The Finest Hour

  • Henry Pelling


In the beautiful weather of the Whit weekend — which in France was being exploited to the full by the German army and air force — Churchill set about the construction of his ministry. By Saturday (May 11th) the first list of ministers had been agreed, and after being approved by the Labour Party’s National Executive meeting at Bournemouth was published: there were the five members of the War Cabinet, Churchill himself and his two former senior colleagues, Chamberlain and Halifax, and also Attlee and Greenwood for the Labour Party; and there was one representative of each party at the Service ministries — A. V. Alexander (Labour) as First Lord of the Admiralty, Anthony Eden (Conservative) as Secretary for War, and Sir Archibald Sinclair (Liberal) as Air Minister. The Service ministers formed a group which Churchill thought congenial to himself, and willing to serve as his subordinates. They were not to be members of the War Cabinet, although Sinclair, in his capacity as Liberal leader, was to attend when important political matters were discussed.1 Sinclair was of course an old friend of the Prime Minister, who had no doubt that the arrangement would work satisfactorily.


Prime Minister Labour Party French Government Conservative Party Common Speech 
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Copyright information

© Henry Mathison Pelling 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry Pelling
    • 1
  1. 1.Fellow of St John’s CollegeCambridgeUK

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