MIA: Encyclopedia of Marxism: Glossary of People



Lloyd George, David (1863-1945)

Prime Minister of Britian from 1916-1922. Born in Manchester; brought up in North Wales; trained as a solicitor and became Liberal MP for Caernarvon in 1890, retaining the seat until his death.

As a member of the 1906 Liberal government he introduced the so-called 'People's Budget' of 1909 and national insurance in 1911. Known prior to First World War as a champion of social reform and the rights of small nations, opposing the British war against the Boer settlers.

His radicalism evaporated with the outbreak of war in 1914. Minister of Munitions 1915; 1916 succeeded Asquith as Prime Minister forming his 'war cabinet' with the Tories, lasting until 1922. Dictated the Versailles Treaty, together with French Prime Minister Clemenceau, after the defeat of German imperialism.

Backed the White Army in the Russian Civil War and every form of terrorism against the Irish people; but in both cases was forced to retreat. More successful in dealing with the leaders of the trade unions, notably the miners, whose demand for nationalization in 1919 was nailed by the establishment of the Sankey Commission. The Anglo-Irish agreement of 1921, support for the disastrous Greek campaign against the Turkish Republic and the failure of the Genoa Conference of 1922 which he had initiated lost him the confidence of the bourgeoisie. Abandoned by the Tories at 1922 General Election in favour of Law's Tory cabinet. Subsequent positions oscillated between his earlier reformism and extreme reaction as he fought in a rapidly declining and hopelessly split Liberal Party. Returned to parliament in 1931 at the head of a party with only 4 seats. At different times intrigued with labour leaders, expressed admiration for Hitler (1936), and supported Keynesian policies. He never regained any of his previous political influence.