Summer 1936 (Age 61)

As Churchill gathered evidence on the Government’s inability to meet the growing German challenge, he was urged to be cautious by his friend and cousin, Freddie Guest: “I am convinced this is the psychological moment in your career. . . . You can lead the Conservative Party, but you cannot break the Conservative machine.”

Others encouraged him to continue to speak out. He followed the latter advice, charging that “half- measures and procrastinations are the order of the day.” Throughout the summer his speeches, in and out of Parliament, widened the breech with the Conservative leadership.

He joined with Austen Chamberlain and the 4th Marquis of Salisbury In leading a Parliamentary deputation to Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin on the need for rearmament. Baldwin told them that most of them sat for safe seats, yet there was a strong pacifist and collectivist feeling in the country: “People will only learn, unfortunately, in a democracy, by butting their heads against a brick wall.” He warned of the difficulty in “scaring the people without scaring them into fits.”

On the continent, civil war erupted in Spain between a group of military leaders and the Republican Government. Churchill urged strict neutrality, fearing – correctly as events proved – that the victory of either side could only be followed by “a prolonged period of iron rule.”

In August, he went to France to paint, to finish the third volume of Marlborough and to seek a cure from severe indigestion which had plagued him for several months.

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