David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George was born on January 17, 1863 in Manchester England. His father was a local headmaster of a school and passed away early in young David’s life. Not having the means to support David and his sibling, his mother moved the family to live with her brother, a Baptist Preacher.
His uncle played a huge part of David’s formative years. His uncle’s work ethic and ministry instilled much of the belief system that David would continue to carry into his adult life. It was in fact his uncle that pushed David George to begin his career as a solicitor. Like many young teens of this time, David began his life calling early.
David Lloyd George was articled (employed) to a law firm in 1879. He completed his training when he was only 19 years old. It was here that Lloyd George gained an intensive on-the-job training that would form his philosophy of law. David believed in the little person having an honest right to counsel when brought before a court.
David left the law firm and built his own law office in the city of Criccieth. Although his uncle sought to pass on his belief system to young David, the adult lawyer lost much of his religious faith. However, this did not stop him from representing religious groups seeking the same rights of where to be buried, just as the main orthodox church of Wales were allowed.
David Lloyd George entered the House of Commons in 1890. Lloyd George was a master of debate and could charm most people with his command of language and emotion. As a member of the Liberal party, he constantly fought against much of the conservative agenda that was prevalent in the legislative framework. David was a radical in the thinking of many in his party, but he always maintained a course of consistency in his beliefs.
Another aspect of George’s anti-religious posture came out when he fought against a government tax aided grant for religious schools. The Balfour Tax aid named after the Conservative wing leader, Arthur Balfour, was something David could not agree with and sought to eliminate its passage.
When the Liberals took power in 1905, David Lloyd George was appointed to the new Prime Minister’s Cabinet as head of the Board of Trade. Here he handled the implementation of a few pieces of legislation, including one which sought to improve the work conditions of merchant seamen and establishing the London Port Authority.
By 1908, David George would take a new role under Prime Minister Asquith as Chancellor of the Exchequer. This role allowed his to establish higher taxes on land owners and other wealthy citizens. David never failed to banter with members of the conservative party.
The first sign of David Lloyd George’s role in WWI came when he made a speech basically warning Germany to not intrude on Britain’s foreign interests.
famous Mansion House speech, in which he warned Germany that Britain would not tolerate interference with its international interests. When the war did break out he was tasked with heading up the ministry of munitions and eventually Secretary of War. After conducting behind the scenes agreements with the conservative party, Lloyd George saw the removal of Asquith and became Prime Minister in 1916.
With the outbreak of the First World War, Lloyd George served in Asquith’s coalition war cabinet, as minister for munitions and as secretary for war. Unhappy with Asquith’s conduct of the war, and ambitious, he connived with the Conservatives to oust Asquith, succeeding him as Prime Minister on 7 December 1916. This episode caused a split in the party from which it never entirely recovered; along with Asquith several other prominent Liberals resigned from the government.
The man who fought against the Boer War in South Africa knew that the only way to defeat Germany was to stay focused on the eventual conquest of that nation. Although he argued constantly with military leaders of how to conduct the battles, David Lloyd George’s leadership was a huge reason the war had success towards the end for the allies.
One of George’s great contributions to the war was formulating the need for convoys that travelled the ocean in dealing with the German submarine incursion. Although not a popular avenue with certain members of the Admiralty, George’s idea became the standard for shipping.
In 1917, David Lloyd George told an audience, “”Germany expected to find a lamb and found a lion.” The believer in pacifism also knew when to let the dogs of war loose.
This man went on to serve as Prime Minister until 1922 and passed away in 1945.