Anthony Eden
British politician & Conservative prime minister
Anthony Eden
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC was a British Conservative politician, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957. He was also Foreign Secretary for three periods between 1935 and 1955, including during World War II. He is best known for his outspoken opposition to appeasement in the 1930s, his diplomatic leadership in the 1940s and 1950s, and the failure of his Middle East policy in 1956 that ended his premiership.
Anthony Eden's personal information overview.
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Peking Duck - National Review Online
Google News - over 5 years
Like China vis a vis America today, Washington had London's bonds (the World War Two debt) – and Ike ordered the Treasury to sell them: In London, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Harold Macmillan, reported to the Prime Minister, Anthony Eden,
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Edmund Penning-Rowsell by Jancis Robinson - The Guardian
Google News - over 5 years
He wore an Anthony Eden hat and three-piece tweed suits that bristled as much as the hairs on his cheekbones. He carried a walking stick and was a keen member of the Travellers Club in Pall Mall. He was chairman of Tthe Wine Society and a founder
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Take 'The Hour' Quiz: How Well Do You Know 1950s Britain? - Anglophenia (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Sir Anthony Eden, who became Prime Minister in 1955, was a member of which political party? Correct answer: B. Anthony Eden was a Conservative, or Tory. He became Prime Minister when Winston Churchill, in failing health, resigned in April 1955
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Espionage in the Government and Shenanigans at Work - New York Times
Google News - over 5 years
... is only occasionally reminded that, as a woman, she is considered a second-class citizen, a reminder most often delivered by Angus McCain (Julian Rhind-Tutt), an upper-class snob who is a media adviser to the ailing prime minister, Anthony Eden
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Only 57 years late... postcard from Egypt sent in 1954 FINALLY lands on the ... - Daily Mail
Google News - over 5 years
Anthony Eden's government had agreed with Egypt to end its decades-long control of the strategically vital waterway in October 1954. But President Nasser tore up the deal and nationalised the canal in July 1956, sparking the Suez Crisis
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UK riots: Should I cut short my holiday? -
Google News - over 5 years
His fellow Old Etonian, Boris Johnson, seemed to be trying to emulate Macmillan as well, but mistimed his return and tipped all the way over into Anthony Eden, the Old Etonian who failed to return from his holiday in the Caribbean in time to save his
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Broadcast Noir in 1950s London - Wall Street Journal
Google News - over 5 years
An erudite yet enigmatic BBC news executive; a smarmy and sinister press officer for Prime Minister Anthony Eden; a spooky half-Russian who's a killer for which side we cannot tell—these and many more rotate by. Tapped phones click ominously,
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From the archives: "Capital punishment is absolutely indefensible" -
Google News - over 5 years
Even the Tory MPs will have been affected. Surely the whole practise of hanging will have been brought into disrepute. When Sir Anthony Eden returns from Geneva, he should change his Home Secretary and then introduce legislation
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NYTimes - over 5 years
1911 President Taft Hits Hard President William Howard Taft, in a special message to the Senate, has defended his family honor against the charges of corruption in regard to the Alaskan land grants. Condemning those who charge his brother, Charles P. Taft, with influencing him to open the shore of Controller Bay, Alaska, for public settlement, Mr.
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The Story Of A Secret State - Jewish Chronicle
Google News - over 5 years
He met politicians and community leaders, and on the February 5 1943, talked with Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. He then flew to the US and met President Roosevelt that July. This was a full nine months before the two young men, Rudolf Vrba and Alfred
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Boris Hembry, the spy - Malaysia Star
Google News - over 5 years
Social highlights included interactions with Sir Henry Gurney, Sir Gerald Templer and Anthony Eden, who would become British prime minister. Hembry left Malaya in 1955 with his wife, partly due to poor health. With a title like Malayan Spymaster one
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Why Hillary should have been the next UN chief - ABC Online
Google News - over 5 years
Charles de Gaulle, Dwight Eisenhower and Sir Anthony Eden were all considered to become the first secretary-general. Bill Clinton was also widely understood to be chasing the role, arranging deals with Al Gore and John Kerry during their presidential
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What would Bevan do? Invoke the spirit of 1945 -
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... and the 1945 Attlee Government – a vision and concept of broad social reform, we should remember, that was accepted (however reluctantly) by the Conservative Party even under Winston Churchill, then Anthony Eden and followed by Harold Macmillan
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Drama sparks Suez Crisis memories - Norfolk Eastern Daily Press
Google News - over 5 years
In 1956, without telling the electorate, parliament or even some of his own Cabinet, the British prime minister Sir Anthony Eden secretly plotted with France and Israel to invade Egypt. The pretence, fed to the British public, was that Britain and
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Anthony Eden
  • 1977
    Age 79
    Eden died from liver cancer in Salisbury on 14 January 1977, at the age of 79.
    More Details Hide Details He is survived by Clarissa. Anthony Eden was buried in St Mary's churchyard at Alvediston, just three miles upstream from 'Rose Bower' at the source of the River Ebble. Eden's papers are housed at the University of Birmingham Special Collections. At his death, Eden was the last surviving member of Churchill's War Cabinet. Eden's surviving son, Nicholas Eden (1930–1985), known as Viscount Eden from 1961 to 1977, was also a politician and a minister in the Thatcher government until his premature death from AIDS at the age of 54. Anthony Eden always made a particularly cultured appearance, well-mannered and good-looking. This gave him huge popular support throughout his political life, but some contemporaries felt that he was merely a superficial person lacking any deeper convictions. That view was enforced by his very pragmatic approach to politics. Sir Oswald Mosley, for example, said that he never understood why Eden was so strongly pushed by the Tory party, while he felt that Eden's abilities were very much inferior to those of Harold Macmillan and Oliver Stanley. In 1947 Dick Crossman called him “that peculiarly British type, the idealist without conviction”.
  • 1976
    Age 78
    In December 1976, Eden felt well enough to travel with his wife to the United States to spend Christmas and New Year with Averell and Pamela Harriman, but after reaching the States his health rapidly deteriorated.
    More Details Hide Details At his family's request, Prime Minister James Callaghan arranged for an RAF plane that was already in America to divert to Miami to fly him home.
  • 1970
    Age 72
    By 1970 they had brought him £185,000 (around £3,000,000 at 2014 prices), leaving him a wealthy man for the first time in his life.
    More Details Hide Details Towards the end of his life he published a highly acclaimed personal memoir of his early life, Another World (1976).
  • 1967
    Age 69
    In his 1967 interview (which he stipulated would not be used until after his death), Eden acknowledged secret dealings with the French and "intimations" of the Israeli attack.
    More Details Hide Details He insisted, however, that "the joint enterprise and the preparations for it were justified in the light of the wrongs it Anglo-French invasion was designed to prevent." "I have no apologies to offer," Eden declared. At the time of his retirement Eden had been short of money, although he was paid a £100,000 advance for his memoirs by The Times, with any profit over this amount to be split between himself and the newspaper.
    Recalling the incident in a 1967 interview, he declared, "I am still unrepentant about Suez.
    More Details Hide Details People never look at what would have happened if we had done nothing. There is a parallel with the 1930s. If you allow people to break agreements with impunity, the appetite grows to feed on such things. I don't see what other we ought to have done. One cannot dodge. It is hard to act rather than dodge."
    D. R. Thorpe, another of Eden's biographers, writes that Suez was "a truly tragic end to his premiership, and one that came to assume a disproportionate importance in any assessment of his careers"; he suggests that had the Suez venture succeeded, "there would almost certainly have been no Middle East war in 1967, and probably no Yom Kippur War in 1973 also".
    More Details Hide Details Guy Millard, one of Eden's Private Secretaries, who thirty years later, in a radio interview, spoke publicly for the first time on the crisis, made an insider's judgement about Eden: "It was his mistake of course and a tragic and disastrous mistake for him. I think he overestimated the importance of Nasser, Egypt, the Canal, even of the Middle East itself." While British actions in 1956 are routinely described as "imperialistic", the motivation was in fact economic. Eden was a liberal supporter of nationalist ambitions, such as over Sudanese independence. His 1954 Suez Canal Base Agreement (withdrawing British troops from Suez in return for certain guarantees) was sold to the Conservative Party against Churchill's wishes.
    Anthony Nutting, who resigned as a Foreign Office Minister over Suez, expressed the former view in 1967, the year of the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War, when he wrote that "we had sown the wind of bitterness and we were to reap the whirlwind of revenge and rebellion".
    More Details Hide Details Conversely, Jonathan Pearson argues in Sir Anthony Eden and the Suez Crisis: Reluctant Gamble (2002) that Eden was more reluctant and less bellicose than most historians have judged.
    In a 1967 interview Eden explained his decision to resign: "It was not over protocol, Chamberlain's communicating with Mussolini without telling me.
    More Details Hide Details I never cared a goddamn, a tuppence about protocol. The reason for my resignation was that we had an agreement with Mussolini about the Mediterranean and Spain, which he was violating by sending troops to Spain, and Chamberlain wanted to have another agreement. I thought Mussolini should honour the first one before we negotiated for the second. I was trying to fight a delaying action for Britain, and I could not go along with Chamberlain's policy."
  • 1966
    Age 68
    In a television interview in 1966 he called on the United States to halt its bombing of North Vietnam to concentrate on developing a peace plan "that might conceivably be acceptable to Hanoi."
    More Details Hide Details The bombing of North Vietnam, he argued, would never settle the conflict in South Vietnam. "On the contrary," he declared, "bombing creates a sort of David and Goliath complex in any country that has to suffer—as we had to, and as I suspect the Germans had to, in the last war." Eden sat for extensive interviews for the famed multi-part Thames Television production, The World at War, which was first broadcast in 1973. He also featured frequently in Marcel Ophüls' 1969 documentary Le chagrin et la pitié, discussing the occupation of France in a wider geopolitical context. He spoke impeccable, if accented, French. Eden's occasional articles and his early 1970s television appearance were an exception to an almost total retirement. He seldom appeared in public, unlike other former Prime Ministers, e.g. James Callaghan who commented frequently on current affairs. He was even accidentally omitted from a list of Conservative Prime Ministers by Margaret Thatcher when she became Conservative Leader in 1975, although she later went out of her way to establish relations with Eden and, later, his widow. In retirement he was highly critical of regimes such as Sukarno's Indonesia which confiscated assets belonging to their former colonial rulers, and appears to have reverted somewhat to the right-wing views which he had espoused in the 1920s.
  • 1963
    Age 65
    In 1963 Eden initially favoured Hailsham for the Conservative leadership but then supported Home as a compromise candidate.
    More Details Hide Details From 1945 to 1973, Eden was Chancellor of the University of Birmingham, England.
  • 1962
    Age 64
    In August 1962, at a dinner party, he had a “slanging match” with Nigel Birch, who as Secretary of State for Air had not wholeheartedly supported the Suez Invasion.
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    In July 1962 Eden made front page news by commenting that “Mr Selwyn Lloyd has been horribly treated” when the latter was dismissed as Chancellor in the reshuffle known as the “Night of the Long Knives”.
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  • 1961
    Age 63
    In retirement Eden lived in 'Rose Bower' by the banks of the River Ebble in Broad Chalke, Wiltshire. Starting in 1961 he bred a herd of sixty Herefordshire cattle (one of whom was called “Churchill”) until a further decline in his health forced him to sell them in 1975.
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    He entered the House of Lords as Earl of Avon in 1961.
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  • 1960
    Age 62
    He finally gave up such hopes in late 1960 after an exhausting speaking tour of Yorkshire.
    More Details Hide Details Macmillan initially offered to recommend him for a viscountcy, which Eden assumed to be a calculated insult, and he was granted an earldom (which was then the traditional rank for a former Prime Minister) after reminding Macmillan that he had already been offered one by the Queen herself.
  • 1957
    Age 59
    Eden resigned from the House of Commons in March 1957.
    More Details Hide Details He retained much of his personal popularity in Britain and soon regretted his retirement, and contemplated standing again. Several Conservative MPs were reportedly willing to give up their seats for him, although the party hierarchy were less keen.
    The offer by Guy Mollet was referred to by Sir John Colville, Churchill's former private secretary, in his collected diaries, The Fringes of Power (1985), his having gleaned the information in 1957 from Air Chief Marshal Sir William Dickson during an air flight (and, according to Colville, after several whiskies and soda).
    More Details Hide Details Mollet's request for Union with Britain was rejected by Eden, but the additional possibility of France joining the Commonwealth of Nations was considered, although similarly rejected. Colville noted, in respect of Suez, that Eden and his Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd "felt still more beholden to the French on account of this offer".
    Eden resigned on 9 January 1957, after his doctors warned him his life was at stake if he continued in office.
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  • 1956
    Age 58
    At a private meeting at Downing Street on 16 October 1956 Eden showed several ministers a plan, submitted two days earlier by the French.
    More Details Hide Details Israel would invade Egypt, Britain and France would give an ultimatum telling both sides to stop and, when one refused, send in forces to enforce the ultimatum, separate the two sides – and occupy the Canal and get rid of Nasser. When Nutting suggested the Americans should be consulted Eden replied, "I will not bring the Americans into this... Dulles has done enough damage as it is. This has nothing to do with the Americans. We and the French must decide what to do and we alone." Eden openly admitted his view of the crisis was shaped by his experiences in the two world wars, writing, "We are all marked to some extent by the stamp of our generation, mine is that of the assassination in Sarajevo and all that flowed from it. It is impossible to read the record now and not feel that we had a responsibility for always being a lap behind... Always a lap behind, a fatal lap."
    British Government cabinet papers from September 1956, during Eden's term as Prime Minister, have shown that French Prime Minister Guy Mollet approached the British Government suggesting the idea of an economic and political union between France and Great Britain.
    More Details Hide Details This was a similar offer, in reverse, to that made by Churchill (drawing on a plan devised by Leo Amery) in June 1940.
    Rothwell believes that Eden should have cancelled the Suez Invasion plans in mid-October, when the Anglo-French negotiations at the United Nations were making some headway, and that in 1956 the Arab countries threw away a chance to make peace with Israel on her existing borders.
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    Thorpe has summarised Eden's central role in the Suez Crisis of 1956:
    More Details Hide Details Eden's policy had four main aims: first, to secure the Suez Canal; second and consequentially, to ensure continuity of oil supplies; third, to remove Nasser; and fourth, to keep the Russians out of the Middle East. The immediate consequence of the crisis was that the Suez Canal was blocked, oil supplies were interrupted, Nasser's position as the leader of Arab nationalism was strengthened, and the way was left open for Russian intrusion into the Middle East. Michael Foot pushed for a special inquiry along the lines of the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Attack on the Dardanelles in the First World War, although Harold Wilson (Labour Prime Minister 1964–70 and 1974–76) regarded the matter as a can of worms best left unopened. This talk ceased after the defeat of the Arab armies by Israel in the Six Day War of 1967, after which Eden received a lot of fanmail telling him that he had been right, and his reputation, not least in Israel and the United States, soared. In 1986 Eden's official biographer Robert Rhodes James re-evaluated sympathetically Eden's stance over Suez and in 1990, following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, James asked: "Who can now claim that Eden was wrong?". Such arguments turn mostly on whether, as a matter of policy, the Suez operation was fundamentally flawed or whether, as such "revisionists" thought, the lack of American support conveyed the impression that the West was divided and weak.
    Suez damaged Eden's reputation for statesmanship, in many eyes, and led to a breakdown in his health. He went on vacation to Jamaica in November 1956, at a time when he was still determined to soldier on as Prime Minister.
    More Details Hide Details His health, however, did not improve, and during his absence from London his Chancellor Harold Macmillan and Rab Butler worked to manoeuvre him out of office. On the morning of the ceasefire Eisenhower agreed to meet with Eden to publicly resolve their differences, but this offer was later withdrawn after Secretary of State Dulles advised that it could inflame the Middle Eastern situation further. The Observer newspaper accused Eden of lying to Parliament over the Suez Crisis, while MPs from all parties criticised his calling a ceasefire before the Canal was taken. Churchill, while publicly supportive of Eden's actions, privately criticised his successor for not seeing the military operation through to its conclusion. Eden easily survived a vote of confidence in the House of Commons on 8 November.
    At the 'Law not War' rally in Trafalgar Square on 4 November 1956, Eden was ridiculed by Aneurin Bevan: 'Sir Anthony Eden has been pretending that he is now invading Egypt to strengthen the United Nations.
    More Details Hide Details Every burglar of course could say the same thing; he could argue that he was entering the house to train the police. So, if Sir Anthony Eden is sincere in what he is saying, and he may be, then he is too stupid to be a prime minister'. Public opinion was mixed; some historians think that the majority of public opinion in the UK was on Eden's side. Eden was forced to bow to American diplomatic and financial pressure, and protests at home, by calling a ceasefire when Anglo-French forces had captured only 23 miles of the Canal. With the US threatening to withdraw financial support from sterling, the Cabinet divided and the Chancellor of the Exchequer Harold Macmillan threatening to resign unless an immediate ceasefire was called, Eden was under immense pressure. He considered defying the calls until the commander on the ground told him it could take up to six days for the Anglo-French troops to secure the entire Canal zone. Therefore, a ceasefire was called at quarter past midnight on 7 November.
    On 25 September 1956, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Harold Macmillan met informally with President Eisenhower at the White House; he misread Eisenhower's determination to avoid war and told Eden that the Americans would not in any way oppose the attempt to topple Nasser.
    More Details Hide Details Though Eden had known Eisenhower for years and had many direct contacts during the crisis, he also misread the situation. The Americans saw themselves as the champion of decolonization and refused to support any move that could be seen as imperialism or colonialism. Eisenhower felt the crisis had to be handled peacefully; he told Eden that American public opinion would not support a military solution. Eden and other leading British officials incorrectly believed Nasser's support for Palestinian terrorists against Israel, as well as his attempts to destabilise pro-western regimes in Iraq and other Arab states, would deter the US from intervening with the operation. Eisenhower specifically warned that the Americans, and the world, "would be outraged" unless all peaceful routes had been exhausted, and even then "the eventual price might become far too heavy". At the root of the problem was the fact that Eden felt that Britain was still an independent world power. His lack of sympathy for British integration into Europe, manifested in his scepticism about the fledgling European Economic Community (EEC), was another aspect of his belief in Britain's independent role in world affairs.
    Eden is known to have favoured a Japanese or Scandinavian style monarchy (i.e. with no involvement in politics whatsoever) and in January 1956 he had insisted that Khrushchev and Bulganin spend only the minimum amount of time in talks with the Queen.
    More Details Hide Details Evidence also exists that the Palace were concerned at not being kept fully informed during the Suez Crisis. In the 1960s Clarissa Eden was observed to speak of the Queen “in an extremely hostile and belittling way”, and in an interview in 1976 Eden commented that he “would not claim she was pro-Suez”. Although the media expected Butler would get the nod as Eden's successor, a survey of the Cabinet taken for the Queen showed Macmillan was the nearly unanimous choice, and he became Prime Minister on 10 January 1957. Shortly afterwards Eden and his wife left England for a holiday in New Zealand. AJP Taylor wrote in the 1970s: “Eden … destroyed (his reputation as a peacemaker) and led Great Britain to one of the greatest humiliations in her history … (he) seemed to take on a new personality. He acted impatiently and on impulse. Previously flexible he now relied on dogma, denouncing Nasser as a second Hitler. Though he claimed to be upholding international law, he in fact disregarded the United Nations Organisation which he had helped to create … The outcome was pathetic rather than tragic”.
    His worldwide reputation as an opponent of appeasement, a "Man of Peace", and a skilled diplomat was overshadowed in 1956 when the United States refused to support the Anglo-French military response to the Suez Crisis, which critics across party lines regarded as an historic setback for British foreign policy, signalling the end of British predominance in the Middle East.
    More Details Hide Details Most historians argue that he made a series of blunders, especially not realising the depth of American opposition to military action. Two months after ordering an end to the Suez operation he resigned as Prime Minister on grounds of ill health, and because he was widely suspected of having misled the House of Commons over the degree of "collusion" with France and Israel. He is generally ranked among the least successful British Prime Ministers of the 20th century, although two broadly sympathetic biographies (in 1986 and 2003) have gone some way to redressing the balance of opinion. D.R. Thorpe says the Suez Crisis "was a truly tragic end to his premiership, and one that came to assume a disproportionate importance in any assessment of his career." Eden was born at Windlestone Hall, County Durham, England; his birth coincided almost exactly with the Diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria. He was born into a very conservative landed gentry family. He was a younger son of Sir William Eden, 7th and 5th Baronet, a former colonel and local magistrate from an old titled family. Sir William, an eccentric and often foul-tempered man, was a talented watercolourist and collector of Impressionists.
  • 1955
    Age 57
    Eden has the distinction of being the British prime minister to oversee the lowest unemployment figures of the post-World War II era, with unemployment standing at just over 215,000—barely one per cent of the workforce—in July 1955. The alliance with the US proved not universal, however, when in July 1956 Gamal Abdel Nasser, President of Egypt, unexpectedly nationalised (seized) the Suez Canal, following the withdrawal of Anglo-American funding for the Aswan Dam.
    More Details Hide Details Eden believed the nationalisation was in violation of the Anglo-Egyptian Agreement that Nasser had signed with the British and French governments on 19 October 1954. This view was shared by Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell and Liberal leader Jo Grimond. In 1956 the Suez Canal was of vital importance since over two-thirds of the oil supplies of Western Europe (60 million tons annually) passed through it, with 15,000 ships a year, one third of them British; three-quarters of all Canal shipping belonged to NATO countries. Britain's total oil reserves at the time of the nationalisation were only enough for six weeks. The Soviet Union was certain to veto any sanctions against Nasser at the United Nations. Britain and a conference of other nations met in London following the nationalisation in an attempt to resolve the crisis through diplomatic means. However, the Eighteen Nations Proposals, including an offer of Egyptian representation on the board of the Suez Canal Company and a share of profits, were rejected by Nasser. Eden feared that Nasser intended to form an Arab Alliance that would threaten to cut off oil supplies to Europe and, in conjunction with France, decided he should be removed from power.
    On taking office, he immediately called a general election for 26 May 1955, at which he increased the Conservative majority from seventeen to sixty, an increase in majority that broke a ninety-year record for any UK government.
    More Details Hide Details The 1955 general election was the last in which the Conservatives won the majority share of the votes in Scotland. However, Eden had never held a domestic portfolio and had little experience in economic matters. He left these areas to his lieutenants such as Rab Butler, and concentrated largely on foreign policy, forming a close relationship with US President Dwight Eisenhower. Eden's attempts to maintain overall control of the Foreign Office drew widespread criticism.
    In April 1955 Churchill finally retired, and Eden succeeded him as Prime Minister.
    More Details Hide Details He was a very popular figure as a result of his long wartime service and his famous good looks and charm. His famous words "Peace comes first, always" added to his already substantial popularity.
  • 1954
    Age 56
    In 1954 he was made a Knight of the Garter and became Sir Anthony Eden.
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    After the French Assembly rejected the EDC in September 1954, Eden tried to come up with a viable alternative.
    More Details Hide Details Between 11 and 17 September he visited every major West European capital, to negotiate West Germany becoming a sovereign state and entering the Brussels pact prior to entering NATO. Paul-Henri Spaak said he “saved the Atlantic alliance”.
    The success of the 1954 Geneva Conference on Indo-China ranks as the outstanding achievement of his third term in the Foreign Office, although he was critical of the United States decision not to sign the accord.
    More Details Hide Details During the summer and fall of 1954, the Anglo-Egyptian agreement to withdraw all British forces from Egypt was also negotiated and ratified. There were concerns that if the EDC was not ratified as they wanted, the US Republican Administration might withdraw into defending only the Western Hemisphere (although recent documentary evidence confirms that the US intended to withdraw troops from Europe anyway if the EDC was ratified).
  • 1953
    Age 55
    Eden was also irritated by Churchill's hankering for a summit meeting with the USSR, during the period in 1953 after Stalin's death and whilst Eden was seriously ill from a botched bile duct operation.
    More Details Hide Details Despite the ending of the British Raj in India, British interest in the Middle East remained strong: Britain had treaty relations with Jordan and Iraq, with the protecting power for Kuwait and the Trucial States, the colonial power in Aden, and the occupying power in the Suez Canal. Many right-wing Conservative MPs, organised in the so-called Suez Group, sought to retain this imperial role, though economic pressures made maintenance of it increasingly difficult. Britain did seek to maintain its huge military base in the Suez Canal zone and, in the face of Egyptian resentment, further develop its alliance with Iraq, and the hope was that the Americans would assist Britain, possibly through finance. While the Americans did co-operate with the British in overthrowing the Mosaddegh government in Iran, after it had nationalised British oil interests, the Americans developed their own relations in the region, taking a positive view of the Egyptian Free Officers and developing friendly relations with Saudi Arabia. Britain was eventually forced to withdraw from the canal zone and the Baghdad Pact security treaty was not supported by the United States, leaving Eden vulnerable to the charge of having failed to maintain British prestige.
  • 1951
    Age 53
    In 1951 the Conservatives returned to office and Eden became Foreign Secretary for a third time, though not "Deputy Prime Minister" (Churchill gave him this title in the first list of ministers submitted to the King, but the King forbade it on the grounds that this "office" is unknown to the Constitution).
    More Details Hide Details Churchill was largely a figurehead in this government, and Eden had effective control of British foreign policy for the first time, as the Empire declined and the Cold War grew more intense. Eden’s biographer Richard Lamb said that Eden bullied Churchill into going back on commitments to European unity made in opposition. The truth appears to be more complex. Britain was still a world power, or at least trying to be, in 1945–55, with the concept of sovereignty not as discredited as on the continent. The USA encouraged moves towards European federalism as she wanted to withdraw US troops and get the Germans rearmed under supervision. Eden was less Atlanticist than Churchill, and had little time for European federalism. He wanted firm alliances with France and other Western European powers to contain Germany. Half of British trade at that time was with the sterling area, and only a quarter with Western Europe. Despite later talk of "lost opportunities", even Macmillan, who had been an active member of the "European Movement" after the war, acknowledged in February 1952 that Britain’s relationship with the USA and the Commonwealth would prevent her from joining a federal Europe at that time.
  • 1950
    Age 52
    In 1950 Eden and Beatrice were finally divorced, and in 1952 he married Churchill's niece Clarissa Spencer-Churchill (b. 1920), a nominal Roman Catholic, who was fiercely criticised by Catholic writer Evelyn Waugh for marrying a divorced man.
    More Details Hide Details This second marriage was much more successful than his first had been. Eden had an ulcer, exacerbated by overwork, as early as the 1920s. Eden's life was changed forever by a medical mishap: during an operation on 12 April 1953 to remove gallstones his bile duct was damaged, leaving him susceptible to recurrent infections, biliary obstruction and liver failure. He suffered from cholangitis, an abdominal infection which became so agonising that he was admitted to hospital in 1956 with a temperature reaching. He required major surgery on three occasions to alleviate the problem. Eden would almost certainly have become Prime Minister when Churchill suffered a severe stroke on 23 June 1953, had he not been recovering from corrective surgery in the United States on the same day. He was also prescribed Benzedrine, the wonder drug of the 1950s. Regarded then as a harmless stimulant, it belongs to the family of drugs called amphetamines, and at that time they were prescribed and used in a very casual way. Among the side effects of Benzedrine are insomnia, restlessness and mood swings, all of which Eden suffered during the Suez Crisis; indeed, earlier in his premiership he complained of being kept awake at night by the sound of motor scooters. Eden's drug use is now commonly agreed to have been a part of the reason for his bad judgment while Prime Minister. Eden was secretly hospitalised with a high fever, possibly as a result of his heavy medication, on 5–8 October 1956.
  • 1946
    Age 48
    Between 1946 and 1950, whilst separated from his wife, Eden conducted an open affair with Dorothy, Countess Beatty, the wife of David, Earl Beatty.
    More Details Hide Details Eden was the great-great-grandnephew of author Emily Eden and wrote an introduction to her 1860 novel The Semi-Attached Couple in 1947.
    As early as the spring of 1946, Eden openly asked Churchill to retire in his favour.
    More Details Hide Details He was in any case depressed during this period by the break-up of his first marriage and the death of his eldest son. Churchill was in many ways only "part-time Leader of the Opposition", given his many journeys abroad and his literary work, and left the day-to-day-work largely to Eden. Eden was largely regarded as lacking sense of party politics and contact with the common man. In these opposition years, however, he developed some knowledge about domestic affairs and created the idea of a "property-owning-democracy", which Margaret Thatcher's government attempted to achieve decades later. His domestic agenda is overall considered centre-left.
  • 1945
    Age 47
    The marriage finally broke up under the strain of the loss of their son Simon, who was killed in action with the RAF in Burma in 1945.
    More Details Hide Details His plane was reported "missing in action" on 23 June, and found on 16 July; Eden did not want the news to be public until after the election on 5 July, to avoid claims of "making political capital" from it.
    After the Labour Party won the 1945 election, Eden went into opposition as Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party.
    More Details Hide Details Many felt that Churchill should have retired and allowed Eden to become party leader, but Churchill refused to consider this.
    In 1945 he was mentioned by Halvdan Koht among seven candidates who were qualified for the Nobel Prize in Peace.
    More Details Hide Details However, he did not explicitly nominate any of them. The person actually nominated was Cordell Hull.
    Eden's eldest son, Pilot Officer Simon Gascoigne Eden, went missing in action, later declared deceased, while serving as a navigator with the RAF in Burma, in June 1945.
    More Details Hide Details There was a close bond between Anthony and Simon, and Simon's death was a great personal shock to his father, who nevertheless accepted it. Mrs Eden reportedly reacted to her son's loss differently, and this led to a breakdown in the marriage. De Gaulle wrote him a personal letter of condolence in French.
  • 1944
    Age 46
    In 1944 Eden went to Moscow to negotiate with the Soviet Union at the Tolstoy Conference.
    More Details Hide Details Eden also opposed the Morgenthau Plan to deindustrialise Germany. After the Stalag Luft III murders he vowed in the House of Commons to bring the perpetrators of the crime to "exemplary justice", leading to a successful manhunt after the war by the Royal Air Force Special Investigation Branch.
  • 1943
    Age 45
    In early 1943 Eden blocked a request from the Bulgarian authorities to aid with deporting part of the Jewish population from newly acquired Bulgarian territories to British-controlled Palestine.
    More Details Hide Details After his refusal, those people were transported to concentration camps in Poland.
    In 1943 with the revelation of the Katyn Massacre Eden refused to help the Polish Government in Exile.
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  • 1942
    Age 44
    He was considered for various other major jobs during and after the war, including Commander-in-Chief Middle East in 1942 (this would have been a very unusual appointment as Eden was a civilian; General Harold Alexander was in fact appointed), Viceroy of India in 1943 (General Archibald Wavell was appointed to this job), or Secretary-General of the newly formed United Nations Organisation in 1945.
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    In 1942 Eden was given the additional role of Leader of the House of Commons.
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  • 1941
    Age 43
    In December 1941, he travelled by ship to Russia where he met with the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and surveyed the battlefields upon which the Russians had successfully defended Moscow from the German Army attack in Operation Barbarossa.
    More Details Hide Details Nevertheless, he was in charge of handling much of the relations between Britain and Free French leader de Gaulle during the last years of the war. Eden was often critical of the emphasis Churchill put on the Special Relationship with the United States, and was often disappointed by American treatment of their British allies.
  • 1940
    Age 42
    At the end of 1940 Eden returned to the Foreign Office, and in this role became a member of the executive committee of the Political Warfare Executive in 1941.
    More Details Hide Details Although he was one of Churchill's closest confidants, his role in wartime was restricted because Churchill conducted the most important negotiations, with Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin, himself, but Eden served loyally as Churchill's lieutenant.
    As a result, he was not a candidate for the Premiership when Chamberlain resigned in May 1940 after the Narvik Debate and Churchill became Prime Minister.
    More Details Hide Details Churchill appointed Eden Secretary of State for War.
  • 1939
    Age 41
    During the last months of peace in 1939, Eden joined the Territorial Army with the rank of major, in the London Rangers motorized battalion of the King's Royal Rifle Corps and was at annual camp with them in Beaulieu, Hampshire when he heard news of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
    More Details Hide Details On the outbreak of war (3 September 1939) Eden, unlike most Territorials, did not mobilise for active service. Instead he returned to Chamberlain's government as Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, but was not in the War Cabinet.
  • 1938
    Age 40
    His resignation in February 1938 was largely attributed to growing dissatisfaction with Chamberlain's policy of appeasement.
    More Details Hide Details That is, however, disputed by new research; it was not the question if there should be negotiations with Italy, but only when they should start and how far they should be carried. Similarly, he at no point registered his dissatisfaction with the appeasement policy directed towards Nazi Germany in his period as Foreign Secretary. He became a Conservative dissenter leading a group conservative whip David Margesson called the "Glamour Boys," and a leading anti-appeaser like Winston Churchill, who led a similar group called "The Old Guard." Although Churchill claimed to have lost sleep the night of Eden's resignation (later recounted in his wartime memoirs The Gathering Storm, 1948), they were not allies and did not see eye-to-eye until Churchill became Prime Minister. There was much speculation that Eden would become a rallying point for all the disparate opponents of Neville Chamberlain, but his position declined heavily amongst politicians as he maintained a low profile, avoiding confrontation, though he opposed the Munich Agreement and abstained in the vote on it in the House of Commons. However, he remained popular in the country at large, and in later years was often wrongly supposed to have resigned as Foreign Secretary in protest at the Munich Agreement.
  • 1936
    Age 38
    Eden did not protest when Britain and France failed to oppose Hitler's reoccupation of the Rhineland in 1936.
    More Details Hide Details When the French requested a meeting with a view to some kind of military action in response to Hitler's occupation, Eden in a statement firmly ruled out any military assistance to France.
  • 1935
    Age 37
    He privately opposed the policy of the Foreign Secretary, Sir Samuel Hoare, of trying to appease Italy during its invasion of Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 1935.
    More Details Hide Details When Hoare resigned after the failure of the Hoare-Laval Pact, Eden succeeded him as Foreign Secretary. When Eden had his first audience with King George V, the King is said to have remarked, "No more coals to Newcastle, no more Hoares to Paris." At this stage in his career Eden was considered as something of a leader of fashion. He regularly wore a Homburg hat (similar to a trilby but more rigid), which became known in Britain as an "Anthony Eden". Eden became Foreign Secretary at a time when Britain was having to adjust its foreign policy to face the rise of the fascist powers. He supported the policy of non-interference in the Spanish Civil War through conferences like the Nyon Conference, and supported prime minister Neville Chamberlain in his efforts to preserve peace through reasonable concessions to Germany. The Italian-Ethiopian War was brewing, and Eden tried in vain to persuade Mussolini to submit the dispute to the League of Nations. The Italian dictator scoffed at Eden publicly as "the best dressed fool in Europe."
    He entered the Cabinet for the first time in June 1935 when Stanley Baldwin formed his third administration.
    More Details Hide Details Eden later came to recognise that peace could not be maintained by appeasement of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy.
  • 1933
    Age 35
    In December 1933 he was appointed Lord Privy Seal, a position that was combined with the newly created office of Minister for League of Nations Affairs.
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  • 1931
    Age 33
    In August 1931 Eden held his first ministerial office as Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs in Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald's National Government. Initially the office of Foreign Secretary was held by Lord Reading (in the House of Lords), although Sir John Simon held the job from November 1931.
    More Details Hide Details Like many of his generation who had served in World War I, Eden was strongly anti-war, and strove to work through the League of Nations to preserve European peace. The government proposed measures, superseding the postwar Versailles Treaty, that would allow Germany to rearm (albeit replacing her small professional army with a short-service militia) and reduce French armaments. Winston Churchill criticised the policy sharply in the House of Commons on 23 March 1933, opposing "undue" French disarmament as this might require Britain to take action to enforce peace under the 1925 Locarno Treaty. Eden, replying for the government, dismissed Churchill's speech as exaggerated and unconstructive, commenting that land disarmament had yet to make the same progress as naval disarmament at the Washington and London treaties, and arguing that French disarmament was needed in order to "secure for Europe that period of appeasement which is needed". Eden's speech was met with approval by the House of Commons. Neville Chamberlain commented shortly afterwards: “That young man is coming along rapidly; not only can he make a good speech but he has a good head and what advice he gives is listened to by the Cabinet” Eden later wrote that in the early 1930s the word “appeasement” was still used in its correct sense (from the Oxford English Dictionary) of seeking to settle strife. Only later in the decade did it come to acquire a pejorative meaning of caving in to bullying demands.
  • 1929
    Age 31
    In opposition between 1929 and 1931 Eden worked as a City broker for Harry Lucas (a firm eventually absorbed into S. G. Warburg & Co.
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    The 1929 General Election was the only time Eden received less than 50% of the vote at Warwick.
    More Details Hide Details After the Conservative defeat he joined a progressive group of younger politicians consisting of Oliver Stanley, William Ormsby-Gore and the future Speaker W.S. “Shakes” Morrison. Another member was Noel Skelton, who before his death coined the phrase “property-owning democracy”, which Eden was later to popularise as a Conservative party aspiration. Eden advocated co-partnership in industry between managers and workers, whom he wanted to be given shares.
    According to Austen Chamberlain, he would have been promoted to his first ministerial job, Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, if the Conservatives had won the 1929 election.
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  • 1928
    Age 30
    In November 1928, with Austen Chamberlain away on a voyage to recover his health, Eden had to speak for the government in a debate on a recent Anglo-French naval agreement, replying to Ramsay MacDonald (then Leader of the Opposition).
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  • 1926
    Age 28
    Besides supplementing his parliamentary income (around £300 a year at that time) by writing and journalism, in 1926 he published a book about his travels, “Places in the Sun”, highly critical of the detrimental effect of socialism on Australia, and to which Stanley Baldwin wrote a foreword.
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    In July 1926 he became PPS to the Foreign Secretary Sir Austen Chamberlain.
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    On 23 March 1926 he spoke urging the League of Nations to admit Germany, which would happen the following year.
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  • 1925
    Age 27
    Eden continued to be PPS to Locker-Lampson when the latter was appointed Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office in December 1925.
    More Details Hide Details He distinguished himself with a speech on the Middle East (21 December 1925), calling for the readjustment of Iraqi frontiers in favour of Turkey, but also for an continued British mandate rather than “scuttle”. Eden ended his speech by calling for Anglo-Turkish friendship.
    In September 1925 he represented the “Yorkshire Post” at the Imperial Conference at Melbourne.
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    In July 1925 he went on a second trip to Canada, Australia and India.
    More Details Hide Details He wrote articles for “The Yorkshire Post” (controlled by his father-in-law Sir Gervase Beckett) under the pseudonym “Backbencher”.
    In January 1925 Eden, disappointed not to have been offered a position, went on a tour of the Middle East, meeting Emir Feisal of Iraq.
    More Details Hide Details Feisal reminded him of the “Czar of Russia & (I) suspect that his fate may be similar” (a similar fate did indeed befall the Iraqi Royal Family in 1958). He inspected the oil refinery at Abadan, which he likened to “a Swansea on a small scale”. He was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Godfrey Locker-Lampson, Under-Secretary at the Home Office (17 February 1925) (serving under Home Secretary William Joynson Hicks).
  • 1924
    Age 26
    On 1 April 1924 he spoke urging Anglo-Turkish friendship and ratification of the Treaty of Lausanne, which had been signed in July 1923.
    More Details Hide Details The Conservatives returned to power at the 1924 General Election.
  • 1923
    Age 25
    On 5 November 1923, shortly before his election to Parliament, he married Beatrice Beckett, then aged only 18.
    More Details Hide Details They had three sons: Simon (1924–1945), Robert, who died fifteen minutes after being born in October 1928, and Nicholas (1930–1985). The marriage was not a success, with both parties apparently conducting affairs. By the mid-1930s his diaries seldom mention Beatrice.
    Eden read the writings of Lord Curzon and was hoping to emulate him by entering politics with a view to specialising in foreign affairs. Eden married Beatrice Beckett in the autumn of 1923, and after a two day honeymoon in Essex, he was selected to fight Warwick and Leamington for a by-election in November 1923. On 16 November 1923, during the by-election campaign, Parliament was dissolved for the December 1923 general election. He was elected to Parliament at the age of twenty-six. The first Labour Government, under Ramsay MacDonald, took office in January 1924.
    More Details Hide Details Eden's maiden speech (19 February 1924) was a controversial attack on Labour's defence policy and was heckled, and thereafter he was careful to speak only after deep preparation. He later reprinted the speech in a collection called “Foreign Affairs” (1939) to give an impression that he had been a consistent advocate of air strength. Eden admired H.H. Asquith, then in his final year in the Commons, for his lucidity and brevity.
    He continued to serve as an officer in the Territorial Army until May 1923.
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  • 1922
    Age 24
    On 18 December he addressed the 1922 committee (Conservative backbenchers), declaring “as long as I live, I shall never apologise for what we did”, but was unable to answer a question about the validity of the Tripartite Declaration of 1950 (which he had in fact reaffirmed in April 1955, two days before becoming Prime Minister).
    More Details Hide Details In his final statement to the House of Commons as Prime Minister (20 December 1956) he performed well in a difficult debate, but told MPs that "there was not foreknowledge that Israel would attack Egypt". Rothwell writes that the knowledge of his having misled the House of Commons on this way must have hung over him thereafter, as was the concern that the US Administration might demand that Britain pay reparations to Egypt. Papers released in January 1987 showed the entire Cabinet had been informed of the plan on 23 October 1956. Eden suffered another fever at Chequers over Christmas, but was still talking of going on an official trip to the USSR in April 1957, wanting a full inquiry into the Crabb affair and badgering Lord Hailsham (First Lord of the Admiralty) about the £6m being spent on oil storage at Malta.
    As a younger son, he had inherited capital of £7,675 and in 1922 he had a private income of £706 after tax (approximately £375,000 and £35,000 at 2014 prices).
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    Captain Eden, as he was still known, was selected to contest Spennymoor, as a Conservative. At first he had hoped to win (with some Liberal support as the Conservatives were still supporting Lloyd George's coalition government) but by the time of the November 1922 general election it was clear that the surge in the Labour vote made this unlikely.
    More Details Hide Details His main sponsor was the Marquess of Londonderry, a local coalowner. The seat went from Liberal to Labour.
    He graduated from Oxford in June 1922 with a Double First.
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  • 1921
    Age 23
    In the spring of 1921, once again as a temporary captain, he commanded local defence forces at Spennymoor as serious industrial unrest seemed possible.
    More Details Hide Details He again relinquished his commission on 8 July.
  • 1920
    Age 22
    In July 1920, whilst still an undergraduate, he was recalled to military service as a lieutenant in the 6th Battalion of the Durham Light Infantry.
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  • 1919
    Age 21
    He was demobilised on 13 June 1919.
    More Details Hide Details He retained the rank of captain. Eden had dabbled in the study of Turkish with a family friend. After the war he studied Oriental Languages (Persian and Arabic) at Christ Church, Oxford, starting in October 1919. Persian was his main, and Arabic his secondary, language. He studied under Richard Paset Dewhurst and David Samuel Margoliouth. At Oxford he took no part in student politics, and his main leisure interest at the time was art. Eden was in the Oxford University Dramatic Society and President of the Asiatic Society. Along with Lord David Cecil and R.E.Gathorne-Hardy he founded the Uffizi Society, of which he later became President. Possibly under the influence of his father he gave a paper on Cezanne, whose work was then not yet widely appreciated. Eden was already collecting paintings.
  • 1918
    Age 20
    He served at Second Army HQ, missing out on service in Italy, as 41st Division was in Italy, after the disastrous Italian defeat at the Battle of Caporetto, between mid- November and 8 March 1918, returning to the Western Front as a major German offensive was clearly imminent, only for Eden’s former battalion to be disbanded to help alleviate the British Army’s manpower shortage.
    More Details Hide Details Although Lloyd George was one of the few politicians of whom Eden reported front-line soldiers speaking highly, he wrote to his sister (23 December 1917) in disgust at his “wait and see twaddle” in declining to extend conscription to Ireland.
    He considered standing for Parliament at the end of the war, but the general election was called too early for this to be possible. After the Armistice, he spent the winter of 1918–19 in the Ardennes with his brigade and on 28 March 1919 he transferred to be brigade major of 99th Infantry Brigade.
    More Details Hide Details Eden contemplated applying for a regular commission, but they were very hard to come by with the Army contracting so rapidly. He initially shrugged off his mother’s suggestion of studying at Oxford. He also rejected the thought of becoming a barrister; his preferred career alternatives at this stage were standing for Parliament for Bishop Auckland, the Civil Service in East Africa, or the Foreign Office.
    At one point, when brigade HQ was bombed by German aircraft, his companion told him “There now, you have had your first taste of the next war.” On 26 May 1918 he was appointed brigade major of the 198th Infantry Brigade.
    More Details Hide Details At the age of twenty-one he was the youngest brigade-major in the British Army.
    In March 1918, during the German Spring Offensive, he was stationed near La Fere on the Oise, opposite Adolf Hitler, as he learned at a conference in 1935.
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  • 1917
    Age 19
    Between 20 and 23 September 1917 his battalion spent a few days on coastal defence on the Franco-Belgian border.
    More Details Hide Details On 19 November, he was transferred to the General Staff as a GSO 3, with the temporary rank of captain.
    On 1 July 1917, Eden was confirmed as a temporary lieutenant, relinquishing his appointment as adjutant three days later.
    More Details Hide Details His battalion fought in the first few days of Third Ypres (31 July – 4 August).
    His battalion fought at Messines Ridge in June 1917.
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    Eden's MC was gazetted in the 1917 Birthday Honours list.
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  • 1916
    Age 18
    On 18 September 1916, after the Battle of Flers-Courcelette (part of the Battle of the Somme), he wrote to his mother “I have seen things lately that I am not likely to forget”.
    More Details Hide Details On 3 October, he was appointed an adjutant, with the rank of temporary lieutenant for the duration of that appointment. At the age of 19 he was the youngest adjutant on the Western Front.
    One summer night in 1916, near Ploegsteert, Eden had to lead a small raid into an enemy trench to kill or capture enemy soldiers, so as to identify the enemy units opposite.
    More Details Hide Details He and his men were pinned down in No Man’s Land under enemy fire, his sergeant seriously wounded in the leg. Eden sent one man back to British lines to fetch another man and a stretcher, then he and three others carried the wounded sergeant back with, as he later put it in his memoirs, a “chilly feeling down our spines”, unsure whether the Germans had not seen them in the dark or were chivalrously declining to fire. He omitted to mention that he had been awarded the Military Cross for the incident, something of which he had made little mention in his political career.
    In 1916 Eden's younger brother Nicholas was killed at Jutland and his brother-in-law Lord Brooke wounded.
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    His battalion transferred to France on 4 May 1916 as part of 41st Division.
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  • 1915
    Age 17
    He was commissioned a temporary second lieutenant on 2 November 1915 (antedated to 29 September 1915).
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    Eden’s father had died on 20 February 1915.
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  • 1914
    Age 16
    During the First World War, Eden's older brother John was killed on 17 October 1914 whilst serving with the 17th Lancers.
    More Details Hide Details His uncle Robin was later shot down and captured whilst serving with the RFC. Eden served with the 21st (Yeoman Rifles) Battalion of the King's Royal Rifle Corps, a unit initially recruited mainly from County Durham country labourers, who were increasingly replaced by Londoners after losses at the Somme.
    By 1914 he was a member of the Eton Society (“Pop”).
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    Eden had an elder brother called John, who was killed in action in 1914 and a younger brother, Nicholas, who was killed when the battlecruiser HMS Indefatigable blew up and sank at the Battle of Jutland in 1916.
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  • 1911
    Age 13
    He then started at Eton College in January 1911.
    More Details Hide Details There he won a Divinity prize and excelled at cricket, rugby and rowing, winning House colours in the last. He learned French and German on continental holidays and at one stage as a child spoke French better than English. Although he was fluent in French and German, and able to converse with the Chinese premier Chou En Lai in French at Geneva in 1954, out of a sense of professionalism he normally preferred to have diplomats present to translate at meetings, e.g. when he met Hitler in February 1934. Although Eden later claimed to have had no interest in politics until the early 1920s, his teenage letters and diaries show him to have been obsessed with the subject. He was a strong, partisan Conservative, rejoicing in the defeat of Charles Masterman at a by-election (May 1913) and once astonishing his mother on a train journey by telling her the MP and the size of his majority for each constituency through which they passed.
  • 1907
    Age 9
    Eden was educated at two independent schools. The first was Sandroyd School in Cobham from 1907 to 1910, where he swam poorly but excelled in languages.
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  • 1897
    Born on June 12, 1897.
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