David Lloyd George: Wikis


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In this name, the family name consists of two words; the family name is Lloyd George, not George.
The Right Honourable
 The Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor 

In office
7 December, 1916 – 22 October, 1922
Monarch George V
Preceded by Herbert Henry Asquith
Succeeded by Andrew Bonar Law

In office
12 April, 1908 – 25 May, 1915
Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith
Preceded by Herbert Henry Asquith
Succeeded by Reginald McKenna

In office
6 June 1916 – 5 December 1916
Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith
Preceded by The Earl Kitchener
Succeeded by The Earl of Derby

In office
25 May 1915 – 9 July 1916
Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith
Preceded by Office Created
Succeeded by Edwin Samuel Montagu

In office
10 December 1905 – 12 April 1908
Prime Minister Henry Campbell-Bannerman
Herbert Henry Asquith
Preceded by The Marquess of Salisbury
Succeeded by Winston Churchill

In office
30 May 1929 – 26 March 1945
Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald
Stanley Baldwin
Neville Chamberlain
Winston Churchill
Preceded by T. P. O'Connor
Succeeded by The Earl Winterton

Member of Parliament
for Caernarvon Boroughs
In office
Preceded by Edmund Swetenham
Succeeded by Seaborne Davies

Born 17 January 1863(1863-01-17)
Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, United Kingdom
Died 26 March 1945 (aged 82)
Tŷ Newydd, Llanystumdwy, Caernarfonshire, Wales
Nationality British
Spouse(s) Margaret Lloyd George
Frances Stevenson
Profession Lawyer
Religion Christian, Nonconformist

David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor OM, PC (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was a British statesman who was the first Welsh Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the only Prime Minister to have spoken English as a second language, Welsh having been his first.[1]

During a long tenure of office, mainly as Chancellor of the Exchequer, he was a key figure in the introduction of many reforms which laid the foundations of the modern welfare state. He was the last Liberal to be Prime Minister, as his coalition premiership was supported more by Conservatives than by his own Liberals, and the subsequent split was a key factor in the decline of the Liberal Party as a serious political force. When he eventually became leader of the Liberal Party a decade later he was unable to lead it back to power.

He is best known as the highly energetic Prime Minister (1916-1922) who guided the Empire through First World War to victory over Germany. He was a major player at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 that reordered the world after the Great War. Lloyd George was a devout evangelical and an icon of 20th century liberalism as the founder of the welfare state. He is regarded as having made a greater impact on British public life than any other 20th century leader, thanks to his leadership of the war effort, his postwar role in reshaping Europe, and his introduction of the welfare state before the war.[2]


Upbringing and early life

Born in Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, Lloyd George was a Welsh-speaker and of Welsh descent and upbringing, the only Welshman ever to hold the office of Prime Minister of the British government. In March 1863 his father William George, who had been a teacher in Manchester and other cities, returned to his native Pembrokeshire because of failing health. He took up farming but died in June 1864 of pneumonia, aged 44. His mother Elizabeth George (1828-1896) sold the farm and moved with her children to her native Llanystumdwy, Caernarfonshire, where she lived in Tŷ Newydd with her brother Richard Lloyd (1834-1917), a strong Liberal. Lloyd George's uncle was a towering influence on him, encouraging him to take up a career in law and enter politics; his uncle remained influential up until his death at age 83 in February 1917, by which time his nephew was Prime Minister. He added his uncle's surname to become "Lloyd George". His surname is usually given as "Lloyd George" and sometimes as "George." His childhood showed through in his entire career, as he attempted to aid the common man at the expense of what he liked to call "the Dukes". However, his biographer John Grigg has argued that George's childhood was nowhere near as poverty-stricken as he liked to suggest, and that a great deal of his self-confidence came from having been brought up by an uncle who enjoyed a position of influence and prestige in his small community.

Articled to a firm of solicitors in Porthmadog, Lloyd George was admitted in 1884 after taking Honours in his final law examination and set up his own practice in the back parlour of his uncle's house in 1885. The practice flourished and he established branch offices in surrounding towns, taking his brother William into partnership in 1887. By then he was politically active, having campaigned for the Liberal Party in the 1885 election, attracted by Joseph Chamberlain's "unauthorised programme" of reforms. The election resulted firstly in a stalemate, neither the Liberals nor the Conservatives having a majority, the balance of power being held by the Irish Parliamentary Party. William Gladstone's announcement of a determination to bring about Irish Home Rule later led to Chamberlain leaving the Liberals to form the Liberal Unionists. Lloyd George was uncertain of which wing to follow, carrying a pro-Chamberlain resolution at the local Liberal club and travelling to Birmingham planning to attend the first meeting of Chamberlain's National Radical Union, but he had his dates wrong and arrived a week too early. In 1907, he was to say that he thought Chamberlain's plan for a federal solution correct in 1886 and still thought so, that he preferred the unauthorised programme to the Whig-like platform of the official Liberal Party, and that had Chamberlain proposed solutions to Welsh grievances such as land reform and disestablishment, he, together with most Welsh Liberals, would have followed Chamberlain.

On 24 January 1888 he married Margaret Owen, the daughter of a well-to-do local farming family. Also in that year he and other young Welsh Liberals founded a monthly paper Udgorn Rhyddid (Bugle of Freedom) and won on appeal to the Divisional Court of Queen's Bench the Llanfrothen burial case, which established the right of Nonconformists to be buried according to their own denominational rites in parish burial grounds, a right given by the Burial Act 1880 that had up to then been ignored by the Anglican clergy. It was this case, which was hailed as a great victory throughout Wales, and his writings in Udgorn Rhyddid that led to his adoption as the Liberal candidate for Caernarfon Boroughs on 27 December 1888.

In 1889 he became an Alderman on the Caernarfonshire County Council which had been created by the Local Government Act 1888. At that time he appeared to be trying to create a separate Welsh national party modelled on Parnell's Irish Parliamentary Party and worked towards a union of the North and South Wales Liberal Federations.

Member of Parliament

Lloyd George was returned as Liberal MP for Carnarvon Boroughs — by a margin of 19 votes — on 13 April 1890 at a by-election caused by the death of the former Conservative member. He was the youngest MP in the House of Commons, and he sat with an informal grouping of Welsh Liberal members with a programme of disestablishing and disendowing the Church of England in Wales, temperance reform, and Welsh home rule. He would remain an MP until 1945, 55 years later.

As backbench members of the House of Commons were not paid at that time, he supported himself and his growing family by continuing to practise as a solicitor, opening an office in London under the title of Lloyd George and Co. and continuing in partnership with William George in Criccieth. In 1897 he merged his growing London practice with that of Arthur Rhys Roberts (who was to become Official Solicitor) under the title of Lloyd George, Roberts and Co.

He was soon speaking on Liberal issues (particularly temperance, the "local option" and national as opposed to denominational education) throughout England as well as Wales. During the next decade, Lloyd George campaigned in Parliament largely on Welsh issues and in particular for disestablishment and disendowment of the Church of England. He wrote extensively for Liberal papers such as the Manchester Guardian. When Gladstone retired after the defeat of the second Home Rule Bill in 1894, the Welsh Liberal members chose him to serve on a deputation to William Harcourt to press for specific assurances on Welsh issues; when those were not provided, they resolved to take independent action if the government did not bring a bill for disestablishment. When that was not forthcoming, he and three other Welsh Liberals (David Alfred Thomas, Herbert Lewis and Frank Edwards) refused the whip on 14 April 1892 but accepted Lord Rosebery's assurance and rejoined the official Liberals on 29 May. Thereafter, he devoted much time to setting up branches of Cymru Fydd (Young Wales), which, he said, would in time become a force like the Irish National Party. He abandoned this idea after being criticised in Welsh newspapers for bringing about the defeat of the Liberal Party in the 1895 election and when, at a meeting in Newport on 16 January 1896, the South Wales Liberal Federation, led by David Alfred Thomas and Robert Bird moved that he be not heard.

He gained national fame by his vehement opposition to the Second Boer War. He based his attack firstly on what were supposed to be the war aims – remedying the grievances of the Uitlanders and in particular the claim that they were wrongly denied the right to vote, saying "I do not believe the war has any connection with the franchise. It is a question of 45% dividends" and that England (which then did not have universal male suffrage) was more in need of franchise reform than the Boer republics. His second attack was on the cost of the war, which, he argued, prevented overdue social reform in England, such as old age pensions and workmen's cottages. As the war progressed, he moved his attack to its conduct by the generals, who, he said (basing his words on reports by William Burdett-Coutts in The Times), were not providing for the sick or wounded soldiers and were starving Boer women and children in concentration camps. He reserved his major thrusts for Chamberlain, accusing him of war profiteering through the Chamberlain family company Kynochs Ltd, of which Chamberlain's brother was Chairman and which had won tenders to the War Office though its prices were higher than some of its competitors'; after speaking at a meeting in Chamberlain's political base at Birmingham, he had to be smuggled out disguised as a policeman, as his life was in danger from the mob. At this time the Liberal Party was badly split as Herbert Henry Asquith, Richard Burdon Haldane and others were supporters of the war and formed the Liberal Imperial League.

His attacks on the government's Education Act, which provided that County Councils would fund church schools, helped reunite the Liberals. His successful amendment that the County need only fund those schools where the buildings were in good repair served to make the Act a dead letter in Wales, where the Counties were able to show that most Church of England schools were in poor repair. Having already gained national recognition for his anti-Boer War campaigns, his leadership of the attacks on the Education Act gave him a strong parliamentary reputation and marked him as a likely future cabinet member.

Cabinet Minister (1906-1916)

David Lloyd George in 1908

In 1906 Lloyd George entered the new Liberal Cabinet of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman as President of the Board of Trade. In that position he introduced legislation on many topics, from Merchant Shipping and Companies to Railway regulation, but his main achievement was in stopping a proposed national strike of the railway unions by brokering an agreement between the unions and the railway companies. While almost all the companies refused to recognise the unions, Lloyd George persuaded the companies to recognise elected representatives of the workers who sat with the company representatives on conciliation boards — one for each company. If those boards failed to agree then there was a central board. This was Lloyd George's first great triumph for which he received praises from, among others, Kaiser Wilhelm II. Two weeks later, however, his great excitement was crushed by his daughter Mair's death from appendicitis.

On Campbell-Bannerman's death he succeeded Asquith, who had become Prime Minister, as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1908 to 1915. While he continued some work from the Board of Trade — for example, legislation to establish a Port of London authority and to pursue traditional Liberal programmes such as licensing law reforms — his first major trial in this role was over the 1908-1909 Naval Estimates. The Liberal manifesto at the 1906 general elections included a commitment to reduce military expenditure. Lloyd George strongly supported this, writing to Reginald McKenna, First Lord of the Admiralty, "the emphatic pledges given by all of us at the last general election to reduce the gigantic expenditure on armaments built up by the recklessness of our predecessors."

Portrait of David Lloyd George as Chancellor of the Exchequer by Christopher Williams (1911)

He then proposed the programme be reduced from six to four dreadnoughts. This was adopted by the government but there was a public storm when the Conservatives, with covert support from the First Sea Lord Admiral Jackie Fisher, campaigned for more with the slogan "We want eight and we won't wait". This resulted in Lloyd George's defeat in Cabinet and the adoption of estimates including provision for eight dreadnoughts. This was later to be said to be one of the main turning points in the naval arms race between Germany and Britain that contributed to the outbreak of World War I.

People's Budget, 1909

Although old-age pensions had already been introduced by Asquith as Chancellor, Lloyd George was largely responsible for the introduction of state financial support for the sick and infirm (known colloquially as "going on the Lloyd George" for decades afterwards) — legislation often referred to as the Liberal reforms.

1909 he introduced his famous budget imposing increased taxes on luxuries, liquor, tobacco, incomes, and land, so that money could be made available for the new welfare programs as well as new battleships. The nation's landowners (well represented in the House of Lords) were intensely angry at the new taxes. In the House of Commons Lloyd George gave a brilliant defense of the budget, which was attacked by the Conservatives. On the stump, most famously in his Limehouse speech, he denounced the Conservatives and the wealthy classes with all his very considerable oratorical power. The budget passed the Commons, but was defeated by the Conservative majority in the House of Lords. The elections of 1910 upheld the Liberal government and the budget finally passed the Lords. Subsequently, the Parliament Bill for social reform and Irish Home Rule, which Lloyd George strongly supported, was passed and the veto power of the House of Lords was greatly curtailed. In 1911 Lloyd George succeeded in putting through Parliament his National Insurance Act, making provision for sickness and invalidism, and this was followed by his Unemployment Insurance Act. These social reforms began in Britain the creation of a welfare state and fulfilled in both countries the aim of dampening down the demands of the growing working class for rather more radical solutions to their impoverishment.[3]

Marconi scandal

In 1913 Lloyd George, along with Attorney-General Rufus Isaacs, was involved in the Marconi scandal. Accused of speculating in Marconi shares on the inside information that they were about to be awarded a key government contract (which would have caused them to increase in value), he told the House of Commons that he had not speculated in the shares of "that company", which was not the whole truth as he had in fact speculated in shares of Marconi's American sister company. This scandal, which would have destroyed his career if the whole truth had come out at the time, was a precursor to the whiff of corruption (e.g. the sale of honours) that later surrounded Lloyd George's premiership.

World War

Lloyd George was considered an opponent of war until the Agadir Crisis of 1911, when he had made a speech attacking German aggression. Nevertheless, he supported World War I when it broke out, not least as Belgium, for whose defence Britain was supposedly fighting, was a "small nation" like Wales or indeed the Boers.[4]

For the first year of the war he remained chancellor of the exchequer, but when the shortage of the English supply of munitions was revealed and the cabinet was reconstituted as the first coalition ministry in May 1915, Lloyd George was made Minister of Munitions in charge of the newly created Ministry of Munitions. In this position he was a brilliant success, but he was not at all satisfied with the progress of the war, and late in 1915 he became a strong supporter of general conscription. He put through the conscription act of 1916, and in June 1916 he became Secretary of State for War. The weakness of Asquith as a planner and organizer was underscored as the war plans did not work well. Asquith, who was forced out in December 1916 and Lloyd George unexpectedly became Prime Minister, with the nation demanding he take charge of the war in vigorous fashion.[5]

Prime Minister (1916-1922)

War leader (1916-1918)

In 1916, Asquith was replaced as Prime Minister, splitting the Liberal Party into two factions: those who supported him and those who supported the coalition government. His support from the Unionists was critical. In his War Memoirs [v 1 p 602], Lloyd George compared himself to Asquith:

There are certain indispensable qualities essential to the Chief Minister of the Crown in a great war. . . . Such a minister must have courage, composure, and judgment. All this Mr. Asquith possessed in a superlative degree. . . . But a war minister must also have vision, imagination and initiative — he must show untiring assiduity, must exercise constant oversight and supervision of every sphere of war activity, must possess driving force to energize this activity, must be in continuous consultation with experts, official and unofficial, as to the best means of utilising the resources of the country in conjunction with the Allies for the achievement of victory. If to this can be added a flair for conducting a great fight, then you have an ideal War Minister.

After 6 December 1916, Lloyd George was dependent on the support of Conservatives and of the press baron Lord Northcliffe (who owned both The Times and The Daily Mail) for his continuance in power. This was reflected in the make-up of his five-member war cabinet, which as well as himself included the Conservative Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Lords, Lord Curzon; Chancellor of the Exchequer and Leader of the House of Commons, Andrew Bonar Law; and Minister without Portfolio, Lord Milner. The fifth member, Arthur Henderson, was the unofficial representative of the Labour Party. This accounts for Lloyd George's inability to establish complete personal control over military strategy, as Churchill did in the Second World War, and also for his reluctance to put his foot down and demand a halt to the Passchendaele Offensive of autumn 1917. Nevertheless, Lloyd George engaged in almost constant intrigues to reduce the power of the generals, including trying to subordinate British forces in France to the French General Nivelle in spring 1917, sending forces to Italy and Palestine, and in the winter of 1917/18 securing the resignations of both the service chiefs, Admiral Jellicoe and General Robertson. In December 1917, Lloyd George remaked to C.P. Scott that: "If people really knew, the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don't know, and can't know."

Nevertheless the War Cabinet was a very successful innovation. It met almost daily, with Sir Maurice Hankey as secretary, and made all major political, military, economic and diplomatic decisions. Rationing was finally imposed in early 1918 for meat, sugar and fats (butter and oleo) – but not bread; the new system worked smoothly. From 1914 to 1918 trade-union membership doubled, from a little over four million to a little over eight million. Work stoppages and strikes became frequent in 1917-18 as the unions expressed grievances regarding prices, liquor control, pay disputes, "dilution," fatigue from overtime and from Sunday work, and inadequate housing.

Conscription put into uniform nearly every physically fit man, six million out of ten million eligible. Of these about 750,000 lost their lives and 1,700,000 were wounded. Most deaths were of young unmarried men; however, 160,000 wives lost husbands and 300,000 children lost fathers.[6]

Most of the organizations Lloyd George created during World War I were replicated with the outbreak of World War II. As Lord Beaverbrook remarked, "There were no signposts to guide Lloyd George."

In 1903, after the Kishinev Pogrom, Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain offered the Zionist Movement the possibility of settling in Uganda. Lloyd George represented the movement in drafting an agreement with the government; however, the issue was controversial for both sides, and the proposal was eventually voted down by the Zionist movement at a special convention.[7]

In 1917, one of Lloyd George's first acts as Prime Minister was to order the attack on the Ottoman Empire and the conquest of Palestine. Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour issued his famous Declaration in favour of "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people". Lloyd George played a critical role in this announcement.

Postwar Prime Minister (1918-1922)

Snowed under.
The St. Bernard Pup (to his Master). "This situation appeals to my hereditary instincts. Shall I come to the rescue?"
[Before leaving Switzerland Mr. Lloyd George purchased a St. Bernard pup.]
Cartoon from Punch 15 September 1920

At the end of the war Lloyd George's reputation stood at its zenith. A leading Conservative said "He can be dictator for life if he wishes." In the "Coupon election" of 1918 he declared this must be a land "fit for heroes to live in." He did not say, "We shall squeeze the German lemon until the pips squeak" (that was Sir Eric Geddes), but he did express that sentiment about reparations from Germany to pay the entire cost of the war, including pensions. At Bristol, he said that German industrial capacity "will go a pretty long way." We must have "the uttermost farthing," and "shall search their pockets for it." As the campaign closed, he summarised his programme:

  1. Trial of the Kaiser Wilhelm II;
  2. Punishment of those guilty of atrocities;
  3. Fullest indemnity from Germany;
  4. Britain for the British, socially and industrially;
  5. Rehabilitation of those broken in the war; and
  6. A happier country for all.

His "National Liberal" coalition won a massive landslide, winning 525 of the 707 contests; however, the Conservatives had control within the Coalition of more than two-thirds of its seats. Asquith's independent Liberals were crushed and emerged with only 33 seats, falling behind Labour (their parliamentary leadership was briefly taken over by the unknown Donald Maclean until Asquith, who, like the other leading Liberals, had lost his own seat, returned to the House at a by-election).[8]

Versailles 1919

Lloyd George represented Britain at the Versailles Peace Conference, clashing with French Premier Georges Clemenceau, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and Italian Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando. Lloyd George wanted to punish Germany politically and economically for devastating Europe during the war, but did not want to utterly destroy the German economy and political system the way Clemenceau and many other people of France wanted to do with their demand for massive reparations. Memorably, he replied to a question as to how he had done at the peace conference, "Not badly, considering I was seated between Jesus Christ and Napoleon". The British economist John Maynard Keynes attacked Lloyd George's stance on reparations in his book The Economic Consequences of the Peace, calling the Prime Minister a "half-human visitor to our age from the hag-ridden magic and enchanted woods of Celtic antiquity". In Poland his position is controversial, it being believed that he had saved that country from the Bolsheviks but he was also vilified in Poland during 1919-20 for his supposed opinion that Poles were "children who gave trouble" .[9]


Lloyd George began to feel the weight of the coalition with the Conservatives after the war. His decision to extend conscription to Ireland in 1917 had been disastrous, leading to the wipeout of the old Irish Home Rule Party at the 1918 election, replaced by Sinn Féin MPs who immediately declared independence. Lloyd George presided over the Anglo-Irish War, which led to the negotiation of the Anglo-Irish Treaty with Arthur Griffith and Michael Collins and the formation of the Irish Free State. At one point, he famously declared of the IRA, "We have murder by the throat!" However he was soon to begin negotiations with IRA leaders to recognise their authority and end the conflict.

Fall from power 1922

Lloyd George's coalition was too large, and deep fissures quickly emerged. The more traditional wing of the Unionist Party had no intention of introducing these reforms, which led to three years of frustrated fighting within the coalition both between the National Liberals and the Unionists and between factions within the Conservatives themselves. It was this fighting, coupled with the increasingly differing ideologies of the two forces in a country reeling from the costs of war, that led to Lloyd George's fall from power. In June 1922 Conservatives were able to show that he had been selling knighthoods and peerages — and the OBE which was created at this time — for money. Conservatives were concerned by his desire to create a party from these funds comprising moderate Liberals and Conservatives. A major attack in the House of Lords followed on his corruption resulting in the Honours (Prevention of Abuses) Act 1925. The Conservatives also attacked Lloyd George as lacking any executive accountability as Prime Minister, claiming that he never turned up to Cabinet meetings and banished some government departments to the gardens of 10 Downing Street.

However it was not until 19 October 1922 that the coalition was dealt its final blow. After criticism of Lloyd George over the Chanak crisis mounted, Conservative leader Austen Chamberlain summoned a meeting of Conservative Members of Parliament at the Carlton Club to discuss their attitude to the Coalition in the forthcoming election. They sealed Lloyd George's fate with a vote of 187 to 87 in favour of abandoning the coalition. Chamberlain and other Conservatives such as the Earl of Balfour argued for supporting Lloyd George, while former party leader Andrew Bonar Law argued the other way, claiming that breaking up the coalition "wouldn't break Lloyd George's heart". The main attack came from Stanley Baldwin, then President of the Board of Trade, who spoke of Lloyd George as a "dynamic force" who would break the Conservative Party. Baldwin and many of the more progressive members of the Conservative Party fundamentally opposed Lloyd George and those who supported him on moral grounds. A motion was passed that the Conservative Party should fight the next election on its own for the first time since the start of World War I.

Later political career (1922-1945)

David Lloyd George

Throughout the 1920s Lloyd George remained a dominant figure in British politics, being frequently predicted to return to office but never succeeding; this period of his life is covered in John Campbell's book The Goat in the Wilderness. Before the 1923 election, he resolved his dispute with Asquith, allowing the Liberals to run a united ticket against Stanley Baldwin's policy of tariffs (although there was speculation that Baldwin had adopted such a policy in order to forestall Lloyd George from doing so). At the 1924 general election, Baldwin won a clear victory, the leading coalitionists such as Austen Chamberlain and Lord Birkenhead (and former Liberal Winston Churchill) agreeing to serve under Baldwin and thus ruling out any restoration of the 1916-22 coalition.

In 1926 Lloyd George succeeded Asquith as Liberal leader. Although since the disastrous election result in 1924 the Liberals were now very much the third party in British politics, Lloyd George was able to release money from his fund to finance candidates and ideas for public works to reduce unemployment (as detailed in pamphlets such as the "Yellow Book" and the "Green Book"). However, the results at the 1929 general election were disappointing: the Liberals increased their support only to 60 or so seats, while Labour became the largest party for the first time. Once again, the Liberals ended up supporting a minority Labour government. In 1929 Lloyd George became Father of the House, the longest serving member of the Commons.

In 1931 an illness prevented his joining the National Government when it was formed. Later when the National Government called a General Election he tried to pull the Liberal Party out of it but succeeded in taking only a few followers, most of whom were related to him; the main Liberal party remained in the coalition for a year longer, under the leadership of Sir Herbert Samuel. By the 1930s Lloyd George was on the margins of British politics, although still intermittently in the public eye and publishing his War Memoirs.

In 1934 Lloyd George made a controversial statement about reserving the right to "bomb niggers"[10] that has since been quoted by political activist Noam Chomsky and others.[11][12][13][14][15][16] The quote was originally attributed to Lloyd George in 1934 by Frances Stevenson, his secretary and second wife, in her diary, which was published in 1971.[10] On page 259 of Lloyd George: A Diary by Frances Stevenson, the 9 March 1934 diary entry includes the following passage: "Debate last night in the House on Air — strong demonstrations in favour of increased no. of fighting planes. D. [David Lloyd George] says it could have been avoided but for Simon's [Sir John Simon's] mismanagement. At Geneva other countries would have agreed not to use aeroplanes for bombing purposes, but we insisted on reserving the right, as D. puts it, to bomb niggers! Whereupon the whole thing fell through, & we add 5 millions to our air armaments expenditure."[10] British historian V.G. Kiernan wrote that Lloyd George and others in the British government had argued during that period for the right to bomb British colonies as they deemed it necessary.[17]

On 17 January 1935 Lloyd George sought to promote a radical programme of economic reform, called "Lloyd George's New Deal" after the American New Deal. However the programme did not find favour in the mainstream political parties. Later that year Lloyd George and his family reunited with the Liberal Party in Parliament. In March 1936 Lloyd George met Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden and offered some public comments that were surprisingly favourable to the German dictator, expressing warm enthusiasm both for Hitler personally and for Germany's public works schemes (upon returning, he wrote of Hitler in the Daily Express as "the greatest living German", "the George Washington of Germany"). Despite this embarrassment, however, as the 1930s progressed Lloyd George became more clear-eyed about the Nazi threat and joined Winston Churchill, among others, in fighting the government's policy of appeasement. In the late 1930s he was sent by the British government to try to dissuade Hitler from his plans of Europe-wide expansion. In perhaps the last important parliamentary intervention of his career, which occurred during the crucial Norway Debate of May 1940, Lloyd George made a powerful speech that helped to undermine Chamberlain as Prime Minister and to pave the way for the ascendancy of Churchill as Premier.

Churchill offered Lloyd George a place in his Cabinet but he refused, citing his dislike of Chamberlain. Lloyd George also thought that Britain's chances in the war were dim, and he remarked to his secretary: "I shall wait until Winston is bust".[18] He wrote to the Duke of Bedford in September 1940 advocating a negotiated peace with Germany after the Battle of Britain.[19]

A pessimistic speech by Lloyd George on 7 May 1941 led Churchill to compare him with Philippe Pétain. On 11 June 1942 he made his last-ever speech in the House of Commons, and he cast his last vote in the Commons on 18 February 1943 as one of the 121 MPs (97 Labour) condemning the Government for its failure to back the Beveridge Report. Fittingly, his final vote was in defence of the welfare state which he had helped to create.

He enjoyed listening to the broadcasts of William Joyce. Increasingly in his late years his characteristic political courage gave way to physical timidity and hypochondria. He continued to attend Castle Street Baptist Chapel in London, and to preside over the national eisteddfod at its Thursday session each summer. At the end, he returned to Wales. In September 1944, he and Frances left Churt for Tŷ Newydd, a farm near his boyhood home in Llanystumdwy. He was now weakening rapidly and his voice failing. He was still an MP but had learned that wartime changes in the constituency meant that Caernarfon Boroughs might go Conservative at the next election. On New Years Day 1945 Lloyd George was raised to the peerage as Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor and Viscount Gwynedd, of Dwyfor in the County of Caernarvonshire. Under the rules governing titles within the peerage, Lloyd George's name in his title was hyphenated even though his surname was not.

He died of cancer on 26 March 1945, aged 82, without ever taking up his seat in the House of Lords, His wife Frances and his daughter Megan at the bedside. Four days later, on Good Friday, he was buried beside the River Dwyfor in Llanystumdwy.

A great boulder marks his grave; there is no inscription. However a grand monument designed by the late architect Sir Clough Williams-Ellis has since been erected around the grave, bearing an englyn (strict-metre stanza) engraved on slate in his memory composed by his nephew Dr William George. Nearby stands the Lloyd George Museum, also designed by Williams-Ellis and opened in 1963.


On 20 January 1941, his wife died; Lloyd George was deeply upset by the fact that bad weather prevented him from being with her when she died. In October 1943, aged 80, and to the disapproval of his children, he married his secretary and mistress, Frances Stevenson. He had been involved with Stevenson for three decades by then.[citation needed] The first Countess Lloyd-George is now largely remembered for her diaries, which dealt with the great issues and statesmen of Lloyd George's heyday. A volume of Lloyd George's letters to her, "My Darling Pussy", has also been published, the editor A. J. P. Taylor pointing out that Lloyd George's nickname for Frances referred to her gentle personality.[citation needed]

The 2nd marriage caused severe tension between Lloyd George and his children by his first wife.[citation needed] He had five children by his first wife  — Richard (1889-1968), Mair (1890-1907), Olwen (1892-1990), Gwilym (1894-1967) and Megan (1902-1966) — and one child by Stevenson, a daughter named Jennifer (born 1929).

His son, Gwilym, and daughter, Megan, both followed him into politics and were elected members of parliament. They were politically faithful to their father throughout his life but following their father's death each drifted away from the Liberal Party, Gwilym finishing his career as a Conservative Home Secretary while Megan became a Labour MP in 1957, perhaps symbolising the fate of much of the old Liberal Party.

Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan, who detailed Lloyd George's role in the 1919 peace conference in her book, Paris 1919, is his great-granddaughter. The British television presenter Dan Snow is his great-great-grandson, as is the Internet usability guru Bryn Williams. Other descendants include Owen, 3rd Earl Lloyd-George, who is his grandson, and his son Robert (the chairman of Lloyd George Management).[citation needed]

War cabinet, December 1916–January 1919

War cabinet changes

  • May — August 1917 - In temporary absence of Arthur Henderson, George Barnes, Minister of Pensions acts as a member of the War Cabinet.
  • June 1917 - Jan Smuts enters the War Cabinet as a Minister without Portfolio
  • July 1917 - Sir Edward Carson enters the War Cabinet as a Minister without Portfolio
  • August 1917 - George Barnes succeeds Arthur Henderson (resigned) as Minister without Portfolio and Labour Party member of the War Cabinet.
  • January 1918 - Carson resigns and is not replaced
  • April 1918 - Austen Chamberlain succeeds Lord Milner as Minister without Portfolio.
  • January 1919 Law becomes Lord Privy Seal, remaining Leader of the House of Commons, and is succeeded as Chancellor of the Exchequer by Chamberlain; both remaining in the War Cabinet. Smuts is succeeded by Sir Eric Geddes as Minister without Portfolio.

Other members of Lloyd George's war government

Peacetime government, January 1919–October 1922

Going to the country?
"I think it would be a calamity if we did anything to prevent the economic use of charabancs." — Sir Eric Geddes.
First "Banc." Mr. Lloyd George, Mr. Bonar Law, Mr. Balfour, Mr. Chamberlain, Mr. Churchill.
Second "Banc." Sir E. Geddes, Mr. Shortt, Mr. Long, Sir Robert Horne, Col. Amery.
Third "Banc." Mr. Illingworth, Lord E. Talbot, Mr. Fisher, Dr. Addison, Sir Gordon Hewart.
Fourth "Banc." Mr. Kellaway, Sir M. Barlow, Sir L. Worthington Evans, Sir A.G. Boscawen, Mr. Towyn Jones.
Fifth "Banc." Sir Hamar Greenwood, Mr. Baldwin, Sir James Craig, Mr. Denis Henry, Mr. Neal.
Sixth "Banc." Mr. Montagu, Dr. Macnamara, Mr. McCurdy, Mr. Ian Macpherson, Sir A. Mond. Cartoon in Punch magazine 18 August 1920 depicting Lloyd George's government ministers, against a quote from that week's Hansard. Going to the Country is an idiom for the calling of an election; in this case, Punch's prediction was off by some two years.

The War Cabinet was formally maintained for much of 1919, but as Lloyd George was out of the country for many months this did not noticeably make much of a difference. In October 1919 a formal Cabinet was reinstated.

Peacetime changes

  • May 1919 - Sir Auckland Geddes succeeds Sir Albert Stanley as President of the Board of Trade. Sir Eric Geddes becomes Minister of Transport.
  • October 1919 - Lord Curzon of Kedleston succeeds Balfour as Foreign Secretary. Balfour succeeds Curzon as Lord President. The Local Government Board is abolished. Christopher Addison becomes Minister of Health. The Board of Agriculture is abolished. Lord Lee of Fareham becomes Minister of Agriculture. Sir Eric Geddes becomes Minister of Transport.
  • January 1920 - George Barnes leaves the cabinet.
  • March 1920 - Sir Robert Horne succeeds Sir Auckland Geddes as President of the Board of Trade. Thomas McNamara succeeds Horne as Minister of Labour.
  • April 1920 - Sir Hamar Greenwood succeeds Ian Macpherson as Chief Secretary for Ireland. Sir Laming Worthington-Evans joins the Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio.
  • February 1921 - Winston Churchill succeeds Lord Milner as Colonial Secretary. Sir Laming Worthington-Evans succeeds Churchill as War Secretary. Lord Lee of Fareham succeeds Walter Long at the Admiralty. Sir Arthur Griffith-Boscawen succeeds Lee as Minister of Agriculture.
  • March 1921 - Austen Chamberlain succeeds Bonar Law as Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the Commons. Sir Robert Horne succeeds Chamberlain at the Exchequer. Stanley Baldwin succeeds Horne at the Board of Trade.
  • April 1921 - Lord French resigns from the cabinet, remaining Lord Lieutenant. Christopher Addison becomes a Minister without Portfolio. Sir Alfred Mond succeeds him as Minister of Health. The Ministry of Munitions is abolished.
  • November 1921 - Sir Eric Geddes resigns from the cabinet. His successor as Minister of Transport is not in the Cabinet. The Attorney General, Sir Gordon Hewart, enters the Cabinet.
  • March 1922 - Lord Peel succeeds Edwin Montagu as India Secretary.
  • April 1922 - The First Commissioner of Works, Lord Crawford, enters the Cabinet.

Cultural references

A television miniseries "The Life and Times of David Lloyd George" was made in the early 1980s. Philip Madoc played Lloyd George. [20]


  1. ^ If James Callaghan is excluded from consideration.
  2. ^ Martin Pugh, "Lloyd George," in John Cannon, ed. The Oxford Companion to British History, (2002) 583-5
  3. ^ Gilbert, "David Lloyd George: Land, The Budget, and Social Reform," The American Historical Review Vol. 81, No. 5 (Dec., 1976), pp. 1058-1066
  4. ^ Gilbert, David Lloyd George: A Political Life: Organizer of Victory, 1912-1916 (1992)
  5. ^ Gilbert, David Lloyd George: A Political Life: Organizer of Victory, 1912-1916 (1992)
  6. ^ Havighurst p 134-5
  7. ^ Jeuhuda Reinharz, Chaim Weizmann — The making of a Zionist Leader, Oxford UP 1985 chapters 8 & 9.
  8. ^ Havighurst p 151
  9. ^ Norman Davies, "Lloyd George and Poland 1919-1920" in Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 6, No. 3, 132-154 (1971), DOI: 10.1177/002200947100600309
  10. ^ a b c Lloyd George: A Diary by Frances Stevenson, ed. A.J.P. Taylor, Harper & Row, New York, 1971. Page 259.
  11. ^ Documentary — Our Own Private Bin Laden Scene 1 at YouTube
  12. ^ Noam Chomsky (1994-07-05). "Article by Noam Chomsky quoting Lloyd George, which originally appeared on 5 July 1994 in ''The Guardian''". Chomsky.info. http://www.chomsky.info/articles/19940705.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  13. ^ Letter written by Noam Chomsky on 7 October 1991
  14. ^ Posted at June 23, 2004 07:20 PM (2004-06-23). "Link to a reference to Lloyd George's statement". Tinyrevolution.com. http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/000059.html. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  15. ^ "Link to a reference to Lloyd George's statement". Lemming.mahost.org. http://lemming.mahost.org/library/bomb.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  16. ^ "Article by Mumia Abu-Jamal citing Noam Chomsky's reference to Lloyd George's statement". Mumia2000.org. http://www.mumia2000.org/majwriting/why.html. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  17. ^ V.G. Kiernan, From Conquest to Collapse: European Empires from 1815 to 1960, Pantheon Books, New York, 1982. Page 200.
  18. ^ Colin Cross (ed.), Life with Lloyd George: The Diary of A. J. Sylvester (Macmillan, 1975), p. 281.
  19. ^ David Reynolds, From World War to Cold War: Churchill, Roosevelt, and the International History of the 1940s (Oxford University Press, 2006), p. 79.
  20. ^ IMDb details of the "The Life and Times of David Lloyd George" series.

Further reading

  • Cassar, George. Lloyd George at War, 1916-1918 (2009) excerpt and text search
  • Creiger, Don M. Bounder from Wales: Lloyd George's Career Before the First World War. (1976).
  • Fry, Michael G. Lloyd George and Foreign Policy. Vol. 1: The Education of a Statesman: 1890-1916. (1977)
  • Gilbert, Bentley Brinkerhoff. David Lloyd George: A Political Life: The Architect of Change 1863-1912 (1987); David Lloyd George: A Political Life: Organizer of Victory, 1912-1916 (1992). a standard scholarly biography
  • Grigg, John. Lloyd George 4 vols. (1973-2002), Whitbread Award winner; the most detailed biography; ends Nov. 1918
    • The young Lloyd George (1973); Lloyd George: the people's champion, 1902–1911 (1978); Lloyd George: from peace to war, 1912–1916 (1985); Lloyd George: war leader, 1916–1918 (2002)
  • Jones, Thomas. Lloyd George 1951. short and well-regarded online edition
  • Lloyd George, David. War Memoirs of David Lloyd George 2 vols. (1933). An unusually detailed and candid record.
  • Morgan, Kenneth O. "George, David Lloyd, first Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor (1863–1945)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 2004; online
  • Rowland, Peter. David Lloyd George: A Biography (1976), 872pp, detailed but lacking interpretation or synthesis
  • Taylor, A. J. P. Lloyd George: rise and fall (1961)


  • Adams, R.J.Q. Arms and the Wizard: Lloyd George and the Ministry of Munitions. 1978.
  • Adams, R. J. Q. "Andrew Bonar Law and the Fall of the Asquith Coalition: the December 1916 Cabinet Crisis." Canadian Journal of History 1997 32(2): 185-200. Issn: 0008-4107 Fulltext: in Ebsco
  • Adams, W.S. "Lloyd George and the Labour Movement," Past and Present No. 3 (Feb., 1953), pp. 55-64 in JSTOR
  • Lord Beaverbrook. The Decline and Fall of Lloyd George Collins, 1963
  • Bennett, G.H. "Lloyd George, Curzon and the Control of British Foreign Policy 1919-22," The Australian Journal of Politics and History, Vol. 45, 1999 online edition
  • Cregier, Don M. "The Murder of the British Liberal Party," The History Teacher Vol. 3, No. 4 (May, 1970), pp. 27-36 online edition, blames Asquith, Lloyd George and the voters
  • Creiger, Don M. Bounder from Wales: Lloyd George's Career Before the First World War. U of Missouri Press, 1976.
  • Ehrman, John. "Lloyd George and Churchill as War Ministers," Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 5th Ser., Vol. 11 (1961), pp. 101-115 in JSTOR
  • Fair, John D. "Politicians, Historians, and the War: A Reassessment of the Political Crisis of December 1916," The Journal of Modern History, Vol. 49, No. 3, On Demand Supplement. (Sep., 1977), pp. D1329-D1343. in JSTOR
  • French, David. The Strategy of the Lloyd George Coalition, 1916-1918. Oxford University Press, 1995
  • Fry, Michael G. Lloyd George and Foreign Policy. Vol. 1: The Education of a Statesman: 1890-1916. Montreal, 1977.
  • Fry, Michael. "Political Change in Britain, August 1914 to December 1916: Lloyd George Replaces Asquith: The Issues Underlying the Drama," The Historical Journal Vol. 31, No. 3 (Sep., 1988), pp. 609-627 in JSTOR
  • Gilbert, Bentley B. "David Lloyd George: The Reform of British Landholding and the Budget of 1914," The Historical Journal, Vol. 21, No. 1 (Mar., 1978), pp. 117-141 in JSTOR
  • Gilbert, Bentley Brinkerhoff. "David Lloyd George: Land, The Budget, and Social Reform," The American Historical Review Vol. 81, No. 5 (Dec., 1976), pp. 1058-1066 in JSTOR
  • Gilbert, Bentley Brinkerhoff. David Lloyd George: A Political Life: The Architect of Change 1863-1912 (1987); David Lloyd George: A Political Life: Organizer of Victory, 1912-1916 (1992)
  • Grigg, John. Lloyd George 4 vols. (1973-2002), Whitbread Award winner; the most detailed biography; ends Nov. 1918
  • Hankey, Lord. The Supreme Command, 1914-1918. 2 vols. 1961.
  • Havighurst, Alfred F. Twentieth-Century Britain. 1966.
  • Hazlehurst, Cameron. "Asquith as Prime Minister, 1908-1916," The English Historical Review Vol. 85, No. 336 (Jul., 1970), pp. 502-531 in JSTOR
  • Kernek, Sterling J. "Distractions of Peace during War: The Lloyd George Government's Reactions to Woodrow Wilson, December, 1916-November, 1918," Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Ser., Vol. 65, No. 2 (1975), pp. 1-117 online edition
  • Jones, J Graham. entry in Dictionary of Liberal Thought Brack & Randall (eds.) Politico's Methuen, 2007
  • Jones; Thomas. Lloyd George 1951.
  • Keynes, John Maynard, The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1920) famous criticism by leading economist full text online
  • Lentin, Antony. Lloyd George and the Lost Peace: From Versailles to Hitler, 1919-1940 (2004)
  • * Lentin, Antony. "Maynard Keynes and the ‘Bamboozlement’ of Woodrow Wilson: What Really Happened at Paris?" Diplomacy & Statecraft, Dec 2004, Vol. 15 Issue 4, pp 725–763, (AN 15276003), why veterans pensions were included in reparations
  • MacMillan, Margaret. Peacemakers: The Paris Conference of 1919 and Its Attempt to End War (2003)
  • Millman, Brock. "A Counsel of Despair: British Strategy and War Aims, 1917-18." Journal of Contemporary History2001 36(2): 241-270. Issn: 0022-0094 in Jstor
  • Millman, Brock. "The Lloyd George War Government, 1917-18" Totalitarian Movements & Political Religions Winter 2002, Vol. 3 Issue 3, p 99-127; sees proto-fascism
  • Morgan, Kenneth O. Lloyd George. 1974.
  • Morgan, Kenneth O. "Lloyd George's Premiership: A Study in 'Prime Ministerial Government.'" The Historical Journal 13 (March 1970). in JSTOR
  • Morgan, Kenneth O. "Lloyd George and Germany." Historical Journal 1996 39(3): 755-766. in JSTOR
  • Mowat, Sharles Loch. Britain between the Wars, 1918-1940 (1955) 694 pp; online edition
  • Murray, Bruce K. "The Politics of the 'People's Budget'", The Historical Journal Vol. 16, No. 3 (Sep., 1973), pp. 555-570 in JSTOR
  • Owen, Frank. Tempestuous Journey: Lloyd George, His Life and Times 1955.
  • Powell, David. British Politics, 1910-1935: The Crisis of the Party System 2004
  • Price, Emyr. David Lloyd George in the series Celtic Radicals, (University of Wales Press, 2006)
  • Purcell, Hugh. Lloyd George in the series British prime ministers (Haus publications, 2006)
  • Taylor, A. J. P. English History, 1914-1945. 1965.
  • Taylor, A. J. P., ed., Lloyd George: twelve essays (1971). essays by scholars
  • Turner, John. British Politics and the Great War: Coalition and Conflict, 1915-1918 (1992)
  • Wilson, Trevor. "The Coupon and the British General Election of 1918," The Journal of Modern History Vol. 36, No. 1 (Mar., 1964), pp. 28-42 in JSTOR
  • Wilson, Trevor. The Downfall of the Liberal Party 1914-1935. Collins, 1966.
  • Woodward, David R. Lloyd George and the Generals F. Cass, 2004. online edition
  • Woodward, Sir Llewellyn. Great Britain and the War of 1914-1918. 1967.
  • Wrigley, Chris. David Lloyd George and the British Labour Movement: Peace and War (1976)

Primary sources

  • Cross, Colin, ed. Life with Lloyd George: The Diary of A.J. Sylvester 1975.
  • Jones, J Graham. The Lloyd George papers at the National Library of Wales & Other Repositories (National Library of Wales Aberystwyth 2001)
  • Lloyd George, David. The Truth About the Peace Treaties. 2 vols. (1938) vol 1 online
  • Lloyd George, David, War Memoirs of David Lloyd George. 2 vols. (1933). An unusually long, detailed and candid record.
  • Lloyd George, David. The Great Crusade: Extracts from Speeches Delivered During the War (1918) 307 pages online edition
    • George W. Egerton, "The Lloyd George War Memoirs: A Study in the Politics of Memory," The Journal of Modern History Vol. 60, No. 1 (Mar., 1988), pp. 55-94 in JSTOR
  • Morgan, Kenneth O. ed. Lloyd George Family Letters, 1885-1936. 1973.
  • Taylor, A. J. P. ed. My Darling Pussy: The Letters of Lloyd George and Frances Stevenson. 1975.
  • Taylor, A. J. P. ed. Lloyd George: A Diary by Frances Stevenson. 1971.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
The Marquess of Salisbury
President of the Board of Trade
1905 – 1908
Succeeded by
Winston Churchill
Preceded by
Herbert Henry Asquith
Chancellor of the Exchequer
1908 – 1915
Succeeded by
Reginald McKenna
New title Minister of Munitions
1915 – 1916
Succeeded by
Hon. Edwin Samuel Montagu
Preceded by
The Earl Kitchener
Secretary of State for War
Succeeded by
The Earl of Derby
Preceded by
Herbert Henry Asquith
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
7 December 1916 – 22 October 1922
Succeeded by
Andrew Bonar Law
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Edmund Swetenham
Member of Parliament for Caernarvon Boroughs
1890 – 1945
Succeeded by
Seaborne Davies
Party political offices
Preceded by
Herbert Henry Asquith
Leader of the British Liberal Party
1926 – 1931
Succeeded by
Sir Herbert Samuel
Preceded by
Henry N. Gladstone
President of the Welsh Liberal Federation
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by
The Earl Beatty
Rector of the University of Edinburgh
1920 – 1923
Succeeded by
Stanley Baldwin
Honorary titles
Preceded by
T. P. O'Connor
Father of the House
1929 – 1945
Succeeded by
The Earl Winterton
Peerage of the United Kingdom
New creation Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor
Succeeded by
Richard Lloyd George
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Frederick G. Banting
Cover of Time Magazine
3 September 1923
Succeeded by
Jack Dempsey


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

A politician is a person with whose politics you don't agree; if you agree with him he's a statesman.

David Lloyd George (17 January 186326 March 1945) was a British politician, who served as Prime Minister of United Kingdom (1916–1922).



The question will be asked whether five hundred men, ordinary men, chosen accidentally from among the unemployed, should override the judgment of millions of people who are engaged in the industry which makes the wealth of the country.
  • The House of Lords is not the watchdog of the constitution; it is Mr Balfour’s poodle. It fetches and carries for him. It barks for him. It bites anyone that he sets it on to.
    • Speech in the House of Commons (21 December 1908)
  • This, Mr. Emmot, is a war Budget. It is for raising money to wage implacable warfare against poverty and squalidness. I cannot help hoping and believing that before this generation has passed away, we shall have advanced a great step towards that good time, when poverty, and the wretchedness and human degradation which always follows in its camp, will be as remote to the people of this country as the wolves which once infested its forests.
    • Budget speech (29 April 1909)
The correspondents don't write and the censorship wouldn't pass the truth. What they do send is not the war, but just a pretty picture of the war with everybody doing gallant deeds. The thing is horrible and beyond human nature to bear and I feel I can't go on with this bloody business.
  • The Landlord is a gentleman ... who does not earn his wealth. He has a host of agents and clerks that receive for him. He does not even take the trouble to spend his wealth. He has a host of people around him to do the actual spending. He never sees it until he comes to enjoy it. His sole function, his chief pride, is the stately consumption of wealth produced by others.
    • Speech, Limehouse (30 July 1909)
  • A fully equipped Duke costs as much to keep up as two Dreadnoughts, and Dukes are just as great a terror, and they last longer.
    • Speech, Newcastle (9 October 1909)
At eleven o’clock this morning came to an end the cruellest and most terrible War that has ever scourged mankind. I hope we may say that thus, this fateful morning, came to an end all wars.
  • The question will be asked whether five hundred men, ordinary men, chosen accidentally from among the unemployed, should override the judgment of millions of people who are engaged in the industry which makes the wealth of the country.
    • On the peers of the House of Lords, in a speech in Newcastle (9 October 1909)
Liberty has restraints but no frontiers.
  • Four spectres haunt the Poor — Old Age, Accident, Sickness and Unemployment. We are going to exorcise them. We are going to drive hunger from the hearth. We mean to banish the workhouse from the horizon of every workman in the land.
    • Speech in Reading, (1 January 1910)
  • Personally I am a sincere advocate of all means which would lead to the settlement of international disputes by methods such as those which civilization has so successfully set up for the adjustment of differences between individuals.
    But I am also bound to say this — that I believe it is essential in the highest interests, not merely of this country, but of the world, that Britain should at all hazards maintain her place and her prestige amongst the Great Powers of the world. Her potent influence has many a time been in the past, and may yet be in the future, invaluable to the cause of human liberty. It has more than once in the past redeemed Continental nations, who are sometimes too apt to forget that service, from overwhelming disaster and even from national extinction. I would make great sacrifices to preserve peace. I conceive that nothing would justify a disturbance of international good will except questions of the gravest national moment. But if a situation were to be forced upon us in which peace could only be preserved by the surrender of the great and beneficent position Britain has won by centuries of heroism and achievement, by allowing Britain to be treated where her interests were vitally affected as if she were of no account in the Cabinet of nations, then I say emphatically that peace at that price would be a humiliation intolerable for a great country like ours to endure.
    • Speech (21 July 1911)
  • The stern hand of fate has scourged us to an elevation where we can see the great everlasting things which matter for a nation — the great peaks we had forgotten, of Honor, Duty, Patriotism, and clad in glittering white, the great pinnacle of Sacrifice pointing like a rugged finger to Heaven.
    • Speech, Queen's Hall, London (19 September 1914)
  • I listened last night, at a dinner given to Philip Gibbs on his return from the front, to the most impressive and moving description from him of what the war really means, that I have heard. Even an audience of hardened politicians and journalists were strongly affected. If people really knew, the war would be stopped tomorrow. But of course they don't know, and can't know. The correspondents don't write and the censorship wouldn't pass the truth. What they do send is not the war, but just a pretty picture of the war with everybody doing gallant deeds. The thing is horrible and beyond human nature to bear and I feel I can't go on with this bloody business.
    • In a private conversation, as quoted by C. P. Scott in his diary (27 December 1917)
The finest eloquence is that which gets things done; the worst is that which delays them.
  • At eleven o’clock this morning came to an end the cruellest and most terrible War that has ever scourged mankind. I hope we may say that thus, this fateful morning, came to an end all wars.
    • Speech in the House of Commons, (11 November 1918)
  • What is our task? To make Britain a fit country for heroes to live in.
    • Speech in Wolverhampton (24 November 1918)
  • The finest eloquence is that which gets things done; the worst is that which delays them.
    • Speech at the Paris Peace Conference (January 1919).
  • We have murder by the throat!
  • Liberty is not merely a privilege to be conferred; it is a habit to be acquired.
    • Speech in the House of Commons (10 May 1928)
The establishment of a German hegemony in Europe which was the aim and dream of the old prewar militarism, is not even on the horizon of Nazism.
  • Liberty has restraints but no frontiers.
    • International Liberal Conference (July 1928)
  • Sincerity is the surest road to confidence.
    • Speech at Aberystwyth (3 August 1928)
  • This war, like the next war, is a war to end war.
    • Statement, sometimes dated to have been made in 1916, as quoted in Reading, Writing and Remembering : A Literary Record (1932) by Edward Verrall Lucas, p. 296
  • I have just returned from a visit to Germany. ... I have now seen the famous German leader and also something of the great change he has effected. Whatever one may think of his methods — and they are certainly not those of a Parliamentary country — there can be no doubt that he has achieved a marvellous transformation in the spirit of the people, in their attitude towards each other, and in their social and economic outlook.
    One man has accomplished this miracle. He is a born leader of men. A magnetic dynamic personality with a single-minded purpose, a resolute will, and a dauntless heart. He is the national Leader. He is also securing them against that constant dread of starvation which is one of the most poignant memories of the last years of the war and the first years of the Peace. The establishment of a German hegemony in Europe which was the aim and dream of the old prewar militarism, is not even on the horizon of Nazism.
    • As quoted in The Daily Express (17 November 1936)
  • Modern warfare, we discovered, was to a far greater extent than ever before a conflict of chemists and manufacturers. Manpower, it is true, was indispensable, and generalship will always, whatever the conditions, have a vital part to play. But troops, however brave and well led, were powerless under modern conditions unless equipped with adequate and up-to-date artillery (with masses of explosive shell), machine-guns, aircraft and other supplies. Against enemy machine-gun posts and wire entanglements the most gallant and best-led men could only throw away their precious lives in successive waves of heroic martyrdom. Their costly sacrifice could avail nothing for the winning of victory.
    • War Memoirs (1938)
  • It is not too much to say that when the Great War broke out our Generals had the most important lessons of their art to learn. Before they began they had much to unlearn. Their brains were cluttered with useless lumber, packed in every niche and corner.
    • War Memoirs (1938)
  • There is nothing more dangerous than to leap a chasm in two jumps.
    • As quoted in Design for Power : The Struggle for the World (1941) by Frederick Lewis Schuman, p. 200; This is the earliest citation yet found for this or similar statements which have been attributed to David Lloyd George, as well as to Benjamin Disraeli, Winston Churchill, Vaclav Havel, Jeffrey Sachs, Rashi Fein, Walter Bagehot and Philip Noel-Baker. It has been described as a Greek, African, Chinese, Russian and American proverb, and as "an old Chassidic injunction". Variants:
      Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You can't cross a chasm in two small jumps.
      The most dangerous thing in the world is to try to leap a chasm in two jumps.
  • A politician is a person with whose politics you don't agree; if you agree with him he's a statesman.
    • As quoted in The British System of Government (1965) by Dilwyn Thomas
  • [Proportional representation is a] device for defeating democracy, the principle of which was that the majority should rule, and for bringing faddists of all kinds into Parliament, and establishing groups and disintegrating parties.
    • As quoted in The People and the Party System : The referendum and electoral reform in British politics (1981) by Vernon Bogdanor, Part III : Proportional Representation 1831 - 1979


  • You cannot feed the hungry on statistics.
    • Advocating tariff reform in the House of Commons (1904); This has also been attributed on the internet to Heinrich Heine, but without any specific citations of a source.
  • We are muddled into war. But we will never wear those leather shorts.
    • (1914?)
  • What do you want to be a sailor for? There are greater storms in politics than you will ever find at sea. Piracy, broadsides, blood on the decks. You will find them all in politics.
  • Who ordained that the few should have the land of Britain as a prerequisite; who made 10,000 people owners of the soil and the rest of us trespassers in the land of our birth?
  • We have not lost any war. As long as our Courts are delivering Justice to the people and they get egalitarian recruitment for employment. My government will make sure that people are not unemployed
    • Speech, Manchester (1919)


  • The centuries rarely produce a genius. It is our bad luck that the great genius of our era was granted to the Turkish nation. We could not beat Mustafa Kemal.
    • Lloyd George is portrayed as saying this, as George Nathaniel Curzon was making a complaint against Henri Poincaré in the Turkish TV series, Kurtulus (1994), but no prior citation of such a statement has yet been found.

Quotes about Lloyd George

I feel his charm and recognize his genius; but he is full of emotion without heart, brilliant without intellect, and a gambler without foresight. ~ Margot Asquith
  • I feel very bitter about Lloyd George; his is the kind of character I mind most, because I feel his charm and recognize his genius; but he is full of emotion without heart, brilliant without intellect, and a gambler without foresight. He has reduced our prestige and stirred up resentment by his folly — in India, Egypt, Ireland, Poland, Russia, America, and France.
  • David Lloyd George excelled even the ruck of politicians in his desire for what he thought was fame, as well as his extravagant greed for money. The two things do not usually go together but in his case it was difficult to say which was the stronger. He fully achieved both. Lloyd George began as a small Nonconformist Radical member of Parliament. He was a fluent speaker and appealed strongly to the audiences which in an earlier generation had also been appealed to by Spurgeon, Moody and Sankey and people of that kind. He may possibly like other men of the sort who enter public life had some sort of convictions when he begun, but he had certainly lost them by the year 1900 and was purely on the make.
David Lloyd George was the best-hated statesman of his time, as well as the best loved, ~ David Low
  • The Coalition Government of 1918 onwards really was pretty bad, and it is a discreditable episode in our history that Lloyd George, a great man who came into public life as a great Radical and who, as his later history showed, retained so much of real radicalism in his heart, should at that moment, of all moments, have chosen to hang on to personal power at the price of giving way to the worst elements in the community — only to be cast out by the Tories like an old shoe, when he had served his purpose, killed the Liberal Party, and deceived the working class so thoroughly that they would never trust him again.
  • My father took me to a dinner of the Honorable Cymmrodorion Society — a Welsh literary club — where Lloyd George, then Secretary for War, and W. M. Hughes, the Australian Prime Minister, both spoke. Hughes was perky, dry, and to the point; Lloyd George was up in the air in one of his "glory of the Welsh hills" speeches. 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 his audience. He sucked power from his listeners and spurted it back at them. Afterwards, my father introduced me to Lloyd George, and when I looked closely at his eyes they seemed like those of a sleep-walker.
  • To see the British Prime Minister watching the company, with six or seven senses not available to ordinary men, judging character, motive, and subconscious impulse, perceiving what each was thinking and even what each was going to say next, and compounding with telepathic instinct the argument or appeal best suited to the vanity, weakness, or self-interest of his immediate auditor, was to realize that the poor President would be playing blind man's buff in that party.
  • Lloyd George was a wonderful orator. I have heard my father say that when he came to address meetings in Scotland you had to hold on to your seat not to be carried away. And in his early years he was deeply concerned to make life more tolerable for the poor. He fought for his social security legislation with all his boundless energy and adroitness; the only thing he was not prepared to do for the poor was to become one of them. He needed money, lots of money, to maintain a home for his wife and family in Wales and another in England for his secretary, who became his mistress.
    In our part of the world Lloyd George was no hero. We did not forgive or forget the Khaki Election of 1918. Nor his treatment of pacifists during the war. Nor the Marconi Scandal. Nor the way he played fast and loose with the Suffragette Movement, doing nothing to oppose forceful feeding or to undo the notorious Cat and Mouse Act.
    What Lloyd George failed to understand was no man, however gifted, is a major political power in himself. He can teach, he can preach, he can make a significant contribution, but power politics is a struggle between social forces, not a duel between individuals. Once the war was over the Tories had no more use for him. He was an outsider, an upstart Welsh lawyer who had got above himself.
  • David Lloyd George was the best-hated statesman of his time, as well as the best loved. The former I have good reason to know; every time I made a pointed cartoon against him, it brought batches of approving letters from all the haters. Looking at Lloyd George's pink and hilarious, head thrown back, generous mouth open to its fullest extent, shouting with laughter at one of his own jokes, I thought I could see how it was that his haters hated him. He must have been poison to the old school tie brigade, coming to the House an outsider, bright, energetic, irrepressible, ruthless, mastering with ease the House of Commons procedure, applying all the Celtic tricks in the bag, with a talent for intrigue that only occasionally got away from him.
    I always had the greatest difficulty in making Lloyd George sinister in a cartoon. Every time I drew him, however critical the comment, I had to be careful or he would spring off the drawing-board a lovable cherubic little chap.
    I found the only effective way of putting him definitely in the wrong in a cartoon was by misplacing this quality in sardonic incongruity — by surrounding the comedian with tragedy.
  • At Geneva other countries would have agreed not to use aeroplanes for bombing purposes, but we insisted on reserving the right, as D. puts it, to bomb niggers! Whereupon the whole thing fell through, & we add 5 millions to our air armaments expenditure.
    • Frances Stevenson, Countess Lloyd George of Dwyfor on David Lloyd George's comment on Ramsay Macdonald's Government's stance in armament talks, in a diary entry (9 March 1934), as published in Lloyd George : A Diary (1971), p. 259. This seems to be the earliest source for such a statement, although variants apparently derived from it have sometimes been presented as a direct quote of Lloyd George specifically supporting such a policy:
We must reserve the right to bomb niggers.
We have to reserve the right to bomb niggers.
Britain must reserve the right to bomb niggers.
The actual quotation of Stevenson, despite using a racist vernacular, is ambiguous and may indicate a disapproval of both the government's policy and its costs, as at that point Lloyd George had been out of office for 12 years.

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The Rt Hon David Lloyd George
File:David Lloyd

In office
December 7, 1916 – October 22, 1922
Preceded by H. H. Asquith
Succeeded by Andrew Bonar Law

In office
April 12, 1908 – May 25, 1915
Preceded by H. H. Asquith
Succeeded by Reginald McKenna

Born January 17, 1863
Manchester, Lancashire, England, UK
Died March 26, 1945
Tŷ Newydd, Llanystumdwy, Caernarfonshire, Wales, UK
Political party Liberal

David Lloyd George (17 January, 186326 March, 1945) was the British Prime Minister during the last half of World War I. He was Prime Minister for six years, between 1916 and 1922.

Lloyd George was born in Chorlton-on-Medlock, Manchester, Lancashire, England to Welsh parents. His father, who died before Lloyd George was two-years old, was a teacher and a farmer. When he was young, he lived with his mother and his brother. When he was 21, Lloyd George became a lawyer and opened an office in the back of his brother's house.

Lloyd George's law practice was a success. Shortly after opening it, Lloyd George became interested in politics. He began working with the Liberal Party. He was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) on April 13, 1890. Lloyd George would serve as an MP until 1945. In the House of Commons, Lloyd George worked to promote Welsh issues, fought against the Second Boer War and campaigned for education reform.

In 1905, Lloyd George was selected to become a cabinet minister. He served as President of the Board of Trade (1905-1908) and Chancellor of the Exchequer (1908-1915). After World War I started, he held the positions of Minister of Munitions (1915) and War Secretary (1916).

By the end of 1916, the war was going badly for Great Britain. Lloyd George gathered together a coalition (a type of political team) of Liberal and Conservative MPs to form a new government. On December 5, 1916, Prime Minister H. H. Asquith resigned, and Lloyd George took his place. Lloyd George's government introduced conscription (forcing men to join the armed forces) and rationing (placing limits on the amount of food someone can buy) by the end of the war.

After the war, Lloyd George represented Britain at the Versailles Peace Conference and helped create the Irish Free State. By 1922, Lloyd George's coalition was breaking apart. In October 1922, the Conservative Party led by Andrew Bonar Law won the election. Lloyd George remained an MP, however, until 1945.

In 1945, he was given the titles Earl Lloyd George of Dwyfor and Viscount Gwynedd. He was to take a seat in the House of Lords, but he died before he could do so.

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