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James Garvin , the editor of The Observer , argued it was time that the government reached a negotiated settlement with the House of Lords: "If King Edward upon his deathbed could have sent a last message to his people, he would have asked us to lay party passion aside, to sign a truce of God over his grave, to seek Let conference take place before conflict is irrevocably joined. A Constitutional Conference was established with eight members, four cabinet ministers and four representatives from the Conservative Party.

Over the next six months the men met on twenty-one occasions. However, they never came close to an agreement and the last meeting took place in November. However, when a by-election at Walthamstow suggested a slight swing to the Liberals, Asquith decided to call another General Election. David Lloyd George called on the British people to vote for a change in the parliamentary system: "How could anyone defend the Constitution in its present form? No country in the world would look at our system - no free country, I mean France has a Senate, the United States has a Senate, the Colonies have Senates, but they are all chosen either directly or indirectly by the people.

The general election of December, , produced a House of Commons which was almost identical to the one that had been elected in January. The Liberals won seats and the Conservatives , but the Labour Party 42 and the Irish a combined total of 84 ensured the government's survival as long as it proceeded with constitutional reform and Home Rule. The Parliament Bill, which removed the peers' right to amend or defeat finance bills and reduced their powers from the defeat to the delay of other legislation, was introduced into the House of Commons on 21st February It completed its passage through the Commons on 15th May.

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A committee of the House of Lords then amended the bill out of all recognition. It now looked like that H. Asquith would now persuade George V to appoint a large number of Liberal peers. Lord Northcliffe, who had used his newspaper empire, to support the House of Lords, wrote that he was frightened that the King was about to turn the Lords into a "Radical body". He added: "I do not think the House of Lords is particularly popular with anybody and there certainly are lots of people in the lower middle class who would like to see it smashed - quite forgetting it is the only barrier they have against the growth of socialist taxation.

Lloyd George had bluffed Balfour into believing that George V had agreed to create enough Liberal supporting peers to pass a new Parliament Bill. Barrie , had been drawn up, they had not yet been presented to the King. After the meeting Balfour told Conservative peers that to prevent the Liberals having a permanent majority in the House of Lords, they must pass the bill. On 10th August , the Parliament Act was passed by votes to in the Lords. During his speech on the People's Budget , David Lloyd George, pointed out that Germany had a compulsory national insurance against sickness since He argued that he intended to introduce a similar system in Britain.

With a reference to the arms race between Britain and Germany he commented: "We should not emulate them only in armaments. Braithwaite , to Germany to make an up-to-date study of its State insurance system. Braithwaite argued strongly that the scheme should be paid for by the individual, the state and the employer: "Working people ought to pay something. It gives them a feeling of self respect and what costs nothing is not valued. One of the questions that arose during this meeting was whether British national insurance should work, like the German system, on the "dividing-out" principle, or should follow the example of private insurance in accumulating a large reserve.

Lloyd George favoured the first method, but Braithwaite fully supported the alternative system. It has no continuity - no scientific basis - it lives from day to day. It is all very well when it is young and sickness is low. But as its age increases sickness increases, and the young men can go elsewhere for a cheaper insurance. The debate between the two men continued over the next two months. Lloyd George argued: "The State could not manage property or invest with wisdom.

It would be very bad for politics if the State owned a huge fund. The proper course for the Chancellor of the Exchequer was to let money fructify in the pockets of the people and take it only when he wanted it. Eventually, in March, , Braithwaite produced a detailed paper on the subject, where he explained that the advantage of a state system was the effect of interest on accumulative insurance. Lloyd George told Braithwaite that he had read his paper but admitted he did not understand it and asked him to explain the economics of his health insurance system.

It was at any rate an extra payment which young contributors could properly demand, and the State contribution must at least make it up to them if their contributions were to be taken off and used by the older people. After about half an hour's talk he went upstairs to dress for dinner. Braithwaite explained that the advantages of an accumulative state fund was the ability to use the insurance reserve to underwrite other social programmes. Lloyd George presented his national insurance proposal to the Cabinet at the beginning of April.

The rates of contribution would be 4d. The slogan adopted by Lloyd George to promote the scheme was "9d for 4d". In return for a payment which covered less than half the cost, contributors were entitled to free medical attention, including the cost of medicine. Those workers who contributed were also guaranteed 10s. Braithwaite later argued that he was impressed by the way Lloyd George developed his policy on health insurance: "Looking back on these three and a half months I am more and more impressed with the Chancellor's curious genius, his capacity to listen, judge if a thing is practicable, deal with the immediate point, deferring all unnecessary decision and keeping every road open till he sees which is really the best.

Working for any other man I must inevitably have acquiesced in some scheme which would not have been as good as this one, and I am very glad now that he tore up so many proposals of my own and other people which were put forward as solutions, and which at the time we had persuaded ourselves into thinking possible. It will be an enormous misfortune if this man by any accident should be lost to politics.

The large insurance companies were worried that this measure would reduce the popularity of their own private health schemes. Lloyd George, arranged a meeting with the association that represented the twelve largest companies. Their chief negotiator was Kingsley Wood , who told Lloyd George, that in the past he had been able to muster enough support in the House of Commons to defeat any attempt to introduce a state system of widows' and orphans' benefits and so the government "would be wise to abandon the scheme at once. David Lloyd George was able to persuade the government to back his proposal of health insurance: "After searching examination, the Cabinet expressed warm and unanimously approval of the main and government principles of the scheme which they believed to be more comprehensive in its scope and more provident and statesmanlike in its machinery than anything that had hitherto been attempted or proposed.

Lloyd George argued: "It is no use shirking the fact that a proportion of workmen with good wages spend them in other ways, and therefore have nothing to spare with which to pay premiums to friendly societies.

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It has come to my notice, in many of these cases, that the women of the family make most heroic efforts to keep up the premiums to the friendly societies, and the officers of friendly societies, whom I have seen, have amazed me by telling the proportion of premiums of this kind paid by women out of the very wretched allowance given them to keep the household together. Lloyd George went on to explain: "When a workman falls ill, if he has no provision made for him, he hangs on as long as he can and until he gets very much worse.

Then he goes to another doctor i. He very often fails to do so. I have met many doctors who have told me that they have hundreds of pounds of bad debts of this kind which they could not think of pressing for payment of, and what really is done now is that hundreds of thousands - I am not sure that I am not right in saying millions - of men, women and children get the services of such doctors. The heads of families get those services at the expense of the food of their children, or at the expense of good-natured doctors.

Lloyd George stated this measure was just the start to government involvement in protecting people from social evils: "I do not pretend that this is a complete remedy. Before you get a complete remedy for these social evils you will have to cut in deeper. But I think it is partly a remedy. I think it does more. It lays bare a good many of those social evils, and forces the State, as a State, to pay attention to them.

It does more than that The Observer welcomed the legislation as "by far the largest and best project of social reform ever yet proposed by a nation. It is magnificent in temper and design".

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Along with Keir Hardie , they wanted free sickness and unemployment benefit to be paid for by progressive taxation. Hardie commented that the attitude of the government was "we shall not uproot the cause of poverty, but we will give you a porous plaster to cover the disease that poverty causes. Lloyd George's reforms were strongly criticised and some Conservatives accused him of being a socialist.

There was no doubt that he had been heavily influenced by Fabian Society pamphlets on social reform that had been written by Beatrice Webb , Sidney Webb and George Bernard Shaw. However, some Fabians "feared that the Trade Unions might now be turned into Insurance Societies, and that their leaders would be further distracted from their industrial work.

Lloyd George pointed out that the labour movement in Germany had initially opposed national insurance: "In Germany, the trade union movement was a poor, miserable, wretched thing some years ago. Insurance has done more to teach the working class the virtue of organisation than any single thing. You cannot get a socialist leader in Germany today to do anything to get rid of that Bill Many socialist leaders in Germany will say that they would rather have our Bill than their own. Alfred Harmsworth , Lord Northcliffe, launched a propaganda campaign against the bill on the grounds that the scheme would be too expensive for small employers.

The climax of the campaign was a rally in the Albert Hall on 29th November, As Lord Northcliffe, controlled 40 per cent of the morning newspaper circulation in Britain, 45 per cent of the evening and 15 per cent of the Sunday circulation, his views on the subject was very important. Asquith was very concerned about the impact of the The Daily Mail involvement in this issue: " The Daily Mail has been engineering a particularly unscrupulous campaign on behalf of mistresses and maids and one hears from all constituencies of defections from our party of the small class of employers.

There can be no doubt that the Insurance Bill is to say the least not an electioneering asset. Frank Owen , the author of Tempestuous Journey: Lloyd George and his Life and Times suggested that it was those who employed servants who were the most hostile to the legislation: "Their tempers were inflamed afresh each morning by Northcliffe's Daily Mail , which alleged that inspectors would invade their drawing-rooms to check if servants' cards were stamped, while it warned the servants that their mistresses would sack them the moment they became liable for sickness benefit.

The National Insurance Bill spent 29 days in committee and grew in length and complexity from 87 to clauses. These amendments were the result of pressure from insurance companies, Friendly Societies, the medical profession and the trade unions, which insisted on becoming "approved" administers of the scheme. The bill was passed by the House of Commons on 6th December and received royal assent on 16th December Lloyd George admitted that he had severe doubts about the amendments: "I have been beaten sometimes, but I have sometimes beaten off the attack.

That is the fortune of war and I am quite ready to take it. Honourable Members are entitled to say that they have wrung considerable concessions out of an obstinate, stubborn, hard-hearted Treasury. They cannot have it all their own way in this world. Let them be satisfied with what they have got. They are entitled to say this is not a perfect Bill, but then this is not a perfect world. Do let them be fair. Let them bear that in mind. I think they are right in fighting for organisations which have achieved great things for the working classes.

I am not at all surprised that they regard them with reverence. I would not do anything which would impair their position. Because in my heart I believe that the Bill will strengthen their power is one of the reasons why I am in favour of this Bill. The Daily Mail and The Times , both owned by Lord Northcliffe, continued its campaign against the National Insurance Act and urged its readers who were employers not to pay their national health contributions.

David Lloyd George asked: "Were there now to be two classes of citizens in the land - one class which could obey the laws if they liked; the other, which must obey whether they liked it or not?

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Some people seemed to think that the Law was an institution devised for the protection of their property, their lives, their privileges and their sport it was purely a weapon to keep the working classes in order. This Law was to be enforced. But a Law to ensure people against poverty and misery and the breaking-up of home through sickness or unemployment was to be optional.

Lloyd George attacked the newspaper baron for encouraging people to break the law and compared the issue to the foot-and-mouth plague rampant in the countryside at the time: "Defiance of the law is like the cattle plague. It is very difficult to isolate it and confine it to the farm where it has broken out.

Although this defiance of the Insurance Act has broken out first among the Harmsworth herd, it has travelled to the office of The Times. Because they belong to the same cattle farm. Despite the opposition from newspapers and and the British Medical Association , the business of collecting contributions began in July , and the payment of benefits on 15th January Lloyd George appointed Sir Robert Morant as chief executive of the health insurance system. William J. Braithwaite was made secretary to the joint committee responsible for initial implementation, but his relations with Morant were deeply strained.

David Lloyd George, unlike most Liberal and Conservative MPs, "had no capital resources, whether self-made or derived from the money-making activities of ancestors As a young M. Although he could live on this income he worried about what would happen if he lost office. He decided to use his contacts with businessmen to provide him with information that would enable to invest wisely in stocks and shares. His good friend and political supporter, George Cadbury , heard about these financial dealings and warned him that if the Conservative press found out about this it could bring an end to his political career.

Cadbury was the owner of the Daily News and might have heard about this from journalists he employed. Surrey Commercial was one of the three London dock companies which had been created when the Port of London was being established, in , under a scheme prepared by Lloyd George but enacted by his successor at the Board of Trade, Winston Churchill. Lloyd George wrote to his wife about his share dealings. Very well, I will invest it for you. Sorry you have no more available as I think it is quite a good thing I have got. But the thing I have been talking to you about is a new thing.

Asquith had been urged by senior members of the military to set up an British Empire chain of wireless telegraphy. Herbert Samuel , the Postmaster-General, began negotiating with several companies who could provide this service. Godfrey Isaacs, was also on the board of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America, that controlled the company operating in London.

Isaacs had been given responsibility for selling 50, shares in the company to English investors before they became available to the general public. He shared this information with Lloyd George and Alexander Murray , the Chief Whip, and they both purchased 1, shares at the same price.

On 18th April Murray also bought 2, shares for the Liberal Party. These shares were not available on the British stock market. The main reason for this was the news that Herbert Samuel was in negotiations with the English Marconi Company to provide a wireless-telegraphy system for the British Empire. Whereas his fellow government ministers, Lloyd George and Alexander Murray, sold half their shares and therefore got the other half for free.

Lloyd George then used this money to buy another 1, shares in the company. Cecil Chesterton , G. It was later pointed out that "the object of the Eye-Witness was to make the English public know and care about the perils of political corruption". The editor wrote to his mother, Lloyd George has been dealing on the Stock Exchange heavily to his advantage with private political information".

They immediately began to investigate the case. A couple of days later, W. Lawson, wrote in the weekly Outlook Magazine : "The Marconi Company has from its birth been a child of darkness Its relations with certain Ministers have not always been purely official or political. Whereas the rest of the mainstream media ignored the story, over the next few weeks The Eye-Witness produced a series of articles on the subject. It was also claimed that David Lloyd George, Godfrey Isaacs , Alexander Murray and Herbert Samuel had profited by buying shares based on knowledge of the government contract.

The defenders of Lloyd George, Isaacs, Murray and Samuel, accused the magazine of anti-semitism, pointing out that three of the men named were Jewish. It was a gift to them that the Attorney-General and his brother had the name of Isaacs, and the added bonus that the Postmaster General, who had negotiated the contract, was called Samuel. Asquith called a meeting with the accused men and discussed the possibility of legal action against the magazine. It was Asquith who eventually advised against this: "I suspect that Eyewitness has a very meagre circulation.

I notice only one page of advertisements and then by Belloc's publishers. Prosecution would secure it notoriety which might yield subscribers. A debate on the Marconi contract took place on 11th October, Herbert Samuel explained that Marconi was the company best qualified to do the job and several Conservative MPs made speeches where they agreed with the government over this issue.

The only dissenting voice was George Lansbury , the Labour MP, who argued that there had been "scandalous gambling in Marconi shares. David Lloyd George responded by attacking those who had spread untrue stories about his share dealings: "The Honourable Member George Lansbury said something about the Government and he has talked about rumours. If the Honourable Member has any charge to make against the Government as a whole or against individual Members of it, I think it ought to be stated openly.

The reason why the government wanted a frank discussion before going to Committee was because we wanted to bring here these rumours, these sinister rumours that have been passed from one foul lip to another behind the backs of the House. Later that day, Rufus Isaacs issued a statement about his share-dealings. I am not only speaking for myself but also speaking on behalf, I know, of both my Right Honourable Friends the Postmaster General and the Chancellor of the Exchequer who, in some way or another, in some of the articles, have been brought into this matter".

Leopold Maxse , the editor of The National Review , pointed out that Isaacs had been careful in his use of words. He speculated why he said that he had not purchased shares in "that company" rather than the "Marconi company". Maxse pointed out: "One might have conceived that the Ministers might have appeared at the first sitting clamouring to state in the most categorical and emphatic manner that neither directly nor indirectly, in their names or other people's names, have they had any transactions whatsoever In any Marconi company throughout thc negotiations with the Government".

Asquith announced that he would set-up a committee to look into the possibility of insider dealings. The committee took evidence from witnesses for the next six months and caused the Government a great deal of embarrassment. When it was pointed out that this was not true, the newspaper published a retraction and an apology.

However, on the advice of Winston Churchill , they decided to take legal action against the newspaper. Churchill argued that this would provide an opportunity to shape the consciousness of the general public. He suggested that the men should employ two barristers, Frederick Smith and Edward Carson , who were members of the Conservative Party : "The public was bound to notice that the integrity of two Liberal ministers was being defended by normally partisan members of the Conservative Party, and their appearance on behalf of Isaacs and Samuel would make it impossible for them to attack either man in the House of Commons debate which would surely follow.

Churchill also had a meeting with Alfred Harmsworth , Lord Northcliffe, the owner of The Times and The Daily Mail and persuaded him to treat the accused men "gently" in his newspapers. For example, The Spectator , reported a speech made by Robert Cecil , where he argued: "It was his duty to express his honest and impartial opinion on the conduct of Mr.

Lloyd George in the Marconi transaction. He had never said or suggested that the transaction was corrupt; but he did say that, if it was to be approved and recognized as the common practice among Government officials, then one of our greatest safeguards against corruption was absolutely destroyed. The transaction was bad and grossly improper, and it was made far worse by the fact that Mr. Lloyd George went about posing as an injured innocent.

For a man in his position to defend that transaction was even worse than entering into it. However, as David Lloyd George pointed out, he had held no shares in any company which did business with the government and that he had never made improper use of official information. However, during the investigation, Murray's stockbroker was declared bankrupt and, in consequence, his account books and business papers were open to public examination. Asquith and Percy Illingworth , the new Chief Whip, denied knowledge of these shares.

According to George Riddell , a close friend of both men, Asquith and Illingworth had known about this "for some time". On 30th June, , the Select Committee provided three reports on the Marconi case. The majority government report claimed that no Minister had been influenced in the discharge of his public duties by any interest he might have had in any of the Marconi or other undertakings, or had utilized information coming to him from official sources for private investment or speculation.

The Minority opposition report criticised the whole handling of the share issue and found "grave impropriety" in the conduct of David Lloyd George, Rufus Isaacs and Alexander Murray, both in acquiring the shares at the advantageous price and in subsequent dealings in them. It also censored them for their lack of candour, especially Murray, who had refused to return to England to testify. Although the chairman on the enquiry, Albert Spicer , signed the majority report, he also published his own report where he heavily criticised Rufus Isaacs for not disclosing at the beginning that he had bought shares in the Marconi Company.

Spicer claimed that it was this lack of candour that resulted in the large number of rumours about the corrupt actions of the government ministers. Newspapers complained that it appeared that he had been promoted as a reward for not disclosing the full truth about his share-dealings. However, it was reported by Lord Northcliffe that only five people had sent letters to his newspapers on the subject and "the whole Marconi business looms much larger in Downing Street than among the mass of the people". Chesterton , one of the men who exposed the scandal, agreed: "The object of the Eye-Witness was to make the English public know and care about the perils of political corruption.

It is now certain that the public does know. It is not so certain that the public does care. I believe it is almost as essential to divide them into Pre-Marconi and Post-Marconi days. It was during the agitations upon that affair that the ordinary English citizen lost his invincible ignorance; or, in ordinary language, his innocence". In a speech at the National Liberal Club, David Lloyd George, attempted to defend the politicians involved in the Marconi case: "I should like to say one word about politicians generally. I think that they are a much-maligned race.

Those who think that politicians are moved by sordid, pecuniary considerations know nothing ofeither politics or politicians. These are not the things that move us The men who go into politics to make money are not politicians We all have ambitions. I am not ashamed to say so. I speak as one who boasts: I have an ambition. I should like to be remembered amongst those who, in their day and generation, had at least done something to lift the poor out of the mire. Lloyd George went on to argue that it was politicians like him who were protecting the public from other powerful forces: "The real peril in politics is not that individual politicians ofhigh rank will attempt to make a packet for themselves.

Read the history of England for the past fifty years. The real peril is that powerful interests will dominate the Legislature, will dominate the Executive, in order to carry through proposals which will prey upon the community. That is where tariffs - the landlord endowment - will come in. Alfred Harmsworth , Lord Northcliffe, used his newspapers to urge an increase in defence spending and a reduction in the amount of money being spent on social insurance schemes.

Lloyd George replied: "The only real pro-German whom I know of on the Liberal side of politics is Rosebery, and I sometimes wonder whether he is even a Liberal at all! Haldane, of course, from education and intellectual bent, is in sympathy with German ideas, but there is really nothing else on which to base a suspicion that we are inclined to a pro-German policy at the expense of the entente with France. Lloyd George complained bitterly to H. Asquith about the demands being made by Reginald McKenna , First Lord of the Admiralty, to spend more money on the navy. He reminded Asquith of "the emphatic pledges given by us before and during the general election campaign to reduce the gigantic expediture on armaments built up by our predecessors You alone can save us from the prospect of squalid and sterile destruction.

Asquith took this advice and Churchill was appointed to the post on 24th October, McKenna, with the greatest reluctance, replaced him at the Home Office. This move backfired on Lloyd George as the Admiralty cured Churchill's passion for "economy". The "new ruler of the King's navy demanded an expenditure on new battleships which made McKenna's claims seem modest".

The Admiralty reported to the British government that by Germany would have 17 dreadnoughts, three-fourths the number planned by Britain for that date. At a cabinet meeting David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill both expressed doubts about the veracity of the Admiralty intelligence. He in turn discussed the issue with H. Lloyd George wrote to Churchill explaining how Asquith had now given approval to Fisher's proposals: "I feared all along this would happen. Fisher is a very clever person and when he found his programme in danger he wired Davidson assistant private secretary to the King for something more panicky - and of course he got it.

The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand did not immediately cause a reaction in Britain. David Lloyd George admitted that he heard the news he suspected that it would result in a war in the Balkans but did not believe such a conflict would involve Britain. He also pointed out that the Cabinet, although it was meeting twice a day, because of the crisis in Ireland, they did not even discuss the issue of Serbia and the assassination for another three weeks. Lloyd George told C.

Scott that there is "no question of our taking part in any war in the first instance In a letter a few days later to King George V he described the impending conflict as "the greatest event for many years past" but he added "happily there seems no reason why we should be anything other than a spectator". Asquith , instructed Sir Edward Grey , the Foreign Secretary, to "inform the French and German ambassadors that, at this stage, we were unable to pledge ourselves in advance either under all conditions to stand aside or in any conditions to join in.

On 23rd July, , George Buchanan , the British ambassador to Russia , wrote to Sir Edward Grey, about the discussions he had following the assassination: "As they both continued to press me to declare our complete solidarity with them, I said that I thought you might be prepared to represent strongly at Vienna and Berlin danger to European peace of an Austrian attack on Serbia. You might perhaps point out that it would in all probability force Russia to intervene, that this would bring Germany and France into the field, and that if war became general, it would be difficult for England to remain neutral.

Minister for Foreign Affairs said that he hoped that we would in any case express strong reprobation of Austria's action. If war did break out, we would sooner or later be dragged into it, but if we did not make common cause with France and Russia from the outset we should have rendered war more likely. Grey replied to Buchanan on the 25th July: "I said to the German Ambassador that, as long as there was only a dispute between Austria and Serbia alone, I did not feel entitled to intervene; but that, directly it was a matter between Austria and Russia, it became a question of the peace of Europe, which concerned us all.

I had furthermore spoken on the assumption that Russia would mobilize, whereas the assumption of the German Government had hitherto been, officially, that Serbia would receive no support; and what I had said must influence the German Government to take the matter seriously. In effect, I was asking that if Russia mobilized against Austria, the German Government, who had been supporting the Austrian demand on Serbia, should ask Austria to consider some modification of her demands, under the threat of Russian mobilization.

Several members of the Black Hand group interrogated by the Austrian authorities claimed that three men from Serbia , Dragutin Dimitrijevic , Milan Ciganovic , and Major Voja Tankosic , had organised the plot to kill Archduke Ferdinand. On 25th July, , the Austro-Hungarian government demanded that the Serbian government arrest the men and send them to face trial in Vienna. Nikola Pasic , the prime minister of Serbia , told the Austro-Hungarian government that he was unable to hand over these three men as it "would be a violation of Serbia's Constitution and criminal in law".

Three days later Austro-Hungarian declared war on Serbia. Despite these events, Sir Edward Grey was still confident that war could be avoided and departed for a fishing holiday in Hampshire. Later that day he wrote a letter to his brother of Kaiser Wilhelm II , that George had told him: "We shall try all we can to keep out of this, and shall remain neutral. On 28th July, , Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.

The following day the Kaiser promised Britain that he would not annex any French territory in Europe provided the country remained neutral. On 30th July, Grey wrote to on Theobold von Bethmann Hollweg : "His Majesty's Government cannot for one moment entertain the Chancellor's proposal that they should bind themselves to neutrality on such terms. What he asks us in effect is to engage and stand by while French colonies are taken and France is beaten, so long as Germany does not take French territory as distinct from the colonies. From the material point of view the proposal is unacceptable, for France, without further territory in Europe being taken from her, could be so crushed as to lose her position as a Great Power, and become subordinate to German policy.

Altogether apart from that, it would be a disgrace to us to make this bargain with Germany at the expense of France, a disgrace from which the good name of this country would never recover. The Chancellor also in effect asks us to bargain away whatever obligation or interest we have as regards the neutrality of Belgium.

We could not entertain that bargain either. Scott , the editor of the Manchester Guardian , made it clear what he thought of the conflict.


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We wish Serbia no ill; we are anxious for the peace of Europe. But Englishmen are not the guardians of Serbia well being, or even of the peace of Europe. Their first duty is to England and to the peace of England We care as little for Belgrade as Belgrade does for Manchester. Asquith appeared to support them. At this point, Churchill suggested that it might be possible to continue if some senior members of the Conservative Party could be persuaded to form a Coalition government.

On 1st August, Asquith wrote in his diary that his government was badly divided on the issue of war: "Lloyd George, all for peace, is more sensible and statesmanlike for keeping the position still open. Grey declares that if an out-and-out and uncompromising policy of Non-intervention at all costs is adopted he will go. Winston very bellicose and demanding immediate mobilization Of course, if Grey went, I should go, and the whole thing would break up. Churchill wrote to Lloyd George after the Cabinet meeting: "I am most profoundly anxious that our long co-operation may not be severed I implore you to come and bring your mighty aid to the discharge of our duty.

Afterwards, by participating, we can regulate the settlement. I am deeply attached to you and have followed your instructions and guidance for nearly 10 years. Lloyd George later recalled: "Money was a frightened and trembling thing. Money shivered at the prospect. Big Business everywhere wanted to keep out. We should be able to capture the bulk of their trade in neutral markets. When he heard what had happened, John Burns immediately resigned as he now knew war was inevitable. Charles Trevelyan , John Morley and John Simon also handed in letters of resignation with "at least another half-dozen waited upon the effective hour".

According to the editor of the Manchester Guardian : "He Lloyd George , Beauchamp, Morley and Burns had all resigned from the Cabinet on the Saturday 1st August before the declaration of war on the ground that they could not agree to Grey's pledge to Cambon the French ambassador in London to protect north coast of France against Germans, regarding this as equivalent to war with Germany. On urgent representations of Asquith he Lloyd George and Beauchamp agreed on Monday evening to remain in the Cabinet without in the smallest degree, as far as he was concerned, withdrawing his objection to the policy but solely in order to prevent the appearance of disruption in face of a grave national danger.

That remains his position. He is, as it were, an unattached member of the Cabinet. Lloyd George did not submit a resignation letter but he remained unconvinced that Britain should go to war over this issue. His friend, George Riddell , pointed out that he was coming under great pressure from pacifists in the Liberal Party. Asquith argued: "Some ministers believed that we should declare now and at once that in no circumstances would we take a hand. There is no doubt that, for the moment, that is the view of the bulk of the party.

Lloyd George - all for peace - is more sensible and statesmanlike, keeping the position open. However, in a letter to his wife, Lloyd George admitted he would support the war if Germany invaded Belgium: "I am moving through a nightmare world these days. I have fought hard for peace and succeeded, so far, in keeping the Cabinet out of it, but I am driven to the conclusion that if the small nationality of Belgium is attacked by Germany all my traditions and even my prejudices will be engaged on the side of war.

Andrew Bonar Law , the leader of the Conservative Party , heard about this dispute in Cabinet and wrote to Asquith giving him support on this matter: "Lord Lansdowne leader of the House of Lords and I feel it our duty to inform you that in our opinion as well as in that of all the colleagues whom we have been able to consult, it would be fatal to the honour and security of the United Kingdom to hesitate in supporting France and Russia at the present juncture; and we offer our unhesitating support to the Government in any measures they may consider necessary for that object.

Hardie made a speech on 2nd August, , where he called on "the governing class Down with class rule! Down with the rule of brute force! Down with war! Up with the peaceful rule of the people! On 2nd August, , the German government wrote to the Belgian government: "Reliable information has been received by the German Government to the effect that French forces intend to march on the line of the Meuse by Givet and Namur.

This information leaves no doubt as to the intention of France to march through Belgian territory against Germany. The German Government cannot but fear that Belgium, in spite of the utmost goodwill, will be unable, without assistance, to repel so considerable a French invasion with sufficient prospect of success to afford an adequate guarantee against danger to Germany. The letter went on to argue that to defend itself, Germany the right of free passage across Belgium for its troops. The German Government would, however, feel the deepest regret if Belgium regarded as an act of hostility against herself the fact that the measures of Germany's opponents force Germany, for her own protection, to enter Belgian territory Germany has in view no act of hostility against Belgium.

In the event of Belgium being prepared in the coming war to maintain an attitude of friendly neutrality towards Germany, the German Government bind them selves, at the conclusion of peace, to guarantee the possessions and independence of the Belgian Kingdom in full. The following day the Belgian government replied: "The intentions attributed to France by Germany are in contradiction to the formal declarations made to us on August 1, in the name of the French Government.

Moreover, if, contrary to our expectation, Belgian neutrality should be violated by France, Belgium intends to fulfil her international obligations and the Belgian army would offer the most vigorous resistance to the invader The attack upon her independence with which the German Government threaten her constitutes a flagrant violation of international law. No strategic interest justifies such a violation of law.

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The Belgian Government, if they were to accept the proposals submitted to them, would sacrifice the honour of the nation and betray their duty towards Europe. Winston Churchill argued that it was now time to make it clear that Britain would do what it could to protect Belgium from Germany: "I would act in such a way as to impress Germany with our intention to preserve the neutrality of Belgium. So much is still unknown as to the definite purpose of Germany that I would not go beyond this.


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Moreover, public opinion might veer round at any moment if Belgium is invaded, and we must be ready to meet this opinion. On 3rd August, , Germany declared war on France. That afternoon Sir Edward Grey , the Foreign Secretary, made the first official statement on the crisis. The French fleet being concentrated in the Mediterranean, the situation is very different from what it used to be, because the friendship which has grown up between the two countries has given them a sense of security that there was nothing to be feared from us.

My own feeling is that if a foreign fleet, engaged in a war which France had not sought, and in which she had not been the aggressor, came down the English Channel and bombarded and battered the undefended coasts of France, we could not stand aside. Grey then went on to talk about Belgian neutrality. The smaller States in that region of Europe ask but one thing.

Their one desire is that they should be left alone and independent. The one thing they fear is, I think, not so much that their integrity but that their independence should be interfered with. If in this war, which is before Europe, the neutrality of those countries is violated, if the troops of one of the combatants violate its neutrality and no action be taken to resent it, at the end of war, whatever the integrity may be, the independence will be gone. Grey explained why it was important to defend Belgian independence: "If her independence goes, the independence of Holland will follow.

I ask the House from the point of view of British interests to consider what may be at stake. If France is beaten in a struggle of life and death, beaten to her knees, loses her position as a great power, becomes subordinate to the will and power of one greater than herself - consequences which I do not anticipate, because I am sure that France has the power to defend herself with all the energy and ability and patriotism which she has shown so often. Still, if that were to happen and if Belgium fell under the same dominating influence, and then Holland, and then Denmark, then would not Mr.

Gladstone's words come true, that just opposite to us there would be a common interest against the unmeasured aggrandisement of any power? That evening an estimated 30, people took to the streets. They gathered around Buckingham Palace and eventually King George V and the rest of the royal family appeared on the balcony. The crowd began singing "God Save the King" and then large numbers left to smash the windows of the German Embassy.

Frank Owen points out that the previous day the crowds had been calling for a peaceful settlement of the crisis, now they were "clamouring for war". The following day the Germans marched into Belgium. According to the historian, A. Taylor : "At The council sanctioned the proclamation of a state of war with Germany from 11 p. That was all. The cabinet played no part once it had resolved to defend the neutrality of Belgium.

It did not consider the ultimatum to Germany, which Sir Edward Grey, the foreign secretary, sent after consulting only the prime minister, Asquith, and perhaps not even him. However, David Lloyd George continued to serve in the cabinet. Frances Stevenson , Lloyd George's private secretary, later claimed: "My own opinion is that Lloyd George's mind was really made up from the first, that he knew that we would have to go in and the invasion of Belgium was, to be cynical, a heaven-sent opportunity for supporting a declaration of war. Asquith supported the war but was deeply disturbed by the way some Cabinet ministers such as Winston Churchill responded: "Winston dashed into the room radiant, his face bright, his manner keen and told us - one word pouring out on the other - how he was going to send telegrams to the Mediterranean, the North Sea and God knows where!

You could see he was a really happy man, I wondered if this was the state of mind to be in at the opening of such a fearful war as this.

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On the outbreak of the First World War the editor of The Star newspaper blamed the press baron, Lord Northcliffe for the conflict: "Next to the Kaiser, Lord Northcliffe has done more than any living man to bring about the war. It was The Daily Mail that first used the term "Huns" to describe the Germans and "thus at a stroke was created the image of a terrifying, ape-like savage that threatened to rape and plunder all of Europe, and beyond.

The Kaiser was painted as a beast in human form The Germans were portrayed as only slightly better than the hordes of Genghis Khan, rapers of nuns, mutilators of children, and destroyers of civilisation. He told the editor of The Daily Mail : "I will not support the sending out of this country of a single British soldier.

What about invasion? What about our own country? Put that in the leader. Do you hear? Not a single soldier will go with my consent. Say so in the paper tomorrow. The BEF was free to go abroad. Where to? There could be no question of helping the Belgians, through this was why Great Britain had gone to war. Lord Northcliffe had considered David Lloyd George a dangerous radical and had opposed his plans for progressive taxation, old age pensions, national insurance and reform of the House of Lords. However, Northcliffe admired Lloyd George's "energy, competence and cynicism it required On 7th August, , the House of Commons was told that Britain needed an army of , men.

The same day Lord Kitchener , the new Secretary of State for War,issued his first appeal for , volunteers. He got an immediate response with , men volunteering in a single week. Lloyd George was asked to use his great skills as an orator to persuade men to join the armed forces. On 19th September, he spoke at the Queen's Hall in London. There is no man inside or outside this room more convinced that we could not have avoided it without national dishonour They think we cannot beat them.

It will not be easy. It will be a long job. It will be a terrible war. But in the end we will march through terror to triumph. We shall need all our qualities - every quality that Britain and its people possess - prudence in counsel, daring in action, tenacity in purpose, courage in defeat, moderation in victory, in all things faith. Sir Edward Grey , the Foreign Secretary, wept when he read the speech.

Asquith told him that it was a wonderful speech and Charles Masterman claimed it was "the finest speech in the history of England". The speech was also praised by the Conservative Party supporting newspapers, who described the man who they had been attacking for many years as a "British patriot". By the end of the month over , men had enlisted in the British armed forces. However, Lloyd George did not want his own twenty-year old son, Gwilym Lloyd George , to join the army.

He wrote to his wife explaining his own position: "They are pressing Territorials to volunteer for the War. Gwilym mustn't do that yet I am dead against carrying on a war of conquest to crush Germany for the benefit of Russia I am not going to sacrifice my nice boy for that purpose. You must write, telling him he must on no account be bullied into volunteering abroad. During the early stages of the war Lord Northcliffe created a great deal of controversy by advocating conscription and criticizing the government for not providing enough ammunition. Asquith accused Northcliffe and other critics of helping Britain's enemies: "I saw a statement the other day that the operations, not only of our Army but of our Allies, were being crippled, or, at any rate, hampered, by our failure to provide the necessary ammunition.

There is not a word of truth in that statement, which is the most mischievous because, if it were believed, it is calculated to dishearten our troops, to discourage our Allies, and to stimulate the hopes and the activities of our enemies. This speech by the prime minister did not stop the criticism about the shortage of military resources. Repington now had growing influence over military policy and one politician described him as "the twenty-third member of the Cabinet".

During the offensive at Artois , Repington was shown confidential information about the British Army being short of artillery shells. On 14th May, , the newspaper published the contents of a telegram sent by Repington: "The attacks on Sunday last in the districts of Fromelles and Richebourg were well planned and valiantly conducted.

The infantry did splendidly, but the conditions were too hard. The want of an unlimited supply of high explosives was a fatal bar to our success at Festubert. The Daily Mail now launched an attack on Lord Kitchener and under the heading "British Still Struggling: Send More Shells" it argued that the newspaper was in a very difficult position for if it published "the truth about the defects of our military preparations". It claimed that under the Defence of the Realm Act DORA the newspaper could be accused of aiding the enemy; and if it didn't, it was not fulfilling its responsibility to keep the public informed of the situation.

Lord Northcliffe decided to make a direct on Lord Kitchener for not supplying enough high-explosive shells. In an article he published on 21st May, , Northcliffe wrote a blistering attack on the Secretary of State for War: "Lord Kitchener has starved the army in France of high-explosive shells.

The admitted fact is that Lord Kitchener ordered the wrong kind of shell - the same kind of shell which he used largely against the Boers in He persisted in sending shrapnel - a useless weapon in trench warfare. He was warned repeatedly that the kind of shell required was a violently explosive bomb which would dynamite its way through the German trenches and entanglements and enable our brave men to advance in safety.

This kind of shell our poor soldiers have had has caused the death of thousands of them. The following day The Daily Mail continued the attack. The paper stated that "our men at the Front have been supplied with the wrong kind of shell and the result has been a heavy and avoidable loss of life". A shortage of shells at the beginning of the conflict was understandable and excusable, but the inability of officials to supply adequate munitions after ten months for Britain's fighting men was "proof of grave negligence".

Lord Kitchener was a national hero and Northcliffe's attack on him upset a great number of readers. Overnight, the circulation of the Daily Mail dropped from 1,, to , A placard was hung across the newspaper nameplate with the words "The Allies of the Huns".

Over 1, members of the Stock Exchange had a meeting where they passed a motion against the "venomous attacks of the Harmsworth Press" and afterwards ceremoniously burnt copies of the offending newspaper. The editor of the newspaper, Thomas Marlowe , informed Lord Northcliffe of the more than one million drop in circulation. He was also given a copy of The Star that defended Kitchener from Northcliffe's attacks.

Northcliffe responded by arguing: "I don't know what you men think and I don't care. The Star is wrong, and I am right. And the day will come when you will all know that I am right. Lloyd George assures me that this man is the curse of the country. He gave me example after example on Sunday night of the loss of life due to this man's ineptitude. Is it not possible to keep his name out of the paper. Although the leader of the government, H. H Asquith , accused Northcliffe and his newspapers of disloyalty, he privately accepted that shell production was a real problem and on 25th May, , he appointed David Lloyd George as the new Munitions Minister.

By , tensions between the American colonies and the British government had approached the breaking point, especially in Massachusetts , where Patriot leaders formed a shadow revolutionary government and trained militias to prepare for armed conflict with the British troops occupying Boston. In the spring of , General Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, received instructions from Great Britain to seize all stores of weapons and gunpowder accessible to the American insurgents.

On April 18, he ordered British troops to march against Concord and Lexington. The Boston Patriots had been preparing for such a British military action for some time, and, upon learning of the British plan, Revere and Dawes set off across the Massachusetts countryside. They took separate routes in case one of them was captured: Dawes left the city via the Boston Neck peninsula and Revere crossed the Charles River to Charlestown by boat.

As the two couriers made their way, Patriots in Charlestown waited for a signal from Boston informing them of the British troop movement. Two lanterns were hung, and the armed Patriots set out for Lexington and Concord accordingly. Along the way, Revere and Dawes roused hundreds of Minutemen, who armed themselves and set out to oppose the British.

Revere arrived in Lexington shortly before Dawes, but together they warned Adams and Hancock and then set out for Concord. Along the way, they were joined by Samuel Prescott, a young Patriot who had been riding home after visiting a lady friend. Early on the morning of April 19, a British patrol captured Revere, and Dawes lost his horse, forcing him to walk back to Lexington on foot.

However, Prescott escaped and rode on to Concord to warn the Patriots there. After being roughly questioned for an hour or two, Revere was released when the patrol heard Minutemen alarm guns being fired on their approach to Lexington. About 5 a. When the brief Battle of Lexington ended, a handful of Americans lay dead and several others wounded. The American Revolution had begun. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! On this day in , 16 Nepali mountaineering guides, most of them ethnic Sherpas, are killed by an avalanche on Mt.

It was the single deadliest accident in the history of the Himalayan peak, which rises more than 29, feet above sea level The U. The terrorist attack was carried out in protest of the U. In , a bloody civil war He had been called to Worms, Germany, to appear before the Diet assembly of the Holy Roman Empire and answer charges of heresy.

Martin Luther was a