Document F

A warning to Churchill

The press baron and former Conservative MP Lord Rothermere wrote to Churchill on 15 October 1938 warning him to mute his criticism of Chamberlain or face the electoral consequences. Epping in Essex was Churchill’s parliamentary constituency.


Copyright Lord Rothermere. Reference: Churchill Papers, CHAR 2/332/85

“My dear Winston,

I urge you to go slow in regard to your Constituency. Neville Chamberlain’s reputation will be undimmed so long as he is Prime Minister and any member of his Party who challenges that fact may suffer a complete eclipse.

The Public is so terrified of being bombed that they will support anyone who keeps them out of war. I always knew they had no desire to stand up to the Dictators and I always knew that when there was a sharp issue of peace or war ninety-five per cent of the electors would rally to the peace policy however humiliating such a policy might be.

I do hope you will soft pedal on the whole position. If you were not in the House it would be a national loss.

I don’t trust the Epping electorate because Epping is on one of the routes by which enemy aeroplanes will approach London. …”