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Lloyd George at Paris, 1938

In September 1936, Lloyd George paid two visits, which were soon to become infamous, to the German Chancellor Adolf Hitler at his mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps. Before the end of the same year, and indeed into January 1937, he spent an extended vacation at Jamaica where he remained, increasingly frustrated, as the abdication crisis dramatically unfolded in Great Britain.

Between these events and the outbreak of the Second World War in September 1939 was a notably crowded period internationally. For Lloyd George personally, two important events took place. The first was the family celebration of their golden wedding at Antibes in the south of France on 24 January, 1938.1 The second was a brief, but widely reported, visit to Paris in March, 1938, where he conducted a series of important meetings with several prominent French government ministers. These included Monsieur Léon Blum, who was then serving very briefly as Prime Minister of France for the second time; Monsieur Herriot, the President of the French Chamber; and Monsieur Joseph Paul-Boncour, the Foreign Secretary. He also met representatives of the right led by Monsieur Paul Reynaud (who was later to become Prime Minister of France himself), Monsieur Pierre Cot, the Minister of Commerce, representatives of the French trades union movement, and also a few prominent academics, writers and journalists. Lloyd George’s main purpose in conducting these interviews was to persuade the French government to lend assistance to the Republican Government in Spain against the forces led by General Franco.2