This fascinating volume, based upon a wealth of private archives, charts Churchill's career between the wars. It opens with his return to Conservatism and to the Cabinet in 1924, and, as the story unfolds, presents a vivid and intimate picture of Churchill's public life and of his private world at Chartwell.
Martin Gilbert shows how, as Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1924 to 1929, Churchill pursued with vigor a humane and constructive social policy, including the introduction of pensions for widows and orphans. Britain's controversial return to the Gold Standard is examined here on the basis of new evidence; so too are Churchill's strenuous and forward-looking efforts after the General Strike to bring peace to the coal industry. Never afraid of political hostility from his Conservative colleagues, Churchill sought a policy of fair-dealing and active Government conciliation in industrial relations. In 1927 he planned, and then fought in the Cabinet for a massive attack on unemployment by means of a complete change in the tax system. He was helped in his task by a young Tory member of Parliament, Harold MacMillan, in whom he confided.
In this volume, Martin Gilbert strips away four decades of accumulated myth and innuendo, showing Churchill's real stand on India, his precise role during the Abdication of Edward VIII (and his private thoughts on Mrs. Simpson), his true attitude to Mussolini, and his profound fears for the future of European democracy. Even before Hitler came to power in Germany, Churchill saw in full the dangers of a Nazi victory. Despite the unpopularity of his views in official circles, for six years he persevered in his warnings. This volume shows just how courageous and accurate those warnings were, how several members of the Cabinet -- including Anthony Eden -- shared their worries with him, and yet how bitter and irreconcilable was the opposition he encountered, first from Baldwin, then from Neville Chamberlain.
This book tells for the first time the extent to which senior civil servants, and even military officers of high rank, came to Churchill with secret information, having despaired at the extent of official lethargy and obstruction. Within the Air Ministry, the Foreign Office, and the Intelligence Services, individuals felt drawn to go to Churchill with full disclosures of Britain's defense weakness, and kept him informed of day-to-day developments from 1934 until the outbreak of the war. A wealth of new and fascinating evidence illuminates this secret aspect of Churchill's career. In presenting so many unknown facets of Churchill's public and private life, Martin Gilbert shows how, as war approached, people of all parties and in all walks of life recognized Churchill's unique qualities, demanded his immediate inclusion in the Government, and believed that he alone could give a divided nation guidance and inspiration.