Eden, Anthony, 1897-1977

Eden was a British statesman and CHURCHILL’s Foreign Secretary for most of the war. Eden was Britain’s youngest Foreign Secretary from 1935-38 but resigned because he did not agree with CHAMBERLAIN’s policy of appeasing HITLER. When Britain entered the war Eden was recalled to be Dominions Secretary and then Secretary of State for War (1940) but he did not serve in the Cabinet. Churchill was very close to him and eventually had him appointed to the Foreign Office where he remained until 1945. As Minister of Defense he had traveled to the fronts in France in May 1940 and on his return he inspected the coastal defenses of southern England. He decided to reorganize the local units and they became known as the Home Guard. Churchill considered Eden his successor and ISMAY said that he (Eden) ‘bore a close resemblance to Churchill in methods and hours of work.’ As Foreign Secretary Eden traveled extensively: to Greece (February 1941) and to Moscow (December 1941) in his first year of office. He was a man of inflexible principles and was often involved in arguments with the USSR. In December 1941 he refused to recognize the USSR’s prewar frontiers but he still managed to negotiate the twenty-year Alliance Treaty which was signed in May 1942. Eden tried to dissuade Churchill from making any concessions to STALIN over eastern Europe. In September 1944 he arrived too late to stop Churchill agreeing to the MORGENTHAU Plan and there was a public outcry against this plan to dismantle all of Germany’s industrial plants after the war. Eden was a very talented Foreign Minister who was able to achieve concessions from other parties in unequal negotiations by his powers of persuasion.

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