Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Northcliffe and Lloyd George at War, 1914–1918

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 February 2009


J. M. McEwen
Affiliation:
Brock University, Ontario

Extract

A decade ago there appeared a volume of twelve essays on Lloyd George, written by a dozen young historians and edited by A. J. P. Taylor. These pieces, of varying merit and degree of interest, ranged widely from pre-1914 social reform to the Greek question and even to the Second World War.1 Yet strangely enough one of the most colourful patches of the huge canvas that was Lloyd George's life did not receive so much as a passing glance - namely his relations with the press. Taylor had hinted at the possibilities in that sphere when preparing a volume of his own essays a few years earlier. There he placed in sequence two entertaining chapters of quite unequal length and importance, one entitled ‘Lloyd George: rise and fall’ and the other ‘The Chief’.2 The latter requires a little explanation, for ‘ Chief was the style of address beloved of Alfred Harmsworth, Viscount Northcliffe, the man who owned The Times, Daily Mail, Evening News, and a host of other newspapers and journals. Quite simply he was the greatest press lord of them all, and Fleet Street has known many. While it is manifestly impossible in a few pages to explore in detail the full story of Lloyd George and the press, we can profitably follow his relations with Lord Northcliffe during the years 1914 to 1918 when these two giants were at the peak of their power and their fortunes were intertwined in many and strange ways. During the war Northcliffe was frequently called (and with utmost seriousness) ‘The Most Powerful Man in the Country’, while at the end Lloyd George was ‘The Man Who Won the War’. Often it seemed that the stage was not big enough for both and the British people must choose between them. Not until 1918 did two events - the ‘Maurice debate’ and the ‘Coupon election’ - prove conclusively that in the final analysis Lloyd George's power was real while Northcliffe's was largely illusory. Perhaps none was more surprised at this outcome, certainly none was more relieved, than Lloyd George himself. The reasons will become apparent as the history of their wartime relationship unfolds.


Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1981

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.

References

1 A.J.P., Taylor, ed., Lloyd George: twelve essays (London, 1971).Google Scholar

2 Taylor, A.J.P., Politics in wartime and other essays (London, 1964).Google Scholar

3 One quip ran: ‘The Cabinet has resigned and Lord Northcliffe has sent for the King’.

4 Reginald, Pound and Geoffrey, Harmsworth, Northcliffe (London, 1959), pp. 376–7.Google Scholar

5 Taylor, , Politics in wartime, p. 125.Google Scholar

6 Owen, Frank, Tempestuous journey: Lloyd George, his life and times (London, 1954), p. 286.Google Scholar

7 Lord Riddell's war diary 1914–1918 (London, 1933), p. 78.Google Scholar

8 Northcliffe, to George, Lloyd, 29 May 1915. Lloyd George papers, D/18/1/4, House of Lords Record Office.Google Scholar

9 Pound, and Harmsworth, , Northcliffe, p. 481.Google Scholar

10 See, for example, the many items of Northcliffe correspondence for the period 24 May to 9 September 1915, in the Lloyd George papers, D/18/1.

11 Pound, and Harmswort, , Northcliffe, p. 493.Google Scholar

12 Taylor, A.J.P., ed., Lloyd George. A diary by Frances Stevenson (1971), p. 90.Google Scholar

13 ibid.. p. 98.

14 Riddell's war diary, p. 153.Google Scholar

15 Pound, and Harmsworth, , Northcliffe, p. 498.Google Scholar

16 ibid..

17 The history of The Times, iv: The 150th anniversary and beyond,1912–1948, part 1 (London, 1952), 316.Google Scholar

18 Riddell's war diary, p. 185.Google Scholar

19 Pound, and Harmsworth, , Northcliffe, p. 500.Google Scholar

20 Taylor, A.J.P., English history, 19141945(London, 1965), p. 58.Google Scholar

21 History of The Times, iv, part 1, 285.Google Scholar

22 Hankey papers, Diary, HNKY 1/1, Churchill College, Cambridge.

23 Blake, Robert (ed.), The private papers of Douglas Haig (London, 1953), p. 155. Sir Philip Sassoon was a wealthy young Unionist M.P. serving as private secretary to Haig.Google Scholar

24 Pound, and Harmsworth, , Northcliffe, p. 503.Google Scholar

25 Private papers of Douglas Haig, p. 157.Google Scholar

26 Pound and Harmsworth, Northcliffe, p. 503. This does not appear to be in the Lloyd George papers.

27 Riddell's war diary, p. 208. Lee (later Lord Lee of Fareham) was a wealthy Unionist M.P. on Lloyd George's staff at the War Office.Google Scholar

28 Private papers of Douglas Haig, p. 166.Google Scholar

29 Pound, and Harmsworth, , Northcliffe, pp. 506–7.Google Scholar

30 C.à Repington, C., The First Word War (2 vols., London, 1920), 1, 354.Google Scholar

31 Owen, , Tempestuous journey, p. 325.Google Scholar

32 Gilbert, Martin, Winston Churchill, III (London, 1971). 811.Google Scholar

33 ibid..

34 Pound and Harmsworth, Northcliffe, p. 508.Google Scholar

35 Clarke, Tom, My Northcliffe diary (London, 1931), p. 102.Google Scholar

36 Beavcrbrook, Lord, Politicians and the War (one-volume edition, London, 1960), p. 323.Google Scholar The story in this form, frequently repeated, seems to have originated with Beaverbrook, but Pound and Harmsworth doubt that Northcliffe used those precise words. Certainly Northcliffe passed on a warning to Lloyd George about interfering with strategy, and told both Cecil Harmsworth and Sassoon that he had done so.

37 Repington, , First World War, 1, 374.Google Scholar

38 Riddell's war diary, p. 216.Google Scholar

39 Lloyd George. A diary by Frances Stevenson, pp. 122, 125.Google Scholar

40 McEwen, J.M., ‘The Pressand the fall of Asquith’, The Historical Journal, xxi, 4 (1978), 863–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

41 Beaverbrook's draft ‘History of the Crisis’. Beaverbrook papers, deed box 4, folder xxi. House of Lords Record Office. London.

42 Lloyd George. A diary by Frances Stevenson, p. 130.Google Scholar

43 See Spectator, 30 June 1933.Google Scholar

44 Beaverbrook, Politicians and the War, p. 512.Google Scholar

45 ibid.. p. 544, where Beaverbrook says that at Lloyd George's request he rang up Northcliffe, only to receive the cold reply: ‘Lord Northcliffe sees no advantage in any interview between him and the Prime Minister at the present juncture’. But see Taylor, A.J.P., Beaverbrook (London, 1972), pp. 120–7Google Scholar, where the evidence points to the unlikelihood of Beaverbrook having been with Lloyd George at any time during the first few days of the new administration. Probably Beaverbrook sought to improve upon the story in the Daily Chronicle of 8 December 1916 where Northcliffe was quoted as saying: ‘I prefer to sit in Printing House Square and Carmelite House’.

46 George, David Lloyd, War memoirs (6 vols., London, 19331936), iv, 2228.Google Scholar

47 Private papers of Douglas Haig, p. 190.Google Scholar

48 Lord Beaverbrook, Men and power, 1917–1918 (London, 1956), p. 47.Google Scholar

49 Pound and Harmsworth, Northcliffe, p. 520.

50 Riddell's war diary, p. 238.Google Scholar

51 Lloyd George. A diary by Frances Stevenson, p. 157.Google Scholar

52 Roskill, Stephen, Hankey, Man of secrets (3 vols., London, 19701974), 1, 390–1.Google Scholar

53 Wilson, Trevor (ed.), The political diaries of C. P. Scott, 1911–1928 (London, 1970), p. 296.Google Scholar

54 Beaverbrook, , Men and power, p. 172.Google Scholar

55 Churchill, Winston, The world crisis (6 vols., London, 19231931), ii, 293.Google Scholar

56 Pound, and Harmsworth, , Northcliffe, pp. 580, 585.Google Scholar

57 Beaverbrook, Men and power, p. 84Google Scholar; George, Lloyd, War memoirs, iv, 1871.Google Scholar

58 Beaverbrook, Men and power, p. 86.Google Scholar

59 Pound, and Harmsworth, , Northclife, p. 598.Google Scholar

60 Hankey, Lord, The Supreme Command 2 vols., London, 1961), (11, 777.Google Scholar

61 Political diaries of C. P. Scott, p. 336.Google Scholar

62 Pound, and Harmsworth, , Northcliffe, p. 613.Google Scholar

63 History of The Times, iv, part 1, 357.Google Scholar

64 Pound, and Harmsworth, , Northcliffe, p. 634.Google Scholar

65 Riddell's war diary, p. 366.Google Scholar

66 Pound, and Harmsworth, , Northcliffe, p. 682.Google Scholar

67 Roch, Walter, Life of David Lloyd George (4 vols., London, 1920), iv, 164.Google Scholar

Altmetric attention score


Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 60 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 29th November 2020. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Hostname: page-component-8465588854-s2rxh Total loading time: 0.484 Render date: 2020-11-29T05:05:18.726Z Query parameters: { "hasAccess": "0", "openAccess": "0", "isLogged": "0", "lang": "en" } Feature Flags last update: Sun Nov 29 2020 04:23:57 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time) Feature Flags: { "metrics": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "peerReview": true, "crossMark": true, "comments": true, "relatedCommentaries": true, "subject": true, "clr": false, "languageSwitch": true }

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Northcliffe and Lloyd George at War, 1914–1918
Available formats
×

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Northcliffe and Lloyd George at War, 1914–1918
Available formats
×

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Northcliffe and Lloyd George at War, 1914–1918
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response


Your details


Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *