Sir Winston Churchill: Victorious abroad, politically defeated at home

June 9, 2014

Prime Minister Winston Churchill, accompanied by his daughter, Mary Churchill.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill, accompanied by his daughter, Mary Churchill.

I flew home with Mary on the afternoon of July 25. My wife met me at Northolt, and we all dined quietly together.

Excellent arrangements had been made by Captain Pim and the staff of the Map Room to present a continuous tale of election results as they came in the next day. The latest view of the Conservative Central Office was that we should retain a substantial majority…. I accepted the view of the party managers, and went to bed in the belief that the British people would wish me to continue my work…. I did not wake till nine o’clock, and when I went into the Map Room the first results had begun to come in…. By noon it was clear that the Socialists would have a majority. At luncheon my wife said to me, “It may well be a blessing in disguise.” I replied, “At the moment it seems quite effectively disguised.”…

Sir Winston Churchill

Constitutionally I could have awaited the meeting of Parliament in a few days’ time, and taken my dismissal from the House of Commons. This would have enabled me to present before resignation the unconditional surrender of Japan to the nation. The need for Britain being immediately represented with proper authority at the Conference, where all the great issues we had discussed were now to come to a head, made all delay contrary to the public interest. Moreover, the verdict of the electors had been so overwhelmingly expressed that I did not wish to remain even for an hour responsible for their affairs. At four o’clock therefore, having asked for an audience, I drove to the Palace, tendered my resignation to the King, and advised His Majesty to send for Mr. Attlee.

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Sir Winston S. Churchill, Triumph and Tragedy: The Second World War (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1953), 674-5.

Short Stories on Honor, Chivalry, and the World of Nobility—no. 392

 

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