Best known for: Guiding Britain through World War I
Nickname: The Welsh Wizard
David Lloyd George by Harris & Ewing
Where did David Lloyd George grow up?
David Lloyd George was born on January 17, 1863 in Manchester, England. However, his father died while he was still young and his mother moved the family to Wales to live with David's uncle, Richard Lloyd.
Growing up in Wales, David was heavily influenced by his uncle who was a minister and a strong liberal. His uncle encouraged David to work hard in school, to study law, and to get involved in politics. David's birth name was David George, but he added the "Lloyd" in honor of his uncle.
Lloyd George studied to become a lawyer and opened his own law practice after completing his training. His law firm did very well and soon Lloyd George became involved in politics. He joined the local Liberal Party and became an alderman on the local council. David championed many liberal issues including land reform.
Becoming a Member of Parliament
In 1890, Lloyd George was elected to the British Parliament as a member of the House of Commons. At the time he was the youngest MP (Member of Parliament). He remained a member for the next 55 years.
David was staunchly against war. He became known throughout Britain when he publicly opposed the Second Boer War. In 1906 he became a Cabinet Minister. Lloyd George continued to gain fame with his work in the cabinet. He helped to negotiate an agreement between the railroads and the railway workers union. He also worked to establish a welfare state where the government helped to support the sick and the poor.
World War I Begins
As tensions mounted in Europe and it looked like war was imminent, Lloyd George initially felt that Britain should stay out of any conflict. However, once Germany invaded Belgium, Lloyd George became a strong supporter of the war. He became one of the major leaders in guiding Britain through the war.
At the start of the war, Lloyd George had several important positions in organizing the war effort. First, he was the minister of munitions. Disorganization in Britain had caused a munitions shortage in the army. Lloyd George was able to fix the issues and ensure the army had the munitions it needed. Next, he became the Secretary of State for War where he organized Britain's overall war efforts, but also became increasingly frustrated with Britain's generals and the current Prime Minister Herbert Asquith.
Becoming Prime Minister
In December of 1916, Lloyd George became the Prime Minister of Great Britain. He continued to have issues with the top British Generals. Lloyd thought that the Allied Armies (Britain, France, and the United States), should have one unified military commander. He thought they could be more organized and successful if they all worked together. He finally got his wish in March of 1918 when French General Ferdinand Foch was made commander of all the Allied forces.
Lloyd George made another major contribution to the war when he supported the strategy of providing armed convoys for merchant ships. This helped to protect the merchants from German submarines, which helped to keep supply lines open to the Allies and Britain throughout the war.
World War I Ends
The fighting in World War I ended with the armistice agreement on November 11, 1918. Lloyd George was one of the "Big Three" (which also included Georges Clemenceau of France and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson) who helped negotiate the Treaty of Versailles with Germany.
Lloyd George remained Prime Minister of the United Kingdom until 1922. He continued to work in politics as a Member of Parliament until his death in 1945. He died of cancer on March 26, 1945.
Interesting Facts about David Lloyd George
English was his second language, Welsh was his first.
He was the first Welsh Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
He was married twice: first to Margaret Lloyd George who died in 1914 and then to Frances Lloyd George.
He had five children with his first wife, two of which went into politics and were elected to parliament.
He once said "You cannot feed the hungry on statistics."