Two New Teaching Modules
We have added two new higher education teaching modules to our collection. The teaching modules on the site are essays specially written by experts and designed to help lecturers structure teaching on these subjects. They include many useful links to resources outside the site and primary documents within the Archive.
Winston Churchill and the Cold War
By Kevin Ruane, Professor of Modern History at Canterbury Christ Church University.
In the popular perception, Winston Churchill is widely regarded as the original Cold Warrior – the man who popularized the term ‘iron curtain’ in 1946 and urged firm resistance to the Soviet Union in Europe and elsewhere. This might have been the Churchill of the late 1940s, but to define him as a wholly unremitting Cold Warrior on the basis of his ‘iron curtain’ speech is to overlook the fluidity and evolving nature of his outlook. Back in power in 1951, and now deeply troubled by the prospect of nuclear war, he dedicated much of the final phase of his long political career to trying to bring about a top-level East–West summit that would help reduce international tensions. Although his quest for a summit failed, the fact remains that the so-called original Cold Warrior had become, by the mid-1950s, a committed advocate of détente.
Churchill as Chancellor of the Exchequer (1924–9) and the Return to the Gold Standard
By Peter Catterall, Reader in History at the University of Westminster.
The general election of 29 October 1924 saw Winston Churchill return to Parliament as Constitutionalist MP for Epping after two years in the political wilderness. It also saw Stanley Baldwin swept back to Number 10 on a Conservative landslide. Speculation about whether Baldwin would cement Churchill’s drift from the Liberal fold by offering him office surfaced during the election campaign. Churchill nevertheless thought ‘it very unlikely that I shall be invited to join the Government, as owing to the size of the majority it will probably be composed only of impeccable Conservatives’. Because of his anti-socialist credentials, his ability to reassure wavering Liberals through his opposition to protectionism – dropped by Baldwin after its rejection in the 1923 general election – and concern he could prove a rallying point for backbench malcontents, there was however much to commend giving Churchill a post. To his surprise, Baldwin offered Churchill the long-coveted office of Chancellor of the Exchequer, briefly held by his father before his ill-conceived resignation in 1887. Having arranged a meeting with his Labour predecessor, Philip Snowden, about outstanding business the new Chancellor set to work. Marking his political transition, a few days later Churchill resigned from the National Liberal Club.