A clash of the titans. Two men who were very different, disparate, and abrasive. These men would set aside political differences to become friends. Despite their friendship, these men would become sour political opponents. Two of the most influential British politicians of the 20th century, if not ever, are pictured here reading documents next to each other.
David Lloyd George (DLG) on the left, looking old school, remains shrewd and impressionable in his stance as he reads. To his right, staring intently, is the famous Winston Churchill. Both men are hailed heroes in the history books for not only their role in helping Britain win both the First World War and the Second World War, but also heralding radical reform in British politics as well. These men played pivotal roles in Britain, and I think many would argue it was fortuitous these men lived and acted the way they did during the time they did.
This picture specifically is taken in 1934, following Lloyd George‘s success and consequent fame from winning WWI. It is no secret that these two men carried huge egos which often conflicted with each other upon interacting, but intentionally – at least in the beginning – these men championed the same ethos. Indeed, Churchill was part of the liberal party which DLG had led from 1916-1922. Their political union would date back as far as 1908 where Churchill started to make waves in the Liberal Party hierarchy being promoted to the First Lord of Admiralty, before going on to move his way through a lucrative political career which would finalize in him coaching the Allies through WWII and retaining the Prime Minister role for 9 years in total. Lloyd George would work his way up using his similar military background as Churchill to reach the most important role in the country years earlier. George would go on to lead the Liberal party for 11 years, 6 as Prime Minister.
These men both used each other and others around them to climb the slippery, political pole. A bitter rivalry would become apparent between the two. George would elect Churchill as Minister of Munitions during the First World War before Churchill asked George to help him in his War Cabinet over a decade later, which would be hastily declined. It would be in 1914- 15 following the failure of the Dardanelles Campaign which caused the relationship to sour. The following years would remain amicable until Churchill’s departure to the Conservative party in 1924 when it would worsen. It would take years and a combined hatred of others for the two to combine together again. Eventually leading to more amiable times such as documented here in 1934, it would seem Lloyd George had passed the political baton onto his prodigy. Two old colleagues and friends would symbolically be pictured here as one faded into the shadows another grew to prominence.
Despite their apparent and public rivalry which has been documented, these men provided solid solutions to both Britain’s issues at home, and the wider foreign policymaking needed at the time. True rivals of greatness.