Spring 1917 (Age 42)

The Churchills purchased a new home at Lullenden in Sussex. Lady Randolph signed the Deed shown recently on ICS’ visit), suggesting that she provided backing or some other form of support.

After the report of the Dardanelles Commission, the political fate of Churchill lay in the hands of his old friend, Lloyd George. Churchill opposed the attack on the Western Front, wanting to wait until American forces could arrive in Europe. Lloyd George realized that it would be better to have his friend in the Government rather than criticizing from the outside, but his Tory allies were adamantly opposed to Churchill’s inclusion. Churchill later wrote that he was told by Lloyd George that he would eventually be brought in: “I became to a large extent his colleague. He repeatedly discussed with me every aspect of the war and many of his secret hopes and fears.”

In late May, Churchill returned to the continent, where he met Marshal Foch, Sir Henry Wilson, and Sir Douglas Haig, among others. One of the others was Lord Esher, Liaison Officer between the British and French War Offices and a pillar of the political establishment. A letter from Esher to Haig outlines the views that many had of Churchill at the time: “A true appreciation of Winston Churchill — of his potential uses — is a difficult matter. The degree to which his clever but unbalanced mind will in future fulfill its responsibiities is very speculative. He handles great subjects in rhythmical language, and becomes quickly enslaved by his own phrases. He deceives himself into the belief that he takes broad views, when his mind is fixed upon one comparatively small aspect of the question.

“The power of Winston for good and evil is very considerable. His temperament is of wax and quicksilver, and this strange toy amuses and fascinates L George, who likes and fears him … To me he appears not as a statesman, but as a politician of keen intelligence lacking in those puissant qualities that are essential in a man who is to conduct the business of our country through the coming year. I hope therefore that he may remain outside the Government.”

Notwithstanding these views, in July Churchill returned to the Government as Minister of Muntions.

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