It can be said Lloyd George should not be considered as a great Prime Minister as he brought some failures to Britain during his time in office including, the destruction of the Liberal party forcing it to split, the Treaty of Versailles and some of the economic problems that faced Britain. However taking these into account I still believe Lloyd George deserves to be remembered as a great Prime Minister.
Lloyd George first began his political career as Chancellor of the Exchequer and went on to be successful as the Minister of Munitions during the war, he was described as having ‘fire in his belly’ and he got the job done. This showed Lloyd George was able to make good decisions and his charismatic personality made him liked by many, this paved the way for him to become Prime Minister in 1916. Lloyd George’s first great success was obviously winning World War One.
Although it can be argued it was the army generals who had led Britain to victory, Lloyd George did more by making government more efficient with the five-man war cabinet and the cabinet secretariat that co-ordinated government activities. He also done much to improve matters when Britain’s food production was crucial, so much so that the output of food increased significantly between 1916 and 1917. Finally, even though a German victory had seemed likely in February 1917, Lloyd George decided to keep Britain in the war and ultimately led them to victory by doing so.
Leading on from this, opponents may argue that Lloyd George was unsuccessful in dealing with the post-war economic problems that faced Britain such as an increase in unemployment, large government debt and depression. However these accusations do not take account of the fact that conditions were very difficult and other countries were suffering similarly to Britain. For example Germany owed 132 billion marks in reparations, Italy suffered more casualties than Britain and French colonial troops felt mistreated after returning from the war.
Therefore, despite Britain suffering after the war Lloyd George was able to bring Britain out of the war being better off than other countries. He was also Britain’s chief delegate to the Paris Peace Conference and proved to be a moderating influence when drafting the Treaty of Versailles. Regardless of negative views on the settlement, especially from conservatives, compromising on a treaty that would be seen fair to everyone would’ve been difficult to achieve so Lloyd George done the best he could considering the circumstances.
Considering Lloyd George was seen as a Prime Minister without a party, since the liberals were split and the coalition was vastly made up of conservatives, it was an accomplishment for him to remain in power for 6 years. Linking to this was Lloyd George’s greatest obstacle, the conservatives. He had to be careful not to upset the conservatives too much as they both knew the conservatives could pull out of the coalition at any point, bringing on another election. This means many of the decisions made by Lloyd George may have been influenced by the conservatives, he became their ‘scapegoat’.
So any actions or decisions made by the conservatives that proved to be disastrous would be seen by the British public as Lloyd Georges fault. Furthermore he would not have been able to make any changes that could’ve benefitted Britain if they were deemed bad by the conservatives. To conclude, Lloyd George did sometimes have poor judgement and may not have always made the best decisions but he was undeniably a great politician. He was faced with hard times and can best be described as doing the best he could with what he had despite of the hard times.