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Robert Blake and Wm. Roger Louis

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198206262

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206262.001.0001

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Churchill: The Government of 1951–1955

Churchill: The Government of 1951–1955

Chapter:
(p.491) 28 Churchill: The Government of 1951–1955
Source:
Churchill
Author(s):

Roy Jenkins

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198206262.003.0029

Recidivist Prime Ministers in Britain have become rare. For the hundred years from 1850 they were more the rule than the exception. Since 1955, there have been eight Prime Ministers, but only Harold Wilson has returned, and his second term was brief and quiet. For Winston Churchill, the risks of a second throw were the greatest. It is believed that no one who has not served at least four years in Downing Street can stand near to the front. Many of those who came back therefore needed to do so if they were to give their reputations a chance to grow. Churchill was in the reverse position. After 1945, he had nowhere to go but down. It is impossible to re-read the story of Churchill's life as Prime Minister of that second government without feeling that he was gloriously unfit for office. The oxymoron is appropriate to the contradictions in his performance. The central achievement of the second Churchill government was that it excellently restored the balance of British politics.

Keywords:   Winston Churchill, Britain, Prime Ministers, British politics, second government

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