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8 janvier 2012 7 08 /01 /janvier /2012 04:57

Harold Macmillan

Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC (10 February 1894 – 29 December 1986) was Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963. HP Pavilion DV4 Battery

Nicknamed 'Supermac' and known for his pragmatism, wit and unflappability, Macmillan achieved notoriety before the Second World War as a Tory radical and critic of appeasement. Rising to high office as a protégé of wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill, HP Pavilion DV4-1000 Battery

he believed in the post-war settlement and the necessity of a mixed economy, and in his premiership pursuedcorporatist policies to develop the domestic market as the engine of growth.[2] As a One Nation Tory of the Disraeliantradition, haunted by memories of the Great Depression, he championed a Keynesian strategy of public investment to maintain demand, HP Pavilion DV4-1000EA Battery

winning a second term in 1959 on an electioneering budget. Benefiting from favourable international conditions,[3] he presided over an age of affluence, marked by low unemployment and high if uneven growth. In his Bedford speech of July 1957 he told the nation they had 'never had it so good',[4] but warned of the dangers of inflation, summing up the fragile prosperity of the 1950s.[5] HP Pavilion DV4-1001 Battery

In international affairs, Macmillan rebuilt the special relationship with the United States from the wreckage of the Suez Crisis (of which he had been one of the architects), and redrew the world map by decolonising sub-Saharan Africa. Reconfiguring the nation's defences to meet the realities of the nuclear age, he ended National Service, strengthened the nuclear deterrentby acquiring Polaris, and pioneered the Nuclear Test Ban with the United States and the Soviet Union. HP Pavilion DV4-1001AX Battery

Belatedly recognising the dangers of strategic dependence, he sought a new role for Britain in Europe, but his unwillingness to disclose United States nuclear secrets to France contributed to a French veto of the United Kingdom's entry into the European Economic Community.[6] HP Pavilion DV4-1001TU Battery

Macmillan's government in its final year was rocked by the Vassall and Profumo scandals, which seemed to symbolise for therebellious youth of the 1960s the moral decay of the British establishment.[7] Resigning prematurely after a medical misdiagnosis, Macmillan lived out a long retirement as an elder statesman of global stature. He was as trenchant a critic of his successors in his old age as he had been of his predecessors in his youth. When asked what represented the greatest challenge for a statesman, Macmillan replied: 'Events, my dear boy, events'. HP Pavilion DV4-1001TX Battery


Harold Macmillan was born at 52 Cadogan Place in Chelsea, London, to Maurice Crawford Macmillan (1853–1936), publisher, and Helen (Nellie) Artie Tarleton Belles (1856–1937), artist and socialite, from Spencer, Indiana in the United States.[9] He had two brothers, Daniel, eight years his senior, and Arthur, four years his senior.[10] His paternal grandfather, Daniel MacMillan(1813–1857), was the son of a Scottish crofter who founded Macmillan Publishers. HP Pavilion DV4-1002 Battery


Macmillan's early education was intense and closely guided by his American mother. He was taught French at home every morning by a succession of nursery maids, and exercised daily at Mr Macpherson's Gymnasium and Dancing Academy, around the corner from the family home in Cadogan Place.[11] From the age of six or seven he received introductory lessons in classical Latin and Greek at Mr Gladstone's day school, close by in Sloane Square.[12] HP Pavilion DV4-1002AX Battery

Macmillan then attended Summer Fields School, Oxford (1903–6), but his time at Eton College (1906–10) was blighted by recurrent illness, starting with a near-fatal attack of pneumonia in his first half; he missed his final year after being invalided out,[13][14] and had to be taught at home by private tutors (1910–11), notably Ronald Knox, who did much to instil his High Church Anglicanism.[15] He went up to Balliol College, Oxford (1912–14), where he obtained a First in Mods (Latin and Greek, the first half of the four-year Oxford Greats course), and became an officer of the Oxford Union Society, before the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914.[citation needed] HP Pavilion DV4-1002TU Battery

War service

Macmillan served with distinction as a captain in the Grenadier Guards during the First World War, and was wounded on three occasions. During the Battle of the Somme, he spent an entire day wounded and lying in a slit trench with a bullet in his pelvis, reading the classical Greek playwright Aeschylus in the original language.[16] HP Pavilion DV4-1002TX Battery

Macmillan spent the final two years of the war in hospital undergoing a long series of operations, and saw no further active service.[17] His hip wound took four years to heal completely, and he was left with a slight shuffle to his walk and a limp grip in his right hand from a separate wound. As was common for contemporary former officers, he continued to be known as 'Captain Macmillan' until the early 1930s. HP Pavilion DV4-1003AX Battery

Canadian aide-de-campship

Of the 28 freshmen who started at Balliol with Macmillan, only he and one other survived.[18] As a result, he refused to return to Oxford, saying the university would never be the same.[19] He served instead in Ottawa, Canada, in 1919 as ADC to Victor Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire, then Governor General of Canada, and his future father-in-law.[20] HP Pavilion DV4-1003TU Battery


On his return to London in 1920 he joined the family firm Macmillan Publishers as a junior partner, remaining with the company until his appointment to ministerial office in 1940.

Personal lifeHP Pavilion DV4-1003TX Battery


Macmillan married Lady Dorothy Cavendish, the daughter of the 9th Duke of Devonshire, on 21 April 1920. Her great-uncle was Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire, who was leader of the Liberal Party in the 1870s, and a close colleague of William Ewart Gladstone, Joseph Chamberlain and Lord Salisbury. HP Pavilion DV4-1004AX Battery

Lady Dorothy was also descended from William Cavendish, 4th Duke of Devonshire, who served as Prime Minister from 1756–1757 in communion with Newcastle and Pitt the Elder. Her nephew William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington married Kathleen, a sister of John F. Kennedy. In 1929 Lady Dorothy began a life-long affair with the Conservative politician Robert Boothby, an arrangement which scandalised high society but remained unknown to the general public.[21HP Pavilion DV4-1004TU Battery

The stress caused by this may have contributed to Macmillan's nervous breakdown in 1931.[22]

Macmillan was in close friendship in old age with Ava Anderson, Viscountess Waverley, née Bodley (1896–1973), the widow of John Anderson, 1st Viscount Waverley.[24]Eileen O'Casey, née Reynolds (1900–1995), the actress wife of Irish dramatist Seán O'Casey, was another female friend of Macmillan, who published her husband's plays. HP Pavilion DV4-1004TX Battery

Although she is said to have replaced Lady Dorothy in Macmillan's affections, there is disagreement over how intimate they became after the death of their respective spouses, and whether he proposed.[25][26][27][28] HP Pavilion DV4-1005TX Battery

Political career

Private Member (1924–1929, 1931–1940)

Elected to the House of Commons in 1924 for the depressed northern industrial constituency of Stockton-on-Tees, Macmillan lost his seat in 1929 in the face of high regional unemployment, but returned in 1931. He spent the 1930s on the backbenches, with his championing of economic planning, HP Pavilion DV4-1006TX Battery

anti-appeasement ideals and sharp criticism of Stanley Baldwin and Neville Chamberlain serving to isolate him from the party leadership. During this time (1938) he published the first edition of his book The Middle Way, which advocated a broadly centrist political philosophy both domestically and internationally. HP Pavilion DV4-1007TX Battery

Supply Parliamentary Secretary (1940–1942)

In the Second World War Macmillan at last attained office, serving in the wartime coalition government as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Supply from 1940 to 1942. The task of the department was to provide armaments and other equipment to the British Army and Royal Air Force. Macmillan travelled up and down the country to co-ordinate production, working with some success under Lord Beaverbrook to increase the supply and quality of armoured vehicles.[29] HP Pavilion DV4-1008TX Battery

Colonial Under-Secretary (1942)

Macmillan was appointed as Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1942, in his own words, 'leaving a madhouse in order to enter a mausoleum'.[30] Though a junior minister he was sworn of the Privy Council and spoke in the House of Commons for successive Colonial Secretaries Lord Moyne and Lord Cranborne. Macmillan was given responsibility for increasing colonial production and trade, and signalled the future direction of British policy when in June 1942 he declared: HP Pavilion DV4-1009TX Battery

The governing principle of the Colonial Empire should be the principle of partnership between the various elements composing it. Out of partnership comes understanding and friendship. Within the fabric of the Commonwealth lies the future of the Colonial territories.[31] HP Pavilion DV4-1010TX Battery

Macmillan attained real power and Cabinet rank upon being sent to North Africa in 1942 as British government representative to the Allies in the Mediterranean, reporting directly to Prime Minister Winston Churchill over the head of the Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden. During this assignment Macmillan served as liaison and mediator between Churchill and US General Dwight D. Eisenhower in North Africa, building a rapport with the latter that would prove helpful in his later career.[32] HP Pavilion DV4-1011TX Battery

As minister resident with a roving commission, Macmillan also the minister advising General Keightley of V Corps, the senior Allied commander in Austria responsible for Operation Keelhaul, which included the forced repatriation of up to 70,000 prisoners of war to the Soviet Union and Josip Broz Tito's Yugoslavia in 1945. HP Pavilion DV4-1012TX Battery

The deportations and Macmillan's involvement later became a source of controversy because of the harsh treatment meted out to Nazi collaborators and anti-partisans by the receiving countries, and because in the confusion V Corps went beyond the terms agreed at Yaltaand Allied Forces Headquarters directives by repatriating 4000 White Russian troops and 11,000 civilian family members who could not properly be regarded as Soviet citizens.[33][34][35] HP Pavilion DV4-1013TX Battery

Air Secretary (1945)

Macmillan returned to England after the European war and was Secretary of State for Air for two months in Churchill's caretaker government, 'much of which was taken up in electioneering', there being 'nothing much to be done in the way of forward planning'.[36] He felt himself 'almost a stranger at home',[37] and lost his seat in the landslide Labour victory of 1945, but soon returned to Parliament in a November 1945 by-election in Bromley. HP Pavilion DV4-1014NR Battery

Housing Minister (1951–1954)

With the Conservative victory in 1951 Macmillan became Minister of Housing under Churchill, who entrusted Macmillan with fulfilling the latter's conference promise to build 300,000 houses per year. 'It is a gamble—it will make or mar your political career,' Churchill said, 'but every humble home will bless your name if you succeed.'[38] Macmillan achieved the target a year ahead of schedule.[39] HP Pavilion DV4-1014TX Battery

Defence Minister (1954–1955)

Macmillan served as Minister of Defence from October 1954, but found his authority restricted by Churchill's personal involvement.[40] In the opinion of The Economist: 'He gave the impression that his own undoubted capacity for imaginative running of his own show melted way when an august superior was breathing down his neck.'[41] HP Pavilion DV4-1015TX Battery

A major theme of Macmillan's tenure at Defence was the ministry's growing reliance on the nuclear deterrent, in the view of some critics, to the detriment of conventional forces.[42] The Defence White Paper of February 1955, announcing the decision to produce the hydrogen bomb, received bipartisan support.[43] HP Pavilion DV4-1015TX Battery

By this time Macmillan had lost the wire-rimmed glasses, toothy grin and brylcreemed hair of wartime photographs, and instead grew his hair thick and glossy, had his teeth capped and walked with the ramrod bearing of a former Guards officer—acquiring the distinguished appearance of his later career. HP Pavilion DV4-1016TX Battery

Foreign Secretary (1955)

Macmillan served as Foreign Secretary in April–December 1955 in the government of Anthony Eden. Returning from the Geneva Summit of that year he made headlines by declaring: 'There ain’t gonna be no war.'[44] Of the role of Foreign Secretary Macmillan famously observed:

Nothing he can say can do very much good and almost anything he may say may do a great deal of harm. Anything he says that is not obvious is dangerous; whatever is not trite is risky. He is forever poised between the cliché and the indiscretion.[45] HP Pavilion DV4-1017TX Battery

Chancellor of the Exchequer (1955–1957)

Macmillan served as Chancellor of the Exchequer 1955–1957. In this office he insisted that Eden's de facto deputy Rab Butler not be treated as senior to him, and threatened resignation until he was allowed to cut bread and milk subsidies. One of Macmillan's innovations at the Treasury was the introduction of premium bonds,[46] announced in his budget of 17 April 1956.[47] Although the Labour Opposition initially decried the sale as a 'squalid raffle', it proved an immediate hit with the public. HP Pavilion DV4-1018TX Battery

During the Suez Crisis, when Britain invaded Egypt in collusion with France, and Israel, according to Labour leader Harold Wilson, Macmillan was 'first in, first out': first very supportive of the invasion, then a prime mover in Britain's humiliating withdrawal in the wake of the financial crisis caused by pressure from the U.S. government.[48] HP Pavilion DV4-1019TX Battery

Since the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, relations between Britain and Egypt deteriorated. The Egyptian government, which came to be dominated byGamal Abdel Nasser, was opposed to the British imperial presence in the Arab World. The Egyptian nationialisation of the Suez Canal by President Nasser on 26 July 1956 prompted the British government of Anthony Eden to commence plans for invading Egypt, regaining the Canal, and toppling Nasser. Macmillan wrote in his diary: HP Pavilion DV4-1020TX Battery

"If Nasser 'gets away with it', we are done for. The whole Arab world will despise us ... Nuri [es-Said, British-backed prime minister of Iraq] and our friends will fall. It may well be the end of British influence and strength forever. So, in the last resort, we must use force and defy opinion, here and overseas".[49] HP Pavilion DV4-1020US Battery

Macmillan was heavily involved in the secret planning of the invasion with France, and Israel. It was he who first suggested collusion with Israel.[50] Macmillan knew President Eisenhower well, but misjudged his strong opposition to a military solution to the issue. Macmillan met privately with Eisenhower on 25 September 1956 and convinced himself that the US would not oppose the Anglo-French-Israeli invasion.[51] HP Pavilion DV4-1021TX Battery

The treasury was his portfolio, but he did not recognize the financial disaster that could result from U.S. government actions. Sterling was draining out of the Bank of England at an alarming rate, and it was getting worse. The Canal was blocked by the Egyptians, and most oil shipments were delayed as tankers had to go all the way around Africa. HP Pavilion DV4-1024TX Battery

The U.S. government refused any financial help until Britain withdrew its forces from Egypt. When he did realise it, he reversed himself and called for withdrawal on the U.S. terms, while exaggerating the financial crisis. Faced with Macmillan's prediction of doom, the cabinet had no choice but to accept the American terms and withdraw. HP Pavilion DV4-1025TX Battery

Ultimately, the Suez Canal remained in Egyptian hands, and Nasser's government continued its support of Arab and African national resistance movements opposed to the British Empire in the region, and the continent.[52] The debacle destroyed Prime Minister Eden's political standing and his physical health; he had to resign, leaving the door to 10 Downing Street open for his deputy Rab Butler or Macmillan.[53] HP Pavilion DV4-1026TX Battery

In later life Macmillan was open about his failure to read Eisenhower's thoughts correctly and much regretted the damage done to Anglo-American relations. However he always maintained that the Anglo-French military response to the nationalisation of the Canal had been for the best.[54] HP Pavilion DV4-1027TX Battery

Prime Minister (1957–1963)

First government (1957–1959)

Anthony Eden resigned in January 1957. At that time the Conservative Party had no formal mechanism for selecting a new leader, effectively leaving the choice of the new leader, and Prime Minister, in the hands of the Sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen appointed Macmillan Prime Minister after taking advice from Winston Churchill and Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury, surprising some observers who expected that Rab Butler would be chosen. HP Pavilion DV4-1028TX Battery

The political situation after Suez was so desperate that on taking office on 10 January he told the Queen he could not guarantee his government would last "six weeks" - though ultimately he would be in charge of the government for more than six years.[55] HP Pavilion DV4-1028US Battery

Macmillan populated his government with many who had studied at the same school as he: he filled government posts with 35 former Etonians, 7 of whom sat in Cabinet.[56] He was also devoted to family members: when Andrew Cavendish, 11th Duke of Devonshire was later appointed (Minister for Colonial Affairs from 1963 to 1964 amongst other positions) he described his uncle's behaviour as "the greatest act of nepotism ever".[57] HP Pavilion DV4-1029TX Battery

He was nicknamed Supermac in 1958 by cartoonist Victor 'Vicky' Weisz. It was intended as mockery, but backfired, coming to be used in a neutral or friendly fashion. Weisz tried to label him with other names, including "Mac the Knife" at the time of widespread cabinet changes in 1962, but none of these caught on.[58] HP Pavilion DV4-1030EE Battery


Macmillan brought the monetary concerns of the Exchequer into office; the economy was his prime concern. His One Nation approach to the economy was to seek high or full employment. This contrasted with his mainly monetarist Treasury ministers who argued that any support of sterling required strict controls on money and hence an unavoidable rise in unemployment. HP Pavilion DV4-1030EI Battery

Their advice was rejected and in January 1958 the three Treasury ministers Peter Thorneycroft, the Chancellor of the Exchequer,Nigel Birch, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, and Enoch Powell, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, resigned. Macmillan, away on a tour of the Commonwealth, brushed aside this incident as 'a little local difficulty'. HP Pavilion DV4-1030EJ Battery

Foreign policy

Macmillan took close control of foreign policy. He worked to narrow the post-Suez Crisis rift with the United States, where his wartime friendship with Dwight D. Eisenhower was key; the two had a productive conference in Bermuda as early as March 1957. HP Pavilion DV4-1030EN Battery

In February 1959 Macmillan became the first Western leader to visit the Soviet Union since the Second World War.[59] Talks with Nikita Khrushchev eased tensions in East-West relations over West Berlin and led to an agreement in principle to stop nuclear tests and to hold a further summit meeting of Allied and Soviet heads of government.[60] HP Pavilion DV4-1030TX Battery

In the Middle East, faced by the 1958 collapse of the Baghdad Pact and the spread of Soviet influence, Macmillan acted decisively to restore the confidence ofPersian Gulf allies, using the Royal Air Force and special forces to defeat a revolt backed by Saudi Arabia and Egypt against the Sultan of Oman in July 1957,[61]deploying airborne battalions to defend Jordan against Syrian subversion in July 1958,[62] and deterring a threatened Iraqi invasion of Kuwait by landing a brigade group in July 1960.[63] HP Pavilion DV4-1031TX Battery

Macmillan was also a major proponent and architect of decolonisation. The Gold Coast was granted independence as Ghana, and the Federation of Malaya achieved independence within the Commonwealth of Nations in 1957. HP Pavilion DV4-1032TX Battery

In April 1957 Macmillan reaffirmed his strong support for the British nuclear deterrent. A succession of prime ministers since the Second World War had been determined to persuade the United States to revive wartime co-operation in the area of nuclear weapons research. Macmillan believed that one way to encourage such co-operation would be for the United Kingdom to speed up the development of its ownhydrogen bomb, which was successfully tested on 8 November 1957. HP Pavilion DV4-1033TX Battery

acmillan's decision led to increased demands on the Windscale and (subsequently) Calder Hall nuclear plants to produce plutonium for military purposes.[64] As a result the safety margins of the radioactive materials inside the Windscale reactor were eroded. This contributed to the Windscale accident on the night of 10 October 1957, in which a fire broke out in the plutonium plant of Pile No. 1,HP Pavilion DV4-1034TX Battery

and nuclear contaminants travelled up a chimney where the filters blocked some but not all of the contaminated material. The radioactive cloud spread to south-east England and fallout reached mainland Europe. Although scientists had warned of the dangers of such an accident for some time, the government blamed the workers who had put out the fire for 'an error of judgement', rather than the political pressure for fast-tracking the megaton bomb.[65][66] HP Pavilion DV4-1035LA Battery

Macmillan, concerned that public confidence in the nuclear programme might be shaken and that technical information might be misused by opponents of defence co-operation in the US Congress, withheld all but the summary of a report into the Windscale fire prepared for theAtomic Energy Authority by Sir William Penney, director of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment.[67] HP Pavilion DV4-1035TX Battery

While subsequently released files show that 'Macmillan's cuts were few and covered up few technical details',[68] and that even the full report at the time found no danger to public health, later official estimates acknowledged the release of polonium-210 may have led directly to 25 to 50 deaths, and anti-nuclear groups linked it to 1,000 fatal cancers.[69][70] HP Pavilion DV4-1036TX Battery

On 25 March 1957 Macmillan also acceded to Eisenhower's request to base 60 Thor IRBMs in England under joint control, to replace the nuclear bombers of the Strategic Air Command, which had been stationed under joint control in the country since 1948, and were approaching obsolescence. HP Pavilion DV4-1037TX Battery

Partly as a consequence of this favour, in late October 1957, the US McMahon Act was eased to facilitate nuclear co-operation between the two governments, initially with a view to producing cleaner weapons and reducing the need for duplicate testing.[71] The Mutual Defence Agreement followed on 3 July 1958, speeding up British ballistic missile development,[72]notwithstanding unease expressed at the time about the impetus co-operation might give to atomic proliferation by arousing the jealousy of France and other allies.[73] HP Pavilion DV4-1038TX Battery

Election campaign (1959)

Macmillan led the Conservatives to victory in the October 1959 general election, increasing his party's majority from 67 to 107 seats. The successful campaign was based on the economic improvements achieved; the slogan "Life's Better Under the Conservatives" was matched by Macmillan's own remark, '"indeed let us be frank about it — most of our people have never had it so good,"[74] usually paraphrased as "You've never had it so good." Such rhetoric reflected a new reality of working-class affluence; it has been argued: "The key factor in the Conservative victory was that average real pay for industrial workers had risen since Churchill’s 1951 victory by over 20 per cent".[75] HP Pavilion DV4-1039TX Battery

The Daily Mirror newspaper, despite being staunch supporters of the Labour Party, wished Macmillan "good luck" on their front page after his election win.[76]

Second government (1959–1963) HP Pavilion DV4-1040EE Battery


Britain's balance of payments problems led to the imposition of a wage freeze in 1961 and, amongst other factors, this caused the government to lose popularity and a series of by-elections in March 1962.

Fearing for his own position, Macmillan organised a major Cabinet change in July 1962—also named 'the night of long knives' as a symbol of his alleged betrayal of the Conservative party. Eight junior Ministers were sacked at the same time. HP Pavilion DV4-1040EI Battery

The Cabinet changes were widely seen as a sign of panic, and the young Liberal MP Jeremy Thorpe said of Macmillan's dismissal of so many of his colleagues, 'greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down his friends for his life'.

Macmillan supported the creation of the National Incomes Commission as a means to institute controls on income as part of his growth-without-inflation policy. A further series of subtle indicators and controls were also introduced during his premiership. HP Pavilion DV4-1040TX Battery

Foreign policy

The special relationship with the United States continued after the election of President John F. Kennedy, whosesister had married a nephew of Macmillan's wife. The Prime Minister was supportive throughout the Cuban missile crisisof 1962 and Kennedy consulted him by telephone every day. HP Pavilion DV4-1041TX Battery

The British Ambassador David Ormsby-Gore was a close family friend of the President and actively involved in White House discussions on how to resolve the crisis.

Macmillan's first government had seen the first phase of the sub-Saharan African independence movement, which accelerated under his second government. His celebrated 'wind of change' speech in Cape Town on his African tour in February 1960 is considered a landmark in the process of decolonisation. HP Pavilion DV4-1042TX Battery

Nigeria, the Southern Cameroons and British Somaliland were granted independence in 1960, Sierra Leone and Tanganyikain 1961, Uganda in 1962, and Kenya in 1963. Zanzibar merged with Tanganyika to form Tanzania in 1963. All remained within the Commonwealth but British Somaliland, which merged with Italian Somaliland to form Somalia. HP Pavilion DV4-1043TX Battery

Macmillan's policy overrode the hostility of white minorities and the Conservative Monday Club. South Africa left the multiracial Commonwealth in 1961 and Macmillan acquiesced to the dissolution of the Central African Federation by the end of 1963.

In Southeast Asia, Malaya and the then-crown colonies of Sabah (British North Borneo), Sarawak and Singapore became independent as Malaysia in 1963. HP Pavilion DV4-1044TX Battery

The speedy transfer of power maintained the goodwill of the new nations but critics contended it was premature. In justification Macmillan quoted Lord Macaulay in 1851:

Many politicians of our time are in the habit of laying it down as a self-evident proposition that no people ought to be free until they are fit to use their freedom. The maxim is worthy of the fool in the old story, who resolved not to go into the water till he had learnt to swim. If men are to wait for liberty till they become wise and good in slavery, they may indeed wait for ever.[77]

Skybolt crisisHP Pavilion DV4-1045TX Battery

Macmillan cancelled the Blue Streak ballistic missile system in April 1960 over concerns about its vulnerability to a pre-emptive attack, but continued with the development of the air launched Blue Steel stand-off bomb, which was about to enter trials. As the eventual replacement for Blue Steel, he opted for Britain to join the American Skybolt missile development project. HP Pavilion DV4-1046TX Battery

From the same year Macmillan also permitted the U.S. Navy to station Polaris submarines at Holy Loch, Scotland, as a replacement for Thor. When Skybolt was in turn unilaterally cancelled by U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Macmillan negotiated with President John F. Kennedy the purchase of Polaris missiles from the United States under the Nassau agreement in December 1962.HP Pavilion DV4-1047TX Battery

Partial Test Ban Treaty (1963)

Macmillan was also a force in the successful negotiations leading to the signing of the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty by the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union. His previous attempt to create an agreement at the May 1960 summit in Paris had collapsed due to the U-2 Crisis of 1960. HP Pavilion DV4-1048TX Battery


Macmillan worked with states outside the European Economic Community (EEC) to form the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which from 3 May 1960 established a free-trade area between the member countries. Macmillan also saw the value of rapprochement with the EEC, to which his government sought belated entry. HP Pavilion DV4-1049TX Battery

In the event, Britain's application to join was vetoed by French president Charles de Gaulle on 29 January 1963, in part due to de Gaulle's fear that 'the end would be a colossal Atlantic Community dependent on America', and in part in anger at the Anglo-American nuclear deal, from which France, technologically lagging far behind, had been excluded.[78] HP Pavilion DV4-1050 Battery

Profumo affair

The Profumo affair of 1963 permanently damaged the credibility of Macmillan's government. He survived a Parliamentary vote with a majority of 69, one fewer than had been thought necessary for his survival, and was afterwards joined in the smoking-room only by his son and son-in-law, not by any Cabinet minister. Nonetheless, Butler and Maudling (who was very popular with backbench MPs at that time) declined to push for his resignation, especially after a tide of support from Conservative activists around the country. HP Pavilion DV4-1050EE Battery

Retirement (1963–1986)


The Profumo affair may have exacerbated Macmillan's ill-health. He was taken ill on the eve of the Conservative Party conference, diagnosed incorrectly with inoperable prostate cancer. Consequently, he resigned on 18 October 1963. He felt privately that he was being hounded from office by a backbench minority: HP Pavilion DV4-1050EL Battery

Some few will be content with the success they have had in the assassination of their leader and will not care very much who the successor is.... They are a band that in the end does not amount to more than 15 or 20 at the most.[79] HP Pavilion DV4-1050EP Battery


Macmillan was succeeded as Prime Minister by the Foreign Secretary Alec Douglas-Home in a controversial move; it was alleged that Macmillan had pulled strings and utilised the party's grandees, nicknamed 'The Magic Circle', to ensure that Butler was not chosen as his successor.

Macmillan initially refused a peerage and retired from politics in September 1964, a month before the 1964 which the Conservatives narrowly lost to Labour, now led by Harold Wilson.[80]

Oxford Chancellor (1960–1986) HP Pavilion DV4-1050ER Battery

Macmillan had been elected Chancellor of the University of Oxford in 1960, in a campaign masterminded by Hugh Trevor-Roper, and continued in this distinguished office for life, frequently presiding over college events, making speeches and tirelessly raising funds. According to Sir Patrick Neill QC, the vice-chancellor, Macmillan 'would talk late into the night with eager groups of students who were often startled by the radical views he put forward, well into his last decade.'HP Pavilion DV4-1050TX Battery

Political interventions

Macmillan made occasional political interventions in retirement. Responding to a remark made by Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson about not having boots in which to go to school, Macmillan retorted: 'If Mr Wilson did not have boots to go to school that is because he was too big for them.'[82] HP Pavilion DV4-1051 Battery

Macmillan accepted the distinction of the Order of Merit from the Queen in 1976. In October of that year he called for 'a Government of National Unity', including all parties, that could command the public support to resolve the economic crisis. Asked who could lead such a coalition, he replied: "Mr Gladstone formed his last Government when he was eighty-three. I'm only eighty-two. You mustn't put temptation in my way."[83] His plea was interpreted by party leaders as a bid for power and rejected. HP Pavilion DV4-1051TX Battery

Macmillan still travelled widely, visiting China in October 1979, where he held talks with its leader, senior Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping.[84]

Relations with Margaret Thatcher

Macmillan found himself drawn more actively into politics after Margaret Thatcher became Conservative leader in February 1975,[85] and Prime Minister in May 1979 when the Tories ended Labour's five-year rule with an election win,[86] and the record of his own premiership came under attack from the monetarists in the party, whose theories she supported. In a celebrated speech he wondered aloud where such theories had come from: HP Pavilion DV4-1052 Battery

Was it America? Or was it Tibet? It is quite true, many of Your Lordships will remember it operating in the nursery. How do you treat a cold? One nannysaid, 'Feed a cold'; she was a neo-Keynesian. The other said, 'Starve a cold'; she was a monetarist.[87]

HP Pavilion DV4-1052TX Battery

On Macmillan's advice in April 1982 Thatcher excluded the Treasury from her Falklands War Cabinet. She later said: 'I never regretted following Harold Macmillan's advice. We were never tempted to compromise the security of our forces for financial reasons. Everything we did was governed by military necessity.'[88] HP Pavilion DV4-1053 Battery

Macmillan finally accepted a peerage on 10 February 1984[89] and was created Earl of Stockton and Viscount Macmillan of Ovenden. He took the title from his former parliamentary seat on the border of the Durham coalfields, and in his maiden speech in the House of Lords he criticised Thatcher's handling of the coal miners' strike and her characterisation of striking miners as 'the enemy within'.[90] He received an unprecedented standing ovation for his oration which included the words: HP Pavilion DV4-1053TX Battery

It breaks my heart to see—and I cannot interfere—what is happening in our country today. This terrible strike, by the best men in the world, who beat the Kaiser's and Hitler's armies and never gave in. It is pointless and we cannot afford that kind of thing. Then there is the growing division of Conservative prosperity in the south and the ailing north and Midlands. We used to have battles and rows but they were quarrels. Now there is a new kind of wicked hatred that has been brought in by different types of people.[87] HP Pavilion DV4-1054TX Battery

As Chancellor of Oxford Lord Stockton condemned the university's refusal in February 1985 to award Thatcher an honorary degree. He noted that the decision represented a break with tradition, and predicted that the snub would rebound on the university.[91]

HP Pavilion DV4-1055TX Battery

Stockton is widely supposed to have likened Margaret Thatcher's policy of privatisation to 'selling the family silver'. His precise quote, at a dinner of the Tory Reform Group at the Royal Overseas League on 8 November 1985, was on the subject of the sale of assets commonplace among individuals or states when they encountered financial difficulties: 'First of all the Georgian silver goes. And then all that nice furniture that used to be in the salon. Then the Canalettos go.' Profitable parts of the steel industry and the railways had been privatised, along with British Telecom: 'They were like two Rembrandts still left.'[92] HP Pavilion DV4-1070 Battery

Stockton's speech was much commented on and a few days later he made a speech in the House of Lords, referring to it:

When I ventured the other day to criticise the system I was, I am afraid, misunderstood. As a Conservative, I am naturally in favour of returning into private ownership and private management all those means of production and distribution which are now controlled by state capitalism. I am sure they will be more efficient. What I ventured to question was the using of these huge sums as if they were income.[93] HP Pavilion DV4-1070EE Battery

In the last month of his life, he mournfully observed:

Sixty-three years ago... the unemployment figure (in Stockton-on-Tees) was then 29%. Last November... the unemployment (there) is 28%. A rather sad end to one's life.

Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, died on 29 December 1986, at Birch Grove, the Macmillan family mansion on the edge ofAshdown Forest near Chelwood Gate in East Sussex. HP Pavilion DV4-1070EF Battery

He was aged 92 years and 322 days—the greatest age attained by a British Prime Minister until surpassed by James Callaghan on 14 February 2005. His grandson and heir Alexander, Viscount Macmillan of Ovenden, said: 'In the last 48 hours he was very weak but entirely reasonable and intelligent. His last words were, "I think I will go to sleep now".'[94][95] HP Pavilion DV4-1070ER Battery

Margaret Thatcher, on receiving the news, hailed him as 'a very remarkable man and a very great patriot', and said that his dislike of 'selling the family silver' had never come between them. He was 'unique in the affection of the British people'.[96] HP Pavilion DV4-1070ES Battery

Tributes came from around the world. US President Ronald Reagan said: 'The American people share in the loss of a voice of wisdom and humanity who, with eloquence and gentle wit, brought to the problems of today the experience of a long life of public service.'[81] Outlawed African National Congress president Oliver Tambo sent his condolences: HP Pavilion DV4-1080EI Battery

'As South Africans we shall always remember him for his efforts to encourage the apartheid regime to bow to the winds of change that continue to blow in South Africa.'[81] Commonwealth Secretary-General Sir Shridath Ramphal affirmed: 'His own leadership in providing from Britain a worthy response to African national consciousness shaped the post-war era and made the modern Commonwealth possible.'[81] HP Pavilion DV4-1080EO Battery

A private funeral was held on 5 January 1987 at St Giles Church, Horsted Keynes, West Sussex, where Lord Stockton had regularly worshipped and read the lesson.[97] Two hundred mourners attended,[95] including 64 members of the Macmillan family, Thatcher and former premiers Lord Home of the Hirsel and Edward Heath, Lord Hailsham of St Marylebone,[94] and 'scores of country neighbours'.[97] The Prince of Wales sent a wreath 'in admiring memory'.[94]Stockton was buried beside his wife, Lady Dorothy, and next to the graves of his parents and of his son, Maurice Macmillan.[97] HP Pavilion DV4-1080ES Battery

The House of Commons paid its tribute on 12 January 1987, with much reference made to the dead statesman's book, The Middle Way.[98] Thatcher said: 'In his retirement Harold Macmillan occupied a unique place in the nation's affections', while Labour leader Neil Kinnock struck a more critical note: HP Pavilion DV4-1090EO Battery

A public memorial service, attended by the Queen and thousands of mourners, was held on 10 February 1987 in Westminster Abbey.[99]

Stockton's son Maurice had become heir to the earldom, but predeceased him suddenly a month after his father's elevation. The 1st Earl was succeeded instead by his grandson, Maurice's son, Alexander, Lord Macmillan, who become the 2nd Earl of Stockton. HP Pavilion DV4-1090ES Battery

Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, PC, DL, FRS, Hon. RA (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a BritishConservative politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice (1940–45 and 1951–55).HP Pavilion DV4-1100 Battery

A noted statesman and orator, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a writer, and an artist. He is the only British prime minister to have received the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was the first person to be made an Honorary Citizen of the United States.

Churchill was born into the aristocratic family of the Dukes of Marlborough. HP Pavilion DV4-1100EA Battery

His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was a charismatic politician who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer; his mother, Jenny Jerome, an American socialite. As a young army officer, he saw action in British India, the Sudan and the Second Boer War. He gained fame as a war correspondent and through books he wrote about his campaigns. HP Pavilion DV4-1101 Battery

At the forefront of politics for fifty years, he held many political and cabinet positions. Before the First World War, he served as President of the Board of Trade, Home Secretary and First Lord of the Admiralty as part of the Asquith Liberal government. HP Pavilion DV4-1101TU Battery

During the war, he continued as First Lord of the Admiralty until the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign, which he had sponsored, caused his departure from government. He then served briefly on the Western Front, commanding the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He returned to government as Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War, HP Pavilion DV4-1101TX Battery

and Secretary of State for Air. After the War, Churchill served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Conservative (Baldwin) government of 1924–29, controversially returning the pound sterling in 1925 to the gold standard at its pre-War parity, a move widely seen as creating deflationary pressure on the UK economy. Also controversial were Churchill's opposition to increased home rule for India, and his resistance to the 1936 abdication of Edward VIII. HP Pavilion DV4-1102 Battery

Out of office and politically "in the wilderness" during the 1930s, Churchill took the lead in warning about the danger from Hitler and in campaigning for rearmament. On the outbreak of the Second World War, he was again appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. Following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain on 10 May 1940, Churchill became Prime Minister. HP Pavilion DV4-1102TU Battery

His steadfast refusal to consider defeat, surrender or a compromise peace helped inspire British resistance, especially during the difficult early days of the War when Britain stood alone in its active opposition to Hitler. Churchill was particularly noted for his speeches and radio broadcasts, which helped inspire the British people. He led Britain as Prime Minister until victory had been secured over Nazi Germany. HP Pavilion DV4-1102TX Battery

After the Conservative Party lost the 1945 election, he became Leader of the Opposition. In 1951, he again became Prime Minister, before retiring in 1955. Upon his death, Elizabeth II granted him the honour of a state funeral, which saw one of the largest assemblies of world statesmen ever.[1] Named the Greatest Briton of all-time in a 2002 poll, Churchill is widely regarded as being among the most influential persons in British history. HP Pavilion DV

4-1103TU Battery

Born into the aristocratic family of the Dukes of Marlborough, a branch of the noble Spencer family,[2] Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, like his father, used the surname Churchill in public life.[3] His ancestor George Spencer had changed his surname to Spencer-Churchill in 1817 when he became Duke of Marlborough, to highlight his descent from John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. HP Pavilion DV4-1103TX Battery

Winston's father, Lord Randolph Churchill, the third son of John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough, was a politician; and his mother, Lady Randolph Churchill (née Jennie Jerome) was the daughter of American millionaire Leonard Jerome. Winston was born on 30 November 1874, two months prematurely, in a bedroom in Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire,[4] HP Pavilion DV4-1104TU Battery

From age two to six, he lived in Dublin where his Grandfather had been appointed Viceroy and employed Churchill's father as his private secretary. Churchill's brother, John Strange Spencer-Churchill, was born during this time in Ireland. It has been claimed that the young Winston first developed his fascination with military matters from watching the many parades pass by the Vice Regal Lodge (now Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence of the President of Ireland).[5][6] HP Pavilion DV4-1104TX Battery

Winston's earliest exposure to education occurred in Dublin, where a governess tried teaching him reading, writing and arithmetic (his first reading book was called 'Reading Without Tears'). With limited contact with his parents, Churchill became very close to his nanny, 'Mrs' Elizabeth Anne Everest, whom he used to call "Old Woom" and who served as his confidante, nurse and mother substitute.[7] The two spent many happy hours playing in Phoenix Park.[8] HP Pavilion DV4-1105EF Battery

Independent and rebellious by nature, Churchill generally did poorly in school, for which he was punished. He was educated at three independent schools: St. George's School, Ascot, Berkshire, followed by Brunswick School in Hove, near Brighton (the school has since been renamed Stoke Brunswick School and relocated to Ashurst Wood in West Sussex) and then atHarrow School from 17 April 1888. HP Pavilion DV4-1105EM Battery

Within weeks of his arrival at Harrow, Churchill had joined the Harrow Rifle Corps.[9] He earned high marks in English and History and was the school's fencing champion.

He was rarely visited by his mother and he wrote letters begging her either to come to the school or to allow him to come home. HP Pavilion DV4-1105TU Battery

His relationship with his father was a distant one; he once remarked that they barely spoke to one another.[10] His father died on 24 January 1895, aged 45, leaving Churchill with the conviction that he too would die young and so should be quick about making his mark on the world.[11] HP Pavilion DV4-1105TX Battery

Speech impediment

Many authors writing in the 1920s and 1930s, before sound recording became common, mentioned Churchill's stutter in terms such as 'severe' or 'agonizing' and Churchill described himself as having a "speech impediment" which he worked to overcome. His dentures were specially designed to aid his speech (Demosthenes' pebbles).[12] HP Pavilion DV4-1106EE Battery

After many years of public speeches carefully prepared to not only inspire, but also to avoid hesitations, he could finally state, "My impediment is no hindrance".[13]

The Churchill Centre, however, flatly denies the claim that Churchill stuttered, while confirming that he did have difficulty pronouncing the letter S and spoke with a lisp[14] as did his father.[15]

Marriage and childrenHP Pavilion DV4-1106EM Battery

Churchill met his future wife, Clementine Hozier, in 1904 at a ball in Crewe House, home of theEarl of Crewe and Crewe's wife Margaret Primrose (daughter of Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery and Hannah Rothschild).[16] In 1908, they met again at a dinner party hosted by Lady St Helier. Churchill found himself seated beside Clementine, and they soon began a lifelong romance.[17] He proposed to Clementine during a house party at Blenheim Palace on 10 August 1908, in a small Temple of Diana.[18] HP Pavilion DV4-1106TX Battery

On 12 September 1908, they were married in St. Margaret's, Westminster. The church was packed; theBishop of St Asaph conducted the service.[19] The couple spent their honeymoon at Highgrove Housein Eastcote.[20] In March 1909, the couple moved to a house at 33 Eccleston Square. HP Pavilion DV4-1107TX Battery

Their first child, Diana, was born in London on 11 July 1909. After the pregnancy, Clementine moved to Sussex to recover, while Diana stayed in London with her nanny.[21] On 28 May 1911, their second child, Randolph, was born at 33 Eccleston Square.[22] HP Pavilion DV4-1108TX Battery

Their third child, Sarah, was born on 7 October 1914 at Admiralty House. The birth was marked with anxiety for Clementine, as Winston had been sent to Antwerp by the Cabinet to "stiffen the resistance of the beleaguered city" after news that the Belgians intended to surrender the town.[23] HP Pavilion DV4-1109TX Battery

Clementine gave birth to her fourth child, Marigold Frances Churchill, on 15 November 1918, four days after the official end of the First World War.[24] In the early days of August 1921, the Churchills' children were entrusted to a French nursery governess in Kent named Mlle Rose. Clementine, meanwhile, travelled to Eaton Hall to play tennis with Hugh Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster and his family. HP Pavilion DV4-1110EO Battery

While still under the care of Mlle Rose, Marigold had a cold, but was reported to have recovered from the illness. As the illness progressed with hardly any notice, it turned into septicaemia. Following advice from a landlady, Rose sent for Clementine. However the illness turned fatal on 23 August 1921, and Marigold was buried in the Kensal Green Cemetery three days later.[25]

On 15 September 1922, the Churchills' last child was born, Mary. Later that month, the Churchills bought Chartwell, which would be Winston's home until his death in 1965.[26][27] HP Pavilion DV4-1110TX Battery


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