Wednesday 8 April 2015

David Lloyd George: Liberal Imperialist from 1891 or 1911 ? Some Notes by Nickglais

                                                    17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945

Yr Aflonyddwch Mawr has been investigating Welsh Home Rulers especially Tom Ellis and David Lloyd George and the Liberal Imperialist ideology that informed their nationalism.

Here are some of our notes on Lloyd George, we are certainly not David Lloyd George fans like Huw Edwards of the BBC, and are making less known information about David LIoyd George available to illustrate how he like Tom Ellis combined Imperialism with their Welsh Home Rule Nationalism in the 1890's. 

Lloyd George in June 1891 on Tories and Nationalism

"It was a maxim of ancient Roman Law that slaves have no country. Our Tories today believe it.  So they oppress the national spirit in Ireland, jeer at it in Wales, cajole it in Scotland, and pervert it in England , where they degrade it into an unholy imperial vanity"

"A great writer attributed the fall of the Roman Empire in a great measure to the decay of the national spirit in the provinces forming the Empire.

The Roman policy was to destroy the national identity of the subject peoples.

The Gaul the Briton, the German were citizens of Rome. The result was disasterous to Rome itself. The individuality,independence  and manliness of spirit developed by the sense of nationhood vanished and with the disappearance of these qualities Rome fell.

"It is a remarkable fact that the Imperial party in this country which makes the preservation of Empire the motive power of its statesmanship should now pursue the very policy that lead to the destruction of the Roman Empire.

"As Welsh Liberals we are Imperialists because we are nationalists. We are Liberals because we are nationalists.

We know that by honouring our native land as shall best respect ourselves and that by the sum of the success, prosperity and happiness attainted by Wales, the Empire of which she is a part will be the more glorious."

Page 44 Wales Drops its Pilots  (1937) by W Hughes Jones

Lloyd George :  Anti Semitic "Anti Imperialist" on Boer War ?

In a speech on Nov. 27, 1899, Lloyd George said that the Uitlanders on whose behalf Britain had presumably gone to war were German Jews.

Right or wrong, the Boers were better than the people Britain was defending in South Africa.

And in a speech on July 25, 1900, Lloyd George said: "... A war of annexation, however, against a proud people must be a war of extermination, and that is unfortunately what it seems we are committing ourselves to -- burning homesteads and turning women and children out of their homes."

Source: Bentley Brinkerhoff Gilbert, David Lloyd George: A Political Life (Ohio State Univ. Press, 1987), pp. 183, 191

Lloyd George is considered an opponent of War and Imperialism until the Agadir Crisis of 1911, when he had made a speech attacking German aggression.

We think this is a mistaken view in view of his pro Imperialist statements as far back as 1891.

David Lloyd George supported the entry of the British Empire into the First World War, not least as Belgium, for whose defence Britain was supposedly fighting, was a "small nation", like Wales or indeed the Boers.

For the first year of the war he remained in office as Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Here are a few of the liitle known  facts about Lloyd George and bombings by airplanes.:

1) Lloyd George was PM between 1916 and 1922. During this period Britain used planes to bomb: Mashud, on India’s border with Afghanistan (1917); Dacca, Jalalabad, and Kabul (1919, during the “third Afghan war”); Egypt (1919); Enzeli in Iran (1920); Trans-Jordan (1920, killing 200 people); and, of course, Iraq (see Sven Linqvist, ‘A History of Bombing’, Section 102, and David Omissi, ‘Air Power and Colonial Control: The Royal Airforce, 1919 – 1939’, some relevant excerpts from which are reproduced here:

2) In February 1932 the League of Nations convened on disarmament. Germany moved for a total prohibition of bombing, but Britain insisted upon exempting bombing for “police purposes in certain outlying regions” (Lindqvist, Section 140). Lloyd George noted that, "we insisted on reserving the right to bomb niggers" (Chomsky, Year 501, Chapter 1, see

Robin Page Arnot, The Communist International (November 1936)
Lloyd George, the well-known British politician, has come out in support of Hitler following on his journey and his interview with the Fuehrer at the time of the Nuremberg Congress. Though both papers in which his views appeared criticized him editorially and though the remainder of the British press for the most part chose to ignore his utterances it would be a mistake to regard this as having no significance.
Their significance depends on the present position of British imperialism, particularly    its  foreign policy. The center of gravity of the foreign policy of British imperialism at the present moment lies in Europe, in its European policy.
One section of the ruling classes stands for support for France against Hitler but has misgivings as to the French Popular Front. Another section, of which Lord Londonderry was the spokesman, is out and out pro-Hitler; a third section balances between these. General agreement exists only on the policy of rearmament, in regard to which the National Government is now being offered the support of Bevin, Citrine and other reformist leaders.

The pro-Hitler section was formerly the most influential one, and is now more and more supported by the city and the bankers. But this policy is utterly repugnant to the mass of the British people and no one of the pro-Hitler section has been able to make it popular.

A vacancy has thus appeared for a new role, namely, that of a pro-Hitlerite, capable by his propaganda, of penetrating among the masses.

Here is where Lloyd George steps in.

He announces that there is a “New Germany”. He maintains that in this Germany there is no longer any class struggle nor indeed any struggle of any kind. He asserts that this Germany does not threaten anyone.

Something else however attracted the attention of our traveler in this idyllic Germany.

"I found everywhere (i.e., among the leaders of Hitlerism—R.P.A.), he wrote, “a fierce and uncompromising hostility to Russian Bolshevism, coupled with a genuine admiration for the British people, with a profound desire for a better and friendlier understanding with them.”

He actually defends the ravings at Nuremberg and has the effrontery to explain the Nuremberg speech and the claims of the Nazis to take the Ukraine as having nothing to do with warlike intentions and that it was merely “a taunt”.

Finally, Lloyd George finds the following remarkable explanation of the “recent outbursts against Russia” as being only

“. . . the common form of diplomatic relationship between Communist Russia and the rest of the world on both sides.”

It is nothing more than this, he says, and is not intended as a provocation to war. Again and again he repeats “it does not mean war”.

The title of the article of Lloyd George is “I Talk to Hitler”. It is more apparent that Hitler talked to him. The utterances of Lloyd George sound like a gramophone record of the familiar Nazi propaganda.

So, in fine, Lloyd George has become Hitler’s mouthpiece for Britain. But he can only become this because Lloyd George long ago in Britain has ceased to be the mouthpiece of any section of the people’s opinion.

To those who remember Lloyd George as the radical politician before the war or as the successful War Minister of British imperialism, it may seem strange to learn that Lloyd George has sunk so low in popular esteem, has become so bankrupt that he is now making his last gambler’s throw, staking his all on the Knave of Clubs.

Yet the fact is that this one-time leading figure of the Liberal Party, this war-time Prime Minister, this all-powerful head of the Liberal-Tory coalition of 1918 to 1922 has lost his support in every political party. The working class hates him, the Tories distrust him, the Liberal Party is split into two sections, neither of which includes Lloyd George.

In Parliament he sits as the chieftain of the Lloyd George Family Party, consisting of himself, his son, his son-in-law and his daughter. So this ruthless, clever, wily, unscrupulous demagogue has reached the position of a political outcast and like other well-known adventurers of the war period, like Ludendorff or Millerand and others, he has steadily sunk in the general esteem. Recognizing this, he has now decided to stake his all, and to risk a desperate course.

Appeasement of Germany


Rudman argues that Lloyd George was consistently pro-German after 1923. He supported German demands for territorial concessions and recognition of its "great power" status; he paid much less attention to the security concerns of France, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Belgium.[114]

The Germans welcomed him as a friend in the highest circles of British politics. In September 1936 he went to Germany to talk with the German dictator Adolf Hitler. Hitler said he was pleased to have met "the man who won the war";

Lloyd George was moved, and called Hitler "the greatest living German".

Lloyd George also visited Germany's public works programmes and was impressed. On his return to Britain he wrote an article for The Daily Express praising Hitler; he wrote, "The Germans have definitely made up their minds never to quarrel with us again."

He believed Hitler was "the George Washington of Germany"; that he was rearming Germany for defence and not for offensive war; that a war between Germany and Russia would not happen for at least ten years; that Hitler admired the British and wanted their friendship but that there was no British leadership to exploit this

 However, by 1938, Lloyd George's distaste for Neville Chamberlain led him to disavow Chamberlain's appeasement policies.


Lloyd George - Britain's Petain


Churchill offered Lloyd George the agriculture portfolio in his Cabinet but he refused, citing his unwillingness to sit alongside Chamberlain.

Lloyd George also thought that Britain's chances in the war were dim, and he remarked to his secretary: "I shall wait until Winston is bust."[117] He wrote to the Duke of Bedford in September 1940 advocating a negotiated peace with Germany after the Battle of Britain.[118]

A pessimistic speech by Lloyd George on 7 May 1941 led Churchill to compare him with Philippe Pétain.


No comments:

Post a Comment