public opinion would wake up."

Chamberlain was left the impression that Winston genuinely wanted a settlement but had no clear idea how to get it.

In March Churchill addressed 3,000 people in Bradford and outlined the Government's offer whereby any county could exclude itself from Home Rule for six years by a majority vote in that county.

Even Churchill's friends were concerned about the size of his Naval Estimates. Margot Asquith wrote Lloyd George: "Don't let Winston have too much money - it will hurt our party in every way - Labour and even Liberals. If one can't be a little economical when all foreign countries are peaceful I don't know when they can."

In December Churchill proposed to the Cabinet an increase which permitted four battleships and twelve destroyers. He also wanted to purchase greater reserves of oil plus an additional 5,000 nwn. Asquith complained that of a three-hour Cabinet meeting, 23A hours of the peroid were occupied by Winston.

It was clear that Churchill was facing strong opposition within the Cabinet on both his naval estimates and Ulster. Lloyd George thought there was an attempt "to down Winston" by driving him from the Cabinet. Some believed that Churchill had "lost all touch with Liberalism and had become a man of one idea" since he went to the Admirality.

By the new year Lloyd George had become one of the principal opponents to increased naval expenditures. Churchill's problems were compounded by news from the Canadian Prime Minister that he could no longer promise the contribution of three dreadnoughts.

1914



In November 1913, Austen Chamberlain visited Churchill aboard the Admiralty yacht Enchantress, and then wrote a long memorandum to Bonar Law on their discussions. Churchill had told him that Ulster would never be allowed to veto Home Rule for Ireland but he did not exclude the possibility of separate treatment for Ulster.

Churchill believed that public opinion required a shock to force a solution to the impasse. "Both sides had to make speeches full of party claptrap and no surrender, and then insert a few sentences at the end for the wise and discerning on the other side to see and ponder. A little red blood had to flow and then public opinion would wake up."

Chamberlain was left the impression that Winston genuinely wanted a settlement but had no clear idea how to get it.

In March Churchill addressed 3,000 people in Bradford and outlined the Government's offer whereby any county could exclude itself from Home Rule for six years by a majority vote in that county.

Even Churchill's friends were concerned about the size of his Naval Estimates. Margot Asquith wrote Lloyd George: "Don't let Winston have too much money - it will hurt our party in every way - Labour and even Liberals. If one can't be a little economical when all foreign countries are peaceful I don't know when they can."

In December Churchill proposed to the Cabinet an increase which permitted four battleships and twelve destroyers. He also wanted to purchase greater reserves of oil plus an additional 5,000 nwn. Asquith complained that of a three-hour Cabinet meeting, 23A hours of the peroid were occupied by Winston.

It was clear that Churchill was facing strong opposition within the Cabinet on both his naval estimates and Ulster. Lloyd George thought there was an attempt "to down Winston" by driving him from the Cabinet. Some believed that Churchill had "lost all touch with Liberalism and had become a man of one idea" since he went to the Admirality.

By the new year Lloyd George had become one of the principal opponents to increased naval expenditures. Churchill's problems were compounded by news from the Canadian Prime Minister that he could no longer promise the contribution of three dreadnoughts.

In January Churchill received a note of support written in the King's hand, which concluded: "Since you have been at the Admiralty you have by your zeal and ability done great work for the Navy and I sympathize with you in your present position."

Finally, Asquith himself was reqffired to intervene. He told Churchill that "the critical pack have slackened their pursuit" and recommended that the First Lord "show a corresponding disposition and throw a baby or two out of the sledge." For his part, Churchill felt that he had reduced the estimates as much as possible. He replied: "The sledge is bare of babies, and though the pack may crunch the driver's bones, the winter will not be ended."

In February the Council of the City of' London passed the following motion: 'That this meeting of the Citizens of London begs to assure the Prime Minister and His Majesty's Government of the support of the Commecial Community in any measures - financial or other - that may be necessary to ensure the continued supremacy of the Navy and the adequate protection of the Trade routes of the Empire." Churchill got most of what he wanted. In March he presented the estimates to the House of Commons in what was described 32 by the Daily Telegraph as "perhaps the most weighty and eloquent speech to which the House of Commons have listened during the present generation."


Churchill was becoming increasingly embroiled in Irish politics as die Government spokesman, partly because of his natural bent for leadership. As his son would later comment: "If there was a battle he always aspired to be in the front line, even if not in actual command."

The prospect of civil war in Ireland was very real and Tory anger was unmitigated at Liberal proposals to enforce Home Rule. Churchill was the target for most of their attacks. He was called everything from a "Lilliput Napoleon" to "Lord Randolph's renegade son."

Europe was hurtling toward war and Churchill was working fervently to have the Navy ready. This included a well-equipped and well-armed Royal Navy Air Service of 120 pilots. The First Lord's attraction to flying himself brought this admonition from his cousin, the Duke of Marlborough: "I consider that you owe it to your wife, family and friends to desist from a practice which is fraught with so much danger to life. " Others had similar concerns. Churchill wrote his wife: "My business proposals do not go smoothly - for the reason that the insurance companies try to charge excessive premiums on my life - political strain, short-lived parentage and, of course, flying are the reasons they give." Reluctantly he agreed to stop flying but only because of his love for his wife. "This is a gift - so stupidly am I made - wh costs me more than anything wh cd be bought for money. So I am vy glad to lay it at your feet, because I know it will rejoice and relieve your heart. Anyhow I can feel I know a good deal about this fascinating new art. I can manage a machine with ease in the air, even with high winds, and only a little more practice in landings wd have enabled me to go up with reasonable safety alone. I have been up nearly 140 times, with many pilots, and all kinds of machines, so I know the difficulties, the difficulties and the joys of the air - well enough to appreciate them, and to understand all the questions of policy wh will arise in the near future."

Churchill's advocacy of air power received wide public support. Punch published a cartoon entitled 'Neptune's Ally' showing the great god of the sea watching a plethora of air machines over the water and a winged Churchill supplying their motive power. The European scene continued to cause concern. In April King George V visited Paris but the British refused to participate in a Paris-initiated naval convention with Russia. In June an Anglo-German agreement was initiated. Most specifically about the Baghdad Railway, it reflected a desire of both sides to remove many outstanding colonial difficulties. But by late June Germany and Austria were deeply embroiled in the politics of the Balkans. Vienna favoured an alliance with Bulgaria and Turkey while Berlin had been urging Austrian reconciliation with Serbia, Rumania and Greece. On Sunday, 28 June, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Austrian throne, and his morganatic wife Sophie, began a good- will tour of the Bosnian city of Sarajevo to express their sympathy for the aspirations of loyal Slav nationalists. Shots that still ring round the world would end their lives and led to the same fate for millions of others.