Jump to content
Great War Forum

Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
Martin Bennitt

Lloyd George becomes prime minister

Recommended Posts

Martin Bennitt

Starting this topic a few hours early, but on December 7, 1916 David Lloyd George became British prime minister. An article in this month's History Today claimed that as minister for munitions and then PM he effectively won the war for Britain. Anyone care to argue with that?

cheers Martin B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris_Baker

You can't argue that he was PM when Britain won the war. In my opinion he was instrumental in the Allies coming very close to losing it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
paul guthrie

But you did win and his judgment that generals has enough men turned out to be true, was there luck involved? Yes but he was also right that men were badly needed who were essential to industry, the navy etc. I have to say he was a much stronger and effective PM than Asquith and the right man at the time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Malcolm
You can't argue that he was PM when Britain won the war. In my opinion he was instrumental in the Allies coming very close to losing it.

I couldn't agree more.

Aye

Malcolm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Julian Dawson

He hardly covered himself with glory as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the early years of the war. His successor in that post, McKenna, found "hopeless financial disorder at the Exchequer, so great indeed that we could not have carried on for another three months."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
armourersergeant

Now I am going to surprise myself here, but if we say that Haig was head of the army and thus has to take the cudos and the detriment, then surely as PM LG has to take the good and the bad as leader of the country. Under him the army prospered and won through. The country pulled together and managed itself to victory.

The fact that he was a self glorying, lying little sh**, is to a certain extent irrelevant, perhaps he kept the others 'honest'

Need to go for a lay down, my head hurts. Cant believe I am sticking up for the Welsh Wizard.

Arm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jonathan Saunders
but if we say that Haig was head of the army and thus has to take the cudos and the detriment, then surely as PM LG has to take the good and the bad as leader of the country. Under him the army prospered and won through. The country pulled together and managed itself to victory.

You beat me to it :angry:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SiegeGunner
The fact that he was a self glorying, lying little sh**, is to a certain extent irrelevant, perhaps he kept the others 'honest'

So he wasn't all bad, then. :P

I've got his War Memoirs, but can't bring myself to read them. Can someone recommend an objective biography?

Mick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
armourersergeant
You beat me to it :angry:

Be afraid be very afraid. I come from a long lay down to recover and you put me back in the dark room with this realisation. Its not good for me to be in agreement with you, though it is nice to say you agree with me rather than the other way!

Arm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Jonathan Saunders
Be afraid be very afraid. I come from a long lay down to recover and you put me back in the dark room with this realisation. Its not good for me to be in agreement with you, though it is nice to say you agree with me rather than the other way!

Arm

But of course using this old Haig argument then Foch takes most of the credit :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bernardlewis

Mick - try the two volumes that John Grigg wrote on D L-G during the war. I'm still on 1914 - I'll try and post a few snippets in the next day or two.

Griggs work was hailed as a masterpiece of biography - not aware that he was accused of bias so it'll be interesting to see what the overall view is. I would add that Mr Grigg died when only up to about October 1918 so there will not be a post war analysis''Judgment of History' chapter in the volumes I have.

Bernard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cliff. Hobson

He did give great support to Churchill in cabinet for the launching of the Dardenelles Campaign, maybe he became a fast learner. ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Andrew Hesketh

"Lloyd George becomes prime minister, did he win the war?"

According to his memoirs...yes! :)

I think I go along with Arm's well expressed view. Although much of what he did is debatable to an extent (and a 'self-glorifying little sh*t' is very good summary of him!), I think it's undeniable that he was responsible for leading the munitions problem through to a successful conclusion. If the limitations of early 1915 had been allowed to carry on the war would almost certainly have had a different outcome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SiegeGunner
I think it's undeniable that he was responsible for leading the munitions problem through to a successful conclusion. If the limitations of early 1915 had been allowed to carry on the war would almost certainly have had a different outcome.

Largely thanks to the calibre (appropriately) and practical skills of the team of officials put together for him when the Min of Mun was set up, mostly drawn from the Board of Trade Labour Department, and specialists seconded from industry. Two BoT men I have researched, one a senior regional controller and the other a middle-manager in the Labour Dept, were recalled from the Navy in 1916 to plan and coordinate the reorganisation of labour in the munitions industry, including the so-called 'dilution of labour' (replacement of men of military age by women and men unfit for military service). Having completed their task by early 1917, they returned to naval service and the younger man was kia in April 1917.

Mick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6th Shropshires
I've got his War Memoirs, but can't bring myself to read them.

I read a couple of pagers and could not bring myself to go any further.

Annette

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
clive_hughes

Not the best-known fact about him is that he was (by special Army order) awarded the British War & Victory medals. (Asquith got them too, plus the 1914 or 1914-15 Star to cover the period when he was PM.)

He received heaps of UK & foreign Orders, but I wonder if he ever wore them? If he did, it must have encouraged a few wry remarks from the lads who'd earned them in the trenches...

LST_164

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AndyHollinger
I couldn't agree more.

Aye

Malcolm

Now I am going to surprise myself here, but if we say that Haig was head of the army and thus has to take the cudos and the detriment, then surely as PM LG has to take the good and the bad as leader of the country. Under him the army prospered and won through. The country pulled together and managed itself to victory.

The fact that he was a self glorying, lying little sh**, is to a certain extent irrelevant, perhaps he kept the others 'honest'

Need to go for a lay down, my head hurts. Cant believe I am sticking up for the Welsh Wizard.

Arm

What they said.

How about the Team of LG and DH won the war ....

There is a bourbon that helps this argument go better. It is a Kentucky wiskey named Rebel Yell ... have a couple of them with some ginger ale and a splash of bitters ... then re-think the question.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Andrew Hesketh
Largely thanks to the calibre (appropriately) and practical skills of the team of officials put together for him when the Min of Mun was set up,

Mick - I think we are on the same hymn sheet.

But should the above say 'by him'? This is not a field I am remotely knowldegeable of, but LG's memoirs (yes, I know, self-glorifying little sh*t etc. etc.) suggest strongly that the teams were created by him not for him. If this is another case of LG spinning the story to reflect more glory upon himself I would be interested in the correction.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
stuartd

Didn't Adolf Hitler also once, on having dinner with David Lloyd George, say that L-G was the man that won the war?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Martin Bennitt
he was a self glorying, lying little sh**Arm

He was a politician, for heaven's sake.

Think he must also take credit for insisting on the introduction of the convoy system, without which we would have been in deep doo-doo.

So we seem to have agreed, some of us reluctantly, that LG was instrumental in winning the war. Which raises the question: without him, would we have lost it?

cheers Martin B

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Alan Tucker

Lloyd George was the man who made winning the war a possibility by his mobilisation of the country for total war as a leader of a proper national coalition government (1915 does not count). This meant massive state intervention/control in industry, agriculture and transport. He was also very charismatic as he cultivated the touch of the common man (distrust came later).

However, he did his best to lose it by interference in the work of the High Command. He did not have Haig's clarity of thought in that Germany could only be defeated on the Western Front, the main theatre. He was very much a sideshows man e.g, Italy. He also denied Haig soldiers so numbers piled up in the UK when they were needed in France which made us very vulnerable to the Kaiser's offensive of March 1918. He was lucky that Ludendorff's failings as a strategic commander got him out of gaol.

Alan Tucker

For biographies read Grigg as the authority and Kenneth O'Morgan's shorter biography.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bernard_Lewis

As I said, I'm still reading Grigg's bio but a couple of quotes I've pulled out:

On the appointments to the Ministry of Munitions: 'Most of the Ministry's star performers were' (DLG 'discoveries') He brought in 90 men of business experience, most working for no remuneration.

'...the War Office asked for additional guns to equip an army of seventy rather than fifty divisions, and the Ministry revised the existing orders accordingly. But Lloyd George was not satisfied even with this enlarged programme. It seemed to him that an army of 100 divisions would have to be catered for, and in August he further increased the orders on his own responsibility, to match the size of the army he foresaw. The War Office strongly opposed his ambitious programme but the Cabinet supported him and he was justified in the event.'

'During his time as Minister the capacity for the manufacture of medium guns rose by 380 per cent, and of heavy guns by 1200 per cent. When he left the Ministry in July 1916 deliveries of medium artillery were running at 34.5 times the rate of July 1915 and of heavy artillery at 94 times...'

'When the war ended the Ministry had a staff of 65000 and three million workers ...his succesor's, including even Churchill, knew that they were merely administering and extending an organisation that he had created...'

On the power of Lloyd George's oratory (always handy to sway an audience as A. Hitler found and used to ill effect): 'The power of his rhetoric amazed me. The substance of the speech might be commonplace, idle, and false, but I had to fight hard against abandoning myself with the rest of the audience. He sucked power from his listeners and spurted it back at them...'

That quote was Robert Graves after listening to DLG in London.

Whatever your view he is a multi faceted character, a mix of good and bad. Bear in mind I'm still reading this so have not yet reached a rounded conclusion!

Bernard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bernard_Lewis

And another thing...or two:

It was DLG who saw the need for mobilising industry and directing men to work where they were needed for the war effort - a policy that was as unpopular at the time as conscription which, incidentally, he also championed.

Just to stir it up a bit: hands up all those who wanted Lloyd George to speed men to the front post Passchendaele so that DH could run them quickly through the grinder?

Bernard (still making my mind up...)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Andrew Hesketh
Which raises the question: without him, would we have lost it?

You little stirrer you! :P

hands up all those who wanted Lloyd George to speed men to the front post Passchendaele so that DH could run them quickly through the grinder?

You big stirrer you! :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bernard_Lewis

Cheers Andrew. It would be quite funny if the subject matter was not, in reality, so serious. I can't find any easy answers in the Haig debates or the Lloyd George issue.

Maybe we should pose the question as we did with Haig: OK, so if we sack Lloyd George who do we replace him with? Churchill? (WSC stated that he and DLG had a master and servant relationship - with WSC as the servant). Churchill changed political sides and had a lot of enemies. And are we all happy with the Gallipoli campaign - a WSC initiative? Fancy some more of that? (heroic as it was) His time was yet to come..

Any other offers? Asquith (failed earlier)? Balfour? I don't know enough about these guys but their deeds hardly ring down the ages do they?

Bernard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...