MEMOIRS OF WAR 1
Most of the important players in the Great War were both warriors inthe field with battle techniques as well as statesmen who took partin the implementation of policies in the government institutions.Some have shut down their accounts and the contribution they made ineh war. Their accounts help readers to view the events of the warfrom the eyes of the people who had direct influence. It also helpsto clear some gray areas on the role of the players that may beinstigated by detractors and critics who belonged to differentschools of thought during the war.
War Memoirs is one of the first person accounts written by DavidGeorge Lloyd, a British statesman who played an imperative role insailing Britain through the Great War by influencing the policychange on war and signing of peace pacts. The author, Lloyd Georgewas born on the 26th January 1863, and he became a key figure thatled to the introduction of many reforms that laid the foundation ofthe modern welfare state (Adams, 1978). He is commonly referred to asthe prime minister of the War Coalition government between 1908 and1915. Lloyd as a key figure in the Paris Peace Conference that tookplace in 1919 that called back Europe after the defeat of German inthe Great War. His introduction of a pre-war Britain made him themot impactive political figure than any other public figure of histime (Bennett, 1999).
After succeeding Lord Kitchener, who died in a shipwreck, Lloydbecame the secretary of war. However, he did not get outright controlover the strategy since the cabinet had given authority to GeneralRobertson direct access (George, 1938). However, through theinfluence of Lloyd, the cabinet appointed Sir Eric Geddes to takecharge of the military railway in France. As an achievement orientedleader, Lloyd was not content with the limited war achievements andcriticized the general who led the war on the Western Front duringhis visit to the area. He expressed his concern for the highernumber of British casualties as opposed to this of their aggressorsdespite them having a lot of experience in war. After becoming theprime minister in 1916, the citizens demanded that he take fullcontrol over the war (George, 1938).
War Memoirs published in six volumes between 1933 and 1936 was asource of a major impact that has stood out as a favorite text forhistorians (George, 1938). The book has been a reference point formany military and political leaders due to its first-hand evidencemaintaining directly from the person who saw the change andimplementation of war policies to stabilize Britain. Although by thetime Lloyd published the book after the great wars ha had ended itwas still a fresh reminder of what Britain endured and the role heplayed in the warfare.
Summary of Memory Memoirs
Even before Lloyd had fallen from power in 1922, Lloyd had alreadyconvinced himself that he had hankered for leisure time and puthimself to take to make a draft for the book. As he told his friends,he had already started putting together the events of the Great Wareven before he fell from power (George,1938).
Lloyd starts his account in 1904 when the Anglo–French Entente wasannounced. He was on a visit to Lord Roseberry and the in the meetinghe expressed his dissatisfaction with the relationship that wasensuing between Britain and France. One year later h became theMinister of the Crown, and this exposed him to the Great War that heactively took part in later (George, 1938). He confesses that beforehis appointment he did not have a lot of information regardinginternational relations apart from the general knowledge that anygovernment official would get from reading various articles (Bentley,1978).. His interest, by that time he involved himself in thewellbeing of Wales on matters of home rules, the land issue, and thesocial reform. His concern for his homeland made him result to apeaceful settling of disputes (Bentley, 1978). He also describeshimself as well acquainted with the antagonism between France andBritain. The conservatives tended to be pro-German, but Lloydexpresses his pro-French tendencies (George,1938).
Lloyd also describes the role played by Lord Roseberry whosedisregard for France almost led the two countries into a seriousconflict a couple of times. His position in the foreign office madehim influential in the direction that the country`s foreign relationstook.
A major shift in the country`s stands in foreign relations took placeafter the formation of Campbell-Bannerman`s administration. Twogroups were formed with the radical elements being led by the primeminister and the liberal imperialists who backed Palmerston. Theseincluded Asquith, Sir Edward Grey, and Haldane. A worrying distrustfor the designs used by Germany became evident.
Lloyd first became actively involved in the foreign policy issue in1908 after the death of Sir Bannerman and the ascension of Asquithinto the premiership. Lloyd succeeded Asquith as the Chancellor ofthe Ex-Chequer. In the position, he gave room for the addition of thestrength of the Navy to give the country a considerable margin ofsecurity against the increasing threats of the German Navy (Murray,1999). His four propositions were primary in the country`s securitystrategy. First, he observed that the Admiralty was extravagant inhis spending leading to a provocative burden. He also proposed thebuilding of a competitive edge for the court rather than going theprovocative way against Germany. He also expressed the need for thecountry to invest in securing its trade routes by investing in smallcrafts (George, 1938). He also advised the cabinet on the Germany’sintensified investment in the army as opposed to Britain’sinvestment in the navy.
As Lloyd provides in the book, the growing tension made the cabinetchange its past tendency of allocating only a small percentage of itstime to foreign relations. In 1906, the liberal manifesto sought toreduce the military spending, and as Lloyd puts it, he was in fullsupport of the idea. However, conservatisms, who were in the supportof Admiral Jackie Fisher, protested against the idea and agitated formore funding for the military expeditions. Lloyd’s proposal facedopposition in the cabinet, and the spending was increased from fourto eight dreadnoughts (George, 1938).
Lloyd also describes his ideology of settling atrocities in apeaceful. However, he seems to have been angered by the Germanaggression during the Agadir Crisis. He indicates that he made aspeech that attacked the German invasion. He consequently supportedthe entry of Britain into the First World War. During the war, Lloydindicates that there was a mismanagement of the resources meant forwar, and the army was running out of artillery shells. The publicraised issues concerning it, and there was a need to put in posts iona person who could manage the war resources diligently. The cabinetinstituted him as the minister of munitions. Lloyd also outlinesthat’s he was not satisfied with the way his country was fighting,and he opted for the Knock away the props model of war that the wouldnot leave anything unturned,
When he succeeded Asquith as the prime minister, he describes thatAsquith had very strong leadership characteristics including courage,composure, and sound judgment. He, however, provides that he wantedto take the position as a wars minister. One who had a vision,imagination and a high level of innovation. He also looked forward toexercising unwavering foresight and consult with both official andunofficial stakeholders to utilize the county’s resourcesoptimally. He describes that a war prime minister should haveuntiring assiduity.
He explains the strategy he used during the Neville Affair when heintentionally subordinates his generals to the French authority forGeneral Neville, who according to him was credible. He attackedVerdun, receives reinforcement from Neville, and defeated the Germansin 48 hours. To maintain a strong war strategy he devised a warcommittee of 12 members whom he describes as being instrumental inthe Battle Passchendaele strategy, the new Italian offensive and thehuge conscription of nearly every able bodied man (George,1938).
Notable Aspects in
Anyone reading the gets in touch with the life Lloydand the role he played in the political warfare of Britain. It takesone into the context of war from the policy point of view. Lloydgives a very little account of the field since he was not a soldier.However, a historian comes to appreciate the role played by policymakers in deciding the directions that a country takes. The foreignrelations play an important role in this book. When he visited LordRoseberry for the first time, Lloyd did not have anything for meconcerning what ensued outside the country. He only concentrated onthe welfare of Wales. However, becoming the chancellor of exchequerlaid a foundation for his role in the future warfare of the country.A reader can also deduce information that not all atrocities can bedealt with peacefully. Although Lloyd was confident that peacefulnegotiations would solve foreign relation issues, he openly expressedanger when they made open aggression towards the country.
Another notable occurrence in this book is the institution of Lloydas the prime minister of Britain. It gave him a lot of influence onthe decisions made by the cabinet. He appreciated the role played byAsquith by he describes him as more of a political leader rather thana war leader. He, therefore, wanted to ascend to the seat as apolitical prime minister. The warfare committee he formed was in linewith his objective of consulting various stakeholders beforedisposing the country’s resources to war. He remains one f the mostcelebrated political leaders in the history of Britain and for therecord he set as the highest achieving political in his days inoffice.
Adams, R. (1978).Arms and the Wizard: Lloyd George and the Ministry of Munitions.London, UK: Cambridge University.
Bennett, G. H.(1999). Lloyd George, Curzon and the control of British foreignpolicy 1919–22, The Australian Journal of Politics and History,45.
Bentley, B.(1978). "David Lloyd George: Land, The Budget, and SocialReform," The American Historical Review, 81(5), (Dec.1976), pp. 1058–1066
George, L. (1938).David, War Memoirs. London, UK: Odham Press.
Murray, K. (1999). The politics of the `People`s Budget`, The HistoricalJournal, 16(3), 555–570.