The Viscount Runciman
|President of the Board of Education|
12 April 1908 –23 October 1911
|Monarch|| Edward VII |
|Prime Minister||H. H. Asquith|
|Preceded by||Reginald McKenna|
|Succeeded by||Jack Pease|
|President of the Board of Agriculture|
23 October 1911 –6 August 1914
|Prime Minister||H. H. Asquith|
|Preceded by||The Earl Carrington|
|Succeeded by||The Lord Lucas|
|President of the Board of Trade|
5 August 1914 –5 December 1916
|Prime Minister||H. H. Asquith|
|Preceded by||John Burns|
|Succeeded by||Sir Albert Stanley|
5 November 1931 –28 May 1937
|Monarch|| George V |
|Prime Minister|| Ramsay MacDonald |
|Preceded by||Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister|
|Succeeded by||Hon. Oliver Stanley|
|Lord President of the Council|
31 October 1938 –3 September 1939
|Prime Minister||Neville Chamberlain|
|Preceded by||The Viscount Hailsham|
|Succeeded by||The Earl Stanhope|
|Born||19 November 1870|
|Died||14 November 1949 78)(aged|
|Political party|| Liberal |
Hilda Stevenson (born 1869; died 1956)
Walter Runciman, 1st Viscount Runciman of Doxford, – 14 November 1949) was a prominent Liberal and later National Liberal politician in the United Kingdom. His 1938 diplomatic mission to Czechoslovakia was key to the enactment of the British policy of appeasement of Nazi Germany preceding the Second World War.(19 November 1870
Runciman was the son of the shipping magnate Walter Runciman, 1st Baron Runciman. He was educated at South Shields High School and Trinity College, Cambridge, where he graduated with an MA degree in history in 1892.
Runciman unsuccessfully contested Gravesend in a by-election in 1898, but was elected as a member of parliament (MP) in a two-member by-election for Oldham in 1899, [ citation needed ] The following year in the 1900 general election Churchill stood against Runciman again and defeated him.defeating the Conservative candidates, James Mawdsley and Winston Churchill. After winning, Runciman is reported to have commented to Churchill: "Don't worry, I don't think this is the last the country has heard of either of us."
Runciman soon returned to Parliament for Dewsbury in a by-election in January 1902 [ citation needed ]and steadily rose through the ranks of the Liberal Party. A progressive, centrist reformer, he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Local Government Board by Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman in 1905, a post he held until 1907. Runciman's friends in Campbell-Bannerman's cabinet were Sydney Buxton, Charles Hobhouse and John Morley all on the left.
He then served as Financial Secretary to the Treasury until 1908. In April of the latter year he was sworn of the Privy Council [ citation needed ] they had witnessed the lax administration of the Chief Secretary for Ireland.[ clarification needed ]and appointed to his first Cabinet post, President of the Board of Education, by the new prime minister, H. H. Asquith, which position he retained for three years. Runciman approved of financing the purchase of land in Ireland, but the policy was becoming prohibitively expensive. He was one of the small group, that included Reginald McKenna, who believed in sound public finances;
He then served another three years as President of the Board of Agriculture. Runciman did not want war with Germany and favoured an understanding with her, but like others in the Cabinet was not able to exert much influence over foreign policy.
Runciman was a personal friend of Mrs Asquith, and a highly valued colleague in Cabinet. He supported the Haldane Mission of 1912, in a purged cabinet dominated by like-minded Liberal Leaguers.He and his allies believed that there would be peace in the long run, as the German Navy was 'a luxury' too expensive for the Reich to maintain. Runciman was also in the McKenna dining group that opposed escalation of the arms race, and in January 1914 opposed Churchill's high naval estimates. The Left-wing cabinet members desired specificity to Admiralty reductions, but the admirals themselves opposed them.
Runciman joined Lloyd George's "Council of War" on 13 June, which was mainly designed to exculpate Lloyd George of any involvement in the Marconi scandal. Runciman had done much to encourage Lloyd George as Chancellor in increasing levels of trade.
Runciman encouraged political dialogue, socialism, and James Larkin's movement in Ireland, which the cabinet swiftly sought to decriminalise.Runciman was one of those who agreed to fight the Larne gun-running incident by seizure of weapons. The cabinet banned all arms shipments to Ireland on 25 November.
In 1914, on the outbreak of war, the President of the Board of Trade, John Burns, resigned and on Sunday 2 August Runciman was appointed to succeed him.
The Board of Trade reported in October 1914 a build-up of German shipping at Hamburg; a record 187 ships entered British ports on 15 October, meaning the war seemed to be good for business. He approved food for Belgian refugees. On 12 January 1915 he agreed to send a memo to the US government to ban all copper imports to Ireland.Runciman was wholly sympathetic to Lloyd George's proposal to actively intervene in union wage disputes since "men were not malingering, but worn out..."; a statement that preceded the mass employment of women in factories. Runciman proposed a bill "commandeering" the armaments factories for the national war effort. Sitting between McKenna and Hobhouse, he announced an industrial agreement to pay a guaranteed 15% dividend plus depreciation. They discussed bringing German-owned dye industries into British ownership and a prohibition of coal exports. Runciman encouraged Kitchener at dinner to remove Sir John French from command of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF). They also discussed Asquith's removal, since his wife, Hilda Runciman, had called the Prime Minister "brains in aspic". Runciman was against any suggestion of internment of aliens, yet they were nonetheless confined in large numbers.
In May 1915, after seeking Sir Edward Grey's counsel at the Foreign Office, Runciman agreed to serve in Asquith's new coalition government, which had been kept from most of the cabinet; a week later he was promoted to President of the Board of Trade. [ citation needed ] Like McKenna, Runciman was against total warfare of which Compulsory Service formed a major part. He resented the Tory Army interests pre-eminent in government from spring 1916; General Haig had been convinced they intended to split the cabinet against Asquith. Runciman and his allies continued to argue that conscription would damage the war effort by "depleting industry"; Margot Asquith had already tried to split up the axis within the Cabinet by inviting Runciman and then McKenna to tea separately. But Runciman continued to enjoy good relations with the Chancellor because they shared the aims of improving trade receipts, reducing debt, and increasing output.By October, the cabinet was in open conflict, with the Conservatives (and the Chancellor, Lloyd George) demanding the introduction of conscription. He threatened to resign over the issue, but in the end did not do so when it was carried into law in the Military Service Act 1916.
Runciman resigned along with the rest of Asquith's government in December 1916. He did not serve in the new coalition headed by David Lloyd George. In the splits that were to rage in the Liberal Party for the next seven years Runciman remained prominent in opposition to Lloyd George, especially when the latter became party leader in 1926. He lost his seat in 1918,and failed to get elected in the 1920 Edinburgh North by-election but was returned for Swansea West in 1924.
In the 1929 general election, the Liberals emerged with the balance of power between the Conservatives and Labour. Runciman took the seat of St Ives, which his wife Hilda had won in a by-election the previous year. [ citation needed ] The Liberals soon found themselves heavily divided over how to respond to the Great Depression, whether or not to continue supporting the Labour government of Ramsay MacDonald and even over the basic direction of the party.[ citation needed ]Capt. Sydney Augustus Velden, Liberal Agent for St. Ives was instrumental in Runciman's successful election. The Runcimans were the first man and wife to sit in Parliament.
In 1931, the cause of the strife was seemingly removed when the Labour government was succeeded by an all-party National Government. Further division emerged, however, when it was proposed that the National Government call a general election to seek a mandate to introduce protective tariffs, a policy that was anathema to Runciman and many other Liberals. Officially, the Liberals threatened to withdraw from the government, but a group led by Sir John Simon emerged as the Liberal Nationals, mainly composed of those who had been opposed to Lloyd George's leadership and who were prepared to continue to support the National Government. A compromise was worked out whereby each party in the National Government campaigned on its own manifesto.[ citation needed ]
After the National Government won a massive majority in the 1931 general election, the Cabinet was reconstructed. It was felt prudent to balance the key Cabinet committee that would take the decisions on tariffs and so Runciman was appointed President of the Board of Trade once more, in the belief that he would serve as a counterbalance to the protectionist Chancellor of the Exchequer Neville Chamberlain. However like the other Liberal Nationals, Runciman came to accept the principle of tariffs, amended in November 1931 to 10% in favour of a balance of trade recommended by a Tariff Board.When in late 1932 the official Liberals (the Samuelites) resigned their ministerial posts, Runciman very nearly resigned with them. In 1933 the official Liberals withdrew completely their support for the National Government but Runciman remained holding office, even though he was President of the extra-Parliamentary National Liberal Federation until 1934. He concluded the Roca-Runciman Treaty with Argentina, initiated by this country to avoid the curtailment of Argentine beef imports.
Runciman remained as President of the Board of Trade until May 1937 when Stanley Baldwin retired and his successor, Neville Chamberlain, only offered Runciman the sinecure position of Lord Privy Seal, an offer Runciman declined. [ citation needed ]In June 1937 he was raised to the peerage as Viscount Runciman of Doxford, of Doxford in the County of Northumberland. Four years earlier his father had been created Baron Runciman and "of Doxford" was consequently used to differentiate from his father's title. This was a rare case of a father and son sitting in the House of Lords at the same time, with the son holding a superior title. A few months later his father died and he inherited both the barony and his father's shipping business.
Runciman returned to public life when, at the beginning of August 1938, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain sent him on a mission to Czechoslovakia to mediate in a dispute between the Government of Czechoslovakia and the Sudeten German Party (SdP), the latter representing the ethnic German population of the border regions, known as the Sudetenland. Unknown to Runciman, the SdP, although it was ostensibly calling for autonomy for the Sudetenland, had instructions from Nazi Germany not to reach any agreement on the matter and so attempts at mediation failed. With international tension rising in Central Europe, Runciman was recalled to London on 16 September 1938.
His controversial report provided support for British policy towards Czechoslovakia, which culminated in the dismembering of the country under the terms of the Munich Agreement.
Further controversy arose from Runciman's use of his leisure time in Czechoslovakia spent mostly in the company of Hitler's Jewish spy and erstwhile lover of Lord Rothermere, Princess Stephanie von Hohenlohe, and the pro-SdP aristocracy.Maria Dowling claims that Runciman spent most of his time in Czechoslovakia being entertained by German aristocrats and listening to complaints from Germans that had suffered from the 1920s land reform.
The Runciman Report, issued on his return to London recommended the transfer of the Sudetenland to Nazi Germany and claimed that there was massive discrimination against ethnic Germans in Czechoslovakia:
Czech officials and Czech police, speaking little or no German, were appointed in large numbers to purely German districts; Czech agricultural colonists were encouraged to settle on land confiscated under the Land Reform in the middle of German populations; for the children of these Czech invaders Czech schools were built on a large scale; there is a very general belief that Czech firms were favoured as against German firms in the allocation of State contracts and that the State provided work and relief for Czechs more readily than for Germans. I believe these complaints to be in the main justified. Even as late as the time of my Mission, I could find no readiness on the part of the Czechoslovak Government to remedy them on anything like an adequate scale... the feeling among the Sudeten Germans until about three or four years ago was one of hopelessness. But the rise of Nazi Germany gave them new hope. I regard their turning for help towards their kinsmen and their eventual desire to join the Reich as a natural development in the circumstances.
In October 1938, following the Munich Agreement, Chamberlain reshuffled his Cabinet and appointed Runciman as Lord President of the Council. He held that post until the outbreak of the Second World War.
Lord Runciman of Doxford married Hilda, daughter of James Cochran Stevenson, in 1898. They had two sons and three daughters. Their daughter Margaret Fairweather(married Douglas Fairweather who established the Air Movements Flight in 1942, later joined by Margaret) was the first woman to fly a Spitfire and was one of the original eight female pilots selected by Pauline Gower to join the Air Transport Auxiliary. Margaret was killed in 1944 landing a Proctor. Their second son the Honourable Sir Steven Runciman was a historian. Lord Runciman of Doxford died in November 1949, aged 78, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Leslie. Lady Runciman died in 1956, aged 87.
The Liberal Party was one of the two major parties in the United Kingdom with the opposing Conservative Party in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The party arose from an alliance of Whigs and free trade-supporting Peelites and the reformist Radicals in the 1850s. By the end of the 19th century, it had formed four governments under William Gladstone. Despite being divided over the issue of Irish Home Rule, the party returned to government in 1905 and then won a landslide victory in the following year's general election.
Arthur Neville Chamberlain was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. He is best known for his foreign policy of appeasement, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement on 30 September 1938, conceding the German-speaking Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia to Germany. Following the German invasion of Poland on 1 September 1939, which marked the beginning of World War II, Chamberlain announced the declaration of war on Germany two days later and led Great Britain through the first eight months of the war until his resignation as prime minister on 10 May 1940.
David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1916 to 1922. He was the final Liberal to hold the post.
Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith,, generally known as H. H. Asquith, was a British statesman and Liberal politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1908 to 1916. He was the last prime minister to lead a majority Liberal government, and he played a central role in the design and passage of major liberal legislation and a reduction of the power of the House of Lords. In August 1914, Asquith took Great Britain and the British Empire into the First World War. In 1915, his government was vigorously attacked for a shortage of munitions and the failure of the Gallipoli Campaign. He formed a coalition government with other parties, but failed to satisfy critics. As a result, he was forced to resign in December 1916, and he never regained power.
Edward Grey, 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon,, better known as Sir Edward Grey, was a British Liberal statesman and the main force behind British foreign policy in the era of the First World War. An adherent of the "New Liberalism", he served as foreign secretary from 1905 to 1916, the longest continuous tenure of any holder in that office. He renewed the 1902 alliance with Japan in 1911. The centrepiece of his policy was the defence of France against German aggression, while avoiding a binding alliance with Paris. He supported France in the Moroccan crises of 1905 in 1911. Another major achievement was the Anglo-Russian entente of 1907. He resolved an outstanding conflict with Germany over the Baghdad railway in 1913, but successfully convinced the cabinet that Britain had an obligation and was honour-bound to defend France, and prevent Germany from controlling Western Europe in August 1914. Once the war began, there was little role for his diplomacy; he lost office in December 1916. He was a leading British supporter of the League of Nations. He is remembered for his "the lamps are going out" remark on 3 August 1914 on the outbreak of the First World War. He signed the Sykes-Picot Agreement on 16 May 1916. Ennobled in 1916, he was Ambassador to the United States between 1919 and 1920 and Leader of the Liberal Party in the House of Lords between 1923 and 1924.
Andrew Bonar Law was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1922 to 1923.
John Allsebrook Simon, 1st Viscount Simon,, was a British politician who held senior Cabinet posts from the beginning of the First World War to the end of the Second World War. He is one of only three people to have served as Home Secretary, Foreign Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer, the others being Rab Butler and James Callaghan.
Richard Burdon Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane, was an influential British Liberal Imperialist and later Labour politician, lawyer and philosopher. He was Secretary of State for War between 1905 and 1912 during which time the "Haldane Reforms" of the British Army were implemented. Raised to the peerage as Viscount Haldane in 1911, he was Lord Chancellor between 1912 and 1915, when he was forced to resign because of false allegations of German sympathies. He later joined the Labour Party and once again served as Lord Chancellor in 1924 in the first ever Labour administration. Apart from his legal and political careers, Haldane was also an influential writer on philosophy, in recognition of which he was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1914.
Archibald Henry Macdonald Sinclair, 1st Viscount Thurso,, known as Sir Archibald Sinclair, Bt, between 1912 and 1952, and often as Archie Sinclair, was a British politician and leader of the Liberal Party.
Viscount Runciman of Doxford, of Doxford in the County of Northumberland, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created in 1937 for the Hon. Walter Runciman, a politician whose career included service as a Member of Parliament, President of the Board of Trade and Lord President of the Council. He was the son and heir apparent of the shipping magnate and Liberal politician Walter Runciman, who had been created a Baronet in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom in 1906 and Baron Runciman, of Shoreston in the County of Northumberland, in 1933, also in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. As his father was still alive at the time of the creation of the viscountcy the title of this peerage was Runciman of Doxford rather than simply Runciman. As of 2017 the titles are held by the first Viscount's grandson, the third Viscount, who succeeded his father in 1989. He is a well-known sociologist at the University of Cambridge.
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.
Reginald McKenna was a British banker and Liberal politician. His first Cabinet post under Henry Campbell-Bannerman was as President of the Board of Education, after which he served as First Lord of the Admiralty. His most important roles were as Home Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer during the premiership of H. H. Asquith. He was studious and meticulous, noted for his attention to detail, but also for being bureaucratic and partisan.
Philip Cunliffe-Lister, 1st Earl of Swinton,, known as Philip Lloyd-Greame until 1924 and as The Viscount Swinton between 1935 and 1955, was a prominent British Conservative politician from the 1920s until the 1950s.
Winston Churchill formed the third Churchill ministry in the United Kingdom after the 1951 general election. He was reappointed as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom by King George VI and oversaw the accession of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952 and her coronation.
Sir Charles Edward Henry Hobhouse, 4th Baronet, TD, PC, JP was a British Liberal politician and officer in the Territorial Force. He was a member of the Liberal cabinet of H. H. Asquith between 1911 and 1915.
Helen Violet Bonham Carter, Baroness Asquith of Yarnbury,, known until her marriage as Violet Asquith, was a British politician and diarist. She was the daughter of H. H. Asquith, Prime Minister from 1908–1916, and later became active in Liberal politics herself, being a leading opponent of appeasement, standing for Parliament and being made a life peer. She was also involved in arts and literature. Her illuminating diaries cover her father's premiership before and during the First World War and continue until the 1960s.
Hilda Runciman, Viscountess Runciman of Doxford was a British Liberal Party politician.
The Liberal government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland that began in 1905 and ended in 1915 consisted of two ministries: the first led by Henry Campbell-Bannerman and the final three by H. H. Asquith.
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.
A by-election was held in Bristol East constituency in 1911 to fill a vacancy in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.
However, since he and other Liberal Council members were able to go into the 1929 election supporting the Lloyd George programme (at least in public), it is unclear how seriously the criticisms should be taken. Sheer spite, rather than real policy disagreements, may have had more to do with it, particularly since before the war Runciman had been broadly progressive and in favour of state intervention in the economy.
More moderate, Centrist, reformers included W. S. Churchill (Under Sec., Colonies), Walter Runciman (Parl. Sec., Education), and A. Ure, (Solicitor-General, Scotland).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Walter Runciman, 1st Viscount Runciman of Doxford .|
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
James Francis Oswald
| Member of Parliament for Oldham |
With: Alfred Emmott
| Member of Parliament for Dewsbury |
Emil William Pickering
Howel Walter Samuel
| Member of Parliament for Swansea West |
Howel Walter Samuel
| Member of Parliament for St Ives |
Arthur Frederick Jeffreys
| Parliamentary Secretary to the Local Government Board |
Thomas James Macnamara
| Financial Secretary to the Treasury |
| President of the Board of Education |
The Earl Carrington
| President of the Board of Agriculture |
The Lord Lucas
| President of the Board of Trade |
Sir Albert Stanley
Sir Philip Cunliffe Lister
| President of the Board of Trade |
Hon. Oliver Stanley
The Viscount Hailsham
| Lord President of the Council |
The Earl Stanhope
|Peerage of the United Kingdom|
|New creation|| Viscount Runciman of Doxford |
June 1937 – 1949
Walter Leslie Runciman
| Baron Runciman |
August 1937 – 1949