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The Churchill war ministry was the United Kingdom's coalition government for most of the Second World War from 10 May 1940 to 23 May 1945. It was led by Winston Churchill, who was appointed Prime Minister by King George VI following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain in the aftermath of the Norway Debate.

Churchill war ministry
1940–1945
Sir Winston S Churchill.jpg
Date formed10 May 1940 (1940-05-10)
Date dissolved23 May 1945 (1945-05-23)
People and organisations
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Deputy Prime MinisterClement Attlee (1942–1945)
Total no. of ministers223 appointments
Member parties
Status in legislatureMajority (coalition)
History
Legislature term(s)37th UK Parliament
Incoming formationNorway Debate
PredecessorChamberlain war ministry
SuccessorChurchill caretaker ministry

At the outset, Churchill formed a five-man War Cabinet which included Chamberlain as Lord President of the Council, Clement Attlee as Lord Privy Seal and later as Deputy Prime Minister, Viscount Halifax as Foreign Secretary and Arthur Greenwood as a Minister without Portfolio. Although the original war cabinet was limited to five members, in practice they were augmented by the service chiefs who attended the majority of meetings. The cabinet changed in size and membership as the war progressed but there were significant additions later in 1940 when it was increased to eight after Churchill, Attlee and Greenwood were joined by Ernest Bevin as Minister of Labour and National Service; Anthony Eden as Foreign Secretary – replacing Halifax, who was sent to Washington D.C. as ambassador to the United States; Lord Beaverbrook as Minister of Aircraft Production; Sir Kingsley Wood as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Sir John Anderson as Lord President of the Council – replacing Chamberlain who died in November (Anderson later became Chancellor after Kingsley Wood's death in September 1943).

The coalition was dissolved in May 1945, following the final defeat of Germany, when the Labour Party decided to withdraw in order to prepare for a general election. Churchill, who was the leader of the Conservative Party, decided to resign but was asked by the King to form a caretaker government, essentially a Conservative one, to manage the country's affairs until completion of the general election on 26 July that year.

Contents

BackgroundEdit

The 1935 general election had resulted in a Conservative victory with a substantial majority and Stanley Baldwin became Prime Minister. In May 1937, Baldwin retired and was succeeded by Neville Chamberlain who continued Baldwin's foreign policy of appeasement in the face of German, Italian and Japanese aggression. Having signed the Munich Agreement with Hitler in 1938, Chamberlain became alarmed by the dictator's continuing aggression and, in March 1939, signed the Anglo-Polish military alliance which supposedly guaranteed British support for Poland if attacked. Chamberlain issued the declaration of war against Germany on 3 September 1939 and formed a war cabinet which included Winston Churchill (out of office since June 1929) as First Lord of the Admiralty.

Dissatisfaction with Chamberlain's leadership became widespread in the spring of 1940 when Germany successfully invaded Norway. In response, the House of Commons held the so-called Norway Debate from 7 to 9 May. At the end of the second day, the Labour opposition forced a division which was in effect a motion of no confidence in Chamberlain. The government's majority of 213 was reduced to 81, still a victory but nevertheless a shattering blow for Chamberlain.

9–13 May 1940: Creation of a new governmentEdit

9 May: Chamberlain must goEdit

On Thursday, 9 May, Chamberlain attempted to form a National Coalition Government. In talks at Downing Street with Viscount Halifax and Churchill, he indicated that he was quite ready to resign if that was necessary for Labour to enter such a government. Labour's leader Clement Attlee and his deputy Arthur Greenwood then joined the meeting, and when asked, they indicated that they must first consult their party's National Executive Committee (then in Bournemouth to prepare for the annual conference), but it was unlikely they could serve in a government led by Chamberlain; they probably would be able to serve under some other Conservative.[a]

9 May: Halifax a non-runnerEdit

After Attlee and Greenwood left, Chamberlain asked whom he should recommend to the King as his successor. The version of events given by Churchill is that Chamberlain's preference for Halifax was obvious (Churchill implies that the spat between Churchill and the Labour benches the previous night had something to do with that); there was a long silence which Halifax eventually broke by saying he did not believe he could lead the government effectively as a member of the House of Lords instead of the House of Commons.[1] Churchill's version gets the date wrong, and he fails to mention the presence of David Margesson, the government Chief Whip.[1][2][3]

Halifax's account omits the dramatic pause and gives an additional reason: "PM said I was the man mentioned as most acceptable. I said it would be hopeless position. If I was not in charge of the war (operations) and if I didn't lead in the House, I should be a cypher. I thought Winston was a better choice. Winston did not demur."[a] According to Halifax, Margesson then confirmed that the House of Commons had been veering to Churchill.

In a letter to Churchill written that night,[4] Bob Boothby asserted that parliamentary opinion was hardening against Halifax, claiming in a postscript that according to Liberal MP Clement Davies, "Attlee & Greenwood are unable to distinguish between the PM & Halifax and are not prepared to serve under the latter". Davies (who thought Chamberlain should go, and be replaced by Churchill) had lunched with Attlee and Greenwood (and argued his case) shortly before they saw Chamberlain.[5] Labour's Hugh Dalton, however, noted in his diary entry for 9 May that he had spoken with Attlee, who "agrees with my preference for Halifax over Churchill, but we both think either would be tolerable".[6]

10 May: Churchill becomes Prime MinisterEdit

On the morning of Friday, 10 May, Germany invaded the Netherlands and Belgium. Chamberlain initially felt that a change of government at such a time would be inappropriate, but upon being given confirmation that Labour would not serve under him, he announced to the War Cabinet his intention to resign.[7] Scarcely more than three days after he had opened the debate, Chamberlain went to Buckingham Palace to resign as Prime Minister. Despite resigning as PM, however, he continued to be the leader of the Conservative Party. He explained to the King why Halifax, whom the King thought the obvious candidate,[8] did not want to become Prime Minister. The King then sent for Churchill and asked him to form a new government; according to Churchill, there was no stipulation that it must be a coalition government.[9]

At 21:00 on 10 May, Chamberlain announced the change of Prime Minister over the BBC. Churchill's first act as Prime Minister was to ask Attlee to come and see him at Admiralty House. Next, he wrote to Chamberlain to thank him for his promised support. He then began to construct his coalition cabinet: before he went to bed at 03:00 on Saturday, 11 May, six hours after Chamberlain's original announcement, Churchill had established the composition of the new War Cabinet and appointed the heads of the three Service Ministries.[10]

11 May: Labour joins the coalitionEdit

 
Clement Attlee was the serving deputy to Churchill from 1942

On Saturday, 11 May, the Labour Party agreed to join a national government under Churchill's leadership and he was able to form his war cabinet. In his biography of Churchill, Roy Jenkins described the Churchill cabinet as one "for winning", while the former Chamberlain cabinet was one "for losing".[11] Labour leader Clement Attlee relinquished his official role as Leader of the Opposition to become Lord Privy Seal (until 19 February 1942 when he was appointed Deputy Prime Minister). Arthur Greenwood, Labour's deputy leader, was appointed a Minister without Portfolio. The main problem for Churchill as he became Prime Minister was that he was not the leader of the Conservative Party and so he was obliged to include Chamberlain in the war cabinet, as Lord President of the Council, and also Halifax as Foreign Secretary. These two are believed to have favoured negotiation with Hitler as it became apparent that France was going to be defeated. Churchill relied heavily on the support of Attlee and Greenwood to reject negotiation and keep Great Britain in the war.

13 May: Coalition Government is endorsedEdit

By Monday, 13 May, most of the senior government posts were filled. That day was Whit Monday, normally a Bank holiday but cancelled by the incoming government. A specially convened sitting of the House of Commons was held and Churchill spoke for the first time as Prime Minister:[12]

I beg to move, that this House welcomes the formation of a Government representing the united and inflexible resolve of the nation to prosecute the war with Germany to a victorious conclusion.

He explained that a War Cabinet of five members had been formed to represent the unity of the nation with all three main party leaders agreeing to serve either in the War Cabinet or in high executive office. Churchill was hoping to complete all ministerial appointments by the end of the 14th. He announced an adjournment of Commons business until the 21st and apologised for making only a short address for the present. Even so, his speech has become one of his most famous because he concluded with his statement of intent:[13]

I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat". We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. Let that be realised; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal. But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, "Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength".

In reply, Hastings Lees-Smith as acting Leader of the Opposition announced that Labour would vote for the motion to assure the country of a unified political front:[14] After several other members had spoken, including David Lloyd George and Stafford Cripps, the House divided on the question: "That this House welcomes the formation of a Government representing the united and inflexible resolve of the nation to prosecute the war with Germany to a victorious conclusion". 381 members voted "aye" in favour of the motion and, apart from the two tellers for the "noes", the wartime coalition was endorsed unanimously.[15]

Leader of the OppositionEdit

There was no de facto Leader of the Opposition from 11 May 1940 until Attlee resumed the role on 23 May 1945. The Labour Party appointed an acting Leader of the Opposition whose job, although he was in effect a member of the national government, was to ensure the continued functionality of the House of Commons. Due process in the Commons requires someone, even a member of the government, to fill the role even if there is no actual opposition. The first holder of the position was Hastings Lees-Smith, the MP for Keighley, who died in office on 18 December 1941. He was briefly succeeded by Frederick Pethick-Lawrence and then, from 22 February 1942, by Arthur Greenwood who had left the War Cabinet and filled the role until 23 May 1945.

War Cabinet membersEdit

1940–45Edit

Portfolio Minister Took office Left office Party
Prime Minister
First Lord of the Treasury
Minister of Defence
 Winston Churchill10 May 194023 May 1945Conservative
Deputy Prime Minister Clement Attlee19 February 194223 May 1945Labour
Lord President of the Council Neville ChamberlainMay 1940October 1940Conservative
 Sir John AndersonOctober 1940September 1943National
 Clement AttleeSeptember 1943May 1945Labour
Lord Privy Seal Clement Attlee11 May 194015 February 1942Labour
 Sir Stafford CrippsFebruary 1942October 1942[16]Labour
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Kingsley WoodOctober 1940February 1942[17]Conservative
 Sir John AndersonSeptember 1943May 1945National
Foreign Secretary The Viscount HalifaxMay 1940December 1940Conservative
 Anthony EdenDecember 1940May 1945Conservative
Home Secretary Herbert MorrisonOctober 1942May 1945Labour
Minister of Aircraft Production The Lord BeaverbrookAugust 1940May 1941[16]Conservative
Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs Clement Attlee15 February 194224 September 1943[16]Labour
Minister of Labour and National Service Ernest BevinOctober 1940May 1945Labour
Minister-Resident for the Middle East Oliver LytteltonFebruary 1942March 1942Conservative
 Richard CaseyMarch 1942January 1944National
 The Lord MoyneJanuary 1944November 1944[16]Conservative
Minister without Portfolio Arthur GreenwoodMay 1940February 1942Labour
Minister of Reconstruction The Lord WooltonNovember 1943May 1945Conservative
Minister of State The Lord BeaverbrookMay 1941June 1941Conservative
Minister of Supply The Lord BeaverbrookJune 1941February 1942Conservative
Minister of War Production The Lord BeaverbrookFebruary 1942February 1942Conservative
 Oliver LytteltonMarch 1942May 1945Conservative

List of MinistersEdit

Members of the War Cabinet are in bold face.

Office Name Party Dates Notes
Prime Minister
Minister of Defence and First Lord of the Treasury
Winston Churchill Conservative 10 May 1940 Member of War Cabinet; also Leader of the House of Commons 1940–42
Lord Chancellor Viscount Simon Liberal National 12 May 1940  
Lord President of the Council Neville Chamberlain Conservative 11 May 1940 Member of War Cabinet. Died in November 1940.
Sir John Anderson National 3 October 1940 Member of War Cabinet
Clement Attlee Labour 24 September 1943 Member of War Cabinet
Lord Privy Seal Clement Attlee Labour 11 May 1940 Member of War Cabinet; also Deputy Leader of the House of Commons
Sir Stafford Cripps Labour 19 February 1942 Member of War Cabinet; also Leader of the House of Commons
Viscount Cranborne Conservative 22 November 1942 also Leader of the House of Lords
The Lord Beaverbrook Conservative 24 September 1943
Chancellor of the Exchequer Sir Kingsley Wood Conservative 12 May 1940 In War Cabinet from 3 October 1940 – 19 February 1942
Sir John Anderson National 24 September 1943  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury David Margesson Conservative 17 May 1940 – 22 December 1940 Jointly
Sir Charles Edwards Labour 17 May 1940 – 12 March 1942 Jointly
James Stuart Conservative 14 January 1941 – 23 May 1945 Jointly
William Whiteley Labour 12 March 1942 – 23 May 1945 Jointly
Financial Secretary to the Treasury Harry Crookshank Conservative 15 May 1940  
Ralph Assheton Conservative 7 February 1943  
Osbert Peake Conservative 29 October 1944  
Lords of the Treasury Stephen Furness Liberal National 12 May 1940 – 18 May 1940  
James Stuart Conservative 12 May 1940 – 14 January 1941  
Patrick Munro Conservative 12 May 1940 – 13 March 1942  
Patrick Buchan-Hepburn Conservative 12 May 1940 – 26 June 1940  
William Whytehead Boulton Conservative 12 May 1940 – 13 March 1942  
Wilfred Paling Labour 18 May 1940 – 8 February 1941  
James Thomas Conservative 26 June 1940 – 25 September 1943  
Thomas Dugdale Conservative 8 February 1941 – 23 February 1942  
William Murdoch Adamson Labour 1 March 1941 – 2 October 1944  
Arthur Young Conservative 23 February 1942 – 3 July 1944  
John McEwen Conservative 13 March 1942 – 6 December 1944  
Leslie Pym Conservative 13 March 1942 – 23 May 1945  
Alec Beechman Liberal National 25 September 1943 – 23 May 1945  
Cedric Drewe Conservative 3 July 1944 – 23 May 1945  
William John Labour 2 October 1944 – 23 May 1945  
Patrick Buchan-Hepburn Conservative 6 December 1944 – 23 May 1945  
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Viscount Halifax Conservative 11 May 1940 also Leader of the House of Lords from 3 October 1940; Member of War Cabinet
Anthony Eden Conservative 22 December 1940 Member of War Cabinet; also Leader of the House of Commons 1942–45
Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs R. A. Butler Conservative 15 May 1940  
Richard Law Conservative 20 July 1941  
George Henry Hall Labour 25 September 1943  
Secretary of State for the Home Department and Minister for Home Security Sir John Anderson National 12 May 1940  
Herbert Morrison Labour 2 October 1940 In War Cabinet from 22 November 1942
Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department Osbert Peake Conservative 15 May 1940  
The Earl of Munster Conservative 31 October 1944  
Parliamentary Secretary for the Home Department William Mabane Liberal National 15 May 1940 – 3 June 1942  
Ellen Wilkinson Labour 8 October 1940 – 23 May 1945  
First Lord of the Admiralty A. V. Alexander Labour 11 May 1940  
Parliamentary and Financial Secretary to the Admiralty Sir Victor Warrender, Bt Conservative 17 May 1940 Lord Bruntisfield
Civil Lord of the Admiralty Sir Austin Hudson, Bt Conservative 15 May 1940  
Richard Pilkington Conservative 4 March 1942  
Financial Secretary to the Admiralty George Hall Labour 4 February 1942  
James Thomas Conservative 25 September 1943  
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Robert Hudson Conservative 14 May 1940  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries The Lord Moyne Conservative 15 May 1940 – 8 February 1941  
Tom Williams Labour 15 May 1940 – 23 May 1945  
The Duke of Norfolk Conservative 8 February 1941 – 23 May 1945  
Secretary of State for Air Sir Archibald Sinclair, Bt Liberal 11 May 1940  
Under-Secretary of State for Air Harold Balfour Conservative 15 May 1940 – 21 November 1944  
The Lord Sherwood Liberal 20 July 1941 – 23 May 1945  
Rupert Brabner Conservative 21 November 1944 – 27 March 1945  
Quintin Hogg Conservative 12 April 1945 – 23 May 1945  
Minister of Aircraft Production The Lord Beaverbrook Conservative 14 May 1940 In War Cabinet from 2 August 1940 – 1 May 1941
John Moore-Brabazon Conservative 1 May 1941  
John Llewellin Conservative 22 February 1942  
Sir Stafford Cripps Labour 22 November 1942  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aircraft Production John Llewellin Conservative 15 May 1940  
Frederick Montague Labour 1 May 1941  
Ben Smith Labour 4 March 1942  
Alan Lennox-Boyd Conservative 11 November 1943  
Minister of Civil Aviation The Viscount Swinton Conservative 8 October 1944 New office
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Civil Aviation Robert Perkins Conservative 22 March 1945  
Secretary of State for the Colonies The Lord Lloyd Conservative 12 May 1940 also Leader of the House of Lords from 22 December 1940
The Lord Moyne Conservative 8 February 1941 also Leader of the House of Lords
Viscount Cranborne Conservative 22 February 1942 also Leader of the House of Lords
Oliver Stanley Conservative 22 November 1942  
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies George Hall Labour 15 May 1940  
Harold Macmillan Conservative 4 February 1942  
The Duke of Devonshire Conservative 1 January 1943  
Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs The Viscount Caldecote Conservative 14 May 1940 also Leader of the House of Lords
Viscount Cranborne Conservative 3 October 1940  
Clement Attlee Labour 19 February 1942 Member of War Cabinet
Viscount Cranborne Conservative 24 September 1943 also Leader of the House of Lords
Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs Geoffrey Shakespeare Liberal National 15 May 1940  
Paul Emrys-Evans Conservative 4 March 1942  
Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton Labour 15 May 1940  
Viscount Wolmer Conservative 22 February 1942  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Warfare Dingle Foot Liberal 17 May 1940  
President of the Board of Education Herwald Ramsbotham Conservative 14 May 1940  
Rab Butler Conservative 20 July 1941 Renamed Minister of Education 3 August 1944
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education James Chuter Ede Labour 15 May 1940  
Minister of Food The Lord Woolton Conservative 13 May 1940  
John Llewellin Conservative 11 November 1943  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Food Robert Boothby Conservative 15 May 1940  
Gwilym Lloyd-George Liberal 22 October 1940  
William Mabane Liberal National 3 June 1942  
Minister of Fuel and Power Gwilym Lloyd-George Liberal 3 June 1942 New office
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fuel and Power Geoffrey Lloyd Conservative 3 June 1942 – 23 May 1945  
Tom Smith Labour 3 June 1942 – 23 May 1945  
Minister of Health Malcolm MacDonald National Labour 13 May 1940  
Ernest Brown Liberal National 8 February 1941  
Henry Willink Conservative 11 November 1943  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health Florence Horsbrugh Conservative 15 May 1940  
Secretary of State for India and Burma Leo Amery Conservative 13 May 1940  
Parliamentary Secretary for India and Burma The Duke of Devonshire Conservative 17 May 1940  
The Earl of Munster Conservative 1 January 1943  
The Earl of Listowel Labour 31 October 1944  
Minister of Information Duff Cooper Conservative 12 May 1940 Attended War Cabinet from 28 May 1940
Brendan Bracken Conservative 20 July 1941  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Information Harold Nicolson National Labour 17 May 1940  
Ernest Thurtle Labour 20 July 1941  
Minister of Labour and National Service Ernest Bevin Labour 13 May 1940 In War Cabinet from 3 October 1940
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Labour Ralph Assheton Conservative 15 May 1940 – 4 February 1942  
George Tomlinson Labour 8 February 1941 – 23 May 1945  
Malcolm McCorquodale Conservative 4 February 1942 – 23 May 1945  
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster The Lord Hankey Independent 14 May 1940  
Duff Cooper Conservative 20 July 1941  
Ernest Brown Liberal National 11 November 1943  
Minister Resident North-West Africa Harold Macmillan Conservative 30 December 1942  
Minister Resident Middle East Oliver Lyttelton Conservative 19 February 1942 Member of War Cabinet
Richard Casey Independent 19 March 1942 Member of War Cabinet until 23 December 1943. Not a British MP
The Lord Moyne Conservative 28 January 1944  
Sir Edward Grigg Conservative 21 November 1944  
Deputy Minister of State The Lord Moyne Conservative 27 August 1942 – 28 January 1944  
Minister Resident, Washington John Llewellin Conservative 22 November 1942  
Ben Smith Labour 11 November 1943  
Minister Resident West Africa The Viscount Swinton Conservative 8 June 1942  
Harold Balfour Conservative 21 November 1944  
Minister without Portfolio Arthur Greenwood Labour 11 May 1940 – 22 February 1942 Member of War Cabinet
Sir William Jowitt Labour 30 December 1942 – 8 October 1944  
Paymaster General Viscount Cranborne Conservative 15 May 1940 Office vacant 3 October 1940
The Lord Hankey Independent 20 July 1941  
Sir William Jowitt Labour 4 March 1942  
The Lord Cherwell Conservative 30 December 1942  
Minister for Pensions Sir Walter Womersley Conservative 15 May 1940  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Pensions Ellen Wilkinson Labour 17 May 1940  
The Lord Tryon Conservative 8 October 1940  
Wilfred Paling Labour 8 February 1941  
Postmaster-General William Morrison Conservative 15 May 1940  
Harry Crookshank Conservative 7 February 1943  
Assistant Postmaster-General Charles Waterhouse Conservative 17 May 1940  
Allan Chapman Conservative 1 March 1941  
Robert Grimston Conservative 4 March 1942  
Minister of Reconstruction The Lord Woolton Conservative 11 November 1943 Member of War Cabinet
Secretary of State for Scotland Ernest Brown Liberal National 14 May 1940  
Tom Johnston Labour 8 February 1941  
Under-Secretary of State for Scotland Joseph Westwood Labour 17 May 1940 – 23 May 1945  
Henry Wedderburn Conservative 8 February 1941 – 4 March 1942  
Allan Chapman Conservative 4 March 1942 – 23 May 1945  
Minister of Shipping Ronald Cross Conservative 14 May 1940 Merged into Minister of War Transport 1 May 1941
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Shipping Sir Arthur Salter Independent 15 May 1940  
Minister of Social Insurance Sir William Jowitt Labour 8 October 1944 Renamed Minister of National Insurance 17 November 1944
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Insurance Charles Peat Conservative 22 March 1945  
Minister of State The Lord Beaverbrook Conservative 1 May 1941 Member of War Cabinet
Oliver Lyttelton Conservative 29 June 1941 Member of War Cabinet. Office vacant from 12 March 1942
Minister of Supply Herbert Morrison Labour 12 May 1940  
Sir Andrew Rae Duncan Conservative 3 October 1940  
The Lord Beaverbrook Conservative 29 June 1941 Member of War Cabinet
Sir Andrew Rae Duncan Conservative 4 February 1942  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Supply Harold Macmillan Conservative 15 May 1940 – 4 February 1942  
Wyndham Raymond Portal, 1st Viscount Portal Conservative 4 September 1940 – 22 February 1942  
Ralph Assheton Conservative 4 February 1942 – 7 February 1943  
Charles Peat Conservative 4 March 1942 – 22 March 1945  
Duncan Sandys Conservative 7 February 1943 – 21 November 1944  
John Wilmot Labour 21 November 1944 – 23 May 1945  
James de Rothschild Liberal 22 March 1945 – 23 May 1945  
Minister of Town and Country Planning William Morrison Conservative 30 December 1942 Minister designate until 7 February 1943
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Town and Country Planning Henry Strauss Conservative 30 December 1942  
Arthur Jenkins Labour 22 March 1945  
President of the Board of Trade Sir Andrew Rae Duncan Conservative 12 May 1940  
Oliver Lyttelton Conservative 3 October 1940  
Sir Andrew Rae Duncan Conservative 29 June 1941  
John Llewellin Conservative 4 February 1942  
Hugh Dalton Labour 22 February 1942  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Trade Gwilym Lloyd-George Liberal 15 May 1940 Also Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Food from 22 October 1940
Charles Waterhouse Conservative 8 February 1941  
Secretary for Overseas Trade Harcourt Johnstone Liberal 15 May 1940  
Secretary for Mines David Grenfell Labour 15 May 1940  
Secretary for Petroleum Geoffrey Lloyd Conservative 15 May 1940 – 3 June 1942 Combined into Minister for Fuel and Power
Minister of Transport Sir John Reith National 14 May 1940  
John Moore-Brabazon Conservative 3 October 1940 became Minister of War Transport 1 May 1941
Minister of War Production The Lord Beaverbrook Conservative 4 February 1942 Office vacant 19 February 1942
Oliver Lyttelton Conservative 12 March 1942 Post retitled Minister of Production upon appointment
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Production George Garro-Jones Labour 10 September 1942  
Secretary of State for War Anthony Eden Conservative 11 May 1940  
David Margesson Conservative 22 December 1940  
Sir P. J. Grigg National 22 February 1942  
Under-Secretary of State for War Sir Henry Page Croft Conservative 17 May 1940 – 23 May 1945 Lord Croft
Sir Edward Grigg Conservative 17 May 1940 – 4 March 1942  
Arthur Henderson Labour 4 March 1942 – 7 February 1943  
Financial Secretary to the War Office Richard Law Conservative 17 May 1940  
Duncan Sandys Conservative 20 July 1941  
Arthur Henderson Labour 7 February 1943  
Minister of War Transport The Lord Leathers Conservative 1 May 1941  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of War Transport Frederick Montague Labour 18 May 1940 – 1 May 1941  
John Llewellin Conservative 1 May 1941 – 4 February 1942  
Sir Arthur Salter Independent 29 June 1941 – 4 February 1942  
First Commissioner of Works The Lord Tryon Conservative 18 May 1940  
Sir John Reith National 3 October 1940 Minister of Works and Buildings, and 1st Commissioner. Later Lord Reith
The Lord Portal Conservative 22 February 1942 Renamed Minister of Works and Planning from 11 February 1942, and Minister of Works from February 1943
Duncan Sandys Conservative 21 November 1944  
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Works George Hicks Labour 19 November 1940 – 23 May 1945  
Henry Strauss Conservative 4 March 1942 – 30 December 1942  
Attorney General Sir Donald Somervell Conservative 15 May 1940  
Solicitor General Sir William Jowitt Labour 15 May 1940  
Sir David Maxwell Fyfe Conservative 4 March 1942  
Lord Advocate Thomas Cooper Conservative 15 May 1940  
James Reid Conservative 5 June 1941  
Solicitor General for Scotland James Reid Conservative 15 May 1940  
David King Murray Conservative 5 June 1941 Knighted
Treasurer of the Household Robert Grimston Conservative 17 May 1940  
Sir James Edmondson Conservative 12 March 1942  
Comptroller of the Household William Whiteley Labour 17 May 1940  
William John Labour 12 March 1942  
George Mathers Labour 2 October 1944  
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household Sir James Edmondson Conservative 17 May 1940  
William Whytehead Boulton Conservative 12 March 1942  
Arthur Young Conservative 13 July 1944  
Captain of the Gentlemen-at-Arms The Lord Snell Labour 31 May 1940 – 21 April 1944  
The Earl Fortescue Conservative 22 March 1945  
Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard The Lord Templemore Conservative 31 May 1940  
Lords in Waiting The Earl Fortescue Conservative 31 May 1940 – 22 March 1945  
The Viscount Clifden Liberal 31 May 1940 – 23 May 1945  
The Lord Alness Liberal National 31 May 1940 – 23 May 1945  
The Marquess of Normanby Conservative 22 March 1945 – 23 May 1945  

ChangesEdit

  • August 1940: Lord Beaverbrook, Minister of Aircraft Production, joins the War Cabinet.
  • 22 September 1940: resignation of Neville Chamberlain for health reasons (terminal bowel cancer).
  • October 1940: Sir John Anderson succeeds Neville Chamberlain as Lord President. Sir Kingsley Wood, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Ernest Bevin, the Minister of Labour, enter the War Cabinet. Lord Halifax assumes the additional job of Leader of the House of Lords.
  • 9 November 1940: death of Neville Chamberlain.
  • December 1940: Anthony Eden succeeds Lord Halifax as Foreign Secretary. Halifax remains nominally in the Cabinet as Ambassador to the United States. His successor as Leader of the House of Lords is not in the War Cabinet.
  • May 1941: Lord Beaverbrook ceased to be Minister of Aircraft Production, but remains in the Cabinet as Minister of State. His successor was not in the War Cabinet.
  • June 1941: Lord Beaverbrook becomes Minister of Supply, remaining in the War Cabinet.
  • 1941: Oliver Lyttelton enters the Cabinet as Minister Resident in the Middle East.
  • 4 February 1942: Lord Beaverbrook becomes Minister of War Production; his successor as Minister of Supply is not in the War Cabinet.
  • 19 February 1942: Beaverbrook resigns and no replacement Minister of War Production is appointed for the moment. Clement Attlee becomes Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister. Sir Stafford Cripps succeeds Attlee as Lord Privy Seal and takes over the position of Leader of the House of Commons from Churchill. Sir Kingsley Wood leaves the War Cabinet, though remaining Chancellor of the Exchequer.
  • 22 February 1942: Arthur Greenwood leaves the War Cabinet to assume the role of Leader of the Opposition, necessary for House of Commons functionality, till 23 May 1945.[18]
  • March 1942: Oliver Lyttelton fills the vacant position of Minister of Production ("War" was dropped from the title). Richard Gardiner Casey (a member of the Australian Parliament) succeeds Oliver Lyttelton as Minister Resident in the Middle East.
  • October 1942: Sir Stafford Cripps retires as Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons and leaves the War Cabinet. His successor as Lord Privy Seal is not in the Cabinet, Anthony Eden takes the additional position of Leader of the House of Commons. The Home Secretary, Herbert Morrison, enters the Cabinet.
  • 21 September 1943: death of Sir Kingsley Wood.
  • September 1943: Sir John Anderson succeeds Sir Kingsley Wood as Chancellor of the Exchequer, remaining in the War Cabinet. Clement Attlee succeeds Anderson as Lord President, remaining also Deputy Prime Minister. Attlee's successor as Dominions Secretary is not in the Cabinet.
  • November 1943: Lord Woolton enters the Cabinet as Minister of Reconstruction.
  • January to November 1944: Lord Moyne replaces Richard Gardiner Casey as Minister Resident in the Middle East.

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b quoted in Gilbert, as from David Dilks, ed. (1971). The Diaries of Sir Alexander Cadogan O.M 1938–45. London: Cassel. p. 280. ISBN 0-30493737-1. (diary entry for 9 May 1940)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Churchill 1948, pp. 523–524.
  2. ^ Jenkins 2001, p. 583.
  3. ^ Shakespeare 2017, p. 362.
  4. ^ cited in Gilbert: "Letter of 9 May 1940, marked by Churchill 'secret, for dinner, in a box'; Churchill papers 2/392".
  5. ^ Schneer, Jonathan (16 March 2015). Ministers at War. Oneworld Publications. p. 28. ISBN 978-1-78074-614-2.
  6. ^ quoted in Thomas-Symonds, Nicklaus (1 March 2012). Attlee: A Life in Politics. I.B.Tauris. pp. 94–95. ISBN 978-0-85773-074-9.
  7. ^ War Cabinet No. 119 of 1940, 4.30 p.m. (there were three War Cabinet meetings that day): Cabinet papers 65/7 cited in Gilbert.
  8. ^ Wheeler-Bennett 1958, pp. 433–434.
  9. ^ Churchill 1948, p. 525.
  10. ^ Gilbert 1983, pp. 299–314.
  11. ^ Jenkins, pp. 714–715.
  12. ^ "His Majesty's Government – Churchill". Hansard, House of Commons, 5th Series, vol. 360, col. 1501. 13 May 1940. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  13. ^ "His Majesty's Government – Churchill". Hansard, House of Commons, 5th Series, vol. 360, col. 1502. 13 May 1940. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  14. ^ "His Majesty's Government – Lees-Smith". Hansard, House of Commons, 5th Series, vol. 360, cols 1504–1505. 13 May 1940. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
  15. ^ "His Majesty's Government – Division". Hansard, House of Commons, 5th Series, vol. 360, col. 1525. 13 May 1940. Retrieved 15 May 2019.
  16. ^ a b c d Successor not in cabinet.
  17. ^ Left the war cabinet but remained chancellor.
  18. ^ Jenkins, p. 685.

BibliographyEdit

External linksEdit

Further readingEdit

  • Butler, David; Butler, Gareth (2000). Twentieth Century British Political Facts, 1900–2000. London: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 0333 77222 9.
Preceded by
Chamberlain war ministry
Government of the United Kingdom
1940–1945
Succeeded by
Churchill caretaker ministry