Churchill conferences, losing the war, becoming prime minister, and political wilderness.

key points on Churchill's career



  • Planned the European strategy of the allies. Churchill and Roosevelt were present, but Stalin wasn't due to Stalingrad. De Gaulle initially refused to come, but Churchill said that he would make Giraud the leader of the Free French. Both men attended and there were notable tensions.
  • They dedided that Germany would have to make an unconditional surrender (they didnt want another Treaty of Versailles)
  • Med strategy was put forward, delaying any concept of a second front in France.
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  • Meeting between Churchill, Stalin and Roosevelt at the Soviet Embassy.
  • Churchill had met Roosevelt in Cairo previously to get a joint method of approachc towards Stalin, but he wanted to deal with Stalin alone not fettered by British interests.
  • There was immense pressure on Roosevelt/ Churchill as Russia was doing the bulk of the fighting, put them in a bargaining position. They want a second front.
  • Operation Overlord (D-day) is confirmed.
  • Russia confirmed they would join the war against Japan after Germany
  • Discussion about Polish borders (Russia wanted buffer states)
  • Support for partisans in Yugoslavia and how Germany was going to be split.
  • Tehran was a low point for Churchill. Roosevelt kept Churchill at a distance and in meetings with Stalin was closer to Russia. British influence on the war was dwindling.
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YALTA 1945

  • Allies discuss post war Europe.
  • There was little to be done but accept Stalin's control of Eastern Europe. They were in the bargaining position as they had lost so many men. They wanted buffer states so Russia couldnt be invaded again.
  • Stalin promised free elections in the buffer states but Churchill knows this is not going to happen.
  • The leaders decided that were would be a United Nations.
  • Division of Germany. Churchill wanted to capture Berlin, but Roosevelt didnt. Stalin got there first. Churchill knew that who ever got there first would have the most control. However, Russia lost thousands of men capturing Berlin, so perhaps it was good that Britian didnt try afterall.
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  • Roosevelt had died and was replaced by Truman. While the conference was going on, the UK election results were announced, Labour had won and Attlee replaced Churchill as PM. (Though Churchill was still there)
  • Germany had been defeated but USA and Britain were still at war with Japan. Allies had persuaded Stalin to fight against Japan after the defeat of Germany but this stratgey was being doubted.
  • Churchill was afraid of Russian influence in the Far East and Eastern Europe.
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Churchill's election defeat.

  • World was astounded when Britian got rid of Churchill. They were clever elections and democracy really showed through. The people knew that Churchill was the man for war, but perhaps not the man for reconstructing Britain.
  • Was a pyrrhic victory for Churchill: won the war but lost the empire and Britis status.
  • It had been a people's war. The whole country and economy had gone towards the war. By including everyone, the people wanted something from it They wanted democracy and freedom.
  • Churchill didn't understand this. He makes a mistake in political theory viewing it as communism mistaking it for Bolshevism and comparing the socialists to the gestapo.
  • It was time for a better Britain, people wanted a welfare state, health reforms, better education, housing and jobs. The Beveridge report wanted this. But Churchill was stuck in an old era, being Victorian aristocracy and wanting to preserve the Empire.
  • Soldiers voted for labour- wanted to come home to a better Britain.
  • The record of the Tories wasn't great pre-world war two, not good with dealing with economic and domestic issues.
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How did Churchill become Prime Minister?

  • He was the greatest critic of appeasement and had been willing to risk war to deter aggression. He was the only man in government who had that fighting spirit that Britain needed. (marshall vigour) Moreover he had wartime experience. However, there were limitations due to Churchill's reputation and uneasy relations between him and his party.
  • Churchill's Norway campaign was a disaster, but it showed he was willing to fight. Chamberlain took the blame.
  • Vote of confidence in Chamberlain, he wins but opinion is split and decides to resign.
  • Halifax VS Churchill. Halifax wanted to do a deal with Hitler (was a pacifist) and preserve the Empire but Churchill wanted to fight, he knew Britain depended on a strong Europe. Churchill's position was weak but his determination 100%. He didnt want another Munich or Britain to be a Nazi puppet government. Halifax was reluctant to stand, and Churchill for once did not speak. He was made PM.
  • Churchill was not well recieved. Liberals and Labour cheered, but Conservatives were apprehensive.
  • Churchill's first decision is whether to evactuate from France 1940- a bad year for Britain.
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Summary of Wartime Context.

1940- Crisis of Summer. Dunkirk evactuated. Not a good time for Britain, looks like defeat. Churchill is dependant on the intervention of US. Some of his best speeches ever " We shall fight on the beaches" fit in with the drama of the time: "inspiration for the nation". Sank the French Fleet- sign to America. Battle of Britain begins.

1941- No longer alone. Russia invaded. Pearl Harbour. But disaster in the Far East- loss of Hong Kong (bad for British Empire. Made worse by fall of Singapore in Feb 1942)

1942- Hinge Year. Churchill's health bad to worse. Churchill wins the vote of confidence. Massive criticism from Russia-they're fighting the bulk of the war. Start planning a seconf front, bombing campaign starts. Desert war, Tobruk falls and US starts to lose faith in Britain. Manhattan Project begins. Another vote of confidence, wins but lots of critcism. BUT then Battle of Al Elamein, Stalingrad big wins for Allies. Germany out of Russia and N. Africa and the war takes a turn. Idea that Germany is unbeatable fades.

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