David Lloyd George
1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor
In 1890, Lloyd George, the entered the Commons as a Liberal representing the Welsh Caernarfon Boroughs. At the turn of the century he had a reputation for spirited oratory on behalf of Welsh causes. He established himself as Liberal leader and an opponent of the second Boer War (1899-1902).
Serving in the Campbell-Bannerman government as president of the board of trade (1905-08) he was legislatively active, credited with passage of the Merchant Shipping Act (1906), the Patent Act (1907) and for the formation of the Port Authority of London in 1908. In the Asquith government (1908-15) he was chancellor of the Exchequer and the man behind the infamous "people's budget" of 1909. The budget promoted higher land taxes and a supertax on incomes over £3000 to pay for social reform programs and rearming the navy. Rejected by the Lords, the budget drove a wedge between the two houses that resulted in the Parliament Act of 1911.
After Campbell-Bannerman died, Lloyd George served in Asquith's World War I, coalition cabinet as minister of munitions and as secretary for war. Not happy with Asquith's handling of the war, he helped engineer the ouster of Asquith in 1916, becoming prime minister of his own coalition backed by a strong contingent of Conservatives. He proved a capable wartime leader. The victory achieved in 1918 was won despite conflicts with Douglas Haig, the Commander in chief of the British Expeditionary Forces, known for tremendous losses of troups in battle, and General Roberston, chief of the imperial general staff.
At the Paris peace conference he met with great success, but at home the country was facing an economic shock to the system resulting from the return to civilian life of nearly four millions soldiers. In Ireland, violence leads to the establishment of an Irish Free State in 1920. Conservatives were not happy and the coalition began to fall apart. A scandal over campaign finance led to further loss of Conservative support. Lloyd George resigned in 1922.
He never served in government again. He led the Liberal party from 1926 to 1931, but they continued to lose at the polls. While a reformer, an early architect of social welfare programs and the man who led the country to victory in World War I, the Lloyd George remembered by many Liberals is the one who ousted Asquith in 1916.
1916 -[Sept.] Tanks are used in battle for the first time by the British in the Battle of the Somme in Northern France. The allies lost 600,000 soldiers between July and November, advancing 20 miles.
1917 -[Feb.] The Germans begin all out submarine warfare. [April] America declares war on Germany. [July.] Germany stops the Allies in the third Battle of Ypres. [Nov.] Bolsheviks sieze power in Russia. [Dec.] Russia signs an armistice with Germany. The royal family changes their name. They opt for the very British sounding "Windsor" and abandon "Saxe-Coburg-Gotha" a real tongue tester. The Balfour Declaration states the British governments support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
1918 - [Jan.] Woodrow Wilson announces his 14 Point plan for peace. [March] Russia signs the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Germany launches an offensive along the Sommes. [April]The "Red Baron", Baron Manfred von Richthofen, was shot down by an RAF fighter. He dies in the crash. [July] France begins the second battle of the Marne. [Aug.] British troops break the line at Amiens. [Sept.] The Allies begin the final offensive on the western front. [Oct.]Czechoslovakia is proclaimed a republic. [Nov.] Germany signs the armistice. Arab forces with T. E. "Lawrence of Arabia" capture Damascus from the Turks.
1919 - Treaty of Versailles is signed officially ending World War I; Germany to pay war damages. Germany adopts Weimar Constitution, adopting democratic government. Sinn Fein Party declares Ireland's independence from Britain. Fighting breaks out between Irish Nationalists and British. The International Labour Organization is formed. The first aircraft makes it across the Atlantic from New York to Lisbon in 44 hours, requiring several stops.
1920 - Separate Parliaments are created for Northern and Southern Ireland by Government of Ireland Act carried through British Parliament. The Panama Canal opens. The League of Nations is established. Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford are married in Hollywood. Parliament passes the Irish Home Rule bill. Prohibition arrives in America, the era of the bootlegger begins.
1921 - London's first motor cycle police went on patrol. The first Miss America, Margaret Gorman, is crowned in Atlantic City.
1922 - Court of International Justice holds its first meeting in the Hague, Holland. Facists take power in Italy. Mussolini becomes dictator. Egypt is declared independent, ending British seven-year protectorate. In America , women's bathing costume hemlines were set at no more than six inches above the knee.
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