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Rising Politician

Author and historian Dr Christopher Bell discusses one of the most controversial events of Churchill's career 

One of the most controversial periods of Winston Churchill's long career was that as First Lord of the Admiralty from 1911 to 1915. During this period of WWI he championed a plan to break through the Dardanelles Straits to open a supply line to the Russians and break the stalemate on the front in France. 

Dr Christopher M Bell is an author and a Professor of History at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His books include Churchill and Sea Power (Oxford University Press, 2012), The Royal Navy, Seapower and Strategy between the Wars (Stanford University Press, 2000) and Naval Mutinies of the Twentieth Century: An International Perspective (Frank Cass/Routledge, 2003).

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Barry M. Gough

I WANT to speak today about a political combination that was profound and important. Prime Minister Asquith was fond of saying that when the history of the Great War came to be written in its totality; a "war of combinations" would be shown to exist. There were numerous alliances of convenience, axes of advancement, bold alliances of convenience established. And when he wrote this perhaps Asquith was pondering the powerful duo that came to the Admiral Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty and Fisher as First Sea Lord.

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Fred Farrow

Boston, 28 October 1995

During the conference at Washington, D.C. last October, I remarked about my good fortune to have been born in England in 1906 at a time when Winston Churchill was in his early thirties. I had the further good fortune to have a grandfather with some small influence in the Conservative Party, which made it possible for me, during the First World War, to be taken to the Stranger’s Gallery at the House of Commons to listen to the debates and, on six or seven occasions, to hear Winston Churchill speak.

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Admiral of the Fleet

By The Earl Mountbatten of Burma
Finest Hour 21, 22, 23, 24

In 1911 Winston Churchill became First Lord of the Admiralty. That is the title of the Minister in charge of the Navy in England. My father came the same year to the Admiralty as the Second Sea Lord, who is the head of the personnel. In 1912 Churchill invited my father to become First Sea Lord, that is the professional head of the Navy and Chief of Naval operations. 

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A Bizarre Escapade of Churchill Derring-Do

By Stanley Smith
Finest Hour 43

On 16 December 1910, a resident of Sidney Street in London's East End heard mysterious hammering noises at a house nearby and notified the Police. This was the beginning of a bizarre incident in which the Home Secretary, Winston S. Churchill, would take a direct hand - incurring no little criticism and ridicule at the time, and for years afterward. It was, like several other Churchillian escapades, only partly understood and greatly misinterpreted. Nevertheless, it makes for an exciting story.

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Reviewed by Richard M. Langworth, Editor Finest Hour

Churchill: His Radical Decade, by Malcolm Hill. London: Othila Press 1999 144 pp., large format, illustrated. Published at $35, member price $30

In 1854 in the United States, President Franklin Pierce vetoed a bill to finance a federal hospital for the mentally ill because "I find nothing in the Constitution to authorize this." In 1896, President Grover Cleveland opposed a bill for federal flood relief on the same grounds. Ten years later in Britain, when the Liberal Party swept into power in a landslide election, the ground shifted. The Liberal Government of 1906 held it a State responsibility to create what Churchill called "a Minimum Standard," below which no citizen should be allowed to fall. Not until the Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal did similar ideas arrive in America. Churchill's Liberals created a rudimentary welfare state twenty years before FDR, and might have extended it had World War I not intervened.

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By Allen Packwood 

Allen Packwood explains how the grandson of a Duke came to represent an industrial neighbor of Manchester
Churchill's links with the town of Oldham began in the summer of 1899 when he was approached by the local Conservative Party and asked to stand as a Tory candidate in the impending by-election. At first glance he appears a strange choice. He was certainly not a local man. In fact, it would be fair to say that his roots were both geographically and socially far removed from the industrial North-West.

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