British Prime Ministers: Stanley Baldwin

D.C. Somervell profiles the predominant figure in British politics during the interwar years.

From a day in the spring of 1923 when he became prime minister to the day in the spring of 1937 when he resigned that office for the third time Stanley Baldwin was the pre-dominant figure in British politics, yet until a very few months before his accession to the highest office no one outside political circles had taken any notice of him and with his third resignation he withdrew with unusual completeness from public life; his floruit is sharply defined at both ends; it covers two-thirds of the inter-war period but not its beginning nor its end. About that period a great deal of nonsense has been written, partly from interested party-political motives. Moreover, we have as yet no complete biography of the man. There is an excellent Life of Neville Chamberlain by Keith Feiling, an abominable but detailed Life of MacDonald by McNeill Weir, autobiographical works by Churchill, Austen Chamberlain and Snowden, but about Baldwin little beyond a topical study by Wickham Steed, written in the middle of his career, and a collection of his non-political speeches.

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