Speech Differences And Stutter Series-Disabled Legend Antonio Bassolino

Antonio Bassolino, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI was born on 20 March, 1947 in Afragola, Campania. Antonio Bassolino is an Italian politician. Antonio Bassolino is currently President of the Campania region.

At the age of 17 he entered the Federation of Young Italian Communists, and in 1970 became member of the regional council for the Italian Communist Party (PCI), and, the following year, secretary of the party section in Avellino. Antonio Bassolino held the latter position until 1975, when he became regional secretary for the PCI; from 1972, he was member of the party’s national committee. In 1987, he was elected to the Italian Chamber of Deputies in the college of Catanzaro, becoming president of the Parliament media committee in 1990.

In the process leading to the split-up of the PCI into the Democratic Party of the Left (PDS) and the Party of the Communist Refoundation (PRC), Antonio Bassolino represented the moderate wing that sought mediation. Eventually, he joined the PDS.

In 1992, he was re-elected to the Chamber, and, in 1993, he was sent to Naples to reform the local section of PDS — which had been involved in the Tangentopoli bribe scandal. It was there that he gained fame as a “hardman,” a reputation which surfaced during the subsequent election for mayor, which he won by defeating the right-wing candidate, Alessandra Mussolini.

Antonio Bassolino’s years as mayor of Naples are generally viewed as a period of civil, economical and social renaissance for the city. In 1997 he was re-elected, this time with the 72.9% of the votes. In October 1998, Premier Massimo D’Alema nominated him Minister of Welfare; however, after the assassination of his advisor Massimo D’Antona in October 1999, Antonio Bassolino resigned in order to focus his activities on Naples.

In 2000, he ran for the presidency of Campania, which raised some controversies. Antonio Bassolino was elected with 54.3% of the votes, and, in the elections of April 2005, with 61.6%. Among his accomplishments as governor of Campania are the construction of a regional metropolitan rail service and the new TAV station for high-speed trains in his native Afragola. Antonio Bassolino received the “Gold Star” Prize for his commitment to developing tourism and cultural ventures in Naples during his years as mayor. Antonio Bassolino’s essays include Mezzogiorno alla prova (1980) and La repubblica delle città (1996).

However, it has been argued that, under his administration, the regional debt has doubled. Moreover and more importantly Antonio Bassolino has a considerable share of responsibility in the environmental disaster in the Campania region due to the deficiencies of the rubbish collection and treatment systems. In fact Antonio Bassolino is 1 of the 29 people remanded for trial and accused of involvement in ongoing aggravated fraud against the State and fraud regarding public works. The collapse of the services which were supposed to collect and treat the rubbish led to accumulation or garbage in the streets of the major urban centres to the point that schools and other public places had to be closed for some days and tourism declined substantially in 2008. As a result of this an increasing number of citizens and associations have been vocally calling for Antonio Bassolino’s resignation.

Antonio Bassolino is married to Anna Maria Carloni and was elected to the Senate in the XV legislature.

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Speech Differences And Stutter Series-Disabled Legend Aneurin Bevan

Aneurin Bevan, usually known as Nye Bevan was born on 15 November 1897 in Tredegar, Monmouthshire, in the South Wales Valleys and on the northern edge of the South Wales coalfield and died on 6 July 1960. Aneurin Bevan was a Welsh Labour politician. Aneurin Bevan was a key figure on the left of the party in the mid-20th century and was the Minister of Health responsible for the formation of the National Health Service.

Aneurin Bevan was the son of miner David Bevan. Both Aneurin Bevan’s parents were Nonconformists; his father was a Baptist and his mother a Methodist. 1 of 10 children, Aneurin Bevan did poorly at school and his academic performance was so bad that his headmaster made him repeat a year. At the age of 13, Aneurin Bevan left school and began working in the local Tytryst Colliery. David Bevan had been a supporter of the Liberal Party in his youth, but was converted to socialism by the writings of Robert Blatchford in the Clarion and joined the Independent Labour Party.

David Bevan’s son also joined the Tredegar branch of the South Wales Miners’ Federation and became a trade union activist: he was head of his local Miners’ Lodge at only 19. Aneurin Bevan became a well-known local orator and was seen by his employers, the Tredegar Iron & Coal Company, as a revolutionary. The manager of the colliery found an excuse to get him sacked. But, with the support of the Miners’ Federation, the case was judged as one of victimisation and the company was forced to re-employ him.

In 1919, he won a scholarship to the Central Labour College in London, sponsored by the South Wales Miners’ Federation. At the college he gained his life-long respect for Karl Marx. Reciting long passages by William Morris, Aneurin Bevan gradually began to overcome the stammer that he had since he was a child.

Upon returning home in 1921, he found that the Tredegar Iron & Coal Company refused to re-hire him. Aneurin Bevan did not find work until 1924 in the Bedwellty Colliery, and it closed down after 10 months. Aneurin Bevan had to endure another year of unemployment and in February 1925, his father died of pneumoconiosis.

In 1926, he found work again, this time as a paid union official. Aneurin Bevan’s wage of £5 a week was paid by the members of the local Miners’ Lodge. Aneurin Bevan’s new job arrived in time for him to head the local miners against the colliery companies in what would become the General Strike. When the strike started on 3 May, 1926, Aneurin Bevan soon emerged as one of the leaders of the South Wales miners. The miners remained on strike for 6 months. Aneurin Bevan was largely responsible for the distribution of strike pay in Tredegar and the formation of the Council of Action, an organisation that helped to raise money and provided food for the miners.

Aneurin Bevan was a member of the Cottage Hospital Management Committee around 1928 and was chairman in 1929/30.

In 1928, Aneurin Bevan won a seat on Monmouthshire County Council. With that success he was picked as the Labour Party candidate for Ebbw Vale (displacing the sitting MP), and easily held the seat at the 1929 General Election. In Parliament he soon became noticed as a harsh critic of those he felt opposed the working man. Aneurin Bevan’s targets included the Conservative Winston Churchill and the Liberal Lloyd George, as well as Ramsay MacDonald and Margaret Bondfield from his own Labour party (he targeted the latter for her unwillingness to increase unemployment benefits). Aneurin Bevan had solid support from his constituency, being one of the few Labour MPs to be unopposed in the 1931 General Election.

Soon after he entered parliament Aneurin Bevan was briefly attracted to Oswald Mosley’s arguments, in the context of Ramsay Macdonald’s government’s incompetent handling of rising unemployment. However, in the words of his biographer John Campbell, “he breached with Oswald Mosley as soon as Oswald Mosley breached with the Labour Party”. This is symptomatic of his lifelong commitment to the Labour Party, which was a result of his firm belief that only a Party supported by the British Labour Movement could have a realistic chance of attaining political power for the working class. Thus, for Aneurin Bevan, joining Oswald Mosley’s New Party was not an option. Aneurin Bevan is said to have predicted that Oswald Mosley would end up as a Fascist.

Aneurin Bevan married fellow socialist MP Jennie Lee in 1934. Aneurin Bevan was an early supporter of the socialists in Spain and visited the country in the 1930s. In 1936 he joined the board of the new socialist newspaper the Tribune. Aneurin Bevan’s agitations for a united socialist front of all parties of the left (including the Communist Party of Great Britain) led to his brief expulsion from the Labour Party in March to November 1939 (along with Stafford Cripps and C.P. Trevelyan). But, he was readmitted in November 1939 after agreeing “to refrain from conducting or taking part in campaigns in opposition to the declared policy of the Party.”

Aneurin Bevan was a strong critic of the policies of Neville Chamberlain, arguing that his old enemy Winston Churchill should be given power. During the war he was one of the main leaders of the left in the Commons, opposing the wartime Coalition government. Aneurin Bevan opposed the heavy censorship imposed on radio and newspapers and wartime Defence Regulation 18B, which gave the Home Secretary the powers to intern citizens without trial. Aneurin Bevan called for the nationalisation of the coal industry and advocated the opening of a 2nd Front in Western Europe in order to help the Soviet Union in its fight with Germany. Winston Churchill responded by calling Aneurin Bevan “… a squalid nuisance”.

Aneurin Bevan believed that the 2nd World War would give Britain the opportunity to create “a new society”. Aneurin Bevan often quoted an 1855 passage from Karl Marx: “The redeeming feature of war is that it puts a nation to the test. As exposure to the atmosphere reduces all mummies to instant dissolution, so war passes supreme judgment upon social systems that have outlived their vitality.” At the beginning of the 1945 general election campaign Aneurin Bevan told his audience: “We have been the dreamers, we have been the sufferers, now we are the builders. We enter this campaign at this general election, not merely to get rid of the Tory majority. We want the complete political extinction of the Tory Party.”

After World War II, when the Communists took control of China. Parliament debated the merits of recognizing the Communist government. Winston Churchill, no friend of Aneurin Bevan or Mao Zedong, commented that recognition would be advantageous to the United Kingdom for various reasons and added, “Just because you recognize someone does not mean you like him. We all, for example, recognize the Right Honourable Member from Ebbw Vale.”

The 1945 General Election proved to be a landslide victory for the Labour Party, giving it a large enough majority to allow the implementation of the party’s manifesto commitments and to introduce a programme of far-reaching social reforms that were collectively dubbed the ‘Welfare State’. The new Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, appointed Aneurin Bevan as Minister of Health, with a remit that also covered Housing. Thus, the responsibility for instituting a new and comprehensive National Health Service, as well as tackling the country’s severe post-war housing shortage, fell to the youngest member of Clement Attlee’s Cabinet in his first ministerial position. The free health service was paid for directly through government income, with no fees paid at the point of delivery. Government income was increased for the Welfare state expenditure by a severe increase in marginal tax rates for wealthy business owners in particular, as part of what the Labour government largely saw as the redistribution of the wealth created by the working class from the owners of large-scale industry to the workers.

On the “appointed day”, 5 July 1948, having overcome political opposition from both the Conservative Party and from within his own party, and after a dramatic showdown with the British Medical Association, which had threatened to derail the National Health Service scheme before it had even begun, as medical practitioners continued to withhold their support just months before the launch of the service, Aneurin Bevan’s National Health Service Act of 1946 came into force. After 18 months of ongoing dispute between the Ministry of Health and the BMA, Aneurin Bevan finally managed to win over the support of the vast majority of the medical profession by offering a couple of minor concessions, but without compromising on the fundamental principles of his NHS proposals. Aneurin Bevan later gave the famous quote that, in order for the broker to the deal, he had “stuffed their mouths with gold”. Some 2,688 voluntary and municipal hospitals in England and Wales were nationalised and came under Aneurin Bevan’s supervisory control as Health Minister.

Substantial bombing damage and the continued existence of pre-war slums in many parts of the country made the task of housing reform particularly challenging for Aneurin Bevan. Indeed, these factors, exacerbated by post-war restrictions on the availability of building materials and skilled labour, collectively served to limit Aneurin Bevan’s achievements in this area. 1946 saw the completion of 55,600 new homes; this rose to 139,600 in 1947, and 227,600 in 1948. While this was not an insignificant achievement, Aneurin Bevan’s rate of housebuilding was seen as less of an achievement than that of his Conservative (indirect) successor, Harold Macmillan, who was able to complete some 300,000 a year as Minister for Housing in the 1950s. Harold Macmillan was able to concentrate full-time on Housing, instead of being obliged, like Aneurin Bevan, to combine his housing portfolio with that for Health (which for Aneurin Bevan took the higher priority). However critics said that the cheaper housing built by Harold Macmillan was exactly the poor standard of housing that Aneurin Bevan was aiming to replace. Harold Macmillan’s policies led to the building of cheap, mass-production high-rise tower blocks, which have been heavily criticised since.

Aneurin Bevan was appointed Minister of Labour in 1951 but soon resigned in protest at Hugh Gaitskell’s introduction of prescription charges for dental care and spectacles — created in order to meet the financial demands imposed by the Korean War. 2 other Ministers, John Freeman and Harold Wilson resigned at the same time.

In 1952 Aneurin Bevan published In Place of Fear, “the most widely read socialist book” of the period, according to a highly critical right-wing Labour MP Anthony Crosland. Aneurin Bevan begins: “A young miner in a South Wales colliery, my concern was with the one practical question: Where does power lie in this particular state of Great Britain, and how can it be attained by the workers?” In 1954, Hugh Gaitskell beat Aneurin Bevan in a hard fought contest to be the Treasurer of the Labour Party.

Out of the Cabinet, Aneurin Bevan soon initiated a split within the Labour Party between the right and the left. For the next 5 years, Aneurin Bevan was the leader of the left-wing of the Labour Party, who became known as Bevanites. They criticised high defence expenditure (especially for nuclear weapons) and opposed the more reformist stance of Clement Attlee. When the 1st British hydrogen bomb was exploded in 1955, Aneurin Bevan led a revolt of 57 Labour MPs and abstained on a key vote. The Parliamentary Labour Party voted 141 to 113 to withdraw the whip from him, but it was restored within a month due to his popularity.

After the 1955 general election, Clement Attlee retired as leader. Aneurin Bevan contested the leadership against both Morrison and Labour right-winger Hugh Gaitskell but it was Hugh Gaitskell who emerged victorious. Aneurin Bevan’s remark that “I know the right kind of political Leader for the Labour Party is a kind of desiccated calculating machine” was assumed to refer to Hugh Gaitskell, although Aneurin Bevan denied it (commenting upon Hugh Gaitskell’s record as Chancellor of the Exchequer as having “proved” this). However, Hugh Gaitskell was prepared to make Aneurin Bevan Shadow Colonial Secretary, and then Shadow Foreign Secretary in 1956. In this position, he was a vocal critic of the government’s actions in the Suez Crisis, noticeably delivering high profile speeches in Trafalgar Square on 4 November 1956 at a protest rally, and devastating the government’s actions and arguments in the House of Commons on 5 December 1956. That year, he was finally elected as party treasurer, beating George Brown.

Aneurin Bevan dismayed many of his supporters when, speaking at the 1957 Labour Party conference, he decried unilateral nuclear disarmament, saying “It would send a British Foreign Secretary naked into the conference-chamber”. This statement is often misconstrued. Aneurin Bevan argued that unilateralism would result in Britain’s loss of allies. One interpretation of Aneurin Bevan’s metaphor is that the nakedness comes from the lack of allies, not the lack of weapons. According to the journalist Paul Routledge, Donald Bruce, a former MP and Parliamentary Private Secretary and adviser to Aneurin Bevan, had told him that Aneurin Bevan’s shift on the disarmament issue was the result of discussions with the Soviet government where they advised him to push for British retention of nuclear weapons so they could possibly be used as a bargaining chip in negotiations with the United States. It should be noted that the UK was the only country apart from the superpowers of the USA and USSR to possess nuclear weapons at the time.

In 1959 despite suffering from terminal cancer, Aneurin Bevan was elected as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party. Aneurin Bevan could do little in his new role and died the next year at the age of 62.

Aneurin Bevan’s last speech in the House of Commons, in which Aneurin Bevan referred to the difficulties of persuading the electorate to support a policy which would make them less well-off in the short term but more prosperous in the long term, was quoted extensively in subsequent years.

In 2004, over 40 years after his death, he was voted 1st in a list of 100 Welsh Heroes, this being credited much to his contribution to the Welfare State after World War II.

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Speech Differences And Stutter Series-Disabled Legend Sir Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchil was born on 30 November 1874. On 15 January 1965 Winston Churchill suffered a severe stroke that left him gravely ill.  Winston Churchill died at his home 9 days later, at age 90, on the morning of Sunday 24 January 1965, coincidentally 70 years to the day after his father’s death.

By decree of the Queen, his body lay in state for 3 days and a state funeral service was held at St Paul’s Cathedral. This was the 1st state funeral for a non-royal family member since 1914, and no other of its kind has been held since. As his coffin passed down the Thames on the Havengore, dockers lowered their crane jibs in a salute. The Royal Artillery fired a 19-gun salute (as head of government), and the RAF staged a fly-by of 16 English Electric Lightning fighters. The funeral also saw the largest assemblage of statesmen in the world until the 2005 funeral of Pope John Paul II, one of whom, President Luis Giannattasio of Uruguay, died shortly after representing his country at the event. In the fields along the route, and at the stations through which the train passed, thousands stood in silence to pay their last respects. At Winston Churchill’s request, he was buried in the family plot at St Martin’s Church, Bladon, near Woodstock, not far from his birthplace at Blenheim Palace.

Sir Winston Churchill was a British politician known chiefly for his leadership of the United Kingdom during World War II. Sir Winston Churchill served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. A noted statesman and orator, Winston Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a Nobel Prize-winning writer, and an artist.

During his army career, Winston Churchill saw combat in India, in the Sudan and the Second Boer War. Winston Churchill gained fame and notoriety as a war correspondent and through contemporary books he wrote describing the campaigns. Winston Churchill also served briefly in the British Army on the Western Front in World War I, commanding the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers.

At the forefront of the political scene for almost 60 years, he held many political and cabinet positions. Before the First World War, he served as President of the Board of Trade, Home Secretary and First Lord of the Admiralty as part of the Asquith Liberal government. During the war he continued as First Lord of the Admiralty until the disastrous Battle of Gallipoli caused his departure from government. Winston Churchill returned as Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for Air. In the interwar years, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Conservative government.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, Winston Churchill was again appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. Following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain on 10 May 1940, he became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and led Britain to victory against the Axis powers. Winston Churchill was always noted for his speeches, which became a great inspiration to the British people and embattled Allied forces.

After losing the 1945 election, he became Leader of the Opposition. In 1951, he again became Prime Minister before finally retiring in 1955. Upon his death the Queen granted him the honour of a state funeral, which saw one of the largest assemblies of statesmen in the world.

A descendant of the famous Spencer family, Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, like his father, used the surname Churchill in public life. Winston Churchill’s ancestor George Spencer had changed his surname to Spencer-Churchill in 1817 when he became Duke of Marlborough, to highlight his descent from John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. Winston Churchill’s father, Lord Randolph Churchill, the 3rd son of John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough, was a politician, while his mother, Lady Randolph Churchill (née Jennie Jerome) was the daughter of American millionaire, Leonard Jerome. Born 2 months premature on 30 November 1874 in a bedroom in Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire; he arrived 8 months after his parents’ hasty marriage. Winston Churchill had 1 brother, John Strange Spencer-Churchill.

Independent and rebellious by nature, Winston Churchill generally did poorly in school, for which he was punished. Winston Churchill entered Harrow School on 17 April 1888, where his military career began. Within weeks of his arrival, he had joined the Harrow Rifle Corps. Winston Churchill earned high marks in English and history and was also the school’s fencing champion.

Winston Churchill was rarely visited by his mother (then known as Lady Randolph), and wrote letters begging her to either come to the school or to allow him to come home. Winston Churchill had a distant relationship with his father and once remarked that they barely spoke to each other. Due to his lack of parental contact he became very close to his nanny, Elizabeth Anne Everest, whom he used to call “Woomany”. Winston Churchill’s father died on 24 January 1895, leaving Winston Churchill with the conviction that he too would die young, so should be quick about making his mark on the world.

Winston Churchill described himself as having a “speech impediment” which he consistently worked to overcome. After many years, he finally stated, “My impediment is no hindrance.” Trainee speech therapists are often shown videotapes of Churchill’s mannerisms while making speeches and the Stuttering Foundation of America uses Churchill, pictured on its home page, as one of its role models of successful stutterers. This diagnosis is confirmed by contemporaries writing in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. The Churchill Centre, however, flatly refutes the claim that Winston Churchill stuttered while confirming that he did have difficulty pronouncing the letter ‘S’ and spoke with a lisp. Winston Churchill’s father also spoke with a lisp.

Winston Churchill met his future wife, Clementine Hozier, in 1904 at a ball in Crewe House, home of the Earl of Crewe and his wife Margaret Primrose (daughter of Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery). In 1908, they met again at a dinner party hosted by Lady St Helier. Winston Churchill found himself seated beside Clementine, and they soon began a lifelong romance. Winston Churchill proposed to Hozier during a house party at Blenheim Palace on 10 August 1908, in a small Temple of Diana. On 12September 1908, they were married in St. Margaret’s, Westminster. The church was packed; the Bishop of St Asaph conducted the service. In March 1909, the couple moved to a house at 33 Eccleston Square.

Their 1st child, Diana, was born in London on 11 July 1909. After the pregnancy, Clementine moved to Sussex to recover, while Diana stayed in London with her nanny. On 28 May 1911, their 2nd child, Randolph, was born at 33 Eccleston Square. Their 3rd child, Sarah, was born on 7 October 1914 at Admiralty House. The birth was marked with anxiety for Clementine, as Winston Churchill had been sent to Antwerp by the Cabinet to “stiffen the resistance of the beleaguered city” after news that the Belgians intended to surrender the town.

Clementine gave birth to her 4th child, Marigold Frances Churchill, on 15 November 1918, 4 days after the official end of World War I. In the early months of August, the Churchills’ children were entrusted to a French nursery governess in Kent named Mlle Rose. Clementine, meanwhile, travelled to Eaton Hall to play tennis with Hugh Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster and his family. While still under the care of Mlle Rose, Marigold had a cold, but was reported to have recovered from the illness. As the illness progressed with hardly any notice, it turned into septicaemia. Following advice from a landlady, Rose sent for Clementine. However the illness turned fatal on 23 August 1921, and Marigold was buried in the Kensal Green Cemetery 3 days later. On 15 September 1922, the Churchills’ last child was born, Mary. Later that month, the Churchills bought Chartwell, which would be Winston Churchill’s home until his death in 1965.

After Winston Churchill left Harrow in 1893, he applied to attend the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. It took 3 attempts before he passed the admittance exam; he applied for cavalry rather than infantry because the entrance requirement was lower and did not require him to learn mathematics, which he disliked. Winston Churchill graduated 8th out of a class of 150 in December 1894, and was then commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars on 20 February 1895. In 1941, he received the honour of Colonel of the Hussars.

Winston Churchill’s pay as a 2nd lieutenant in the 4th Hussars was £300. However, he believed that he needed at least a further £500 (equivalent to £25,000 in 2001 terms) to support a style of life equal to other officers of the regiment. Winston Churchill’s mother provided an allowance of £400 per year, but this was repeatedly overspent. According to biographer Roy Jenkins, this is one reason he took an interest in war correspondence. Winston Churchill did not intend to follow a conventional career of promotion through army ranks, but to seek out all possible chances of military action and used his mother’s and family influence in high society to arrange postings to active campaigns. Winston Churchill’s writings both brought him to the attention of the public, and earned him significant additional income. Winston Churchill acted as a war correspondent for several London newspapers and wrote his own books about the campaigns.

In 1895, Winston Churchill travelled to Cuba to observe the Spanish fight the Cuban guerrillas; he had obtained a commission to write about the conflict from the Daily Graphic. To his delight, he came under fire for the first time on his 21st birthday. Winston Churchill had fond memories of Cuba as a “…large, rich, beautiful island…” While there, he soon acquired a taste for Havana cigars, which he would smoke for the rest of his life. While in New York, he stayed at the home of Bourke Cockran, an admirer of his mother’s. Bourke Cockran was an established American politician, member of the House of Representatives and potential presidential candidate. Bourke Cockran greatly influenced Winston Churchill, both in his approach to oratory and politics, and encouraging a love of America.

Winston Churchill soon received word that his nanny, Mrs Everest, was dying; he then returned to England and stayed with her for a week until she died. Winston Churchill wrote in his journal “She was my favourite friend.” In My Early Life he wrote: “She had been my dearest and most intimate friend during the whole of the 20 years I had lived.”

In early October 1896, he was transferred to Bombay, British India. Winston Churchill was considered one of the best polo players in his regiment and led his team to many prestigious tournament victories.

About this time Winston Churchill read William Winwood Reade’s Martyrdom of Man, a classic of Victorian atheism, which completed his loss of faith in Christianity and left him with a sombre vision of a godless universe in which humanity was destined, nevertheless, to progress through the conflict between the more advanced and the more backward races. When he was posted to India, and began to read avidly to make up for lost time, he was profoundly impressed by Darwinism. Winston Churchill lost whatever religious faith he may have had through reading Edward Gibbon, he stated, and took a particular dislike to the Catholic Church, as well as Christian missions. Winston Churchill became, in his own words, “a materialist to the tips of my fingers,” and he fervently upheld the worldview that human life is a struggle for existence, with the outcome the survival of the fittest. Winston Churchill expressed this philosophy of life and history in his 1st and only novel, Savrola.

In 1897, Winston Churchill attempted to travel to both report and, if necessary, fight in the Greco-Turkish War, but this conflict effectively ended before he could arrive. Later, while preparing for a leave in England, he heard that 3 brigades of the British Army were going to fight against a Pashtun tribe and he asked his superior officer if he could join the fight. Winston Churchill fought under the command of General Jeffery, who was the commander of the 2nd brigade operating in Malakand, in what is now Pakistan. General Jeffery sent him with 15 scouts to explore the Mamund Valley; while on reconnaissance, they encountered an enemy tribe, dismounted from their horses and opened fire. After an hour of shooting, their reinforcements, the 35th Sikhs arrived, and the fire gradually ceased and the brigade and the Sikhs marched on. Hundreds of tribesmen then ambushed them and opened fire, forcing them to retreat. As they were retreating four men were carrying an injured officer but the fierceness of the fight forced them to leave him behind. The man who was left behind was slashed to death before Winston Churchill’s eyes; afterwards he wrote of the killer, “I forgot everything else at this moment except a desire to kill this man”. However the Sikhs’ numbers were being depleted so the next commanding officer told Winston Churchill to get the rest of the men and boys to safety. Before he left he asked for a note so he would not be charged with desertion. Winston Churchill received the note, quickly signed, and headed up the hill and alerted the other brigade, whereupon they then engaged the army. The fighting in the region dragged on for another 2 weeks before the dead could be recovered. Winston Churchill wrote in his journal: “Whether it was worth it I cannot tell.” An account of the Siege of Malakand was published in December 1900 as The Story of the Malakand Field Force. Winston Churchill received £600 for his account. During the campaign, he also wrote articles for the newspapers The Pioneer and The Daily Telegraph. Winston Churchill’s account of the battle was 1 of his 1st published stories, for which he received £5 per column from The Daily Telegraph.

Winston Churchill was transferred to Egypt in 1898 where he visited Luxor before joining an attachment of the 21st Lancers serving in the Sudan under the command of General Herbert Kitchener. During his time he encountered 2 future military officers, whom he would later work with, during the First World War: Douglas Haig, then a captain and John Jellicoe, then a gunboat lieutenant. While in the Sudan, he participated in what has been described as the last meaningful British cavalry charge at the Battle of Omdurman in September 1898. Winston Churchill also worked as a war correspondent for the Morning Post. By October 1898, he had returned to Britain and begun his 2-volume work; The River War, an account of the reconquest of the Sudan published the following year. Winston Churchill resigned from the British Army effective from 5th May, 1899.

Winston Churchill stood for parliament as a Conservative candidate in Oldham in the by-election of 1899, which he lost, coming 3rd in the contest for 2 seats.

Having failed at Oldham, Winston Churchill looked about for some other opportunity to advance his career. On 12 October 1899, the Second Boer War between Britain and the Boer Republics broke out and he obtained a commission to act as war correspondent for the Morning Post with a salary of £250 per month. Winston Churchill rushed to sail on the same ship as the newly appointed British commander, Sir Redvers Buller. After some weeks in exposed areas he accompanied a scouting expedition in an armoured train, leading to his capture and imprisonment in a POW camp in Pretoria. Winston Churchill’s actions during the ambush of the train led to speculation that he would be awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy, but this did not occur. Writing in London to Ladysmith via Pretoria, a collected version of his war reports, he described the experience:

I have had, in the last 4 years, the advantage, if it be an advantage, of many strange and varied experiences, from which the student of realities might draw profit and instruction. But nothing was so thrilling as this: to wait and struggle among these clanging, rending iron boxes, with the repeated explosions of the shells and the artillery, the noise of the projectiles striking the cars, the hiss as they passed in the air, the grunting and puffing of the engine–poor, tortured thing, hammered by at least a dozen shells, any one of which, by penetrating the boiler, might have made an end of all–the expectation of destruction as a matter of course, the realisation of powerlessness, and the alternations of hope and despair–all this for 70 minutes by the clock with only 4 inches of twisted iron work to make the difference between danger, captivity, and shame on the one hand–safety, freedom, and triumph on the other.

Winston Churchill escaped from the prison camp and travelled almost 300 miles (480 km) to Portuguese Lourenço Marques in Delagoa Bay, with the assistance of an English mine manager. Winston Churchill’s escape made him a minor national hero for a time in Britain, though instead of returning home, he rejoined General Buller’s army on its march to relieve the British at the Siege of Ladysmith and take Pretoria. This time, although continuing as a war correspondent, he gained a commission in the South African Light Horse. Winston Churchill was among the 1st British troops into Ladysmith and Pretoria. Winston Churchill and his cousin, the Duke of Marlborough, were able to get ahead of the rest of the troops in Pretoria, where they demanded and received the surrender of 52 Boer prison camp guards.

In 1900, Winston Churchill returned to England on the RMS Dunottar Castle, the same ship on which he set sail for South Africa 8 months earlier. Winston Churchill here published London to Ladysmith and a 2nd volume of Boer war experiences, Ian Hamilton’s March. After standing again and winning in Oldham in the 1900 general election he embarked on a speaking tour of Britain, followed by tours of the United States and Canada, earning in excess of £5,000.

In 1900, he retired from regular army and in 1902 joined the Imperial Yeomanry where he was commissioned as a Captain in the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars on 4 January 1902. In April 1905, he was promoted to Major and appointed to command of the Henley Squadron of the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars. In September 1916, he transferred to the territorial reserves of officers where he remained till retiring in 1924.

Winston Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty at the start of World War I, but was obliged to leave the war cabinet after the disastrous Battle of Gallipoli. Winston Churchill attempted to obtain a commission as a brigade commander, but settled for command of a battalion. After spending some time with the Grenadier Guards he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding the 6th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers, on 1 January 1916. Correspondence with his wife shows that his intent in taking up active service was to rehabilitate his reputation, but this was balanced by the serious risk of being killed. As a commander he continued to exhibit the reckless daring which had been a hallmark of all his military actions, although he disapproved strongly of the mass slaughter involved in many western front actions.

Lord Deedes explained to a gathering of the Royal Historical Society in 2001 why Winston Churchill went to the front line: “He was with Grenadier Guards, who were dry [without alcohol] at battalion headquarters. They very much liked tea and condensed milk, which had no great appeal to Winston Churchill, but alcohol was permitted in the front line, in the trenches. Winston Churchill suggested to the colonel that he really ought to see more of the war and get into the front line. This was highly commended by the colonel, who thought it was a very good thing to do.”

Winston Churchill stood again for the seat of Oldham at the 1900 general election. After winning the seat, he went on a speaking tour throughout Britain and the United States, raising £10,000 for himself. In Parliament, he became associated with a faction of the Conservative Party led by Lord Hugh Cecil; the Hughligans. During his first parliamentary session, he opposed the government’s military expenditure and Joseph Chamberlain’s proposal of extensive tariffs, which were intended to protect Britain’s economic dominance. Winston Churchill’s own constituency effectively deselected him, although he continued to sit for Oldham until the next general election. After the Whitsun recess in 1904 he crossed the floor to sit as a member of the Liberal Party. As a Liberal, he continued to campaign for free trade. When the Liberals took office with Henry Campbell-Bannerman as Prime Minister, in December 1905, Winston Churchill became Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies dealing mainly with South Africa after the Boer War. From 1903 until 1905, Winston Churchill was also engaged in writing Lord Randolph Churchill, a 2-volume biography of his father which was published in 1906 and received much critical acclaim.

Following his deselection in the seat of Oldham, Winston Churchill was invited to stand for Manchester North West. Winston Churchill won the seat at the 1906 general election with a majority of 1,214 and represented the seat for 2 years, until 1908. When Campbell-Bannerman was succeeded by Herbert Henry Asquith in 1908, Winston Churchill was promoted to the Cabinet as President of the Board of Trade. Under the law at the time, a newly appointed Cabinet Minister was obliged to seek re-election at a by-election; Winston Churchill lost his seat but was soon back as a member for Dundee constituency. As President of the Board of Trade he joined newly appointed Chancellor Lloyd George in opposing First Lord of the Admiralty, Reginald McKenna’s proposed huge expenditure for the construction of Navy dreadnought warships, and in supporting the Liberal reforms. In 1908, he introduced the Trade Boards Bill setting up the 1st minimum wages in Britain, In 1909, he set up Labour Exchanges to help unemployed people find work. Winston Churchill helped draft the 1st unemployment pension legislation, the National Insurance Act of 1911.

Winston Churchill also assisted in passing the People’s Budget becoming President of the Budget League, an organisation set up in response to the opposition’s “Budget Protest League”. The budget included the introduction of new taxes on the wealthy to allow for the creation of new social welfare programmes. After the budget bill was sent to the Commons in 1909 and passed, it went to the House of Lords, where it was vetoed. The Liberals then fought and won 2 general elections in January and December of 1910 to gain a mandate for their reforms. The budget was then passed following the Parliament Act of 1911 for which he also campaigned. In 1910, he was promoted to Home Secretary. Winston Churchill’s term was controversial, after his responses to the Siege of Sidney Street and the dispute at the Cambrian Colliery and the suffragettes.

In 1910, a number of coal miners in the Rhondda Valley began what has come to be known as the Tonypandy Riot. The Chief Constable of Glamorgan requested troops be sent in to help police quell the rioting. Winston Churchill, learning that the troops were already travelling, allowed them to go as far as Swindon and Cardiff but blocked their deployment. On 9 November, the Times criticised this decision. In spite of this, the rumour persists that Winston Churchill had ordered troops to attack, and his reputation in Wales and in Labour circles never recovered.

In early January 1911, Winston Churchill made a controversial visit to the Siege of Sidney Street in London. There is some uncertainty as to whether he attempted to give operational commands, and his presence attracted much criticism. After an inquest, Arthur Balfour remarked, “he [Churchill] and a photographer were both risking valuable lives. I understand what the photographer was doing, but what was the right honourable gentleman doing?” A biographer, Roy Jenkins, suggests that he went simply because “he could not resist going to see the fun himself” and that he did not issue commands.

Winston Churchill’s proposed solution to the suffragette issue was a referendum on the issue, but this found no favour with Herbert Henry Asquith and women’s suffrage remained unresolved until after the First World War.

In 1911, Winston Churchill was transferred to the office of the First Lord of the Admiralty, a post he held into World War I. Winston Churchill gave impetus to several reform efforts, including development of naval aviation (he undertook flying lessons himself), the construction of new and larger warships, the development of tanks, and the switch from coal to oil in the Royal Navy.

On 5 October 1914, Winston Churchill went to Antwerp which the Belgian government proposed to evacuate. The Royal Marine Brigade was there and at Winston Churchill’s urgings the 1st and 2nd Naval Brigades were also committed. Antwerp fell on 10 October with the loss of 2500 men. At the time he was attacked for squandering resources. It is more likely that his actions prolonged the resistance by a week (Belgium had proposed surrendering Antwerp on 3 October) and that this time saved Calais and Dunkirk.

Winston Churchill was involved with the development of the tank, which was financed from naval research funds. Winston Churchill then headed the Landships Committee which was responsible for creating the 1st tank corps and, although a decade later development of the battle tank would be seen as a tactical victory, at the time it was seen as misappropriation of funds. In 1915, he was one of the political and military engineers of the disastrous Gallipoli landings on the Dardanelles during World War I. Winston Churchill took much of the blame for the fiasco, and when Prime Minister Asquith formed an all-party coalition government, the Conservatives demanded his demotion as the price for entry.

For several months Winston Churchill served in the sinecure of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. However on 15 November 1915 he resigned from the government, feeling his energies were not being used and, though remaining an MP, served for several months on the Western Front commanding the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, under the rank of Colonel. In March 1916, Winston Churchill returned to England after he had become restless in France and wished to speak again in the House of Commons. In July 1917, Winston Churchill was appointed Minister of Munitions, and in January 1919, Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for Air. Winston Churchill was the main architect of the 10 Year Rule, a principle that allows the Treasury to dominate and control strategic, foreign and financial policies under the assumption that “there would be no great European war for the next 5 or 10 years”.

A major preoccupation of his tenure in the War Office was the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. Winston Churchill was a staunch advocate of foreign intervention, declaring that Bolshevism must be “strangled in its cradle”. Winston Churchill secured, from a divided and loosely organised Cabinet, intensification and prolongation of the British involvement beyond the wishes of any major group in Parliament or the nation—and in the face of the bitter hostility of Labour. In 1920, after the last British forces had been withdrawn, Winston Churchill was instrumental in having arms sent to the Poles when they invaded Ukraine. Winston Churchill became Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1921 and was a signatory of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, which established the Irish Free State. Winston Churchill was involved in the length negotiations of the treaty and to protect British maritime interests, he engineered part of the Irish Free State agreement to include 3 Treaty Ports—Queenstown (Cobh), Berehaven and Lough Swilly—which could be used as Atlantic bases by the Royal Navy. Under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement the bases were returned to the newly renamed “Ireland” in 1938.

In September, the Conservative Party withdrew from the Coalition government following a meeting of backbenchers dissatisfied with the handling of the Chanak Crisis, a move that precipitated the looming October 1922 General Election. Winston Churchill fell ill during the campaign, and had to have an appendicectomy. This made it difficult for him to campaign, and a further setback was the internal division that continued to beset the Liberal Party. Winston Churchill came only 4th in the poll for Dundee, losing to the prohibitionist Edwin Scrymgeour. Winston Churchill later quipped that he left Dundee “without an office, without a seat, without a party and without an appendix”. Winston Churchill stood for the Liberals again in the 1923 general election, losing in Leicester, and then as an independent, first without success in a by-election in the Westminster Abbey constituency, and then successfully in the general election of 1924 for Epping. The following year, he formally rejoined the Conservative Party, commenting wryly that “anyone can rat, but it takes a certain ingenuity to re-rat.”

Winston Churchill was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1924 under Stanley Baldwin and oversaw Britain’s disastrous return to the Gold Standard, which resulted in deflation, unemployment, and the miners’ strike that led to the General Strike of 1926. Winston Churchill’s decision, announced in the 1924 Budget, came after long consultation with various economists including John Maynard Keynes, the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, Sir Otto Niemeyer and the board of the Bank of England. This decision prompted Keynes to write The Economic Consequences of Winston Churchill, arguing that the return to the gold standard at the pre-war parity in 1925(£1=$4.86) would lead to a world depression. However, the decision was generally popular and seen as ‘sound economics’ although it was opposed by Lord Beaverbrook and the Federation of British Industries.

Winston Churchill later regarded this as the greatest mistake of his life. However in discussions at the time with former Chancellor McKenna, Winston Churchill acknowledged that the return to the gold standard and the resulting ‘dear money’ policy was economically bad. In those discussions he maintained the policy as fundamentally political – a return to the pre-war conditions in which he believed. In his speech on the Bill he said “I will tell you what it [the return to the Gold Standard] will shackle us to. It will shackle us to reality.”

The return to the pre-war exchange rate and to the Gold Standard depressed industries. The most affected was the coal industry. Already suffering from declining output as shipping switched to oil, as basic British industries like cotton came under more competition in export markets, the return to the pre-war exchange was estimated to add up to 10% in costs to the industry. In July 1925, a Commission of Inquiry reported generally favouring the miners, rather than the mine owners’ position. Baldwin, with Winston Churchill’s support proposed a subsidy to the industry while a Royal Commission prepared a further report.

That Commission solved nothing and the miners dispute led to the General Strike of 1926, Winston Churchill was reported to have suggested that machine guns be used on the striking miners. Winston Churchill edited the Government’s newspaper, the British Gazette, and, during the dispute, he argued that “either the country will break the General Strike, or the General Strike will break the country” and claimed that the fascism of Benito Mussolini had “rendered a service to the whole world,” showing, as it had, “a way to combat subversive forces”—that is, he considered the regime to be a bulwark against the perceived threat of Communist revolution. At one point, Winston Churchill went as far as to call Mussolini the “Roman genius… the greatest lawgiver among men.”

Later economists, as well as people at the time, also criticised Winston Churchill’s budget measures. These were seen as assisting the generally prosperous rentier banking and salaried classes (to which Winston Churchill and his associates generally belonged) at the expense of manufacturers and exporters which were known then to be suffering from imports and from competition in traditional export markets, and as paring the Armed Forces too heavily.

The Conservative government was defeated in the 1929 General Election. Winston Churchill did not seek election to the Conservative Business Committee, the official leadership of the Conservative MPs. Over the next 2 years, Winston Churchill became estranged from the Conservative leadership over the issues of protective tariffs and Indian Home Rule and by his political views and by his friendships with press barons, financiers and people whose characters were seen as dubious. When Ramsay MacDonald formed the National Government in 1931, Winston Churchill was not invited to join the Cabinet. Winston Churchill was at the low point in his career, in a period known as “the wilderness years”.

Winston Churchill spent much of the next few years concentrating on his writing, including Marlborough: His Life and Times—a biography of his ancestor John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough—and A History of the English Speaking Peoples (though the latter was not published until well after World War II), Great Contemporaries and many newspaper articles and collections of speeches. Winston Churchill was one of the best paid writers of his time. Winston Churchill’s political views, set 4th in his 1930 Romanes Election and published as Parliamentary Government and the Economic Problem (republished in 1932 in his collection of essays “Thoughts and Adventures”) involved abandoning universal suffrage, a return to a property franchise, proportional representation for the major cities and an economic ‘sub parliament’.

Winston Churchill opposed Mohandas Gandhi’s peaceful disobedience revolt and the Indian Independence movement in the 1930s, arguing that the Round Table Conference “was a frightful prospect”. Later reports indicate that Winston Churchill favoured letting Gandhi die if he went on hunger strike. During the 1st 1/2 of the 1930s, Winston Churchill was outspoken in his opposition to granting Dominion status to India. Winston Churchill was one of the founders of the India Defence League, a group dedicated to the preservation of British power in India. In speeches and press articles in this period he forecast widespread British unemployment and civil strife in India should independence be granted. The Viceroy Lord Irwin who had been appointed by the prior Conservative Government engaged in the Round Table Conference in early 1931 and then announced the Government’s policy that India should be granted Dominion Status. In this the Government was supported by the Liberal Party and, officially at least, by the Conservative Party. Winston Churchill denounced the Round Table Conference.

At a meeting of the West Essex Conservative Association specially convened so Winston Churchill could explain his position he said, “It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle-Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well-known in the East, striding half-naked up the steps of the Vice-regal palace…to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King-Emperor.” Winston Churchill called the Indian Congress leaders “Brahmins who mouth and patter principles of Western Liberalism.”

There were 2 incidents which damaged Winston Churchill’s reputation greatly within the Conservative Party in the period. Both were taken as attacks on the Conservative front bench. The 1st was his speech on the eve of the St George by-election in April 1931. In a secure Conservative seat, the official Conservative candidate Duff Cooper was opposed by an independent Conservative. The independent was supported by Lord Rothermere, Lord Beaverbrook and their respective newspapers. Although arranged before the by election was set, Winston Churchill’s speech was seen as supporting the independent candidate and as a part of the Press Baron’s campaign against Baldwin. Baldwin’s position was strengthened when Duff Cooper won and when the civil disobedience campaign in India ceased with the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. The 2nd issue was a claim that Sir Samuel Hoare and Lord Derby had pressured the Manchester Chamber of Commerce to change evidence it had given to the Joint Select Committee considering the Government of India Bill and in doing so had breached Parliamentary privilege. Winston Churchill had the matter referred to the House of Commons Privilege Committee which after investigations, in which Winston Churchill gave evidence reported to the House that there had been no breach. The report was debated on 13 June. Winston Churchill was unable to find a single supporter in the House and the debate ended without a division.

Winston Churchill permanently broke with Stanley Baldwin over Indian independence and never held any office while Stanley Baldwin was Prime Minister. Some historians see his basic attitude to India as being set out in his book My Early Life (1930). Historians also dispute his motives in maintaining his opposition. Some see him as trying to destabilise the National Government. Some also draw a parallel between Winston Churchill’s attitudes to India and those towards the Nazis.

Beginning in 1932, when he opposed those who advocated giving Germany the right to military parity with France, Winston Churchill spoke often of the dangers of Germany’s rearmament. Winston Churchill later, particularly in The Gathering Storm, portrayed himself as being for a time, a lone voice calling on Britain to strengthen itself to counter the belligerence of Germany. However Lord Lloyd was the 1st to so agitate. Winston Churchill’s attitude toward the fascist dictators was ambiguous. In 1931, he warned against the League of Nations opposing the Japanese in Manchuria “I hope we shall try in England to understand the position of Japan, an ancient state…. On the one side they have the dark menace of Soviet Russia. On the other the chaos of China, 4 or 5 provinces of which are being tortured under Communist rule”. In contemporary newspaper articles he referred to the Spanish Republican government as a Communist front, and Franco’s army as the “Anti-red movement”. Winston Churchill supported the Hoare-Laval Pact and continued up until 1937 to praise Benito Mussolini.

Speaking in the House of Commons in 1937, Winston Churchill said “I will not pretend that, if I had to choose between communism and Nazism, I would choose communism”. In a 1935 essay, entitled “Hitler and his Choice” as republished in Winston Churchill’s 1937 book Great Contemporaries, Winston Churchill expressed a hope that Hitler, if he so chose, and despite his rise to power through dictatorial action, hatred, and cruelty, he might yet “go down in history as the man who restored honour and peace of mind to the great Germanic nation and brought it back serene, helpful and strong, to the forefront of the European family circle.” Winston Churchill’s 1st major speech on defence on 7 February 1934 stressed the need to rebuild the Royal Air Force and to create a Ministry of Defence; his 2nd, on 13 July urged a renewed role for the League of Nations. These 3 topics remained his themes until early 1936. In 1935, he was one of the founding members of Focus which brought together people of differing political backgrounds and occupations who were united in seeking ‘the defence of freedom and peace’. Focus led to the formation of the much wider Arms and the Covenant Movement in 1936.

Winston Churchill was holidaying in Spain when the Germans reoccupied the Rhineland in February 1936, and returned to a divided England—Labour opposition was adamant in opposing sanctions and the National Government was divided between advocates of economic sanctions and those who said that even these would lead to a humiliating backdown by Britain as France would not support any intervention. Winston Churchill’s speech on 9 March was measured and praised by Neville Chamberlain as constructive. But within weeks Winston Churchill was passed over for the post of Minister for Co-ordination of Defence in favour of the Attorney General Sir Thomas Inskip. Alan Taylor called this; ‘An appointment rightly described as the most extraordinary since Caligula made his horse a consul.’ In June 1936, Winston Churchill organised a deputation of senior Conservatives who shared his concern to see Stanley Baldwin, Neville Chamberlain and Halifax. Winston Churchill had tried to have delegates from the other 2 parties and later wrote “If the leaders of the Labour and Liberal oppositions had come with us there might have been a political situation so intense as to enforce remedial action”. As it was the meeting achieved little, Stanley Baldwin arguing that the Government was doing all it could given the anti-war feeling of the electorate.

On 12 November Winston Churchill returned to the topic. Speaking in the Address in Reply debate after giving some specific instances of Germany’s war preparedness he said ‘’’The Government simply cannot make up their mind or they cannot get the Prime Minister to make up his mind. So they go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful for impotency. And so we go on preparing more months more years precious perhaps vital for the greatness of Britain for the locusts to eat.’’’

R.R. James called this one of Winston Churchill’s most brilliant speeches in this period, Stanley Baldwin’s reply sounding weak and disturbing the House. The exchange gave new encouragement to the Arms and the Covenant Movement.

In June 1936, Walter Monckton told Winston Churchill that the rumours that King Edward VIII intended to marry Mrs Wallis Simpson were true. Winston Churchill then advised against the marriage and said he regarded Mrs Wallis Simpson’s existing marriage as a ‘safeguard’. In November, he declined Lord Salisbury’s invitation to be part of a delegation of senior Conservative backbenchers who met with Stanley Baldwin to discuss the matter. On 25 November he, Attlee and Sinclair met with Stanley Baldwin and were told officially of the King’s intention and asked whether they would form an administration if Stanley Baldwin and the National Government resigned should the King not take the Ministry’s advice. Both Attlee and Sinclair said they would not take office if invited to do so. Winston Churchill’s reply was that his attitude was a little different but he would support the government.

The Abdication crisis became public, coming to head in the 1st fortnight of December 1936. At this time Winston Churchill publicly gave his support to the King. The 1st public meeting of the Arms and the Covenant Movement was on 3 December. Winston Churchill was a major speaker and later wrote that in replying to the Vote of Thanks he made a declaration ‘on the spur of the moment’ asking for delay before any decision was made by either the King or his Cabinet. Later that night Winston Churchill saw the draft of the King’s proposed wireless broadcast and spoke with Beaverbrook and the King’s solicitor about it. On 4 December, he met with the King and again urged delay in any decision about abdication. On 5 December, he issued a lengthy statement implying that the Ministry was applying unconstitutional pressure on the King to force him to make a hasty decision. On 7 December he tried to address the Commons to plead for delay. Winston Churchill was shouted down. Seemingly staggered by the unanimous hostility of all Members he left.

Winston Churchill’s reputation in Parliament and England as a whole was badly damaged. Some such as Alistair Cooke saw him as trying to build a King’s Party. Others like Harold Macmillan were dismayed by the damage Winston Churchill’s support for the King had done to the Arms and the Covenant Movement. Winston Churchill himself later wrote “I was myself smitten in public opinion that it was the almost universal view that my political life was ended.” Historians are divided about Winston Churchill’s motives in his support for Edward VIII. Some such as A J P Taylor see it as being an attempt to ‘overthrow the government of feeble men’. Others such as Rhode James see Winston Churchill’s motives as entirely honourable and disinterested, that he felt deeply for the King.

Winston Churchill later sought to portray himself as an isolated voice warning of the need to rearm against Germany. While it is true that he had little following in the House of Commons during much of the 1930s he was given considerable privileges by the Government. The “Churchill group” in the later half of the decade consisted only of himself, Duncan Sandys and Brendan Bracken. It was isolated from the other main factions within the Conservative Party pressing for faster rearmament and a stronger foreign policy. In some senses the ‘exile’ was more apparent than real. Winston Churchill continued to be consulted on many matters by the Government or seen as an alternative leader.

Winston Churchill giving his famous ‘V’ sign standing for “Victory”. Even during the time Winston Churchill was campaigning against Indian independence, he received official and otherwise secret information. From 1932, Winston Churchill’s neighbour, Major Desmond Morton with Ramsay MacDonald’s approval, gave Winston Churchill information on German air power. From 1930 onwards Major Desmond Morton headed a department of the Committee of Imperial Defence charged with researching the defence preparedness of other nations. Lord Swinton as Secretary of State for Air, and with Stanley Baldwin’s approval, in 1934 gave Winston Churchill access to official and otherwise secret information.

Lord Swinton did so, knowing Winston Churchill would remain a critic of the government but believing that an informed critic was better than one relying on rumour and hearsay. Winston Churchill was a fierce critic of Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement of Adolf Hitler and in a speech to the House of Commons, he bluntly and prophetically stated, “You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour, and you will have war.

After the outbreak of World War II, on 3 September 1939 the day Britain declared war on Germany, Winston Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty and a member of the War Cabinet, just as he had been during the first part of World War I. When they were informed, the Board of the Admiralty sent a signal to the Fleet: “Winston is back”. In this job, he proved to be one of the highest-profile ministers during the so-called “Phony War”, when the only noticeable action was at sea. Winston Churchill advocated the pre-emptive occupation of the neutral Norwegian iron-ore port of Narvik and the iron mines in Kiruna, Sweden, early in the war. However, Neville Chamberlain and the rest of the War Cabinet disagreed, and the operation was delayed until the successful German invasion of Norway.

On 10 May 1940, hours before the German invasion of France by a lightning advance through the Low Countries, it became clear that, following failure in Norway, the country had no confidence in Neville Chamberlain’s prosecution of the war and so Neville Chamberlain resigned. The commonly accepted version of events states that Lord Halifax turned down the post of Prime Minister because he believed he could not govern effectively as a member of the House of Lords instead of the House of Commons. Although the Prime Minister does not traditionally advise the King on the former’s successor, Neville Chamberlain wanted someone who would command the support of all 3 major parties in the House of Commons. A meeting between Neville Chamberlain, Lord Halifax, Winston Churchill and David Margesson, the government Chief Whip, led to the recommendation of Winston Churchill, and, as a constitutional monarch, George VI asked Winston Churchill to be Prime Minister and to form an all-party government. Winston Churchill’s 1st act was to write to Neville Chamberlain to thank him for his support.

Winston Churchill had been among the 1st to recognise the growing threat of Hitler long before the outset of the Second World War, and his warnings had gone largely unheeded. Although there was an element of British public and political sentiment favouring negotiated peace with a clearly ascendant Germany, among them the Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax, Winston Churchill nonetheless refused to consider an armistice with Hitler’s Germany. Winston Churchill’s use of rhetoric hardened public opinion against a peaceful resolution and prepared the British for a long war. Coining the general term for the upcoming battle, Winston Churchill stated in his “finest hour” speech to the House of Commons on 18 June 1940, “I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin.” By refusing an armistice with Germany, Winston Churchill kept resistance alive in the British Empire and created the basis for the later Allied counter-attacks of 1942-45, with Britain serving as a platform for the supply of Soviet Union and the liberation of Western Europe.

In response to previous criticisms that there had been no clear single minister in charge of the prosecution of the war, Winston Churchill created and took the additional position of Minister of Defence. Winston Churchill immediately put his friend and confidant, the industrialist and newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook, in charge of aircraft production. It was Lord Beaverbrook’s business acumen that allowed Britain to quickly gear up aircraft production and engineering that eventually made the difference in the war.

Winston Churchill’s speeches were a great inspiration to the embattled British. Winston Churchill’s 1st speech as Prime Minister was the famous “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat”. Winston Churchill followed that closely with 2 other equally famous ones, given just before the Battle of Britain. One included the words:

we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

The other:

Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour’.

At the height of the Battle of Britain, his bracing survey of the situation included the memorable line “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few”, which engendered the enduring nickname “The Few” for the Allied fighter pilots who won it. One of his most memorable war speeches came on 10 November 1942 at the Lord Mayor’s Luncheon at Mansion House in London, in response to the Allied victory at the Second Battle of El Alamein. Winston Churchill stated:

This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

Without having much in the way of sustenance or good news to offer the British people, he took a political risk in deliberately choosing to emphasise the dangers instead.

“Rhetorical power,” wrote Winston Churchill, “is neither wholly bestowed, nor wholly acquired, but cultivated.” Not all were impressed by his oratory. Robert Menzies, who was the Prime Minister of Australia, said during World War II of Winston Churchill: “His real tyrant is the glittering phrase so attractive to his mind that awkward facts have to give way.” Another associate wrote: “He is . . . the slave of the words which his mind forms about ideas. . . . And he can convince himself of almost every truth if it is once allowed thus to start on its wild career through his rhetorical machinery.”

Winston Churchill’s good relationship with Franklin D. Roosevelt secured vital food, oil and munitions via the North Atlantic shipping routes. It was for this reason that Winston Churchill was relieved when Franklin D. Roosevelt was re-elected in 1940. Upon re-election, Franklin D. Roosevelt immediately set about implementing a new method of providing military hardware and shipping to Britain without the need for monetary payment. Put simply, Franklin D. Roosevelt persuaded Congress that repayment for this immensely costly service would take the form of defending the US; and so Lend-lease was born. Winston Churchill had 12 strategic conferences with franklin D. Roosevelt which covered the Atlantic Charter, Europe 1st strategy, the Declaration by the United Nations and other war policies. After Pearl Harbour was attacked, Winston Churchill’s first thought in anticipation of US help was, “We have won the war!” On 26 December 1941, Winston Churchill addressed a joint meeting of the US Congress, asking of Germany and Japan, “What kind of people do they think we are?” Winston Churchill initiated the Special Operations Executive (SOE) under Hugh Dalton’s Ministry of Economic Warfare, which established, conducted and fostered covert, subversive and partisan operations in occupied territories with notable success; and also the Commandos which established the pattern for most of the world’s current Special Forces. The Russians referred to him as the “British Bulldog”.

Winston Churchill’s health was fragile, as shown by a mild heart attack he suffered in December 1941 at the White House and also in December 1943 when he contracted pneumonia. Despite this, he travelled over 100,000 miles (160,000 km) throughout the war to meet other national leaders. For security, he usually travelled using the alias Colonel Warden. Winston Churchill was party to treaties that would redraw post-World War II European and Asian boundaries. These were discussed as early as 1943. Proposals for European boundaries and settlements were officially agreed to by Harry S Truman, Winston Churchill, and Stalin at Potsdam. At the 2nd Quebec Conference in 1944 he drafted and, together with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, signed a toned-down version of the original Morgenthau Plan, in which they pledged to convert Germany after its unconditional surrender “into a country primarily agricultural and pastoral in its character.” Winston Churchill’s strong relationship with Harry Truman was also of great significance to both countries. While he clearly regretted the loss of his close friend and counterpart Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill was enormously supportive of Harry Truman in his 1st days in office, calling him, “the type of leader the world needs when it needs him most.”

When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Winston Churchill, a vehement anti-Communist, famously stated “If Hitler were to invade Hell, I should find occasion to make a favourable reference to the Devil,” regarding his policy toward Stalin. Soon, British supplies and tanks were flowing to help the Soviet Union.

The settlement concerning the borders of Poland, that is, the boundary between Poland and the Soviet Union and between Germany and Poland, was viewed as a betrayal in Poland during the post-war years, as it was established against the views of the Polish government in exile. It was Winston Churchill, who tried to motivate Mikołajczyk, who was Prime Minister of the Polish government in exile, to accept Stalin’s wishes, but Mikołajczyk refused. Winston Churchill was convinced that the only way to alleviate tensions between the 2 populations was the transfer of people, to match the national borders.

As he expounded in the House of Commons on 15 December 1944, “Expulsion is the method which, insofar as we have been able to see, will be the most satisfactory and lasting. There will be no mixture of populations to cause endless trouble… A clean sweep will be made. I am not alarmed by these transferences, which are more possible in modern conditions.” However the resulting expulsions of Germans was carried out by the Soviet Union in a way which resulted in much hardship and, according to a 1966 report by the West German Ministry of Refugees and Displaced Persons, the death of over 2.1,000,000. Winston Churchill opposed the effective annexation of Poland by the Soviet Union and wrote bitterly about it in his books, but he was unable to prevent it at the conferences.

During October 1944, he and Eden were in Moscow to meet with the Russian leadership. At this point, Russian forces were beginning to advance into various eastern European countries. Winston Churchill held the view that until everything was formally and properly worked out at the Yalta conference, there had to be a temporary, war-time, working agreement with regard to who would run what. The most significant of these meetings were held on 9 October 1944 in the Kremlin between Winston Churchill and Stalin. During the meeting, Poland and the Balkan problems were discussed. Winston Churchill recounted his speech to Stalin on the day:

Let us settle about our affairs in the Balkans. Your armies are in Rumania and Bulgaria. We have interests, missions, and agents there. Don’t let us get at cross-purposes in small ways. So far as Britain and Russia are concerned, how would it do for you to have 90% predominance in Rumania, for us to have 90% of the say in Greece, and go 50/50 about Yugoslavia?

Stalin agreed to this Percentages Agreement, ticking a piece of paper as he heard the translation. In 1958, 5 years after the recount of this meeting was published (in The Second World War), authorities of the Soviet denied that Stalin accepted the “imperialist proposal”.

Between 13 February and 15 February 1945, British and the US bombers attacked the German city of Dresden, which was crowded with German wounded and refugees. Because of the cultural importance of the city, and of the number of civilian casualties close to the end of the war, this remains one of the most controversial Western Allied actions of the war. Following the bombing Winston Churchill stated in a top secret telegram:

It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed … I feel the need for more precise concentration upon military objectives such as oil and communications behind the immediate battle-zone, rather than on mere acts of terror and wanton destruction, however impressive.

On reflection, under pressure from the Chiefs of Staff and in response to the views expressed by Sir Charles Portal (Chief of the Air Staff,) and Arthur Harris (AOC-in-C of Bomber Command,) among others, Churchill withdrew his memo and issued a new one. This final version of the memo completed on 1 April 1945, stated:

It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of the so called ‘area-bombing’ of German cities should be reviewed from the point of view of our own interests. If we come into control of an entirely ruined land, there will be a great shortage of accommodation for ourselves and our allies … We must see to it that our attacks do no more harm to ourselves in the long run than they do to the enemy’s war effort.

Ultimately, responsibility for the British part of the attack lay with Winston Churchill, which is why he has been criticised for allowing the bombings to happen. The German historian Jörg Friedrich, claims that “Winston Churchill’s decision to [area] bomb a shattered Germany between January and May 1945 was a war crime” and writing in 2006 the philosopher A. C. Grayling questioned the whole strategic bombing campaign by the RAF presenting the argument that although it was not a war crime it was a moral crime and undermines the Allies contention that they fought a just war.

On the other hand, it has also been asserted that Winston Churchill’s involvement in the bombing of Dresden was based on the strategic and tactical aspects of winning the war. The destruction of Dresden, while immense, was designed to expedite the defeat of Germany. As the historian Max Hastings said in an article subtitled, “the Allied Bombing of Dresden”: “I believe it is wrong to describe strategic bombing as a war crime, for this might be held to suggest some moral equivalence with the deeds of the Nazis. Bombing represented a sincere, albeit mistaken, attempt to bring about Germany’s military defeat.” Furthermore British historian, Frederick Taylor asserts that “All sides bombed each other’s cities during the war. Half a million Soviet citizens, for example, died from German bombing during the invasion and occupation of Russia. That’s roughly equivalent to the number of German citizens who died from Allied raids. But the Allied bombing campaign was attached to military operations and ceased as soon as military operations ceased.”

In June 1944, the Allied Forces invaded Normandy and pushed the Nazi forces back into Germany on a broad front over the coming year. After being attacked on 3 fronts by the Allies, Germany was soon defeated. On 7 May 1945 at the SHAEF headquarters in Rheims the Allies accepted Germany’s surrender. On the same day in a BBC news flash John Snagge announced that 8 May would be Victory in Europe Day. On Victory in Europe Day, Winston Churchill broadcast to the nation that Germany had surrendered and that a final cease fire on all fronts in Europe would come into effect at 1 minute past midnight that night. Afterwards Winston Churchill told a huge crowd in Whitehall: “This is your victory.” The people shouted: “No, it is yours”, and Winston Churchill then conducted them in the singing of Land of Hope and Glory. In the evening he made another broadcast to the nation asserting the defeat of Japan in the coming months. The Japanese later surrendered on 15 August 1945.

As Europe celebrated peace at the end of 6 years of war, Winston Churchill was concerning on the possibility that the celebrations would soon be brutally interrupted. Winston Churchill concluded that the UK and the US must prepare for the Red Army ignoring previously-agreed frontiers and agreements in Europe “to impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire.” According to the Operation Unthinkable plan ordered by Winston Churchill and developed by the British Armed Forces, the Third World War could have started on 1 July 1945 with a sudden attack against the allied Soviet troops. The plan was rejected by the British Chiefs of Staff Committee as militarily unfeasible. However this decision didn’t stop the further development of the war plans: with the beginning Arms race the militarily unfeasible Third World War was developed into the Cold War doctrine.

Although Winston Churchill’s role in World War II had generated him much support from the British population, he was defeated in the 1945 election. Many reasons for this have been given, key among them being that a desire for post-war reform was widespread amongst the population and that the man who had led Britain in war was not seen as the man to lead the nation in peace.

For 6 years he was to serve as the Leader of the Opposition. During these years Winston Churchill continued to have an impact on world affairs. In 1946, he gave his Iron Curtain speech which spoke of the USSR and the creation of the Eastern Bloc. He declared:

Winston Churchill with American General Dwight D. Eisenhower and Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery at a meeting of NATO in October 1951, shortly before Winston Churchill was to become Prime Minister for a 2nd time. From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere.

Winston Churchill also argued strongly for British independence from the European Coal and Steel Community, which he saw as a Franco-German project. Winston Churchill saw Britain’s place as separate from the continent, much more in-line with the countries of the Commonwealth and the Empire and with the United States, the so-called Anglosphere.

After the General Election of 1951, Winston Churchill again became Prime Minister. Winston Churchill’s 3rd government—after the wartime national government and the brief caretaker government of 1945—lasted until his resignation in 1955. Winston Churchill’s domestic priorities in his last government were overshadowed by a series of foreign policy crises, which were partly the result of the continued decline of British military and imperial prestige and power. Being a strong proponent of Britain as an international power, Winston Churchill would often meet such moments with direct action. One example was his dispatch of British troops to Kenya to deal with the Mau Mau rebellion. Trying to retain what he could of the Empire, he once stated that, “I will not preside over a dismemberment.”

This was followed by events which became known as the Malayan Emergency. In Malaya, a rebellion against British rule had been in progress since 1948. Once again, Winston Churchill’s government inherited a crisis, and Winston Churchill chose to use direct military action against those in rebellion while attempting to build an alliance with those who were not. While the rebellion was slowly being defeated, it was equally clear that colonial rule from Britain was no longer sustainable.

Winston Churchill also devoted much of his time in office to Anglo-American relations and although Winston Churchill did not get on well with President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Winston Churchill attempted to maintain the special relationship with the United States. Winston Churchill made 4 official transatlantic visits to America during his 2nd term as Prime Minister.

In June 1953, when he was 78, Winston Churchill suffered a stroke at 10 Downing Street. News of this was kept from the public and from Parliament, who were told that Winston Churchill was suffering from exhaustion. Winston Churchill went to his country home, Chartwell, to recuperate from the effects of the stroke which had affected his speech and ability to walk. Winston Churchill returned to public life in October to make a speech at a Conservative Party conference at Margate. However, aware that he was slowing down both physically and mentally, Winston Churchill retired as Prime Minister in 1955 and was succeeded by Anthony Eden.

Winston Churchill spent much of his retirement at his home Chartwell in Kent. Winston Churchill purchased it in 1922 after his daughter Mary was born. After leaving the premiership, Winston Churchill spent less time in parliament until he stood down at the 1964 General Election. As a mere “back-bencher,” Winston Churchill spent most of his retirement at Chartwell and at his home in Hyde Park Gate, in London. As his mental and physical faculties decayed, he began to lose the battle he had fought for so long against the “black dog” of depression. In 1963, US President John F. Kennedy, acting under authorisation granted by an Act of Congress, proclaimed him an Honourary Citizen of the United States, but he was unable to attend the White House ceremony.

Winston Churchill was also an accomplished artist and took great pleasure in painting, especially after his resignation as First Lord of the Admiralty in 1915. Winston Churchill found a haven in art to overcome the spells of depression—or as he termed it, the “Black Dog”—which he suffered throughout his life. As William Rees-Mogg has stated, “In his own life, he had to suffer the ‘black dog’ of depression. In his landscapes and still lives there is no sign of depression”. Winston Churchill is best known for his impressionist scenes of landscape, many of which were painted while on holiday in the South of France or Morocco. Winston Churchill continued his hobby throughout his life and painted dozens of paintings, many of which are on show in the studio at Chartwell.

Winston Churchill as a historian and writer.

Despite his lifelong fame and upper-class origins Winston Churchill always struggled to keep his income at a level that would fund his extravagant lifestyle. MPs before 1946 received only a nominal salary (and in fact did not receive anything at all until the Parliament Act of 1911) so many had secondary professions from which to earn a living. From his 1st book in 1898 until his 2nd stint as Prime Minister, Winston Churchill’s income was almost entirely made from writing books and opinion pieces for newspapers and magazines. The most famous of his newspaper articles are those that appeared in the Evening Standard from 1936 warning of the rise of Hitler and the danger of the policy of appeasement.

Winston Churchill was also a prolific writer of books, writing a novel, 2 biographies, 3 volumes of memoirs, and several histories in addition to his many newspaper articles. Winston Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values”. 2 of his most famous works, published after his 1st premiereship brought his international fame to new heights, were his 6-volume memoir The Second World War and A History of the English-Speaking Peoples; a 4-volume history covering the period from Caesar’s invasions of Britain (55 BC) to the beginning of the First World War (1914).

Honours:

Aside from receiving the great honour of a state funeral, Winston Churchill also received numerous awards and honours, including being made the 1st Honourary Citizen of the United States. Winston Churchill received the Nobel Prize in Literature for his numerous published works, especially his 6-edition set The Second World War. In a 2002 BBC poll of the “100 Greatest Britons”, he was proclaimed “The Greatest of Them All” based on approximately a million votes from BBC viewers. Winston Churchill was also rated as one of the most influential leaders in history by Time magazine.

The Winston Churchill Memorial Trust:

When Winston Churchill was 88 he was asked by the Duke of Edinburgh how he would like to be remembered. Winston Churchill replied with a scholarship like the Rhodes scholarship but for the wider masses. After his death, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust was established in Great Britain and Australia. A Churchill Trust Memorial Day was held in Australia, raising $AUD4.3,000,000. Since that time the Churchill Trust in Australia has supported over 3,000 scholarship recipients in a diverse variety of fields, where merit, either on the basis of past experience, or potential, and the propensity to contribute to the community have been the only criteria. The Churchill Trust is today one of the most prestigious fellowships in the Commonwealth.

It is alleged that while Home Secretary in 1910, Winston Churchill proposed the sterilisation of 100,000 “mental degenerates”, and the dispatch of tens of thousands of others to state-run labor camps, so as to save the “British race” from inevitable decline as its “inferior” members were allowed to breed.

Poison gas:

It is sometimes claimed that Winston Churchill advocated the use of poison gas on Kurdish tribesmen in Mesopotamia. This accusation is based almost entirely on a War Office minute of 12 May 1919, in which Winston Churchill argued for the use of tear gas:

I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. We have definitely adopted the position at the Peace Conference of arguing in favour of the retention of gas as a permanent method of warfare. It is sheer affectation to lacerate a man with the poisonous fragment of a bursting shell and to boggle at making his eyes water by means of lachrymatory gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes. The moral effect should be so good that the loss of life should be reduced to a minimum. It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gasses: gasses can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror and yet would leave no serious permanent effects on most of those affected.

If British forces did consider the use of poison gas in putting down Kurdish rebellions, there is no evidence that it was ever used.

Winston Churchill was well known for his interest in Bezique, a 2 player game. On a trip to the United States of America in March 1946, he famously lost a lot of money in a game with Harry Truman and his advisors. Winston Churchill revealed that he learnt to play while serving in the Boer War. Following on Winston Churchill’s interests, the Churchill Regular Association for Poker exists to this day at Churchill College, Cambridge. In a recent interview, Donald Trump listed Winston Churchill as one of the people he would most like to play poker with.

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Club Feet or Foot Series-Disabled Legend Dr Joseph Goebbels

Doctor Paul Joseph Goebbels (German pronunciation: IPA: [ˈɡœbəls]; English generally IPA: /ˈɡɝbəlz/) was born on 29 October, 1897 in Rheydt, an industrial town south of Mönchengladbach (of which it is now part) on the edge of the Ruhr district and died on 1 May, 1945.

Joseph Goebbels was a German politician and Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda in Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. Joseph Goebbels was one of German dictator Adolf Hitler’s closest associates and most devout followers. Joseph Goebbels was known for his zealous, energetic oratory, and venomous anti-Semitism; he is held responsible for Kristallnacht by many historians.

Joseph Goebbels earned a Ph.D. in Heidelberg University in 1921, writing his doctoral thesis on 18th century romantic drama; he then went on to work as a journalist and later a bank clerk and caller on the stock exchange. Joseph Goebbels also wrote novels and plays, but they were refused by publishers. Joseph Goebbels came into contact with the Nazi Party in 1923 during the French occupation of the Ruhr and became a member in 1924. Joseph Goebbels was appointed Gauleiter (regional party leader)of Berlin. In this position, he put his propaganda skills to full use, combatting the local socialist and communist parties with the help of Nazi papers and the paramilitary SA. By 1928 he had risen in the party ranks to become one of its most prominent members.

After the Nazis rose to power in 1933, he was appointed propaganda minister. One of his 1st acts was to order the burning of books by Jewish or anti-Nazi authors at Bebelplatz and he proceeded to gain full control of every outlet of information in Germany. Following his appointment, his attacks on German Jews became ever fiercer and culminated in the Kristallnacht in 1938, the 1st open and unrestrained pogrom unleashed by the Nazis.

An early and avid supporter of war, Joseph Goebbels did everything in his power to prepare the German people for a large scale military conflict. During World War II, he increased his power and influence through shifting alliances with other Nazi leaders. By late 1943, the tide of the war was turning against the Axis powers, but this only spurred Joseph Goebbels to intensify the propaganda by urging the Germans to accept the idea of total war and mobilization. Joseph Goebbels remained with Hitler in Berlin to the very end, and following the Führer’s suicide he was the 2nd person to serve as the 3rd Reich’s Chancellor — albeit for one day. In his final hours, it is suggested Joseph Goebbels allowed his wife, Magda, to kill their 6 young children. Shortly after, Joseph Goebbels and his wife both committed suicide.

Joseph Goebbels’s family were Catholics of modest means, his father a factory clerk, his mother originally a farmhand. Joseph Goebbels had 4 siblings: Konrad (1895–1949), Hans (1893–1947), Elisabeth (1901–1915) and Maria (born 1910, later married to the German filmmaker Max W. Kimmich). Joseph Goebbels was educated at a Gymnasium, or secondary school, where he completed his Abitur (university entrance examination) in 1916. Beginning in childhood, he had a deformed right leg, the result either of club foot or osteomyelitis. Joseph Goebbels wore a metal brace and special shoe to compensate for his shortened leg, but nevertheless walked with a limp all his life. As a result of these conditions, he was rejected for military service in World War I, which he bitterly resented. Joseph Goebbels later frequently misrepresented himself as a war veteran and misrepresented his disability as a war wound. The nearest he came to military service was as an “office soldier” from June 1917 to October 1917 in Rheydt’s “Patriotic Help Unit”.

Joseph Goebbels compensated for his physical frailty with intellectual accomplishments. Joseph Goebbels’ originally intended to train as a priest, but after growing distant from his Catholic faith he studied literature and philosophy at universities in Bonn, Würzburg, Freiburg im Breisgau and Heidelberg, where he wrote his doctoral thesis on the 18th century romantic novelist Wilhelm von Schütz. Joseph Goebbels’s most influential teachers, Friedrich Gundolf and his doctoral supervisor at Heidelberg, Max Freiherr von Waldberg, were Jews. Joseph Goebbels’ intelligence and political astuteness were generally acknowledged even by his enemies.

After completing his doctorate in 1921, Joseph Goebbels worked as a journalist and tried for several years to become a published author. Joseph Goebbels wrote a semi-autobiographical novel, Michael, 2 verse plays, and quantities of romantic poetry. In these works, he revealed the psychological damage his physical limitations had caused. “The very name of the hero, Michael, to whom he gave many autobiographical features, suggests the way his self-identification was pointing: a figure of light, radiant, tall, unconquerable,” and above all “‘To be a soldier! To stand sentinel! One ought always to be a soldier,’ wrote Michael-Goebbels.” Joseph Goebbels found another form of compensation in the pursuit of women, a lifelong compulsion which he indulged “with extraordinary vigour and a surprising degree of success.” Joseph Goebbels’ diaries reveal a long succession of affairs, before and after his marriage in 1931 to Magda Quandt, with whom he had 6 children.

Joseph Goebbels was embittered by the frustration of his literary career; his novel did not find a publisher until 1929 and his plays were never staged. Joseph Goebbels found an outlet for his desire to write in his diaries, which he began in 1923 and continued for the rest of his life. Joseph Goebbels later worked as a bank clerk and a caller on the stock exchange. During this period, he read avidly and formed his political views. Major influences were Friedrich Nietzsche, Oswald Spengler and, most importantly, Houston Stewart Chamberlain, the British-born German writer who was one of the founders of “scientific” anti-Semitism, and whose book The Foundations of the 19th Century (1899) was one of the standard works of the extreme right in Germany. Joseph Goebbels spent the winter of 1919–20 in Munich, where he witnessed and admired the violent nationalist reaction against the attempted communist revolution in Bavaria. Joseph Goebbels’s 1st political hero was Anton Graf von Arco auf Valley, the man who assassinated the Munich socialist leader Kurt Eisner. Hitler was in Munich at the same time and entered politics as a result of similar experiences.

The culture of the German extreme right was violent and anti-intellectual, which posed a challenge to the physically frail University graduate. Joachim Fest writes:

This was the source of his hatred of the intellect, which was a form of self-hatred, his longing to degrade himself, to submerge himself in the ranks of the masses, which ran curiously parallel with his ambition and his tormenting need to distinguish himself. Joseph Goebbels was incessantly tortured by the fear of being regarded as a ‘bourgeois intellectual’… It always seemed as if he were offering blind devotion (to Nazism) to make up for his lack of all those characteristics of the racial elite which nature had denied him.

Like others who were later prominent in the 3rd Reich, Joseph Goebbels came into contact with the Nazi Party in 1923, during the campaign of resistance to the French occupation of the Ruhr. Hitler’s imprisonment following the failed November 1923″Beer Hall Putsch” left the party temporarily leaderless, and when the 27-year-old Joseph Goebbels joined the party in late 1924 the most important influence on his political development was Gregor Strasser, who became Nazi organiser in northern Germany in March 1924. Strasser (“the most able of the leading Nazis” of this period)took the “socialist” component of National Socialism far more seriously than did Hitler and other members of the Bavarian leadership of the party.

“National and socialist! What goes first, and what comes afterwards?” Joseph Goebbels asked rhetorically in a debate with Theodore Vahlen, Gauleiter (regional party head) of Pomerania, in the Rhineland party newspaper National-sozialistische Briefe (National-Socialist Letters), of which he was editor, in mid 1925. “With us in the west, there can be no doubt. First socialist redemption, then comes national liberation like a whirlwind… Hitler stands between both opinions, but he is on his way to coming over to us completely.” Joseph Goebbels, with his journalistic skills, thus soon became a key ally of Strasser in his struggle with the Bavarians over the party programme. The conflict was not, so they thought, with Hitler, but with his lieutenants, Rudolf Hess, Julius Streicher and Hermann Esser, who, they said, were mismanaging the party in Hitler’s absence. In 1925, Joseph Goebbels published an open letter to “my friends of the left,” urging unity between socialists and Nazis against the capitalists. “You and I,” he wrote, “we are fighting one another although we are not really enemies.”

In February 1926, Hitler, having finished working on Mein Kampf, made a sudden return to party affairs and soon disabused the northerners of any illusions about where he stood. Joseph Goebbels summoned about 60 gauleiters and other activists, including Joseph Goebbels, to a meeting at Bamberg, in Streicher’s Gau of Franconia, where he gave a 2 hour speech repudiating the political programme of the “socialist” wing of the party. For Hitler, the real enemy of the German people was always the Jews, not the capitalists. Joseph Goebbels was bitterly disillusioned. “I feel devastated,” he wrote. “What sort of Hitler? A reactionary?” Joseph Goebbels was horrified by Hitler’s characterisation of socialism as “a Jewish creation,” his declaration that the Soviet Union must be destroyed, and his assertion that private property would not be expropriated by a Nazi government. “I no longer fully believe in Hitler. That’s the terrible thing: my inner support has been taken away.”

Hitler, however, recognised Joseph Goebbels’s talents, and he was a shrewd judge of character; he knew that Joseph Goebbels craved recognition above all else. In April, he brought Joseph Goebbels to Munich, sending his own car to meet him at the railway station, and gave him a long private audience. Hitler berated Joseph Goebbels over his support for the “socialist” line, but offered to “wipe the slate clean” if Joseph Goebbels would now accept his leadership. Joseph Goebbels capitulated completely, offering Hitler his total loyalty — a pledge which was clearly sincere, and which he adhered to until the end of his life. “I love him… He has thought through everything,” Joseph Goebbels wrote. “Such a sparkling mind can be my leader. I bow to the greater one, the political genius. Later he wrote: “Adolf Hitler, I love you because you are both great and simple at the same time. What one calls a genius.” Fest writes:

“From this point on he submitted himself, his whole existence, to his attachment to the person of the Führer, consciously eliminating all inhibitions springing from intellect, free will and self-respect. Since this submission was an act less of faith than of insight, it stood firm through all vicissitudes to the end. ‘He who forsakes the Führer withers away,” he would later write.

In October 1926, Hitler rewarded Joseph Goebbels for his new loyalty by making him the party “Gauleiter” for the Berlin section of the National Socialists. Joseph Goebbels was then able to use the new position to indulge his literary aspirations in the German capital, which he perceived to be a stronghold of the socialists and communists. Here, Joseph Goebbels discovered his talent as a propagandist, writing such tracts as 1926’s The 2nd Revolution and Lenin or Hitler.

Here, he was also able to indulge his heretofore latent taste for violence, if only vicariously through the actions of the street fighters under his command. History, he said, “is made in the street,” and he was determined to challenge the dominant parties of the left — the Social Democrats and Communists — in the streets of Berlin. Working with the local S.A. (stormtrooper) leaders, he deliberately provoked beer-hall battles and street brawls, frequently involving firearms. “Beware, you dogs,” he wrote to his former “friends of the left”: “When the Devil is loose in me you will not curb him again.” When the inevitable deaths occurred, he exploited them for the maximum effect, turning the street fighter Horst Wessel, who was killed at his home by enemy political activists, into a martyr and hero.

In Berlin, Joseph Goebbels was able to give full expression to his genius for propaganda, as editor of the Berlin Nazi newspaper Der Angriff (The Attack) and as the author of a steady stream of Nazi posters and handbills. “He rose within a few months to be the city’s most feared agitator.” Joseph Goebbels’s propaganda techniques were totally cynical: “That propaganda is good which leads to success, and that is bad which fails to achieve the desired result,” he wrote. “It is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success.”

Among his favourite targets were socialist leaders such as Hermann Müller and Carl Severing, and the Jewish Berlin Police President, Bernhard Weiss, whom he subjected to a relentless campaign of Jew-baiting in the hope of provoking a crackdown which he could then exploit. The Social Democrat city government obliged in 1927 with an 8 month ban on the party, which Joseph Goebbels exploited to the hilt. When a friend criticised him for denigrating Weiss, a man with an exemplary military record, “he explained cynically that he wasn’t in the least interested in Weiss, only in the propaganda effect.”

Joseph Goebbels also discovered a talent for oratory, and was soon second in the Nazi movement only to Hitler as a public speaker. Where Hitler’s style was hoarse and passionate, Joseph Goebbels’s was cool, sarcastic and often humorous: he was a master of biting invective and insinuation, although he could whip himself into a rhetorical frenzy if the occasion demanded. Unlike Hitler, however, he retained a cynical detachment from his own rhetoric. Joseph Goebbels openly acknowledged that he was exploiting the lowest instincts of the German people — racism, xenophobia, class envy and insecurity. Joseph Goebbels could, he said, play the popular will like a piano, leading the masses wherever he wanted them to go. “He drove his listeners into ecstasy, making them stand up, sing songs, raise their arms, repeat oaths — and he did it, not through the passionate inspiration of the moment, but as the result of sober psychological calculation.”

Joseph Goebbels’s words and actions made little impact on the political loyalties of Berlin. At the 1928 Reichstag elections, the Nazis polled less than 2 percent of the vote in Berlin compared with 33 percent for the Social Democrats and 25 percent for the Communists. At this election Joseph Goebbels was 1 of the 10 Nazis elected to the Reichstag, which brought him a salary of 750 Reichsmarks a month and immunity from prosecution. Even when the impact of the Great Depression led to an enormous surge in support for the Nazis across Germany, Berlin resisted the party’s appeal more than any other part of Germany: at its peak in 1932, the Nazi Party polled 28 percent in Berlin to the combined left’s 55 percent. But his outstanding talents, and the obvious fact that he stood high in Hitler’s regard, earned Joseph Goebbels’ the grudging respect of the anti-intellectual brawlers of the Nazi movement, who called him “our little doctor” with a mixture of affection and amusement. By 1928, still aged only 31, he was acknowledged to be one of the inner circle of Nazi leaders. “The S.A. would have let itself be hacked to bits for him,” wrote Horst Wessel in 1929.

The Great Depression led to a new resurgence of “left” sentiment in some sections of the Nazi Party, led by Gregor Strasser’s brother Otto, who argued that the party ought to be competing with the Communists for the loyalties of the unemployed and the industrial workers by promising to expropriate the capitalists. Hitler, whose dislike of working-class militancy reflected his social origins in the small-town lower-middle class, was thoroughly opposed to this line. Otto recognised that the growth in Nazi support at the 1930 elections had mainly come from the middle class and from farmers, and he was now busy building bridges to the upper middle classes and to German business. In April 1930, he fired Gregor Strasser as head of the Nazi Party national propaganda apparatus and appointed Joseph Goebbels to replace him, giving him control of the party’s national newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter (People’s Observer), as well as other Nazi papers across the country. Joseph Goebbels, although he continued to show “leftish” tendencies in some of his actions (such as co-operating with the Communists in supporting the Berlin transport workers’ strike in November 1932), was totally loyal to Hitler in his struggle with the Strassers, which culminated in Otto’s expulsion from the party in July 1930.

Despite his revolutionary rhetoric, Joseph Goebbels’s most important contribution to the Nazi cause between 1930 and 1933 was as the organiser of successive election campaigns: The Reichstag elections of September 1930, July and November 1932 and March 1933, and Hitler’s presidential campaign of March–April 1932. Joseph Goebbels proved to be an organiser of genius, choreographing Hitler’s dramatic aeroplane tours of Germany and pioneering the use of radio and cinema for electoral campaigning. The Nazi Party’s use of torchlight parades, brass bands, massed choirs and similar techniques caught the imagination of many voters, particularly young people. “His propaganda headquarters in Munich sent out a constant stream of directives to local and regional party sections, often providing fresh slogans and fresh material for the campaign.” Although the spectacular rise in the Nazi vote in 1930 and July 1932 was caused mainly by the effects of the Depression, Joseph Goebbels as party campaign manager was naturally given much of the credit.

When Hitler was appointed Reich Chancellor of Germany on 30 January 1933, Joseph Goebbels was initially given no office: the coalition cabinet which Hitler headed contained only a minority of Nazis as part of the deal he had negotiated with President Paul von Hindenburg and the conservative parties. But as the propaganda head of the ruling party, a party which had no great respect for the law, he immediately began to behave as though he were in power. Joseph Goebbels commandeered the state radio to produce a live broadcast of the torchlight parade which celebrated Hitler’s assumption of office. On 13 March, Joseph Goebbels had his reward for his part in bringing the Nazis to power by being appointed Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda (Volksaufklärung und Propaganda), with a seat in the Cabinet.

The role of the new ministry, which took over palatial accommodation in the 18th century Leopold Palace on Wilhelmstrasse, just across from Hitler’s offices in the Reich Chancellery, was to centralise Nazi control of all aspects of German cultural and intellectual life, particularly the press, radio and the visual and performing arts. On 1 May, Joseph Goebbels organised the massive demonstrations and parades to mark the “Day of National Labour” which preceded the Nazi takeover and destruction of the German trade union movement. By 3 May, he was able to boast in his diary: “We are the masters of Germany.” On 10 May, he supervised an even more symbolic event in the establishment of Nazi cultural power: the burning of up to 20,000 books by Jewish or anti-Nazi authors in the Opernplatz next to the university.

The hegemonic ambitions of the Propaganda Ministry were shown by the divisions which Joseph Goebbels soon established: press, radio, film, theatre, music, literature and publishing. In each of these, a Reich Chamber (Reichskammer) was established, co-opting leading figures from the field (usually not known Nazis) to head each Chamber, and requiring them to supervise the purge of Jews, socialists and liberals, as well as practitioners of “degenerate” art forms such as abstract art and atonal music. The respected composer Richard Strauss, for example, became head of the Reich Music Chamber. Joseph Goebbels’ orders were backed by the threat of force. The many prominent Jews in the arts and the mass media emigrated in large numbers rather than risk the fists of the S.A. and the gates of the concentration camp, as did many socialists and liberals. Some non-Jewish anti-Nazis with good connections or international reputations survived until the mid 1930s, but most were forced out sooner or later.

Control of the arts and media was not just a matter of personnel. Soon the content of every newspaper, book, novel, play, film, broadcast and concert, from the level of nationally-known publishers and orchestras to local newspapers and village choirs, was subject to supervision by the Propaganda Ministry, although a process of self-censorship was soon effectively operating in all these fields, leaving the Ministry in Berlin free to concentrate on the most politically sensitive areas such as major newspapers and the state radio. No author could publish, no painter could exhibit, no singer could broadcast, no critic could criticise, unless they were a member of the appropriate Reich Chamber, and membership was conditional on good behaviour. Goebbels could bribe as well as threaten: he secured a large budget for his Ministry, with which he was able to offer generous salaries and subsidies to those in the arts who co-operated with him. These were inducements which most artists, theatres and orchestras, after their struggles to survive during the Depression, found hard to refuse.

As the most highly educated member of the Nazi leadership, and the one with the most authentic pretensions to high culture, Joseph Goebbels was sensitive to charges that he was dragging German culture down to the level of mere propaganda. Joseph Goebbels responded by saying that the purpose of both art and propaganda was to bring about a spiritual mobilisation of the German people. Joseph Goebbels was, in fact, far from the most militant member of the Nazi leadership on cultural questions. The more philistine Nazis wanted nothing in German books but Nazi slogans, nothing on German stages and cinema screens but Nazi heroics, and nothing in German concert halls but German folk songs.

Joseph Goebbels insisted that German high culture must be allowed to carry on, both for reasons of international prestige and to win the loyalty of the upper middle classes, who valued art forms such as opera and the symphony. Joseph Goebbels thus became to some extent the protector of the arts as well as their regulator. In this, he had the support of Hitler, a passionate devotee of Richard Wagner. But Joseph Goebbels always had to bow to Hitler’s views. Hitler loathed modernism of all kinds, and Joseph Goebbels (whose own tastes were sympathetic to modernism) was forced to acquiesce in imposing very traditionalist forms on the artistic and musical worlds. The music of Paul Hindemith, for example, was banned simply because Hitler did not like it.

Joseph Goebbels also resisted the complete Nazification of the arts because he knew that the masses must be allowed some respite from slogans and propaganda. Joseph Goebbels ensured that film studios such as UFA at Babelsberg near Berlin continued to produce a stream of comedies and light romances, which drew mass audiences to the cinema where they would also watch propaganda newsreels and Nazi epics. Joseph Goebbels’ abuse of his position as Propaganda Minister and the reputation that built up around his use of the “casting couch” was well known. Many actresses wrote later of how Joseph Goebbels had tried to lure them to his home. Joseph Goebbels acquired the nickname “Bock von Babelsberg” lit: “Babelsberg Stud”. Joseph Goebbels resisted considerable pressure to ban all foreign films — helped by the fact that Hitler was a big fan of Mickey Mouse. For the same reason, Joseph Goebbels worked to bring culture to the masses — promoting the sale of cheap radios, organising free concerts in factories, staging art exhibitions in small towns and establishing mobile cinemas to bring the movies to every village. All of this served short-term propaganda ends, but also served to reconcile the German people, particularly the working class, to the regime.

Despite the enormous power of the Propaganda Ministry over German cultural life, Joseph Goebbels’ status began to decline once the Nazi regime was firmly established in power. This was because the real business of the Nazi regime was preparation for war, and although propaganda was a part of this, it was not the main game. By the mid 1930s, Hitler’s most powerful subordinates were Hermann Göring, as head of the 4 Year Plan for crash rearmament, and Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS and police apparatus. Once the internal enemies of the Nazi Party were destroyed, as they effectively were by 1935, Joseph Goebbels’s propaganda efforts began to lose their point, and without an enemy to fight, his rhetoric began to sound hollow and unconvincing.

As a man of education and culture, Joseph Goebbels had once mocked the “primitive” anti-Semitism of Nazis such as Julius Streicher. But as Joachim Fest observes: “Goebbels [found] in the increasingly unrestrained practice of anti-Semitism by the state new possibilities into which he threw himself with all the zeal of an ambitious man worried by a constant diminution of his power.” Fest also suggests a psychological motive: “A man who conformed so little to the National Socialist image of the elite… may have had his reason, in the struggles for power at Hitler’s court, for offering keen anti-Semitism as a counterweight to his failure to conform to a type.” Whatever his motives, Joseph Goebbels took every opportunity to attack the Jews. From 1933 onwards, he was bracketed with Streicher among the regime’s most virulent anti-Semites. “Some people think,” he told a Berlin rally in June 1935, “that we haven’t noticed how the Jews are trying once again to spread themselves over all our streets. The Jews ought to please observe the laws of hospitality and not behave as if they were the same as us.”

The sarcastic “humour” of Joseph Goebbels’ speeches did not conceal the reality of his threat to the Jews. In his capacity as Gauleiter of Berlin, and thus as de facto ruler of the capital (although there was still officially an Oberbürgermeister and city council), Joseph Goebbels maintained constant pressure on the city’s large Jewish community, forcing them out of business and professional life and placing obstacles in the way of their being able to live normal lives, such as banning them from public transport and city facilities. There was some respite during 1936, while Berlin hosted the Olympic Games, but from 1937 the intensity of his anti-Semitic words and actions began to increase again. “The Jews must get out of Germany, indeed out of Europe altogether,” he wrote in his diary in November 1937. “That will take some time, but it must and will happen.” By mid 1938 Joseph Goebbels was investigating the possibility of requiring all Jews to wear an identifying mark and of confining them to a ghetto, but these were ideas whose time had not yet come. “Aim—drive the Jews out of Berlin,” he wrote in his diary in June 1938, “and without any sentimentality.”

In November 1938, Joseph Goebbels got the chance to take decisive action against the Jews for which he had been waiting when a Jewish youth, Herschel Grynszpan, shot a German diplomat in Paris, Ernst vom Rath, in revenge for the deportation of his family to Poland and the persecution of German Jews generally. On 9 November, the evening vom Rath died of his wounds, Joseph Goebbels was at the Bürgerbräu Keller in Munich with Hitler, celebrating the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch with a large crowd of veteran Nazis. Joseph Goebbels told Hitler that “spontaneous” anti-Jewish violence had already broken out in German cities, although in fact this was not true: this was a clear case of Joseph Goebbels manipulating Hitler for his own ends. When Hitler said he approved of what was happening, Joseph Goebbels took this as authorisation to organise a massive, nationwide pogrom against the Jews. Joseph Goebbels wrote in his diary:

[Hitler] decides: demonstrations should be allowed to continue. The police should be withdrawn. For once the Jews should get the feel of popular anger… I immediately gave the necessary instructions to the police and the Party. Then I briefly speak in that vein to the Party leadership. Stormy applause. All are instantly at the phones. Now people will act.

To say that Joseph Goebbels manipulated Hitler into approving the pogrom of Kristallnacht is not to suggest that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was any less virulent than Joseph Goebbels’s. But it is clear that the idea of a state-sponsored pogrom originated with Joseph Goebbels, and that he gained Hitler’s approval for it by falsely telling Hitler that it had already begun.

The result of Joseph Goebbels’ incitement was Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” during which the S.A. and Nazi Party went on a rampage of anti-Jewish violence and destruction, killing at least 90 and maybe as many as 200 people (not counting several hundred suicides), destroying over a thousand synagogues and hundreds of Jewish businesses and homes, and dragging some 30,000 Jews off to concentration camps, where at least another 1,000,000 died before the remainder were released after several months of brutal treatment. The longer-term effect was to drive 80,000 Jews to emigrate, most leaving behind all their property in their desperation to escape. Foreign opinion reacted with horror, bringing to a sudden end the climate of appeasement of Nazi Germany in the western democracies. Joseph Goebbels’s pogrom thus moved Germany significantly closer to war, at a time when rearmament was still far from complete. Göring and some other Nazi leaders were furious at Joseph Goebbels’ actions, about which they had not been consulted. Joseph Goebbels, however, was delighted. “As was to be expected, the entire nation is in uproar,” he wrote. “This is one dead man who is costing the Jews dear. Our darling Jews will think twice in future before gunning down German diplomats.” In 1942 Joseph Goebbels was involved in deportation of Berlin’s Jews.

These events were well-timed from the point of view of Joseph Goebbels’s relations with Hitler. In 1937, he had begun an intense affair with the Czech actress Lída Baarová, causing the break-up of her marriage. When Magda Goebbels learned of this affair in October 1938, she complained to Hitler, a conservative in sexual matters who was fond of Magda and the Joseph Goebbels’ young children. Hitler ordered Joseph Goebbels to break off his affair, whereupon Joseph Goebbels offered his resignation, which Hitler refused. On 15 October, Joseph Goebbels attempted suicide. A furious Hitler then ordered Himmler to remove Baarová from Germany, and she was deported to Czechoslovakia, from where she later left for Italy. These events damaged Joseph Goebbels’ standing with Hitler, and his zeal in furthering Hitler’s anti-Semitic agenda was in part an effort to restore his reputation. The Baarová affair, however, did nothing to dampen Joseph Goebbels’ enthusiasm for womanising. As late as 1943, the Hitler Youth leader Artur Axmann was ingratiating himself with Joseph Goebbels by procuring young women for him.

Joseph Goebbels, like all the Nazi leaders, could not afford to defy Hitler’s will in matters of this kind. By 1938, they had all become wealthy men, but their wealth was dependent on Hitler’s continuing goodwill and willingness to turn a blind eye to their corruption. Until the Nazis came to power, Joseph Goebbels had been a relatively poor man, and his main income was the salary of 750 Reichsmarks a month he had gained by election to the Reichstag in 1928. By 1936, although he was not nearly as corrupt as some other senior Nazis, such as Göring and Robert Ley, Joseph Goebbels was earning 300,000 Reichsmarks a year in “fees” for writing in his own newspaper, Der Angriff, as well as his ministerial salary and many other sources of income. These payments were in effect bribes from the papers’ publisher Max Amann. Joseph Goebbels owned a villa by the lake at Wannsee and another on Lake Constance in the south, which he spent 2.2,000,000 Reichsmarks refurbishing. The tax office, as it did for all the Nazi leaders, gave him generous exemptions. Hitler apparently connived at the corruption of his lieutenants because of the power it gave him over them.

Whatever the loss of real power suffered by Joseph Goebbels during the middle years of the Nazi regime, he remained one of Hitler’s intimates. Since his offices were close to the Chancellery, he was a frequent guest for lunch, during which he became adept at listening to Hitler’s monologues and agreeing with his opinions. In the months leading up to the war, his influence began to increase again. Joseph Goebbels ranked along with Joachim von Ribbentrop, Göring, Himmler and Martin Bormann as the senior Nazi with the most access to Hitler, which in an autocratic regime meant access to power. The fact that Hitler was fond of Magda Goebbels and the children also gave Joseph Goebbels entrée to Hitler’s inner circle. The Goebbelses were regular visitors to Hitler’s Bavarian mountain retreat, the Berghof. But he was not kept directly informed of military and diplomatic developments, relying on second-hand accounts to hear what Hitler was doing.

In the years 1936 to 1939, Hitler, while professing his desire for peace, led Germany firmly and deliberately towards a confrontation. Joseph Goebbels was one of the most enthusiastic proponents of aggressively pursuing Germany’s territorial claims sooner rather than later, along with Himmler and Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop. Joseph Goebbels saw it as his job to make the German people accept this and if possible welcome it. At the time of the Sudetenland crisis in 1938, Joseph Goebbels was well aware that the great majority of Germans did not want a war, and used every propaganda resource at his disposal to overcome what he called this “war psychosis,” by whipping up sympathy for the Sudeten Germans and hatred of the Czechs. After the western powers conceded to Hitler’s demands concerning Czechoslovakia in 1938, Joseph Goebbels soon redirected his propaganda machine against Poland. From May onwards, he orchestrated a “hate campaign” against Poland, fabricating stories about atrocities against ethnic Germans in Danzig and other cities. Even so, he was unable to persuade the majority of Germans to welcome the prospect of war.

Once war began in September 1939, Joseph Goebbels began a steady process of extending his influence over domestic policy. After 1940, Hitler made few public appearances, and even his broadcasts became less frequent, so Joseph Goebbels increasingly became the face and the voice of the Nazi regime for the German people. With Hitler preoccupied with the war, Himmler focussing on the “final solution to the Jewish question” in eastern Europe, and with Hermann Göring’s position declining with the failure of the German Air Force (Luftwaffe), Joseph Goebbels sensed a power vacuum in domestic policy and moved to fill it. Since civilian morale was his responsibility, he increasingly concerned himself with matters such as wages, rationing and housing, which affected morale and therefore productivity. Joseph Goebbels came to see the lethargic and demoralised Göring, still Germany’s economic supremo as head of the Four Year Plan Ministry, as his main enemy. To undermine Göring, he forged an alliance with Himmler, although the SS chief remained wary of him. A more useful ally was Albert Speer, a Hitler favourite who was appointed Armaments Minister in February 1942. Joseph Goebbels and Speer worked through 1942 to persuade Hitler to dismiss Göring and allow the domestic economy to be run by a revived Cabinet headed by themselves.

However, in February 1943, the crushing German defeat at the Battle of Stalingrad produced a crisis in the regime. Joseph Goebbels was forced to ally himself with Göring to thwart a bid for power by Bormann, head of the Nazi Party Chancellery and Secretary to the Führer. Bormann who exploited the disaster at Stalingrad and his daily access to Hitler to persuade him to create a 3 man junta representing the State, the Army, and the Party. represented respectively by Hans Lammers, head of the Reich Chancellery, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, chief of the OKW (armed forces high command), and Bormann, who controlled the Party and access to the Führer. This Committee of Three would exercise dictatorial powers over the home front. Joseph Goebbels, Speer, Göring and Himmler all saw this proposal as a power grab by Bormann and a threat to their power, and combined to block it.

However, their alliance was shaky at best. This was mainly due to the fact that during this period Himmler was still cooperating with Bormann to gain more power at the expense of Göring and most of the traditional Reich administration; Göring’s loss of power had resulted in an overindulgence in the trappings of power and his strained relations with Joseph Goebbels made it difficult for a unified coalition to be formed, despite the attempts of Speer and Göring’s Luftwaffe deputy Field Marshal Erhard Milch, to reconcile the 2 Party comrades.

Joseph Goebbels instead tried to persuade Hitler to appoint Göring as head of the government. Joseph Goebbels’ proposal had a certain logic, as Göring — despite the failures of the Luftwaffe and his own corruption — was still very popular among the German people, whose morale was waning since Hitler barely appeared in public since the defeat at Stalingrad. However, this proposal was increasingly unworkable given Göring’s increasing incapacity and, more importantly, Hitler’s increasing contempt for him due to his blaming of Göring for Germany’s defeats. This was a measure by Hitler designed to deflect criticism from himself.

The result was that nothing was done—the Committee of 3 declined into irrelevance due to the loss of power by Keitel and Lammers and the ascension of Bormann and the situation continued to drift, with administrative chaos increasingly undermining the war effort. The ultimate responsibility for this lay with Hitler, as Joseph Goebbels well knew, referring in his diary to a “crisis of leadership,” but Joseph Goebbels was too much under Hitler’s spell ever to challenge his power.

Joseph Goebbels launched a new offensive to place himself at the center of policy-making. On 18 February, he delivered a passionate “Total War Speech” at the Sports Palace in Berlin. Joseph Goebbels demanded from his audience a commitment to “total war,” the complete mobilisation of the German economy and German society for the war effort. To motivate the German people to continue the struggle, he cited 3 of theses as the basis of this argument:

If the German Armed Forces (Wehrmacht) were not in a position to break the danger from the Eastern front, then Nazi Germany would fall to Bolshevism, and all of Europe would fall shortly afterwards;

The German Armed Forces, the German people, and the Axis Powers alone had the strength to save Europe from this threat;

Danger was a motivating force. Germany had to act quickly and decisively, or it would be too late.

Joseph Goebbels concluded that “Two thousand years of Western history are in danger,” and he blamed Germany’s failures on the Jews.

Joaeph Goebbels hoped in this way to persuade Hitler to give him and his ally Speer control of domestic policy for a programme of total commitment to arms production and full labour conscription, including women. But Hitler, supported by Göring, resisted these demands, which he feared would weaken civilian morale and lead to a repeat of the debacle of 1918, when the German army had been undermined (in Hitler’s view) by a collapse of the home front. Nor was Hitler willing to allow Joseph Goebbels or anyone else to usurp his own power as the ultimate source of all decisions. Joseph Goebbels privately lamented “a complete lack of direction in German domestic policy,” but of course he could not directly criticise Hitler or go against his wishes.

Heinrich Himmler, one of the architects of the Holocaust, preferred that the matter not be discussed in public. Despite this, in an editorial in his newspaper Das Reich in November 1941 he quoted Hitler’s 1939 “prophecy” that the Jews would be the loser in the coming world war. Now, he said, Hitler’s prophecy was coming true: “Jewry,” he said, “is now suffering the gradual process of annihilation which it intended for us… It now perishes according to its own precept of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’!”

In 1939, in a speech to the Reichstag, Hitler had said:

“If international finance Jewry in and outside Europe should succeed in thrusting the nations once again into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevisation of the earth and with it the victory of Jewry, but the destruction of the Jewish race in Europe.”

The view of most historians is that the decision to proceed with the extermination of the Jews was taken at some point in late 1941, and Joseph Goebbels’ comments make it clear that he knew in general terms, if not in detail, what was planned.

The decision in principle to deport the German and Austrian Jews to unspecified destinations “in the east” was made in September. Joseph Goebbels immediately pressed for the Berlin Jews to be deported first. Joseph Goebbels travelled to Hitler’s headquarters on the eastern front, meeting both Hitler and Reinhard Heydrich to lobby for his demands. Joseph Goebbels got the assurances he wanted: “The Führer is of the opinion,” he wrote, “that the Jews eventually have to be removed from the whole of Germany. The first cities to be made Jew-free are Berlin, Vienna and Prague. Berlin is first in the queue, and I have the hope that we’ll succeed in the course of this year.”

Deportations of Berlin Jews to the Łódź ghetto began in October, but transport and other difficulties made the process much slower than Joseph Goebbels desired. Joseph Goebbels’ November article in Das Reich was part of his campaign to have the pace of deportation accelerated.

In December, he was present when Hitler addressed a meeting of Gauleiters and other senior Nazis, discussing among other things the “Jewish question.” Joseph Goebbels wrote in his diary afterwards:

“With regard to the Jewish Question, the Führer is determined to make a clean sweep of it. He prophesied that, if they brought about another world war, they would experience their annihilation. That was no empty talk. The world war is here [this was the week Germany declared war on the United States]. The annihilation of Jewry must be the necessary consequence. The question is to be viewed without any sentimentality. We’re not there to have sympathy with the Jews, but only sympathy with our own German people. If the German people has again now sacrificed around 160,000 dead in the eastern campaign, the originators of this bloody conflict will have to pay for it with their lives.”

During 1942, Joseph Goebbels continued to press for the “final solution to the Jewish question” to be carried forward as quickly as possible now that Germany had occupied a huge swathe of Soviet territory into which all the Jews of German-controlled Europe could be deported. There they could be worked into extinction in accordance with the plan agreed on at the Wannsee Conference convened by Heydrich in January. It was a constant annoyance to Joseph Goebbels that, at a time when Germany was fighting for its life on the eastern front, there were still 40,000 Jews in Berlin. They should be “carted off to Russia,” he wrote in his diary. “It would be best to kill them altogether.” Once again, there is no doubt that Joseph Goebbels knew what would happen to the Jews who were to be “carted off.” Although the Propaganda Ministry was not invited to the Wannsee Conference,Joseph Goebbels knew by March what had been decided there. Joseph Goebbels wrote:

“The Jews are now being deported to the east. A fairly barbaric procedure, not to be described in any greater detail, is being used here, and not much more remains of the Jews themselves. In general, it can probably be established that 60 percent of them must be liquidated, while only 40 percent can be put to work a judgement is being carried out on the Jews which is barbaric, but fully deserved.”

For Joseph Goebbels, 1943 and 1944 were years of struggle to rally the German people behind a regime which was increasingly obviously facing military defeat. The German people’s faith in Hitler was shaken by the disaster at Stalingrad, and never fully recovered. During 1943, as the Soviet armies advanced towards the borders of the Reich, the western Allies developed the ability to launch devastating air raids on most German cities, including Berlin. At the same time, there were increasingly critical shortages of food, raw materials, fuel and housing. Joseph Goebbels and Speer were among the few Nazi leaders who were under no illusions about Germany’s dire situation. Their solution was to seize control of the home front from the indecisive Hitler and the incompetent Göring. This was the agenda of Joseph Goebbels’s “total war” speech of February 1943. But they were thwarted by their inability to challenge Hitler, who could neither make decisions himself nor trust anyone else to do so.

After Stalingrad, Hitler increasingly withdrew from public view, almost never appearing in public and rarely even broadcasting. By July, Joseph Goebbels was lamenting that Hitler had cut himself off from the people — it was noted, for example, that he never visited the bomb-ravaged cities of the Ruhr. “One can’t neglect the people too long,” he wrote. “They are the heart of our war effort.”

Joseph Goebbels himself became the public voice of the Nazi regime, both in his regular broadcasts and his weekly editorials in Das Reich. As Joachim Fest notes, Joseph Goebbels seemed to take a grim pleasure in the destruction of Germany’s cities by the Allied bombing offensive: “It was, as one of his colleagues confirmed, almost a happy day for him when famous buildings were destroyed, because at such time he put into his speeches that ecstatic hatred which aroused the fanaticism of the tiring workers and spurred them to fresh efforts.”

In public, Joseph Goebbels remained confident of German victory: “We live at the most critical period in the history of the Occident,” he wrote in Das Reich in February 1943. “Any weakening of the spiritual and military defensive strength of our continent in its struggle with eastern Bolshevism brings with it the danger of a rapidly nearing decline in its will to resist… Our soldiers in the East will do their part. They will stop the storm from the steppes, and ultimately break it. They fight under unimaginable conditions. But they are fighting a good fight. They are fighting not only for our own security, but also for Europe’s future.”

In private, he was discouraged by the failure of his and Speer’s campaign to gain control of the home front.

Joseph Goebbels remained preoccupied with the annihilation of the Jews, which was now reaching its climax in the extermination camps of eastern Poland. As in 1942, he was more outspoken about what was happening than Himmler would have liked: “Our state’s security requires that we take whatever measures seem necessary to protect the German community from [the Jewish] threat,” he wrote in May. “That leads to some difficult decisions, but they are unavoidable if we are to deal with the threat… None of the Führer’s prophetic words has come so inevitably true as his prediction that if Jewry succeeded in provoking a 2nd world war, the result would be not the destruction of the Aryan race, but rather the wiping out of the Jewish race. This process is of vast importance.”

Following the Allied invasion of Italy and the fall of Benito Mussolini in September, he and Joachim von Ribbentrop raised with Hitler the possibility of secretly approaching Joseph Stalin and negotiating a separate peace behind the backs of the western Allies. Hitler, surprisingly, did not reject the idea of a separate peace with either side, but he told Joseph Goebbels that he should not negotiate from a position of weakness. A great German victory must occur before any negotiations should be undertaken, he reasoned. The German defeat at Kursk in July had, however, ended any possibility of this. Joseph Goebbels knew by this stage that the war was lost, but was unable to break the spell that Hitler had held over him since 1926.

As Germany’s military and economic situation grew steadily worse during 1944, Joseph Goebbels renewed his push, in alliance with Speer, to wrest control of the home front away from Göring. In July, following the Allied landings in France and the huge Soviet advances in Byelorussia, Hitler finally agreed to grant both of them increased powers. Speer took control of all economic and production matters away from Göring, and Joseph Goebbels took the title Reich Plenipotentiary for Total War (Reichsbevollmächtigter für den totalen Kriegseinsatz an der Heimatfront). At the same time, Himmler took over the Interior Ministry.

This trio — Joseph Goebbels, Himmler and Speer — became the real center of German government in the last year of the war, although Bormann used his privileged access to Hitler to thwart them when he could. In this Bormann was very successful, as the Party Gauleiter gained more and more powers, becoming Reich Defence Commissars (Reichsverteidigungskommissare) in their respective districts and overseeing all civilian administration. The fact that Himmler was Interior Minister only increased the power of Bormann, as the Gauleiters feared that Himmler, who was General Plenipontentiary for the Administration of the Reich, would curb their power and set up his higher SS and police leaders as their replacement.

Joseph Goebbels saw Himmler as a potential ally against Bormann and in 1944 is supposed to have voiced the opinion that if the Reichsführer SS was granted control over the Wehrmacht and he, Joseph Goebbels, granted control over the domestic politics, the war would soon be ended in a victorious manner. However, the inability of Himmler to persuade Hitler to cease his support of Bormann, the defection of SS generals such as Obergruppenführer Ernst Kaltenbrunner, the Chief of the Reichssicherheitshauptamt and his powerful subordinate Gruppenführer Heinrich Müller, the head of the Gestapo, to Bormann, soon persuaded Joseph Goebbels to align himself with the Secretary to the Führer at the end of 1944, thus accepting his subordinate position.

When elements of the army leadership tried to assassinate Hitler in the July 20 plot shortly thereafter, it was this trio that rallied the resistance to the plotters. It was Joseph Goebbels, besieged in his Berlin apartment with Speer and secretary Wilfred von Oven beside him but with his phone lines intact, who brought Otto Ernst Remer, the wavering commander of the Berlin garrison, to the phone to speak to Hitler in East Prussia, thus demonstrating that the Führer was alive and that the garrison should oppose the attempted coup.

Joseph Goebbels promised Hitler that he could raise a million new soldiers by means of a reorganisation of the Army, transferring personnel from the Navy and Luftwaffe, and purging the bloated Reich Ministries which satraps like Göring had hitherto protected. As it turned out, the inertia of the state bureaucracy was too great even for the energetic Joseph Goebbels to overcome. Bormann and his puppet Lammers, keen to retain their control over the Party and State administrations respectively, placed endless obstacles in Joseph Goebbels’s way. Another problem was that although Speer and Joseph Goebbels were allies, their agendas in fact conflicted: Speer wanted absolute priority in the allocation of labour to be given to arms production, while Joseph Goebbels sought to press every able-bodied male into the army. Speer, allied with Fritz Sauckel, the General Plenipotentiary for the Employment of Labour from 1942, generally won these battles.

By July 1944, it was in any case too late for Joseph Goebbels and Speer’s internal coup to make any real difference to the outcome of the war. The combined economic and military power of the western Allies and the Soviet Union, now fully mobilised, was simply too great for Germany to overcome. A crucial economic indicator, the ratio of steel output, was running at 4.5 to one against Germany. The final blow was the loss of the Romanian oil fields as the Soviet Army advanced through the Balkans in September. This, combined with the U.S. air campaign against Germany’s synthetic oil production, finally broke the back of the German economy and thus its capacity for further resistance. By this time, the best Joseph Goebbels could do to reassure the German people that victory was still possible was to make vague promises that “miracle weapons” such as the Me 262 jet airplane, the Type XXI U-boat, and the V-2 rocket could somehow retrieve the military situation.

In the last months of the war, Joseph Goebbels’s speeches and articles took on an increasingly apocalyptic tone:

“Rarely in history has a brave people struggling for its life faced such terrible tests as the German people have in this war,” he wrote towards the end. “The misery that results for us all, the never ending chain of sorrows, fears, and spiritual torture does not need to be described in detail… We are bearing a heavy fate because we are fighting for a good cause, and are called to bravely endure the battle to achieve greatness.”

By the beginning of 1945, with the Soviets on the Oder and the western Allies crossing the Rhine, Joseph Goebbels could no longer disguise the fact that defeat was inevitable. Joseph Goebbels knew what that would mean for himself: “For us,” he had written in 1943, “we have burnt our bridges. We cannot go back, but neither do we want to go back. We are forced to extremes and therefore resolved to proceed to extremes.”

When other Nazi leaders urged Hitler to leave Berlin and establish a new center of resistance in the National Redoubt in Bavaria, Joseph Goebbels opposed this, arguing for a last stand in the ruins of the Reich capital.

By this time, Joseph Goebbels had gained the position he had wanted so long—at the side of Hitler, albeit only because of his subservience to Bormann, who was the Führer’s de facto deputy. Göring was utterly discredited, though Hitler refused to dismiss him until 25 April. Himmler, whose appointment as commander of Army Group Vistula had led to disaster on the Oder, was also in disgrace, and Hitler rightly suspected that he was secretly trying to negotiate with the western Allies. Only Joseph Goebbels and Bormann remained totally loyal to Hitler.

Joseph Goebbels knew how to play on Hitler’s fantasies, encouraging him to see in the death of American President Roosevelt on 12 April the hand of providence. On 22 April, largely as a result of Joseph Goebbels’ influence, Hitler announced that he would not leave Berlin, but would stay and fight, and if necessary die, in defence of the capital.

On 23 April, Joseph Goebbels made the following proclamation to the people of Berlin:

“I call on you to fight for your city. Fight with everything you have got, for the sake of your wives and your children, your mothers and your parents. Your arms are defending everything we have ever held dear, and all the generations that will come after us. Be proud and courageous! Be inventive and cunning! Your Gauleiter is amongst you. He and his colleagues will remain in your midst. His wife and children are here as well. He, who once captured the city with 200 men, will now use every means to galvanize the defense of the capital. The battle for Berlin must become the signal for the whole nation to rise up in battle…”

Unlike many other leading Nazis at this juncture, Joseph Goebbels at least proved to have the courage of his convictions, moving himself and his family into the Führerbunker under the Reich Chancellery building in central Berlin. Joseph Goebbels told Vice-Admiral Hans-Erich Voss that he would not entertain the idea of either surrender or escape: “I was the Reich Minister of Propaganda and led the fiercest activity against the Soviet Union, for which they would never pardon me,” Voss quoted him as saying. ” Joseph Goebbels couldn’t escape also because he was Berlin’s Defence Commissioner and he considered it would be disgraceful for him to abandon his post,” Voss added.

On 30 April, with the Soviets advancing to within a few 100 metres of the bunker, Hitler dictated his last will and testament. Joseph Goebbels was 1 of 4 witnesses. Not long after completing it, Hitler shot himself. Of Hitler’s death, Joseph Goebbels commented: “The heart of Germany has ceased to beat. The Führer is dead.”

In his last will and testament, Hitler named no successor as Führer or leader of the Nazi Party. Instead, Hitler appointed Goebbels Reich Chancellor; Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, who was at Flensburg near the Danish border, Reich President; and Martin Bormann, Hitler’s long-time chief of staff, Party Minister. Goebbels knew that this was an empty title. Even if he was willing and able to escape Berlin and reach the north, it was unlikely that Dönitz, whose only concern was to negotiate a settlement with the western Allies that would save Germany from Soviet occupation, would want such a notorious figure as Joseph Goebbels heading his government.

As it was, Joseph Goebbels had no intention of trying to escape. Voss later recounted: “When Joseph Goebbels learned that Hitler had committed suicide, he was very depressed and said: ‘It is a great pity that such a man is not with us any longer. But there is nothing to be done. For us, everything is lost now and the only way left for us is the one which Hitler chose. I shall follow his example’.”

On 1 May, within hours of Hitler’s suicide on 30 April, Joseph Goebbels completed his sole official act as Chancellor of Germany (Reichskanzler). Joseph Goebbels dictated a letter and ordered German General Hans Krebs, under a white flag, to meet with General Vasily Chuikov and to deliver his letter. Chuikov, as commander of the Soviet 8th Guards Army, commanded the Soviet forces in central Berlin. Joseph Goebbels’ letter informed Chuikov of Hitler’s death and requested a ceasefire, hinting that the establishment of a National Socialist government hostile to Western plutocracy would be beneficial to the Soviet Union, as the betrayal of Himmler and Göring indicated that otherwise anti-Soviet National Socialist elements might align themselves with the West. When this was rejected, Joseph Goebbels decided that further efforts were futile. Shortly afterwards he dictated a postscript to Hitler’s testament:

“The Führer has given orders for me, in case of a breakdown of defense of the Capital of the Reich, to leave Berlin and to participate as a leading member in a government appointed by him. For the first time in my life, I must categorically refuse to obey a command of the Führer. My wife and my children agree with this refusal. In any other case, I would feel myself… a dishonorable renegade and vile scoundrel for my entire further life, who would lose the esteem of himself along with the esteem of his people, both of which would have to form the requirement for further duty of my person in designing the future of the German Nation and the German Reich.”

Later on 1 May, Vice-Admiral Hans-Erich Voss saw Joseph Goebbels for the last time: “Before the breakout [from the bunker] began, about 10 generals and officers, including myself, went down individually to Joseph Goebbels’s shelter to say goodbye. While saying goodbye I asked Joseph Goebbels to join us. But he replied: ‘The captain must not leave his sinking ship. I have thought about it all and decided to stay here. I have nowhere to go because with little children I will not be able to make it’.”

At 8 p.m. on the evening of 1 May, Joseph Goebbels arranged for an SS doctor, Helmut Kunz, to kill his 6 children by injecting them with morphine and then, when they were unconscious, crushing an ampoule of cyanide in each of their mouths. According to Kunz’s testimony, he gave the children morphine injections but it was Magda Goebbels and Stumpfegger, Hitler’s personal doctor, who then administered the cyanide. Shortly afterwards, Joseph Goebbels and his wife went up to the garden of the Chancellery, where they killed themselves. The details of their suicides are uncertain. After the war, Rear-Admiral Michael Musmanno, a U.S. naval officer and judge, published an account apparently based on eye-witness testimony: “At about 8.15 p.m., Joseph Goebbels arose from the table, put on his hat, coat and gloves and, taking his wife’s arm, went upstairs to the garden.” They were followed by Joseph Goebbels’s adjutant, SS-Hauptsturmführer Günther Schwägermann. “While Gunther Schwägermann was preparing the petrol, he heard a shot. Joseph Goebbels had shot himself and his wife took poison.

Gunther Schwägermann ordered one of the soldiers to shoot Joseph Goebbels again because he was unable to do it himself.” One SS officer later said they each took cyanide and were shot by an SS trooper. An early report said they were machine-gunned to death at their own request. According to another account, Joseph shot Magda and then himself. This idea is presented in the movie Downfall.

The bodies of Joseph Goebbels and his wife were then burned in a shell crater, but owing to the lack of petrol the burning was only partly effective, and their bodies were easily identifiable. A few days later, Voss was brought back to the bunker by the Soviets to identify the partly burned bodies of Joseph and Magda Goebbels and the bodies of their children. “Vice-Admiral Voss, being asked how he identified the people as Joseph Goebbels, his wife and children, explained that he recognised the burnt body of the man as former Reichsminister Goebbels by the following signs: the shape of the head, the line of the mouth, the metal brace that Joseph Goebbels had on his right leg, his gold NSDAP badge and the burnt remains of his party uniform.” The remains of the Joseph Goebbels family were secretly buried, along with those of Hitler, near Rathenow in Brandenburg. In 1970, they were disinterred and cremated, and the ashes thrown in the Elbe.

Joachim Fest writes: “What he seemed to fear more than anything else was a death devoid of dramatic effects. To the end he was what he had always been: the propagandist for himself. Whatever he thought or did was always based on this one agonising wish for self-exaltation, and this same object was served by the murder of his children… They were the last victims of an egomania extending beyond the grave. However, this deed, too, failed to make him the figure of tragic destiny he had hoped to become; it merely gave his end a touch of repulsive irony.”

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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Series-Disabled Legend Jacob Javits

Jacob Koppel “Jack” Javits was born on 18 May, 1904 and died on 7 March, 1986. Jacob was an American politician who served as United States Senator from New York from 1957 to 1981. A liberal Republican, he was originally allied with Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller, fellow U.S. Senators Irving Ives and Kenneth Keating, and New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay.

Jacob Javits graduated from New York University and its law school in Manhattan. Jacob was admitted to the bar in 1927. During World War II, he was a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army.

Jacob was initially elected to New York’s 21st congressional district (since redistricted) in the United States House of Representatives during the heavily Republican year of 1946. Jacob was a member of the freshman class along with John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Richard M. Nixon of California. Jacob served from 1947 to 1954, then resigned his seat after his election as the New York Attorney General.

In 1956, he defeated Mayor of New York City Robert F. Wagner, Jr., in a U.S. Senate race to succeed the retiring incumbent Democratic Senator Herbert Lehman. Like Lehman, Jacob Javits was for a time the only Jew in the U.S. Senate.

A graduate of the New York University School of Law, Jacob Javits was generally considered a liberal Republican, and was supportive of labour unions and movements for civil rights. In 1964, Jacob Javits refused to support his party’s presidential nominee, his conservative colleague, Barry M. Goldwater of Arizona even though Barry Goldwater had said in 1962 that he would vote to re-elect Jacob Javits were Barry Goldwater a New York voter.

Senator Javits sponsored the 1st African-American Senate page in 1965 and the 1st female page in 1971. Jacob’s background, coupled with his liberal stands, enabled him to win the votes of many historically Democratic voters. Jacob was highly successful in all elections in which he was a candidate from 1946 to 1974.

Jacob Javits played a major role in legislation protecting pensioners, as well as in the passage of the War Powers Act; he led the effort to get the Javits-Wagner-O’Day Act passed. Jacob reached the position of Ranking Minority Member on the Committee on Foreign Relations while accruing greater seniority than any New York Senator before or since (as of 2007). Jacob was also one of the main forces behind the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act that by removing immigration quota that favoured Western European nations helped to make the U.S. a truly diverse and multicultural country.

Jacob Javits served until 1981; his 1979 diagnosis with amytrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) led to a 1980 primary challenge by the comparatively lesser-known Long Island Republican county official Alfonse D’Amato. Alfonse D’Amato received 323,468 primary votes (55.7 percent) to Jacob Javits’ 257,433 (44.3 percent). Jacob Javits’ loss to Alfonse D’Amato stemmed from Jacob Javits’ continuing illness and his failure to adjust politically to the rightward movement of the GOP.

Following the primary defeat, Jacob Javits ran as the Liberal Party candidate in the general election, having split the Democratic base vote with United States Representative Elizabeth Holtzman of Brooklyn and giving Alfonse D’Amato a plurality victory.

Jacob Javits died of Lou Gehrig’s disease in West Palm Beach, Florida, at the age of 81. In addition to Marian, he was survived by 3 children, Joshua, Carla, and Joy.

Among those who attended the funeral were Governor Mario Cuomo, Mayor Ed Koch, former President Richard Nixon, Attorney General Edwin Meese, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Senator D’Amato, John Cardinal O’Connor, former Mayor Lindsay, former Governor Hugh Carey of New York, and former State Attorney General Louis Lefkowitz.

Also there were U.S. Representative Bella Abzug of Manhattan; then Senators Nancy Kassebaum Baker of Kansas, Bill Bradley of New Jersey, Lowell Weicker of Connecticut, and Gary Hart of Colorado; David Rockefeller, the banker; Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times; Victor Gotbaum, the labour leader; Kurt Vonnegut, the writer, and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., the actor.

Honours:

Jacob Javits received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1983.

New York’s Javits Center is named in his honour, as is a playground at the southwestern edge of Fort Tryon Park. The Jacob K. Javits Federal Building at 26 Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan’s Civic Center district, as well as a lecture hall on the campus of the State University of New York at Stony Brook on Long Island, are also named after him.

The United States Department of Education awards a number of Javits Fellowships to support graduate students in the humanities and social sciences.

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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Series-Disabled Legend Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong was born on 26 December, 1893 in a village called Shaoshan in Xiangtan County (湘潭縣), Hunan province and died on 9 September, 1976. Mao Zedong was a Chinese military and political leader who led the Communist Party of China (CPC) to victory against the Kuomintang (KMT) in the Chinese Civil War, and was the leader of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) from its establishment in 1949 until his death in 1976.

Regarded as one of the most important figures in modern world history, and named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, Mao Zedong is still a controversial figure today, over 30 years after his death. Mao Zedong is generally held in high regard in mainland China where he is often portrayed as a great revolutionary and strategist who eventually defeated Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek in the Chinese Civil War, and transformed the country into a major power through his policies. However, many of Mao Zedong’s socio-political programmes such as the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution are blamed by critics from both within and outside China for causing severe damage to the culture, society, economy and foreign relations of China, as well as a probable death toll in the tens of millions.

Although still officially venerated in China, his influence has been largely overshadowed by the political and economic reforms of Deng Xiaoping and other leaders since his death. Mao Zedong is also recognised as a poet and calligrapher.

The eldest child of a relatively prosperous peasant family, his ancestors migrated from Jiangxi province during the Ming Dynasty, and had settled there as farmers. Mao Zedong’s father was Mao Jen-sheng, a peasant farmer. Mao Zedong’s good friend Chan Pak-Lam guided Mao Zedong in his youth. Wen Chi-mei, his mother, was a very devout Buddhist. Due to his family’s relative wealth, his father was able to send him to school and later to Changsha for more advanced schooling.

During the 1911 Revolution, Mao Zedong enlisted as a soldier in a local regiment in Hunan which fought on the side of the revolutionaries. Once the Qing Dynasty had been effectively toppled, Mao Zedong left the army and returned to school.

After graduating from the First Provincial Normal School of Hunan in 1918, Mao Zedong travelled with Professor Yang Changji, his high school teacher and future father-in-law, to Beijing during the May Fourth Movement in 1919.

Professor Yang held a faculty position at Peking University. Because of Professor Yang’s recommendation, Mao Zedong worked as an assistant librarian at the University with Li Dazhao as curator. Mao Zedong registered as a part-time student at Beijing University and attended many lectures and seminars by famous intellectuals, such as Chen Duxiu, Hu Shi, Qian Xuantong, etc. During his stay in Beijing, he read as much as possible, and through his readings, he was introduced to Communist theories. Mao Zedong married Yang Kaihui, Professor Yang’s daughter who was his fellow student, despite an existing marriage arranged by his father at home. Mao Zedong never acknowledged this marriage. In October 1930, the Guomindang (GMD) captured Yang Kaihui with her son, Anying. The GMD imprisoned them both and Anying, then, was later sent to his relatives after the GMD killed his mother, Yang Kaihui. At this time , Mao Zedong was living with a co-worker, He Zizhen, a 17 year old girl from Yongxing, Jiangxi. Mao Zedong turned down an opportunity to study in France because he firmly believed that China’s problems could be studied and resolved only within China. Unlike his contemporaries, Mao Zedong concentrated on studying the peasant majority of China’s population.

On 23 July, 1921, Mao, age 27, attended the first session of the National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Shanghai. 2 years later, he was elected as 1 of the 5 commissars of the Central Committee of the Party during the 3rd Congress session. Later that year (1923), Mao Zedong returned to Hunan at the instruction of the CPC Central Committee and the Kuomintang Central Committee to organise the Hunan branch of the Kuomintang. In 1924, he was a delegate to the 1st National Conference of the Kuomintang, where he was elected an Alternate Executive of the Central Committee. In 1924, he became an Executive of the Shanghai branch of the Kuomintang, and Secretary of the Organisation Department.

For a while, Mao Zedong remained in Shanghai, an important city that the CPC emphasised for the Revolution. However, the Party encountered major difficulties organising labor union movements and building a relationship with its nationalist ally, the Kuomintang. The Party had become poor, and Mao Zedong was disillusioned with the revolution and moved back to Shaoshan. During his stay at home, Mao Zedong’s interest in the revolution was rekindled after hearing of the 1925 uprisings in Shanghai and Guangzhou. Mao Zedong’s political ambitions returned, and he then went to Guangdong, the base of the Kuomintang, and took part in the preparations for the 2nd session of the National Congress of Kuomintang. In October 1925, Mao Zedong became acting Propaganda Director of the Kuomintang.

In early 1927, Mao Zedong returned to Hunan where, in an urgent meeting held by the Communist Party, he made a report based on his investigations of the peasant uprisings in the wake of the Northern Expedition. This is considered the initial and decisive step towards the successful application of Mao Zedong’s revolutionary theories.

Mao Zedong had a great interest in the political system, encouraged by his father. Mao Zedong’s 2 most famous essays, both from 1937, ‘On Contradiction’ and ‘On Practice’, are concerned with the practical strategies of a revolutionary movement and stress the importance of practical, grassroots knowledge, obtained through experience. Both essays reflect the guerrilla roots of Maoism in the need to build up support in the countryside against a Japanese occupying force and emphasise the need to win over ‘hearts and minds’ through ‘education’. The essays, reproduced later as part of the ‘Red Book, warn against the behaviour of the blindfolded man trying to catch sparrows, and the ‘Imperial envoy’ descending from his carriage to ‘spout opinions’.

In addition to his limited formal education, Mao Zedong spent 6 months studying independently. Mao Zedong was first introduced to communism while working at Peking University, and in 1921 he co-founded the Communist Party of China (or CPC) Mao Zedong first encountered Marxism while he worked as a library assistant at Peking University.

Other important influences on Mao Zedong were the Russian revolution and, according to some scholars, the Chinese literary works: Outlaws of the Marsh and Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Mao Zedong sought to subvert the alliance of imperialism and feudalism in China. Mao Zedong thought the Nationalists to be both economically and politically vulnerable and thus that the revolution could not be steered by Nationalists.

Throughout the 1920s, Mao Zedong led several labour struggles based upon his studies of the propagation and organisation of the contemporary labour movements. However, these struggles were successfully subdued by the government, and Mao Zedong fled from Changsha after he was labeled a radical activist. Mao Zedong pondered these failures and finally realised that industrial workers were unable to lead the revolution because they made up only a small portion of China’s population, and unarmed labour struggles could not resolve the problems of imperial and feudal suppression.

Mao Zedong began to depend on Chinese peasants who later became staunch supporters of his theory of violent revolution. This dependence on the rural rather than the urban proletariat to instigate violent revolution distinguished Mao Zedong from his predecessors and contemporaries. Mao Zedong himself was from a peasant family, and thus he cultivated his reputation among the farmers and peasants and introduced them to Marxism.

In 1927, Mao Zedong conducted the famous Autumn Harvest Uprising in Changsha, Hunan, as commander-in-chief. Mao Zedong led an army, called the “Revolutionary Army of Workers and Peasants”, which was defeated and scattered after fierce battles. Afterwards, the exhausted troops were forced to leave Hunan for Sanwan, Jiangxi, where Mao Zedong re-organised the scattered soldiers, rearranging the military division into smaller regiments. Mao Zedong also ordered that each company must have a party branch office with a commissar as its leader who would give political instructions based upon superior mandates. This military rearrangement in Sanwan, Jiangxi initiated the CPC’s absolute control over its military force and has been considered to have the most fundamental and profound impact upon the Chinese revolution. Later, they moved to the Jinggang Mountains, Jiangxi.

In the Jinggang Mountains, Mao Zedong persuaded 2 local insurgent leaders to pledge their allegiance to him. There, Mao Zedong joined his army with that of Zhu De, creating the Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army of China, Red Army in short. (the Fourth Front of Workers’ and Peasants’ Red Army of China).

From 1931 to 1934, Mao Zedong helped establish the Soviet Republic of China and was elected Chairman of this small republic in the mountainous areas in Jiangxi. Here, Mao Zedong was married to He Zizhen. Mao Zedong’s previous wife, Yang Kaihui, had been arrested and executed in 1930, just 3 years after their departure.

In Jiangxi, Mao Zedong’s authoritative domination, especially that of the military force, was challenged by the Jiangxi branch of the CPC and military officers. Mao Zedong’s opponents, among whom the most prominent was Li Wenlin, the founder of the CPC’s branch and Red Army in Jiangxi, were against Mao Zedong’s land policies and proposals to reform the local party branch and army leadership. Mao Zedong reacted first by accusing the opponents of opportunism and kulakism and then set off a series of systematic suppressions of them. It is reported that horrible forms of torture and killing took place. Jung Chang and Jon Halliday claim that victims were subjected to a red-hot gun-rod being rammed into the anus, and that there were many cases of cutting open the stomach and scooping out the heart. The estimated number of the victims amounted to several thousands and could be as high as 186,000. Critics accuse Mao Zedong’s authority in Jiangxi was secured and reassured through the revolutionary terrorism, or red terrorism.

Mao Zedong, with the help of Zhu De, built a modest but effective army, undertook experiments in rural reform and government, and provided refuge for Communists fleeing the rightist purges in the cities. Mao Zedong’s methods are normally referred to as Guerrilla warfare; but he himself made a distinction between guerrilla warfare (youji zhan) and Mobile Warfare (yundong zhan).

Mao Zedong’s Guerrilla Warfare and Mobile Warfare was based upon the fact of the poor armament and military training of the red army which consisted mainly of impoverished peasants, who, however, were all encouraged by revolutionary passions and aspiring after a communist utopia.

Around 1930, there had been more than 10 regions, usually entitled “soviet areas,” under control of the CPC. The prosperity of “soviet areas” startled and worried Chiang Kai-shek, chairman of the Kuomintang government, who waged 5 waves of besieging campaigns against the “central soviet area.” More than 1,000,000 Kuomintang soldiers were involved in these 5 campaigns, 4 out of which were defeated by the red army led by Mao Zedong. By June 1932 (the height of its power), the Red Army had no less than 45,000 soldiers, with a further 200,000 local militia acting as a subsidiary force.

Under increasing pressures from the KMT encirclement campaigns, there was a struggle for power within the Communist leadership. Mao Zedong was removed from his important positions and replaced by individuals (including Zhou Enlai) who appeared loyal to the orthodox line advocated by Moscow and represented within the CPC by a group known as the 28 Bolsheviks.

Chiang Kai-shek, who had earlier assumed nominal control of China due in part to the Northern Expedition, was determined to eliminate the Communists. By October 1934, he had them surrounded, prompting them to engage in the “Long March,” a retreat from Jiangxi in the southeast to Shaanxi in the northwest of China. It was during this 9,600 kilometer (5,965 mile), year-long journey that Mao Zedong emerged as the top Communist leader, aided by the Zunyi Conference and the defection of Zhou Enlai to Mao Zedong’s side. At this Conference, Mao Zedong entered the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China.

According to the standard Chinese Communist Party line, from his base in Yan’an, Mao Zedong led the Communist resistance against the Japanese in the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945). However, Mao Zedong’s further consolidated power over the Communist Party in 1942 by launching the Zheng Feng, or “Rectification” campaign against rival CPC members such as Wang Ming, Wang Shiwei, and Ding Ling. Also while in Yan’an, Mao Zedong divorced He Zizhen and married the actress Lan Ping, who would become known as Jiang Qing.

During the Sino-Japanese War, Mao Zedong’s strategies were opposed by both Chiang Kai-shek and the United States. The US regarded Chiang as an important ally, able to help shorten the war by engaging the Japanese occupiers in China. Chiang, in contrast, sought to build the ROC army for the certain conflict with Mao Zedong’s communist forces after the end of World War II. This fact was not understood well in the US, and precious lend-lease armaments continued to be allocated to the Kuomintang. In turn, Mao Zedong spent part of the war (as to whether it was most or only a little is disputed) fighting the Kuomintang for control of certain parts of China. Both the Communists and Nationalists have been criticised for fighting amongst themselves rather than allying against the Japanese Imperial Army. However, the Nationalists were better equipped and did most of the fighting against the Japanese army in China.

In 1944, the Americans sent a special diplomatic envoy, called the Dixie Mission, to the Communist Party of China.

Most of the Americans were favorably impressed. The CPC seemed less corrupt, more unified, and more vigorous in its resistance to Japan than the Guomindang. United States fliers shot down over North China…confirmed to their superiors that the CPC was both strong and popular over a broad area. In the end, the contacts with the USA developed with the CPC led to very little.

Then again, modern commentators have disputed such claims. Amongst others, Willy Lam stated that during the war with Japan:

The great majority of casualties sustained by Chinese soldiers were borne by KMT, not Communist divisions. Mao Zedong and other guerrilla leaders decided at the time to conserve their strength for the “larger struggle” of taking over all of China once the Japanese Imperial Army was decimated by the U.S.-led Allied Forces.

After the end of World War II, the U.S. continued to support Chiang Kai-shek, now openly against the Communist Red Army (led by Mao Zedong) in the civil war for control of China. The U.S. support was part of its view to contain and defeat world communism. Likewise, the Soviet Union gave quasi-covert support to Mao Zedong (acting as a concerned neighbor more than a military ally, to avoid open conflict with the U.S.) and gave large supplies of arms to the Communist Party of China, although newer Chinese records indicate the Soviet “supplies” were not as large as previously believed, and consistently fell short of the promised amount of aid.

On 21 January, 1949 Kuomintang forces suffered massive losses against Mao Zedong’s Red Army. In the early morning of December 10, 1949, Red Army troops laid siege to Chengdu, the last KMT-occupied city in mainland China, and Chiang Kai-shek evacuated from the mainland to Taiwan (Formosa) that same day.

Chinese poster depicting Mao as “the Helmsman”, his revolutionary epitaph, 1969
Stalin and Mao Zedong depicted on a Chinese postage stampThe People’s Republic of China was established on 1 October, 1949. It was the culmination of over 2 decades of civil and international war. From 1954 to 1959, Mao Zedong was the Chairman of the PRC. During this period, Mao Zedong was called Chairman Mao (毛主席) or the Great Leader Chairman Mao (伟大领袖毛主席). The Communist Party assumed control of all media in the country and used it to promote the image of Mao and the Party. The Nationalists under General Chiang Kai-Shek were vilified as were countries such as the United States of America and Japan. The Chinese people were exhorted to devote themselves to build and strengthen their country. In his speech declaring the foundation of the PRC, Mao announced: “The Chinese people have stood up!”

Mao Zedong took up residence in Zhongnanhai, a compound next to the Forbidden City in Beijing, and there he ordered the construction of an indoor swimming pool and other buildings. Mao Zedong often did his work either in bed or by the side of the pool, preferring not to wear formal clothes unless absolutely necessary, according to Dr. Li Zhisui, his personal physician. (Li’s book, The Private Life of Chairman Mao, is regarded as controversial, especially by those sympathetic to Mao.)

Mao Zedong’s first political campaigns after founding the People’s Republic were land reform and the suppression of counter-revolutionaries, which centered on mass executions, often before organised crowds. These campaigns of mass repression targeted former KMT officials, businessmen, former employees of Western companies, intellectuals whose loyalty was suspect, and significant numbers of rural gentry. The U.S. State department in 1976 estimated that there may have been 1,000,000 killed in the land reform, 800,000 killed in the counterrevolutionary campaign. Mao Zedong himself claimed a total of 700,000 killed during the years between 1949 to 1953. However, because there was a policy to select “at least 1 landlord, and usually several, in virtually every village for public execution”, 1, 000,000 deaths seem to be an absolute minimum, and many authors agree on a figure of between 2,000,000 and 5,000,000 dead. In addition, at least 1.5,000,000 people were sent to “reform through labour” camps. Mao Zedong’s personal role in ordering mass executions is undeniable. Mao Zedong defended these killings as necessary for the securing of power.

Following the consolidation of power, Mao Zedong launched the 1st 5 Year Plan from 1953 to 1958. The plan aimed to end Chinese dependence upon agriculture in order to become a world power. With the USSR’s assistance, new industrial plants were built and agricultural production eventually fell to a point where industry was beginning to produce enough capital that China no longer needed the USSR’s support. The success of the 1st 5 Year Plan was to encourage Mao Zedong to instigate the 2nd 5 Year Plan, the Great Leap Forward, in 1958. Mao Zedong also launched a phase of rapid collectivisation. The CPC introduced price controls as well as a Chinese character simplification aimed at increasing literacy. Land was taken from landlords and more wealthy peasants and given to poorer peasants. Large scale industrialisation projects were also undertaken.

Programmes pursued during this time include the Hundred Flowers Campaign, in which Mao Zedong indicated his supposed willingness to consider different opinions about how China should be governed. Given the freedom to express themselves, liberal and intellectual Chinese began opposing the Communist Party and questioning its leadership. This was initially tolerated and encouraged. After a few months, Mao Zedong’s government reversed its policy and persecuted those, totalling perhaps 500,000, who criticised, and were merely alleged to have criticised, the Party in what is called the Anti-Rightist Movement. Authors such as Jung Chang have alleged that the Hundred Flowers Campaign was merely a ruse to root out “dangerous” thinking. Others such as Dr Li Zhisui have suggested that Mao Zedong had initially seen the policy as a way of weakening those within his party who opposed him, but was surprised by the extent of criticism and the fact that it began to be directed at his own leadership. It was only then that he used it as a method of identifying and subsequently persecuting those critical of his government. The Hundred Flowers movement led to the condemnation, silencing, and death of many citizens, also linked to Mao’s Anti-Rightist Movement, with death tolls possibly in the millions.

In January 1958, Mao Zedong launched the 2nd 5 Year Plan known as the Great Leap Forward, a plan intended as an alternative model for economic growth to the Soviet model focusing on heavy industry that was advocated by others in the party. Under this economic program, the relatively small agricultural collectives which had been formed to date were rapidly merged into far larger people’s communes, and many of the peasants ordered to work on massive infrastructure projects and the small-scale production of iron and steel. All private food production was banned; livestock and farm implements were brought under collective ownership.

Under the Great Leap Forward, Mao Zedong and other party leaders ordered the implementation of a variety of unproven and unscientific new agricultural techniques by the new communes. Combined with the diversion of labor to steel production and infrastructure projects and the reduced personal incentives under a commune system this led to an approximately 15% drop in grain production in 1959 followed by further 10% reduction in 1960 and no recovery in 1961. In an effort to win favour with their superiors and avoid being purged, each layer in the party hierarchy exaggerated the amount of grain produced under them and based on the fabricated success, party cadres were ordered to requisition a disproportionately high amount of the true harvest for state use primarily in the cities and urban areas but also for export. The net result, which was compounded in some areas by drought and in others by floods, was that the rural peasants were not left enough to eat and many millions starved to death in what is thought to be the largest famine in human history. This famine was a direct cause of the death of tens of millions of Chinese peasants between 1959 and 1962. Further, many children who became emaciated and malnourished during years of hardship and struggle for survival, died shortly after the Great Leap Forward came to an end in 1962.

The extent of Mao Zedong’s knowledge as to the severity of the situation has been disputed. According to some, most notably Dr. Li Zhisui, Mao was not aware of anything more than a mild food and general supply shortage until late 1959.

“But I do not think that when he spoke on 2 July, 1959, he knew how bad the disaster had become, and he believed the party was doing everything it could to manage the situation” Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, in Mao: the Unknown Story, alleged that Mao knew of the vast suffering and that he was dismissive of it, blaming bad weather or other officials for the famine.

“Although slaughter was not his purpose with the Leap, he was more than ready for myriad deaths to result, and hinted to his top echelon that they should not be too shocked if they happened (438-439).”

Whatever the case, the Great Leap Forward led to millions of deaths in China. Mao Zedong lost esteem among many of the top party cadres and was eventually forced to abandon the policy in 1962, also losing some political power to moderate leaders, notably Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping. However, Mao Zedong and national propaganda claimed that he was only partly to blame. As a result, he was able to remain Chairman of the Communist Party, with the Presidency transferred to Liu Shaoqi.

The Great Leap Forward was a disaster for China. Although the steel quotas were officially reached, almost all of it made in the countryside was useless lumps of iron, as it had been made from assorted scrap metal in home made furnaces with no reliable source of fuel such as coal. According to Zhang Rongmei, a geometry teacher in rural Shanghai during the Great Leap Forward:

We took all the furniture, pots, and pans we had in our house, and all our neighbors did likewise. We put all everything in a big fire and melted down all the metal.

Moreover, most of the dams, canals and other infrastructure projects, which millions of peasants and prisoners had been forced to toil on and in many cases die for, proved useless as they had been built without the input of trained engineers, whom Mao Zedong had rejected on ideological grounds.

Several leaders expressed concern that the Great Leap Forward was not as successful as planned. The most direct of these was Minister of Defence and Korean War General Peng Dehuai. Mao Zedong, fearing loss of his position, orchestrated a purge of Peng and his supporters, stifling criticism of the Great Leap policies.

There is a great deal of controversy over the number of deaths by starvation during the Great Leap Forward. Until the mid 1980s, when official census figures were finally published by the Chinese Government, little was known about the scale of the disaster in the Chinese countryside, as the handful of Western observers allowed access during this time had been restricted to model villages where they were deceived into believing that Great Leap Forward had been a great success. There was also an assumption that the flow of individual reports of starvation that had been reaching the West, primarily through Hong Kong and Taiwan, must be localised or exaggerated as China was continuing to claim record harvests and was a net exporter of grain through the period. Censuses were carried out in China in 1953, 1964 and 1982. The first attempt to analyse this data in order to estimate the number of famine deaths was carried out by American demographer Dr Judith Banister and published in 1984. Given the lengthy gaps between the censuses and doubts over the reliability of the data, an accurate figure is difficult to ascertain. Nevertheless, Banister concluded that the official data implied that around 15,000,000 excess deaths incurred in China during 1958 to 1961 and that based on her modelling of Chinese demographics during the period and taking account of assumed underreporting during the famine years, the figure was around 30,000,000. The official statistic is 20,000,000 deaths, as given by Hu Yaobang. Various other sources have put the figure between 20,000,000 and 72,000,000.

On the international front, the period was dominated by the further isolation of China, due to start of the Sino-Soviet split which resulted in Khrushchev withdrawing all Soviet technical experts and aid from the country. The split was triggered by border disputes, and arguments over the control and direction of world communism, and other disputes pertaining to foreign policy. Most of the problems regarding communist unity resulted from the death of Stalin and his replacement by Khrushchev. Stalin had established himself as the successor of “correct” Marxist thought well before Mao Zedong controlled the Communist Party of China, and therefore Mao Zedong never challenged the suitability of any Stalinist doctrine (at least while Stalin was alive). Upon the death of Stalin, Mao Zedong believed (perhaps because of seniority) that the leadership of the “correct” Marxist doctrine would fall to him. The resulting tension between Khrushchev (at the head of a politically/militarily superior government), and Mao Zedong (believing he had a superior understanding of Marxist ideology) eroded the previous patron-client relationship between the CPSU and CPC. In China, the formerly favourable Soviets were now denounced as “revisionists” and listed alongside “American imperialism” as movements to oppose.

Partly-surrounded by hostile American military bases (reaching from South Korea, Japan, Okinawa, and Taiwan), China was now confronted with a new Soviet threat from the north and west. Both the internal crisis and the external threat called for extraordinary statesmanship from Mao Zedong, but as China entered the new decade the statesmen of the People’s Republic were in hostile confrontation with each other.

At a large Communist Party conference in Beijing in January 1962, called the “Conference of the 7,000” State President Liu Shaoqi denounced the Great Leap Forward as responsible for widespread famine. The overwhelming majority of delegates expressed agreement, but Defense Minister Lin Biao staunchly defended Mao Zedong A brief period of liberalisation followed while Mao Zedong and Lin plotted a comeback. Liu and Deng Xiaoping rescued the economy by disbanding the people’s communes, introducing elements of private control of peasant smallholdings and importing grain from Canada and Australia to mitigate the worst effects of famine.

Liu Shaoqi and Deng Xiaoping’s prominence gradually became a challenge to Mao Zedong’s position of power. Liu and Deng, then the State President and General Secretary, respectively, had favoured the idea that Mao Zedong should be removed from actual power but maintain his ceremonial and symbolic role, and the party will uphold all of his positive contributions to the revolution. They attempted to marginalise Mao Zedong by taking control of economic policy and asserting themselves politically as well.

Facing the prospect of losing his place on the political stage, Mao Zedong responded to Liu and Deng’s movements by launching the Cultural Revolution in 1966. Under the pretext that certain liberal “bourgeois” elements of society, labeled as class enemies, continue to threaten the socialist framework under the existing dictatorship of the proletariat, the idea that a Cultural Revolution must continue after armed struggle allowed Mao Zedong to circumvent the Communist hierarchy by giving power directly to the Red Guards, groups of young people, often teenagers, who set up their own tribunals. Chaos reigned over the country, and millions were prosecuted, including a famous philosopher, Chen Yuen. During the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong closed the schools in China and the young intellectuals living in cities were ordered to the countryside. They were forced to manufacture weapons for the Red Army. The Revolution led to the destruction of much of China’s cultural heritage and the imprisonment of a huge number of Chinese citizens, as well as creating general economic and social chaos in the country. Millions of lives were ruined during this period, as the Cultural Revolution pierced into every part of Chinese life, depicted by such Chinese films as To Live, The Blue Kite and Farewell My Concubine. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, perished in the violence of the Cultural Revolution. When Mao Zedong was informed of such losses, particularly that people had been driven to suicide, he blithely commented: “People who try to commit suicide — don’t attempt to save them! . . . China is such a populous nation, it is not as if we cannot do without a few people.”

It was during this period that Mao Zedong chose Lin Biao, who seemed to echo all of Mao Zedong’s ideas, to become his successor. Mao Zedong and Lin Biao formed an alliance leading up to the Cultural Revolution in order for the purges to succeed. Mao Zedong needed Lin’s clout for his plan to work. In return, Lin was made Mao Zedong’s successor. By 1971, however, because of Lin’s grip over the military and Mao Zedong’s own paranoia, a divide between the 2 men became clear, and it was unclear whether Lin was planning a military coup or an assassination attempt. Lin Biao died trying to flee China, probably anticipating his arrest, in a suspicious plane crash over Mongolia. It was declared that Lin was planning to depose Mao Zedong, and he was posthumously expelled from the CPC. At this time, Mao Zedong lost trust in many of the top CPC figures. The highest-ranking Soviet Bloc intelligence defector, Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa described his conversation with Nicolae Ceauşescu who told him about a plot to kill Mao Zedong with the help of Lin Biao organised by KGB.

In 1969, Mao Zedong declared the Cultural Revolution to be over, although the official history of the People’s Republic of China marks the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976 with Mao Zedong’s death. In the last years of his life, Mao Zedong was faced with declining health due to either Parkinson’s disease or, according to Li Zhisui, motor neurone disease, as well as lung ailments due to smoking and heart trouble. Mao Zedong remained passive as various factions within the Communist Party mobilised for the power struggle anticipated after his death.

At 5:00 in the afternoon of 2 September, 1976, Mao Zedong suffered another myocardial infarction (heart attack), far more severe than the previous 2 and affecting a much larger area of his heart. Mao Zedong’s body was giving out. The personal doctors group began emergency treatment immediately. X-rays indicated that his lung infection had worsened, and his urine output dropped to less than 300 cc a day. Mao Zedong was awake and alert throughout the crisis and asked several times whether he was in danger. Mao Zedong’s condition continued to fluctuate and his life hung in the balance. 3 days later, on 5 September Mao Zedong’s condition was still critical, and Hua Guofeng called Jiang Qing back from her trip. Jiang Qing spent only a few moments in Building 202 before returning to her own residence in the Spring Lotus Chamber. On the afternoon of 7 September, Mao Zedong took a turn for the worse. Jiang Qing came to Building 202 (where Mao Zedong was staying) where she learned the news. Mao Zedong had just fallen asleep and needed the rest, but she insisted on rubbing his back and moving his limbs, and she sprinkled powder on his body. The medical team protested that the dust from the powder was not good for his lungs, but she instructed the nurses on duty to follow her example later. The next morning, 8 September, she came again. Jiang Qing wanted the medical staff to change Mao Zedong’s sleeping position, claiming that he had been lying too long on his left side. The doctor on duty objected, knowing that he could breathe only on his left side, but she had him moved nonetheless. Mao Zedong’s breathing stopped and his face turned blue. Jiang Qing left the room while the medical staff put him on a respirator and performed emergency cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Mao Zedong barely revived, and Hua Guofeng urged Jiang Qing not to interfere further with the doctor’s work, as her actions contributed to Mao Zedong’s death. Mao Zedong was taken off life support few minutes after midnight, 9 September was chosen because it was an easy day to remember. Mao Zedong had been in poor health for several years and had declined visibly for some months prior to his death. Mao Zedong was a chain smoker. Mao Zedong’s body lay in state at the Great Hall of the People. A memorial service was held in Tiananmen Square on 18 September, 1976. There was a 3 minute silence observed during this service. Mao Zedong’s body was later placed into the Mausoleum of Mao Zedong, although he wished to be cremated and had been 1 of the 1st high-ranking officials to sign the “Proposal that all Central Leaders be Cremated after Death” in November 1956.

Mao Zedong’s figure is largely symbolic both in China and in the global communist movement as a whole. During the Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong’s already glorified image manifested into a personality cult that stretched into every part of Chinese life. Mao Zedong presented himself as an enemy of landowners, businessmen, and Western and American imperialism, as well as an ally of impoverised peasants, farmers and workers.

At the 1958 Party congress in Chengdu, Mao Zedong expressed support for the idea of personality cults if they venerated figures who were genuinely worthy of adulation:

“ There are two kinds of personality cults. One is a healthy personality cult, that is, to worship men like Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin. Because they hold the truth in their hands. The other is a false personality cult, i.e. not analyzed and blind worship. ”

In 1962, Mao Zedong proposed the Socialist Education Movement (SEM) in an attempt to educate the peasants to resist the temptations of feudalism and the sprouts of capitalism that he saw re-emerging in the countryside (due to Liu’s economic reforms). Large quantities of politicised art were produced and circulated — with Mao Zedong at the centre. Numerous posters and musical compositions referred to Mao Zedong as “A red sun in the centre of our hearts” (我们心中的红太阳) and a “Savior of the people” (人民的大救星).

The Cult of Mao Zedong proved vital in starting the Cultural Revolution. China’s youth had mostly been brought up during the Communist era, and they had been told to love Mao Zedong. Thus they were his greatest supporters. Their feelings for him were so strong that many followed his urge to challenge all established authority.

In October 1966, Mao Zedong’s Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-Tung, which was known as the Little Red Book was published. Party members were encouraged to carry a copy with them and possession was almost mandatory as a criterion for membership. Over the years, Mao Zedong’s image became displayed almost everywhere, present in homes, offices and shops. Mao Zedong’s quotations were typographically emphasised by putting them in boldface or red type in even the most obscure writings. Music from the period emphasized Mao Zedong’s stature, as did children’s rhymes. The phrase Long Live Chairman Mao Zedong for 10,000 years was commonly heard during the era, which was traditionally a phrase reserved for the reigning Emperor.

After the Cultural Revolution, there are some people who still worship Mao Zedong in family altars or even temples for Mao Zedong.

As anticipated after Mao Zedong’s death, there was a power struggle for control of China. On one side was the left wing led by the Gang of Four, who wanted to continue the policy of revolutionary mass mobilisation. On the other side was the right wing opposing these policies. Among the latter group, the restorationists, led by Chairman Hua Guofeng, advocated a return to central planning along the Soviet model, whereas the reformers, led by Deng Xiaoping, wanted to overhaul the Chinese economy based on market-oriented policies and to de-emphasize the role of Maoist ideology in determining economic and political policy. Eventually, the reformers won control of the government. Deng Xiaoping, with clear seniority over Hua Guofeng, defeated Hua in a bloodless power struggle a few years later.

Mao Zedong’s legacy has produced a large amount of controversy. Many historians and academics are critical of Mao Zedong, especially his many campaigns to suppress political enemies and gain international renown, some comparing him to Hitler and Stalin.

Supporters of Mao Zedong credit him with advancing the social and economic development of Chinese society. They point out that before 1949, for instance, the illiteracy rate in Mainland China was 80%, and life expectancy was a meager 35 years. At his death, illiteracy had declined to less than 7%, and average life expectancy had increased to more than 70 years (alternative statistics also quote improvements, though not nearly as dramatic). In addition to these increases, the total population of China increased 57% to 700,000,000, from the constant 400,000,000 mark during the span between the Opium War and the Chinese Civil War. Supporters also state that, under Mao Zedong’s government, China ended its “Century of Humiliation” from Western and Japanese imperialism and regained its status as a major world power. They also state their belief that Mao Zedong also industrialised China to a considerable extent and ensured China’s sovereignty during his rule. Many, including some of Mao Zedong’s supporters, view the Kuomintang, which Mao Zedong drove off the mainland, as having been corrupt.

They also argue that the Maoist era improved women’s rights by abolishing prostitution, a phenomenon that was to return after Deng Xiaoping and post-Maoist CPC leaders increased liberalisation of the economy. Indeed, Mao Zedong once famously remarked that “Women hold up half the heavens”. A popular slogan during the Cultural Revolution was, “Break the chains, unleash the fury of women as a mighty force for revolution!”

Skeptics observe that similar gains in literacy and life expectancy occurred after 1949 on the small neighboring island of Taiwan, which was ruled by Mao Zedong’s opponents, namely Chiang Kai-Shek and the Kuomintang, even though they themselves perpetrated substantial repression in their own right. The government that continued to rule Taiwan was composed of the same people ruling the Mainland for over 20 years when life expectancy was so low, yet life expectancy there also increased. A counterpoint, however, is that the United States helped Taiwan with aid, along with Japan and other countries, until the early 1960s when Taiwan asked that the aid cease. The mainland was under economic sanctions from the same countries for many years. The mainland also broke with the USSR after disputes, which had been aiding it.

Another comparison has been between India and China. Noam Chomsky commented on a study by the Indian economist Amartya Sen.

Amartya Sen observes that India and China had “similarities that were quite striking” when development planning began 50 years ago, including death rates. “But there is little doubt that as far as morbidity, mortality and longevity are concerned, China has a large and decisive lead over India” (in education and other social indicators as well). In both cases, the outcomes have to do with the “ideological predispositions” of the political systems: for China, relatively equitable distribution of medical resources, including rural health services and public distribution of food, all lacking in India.
The United States placed a trade embargo on China as a result of its involvement in the Korean War, lasting until Richard Nixon decided that developing relations with China would be useful in also dealing with the Soviet Union.

Mao Zedong’s military writings continue to have a large amount of influence both among those who seek to create an insurgency and those who seek to crush one, especially in manners of guerrilla warfare, at which Mao Zedong is popularly regarded as a genius. As an example, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) followed Mao Zedong’s examples of guerrilla warfare.

The ideology of Maoism has influenced many communists around the world, including Third World revolutionary movements such as Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge, The Communist Party of Peru, and the revolutionary movement in Nepal. The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA also claims Marxism-Leninism-Maoism as its ideology, as do other Communist Parties around the world which are part of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement. China itself has moved sharply away from Maoism since Mao Zedong’s death, and most people outside of China who describe themselves as Maoist regard the Deng Xiaoping reforms to be a betrayal of Maoism, in line with Mao Zedong’s view of “Capitalist roaders” within the Communist Party.

As the Chinese government instituted free market economic reforms starting in the late 1970s and as later Chinese leaders took power, less recognition was given to the status of Mao Zedong. This accompanied a decline in state recognition of Mao Zedong in later years in contrast to previous years when the state organised numerous events and seminars commemorating Mao Zedong’s 100th birthday. Nevertheless, the Chinese government has never officially repudiated the tactics of Mao Zedong.

In the mid-1990s, Mao Zedong’s picture began to appear on all new renminbi currency from the People’s Republic of China. This was officially instituted as an anti-counterfeiting measure as Mao Zedong’s face is widely recognised in contrast to the generic figures that appear in older currency. On 13 March, 2006 a story in the People’s Daily reported that a proposal had been made to print the portraits of Sun Yat-sen and Deng Xiaoping.

In 2006, the government in Shanghai issued a new set of high school history textbooks which omit Mao Zedong, with the exception of a single mention in a section on etiquette. Students in Shanghai now only learn about Mao Zedong in junior high school.

Mao Zedong lived in the government complex in Zhongnanhai, Beijing.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Sir William McMahon

Sir William “Billy” McMahon, GCMG, CH was born on 23 February 1908 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia and died on 31 March 1988 of cancer in Sydney, Australia aged 80. Sir William McMahon was an Australian Liberal politician and the 20th Prime Minister of Australia.

Sir William McMahon’s father was a lawyer. Sir William McMahon was of Irish ancestry.

Sir William McMahon was educated at Sydney Grammar School and at the University of Sydney, where he graduated in law. Sir William McMahon practised in Sydney with “Allen, Allen and Hemsley”, the oldest law firm in Australia. In 1940 he joined the Army, but because of a hearing loss he was confined to staff work. After World War II he travelled in Europe and completed an economics degree.

Sir William McMahon was elected to the House of Representatives for the Sydney seat of Lowe in 1949, one of the flood of new Liberal MPs known as the “forty-niners”. Sir William McMahon was capable and ambitious, and in 1951 Prime Minister Robert Menzies made him Minister for Air and Minister for the Navy. Over the next 15 years he held the portfolios of Social Services, Commerce and Agriculture and Labour and National Service. In 1966, when Harold Holt became Prime Minister, Sir William McMahon succeeded him as Treasurer and as Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party.

Despite his steady advance, Sir William McMahon remained unpopular with his colleagues. Sir William McMahon was highly capable, but seen as too ambitious and a schemer. Sir William McMahon had never married, and there were frequent rumours that he was homosexual. However, in 1965, aged 57, he married Sonia Rachel Hopkins who was (born in August 1932), with whom he had 3 children: Melinda, Julian McMahon (the actor and model) and Debra.

When Harold Holt drowned in December 1967, Sir William McMahon was assumed to be his automatic successor. But John McEwen, interim Prime Minister and leader of the Country Party, announced that he and his party would not serve in a government led by Sir William McMahon. John McEwen did not state his reasons publicly, but privately he told Sir William McMahon he did not trust him. There was also John McEwen’s personal dislike of Sir William McMahon for the reasons suggested in the previous paragraph, but also John McEwen, an arch-protectionist, correctly suspected that Sir William McMahon favoured policies of free trade and deregulation.

Sir William McMahon therefore withdrew, and John Gorton won the party room ballot. Sir William McMahon became Foreign Minister and waited for his chance at a comeback. Sir William McMahon stood as a candidate for the Liberal Party leadership (and therefore Prime Minister, as the Liberal/Country Party coalition held a majority in the House of Representatives) after the 1969 election but was defeated by John Gorton. In January 1971 John McEwen retired as Country Party leader and his successor, Doug Anthony, did not continue the veto against Sir William McMahon. In March 1971 the Defence Minister, Malcolm Fraser, resigned from Cabinet and denounced John Gorton, who then called a party meeting. When the confidence vote in John Gorton was tied, he resigned, and Sir William McMahon was elected leader.

Sir William McMahon found being Prime Minister an unenjoyable experience. The Vietnam War and conscription had become very unpopular. Sir William McMahon was unable to match the performance of Labor leader, Gough Whitlam, who campaigned on radical new policies such as universal health insurance. Sir William McMahon was undermined by plotting from John Gorton’s supporters. Sir William McMahon attacked Gough Whitlam over his policy of recognising the People’s Republic of China, then had to back down when President Nixon announced his visit to China.

Sir William McMahon reputation for economic management was undermined by high inflation. Sir William McMahon voice and appearance came across badly on television, and he was no match in parliamentary debates for Gough Whitlam, a witty and powerful orator. The press further weakened Sir William McMahon’s popularity.

Sir William McMahon lost his nerve, and in the December 1972 election campaign he was outperformed by Gough Whitlam and subjected to further humiliation in the press. When Gough Whitlam won the election Sir William McMahon resigned the Liberal leadership.

Sir William McMahon had been a minister continuously for 21 years and 6 months, a record in the Australian Parliament. Only Sir George Pearce and John McEwen had longer overall ministerial service, but their terms were not continuous.

Sir William McMahon served in the Shadow Cabinet under his successor, Billy Snedden, but was dropped after the 1974 election. In 1977, he was knighted. Sir William McMahon stayed in Parliament as a backbencher until his resignation in 1982, by which time he was the longest-serving member of the House.

Honours:

Bust of William McMahon by sculptor Victor Greenhalgh located in the Prime Minister’s Avenue in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens William McMahon was appointed a Privy Counsellor in 1966, a Companion of Honour in the New Years Day Honours of 1972 and Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George in the Queen’s Birthday Honours of 1977.

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