The importance of being Winston: the political life of Churchilll, 1900-1955
Time: 10:15 - 12:15
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
This course has now finished
What is the course about?
Adopting a biographical and chronological approach the course outlines Churchill’s attitudes from the time he was first elected as a Conservative MP in 1900 and why he crossed the floor four years later to the policies which he pursued as a member of the Liberal Governments between 1905-1915. Such were famously to include his handling of a miners’ strike in Wales and championing the disastrous Dardanelles campaign. His success in reducing the hours shop staff worked and advocacy of state-supported insurance to cover sickness and unemployment are less
The course adopts a similar approach to Churchill’s political career during Lloyd George’s premiership (1916-1922) and his subsequent return to the Conservatives - including his wilderness years in the 1930s and the distrust which he engendered in part because of his hostility towards political reform in India and as the chief advocate of King Edward VIII during the Abdication Crisis. But reference is also made to his warnings over Germany and opposition to Appeasement as well as how he became Prime Minister in Britain’s ‘Darkest Hour’.
Coverage of Churchill’s wartime premiership will focus on its political dimensions at Westminster and his role on the Home Front rather than Churchill as war strategist. Churchill’s years as leader of the opposition (1945-1951) and his peacetime premiership (1951-1955) will however consider the rationale and responses to his pronouncements over the Cold War and European integration as well as why the Conservatives were defeated (and Churchill’s possible part in this) in the 1945 General Election. It closes with the significance of his peacetime leadership of the Conservative Party and premiership and in particular his passionate hope that he might play a part in strengthening coexistence in a world now dominated by the USA and USSR.
This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.
What will we cover?
Churchill’s early (political) life, 1874-1908
In and out of office: Churchill 1908-1924
Courting controversy (1): the Gold Standard, the General Strike1924-1931
Courting controversy (2) India, Abdication and the ‘Gathering Storm’: 1931-1939
Churchill and the Second World War, 1939-1945
Churchill, the 1945 General Election and the post-war world, 1945-1955; coda.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
By the end of this course you will have a greater understanding of Churchill’s political career as MP, Minister and Premier together with the wider context of his attitudes and the policies which he pursued alongside controversies he often provoked and his achievements both renowned and forgotten.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
An introductory course: no previous knowledge is required.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will be delivered through a mixture of formal input and discussion with student participation encouraged. No work outside class is required.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
No other costs; requisites for optional note taking.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Other courses in British Studies. Please see the City Lit website.