The World Crisis is Winston Churchill's account of the First World War, published in six volumes (technically five, as Volume III was published in two parts). Published between 1923 and 1931: in many respects it prefigures his better-known multivolume The Second World War . The World Crisis is analytical and, in some parts, a justification by Churchill of his role in the war. Churchill is reputed to have said about this work that it was "not history, but a contribution to history".
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was a British politician, army officer, and writer. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, when he led Britain to victory in the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. Churchill represented five constituencies during his career as a Member of Parliament (MP). Ideologically an economic liberal and imperialist, for the last of his career he was a member of the Conservative Party, which he led from 1940 to 1955, but from 1904 to 1924 was a member of the Liberal Party.
His American biographer William Manchester wrote: "His masterpiece is The World Crisis, published over a period of several years, 1923 to 1931, a six-volume, 3,261-page account of the Great War, beginning with its origins in 1911 and ending with its repercussions in the 1920s. Magnificently written, it is enhanced by the presence of the author at the highest councils of war and in the trenches as a battalion commander".The British historian Robert Rhodes James writes: "For all its pitfalls as history, The World Crisis must surely stand as Churchill’s masterpiece. After it, anything must appear as anticlimax". Rhodes James further comments, "Churchill’s literary work showed a certain decline in the 1930s" and that his Marlborough and The History of the English-Speaking Peoples have more of a rhetorical note than The World Crisis.
William Raymond Manchester was an American author, biographer, and historian. He was the author of 18 books which have been translated into over 20 languages. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal and the Abraham Lincoln Literary Award.
Sir Robert Vidal Rhodes James was a British historian and Conservative Member of Parliament.
The news he was writing about the war was all over London; he chose The Times for the serial rights rather than the magazine Metropolitan, and with advances from his English and American publishers, he told a guest in 1921 that it was exhilarating to write for half a crown a word (a pound for eight words). The title was settled as The World Crisis rather than Sea Power and the World Crisis. Geoffrey Dawson of The Times had suggested The Great Amphibian. The question of copyright and of quoting confidential government documents was raised by Bonar Law, but other authors, including Fisher, Jellicoe and Kitchener, had already used such documents in writing their own memoirs.
The Times is a British daily national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register, adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers, since 1981 a subsidiary of News UK, in turn wholly owned by News Corp. The Times and The Sunday Times do not share editorial staff, were founded independently, and have only had common ownership since 1967.
George Geoffrey Dawson was editor of The Times from 1912 to 1919 and again from 1923 until 1941. His original last name was Robinson, but he changed it in 1917. He married Hon. Margaret Cecilia Lawley, daughter of Arthur Lawley, 6th Baron Wenlock in 1919.
Andrew Bonar Law was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1922 to 1923.
Successive volumes were published from 1923 to 1931 by Thornton Butterworth in England and Charles Scribner’s Sons in America. The first (American) advances enabled him to purchase a new Rolls-Royce in August 1921. In 1922, he had purchased Chartwell, a large house requiring expensive repairs and rebuilding.He justified his position and actions such as on the Dardanelles Campaign. The reception was generally good, but an unnamed colleague said, "Winston has written an enormous book about himself, and called it The World Crisis." Arthur Balfour said he was reading Churchill’s "autobiography disguised as a history of the universe".
Chartwell is a country house near the town of Westerham, Kent in South East England. For over forty years it was the home of Winston Churchill. He bought the property in September 1922 and lived there until shortly before his death in January 1965. In the 1930s, when Churchill was excluded from political office, Chartwell became the centre of his world. At his dining table, he gathered those who could assist his campaign against German re-armament and the British government's response of appeasement; in his study, he composed speeches and wrote books; in his garden, he built walls, constructed lakes and painted. During the Second World War Chartwell was largely unused, the Churchills returning after he lost the 1945 election. In 1953, when again Prime Minister, the house became Churchill's refuge when he suffered a devastating stroke. In October 1964, he left for the last time, dying at his London home, 28, Hyde Park Gate, on 24 January 1965.
Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour, was a British statesman and Conservative Party politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1902 to 1905. As Foreign Secretary under David Lloyd George, he issued the Balfour Declaration in November 1917 on behalf of the cabinet.
Although nominally starting in 1911 when Churchill became head of the Admiralty, the narrative commences in 1870 with the Franco-Prussian War and ends with Turkey and the Balkans. Churchill comments on German "threats of war" over recognition by Serbia of the Austrian annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908, which led to talks between the British and French General Staffs over concerted action in the event of war. "Algericas was a milestone on the road to Armageddon." (pp. 32–33) Again over Agadir and the French in Morocco in 1911 Germany was "prepared to go to the very edge of the precipice", and was surprised by the British reaction (the Mansion House speech of Lloyd George).
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the War of 1870, was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the German states of the North German Confederation led by the Kingdom of Prussia. Lasting from 19 July 1870 to 28 January 1871, the conflict was caused by Prussian ambitions to extend German unification and French fears of the shift in the European balance of power that would result if the Prussians succeeded. Some historians argue that the Prussian chancellor Otto von Bismarck deliberately provoked the French into declaring war on Prussia in order to draw the independent southern German states—Baden, Württemberg, Bavaria and Hesse-Darmstadt—into an alliance with the North German Confederation dominated by Prussia, while others contend that Bismarck did not plan anything and merely exploited the circumstances as they unfolded. None, however, dispute the fact that Bismarck must have recognized the potential for new German alliances, given the situation as a whole.
The design and ordering of the British dreadnought fleet has a chapter, given his involvement. The start of the war in France is followed by the Admiralty and Fisher, and the naval battles of Coronel and the Falklands. The last chapter is on the bombardment of the English "open towns" of Hartlepool, Scarborough and Whitby by the German battle-cruiser squadron when nearly 500 civilians were killed; there was "much indignation at the failure of the Navy" but the Navy could not explain for fear of compromising our secret information".
1915 is described as a "year of ill-fortune to the cause of the Allies", starting with the Deadlock in the West, mention of Tanks and Smoke, and ending with the Dardanelles campaign (Gallipoli). Churchill complains in his preface that "upon me alone among the high authorities concerned (with the Dardanelles) was the penalty inflicted – not of loss of office, for that is a petty thing – but of interruption and deprivation of control while the fate of the enterprise was still in suspense".
The Gallipoli peninsula is located in the southern part of East Thrace, the European part of Turkey, with the Aegean Sea to the west and the Dardanelles strait to the east.
This volume starts with the Allied High Command at the beginning of 1916, and the combatants evenly matched for a prolonged struggle. There are chapters on Verdun, Jutland, the Somme, the Roumanian disaster, the removal of Foch and Joffre after the Somme (Nivelle replacing the latter as French Commander-in-Chief), and American intervention. A chapter on Britain covers the Derby scheme and conscription, the Press and Lloyd George becoming Prime Minister. During the first eighteen months of the events covered, Churchill was out of office and he commanded a battalion in the line at 'Plugstreet' in Flanders early in 1916.
Part II of Volume III starts with the invitation of the Prime Minister (Lloyd George) to rejoin the government on 16 July 1917 as either the Ministry of Munitions (which he chose) or the newly created Air Ministry. He says that to the end of 1915 the resources of Britain exceeded the ability to use them; megalomania was a virtue and so was adding one or two noughts to orders. By now, after three years (twenty months) the island was an arsenal with the new national factories beginning to function. But the fighting fronts now absorbed all the production. The Admiralty had not been affected by the munitions crisis of 1915, and Admiralty requirements had priority. France and Italy also had entitlements. The chapters on the fighting fronts start with victory over the U-boats, then the need to save Italy from collapse after the Battle of Caporetto. On the Western Front, Passchendaele, Michael, the Turn of the Tide, the "Teutonic Collapse" and "Victory". He ends with "Will a new generation in their turn be immolated to square the black accounts of Teuton and Gaul? Will our children bleed and gasp again in devastated lands? Or will there spring from the very fires of conflict that reconciliation of the three giant combatants, which would unite their genius and secure to each in safety and freedom a share in rebuilding the glory of Europe?"
This volume was originally published in two parts. In subsequent editions these were labelled as Volumes III and IV, So that the original structure of five volumes in six physical books became six volumes.
The Preface says it is mainly concerned with reactions outside the Peace Conference in the "halls of Paris and Versailles" though there are chapters on the conference, the League of Nations and the Peace Treaties. Churchill indicts the Treaty of Versailles as being too harsh and predicts it will cause future problems.
Churchill points out that he went to Paris to discuss Russia not to attend the Peace Conference, though he asked Wilson for a decision on the Russian item when it came up, rather than a continuation of "aimless unorganised bloodshed" until Wilson returned. There are chapters on Russia, Poland, Ireland, Greece and Turkey, with an Appendix on the Cairo Conference, Iraq, and "the Pacification of the Middle East". He denies the claim by Wilson’s assistant Ray Stannard Baker that he was "the most militaristic of British leaders" and "an opponent of the League" (of Nations). Rhodes comments that The Aftermath contains "the most ferocious denunciations of (Bolshevik) Russia: ... poisoned ... infected ... a plague-bearing Russia ... armed hordes".
The last volume to be published tells (according to the preface) of the conflict between Russia and the two Teutonic empires and the agonies of Central Europe, arising in Vienna. The struggle starts with Bosnia, the murder of the Archduke and the House of Habsburg; and ends with the ruin of all three houses: Romanov, Habsburg and Hohenzollern. After the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 Russia withdraws from the war.
An abridged and revised edition with an additional chapter on the Battle of the Marne and an introduction by Churchill dated 1 July 1930 was published in 1931 by Thornton Butterworth. Clemmie on tour was told by a Singapore bookshop that sales of the abridged edition had "gone very well".The Daily Herald distributed a cheap two-volume edition printed by Odhams for 3/9d "a miracle of mass production" (so) "for the first time the working people would hear my side of the (Gallipoli) tale" but it did not sell. The hoped-for sales of 150,000 copies would have returned over £1000 in royalties. In 2005 an abridgement with an introduction by Martin Gilbert was published by the Free Press, New York.
Reaction was generally favourable, with T. E. Lawrence saying the second volume was far and away the best war-book I’ve yet read and John Maynard Keynes wrote after reading the fourth volume of his gratitude, admiration and envy. Malcolm Muggeridge and Lytton Strachey criticised the concentration on public lives rather than Strachey’s interest in motivation and private lives.
Several military writers in magazine articles criticized some of the opinions and statistics in Volume III. The essays quarreling with some of his statistics and minor points of strategy and tactics were reprinted in a book in 1927.The book introduction said that they go far to destroy any claims Volume III of The World Crisis may have to historical value although they didn’t amount to much according to Manchester.
By 1930 his account in the first three volumes (1923–29) had been vigorously criticised, but this formidable, brilliant masterpiece had played an important part in the revaluation of his actions (with) the revelation of Churchill’s part in the origin of the tank, and the narrowness of the margin between triumph and disaster at the Dardanelles evoked some new evaluations.
The World Crisis began as a response to Lord Esher's attack on his actions in 1914 in his book "The Tragedy of Lord Kitchener", charging that "Churchill had slipped away to Belgium on his own while Kitchener was asleep".But they soon broadened out into a general multi-volume history. The volumes are a mix of military history, written with Churchill's usual narrative flair, diplomatic and political history, portraits of other political and military figures, and personal memoir, written in a colourful manner.
Churchill was a prolific writer, particularly (as he did not have a private income) when out of Parliament (1922–24), or out of office so needed to supplement a backbench MPs salary. The Churchills literally "lived from book to book, and from one article to the next". In his two years out of parliament he edited collections of his speeches and earned £13,200 from 33 articles in magazines: the Empire Review, Pearson’s Magazine, the Daily Chronicle, the Strand Magazine, Nash’s Pall Mall, English Life, the Sunday Chronicle, John Bull, the Weekly Despatch, the Daily Mail and Cosmopolitan in America.
The British editions of The World Crisis sold 80,551 copies, and brought him £58,846 from royalties which were between 30% and 33%. He purchased his house "Chartwell" in 1922 from £20,000 of The World Crisis royalties and a small legacy from a cousin Lord Herbert Vane-Tempest. "Chartwell" was purchased for £5,000, but with dry rot the rebuilding cost £18,000.The American edition of The World Crisis earned him $20,633.10 after deducting Curtis Brown’s commissions. Manchester said he wrote "superb copy" hence was one of the world’s most highly paid writers. In 1931 his writing income was £33,500. The Times serialised four of the five volumes of The World Crisis, and excerpts also appeared in the Sunday Chronicle.
In 1923 he noted to his wife "I have 8 articles to write as soon as the book is finished: £500 £400 & £200. We shall not starve"; it was not to be finished for eight more years, and ran to five thick volumes (with Volume III published in two parts) and 2,517 pages. The last three volumes were produced while he was a busy cabinet minister. He originally conceived of a two-volume work of his years in the Admiralty, saying in a 1915 letter to Clementine "Someday I shd like the truth to be known". He had filed memos, documents and letters, and in 1920 had them set in type by Sir Frederick Macmillan, so that they were readily usable and could be pasted onto large sheets of paper with written comments and transition sections added. He had Admiral Henry Jackson check his facts and Eddie Marsh his grammar and spelling.Desmond Morton assisted from 1929. Later in the 1930s his assistants included John Wheldon, Maurice Ashley and William Deakin. However, despite the checking by Admiral Jackson, the evidence indicates that Churchill "initiated the Dardanelles project, and pushed it forward with vigour, overruling or ignoring the doubts and criticisms of his service advisors. This course of action may have been justified, but it was a very different course to that described in The World Crisis".
Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty from October 1911 to May 1915. From May 1915, he had the sinecure of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and so was in the Cabinet and on the Dardanelles Committee. In November 1915, he resigned from the government. Until June 1916, he was on active service on the Western Front as a major and then as a lieutenant-colonel. He then resumed his active political career in the House of Commons but was not initially included in Lloyd George's Coalition Government in December 1916. From June 1917 to December 1918, he was Minister of Munitions but not a member of the small War Cabinet. From January 1919 to February 1921 (normal Cabinet Government having been resumed), he was Secretary of State for War and Air. He was involved in demobilization of the Army (1919), Intervention in Russia (1919) and the Irish crisis (1919-1919). For the remainder of Lloyd George's Coalition Government, until October 1922, he was Secretary of State for the Colonies. He was in government for the whole period, except in 1915 to 1917, and had taken notes and documents for his writing.
The three actions for which he was most criticised were the Defence of Antwerp in 1914, the Dardanelles campaign in 1915 and the intervention in Russia in 1919 and 1920.
Churchill had arrived in Antwerp on 3 October 1914, arriving in "undress Trinity House uniform". The Government had despatched the Royal Marine Brigade to Antwerp, arriving there on 4 October. Churchill had the 1st and 2nd Naval Brigades of the Royal Naval Division, which he had established, also sent there. They were mainly untrained naval recruits, and he was criticised when over 2,500 were interned or became casualties, but they had prolonged the defence of Antwerp for several days, perhaps a week, and they almost certainly enabled Dunkirk and Calais to be secured.
The Dardanelles campaign, which was originally to be a naval assault, and Intervention against the Bolshevist forces in Russia were both supported halfheartedly by Cabinet and the often-absent Prime Minister (Lloyd George in the latter case). Cabinet was reluctant to make a firm decision, and only minimal shipping was supplied for supplies to Russia, but more shipping was available. In both cases, a "single-minded man" was able to carry his views further than in more normal conditions.
Admiral of the Fleet John Rushworth Jellicoe, 1st Earl Jellicoe, was a Royal Navy officer. He fought in the Anglo-Egyptian War and the Boxer Rebellion and commanded the Grand Fleet at the Battle of Jutland in May 1916 during the First World War. His handling of the fleet at that battle was controversial. Jellicoe made no serious mistakes and the German High Seas Fleet retreated to port, at a time when defeat would have been catastrophic for Britain, but the public was disappointed that the Royal Navy had not won a more dramatic victory. Jellicoe later served as First Sea Lord, overseeing the expansion of the Naval Staff at the Admiralty and the introduction of convoys, but was relieved at the end of 1917. He also served as the Governor-General of New Zealand in the early 1920s.
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, was a British statesman and Liberal politician. He was the last Liberal to serve as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
A war cabinet is a committee formed by a government in a time of war. It is usually a subset of the full executive cabinet of ministers. It is also quite common for a war cabinet to have senior military officers and opposition politicians as members.
Robert Norman William Blake, Baron Blake,, was an English historian and peer. He is best known for his 1966 biography of Benjamin Disraeli, and for The Conservative Party from Peel to Churchill, which grew out of his 1968 Ford lectures.
Liberal David Lloyd George formed a coalition government in the United Kingdom in December 1916, and was appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom by King George V. It replaced the earlier wartime coalition under H. H. Asquith, which had been held responsible for losses during the Great War. Those Liberals who continued to support Asquith served as the Official Opposition. The government continued in power after the end of the war in 1918, though Lloyd George was increasingly reliant on the Conservatives for support. After several scandals including allegations of the sale of honours, the Conservatives withdrew their support after a meeting at the Carlton Club in 1922, and Bonar Law formed a government.
The pursuit of Goeben and Breslau was a naval action that occurred in the Mediterranean Sea at the outbreak of the First World War when elements of the British Mediterranean Fleet attempted to intercept the German Mittelmeerdivision consisting of the battlecruiser SMS Goeben and the light cruiser SMS Breslau. The German ships evaded the British fleet and passed through the Dardanelles to reach Constantinople, where they were eventually handed over to the Ottoman Empire. Renamed Yavuz Sultan Selim and Midili, the former Goeben and Breslau were ordered by their German commander to attack Russian positions, in doing so bringing the Ottoman Empire into the war on the side of the Central Powers.
The Chanak Crisis, also called the Chanak Affair and the Chanak Incident, was a war scare in September 1922 between the United Kingdom and Turkey. Chanak refers to Çanakkale, a city at the Anatolian side of the Dardanelles Strait. The crisis was caused by Turkish efforts to push the Greek armies out of Turkey and restore Turkish rule in the Allied occupied territories of Turkey, primarily in Constantinople and Eastern Thrace. Turkish troops marched against British and French positions in the Dardanelles neutral zone. For a time, war between Britain and Turkey seemed possible, but Canada refused to agree as did France and Italy. British public opinion did not want a war. The British military did not either, and the top general on the scene, Sir Charles Harington, refused to relay an ultimatum to the Turks because he counted on a negotiated settlement. The Conservatives in Britain's coalition government refused to follow Liberal Prime Minister David Lloyd George, who with Winston Churchill was calling for war.
Castles of Steel: Britain, Germany, and the Winning of the Great War at Sea is a work of non-fiction by Pulitzer Prize-winner Robert K. Massie. It narrates the major naval actions of the First World War with an emphasis on those of the United Kingdom and Imperial Germany. The term "castles of steel" was coined by the British First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill in reference to the large number of the Royal Navy's battleships he saw at Spithead in 1914.
The British statesman Winston Churchill was a prolific writer throughout his life, and many of his works were historical. His better-known historical works include: Marlborough: His Life and Times, The World Crisis, The Second World War, and A History of the English-Speaking Peoples. Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for "his mastery of historical and biographical description".
The Dardanelles Commission was an investigation into the disastrous 1915 Dardanelles Campaign. It was set up under the Special Commissions Act 1916. The final report of the commission, issued in 1919, found major problems with the planning and execution of the campaign.
The Second World War is a history of the period from the end of the First World War to July 1945, written by Winston Churchill. Churchill labelled the "moral of the work" as follows: "In War: Resolution, In Defeat: Defiance, In Victory: Magnanimity, In Peace: Goodwill".
This article documents the career of Winston Churchill in Parliament from its beginning in 1900 to the start of his term as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in World War II.
After the end of World War II, Winston Churchill's Conservative Party lost the 1945 election, forcing him to step down as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. For six years he served as the Leader of the Opposition. During these years Churchill continued to influence world affairs. In 1946 he gave his Iron Curtain speech which spoke of the expansionist policies of the USSR and the creation of the Eastern Bloc; Churchill also argued strongly for British independence from the European Coal and Steel Community; he saw this as a Franco-German project and Britain still had an empire. In the General Election of 1951 Labour was defeated.
Vice-Admiral Kenneth Gilbert Balmain Dewar, CBE, RN was an officer of the Royal Navy. After specialising as a gunnery officer, Dewar became a staff officer and a controversial student of naval tactics before seeing extensive service during the First World War. He served in the Dardanelles Campaign and commanded a monitor in home waters before serving at the Admiralty for more than four years of staff duty. After the war ended he became embroiled in the controversy surrounding the consequences of the Battle of Jutland. Despite this, he held a variety of commands during the 1920s.
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, was a British Conservative politician who served three periods as Foreign Secretary and then a relatively brief term as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1955 to 1957.
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill is a trilogy of biographies covering the life of Winston Churchill. The first two were published in the 1980s by author and historian William Manchester, who died while working on the last volume. However, before his death, Manchester had selected Paul Reid to complete it, and the final volume was published in November 2012.
The Dundee by-election, 1917 was a parliamentary by-election for the British House of Commons constituency of Dundee in the county of Angus held on 30 July 1917.