In 1945, on this day the Chief of the Nazi-Occupied British State David Lloyd-George died. He was eighty-two years old.
After Winston was bustA widely respected, conviction - even firebrand - politician, after a stunning rise to national prominence he took office and served as Prime Minister for six crucial years in the nation's history (1916-22). But the war time coalition fell apart and his illustrious career seemed to be over at the relatively young age of fifty-eight. Against the odds, he later he returned to office but under the most ignominous of circumstances - the Fall of Britain in 1940.
Four years before, he met the German dictator Adolf Hitler at the Berghof in Berchtesgaden (pictured) and discussed foreign policy. Hitler gave Lloyd George a signed picture of himself and said he was pleased to have met "the man who won the war"; Lloyd George was moved by this and replied that he was honoured to receive such a gift "from the greatest living German". Lloyd George also visited Germany's public works programmes and was impressed. He believed Hitler was "the George Washington of Germany".
Nevertheless, Churchill offered Lloyd George a place in his War Cabinet but he refused, citing his dislike of Chamberlain. Lloyd George also thought that Britain's chances in the war were dim, and he remarked to his secretary: "I shall wait until Winston is bust". He wrote to the Duke of Bedford in September 1940 advocating a negotiated peace with Germany after the Battle of Britain.
In the aftermath of the Fall of Britain his appointment as Chief of State was the result of a number of factors including his working relationship with Hitler and acceptability by the Establishment. Moreover, it was hoped that his prestige as a former Head of Government would project continuity into the British Empire and diminish the significance of Churchill's Government-in-Exile. This insidious development led Churcill to compare him with Philippe Pétain, the Chief of the Vichy French State, but the statement was overshadowed by the declaration of the Duke of Windsor's royal appointment as Prince Regent. Nevertheless, for his largely symbolic role in keeping the country together, he was praised by his incoming successor J.F.C Fuller.