Lloyd George, David

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lloyd George, David

 

Born Jan. 17, 1863, in Manchester; died Mar. 26, 1945, in Llanystumdwy, Carnarvonshire. British statesman, leader of the Liberal Party. Son of a schoolteacher. Lawyer.

Lloyd George was first elected to Parliament in 1890. Seeking to win popularity among the masses, he declared himself a radical and a partisan of broad reforms, while at the same time he acted in accord with the fundamental interests of the English imperialist bourgeoisie. He was the most striking personification of the system of demagogic deceit characteristic of English political life: the use of demagoguery by the bourgeoisie to maintain its dominance over the masses. “I would call this system,” wrote V. I. Lenin, “Lloyd Georgism, after the English minister Lloyd George, one of the foremost and most dexterous representatives of this system in the classic land of the ‘bourgeois labor party.’ A first-class bourgeois manipulator, an astute politician, a popular orator who will deliver any speeches you like, even r-r-revolutionary ones, to a labor audience, and a man who is capable of obtaining sizable sops for docile workers in the shape of social reforms (insurance, etc.), Lloyd George serves the bourgeoisie splendidly, and serves it precisely among the workers, brings its influence precisely to the proletariat, to where the bourgeoisie needs it most and where it finds it most difficult to subject the masses morally” (Poln. sobr. sock, 5th ed., vol. 30, p. 176).

After the Liberals came to power, Lloyd George was president of the Board of Trade from 1905 to 1908 and chancellor of the exchequer from 1908 to 1915. In 1909, to the accompaniment of a great demagogic uproar, he introduced a budget that increased slightly the tax on the value of undeveloped land and at the same time provided large allocations for naval armaments. During World War I he supported the policy of continuing the struggle until Germany was decisively defeated.

In late 1916, through intrigues and collusion with the Conservatives and at the price of a split in the Liberal Party, Lloyd George achieved the collapse of Asquith’s Liberal government and then headed a coalition government (he was prime minister until October 1922). He was a leading figure in the Paris Peace Conference of 1919–20 and an author of the Versailles Treaty of 1919. The armed intervention by British imperialism against Soviet Russia was unleashed with his consent and support. However, soon realizing the hopelessness of this policy, Lloyd George adopted a course of establishing relations with Soviet Russia, hoping to push it gradually onto the capitalist path through economic and political pressure. The failure of his government’s policies in the Middle East, where it organized a war against the national liberation movement in Turkey in 1919–20, made it possible for the Conservatives to remove him from power and establish a purely Conservative government.

The decline of the Liberal Party finished Lloyd George as a political leader, although he retained considerable influence in the country up to his death. When Hitler came to power in Germany, Lloyd George believed that German Nazism, while harmless to Great Britain, could be used as a weapon against the Soviet Union. After realizing his mistake, he supported an Anglo-Soviet agreement for the purpose of suppressing German aggression. He received the title of earl in 1945.

WORKS

In Russian translation:
Voennye memuary, vols. 1–6. Moscow, 1934–37.
Pravda o mirnykh dogovorakh, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1957.

REFERENCES

Vinogradov, K. B. D. Lloid Dzhordzh. Moscow, 1970.
Owen, F. Tempestuous Journey: Lloyd George, His Life and Times. London, 1954.
Beaverbrook, W. M. A. The Decline and Fall of Lloyd George. London, 1963.

V. G. TRUKHANOVSKII

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.