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To what extent can the fall of Lloyd George be attributed to the Chanak Incedent?

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Alex Simmonds To what extent can the fall of Lloyd George be attributed to the Chanak Incedent? In 1922, the liberal Lloyd George headed a coalition government with a Conservative majority. The coalition had been formed in reaction the outbreak of the first world war, and in May 1915 Lloyd George was appointed minister of munitions within it. The last general election in 1918 he was needed by the conservatives to win the coalition another term in office as "the man who won the war ". In November 1918, Lloyd George was faced with the decision of whether to dissolve the coalition and return to peace-time party politics or carry on with the coalition. He chose the latter and won an overwhelming majority. The overriding factor was, however, that to remain in power, he would have to be fully dependant on Conservative support, meaning that he would need to strike a balance between his own Liberal preferences and the ideals of the conservative majority. (4p The Chanak affair took place in September 1922. The Turks were feeling resentment at the peace treaty of Serves (1920), whereby turkey had been broken up and pieces of it placed under Greek rule. The affair came close to war, but the Turks backed down. The notion of Britain entering a full scale war within four years of being involved in the bloodiest conflict to date was on the whole seen as ridiculous.(1) The population was only just beginning to recover from world war 1 as was the economy. About 750,000 men perished in the conflict (6p78)(including nine percent of all people under 45 years of age), and twice as many seriously wounded. In addition to this the national debt had increased twelve-fold. Besides this, the conflict was on the other side of Europe, and the deployment of troops this far afield to fight a war that was not really in Britain's interests would be frowned upon as absurd. ...read more.


On the other hand, Chanak did not result in a military conflict, and no bloodshed occurred. Actions speak louder than words, and although Lloyd Georges words were foolish, he did not bring about any action to consolidate them. Another massive area where Lloyd George's popularity was sapped was Ireland. Although Lloyd George had not much sympathy for Irish nationalism, he nevertheless wished to solve the problem which he had nearly managed in 1916.(Robert Pearce 6) Despite the success he achieved in seperating Ulster from the rest of Ireland and later the establishment of an Irish free-state, neither the Right or Left of the coalition held much sympathy for him. The Right were contemptuous of his negotiations with the IRA, and the Left could not forgive him for the notorious 'Black and tans' incident during the First World War. This is more important than Chanak because it further distanced him from both wings of the coalition. However, it was more likely to be his foreign policy in general that was making him unpopular rather than just the incident of Ireland, and so it cannot be stated that Ireland alone lost more of his support than Chanak. Michael Lynch argues that "one of the major repercussions of Lloyd Georges Irish policy was that it killed off the idea of a permanent coalition or centre party". I agree with this, as this limited Lloyd George's options, chiefly the idea of forming a coalition including Labour and Liberal MPs, as he had tried to do in 1920 by urging the party's chief whips to consider the prospect. Ireland had killed off the chance of a coalition forming, and with it Lloyd George's chances of being elected leader of it. Another such example of Faux Pas in foreign policy was Genoa. At this conference Lloyd George expected to 'restore his star to the zenith' and pave the way to a successful election. ...read more.


around him Procedural report I found this project very stimulating and enlightening in addition to providing me with a deeper insight into the career of one of the most dynamic politicians of Britain's history. I also found it challenging, due to it being outside of the topics focused on in this years course. However I felt that this enabled me to develop my research skills more and analyse the opinions of different historians by venturing further outside my written notes on the subject. Before I started work on this project, I was under the impression that Lloyd George's fall was mainly to do with the Chanak incident, but as I looked deep into the evidence, I found that it was the result of the explosive cocktail of Lloyd George's dynamism and controversy and his failure to appreciate the limitations of being a Liberal at the mercy of the Conservatives. The texts I found most helpful were 'Lloyd George' by Stephen Constantine and 'The Decline and fall of Lloyd George' by Lord Beaverbrook. Although I did not quote or refer to the latter in the course of the essay, I read it well and realised the attitudes of the Conservatives to Lloyd George and the distance he was forming between him and the rest of the Coalition. I also found A.J.P. Taylor's book 'English History 1914-1945' very useful, and found that we think along similar lines regarding this subject area. For research into this area I used the school's Library as well as the Main Library in Doncaster and Sheffield University's. If I had to re-do this investigation I would have chosen a more recognised issue to write about such as " Was Lloyd George a "Prisoner of the Tories"?" as I believe this has a lot more room for elaboration than the one I chose. I would liked to have spent more time on this essay, but my time was limited by commitments to my other studies which included two other pieces of coursework. ...read more.

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