WWI: David Lloyd George

David Lloyd George

“I remember that some time in July, an influential Hungarian lady called upon me at 11 Downing Street and told me that we were taking the assassination of the archduke much too quietly; that it had provoked such a storm throughout the Austrian Empire as she had never witnessed – and that unless something were done immediately, it would certainly result in war with Serbia, with the incalculable consequences which such an operation might precipitate in Europe. However, such official reports as came to hand did not seem to justify the alarmist view she took. (The War Memoirs of David Lloyd George (Nicholson & Watson, 1933-38))

David Lloyd George had been the Liberal MP for Caernarvon since 1890: he had been the Chancellor of the Exchequer since 1908. He made many speeches in the House of Commons in July 1914, mostly about income tax.

Lloyd George’s dismissal of the “influential Hungarian lady” as “alarmist” – rather than, as events proved, a realistic and informed observer delivering a very prescient warning – is interesting in the light of his views on women’s suffrage, both after February 2013 and in 1919.

Suffragettes, England, 1908

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