What do we make of Lord Halifax?

Discussion in 'General' started by SteveDee, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. SteveDee

    SteveDee Well-Known Member

    Its a great pity that such an important meeting, as the one between Chamberlain, Lord Halifax, Churchill & Margesson on the 9th May 1940 was unminuted. There seem to be several versions of what took place and who said what, not only by those present, but also people commenting well after the event.

    What is undisputed is that Chamberlain wanted to pass the premiership to Halifax. All Halifax had to say was "yes". Instead, he mumbled something about being a Lord...so Winston said 'I'm on it'...or words to that effect.

    It seems to me that Halifax wanted to influence policy, but didn't want to take the blame for any consequences. Halifax had also suffered a psychosomatic stomach ache at an earlier meeting when Chamberlain had floated the idea. So I guess he may have been [literally] ***t scared.

    So what do we make of Lord Halifax, his character and his motives?
  2. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

    I'm not a fan of reading books on political history as I just tend to stick to the military side of things so can't offer much but having just read 'Six Minutes in May: How Churchill Unexpectedly Became Prime Minister' Halifax comes across as someone who is well liked and respected by both sides of the political spectrum and the Royal Family, even to the degree of the King giving him a key to Buckingham Palace gardens and they all would of agreed to him becoming PM. But he also comes across as someone who didn't 'put in the extra hours' as much as others and would rather spend time with his possible mistress, Baba, sharing state secrets with her than working on papers. It seems that at no stage did he ever want to become Prime Minister so maybe the extra work and extra scrutiny involved in that position just didn't appeal to him.
    SteveDee likes this.
  3. ceolredmonger

    ceolredmonger Member

    Comes across as a typical Landed Gentleman of the time.

    Some understood that by using their education, resources and wit they could effectively lead and prove the system kind of worked - Churchill himself and many of the top Generals. Others seem to have bumbled along using privilege and wealth to get along. The British system of using performance in Aristocratic 'society' as well as merit, favoured personable 'plodders' rather than radicals. Nowadays he would be called 'Entitled' - assumed they could lead and have authority on all manner of subjects despite no experience or acquired talent. I get the impression at the last minute he showed some self doubt which Churchill exploited.

    Like many of their ilk across history, their descendants, and others with a stake in their reputations, gate-keep their archives to the point of suspicion.

    In my youth I had the dubious privilege of wearing Lord Halifax's wartime uniform for a photo shoot.
    SteveDee likes this.
  4. Blutto

    Blutto Plane Mad

    'Black Adder' I believe was not a very far from the truth parody, but a parody nonetheless. 'Wuperts' were also called 'Wuperts' for a reason :)

Share This Page