Tag: Raymond Poincaré

Last Try to Avoid Hell, 1914

Last Try to Avoid Hell, 1914

“Sav­ing the Nations from Hell”: The “King­ly Con­fer­ence,” 1914 (Excerpt)

(Read more at Hills­dale Col­lege Churchill Project)

Churchill’s faith in per­son­al diplomacy—solving intractable prob­lems by meet­ings at the high­est level—was famous­ly expressed dur­ing World War II.

Less wide­ly known is Churchill’s 1914 pro­pos­al for a con­fer­ence of heads of state (includ­ing, it seems, French Pres­i­dent Ray­mond Poin­caré) in an effort to head-off World War I. The scheme failed, but not for Churchill’s lack of try­ing.

There is lit­tle on Churchill’s “king­ly con­fer­ence” in the lit­er­a­ture. There is no ref­er­ence in Churchill’s The World Cri­sis, Asquith’s mem­oirs, or biogra­phies by Man­ches­ter, Jenk­ins, Rose, Charm­ley and Birken­head, though Sir Mar­tin Gilbert includes in the offi­cial biog­ra­phy an excerpt from a cab­i­net mem­ber which records Churchill’s words in the cab­i­net of July 27th:

Churchill said we were now in a bet­ter than aver­age con­di­tion, & the fleet was at war strength….Churchill, how­ev­er, added: it was an appalling calami­ty for civilised nations to con­tem­plate & thought pos­si­bly sov­er­eigns could be brought togeth­er for sake of Peace.…

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