“the Success of the Conservative Party 1918-1964 Was Due to the Appeal of Its Leaders.” to What Extent Do You Agree?

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The success of the Conservative Party 1918-1964 was due to the appeal of its leaders.” To what extent do you agree? To assess the appeal of the Conservative leaders, it is first necessary to define appeal. Appeal is the extent to which the image and personality of the leader appeals to the needs of the electorate at the time. Whilst appealing leaders such as Winston Churchill were successful in leadership, others such as Antony Eden who was arguably the most appealing were not as successful so it is clear that the factor of appeal alone cannot lead to success. Therefore other factors such as the strength of the cabinet or weakness of the opposition generated this success, or arguably the appeal itself necessary for the success. Appeal of course was an important ingredient in the success of many Conservative leaders, and the ‘old guard appeal’ that vindicated Winston Churchill in 1939 when his predictions concerning Nazi Germany shamed the appeasement policy of pacifist Neville Chamberlain and subsequently led him to becoming approached by Ministers to form a National Government for the war. Churchill’s ability as an orator especially in the use of the radio rallying voters surpassed even that of Stanley Baldwin who had cunningly used it to deliver Conservative Propaganda during the 1926 General Strike. Through speeches such as the “Blood, Sweat and Tears” (1940), through his appeal he in the long-term imposed a spirit of patriotism which encouraged collectivism that not only made the rationing of 1940-1951 possible and unopposed, but also created a foundation for the “Middle Way” of politics that would create the political appeal necessary for MacMillan to dominate the period 1957-1964. While Winston Churchill’s appeal came from the stoic and headstrong attitude which he used to organise the war arguably this very appeal denied him the appointment as Prime Minister in 1945. He condemned the reconstructive measures of the Beveridge Report in 1942 “as requiring a...
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