Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC, FRS [2] (10 February 1894 – 29 December 1986) was Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963.. Nicknamed 'Supermac' and known for his pragmatism, wit and unflappability, Macmillan achieved notoriety before the Second World War as a Tory radical and critic of appeasement. Gladstone’s Day School’ and then joined ‘Summer Fields School.’ He also attended ‘Eton College,’ a boarding school, but was often plagued with serious illnesses such as pneumonia. From 1957 to 1962, Macmillan was a good - some would say a great - Prime Minister. The son of an American-born mother and the grandson of a founder of the London publishing house of Macmillan & Co., he was educated at Balliol College, Oxford. Macmillan immediately had to deal with a national shortage of money, and his chancellor of the exchequer, Peter Thorneycroft, resigned (January 1958) in protest against government spending. Therefore, in practice, what is decided in the House of Commons is the decisive event. Although British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was both misunderstood and mocked when he made the remark, he had some justification for telling an audience on July 20, 1957: “Most of our people have never had it so good.”… He had several conferences with presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, and he visited Nikita S. Khrushchev in Moscow (February 1959). Watching the problems in extricating the United Kingdom from the European Union reminded me that a humiliating failure to secure entry to that same entity’s predecessor was one of the things that drove Macmillan from office. As member of Parliament for Stockton-on-Tees after 1924, he was no orthodox Conservative. The son of an industrial chemist and a teacher, he would go on to to become the Queen's first Prime Minister from a lower middle-class background as well as her first Labour Party PM. Share with your friends. Harold Macmillan emerged as … He distinguished himself in combat during World War I and entered politics after the war. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. The party could not take this blow and split up soon. He was known by the nickname ‘Supermac,’ owing to his charismatic attributes. He completed college just before the First World War broke out and then enlisted in the army as a volunteer. As a teenager and an adult, Harold was a keen admirer of liberal politicians such as Henry Campbell-Bannerman, who was the prime minister of UK when Harold was growing up. Macmillan sitting at his desk. Harold spent most of the first two years of the war in hospitals, recovering from his wounds. Harold Macmillan emerged as the top candidate for the job. Macmillan had flatly denied all reports against his minister, but when the truth emerged his denial was interpreted by some as complicity. His last words were, "I think I will go to sleep now".' In the early 1960s, he made several popular speeches on the virtues of independence and granted freedom to several African countries such as Sierra Leone, Ghana, and Uganda. Great? Harold Macmillan was the last British prime minister born during the Victorian era and the first to realize that Britain was no longer a great power. After 10 months as colonial under secretary, he was sent (Dec. 30, 1942) to northwest Africa as British minister resident at Allied Forces Headquarters, Mediterranean Command. This December marks thirty years since the death of Harold Macmillan, the Prime Minister who took over in 1957 from Anthony Eden following the Suez Crisis. Harold Macmillan was prime minister (from 1957 to 1963) in a world very different from our own. Nicknamed "Supermac," he was known for his pragmatism, wit and unflappability. In his Bedford speech of July 1957 he told the nation they had 'never had it so good'. He openly supported Churchill’s stance on non-appeasement, and this support did not go unrewarded. He achieved a lot towards peace in northern Ireland and managed the economy well overall despite the ERM fiasco early on. He passed away in December 1986. https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/person/mp05788/harold-macmillan-1st-earl-of-stockton, https://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait/mw98602/Harold-Macmillan-1st-Earl-of-Stockton, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVUX8TlrZKs, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7ySKryGldo, http://home.bt.com/news/uk-news/pm-macmillan-asked-minister-to-look-into-claims-of-brainwashing-captured-spies-11364012445536. Harold Macmillan, who was prime minister from 1957 to 1963, believed in fidelity, loved his wife, and was heartbroken when she died. He fought for his country in the First World War. This impeccable upper-class background served Macmillan in good stead in his prime ministerial career (January 1957-October 1963) when he wished to lead his party in directions that it would have found difficult to take from another leader. After a one-sided election, Harold became the MP from the zone. There is one more romantic tribulation, though, that's too good not to note. He made up for the financial losses suffered by the ‘Conservative Party’ during the ‘Suez’ debacle. This was only a handful of months after he had been made Prime Minister. Omissions? Keystone Pictures USA /Alamy stock photo. The past is indeed a foreign country. No power on earth, except Adolf Hitler, could have done either". Eden's resignation left him as the clear choice of his Cabinet colleagues to become Prime Minister. Dorothy started an affair with ‘Conservative’ politician Robert Boothby. Harold Macmillan, Britain’s Prime Minister from 1956 to 1962 (the period bracketed by Suez and Profumo), was without doubt the most important and influential figure in British politics since Churchill. William F Buckley, on his television show Firing Line, said that Macmillan ‘tried to govern as a conservative from the left of center. He then became the minister of defense and a foreign secretary. On receiving t… He became the prime minister on January 10, 1957. Harold Macmillan was an English statesman from the ‘Conservative Party’ who served as the prime minister of the UK from 1957 to 1963. MACMILLAN IS PRIME MINISTER. SV. Robert Arthur Talbot Gascoyne-Cecil, later Lord Salisbury (1830–1903) Party: Conservative. CU. The 1930s were crucial for his political career, as this was the time he became ideologically close to Winston Churchill. At the end of the war in Europe, Macmillan was secretary of state for air in Churchill’s “caretaker” government (May–July 1945). Thus, Harold did not divorce her. Harold initially attended ‘Mr. Actually far sighted, yes, and with hindsight, pretty good. He joined the ‘Conservative Party’ but exhibited a liberal point of view. He sat in the House of Commons from 1924 to 1929 and from 1931 to 1964. In the mid-1950s, the UK faced the ‘Suez’ debacle that led to the end of the political careers of many British statesmen. As a result, he rose through the ranks in the ‘Conservative Party’ and became an experienced statesman. His zone was suffering from a high level of unemployment, which cost him his seat in the parliament. Thus, the supreme leaders of his party were unhappy with him. He led the Conservative Party to a resounding victory in the 1959 general election by effectively contrasting Britain’s prewar unemployment with its postwar full employment under the slogan “You’ve never had it so good.”. Their family business, ‘MacMillan Publishing,’ was founded by Harold’s grandfather, Daniel Macmillan. It was a world of consensus politics - now derided as much by Conservatives as by the left. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). He was appointed prime minister on Jan. 10, 1957, following the resignation of Eden in the wake of the Suez crisis, and was elected leader of the Conservative Party 12 days later. The procedure Edit. After a long struggle, he resigned from his post in October 1963. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. This is a graphical timeline of prime ministers of the United Kingdom from when the first prime minister in the modern sense, Robert Walpole, took office in 1721, until the present day. He supported the decolonization of Africa. The erstwhile prime minister, Anthony Eden, decided that resignation was the best course of action in such circumstances, and he subsequently resigned. Churchill’s government made him the minister of housing and local government in 1951. But in the early phase of his career this background could be seriously misleading. The subsequent French veto (Jan. 29, 1963) of Great Britain’s entry into the European Economic Community was a severe blow to Macmillan. Although he lost in 1929, he came back to power two years later. In 1976, Harold Macmillan was awarded with the ‘Order of Merit.’ In addition, he was honored with the ‘Freedom Medal’ from the ‘Roosevelt Study Center’ two years before his death. Both his parents were scholars. Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton (10 February 1894 – 29 December 1986) was a British Conservative politician and statesman who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 19 October 1963. Harold Macmillan was born Maurice Harold Macmillan, on February 10, 1894, in Chelsea, London, UK. Through war and peace, crisis and calm, the relationship with the Queen has been one that every prime minister has had to nurture. At the time of his death, he was the longest-lived prime minister in British history, a record surpassed by James Callaghan in February 2005. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Harold-Macmillan, Spartacus Educational - Biography of Harold Macmillan, Harold Macmillan - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). His mother, Helen Belles, was an artist and a socialite. By the mid-50s, he had become the fittest prime ministerial candidate from the ‘Conservative Party.’ In 1957, following the resignation of Anthony Eden, Harold became the prime minister. He ventured into politics once the war was over. Leaving aside Alec Douglas-Home’s very brief stint as PM, he was the last Tory PM in the old-fashioned, rather paternalistic mold. The appointment of a Prime Minister by the monarch is formal, based on advice given to them. The record he left behind is, by all counts, an impressive one. While his father was mostly busy with the family business, Harold’s mother took care of his education. During his final year at the school, he was homeschooled by the teachers. They lived separately for most of their married life. Lady Dorothy died in 1966 after being married to Harold for 46 years. Harold served in the World War as one of the grenadier guards in early 1915. ... HAROLD MACMILLAN (1957-63) 13. He attended Oxford, studying history, philosophy, politics, and economics, and at 24 married his sweetheart, … Harold died at ‘Birch Grove,’ the family mansion in East Sussex, on December 29, 1986. Harold Macmillan’s famous declaration that “most of our people have never had it so good” came in July 1957 at a time when the country was riding high on the post-war economic boom. Harold Macmillan, in full Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, Viscount Macmillan of Ovenden, (born Feb. 10, 1894, London, Eng.—died Dec. 29, 1986, Birch Grove, Sussex), British politician who was prime minister from January 1957 to October 1963. SV. During those years, Harold grew as an effective leader and openly criticized nationalist leaders such as Rab Butler and Harold Wilson, as they did not participate in any military service when the country was at war. Macmillan refused a peerage and retired from the House of Commons in September 1964. Just after the outbreak of WWII Macmillan became a minister under Prime Minister Winston Churchill of whom he was later to say: "You and I owe Hitler something. Macmillan’s reputation was partly rehabilitated by the successful negotiations (July 1963) among Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union for the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, but demands continued within his own party for a new and younger leader, and, after undergoing surgery, he resigned his office on Oct. 18, 1963. He was deeply moved by mass unemployment; in such works as Reconstruction: A Plea f… Harold MacMillan greets Nikita Khrushchev in Moscow. Lady Dorothy Evelyn Macmillan GBE (née Cavendish; 28 July 1900 – 21 May 1966) was an English socialite and the third daughter of Victor Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire, and Evelyn Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire.She was married to Harold Macmillan from 1920 until her death. There his efforts to secure good relations with Dwight D. Eisenhower, Charles de Gaulle, and other high Allied officers improved his skills as a politician. Harold Macmillan, the onetime British prime minister, popped into mind a few days ago. The family ensured their children received top-notch education. However, Harold’s political understanding had him reaping benefits out of it, despite the fact that he had also been responsible for the debacle. The Nassau agreement (December 1962) between Macmillan and Kennedy, that the United States should furnish nuclear missiles for British submarines, enraged Charles de Gaulle, who then was head of the French state and who insisted on a Europe uncontrolled by the United States. However, The prime ministerial seat was not a bed of roses. Despite this, he won a seat from Stockton-on-Tees in 1924. Similar to Johnson, Macmillan had come to the Conservative Party leadership as a result of his predecessor, Anthony Eden’s resignation. By this point, the Prime Minister’s … The affair began in 1929, and when Harold wanted to divorce his wife, his political mentors suggested that it would create a bad impression on the public. Over the Suez affair in 1956 he played a difficult - and somewhat devious - hand. The erstwhile prime minister, Anthony Eden, decided that resignation was the best course of action in such circumstances, and he subsequently resigned. I think it was under him that house building reached record levels. He then contested as a member of parliament (MP) from Stockton-on-Tees in 1924. His party was becoming undisciplined and unmanageable by the mid 90s after so long in power and he might have benefited from being a little harder on them, but overall a good prime minister despite his public image. This helped him gain significance in national politics. His liberal mindset and his anti-appeasement policies quickly made him a respected leader of the country. Macmillan presided over a country becoming more affluent (rich), with low unemployment and high (but uneven) economic growth. However, though the advice is technically informal, the monarch would create a constitutional crisis if they did not comply. He also led his party in the 1959 general elections and made sure that his party had the upper hand in the parliament. He then began producing his memoirs: Winds of Change, 1914–1939 (1966); The Blast of War, 1939–1945 (1967); Tides of Fortune, 1945–1955 (1969); Riding the Storm, 1956–1959 (1971); Pointing the Way, 1959–1961 (1972); At the End of the Day, 1961–63 (1973); and The Past Masters: Politics and Politicians, 1906–1939 (1975). His second term was plagued with several crises. For most of his term Macmillan had been held in high esteem by his party. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Macmillan worked to improve British-U.S. relations, which had been strained by the Suez crisis, and his old partnership with General, now President, Eisenhower was helpful in this regard. https://www.biography.com/news/queen-elizabeth-and-her-prime-ministers He was 92 years old at that time. Quotations by Harold MacMillan, English Politician, Born February 10, 1894. Spouse/Ex-: Lady Dorothy Macmillan (m. 1920–1966), father: Maurice Crawford Macmillan (1853–1936), mother: Helen (Nellie) Artie Tarleton Belles, children: Lady Caroline Faber, Maurice Macmillan, awards: Four Freedoms Award - Freedom Medal, See the events in life of Harold Macmillan in Chronological Order. He embarked on a historical tour called the ‘Winds of Change Tour’ across Africa in 1960. He rose through the political ranks. However, when the new candidate resigned in 1931, Harold got his seat back. He was born and raised in London and completed his education from the ‘University of Oxford.’ He was always an admirer of the policies of liberalism adopted by a few British politicians of that era. But Britain’s adverse balance of payments led the government to impose a wage freeze and other deflationary measures from 1961 on, and this caused Macmillan’s government to lose popularity. In 1957 Harold Macmillan took over as Prime Minister after Anthony Eden fell on his sword following the disaster of the Suez Crisis, when British troops were forced to withdraw from the Suez Canal and hand it back to Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel … In 1945, he became the MP from Bromley. By 1962, however, his government was looking tired. The prime minister was speaking at … During the later years of the Second World War, he had become very close to Churchill. When the World War was at rest in November 1918, Harold was still recovering from his war injuries. After the Conservatives regained power in 1951, he was successively appointed minister of housing and local government (October 1951) and minister of defense (October 1954) by Churchill and then served as foreign secretary (April–December 1955) and chancellor of the exchequer (1955–57) under Sir Anthony Eden. The couple had four children. The zone had a high casualty rate. He was aged 92 years and 322 days—the greatest age attained by a British Prime Minister until surpassed by James Callaghan on 14 February 2005.His grandson and heir Alexander, Viscount Macmillan of Ovenden, said: 'In the last 48 hours he was very weak but entirely reasonable and intelligent. Rumors claimed that Sarah Heath, their youngest daughter, was not Harold’s biological daughter. He gained experience and secured good relations with people there. His great career was addressed by US President Ronald Reagan. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. During the course of his political career, Harold was awarded with honorary degrees by prestigious universities such as ‘Oxford,’ ‘John Hopkins,’ ‘DePauw,’ and ‘Cambridge.’, https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/harold-macmillan-4811.php, Celebrities Who Look Beautiful Even Without Makeup, The Top 25 Wrestling Announcers Of All Time, Celebrities Who Are Not In The Limelight Anymore. He spent a lot of money for the campaign. no. He fought for UK in France, which was known as the most dangerous war zone back in those days. Macmillan died on 29 December 1986, at Birch Grove, the Macmillan family mansion on the edge of Ashdown Forest near Chelwood Gate in East Sussex. The British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, has made an optimistic speech telling fellow Conservatives that "most of our people have never had it so good". He was once fatally wounded. Dates in … In April 1920, Harold Macmillan married Lady Dorothy Cavendish, who belonged to a respected British royal family from Devonshire. When Winston Churchill formed his World War II coalition government (May 1940), Macmillan, who had bitterly condemned British “appeasement” of Nazi Germany in the late 1930s, was appointed parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of Supply. Macmillan himself supervised the conduct of foreign policy as prime minister. However, recent studies have claimed that she was indeed Harold’s daughter. The ‘Conservative Party’ was shaken after Britain’s application to the ‘European Economic Community’ (EEC). Due to the ongoing political crisis in his party, he resigned in 1963. (Redirected from List of Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom (graphical)). Prime Minister Harold 'Supermac' Macmillan distanced the UK from apartheid, sped up the process of decolonisation and was heavily involved in negotiating the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Toward the late 1930s, he was made the parliamentary secretary to the ‘Ministry of Supply.’ His job had him visiting major political leaders in North Africa. During the course of the war, Harold was wounded thrice. Boris Johnson is the Prime Minister since 24 July 2019. The general public was angry, and this led Macmillan to do something which was similar to a “political suicide.” He dismissed eight members of his cabinet in 1962, in what was known as the “Night of Long Knives.” Harold’s amateur handling of the troubles caused by a scandalous minister, John Profumo, was the final nail in the coffin of his political career. He later accepted a peerage and was created an earl in 1984. Corrections? Updates? Born James Harold Wilson on March 11, 1916 in Yorkshire, England, the future Prime Minister wasn't an obvious choice for politics. By the time he was in college, his views had turned into a mixture of moderate liberalism, moderate conservatism, and Fabian socialism. When Eden resigned in 1957 after the Suez Crisis, Macmillan succeeded him as Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Nicknamed ‘Supermac‘, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan came to Bedford on 20 July 1957 to deliver a speech to fellow Conservatives. Harold Macmillan - 1963. Interior Mr. Harold Macmillan sitting at his desk. Enjoy the best Harold MacMillan Quotes at BrainyQuote. He made you Prime Minister and me an under-secretary. Macmillan was the last British prime minister born during the Victorian era, the last to have served in the First World War and the last to receive a hereditary peerage. At home, Macmillan gave firm support to Britain’s array of postwar social programs. Macmillan served in the Grenadier Guards during the First World War. He was the youngest child in the family and had two elder brothers. 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