Talk:War Cabinet

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This currently has had the following text reinstated after an earlier removal by myself,

"On May 28 1940, with the British Expeditionary Force evacuated from Dunkirk and the threat of a German invasion looming, the War Cabinet discussed whether to evacuate the government & monarchy (Churchill refused) and then whether they should attempt to deal with Hitler, using Mussolini as a go-between. In the vote, Attlee, Greenwood, and Churchill voted to continue the war. [1]"

I thought I had posted reasons for deleting on this page, but they seem not to have stuck; I repeat my views below

It seems to me that there are 2 very good grounds for re-removing

a) this is an article about what a War Cabinet is, not about "notable decisions taken by War Cabinets"

b) I am not sure whether the problem lies with Mr Marr, or with whoever has read his work, but the account given above fails all sorts of tests.

  1. The BEF was not evacuated from Dunkirk on May 28; evacuation continued until June 3, and only about 10% of the total lifted had left by the end of May 28.
  2. On May 28 the possibility of getting the bulk of the BEF away was not even dreamed of: Churchill estimated, when briefing the non-War-Cabinet Cabinet that they should hope for no more than 50,000 to be evacuated
  3. The proposed evacuation of the Royal Family and also the government does not appear to have ever been raised at any War Cabinet; Martin Gilbert's multi-volume biography talks (p 449 of 'Finest Hour') of a Foreign Office submission to Churchill (30 May) dealt with in peremptory terms by a minute (1 June)from Churchill
  4. Gilbert gives a fairly detailed account of the War Cabinet in question. Working backwards, there is no mention of a formal vote being taken, (and once you start checking other crucial decisions - eg the meetings which decided to send no more fighter squadrons for France on June 3/4 - there is a similar lack of a head-count vote. I believe normal practice was at that period for the PM to sum up 'the mood of the meeting' if necessary - certainly post-war Attlee is said to have summed up in line with what he thought the mood of the meeting should have been, rather than paying much heed to head-count) , and the proposition on the table was not whether Britain should continue the war but how Britain should respond to Italian offers to see what terms Hitler was prepared to offer. Chamberlain started the meeting against, briefly in the middle said he couldn't see what harm there would be in asking, but reverted to being against after Attlee and Greenwood had said their piece Rjccumbria (talk) 00:24, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
  • I hate to moan but could we possibly spell Attlee correctly please? Feel free to remove this afterwards. Thanks DBaK (talk) 10:06, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
Attlee corrected as required (my only excuse is that the previous post was well past my bed-time). I have now found & read the 2009 paperback edition of Marr, and Marr does not support most of the statements he is being cited as supporting. What he actually says is consistent with the Gilbert version; some sexing-up but within broadly acceptable limits, given that Marr is mostly interested in using the discussion to support a counter-factual. Rjccumbria (talk) 22:08, 13 June 2010 (UTC)
    • ^ Marr, Andrew: A History of Modern Britain (2009 paperback), page xv to xvii