The Political Career of Sir Samuel Hoare during the National Government 1931-40
thesisposted on 03.02.2012, 13:59 by Matthew Dean Coutts
Sir Samuel Hoare was one of the most significant politicians in 1930s Britain, heading several major departments during the National Government. Appointed India Secretary in August 1931, he steered the hugely complex Government of India Bill through parliament in the face of virulent opposition from Churchill. Rewarded for his fortitude, Hoare became Foreign Secretary in June 1935, only to see his reputation suffer enormous damage due to his enforced resignation six months later, over his attempt to resolve the Abyssinian Crisis. Brought back into government as First lord of the Admiralty in June 1936, he earned the admiration of his officials for his enthusiasm for the senior service and success in securing additional funds for the Navy’s modernisation programme. The accession of Neville Chamberlain to the Premiership saw Hoare move to the Home Office, where he achieved considerable praise for his reformist approach to a variety of issues, from regulation of the workplace to penal reform. Nonetheless, controversy remained ever present due to his role in determining Britain’s response to the increasing numbers of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany, and as one of the key Ministers during the Munich Crisis. At the outbreak of war in September 1939 Hoare retained his salience in government as Lord Privy Seal in a small nine-man cabinet, before being transferred to the Air Ministry as the Norwegian campaign began in April 1940. However, his tenure lasted but a few weeks as he became a scapegoat for Allied reverses in the battle for Norway, being relieved of his duties when Churchill became Prime Minister on 10 May 1940. He was never to regain ministerial office.