Page 3683

3683 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.

war, as Minister of Munitions, as Secretary

of War in succession to Lord Kitchener,

he had measured up to every responsibility, and his wonderful mind had grasped

the significance of the great struggle and

the means that must be adopted to win

the conflict. Men in Great Britain and

in neutral countries were saying that

Lloyd George was the man for the hour,

and a constantly growing demand was

arising that he should take the helm.

Though conscious of his own powers,

Lloyd George hesitated. For years, in

times of bitter political struggle, he had

served under Asquith, and he later stated

in open Parliament that he had never had

"a kinder or more indulgent chief." Yet

he was aware of Asquith's weaknesses

and limitations, and he felt that personal

obligations must give place to public

interests in this time of crisis. In the

interests of decision and forceful conduct

of the war, he insisted that Mr. Asquith

must not be a member of the proposed

War Council, and in this stand he was

supported by Bonar Law and others.

Asquith refused to accept the plan, and

after repeated conferences and negotiations,

Lloyd George and Bonar Law resigned.

This action provoked a crisis, which resulted in the resignation of the Asquith

Ministry. King George, at Asquith's suggestion, asked Bonar Law to form a new

Ministry, but Bonar Law declined. The

King then sent for Lloyd George, and,

on the 5th of December, it was announced

that Lloyd George, with the cooperation

of Bonar Law, would undertake the task.

In view of Lloyd George's past career,

it is one of the strangest ironies of history

that his chief parliamentary support was

to come from his old enemies, the Conservative Unionists. His real support,

however, lay in the confidence reposed

in him by the general public. The outstanding feature of the Ministry he succeeded in forming was that it represented

practically every great industrial interest