John Glubb - importance and academic interest

John Glubb - importance and academic interest


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Recently I had the displeasure of discussing with someone who argued that professional soldier and amateur historian John Glubb "demonstrated" that women in public offices entail the decadence of societies.

I searched for the book, or rather pamphlet ("The Fate of Empires"), and, needless to say, the author can't demonstrate anything similar (though I don't doubt he effectively believed something like that).

But I got curious - what importance, if any, does academic history in Anglo-Saxon countries attribute to John Glubb as a historian (I know he is not irrelevant as a military professional)? Does anyone care? Is he cited, discussed, refuted? If so, by whom?


Biography of Psychologist John B. Watson

John B. Watson was a pioneering psychologist who played an important role in developing behaviorism. Watson believed that psychology should primarily be scientific observable behavior. He is remembered for his research on the conditioning process.

Watson is also known for the Little Albert experiment, in which he demonstrated that a child could be conditioned to fear a previously neutral stimulus. His research also revealed that this fear could be generalized to other similar objects.


Second in an occasional series on how Harvard researchers are tackling the problematic issues of aging.

W hen scientists began tracking the health of 268 Harvard sophomores in 1938 during the Great Depression, they hoped the longitudinal study would reveal clues to leading healthy and happy lives.

They got more than they wanted.

After following the surviving Crimson men for nearly 80 years as part of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the world’s longest studies of adult life, researchers have collected a cornucopia of data on their physical and mental health.

Of the original Harvard cohort recruited as part of the Grant Study, only 19 are still alive, all in their mid-90s. Among the original recruits were eventual President John F. Kennedy and longtime Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee. (Women weren’t in the original study because the College was still all male.)

In addition, scientists eventually expanded their research to include the men’s offspring, who now number 1,300 and are in their 50s and 60s, to find out how early-life experiences affect health and aging over time. Some participants went on to become successful businessmen, doctors, lawyers, and others ended up as schizophrenics or alcoholics, but not on inevitable tracks.

During the intervening decades, the control groups have expanded. In the 1970s, 456 Boston inner-city residents were enlisted as part of the Glueck Study, and 40 of them are still alive. More than a decade ago, researchers began including wives in the Grant and Glueck studies.

Over the years, researchers have studied the participants’ health trajectories and their broader lives, including their triumphs and failures in careers and marriage, and the finding have produced startling lessons, and not only for the researchers.

“The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health,” said Robert Waldinger, director of the study, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation.”

"The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80,” said Robert Waldinger with his wife Jennifer Stone.

Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

Close relationships, more than money or fame, are what keep people happy throughout their lives, the study revealed. Those ties protect people from life’s discontents, help to delay mental and physical decline, and are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ, or even genes. That finding proved true across the board among both the Harvard men and the inner-city participants.

The long-term research has received funding from private foundations, but has been financed largely by grants from the National Institutes of Health, first through the National Institute of Mental Health, and more recently through the National Institute on Aging.

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Researchers who have pored through data, including vast medical records and hundreds of in-person interviews and questionnaires, found a strong correlation between men’s flourishing lives and their relationships with family, friends, and community. Several studies found that people’s level of satisfaction with their relationships at age 50 was a better predictor of physical health than their cholesterol levels were.

“When we gathered together everything we knew about them about at age 50, it wasn’t their middle-age cholesterol levels that predicted how they were going to grow old,” said Waldinger in a popular TED Talk. “It was how satisfied they were in their relationships. The people who were the most satisfied in their relationships at age 50 were the healthiest at age 80.”

TED talk / Robert Waldinger

He recorded his TED talk, titled “What Makes a Good Life? Lessons from the Longest Study on Happiness,” in 2015, and it has been viewed 13,000,000 times.

The researchers also found that marital satisfaction has a protective effect on people’s mental health. Part of a study found that people who had happy marriages in their 80s reported that their moods didn’t suffer even on the days when they had more physical pain. Those who had unhappy marriages felt both more emotional and physical pain.

Those who kept warm relationships got to live longer and happier, said Waldinger, and the loners often died earlier. “Loneliness kills,” he said. “It’s as powerful as smoking or alcoholism.”

According to the study, those who lived longer and enjoyed sound health avoided smoking and alcohol in excess. Researchers also found that those with strong social support experienced less mental deterioration as they aged.

In part of a recent study, researchers found that women who felt securely attached to their partners were less depressed and more happy in their relationships two-and-a-half years later, and also had better memory functions than those with frequent marital conflicts.

“Good relationships don’t just protect our bodies they protect our brains,” said Waldinger in his TED talk. “And those good relationships, they don’t have to be smooth all the time. Some of our octogenarian couples could bicker with each other day in and day out, but as long as they felt that they could really count on the other when the going got tough, those arguments didn’t take a toll on their memories.”

Since aging starts at birth, people should start taking care of themselves at every stage of life, the researchers say.

“Aging is a continuous process,” Waldinger said. “You can see how people can start to differ in their health trajectory in their 30s, so that by taking good care of yourself early in life you can set yourself on a better course for aging. The best advice I can give is ‘Take care of your body as though you were going to need it for 100 years,’ because you might.”

The study, like its remaining original subjects, has had a long life, spanning four directors, whose tenures reflected their medical interests and views of the time.

Under the first director, Clark Heath, who stayed from 1938 until 1954, the study mirrored the era’s dominant view of genetics and biological determinism. Early researchers believed that physical constitution, intellectual ability, and personality traits determined adult development. They made detailed anthropometric measurements of skulls, brow bridges, and moles, wrote in-depth notes on the functioning of major organs, examined brain activity through electroencephalograms, and even analyzed the men’s handwriting.

Now, researchers draw men’s blood for DNA testing and put them into MRI scanners to examine organs and tissues in their bodies, procedures that would have sounded like science fiction back in 1938. In that sense, the study itself represents a history of the changes that life brings.

Psychiatrist George Vaillant, who joined the team as a researcher in 1966, led the study from 1972 until 2004. Trained as a psychoanalyst, Vaillant emphasized the role of relationships, and came to recognize the crucial role they played in people living long and pleasant lives.

In a book called “Aging Well,” Vaillant wrote that six factors predicted healthy aging for the Harvard men: physical activity, absence of alcohol abuse and smoking, having mature mechanisms to cope with life’s ups and downs, and enjoying both a healthy weight and a stable marriage. For the inner-city men, education was an additional factor. “The more education the inner city men obtained,” wrote Vaillant, “the more likely they were to stop smoking, eat sensibly, and use alcohol in moderation.”

Vaillant’s research highlighted the role of these protective factors in healthy aging. The more factors the subjects had in place, the better the odds they had for longer, happier lives.

“When the study began, nobody cared about empathy or attachment,” said Vaillant. “But the key to healthy aging is relationships, relationships, relationships.”

The study showed that the role of genetics and long-lived ancestors proved less important to longevity than the level of satisfaction with relationships in midlife, now recognized as a good predictor of healthy aging. The research also debunked the idea that people’s personalities “set like plaster” by age 30 and cannot be changed.

“Those who were clearly train wrecks when they were in their 20s or 25s turned out to be wonderful octogenarians,” he said. “On the other hand, alcoholism and major depression could take people who started life as stars and leave them at the end of their lives as train wrecks.”

Professor Robert Waldinger is director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development, one of the world’s longest studies of adult life. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer

The study’s fourth director, Waldinger has expanded research to the wives and children of the original men. That is the second-generation study, and Waldinger hopes to expand it into the third and fourth generations. “It will probably never be replicated,” he said of the lengthy research, adding that there is yet more to learn.

“We’re trying to see how people manage stress, whether their bodies are in a sort of chronic ‘fight or flight’ mode,” Waldinger said. “We want to find out how it is that a difficult childhood reaches across decades to break down the body in middle age and later.”

Lara Tang ’18, a human and evolutionary biology concentrator who recently joined the team as a research assistant, relishes the opportunity to help find some of those answers. She joined the effort after coming across Waldinger’s TED talk in one of her classes.

“That motivated me to do more research on adult development,” said Tang. “I want to see how childhood experiences affect developments of physical health, mental health, and happiness later in life.”

Asked what lessons he has learned from the study, Waldinger, who is a Zen priest, said he practices meditation daily and invests time and energy in his relationships, more than before.

“It’s easy to get isolated, to get caught up in work and not remembering, ‘Oh, I haven’t seen these friends in a long time,’ ” Waldinger said. “So I try to pay more attention to my relationships than I used to.”


Learner Interest Matters: Strategies for Empowering Student Choice

A parent shared with me that she struggled motivating her son to build a model of a Frank Lloyd Wright home for a presentation. This was part of a social studies unit in which he studied the architect. Her son had no interest in building the model or researching Frank Lloyd Wright. I asked what her son liked to do outside of school. Tops on his list was playing Minecraft, a game where players construct buildings, grow harvests, care for livestock, and do many other things in an unstructured sandbox world. When I suggested that he could build the model in Minecraft, she immediately saw the possibility. Of course, he'd have to convince his teacher that the task could be done, and that a video could be made to demo the work. The teacher recognized the opportunity, and the boy threw himself into the research and design with energy and enthusiasm. His work is referenced midway in this article on being constructivist in a Common Core classroom.

Readiness + Interest = Engagement

Student interest in a topic holds so much power. When a topic connects to what students like to do, engagement deepens as they willingly spend time thinking, dialoging, and creating ideas in meaningful ways. Making learning contextual to real-world experiences is a key learning technique with differentiating for student interests. Often the core content and concepts are represented in the world beyond the classroom or school building -- in ways that students cannot see, as if they're walking through life wearing a blindfold. When teachers plan for content, processing, and product, differentiating by interests helps remove the blindfold so that learners can see those invisible concepts made visible.

Factoring for student interests works well with instructional planning based on readiness and learning profiles. Readiness combined with interest leads to students doing work at a respectable complexity level with the familiarity of a topic that they relate to. For example, students could write persuasive reviews about games or items that they know intimately, or they might explore science concepts through LEGO Robotics. Matching learning profiles with student interest allows learners to process understanding of concepts through different modalities based on their own experiences. One example is students watching videos, listening to speakers, and journaling to make comparisons between social injustices from the past and forms of bullying that occur in today's schools and communities.

The first step to differentiate for interests is to find out what students care about and like to do. Student surveys and learning profile cards are two methods for collecting the data. Parents and students providing these details send the message that their experiences matter. That is a powerful message to start off the school year or semester.

Promoting Choice Allows Students to Decide Their Path

Give students choices based on a variety of interests. Many students may share common ground, which means that there's often something for everyone. For individuals with serious disengagement issues, I've planned activities around their interests, either as a targeted readiness activity or as something the whole class could experience. The benefit is that disengaged students will make the connections they need, and the others get to see the learning target from a new perspective. Differentiating products are a common place to embed interests. This results in some students choosing a product option that may be more challenging than something they would normally pick, but the topic makes the tasks worth doing. Some strategies that structure choice options include:

  • Think dots
  • Task cards
  • Learning menus
  • Learning centers
  • Tic-Tac-Toe menus

Empower Student Voice to Design Personal Learning Products

A higher level of activating interest is to have students propose their own ideas for products and activities. This constructivist approach engages students to do more complex work and spend more time on the task than they normally would. It also terrifies some teachers for how to quality control the vast variety of products that students could develop. I'd say that's a problem worth having, but here's a practical two-step approach:

1. Have clear learning criteria and ensure that students understand them.

Establish what academic skills and concepts must be represented in the product. Be careful to avoid assessment fog. When students understand the targets, they can effectively design their own products -- with coaching support for some more than others.

2. Limit the options to a manageable number.

Start conservatively by providing two structured options. Then invite students to create their own option, based on the learning criteria. The teacher listens to the proposals and suggests tweaks as needed, or sends students back to the drawing board when a proposal is not viable. Set a deadline when proposals are approved. Students who don't meet the deadline must choose from the original two options.

Caring Makes All the Difference

We're all motivated by tasks that interest us. Like our students, when we care, we willingly spend hours carried away with researching, crafting, and revising our work. Learners are less daunted about tackling complex work with difficult obstacles if the topic interests them and if they have a voice on how to accomplish the work. If this approach is good for professionals, why not use it for our learners?


Bowlby was born in London to an upper-middle-income family. He was the fourth of six children and was brought up by a nanny in the British fashion of his class at that time: the family hired a nanny who was in charge of raising the children, in a separate nursery in the house. [4] Nanny Friend took care of the infants and generally had two other nursemaids to help her. Bowlby was raised primarily by nursemaid Minnie who acted as a mother figure to him and his siblings. [4]

His father, Sir Anthony Alfred Bowlby, was surgeon to the King's Household, with a history of early loss: at age five, Anthony's father, Thomas William Bowlby, was killed while serving as a war correspondent in the Second Opium War. [5]

Bowlby's parents met at a party in 1897 through a mutual friend. About one year after meeting, Mary (age 31) and Anthony (age 43) decided to get married in 1898. The start of their marriage was said to be difficult due to conflict with Anthony's sister and physical separation between Mary and Anthony. [4] In order to resolve this prolonged separation, Mary decided to visit her husband for six months while leaving her first born daughter Winnie in the care of her nanny. [4] This separation between Mary and her children was a theme found in all six of her children's lives as they were primarily raised by the nanny and nursemaids. [4]

Normally, Bowlby saw his mother only one hour a day after teatime, though during the summer she was more available. Like many other mothers of her social class, she considered that parental attention and affection would lead to dangerous spoiling of the children. Bowlby was fortunate in that the family nanny was present throughout his childhood. [6] When Bowlby was almost four years old, the nursemaid Minnie, his primary caregiver in his early years, left the family. Later, he was to describe this as tragic as the loss of a mother. [4] After Minnie left, Bowlby and his siblings were cared for by Nanny Friend, of a colder and sarcastic nature. [4]

During World War I, Bowlby's father Anthony was on military service. He came home once or twice a year and had little contact with him and his siblings. His mother received letters from Anthony but she did not share them with her children. [4]

At the age of seven, Bowlby was sent to boarding school, as was common for boys of his social status. Bowlby's parents decided to send both him and his older brother Tony to a prep school, in order to protect them from the bombing attacks due to the ongoing war. [4] In his 1973 work Separation: Anxiety and Anger, Bowlby wrote that he regarded it as a terrible time for him. He later said, "I wouldn't send a dog away to boarding school at age seven". [7] However, earlier Bowlby had considered boarding schools appropriate for children aged eight and older. In 1951, he wrote:

If the child is maladjusted, it may be useful for him to be away for part of the year from the tensions which produced his difficulties, and if the home is bad in other ways the same is true. The boarding school has the advantage of preserving the child's all-important home ties, even if in slightly attenuated form, and, since it forms part of the ordinary social pattern of most Western communities today [1951], the child who goes to boarding-school will not feel different from other children. Moreover, by relieving the parents of the children for part of the year, it will be possible for some of them to develop more favorable attitudes toward their children during the remainder. [8]

Furthermore, Bowlby experienced the loss of a beloved godfather during his childhood, which was another theme of separation and loss that could have contributed to his focus on separation research later on in his career. [4]

Bowlby married Ursula Longstaff, the daughter of a surgeon, on 16 April 1938, and they had four children, including Sir Richard Bowlby, who succeeded his uncle as third Baronet. [9]

Bowlby died at his summer home on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

In an interview with Dr. Milton Stenn in 1977, [10] Bowlby explained that his career started off in the medical direction as he was following in his surgeon father's footsteps. His father was a well-known surgeon in London and Bowlby explained that he was encouraged by his father to study medicine at Cambridge. Therefore, he followed his father's suggestion, but was not fully interested in anatomy and natural sciences that he was reading about. However, during his time at Trinity College, he became particularly interested in developmental psychology which led him to give up medicine by his third year. When Bowlby gave up medicine, he took a teaching opportunity at a school called Priory Gates for six months where he worked with maladjusted children. Bowlby explained that one of the reasons why he went to work at Priory Gates was because of an intelligent staff member, John Alford. Bowlby explained that the experience at Priory Gates was extremely influential on him "It suited me very well because I found it interesting. And when I was there, I learned everything that I have known it was the most valuable six months of my life, really. It was analytically oriented". [11] He further explained that the experience at Priory Gates was extremely influential to his career in research as he learned that the problems of today should be understood and dealt with at a developmental level.

Bowlby studied psychology and pre-clinical sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge, winning prizes for outstanding intellectual performance. After Cambridge, he worked with maladjusted and delinquent children until, at the age of twenty-two, he enrolled at University College Hospital in London. At twenty-six, he qualified in medicine. While still in medical school, he enrolled himself in the Institute for Psychoanalysis. Following medical school, he trained in adult psychiatry at the Maudsley Hospital. In 1936, aged 30, he qualified as a psychoanalyst.

During the first six months of World War II, Bowlby worked at the London Child Guidance clinic in Canonbury as a physician. [10] Later on in the war, Bowlby became a lieutenant colonel in the Royal Army Medical Corps, where he conducted research on psychological methods of officer selection (which contributed to the creation of War Office Selection Boards) and where he came into contact with members of the Tavistock Clinic. Alongside his job in the Royal Army Medical Corps, Bowlby explained that he also worked for the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) during the months of May and June in 1940 where he dealt with tragic war neurosis cases. [10] Additionally, the children that were being treated at the Canonbury clinic were evacuated to the child guidance clinic in Cambridge, due to the air raids from the War. [10] Bowlby explained in an interview that he spent time going back and forth from Cambridge to London, where he would see patients in private. [10] From this experience, Bowlby was able to work with several children at Cambridge that were evacuated from London and separated from their families and nannies. This actually extended his research interested on separation that he was focused on pre-war.

During the first winter of World War II, Bowlby began working on his first published work Forty-four Juvenile Thieves. [10] Although he began working on this book at the beginning of the Second World War, it was not published until 1944 (while being published again in 1946), close to when the war was finishing. Bowlby studied several children during his time at the Canonbury clinic, and developed a research project based on case studies of the children's behaviors and family histories. [10] Bowlby examined 44 delinquent children from Canonbury who had a history of stealing and compared them to "controls" from Canonbury that were being treated for various reasons but did not have a history of stealing. [12] Bowlby categorized the delinquent children into six different character types which included: normal, depressed, circular, hyperthymic, affectionless, and schizoid. [12]

One of Bowlby's main findings through his research with these children was that 17 out of the 44 thieves experienced early and prolonged separation (six months or more) from their primary caregiver before the age of five. [12] In comparison, only two out of the 44 children who did not steal had experienced prolonged separation from their primary caregiver before the age of five. [12] More specifically, Bowlby found that 12 out of the 14 children who were categorized as affectionless were found to have experienced complete and prolonged separation before the age of five. [12] These findings were important and brought more attention to the impact of early environmental experiences on healthy child development.

After the war, he was deputy director of the Tavistock Clinic, and from 1950, Mental Health Consultant to the World Health Organization. Because of his previous work with maladapted and delinquent children, he became interested in the development of children and returned to work at the London Child Guidance Clinic in Islington. [13] His interest was probably increased by a variety of wartime events involving separation of young children from familiar people. These included the rescue of Jewish children by the Kindertransport arrangements, the evacuation of children from London to keep them safe from air raids, and the use of group nurseries to allow mothers of young children to contribute to the war effort. [14] Bowlby was interested from the beginning of his career in the problem of separation, the wartime work of Anna Freud and Dorothy Burlingham on evacuees, and the work of René Spitz with orphans. By the late 1950s, he had accumulated a body of observational and theoretical work to indicate the fundamental importance for human development of attachment from birth. [7]

Bowlby was interested in finding out the patterns of family interaction involved in both healthy and pathological development. He focused on how attachment difficulties were transmitted from one generation to the next. In his development of attachment theory, he proposed the idea that attachment behaviour was an evolutionary survival strategy for protecting the infant from predators. Mary Ainsworth joined Bowlby's research unit at Tavistock, [15] further extended and tested his ideas. She played the primary role in suggesting that several attachment styles existed.

Seven important experiences for Bowlby's future work and the development of attachment theory were:

  • Bowlby's teaching experience at Priory Gates School, where he worked with maladapted and delinquent children. [10]
  • His opportunity to work with children who were evacuated from their families due to the war, leading to his work on the forty-four juvenile thieves. [10]
  • The addition of an ethology perspective to his thoughts and observations of mother-child separations, which helped him move beyond a psychoanalytic perspective. [15]
  • Mary Ainsworth's structured observation technique known as strange situation and the development of the different types of attachment styles as well as her contributions and introduction of the secure base to Bowlby. [16] (in 1952) in making the documentary film A Two-Year Old Goes to Hospital, which was one of the films about "young children in brief separation". [17] The documentary illustrated the impact of loss and suffering experienced by young children separated from their primary caretakers. This film was instrumental in a campaign to alter hospital restrictions on visiting by parents. In 1952 when he and Robertson presented their film A Two Year Old Goes to Hospital to the British Psychoanalytical Society, psychoanalysts did not accept that a child would mourn or experience grief on separation but instead saw the child's distress as caused by elements of unconscious fantasies (in the film because the mother was pregnant). [7] Bowlby also incorporated Robertson's naturalistic observation methods of children's behaviors. [15] during his psychoanalytic training. She was his supervisor however, they had different views about the role of the mother in the treatment of a three-year-old boy. Specifically and importantly, Klein stressed the role of the child's fantasies about his mother, [18] but Bowlby emphasised the actual history of the relationship. Bowlby's views—that children were responding to real life events and not unconscious fantasies—were rejected by psychoanalysts, and Bowlby was effectively ostracised by the psychoanalytic community. He later expressed the view that his interest in real-life experiences and situations was "alien to the Kleinian outlook". [7] Furthermore, Bowlby explained in an interview with Milton Stenn in 1977 that the psychoanalytic community did not accept his developmental theories as they were completely different from the unconscious fantasy theories surrounding psychoanalysis during that time. [10] He further explained that:

There were certain groups who took to it with great enthusiasm, other groups were directly lukewarm and other hostile, each profession reacted differently. The social workers took to it with enthusiasm the psychoanalysts treated it with caution, curiously and for me infuriatingly pediatricians were initially hostile but subsequently many of them became very supporting adult psychiatrists totally uninterested, totally ignorant, totally uninterested. [19]

    , who was a pediatrician and child psychoanalyst, had an immense influence on Bowlby's work and career. Bowlby and Winnicott had several similarities within their professional work as they were the first to explain the importance of social interactions at an early age. [20] Both Bowlby and Winnicott argued that humans come into the world with a predisposition to be sensitive to social interactions and to need these interactions in order to have a healthy development. [20] However, although Bowlby and Winnicott's ideas were similar, they took vastly different approaches when dealing with their research. [10] For example, Bowlby was interested in how a child's environment is internalized and affects the child's development, while Winnicott was more interested in "the way the inner world engages with and thereby is affected by external events". [20] : 116 Despite their differences in approaching their research interests, Bowlby explained in an interview that his research for the World Health Organization influenced policies regarding child care however, none of this would have been possible without the help of Winnicott. [10] Winnicott worked more at a clinical level than Bowlby which influenced several social workers as he spent his career working to change policies. [10] Bowlby explained that Winnicott is one of the more important individuals who was able to push Bowlby's work to change policies. [10]

In 1949, Bowlby's earlier work on delinquent and affectionless children and the effects of hospitalised and institutionalised care led to his being commissioned to write the World Health Organization's report on the mental health of homeless children in post-war Europe. [15] The result was Maternal Care and Mental Health published in 1951. [21]

Bowlby drew together such limited empirical evidence as existed at the time from across Europe and the US. His main conclusions, that "the infant and young child should experience a warm, intimate, and continuous relationship with his mother (or permanent mother substitute) in which both find satisfaction and enjoyment" and that not to do so may have significant and irreversible mental health consequences, were both controversial and influential. The 1951 WHO publication was highly influential in causing widespread changes in the practices and prevalence of institutional care for infants and children, and in changing practices relating to the visiting of infants and small children in hospitals by parents. The theoretical basis was controversial in many ways. He broke with psychoanalytic theories which saw infants' internal life as being determined by fantasy rather than real life events. Some critics profoundly disagreed with the necessity for maternal (or equivalent) love to function normally, [22] or that the formation of an ongoing relationship with a child was an important part of parenting. [23] Others questioned the extent to which his hypothesis was supported by the evidence. There was criticism of the confusion of the effects of privation (no primary attachment figure) and deprivation (loss of the primary attachment figure) and in particular, a failure to distinguish between the effects of the lack of a primary attachment figure and the other forms of deprivation and understimulation that may affect children in institutions. [24]

The monograph was also used for political purposes to claim any separation from the mother was deleterious to discourage women from working and leaving their children in daycare by governments concerned about maximising employment for returned and returning servicemen. [24] In 1962 WHO published Deprivation of maternal care: A Reassessment of its Effects to which Mary Ainsworth, Bowlby's close colleague, contributed with his approval, to present the recent research and developments and to address misapprehensions. [25] This publication also attempted to address the previous lack of evidence on the effects of paternal deprivation.

According to Rutter, the importance of Bowlby's initial writings on "maternal deprivation" lay in his emphasis that children's experiences of interpersonal relationships were crucial to their psychological development. [23]

In his 1988 work A Secure Base, Bowlby explained that the data was not, at the time of the publication of Maternal Care and Mental Health, "accommodated by any theory then current and in the brief time of my employment by the World Health Organization there was no possibility of developing a new one". He then went on to describe the subsequent development of attachment theory. [26] Because he was dissatisfied with traditional theories, Bowlby sought new understanding from such fields as evolutionary biology, ethology, developmental psychology, cognitive science and control systems theory and drew upon them to formulate the innovative proposition that the mechanisms underlying an infant's tie emerged as a result of evolutionary pressure. [27] "Bowlby realised that he had to develop a new theory of motivation and behaviour control, built on up-to-date science rather than the outdated psychic energy model espoused by Freud." [15] Bowlby expressed himself as having made good the "deficiencies of the data and the lack of theory to link alleged cause and effect" in Maternal Care and Mental Health in his later work Attachment and Loss published in 1969. [28]

From the 1950s, Bowlby was in contact with leading European ethologists, namely Niko Tinbergen, Konrad Lorenz, and Robert Hinde. [29] Bowlby was inspired by the study Lorenz conducted on goslings, showing that they imprint on the first animate object they see. Bowlby was encouraged by an evolutionary biologist, Julian Huxley, to look further into ethology to help further his research in psychoanalysis as he introduced Bowlby to the impactful work by Tinbergen on "The Study of Instinct". [30] [29] Bowlby followed this guidance and became interested in ethology as he wanted to rewrite psychoanalysis in order to focus this research field around a concrete theory in which psychoanalysis was lacking. [30] He admired the methodological approach to ethology that psychoanalysis was not familiar with (Van der Horst, 2011). From reading widely in ethology, Bowlby was able to learn that ethologists supported the theoretical ideas through concrete empirical data. [30]

Using the viewpoints of this emerging science and reading extensively in the ethology literature, Bowlby developed new explanatory hypotheses for what is now known as human attachment behaviour. In particular, on the basis of ethological evidence he was able to reject the dominant Cupboard Love theory of attachment prevailing in psychoanalysis and learning theory of the 1940s and 1950s. He also introduced the concepts of environmentally stable or labile human behaviour allowing for the revolutionary combination of the idea of a species-specific genetic bias to become attached and the concept of individual differences in attachment security as environmentally labile strategies for adaptation to a specific childrearing niche. Alternatively, Bowlby's thinking about the nature and function of the caregiver-child relationship influenced ethological research, and inspired students of animal behaviour such as Tinbergen, Hinde, and Harry Harlow.

One of Harlow's students, Stephen Suomi, wrote about the contributions Bowlby's made to ethology, [31] including that Harlow brought attachment research into animal research specifically with rhesus monkeys and various other species of monkeys and apes. [32] Another contribution according to Suomi was that Bowlby influenced animal researchers to examine separation in animals. Furthermore, Suomi wrote that Bowlby brought to the field of ethology the acknowledgement of the consequences over time from different attachment styles that are prevalent in rhesus monkeys (specifically in the work of Harlow). According to Suomi, "Although Bowlby was a psychoanalyst by formal training, he was a true ethologist at heart". [32]

Van der Horst, Van der Veer, and Van IJzendoorn write:

Bowlby spurred Hinde to start his ground breaking work on attachment and separation in primates (monkeys and humans), and in general emphasized the importance of evolutionary thinking about human development that foreshadowed the new interdisciplinary approach of evolutionary psychology. Obviously, the encounter of ethology and attachment theory led to a genuine cross-fertilization. [29] : 322–323

Before the publication of the trilogy in 1969, 1972 and 1980, the main tenets of attachment theory, building on concepts from ethology and developmental psychology, were presented to the British Psychoanalytical Society in London in three now classic papers: "The Nature of the Child's Tie to His Mother" (1958), "Separation Anxiety" (1959), and "Grief and Mourning in Infancy and Early Childhood" (1960). Bowlby rejected psychoanalytic explanations for attachment, and in return, psychoanalysts rejected his theory. At about the same time, Bowlby's former colleague Mary Ainsworth was completing extensive observational studies on the nature of infant attachments in Uganda with Bowlby's ethological theories in mind. Her results in this and other studies contributed greatly to the subsequent evidence base of attachment theory as presented in 1969 in Attachment, the first volume of the Attachment and Loss trilogy. [33] The second and third volumes, Separation: Anxiety and Anger and Loss: Sadness and Depression, followed in 1972 and 1980 respectively. Attachment was revised in 1982 to incorporate recent research.

According to attachment theory, attachment in infants is primarily a process of proximity seeking to an identified attachment figure in situations of perceived distress or alarm for the purpose of survival. Infants become attached to adults who are sensitive and responsive in social interactions with the infant, and who remain as consistent caregivers for some months during the period from about 6 months to two years of age. Parental responses lead to the development of patterns of attachment which in turn lead to "internal working models" which will guide the individual's feelings, thoughts, and expectations in later relationships. [34] More specifically, Bowlby explained in his three volume series on attachment (1973, 1980, & 1982) that all humans develop an internal working model of the self and an internal working model of others. The self-model and other-model are built off of early experiences with their primary caregiver and shape an individual's expectation on future interactions with others and interactions within interpersonal relationships. The self-model will determine how the individual sees themselves, which will impact their self-confidence, self-esteem, and dependency. The other-model will determine how an individual sees others, which will impact their avoidance or approach orientation, loneliness, isolation, and social interactions. In Bowlby's approach, the human infant is considered to have a need for a secure relationship with adult caregivers, without which normal social and emotional development will not occur.

As the toddler grows, it uses its attachment figure or figures as a "secure base" from which to explore. Mary Ainsworth used this feature in addition to "stranger wariness" and reunion behaviours, other features of attachment behaviour, to develop a research tool called the "strange situation" for developing and classifying different attachment styles.

The attachment process is not gender specific as infants will form attachments to any consistent caregiver who is sensitive and responsive in social interactions with the infant. The quality of the social engagement appears to be more influential than amount of time spent. [33]

Bowlby's last work, published posthumously, is a biography of Charles Darwin, which discusses Darwin's "mysterious illness" and whether it was psychosomatic. [35] In this work, Bowlby explained that:

In order to obtain a clear understanding of the current relationships existing between members of any family it is usually illuminating to examine how the pattern of family relationships has evolved. That leads to a study of earlier generations, the calamities and other events that may have affected their lives and the patterns of family interaction that results. In the case of the family in which Darwin grew up, I believe such study to be amply rewarding. For that reason alone it would be necessary to start with his grandfathers' generation. [35]

Although not without its critics, attachment theory has been described as the dominant approach to understanding early social development and it has given rise to a great surge of empirical research into the formation of children's close relationships. [36] As it is presently formulated and used for research purposes, Bowlby's attachment theory stresses the following important tenets: [37]


John Glubb - importance and academic interest - History

John Dewey was the most significant educational thinker of his era and, many would argue, of the 20th century. As a philosopher, social reformer and educator, he changed fundamental approaches to teaching and learning. His ideas about education sprang from a philosophy of pragmatism and were central to the Progressive Movement in schooling. In light of his importance, it is ironic that many of his theories have been relatively poorly understood and haphazardly applied over the past hundred years.

Dewey's concept of education put a premium on meaningful activity in learning and participation in classroom democracy. Unlike earlier models of teaching, which relied on authoritarianism and rote learning, progressive education asserted that students must be invested in what they were learning. Dewey argued that curriculum should be relevant to students' lives. He saw learning by doing and development of practical life skills as crucial to children's education. Some critics assumed that, under Dewey's system, students would fail to acquire basic academic skills and knowledge. Others believed that classroom order and the teacher's authority would disappear.

To Dewey, the central ethical imperative in education was democracy. Every school, as he wrote in The School and Society, must become "an embryonic community life, active with types of occupations that reflect the life of the larger society and permeated throughout with the spirit of art, history and science. When the school introduces and trains each child of society into membership within such a little community, saturating him with the spirit of service, and providing him with instruments of effective self-direction, we shall have the deepest and best guarantee of a larger society which is worthy, lovely and harmonious."


Key Publications

Bowlby J. Maternal care and mental health. Bull World Health Organ. 19513(3):355-533.

Bowlby J. The nature of the child's tie to his mother. Int J Psychoanal. 195839(5):350-73.

Bowlby, J. (1968). Attachment and Loss, Vol. 1: Attachment. New York: Basic Books.

Bowlby, J. (1973). Attachment and Loss, Vol. 2: Separation, Anxiety, and Anger. New York: Basic Books.

Bowlby, J. (1980). Attachment and Loss, Vol. 3: Loss: Sadness and Depression. New York: Basic Books.


John B. Watson Biography and Contributions

John B. Watson was an important contributor to classical behaviorism. He is often known as the “father of behaviorism”, which paved the path for B.F Skinner. He was a professor of psychology at Johns Hopkins University. He is also listed as one of the most influential psychologists of the twentieth century, although his academic career did not last long.

John Watson’s family life

  • He was born January 9, 1878 into a poor family. His parents were Emma Kesiah Watson and Pickens Butler Watson. He grew up in Travelers Rest, South Carolina with five other siblings. He was the fourth of the six of them. The house they were all raised in still exists today.

John B Watson’s parents

  • His mother, Emma Watson was a religious woman who wanted him to grow up to be a minister. In fact, he was named after a minister, John Albert Broadus.
  • His Father, Pickens Watson abused alcohol, had affairs, and eventually left the family when John was only 13. His father was known as lazy and a delinquent.

John Watson’s Wives and Kids

  • John was married to Mary Ickles and together they shared two children. They divorced when he started having affairs with one of his students.
  • John and his student, Rosalie Rayner got married and he lost his job at the University of Hopkins.
  • They had two boys together and he often used his sons for his studies on behaviorism.
  • In 1935, Rosalie died unexpectedly at the age of 35. John was so devastated he became an alcoholic and a workaholic.
  • His son, William committed suicide in 1954, and John took out his frustration by burning all of his unpublished work.

The little Albert study

  • In 1920, John Watson and his assistant Rosalie Rayner published one of the most famous research studies of the past century.
  • In attempted to condition a severe emotional response in a nine-month-old baby, Little Albert.
  • He determined that white, furry objects like a rabbit would not bother the baby. But when he paired the neutral stimulus with an unconditional stimulus, it created fear in the baby.
  • Watson created a new stimulus-response. When Albert saw the white, furry objects, he would get scared because he associated them with a negative effect.

The “Dozen Healthy Infants”

  • “Give me a dozen healthy infants, well-formed, and my own specified world to bring them up in and I’ll guarantee to take anyone at random and train him to become any type of specialist I might select–doctor, lawyer, artist–regardless of his talents, penchants, tendencies, abilities, vocations and race of his ancestors” (p. 104)- John B. Watson
  • Watson believed that it was nurture, rather than nature that determined our behaviourisms.
  • A part of this quote is often left out, because he states that his points may not be considered valid because he does not have any facts proving his theory.
  • It is said that this quote was directed towards the psychologists that believe that heredity had more to do with a person’s behaviour than their environment did.

Before Watson’s death

  • A year before Watson’s death, he was invited to accept an award in New York by the American Psychological Association for his contributions to psychology.
  • He went, but back out last minute due to the fear of breaking down in front of the public, and sent his son to accept his award in his place.
  • “To Dr. John B. Watson, whose work has been one of the vital determinants of the form and substance of modern psychology. He initiated a revolution in psychological thought, and his writings have been the point of departure for continuing lines of fruitful research.”

Watson’s death

  • Watson died in New York City on September 25th, 1958.
  • He was 80 years old.
  • It was said that he died from a Cirrhosis of the liver.
  • This disease is often characterized by the replacement of normal tissue with fibrous tissue and the loss of functional liver cells.
  • It was determined that the alcohol abuse that occurred after the death of his son was the major cause of his liver problems.

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Graduate School Personal Statement Examples

Our graduate school experts have been kind enough to provide some successful grad school personal statement examples. We’ll provide three examples here, along with brief analysis of what makes each one successful.

Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 1

For this Japanese Studies master’s degree, the applicant had to provide a statement of purpose outlining her academic goals and experience with Japanese and a separate personal statement describing her personal relationship with Japanese Studies and what led her to pursue a master’s degree.

Here’s what’s successful about this personal statement:

  • An attention-grabbing beginning: The applicant begins with the statement that Japanese has never come easily to her and that it’s a brutal language to learn. Seeing as how this is an application for a Japanese Studies program, this is an intriguing beginning that makes the reader want to keep going.
  • A compelling narrative: From this attention-grabbing beginning, the applicant builds a well-structured and dramatic narrative tracking her engagement with the Japanese language over time. The clear turning point is her experience studying abroad, leading to a resolution in which she has clarity about her plans. Seeing as how the applicant wants to be a translator of Japanese literature, the tight narrative structure here is a great way to show her writing skills.
  • Specific examples that show important traits: The applicant clearly communicates both a deep passion for Japanese through examples of her continued engagement with Japanese and her determination and work ethic by highlighting the challenges she’s faced (and overcome) in her study of the language. This gives the impression that she is an engaged and dedicated student.

Overall, this is a very strong statement both in terms of style and content. It flows well, is memorable, and communicates that the applicant would make the most of the graduate school experience.

This makes me want to study in Japan.

Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 2

This personal statement for a Music Composition master’s degree discusses the factors that motivate the applicant to pursue graduate study.

Here’s what works well in this statement:

  • The applicant provides two clear reasons motivating the student to pursue graduate study: her experiences with music growing up, and her family’s musical history. She then supports those two reasons with examples and analysis.
  • The description of her ancestors’ engagement with music is very compelling and memorable. The applicant paints her own involvement with music as almost inevitable based on her family’s long history with musical pursuits.
  • The applicant gives thoughtful analysis of the advantages she has been afforded that have allowed her to study music so extensively. We get the sense that she is insightful and empathetic—qualities that would add greatly to any academic community.

This is a strong, serviceable personal statement. And in truth, given that this for a masters in music composition, other elements of the application (like work samples) are probably the most important. However, here are two small changes I would make to improve it:

  • I would probably to split the massive second paragraph into 2-3 separate paragraphs. I might use one paragraph to orient the reader to the family’s musical history, one paragraph to discuss Giacomo and Antonio, and one paragraph to discuss how the family has influenced the applicant. As it stands, it’s a little unwieldy and the second paragraph doesn’t have a super-clear focus even though it’s all loosely related to the applicant’s family history with music.
  • I would also slightly shorten the anecdote about the applicant’s ancestors and expand more on how this family history has motivated the applicant’s interest in music. In what specific ways has her ancestors’ perseverance inspired her? Did she think about them during hard practice sessions? Is she interested in composing music in a style they might have played? More specific examples here would lend greater depth and clarity to the statement.

Are you ready to compose…your personal statement?

Sample Personal Statement for Graduate School 3

This is my successful personal statement for Columbia’s Master’s program in Public Health. We’ll do a deep dive on this statement paragraph-by-paragraph in the next section, but I’ll highlight a couple of things that work in this statement here:

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  • This statement is clearly organized. Almost every paragraph has a distinct focus and message, and when I move on to a new idea, I move on to a new paragraph with a logical transitions.
  • This statement covers a lot of ground in a pretty short space. I discuss my family history, my goals, my educational background, and my professional background. But because the paragraphs are organized and I use specific examples, it doesn’t feel too vague or scattered.
  • In addition to including information about my personal motivations, like my family, I also include some analysis about tailoring health interventions with my example of the Zande. This is a good way to show off what kinds of insights I might bring to the program based on my academic background.

My public health recommendation: eat more fruits to get energy to do your personal statement!


On 26 July 1956, the anniversary of King Farouk's abdication in Manshiya Square in Alexandria, the Egyptian President Abdel Nasser announced in a passionate speech the nationalization of the Suez Canal Company. Under the terms of the Suez Canal Base agreement, the last British troops had left Port Said on 13 June 1956, and it was the man who had negotiated that controversial agreement as Foreign Secretary, Sir Anthony Eden, who was now Prime Minister and feeling under political pressure from within his Conservative Party. At the time that Nasser was telling the crowd with nationalistic fervour that ‘In the past we were kept waiting in the offices of the British High Commissioner and the British Ambassador’, Eden was hosting a dinner in 10 Downing Street for King Faisal of Iraq and his Prime Minister.

Nasser was a popular nationalistic leader who cleverly tried to demonstrate, in the way he nationalized the Company, that he was not acting illegally. Free passage along the Suez Canal was, however, regarded as Britain's lifeline, and Eden, who had developed a personal animosity to Nasser, believed he should not be allowed ‘to have his thumb on our windpipe’. Egypt, however, was intent on showing that it had no intention of interfering with any nation's shipping and few nations feared this other than Israel. The threat to world shipping was an issue on which Britain never really managed to mobilize international opinion. Nor was international opinion much concerned about Egypt's growing links with the Soviet Union. Even more importantly, President Eisenhower was not prepared to link the seizure of the Canal with the danger from the Soviet Union, and he would be the single most important person in determining the outcome of the Suez Crisis.

The decisions taken over the next three months ended with Eden being humiliatingly forced by his Cabinet to accept a ceasefire within 24 h of launching a military operation with the French to secure the Suez Canal. The subsequent troop withdrawal came as a result of the financial pressure from the US Secretary to the Treasury, who refused to agree any financial support for the falling pound without such a commitment. The debacle had the most profound effect on British and French foreign policy. The French moved towards challenging US hegemony, the UK to rebuilding and relying on the special relationship. In the words of The Times obituary in 1977, Eden ‘was the last Prime Minister to believe Britain was a great power and the first to confront a crisis which proved she was not’.

One of the many fascinating questions of the Suez crisis is to what extent Eden's handling of the situation was influenced both by his past surgery and by the sedatives and stimulants that he was taking. In 2003, three notable additions were made to the literature on the subject of Eden's medical history, which throw new light on his condition.

It was a misfortune not just for the Foreign Secretary, Sir Anthony Eden, but for international diplomacy, that on 12 April 1953, what should have been a routine cholecystectomy in the London Clinic, went badly wrong. The operation was undertaken on the advice of his physician, Sir Horace Evans, because of previous episodes of jaundice, abdominal pain, and the presence of gallstones. An Australian Professor, Gabriel Kune, a specialist in hepatic biliary surgery, wrote in January 2003 that Sir Horace Evans had recommended three different surgeons to Eden, all with expertise in biliary tract surgery. However, Eden chose to be operated on by the 60-year-old Mr John Basil Hume, a general surgeon at St Bartholomew's Hospital, who in Eden's words had ‘removed my appendix when I was younger, and I’ll go to him’. 1

In November 2003, an excellent review article was published by an American surgeon, Dr John Braasch, on ‘Anthony Eden's (Lord Avon) Biliary Tract Saga’. He had operated on Eden in 1970, and had had personal communication with Richard Cattell, who had undertaken the third and fourth operations on Eden in America in June 1953 and again in April 1957. Both men were associated with the Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts, and this surgical retrospection is the closest we will probably ever get to what exactly happened. 2 Braasch very fairly quotes a minority opinion written by a retired London surgeon-knight to another US surgeon, claiming to be one of the few people who knew the facts, that while the ligature on the cystic duct had blown following the first operation (which was then evacuated in the second re-exploration operation on 29 April), Eden's ‘common duct was not injured at all. When he left for America his biliary fistula had dried up, he was not jaundiced and he was perfectly well’. The letter must have been passed on to Dr Cattell. Dick Cattell was not only arguably one of the great abdominal surgeons of the 20th century, but also a gentleman, and he did not respond to the several insulting remarks contained in the letter. Another source, Sir Christopher Booth, formerly Professor of Medicine at the Royal Post Graduate Medical School, London describes Eden's first operation as a ‘schoolboy howler’ of surgery in which ‘inadvertently [they] tied the bile duct as it comes out of the liver’, resulting in the obstructive problems in the biliary tract. 3

According to Richard Thorpe's biography on Eden published in 2003, telling a tale that had not before been told, the surgeon, Hume, was so agitated that the operation had to be put on hold for nearly an hour to allow him to compose his nerves. After what happened in the first operation, Hume felt he could not lead the second operation, which was led by Mr Guy Blackburn, an assistant at the first. This operation has been described as ‘even more tense than the first, and Eden was within a whisker of death at several stages of the lengthy and traumatic process’. 4 The generally accepted view, supported by his official biographer, Robert Rhodes James, writing in 1986, was that Eden's biliary duct was accidentally cut and Eden was told that ‘the knife slipped’. 5

Professor Kune further believes that there was at some stage in the London operations an injury of the right branch of the hepatic artery. This he supposes because there was found to be a high injury of the common hepatic duct in very close proximity to the right hepatic artery, and more importantly, at two re-operations in Boston, there was also a localized stricture of the right hepatic duct well away from the original duct injury site. Also, at the 1970 re-operation, the right lobe of the liver was found to be abnormally small, which suggests to Kune that at the time of the bile duct injury the right hepatic artery was also inadvertently ligated: this relative ischaemia, since the liver has a second blood supply from the portal vein, led to the development of both the stricture and the liver lobe atrophy. There is no evidence, however, that Eden's liver metabolism was affected.

There was an amazing background to the London and first US operations. Winston Churchill, as Prime Minister, involved himself in Eden's treatment from the start, constantly letting Hume know how eminent was his patient and how nothing should go wrong. Churchill also intervened again after the operations. Horace Evans asked Cattell, a world renowned expert in this field of surgery, who was by chance in London lecturing, to see Eden. Cattell insisted that Eden should travel to Boston for a third operation, and Evans agreed. Lord Moran, who had earlier been Eden's doctor, diagnosing a duodenal ulcer, thought Eden's operation could be done just as well in London. Churchill felt to go abroad would reflect badly on Britain and no doubt egged on by Moran, persisted to the extent that Evans and Cattell had to go and visit him in 10 Downing Street. In the Cabinet Room, Churchill talked about having been operated on a kitchen table for an appendicectomy. Both doctors had to explain patiently that an appendix operation was a relatively simple procedure whereas a bile duct repair operation was of a different order in its complexity and skill. 6

On the same day, 23 June, that Eden was operated on in Boston, Churchill, still the Prime Minister, suffered a severe stroke. Lord Moran told Churchill's Private Secretary, John Colville, that Churchill would probably die over the weekend. 7 Churchill had given Colville strict instructions not to let it be known that he was incapacitated. A medical bulletin was drawn up by Lord Moran and the neurologist Sir Russell Brain, which had a reference to ‘a disturbance of the cerebral circulation’, but this was cut out after discussions with Rab Butler and Lord Salisbury. John Colville consulted Churchill's three friends, the press lords Camrose, Beaverbrook and Bracken, who joined the conspiracy of silence and persuaded their colleagues in Fleet Street not to print a word about how severe Churchill's illness was. 8

Meanwhile, Cattell in Boston had performed an end-to-side hepaticojejunostomy using a 16-F rubber Y-tube as a stent. Eden was according to Braasch, ‘then well until 1954 when he experienced fevers and chills on one occasion and in 1955 on three occasions. None was severe or prolonged.’ It was perfectly reasonable for Eden to believe that his health now allowed him to succeed Churchill as Prime Minister, which he did on 6 April 1955. Always determined to call an early election, Eden won in May, with a majority in the House of Commons up from 17 to 58, with 49.7% of the overall vote, the highest percentage total by any party in the post war age, helped by what opinion polls had always shown: that Eden was one of the most popular politicians of his era. That Election was followed by the Four-Power Summit in Geneva in July, where Eden was able to make his own assessment of the Russian delegation led by Bulganin and Khrushchev. Eden waited perhaps too long before reshuffling his Cabinet on 20 December, when Harold Macmillan was reluctantly moved from being Foreign Secretary to Chancellor of the Exchequer and Selwyn Lloyd became Foreign Secretary, ensuring Eden got back control of the Foreign Office.

The fateful year of Eden's Prime Ministership, 1956, started with a lot of press criticism and a particularly hurtful article that appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 3 January, which perhaps as the Suez Crisis developed, made him determined to act forcefully. ‘There is a favourite gesture with the Prime Minister. To emphasise a point he will clash one fist to smash the open palm of the other hand but the smash is seldom heard’, said the article, and went on to say that people were waiting in vain for the ‘smack of firm government’. Also a few days later Rab Butler, then Leader of the House, said in an interview, ‘My determination is to support the Prime Minister in all his difficulties’ and then unwisely assented, without any qualification to the Press Association reporter's loaded question, as to whether Eden was ‘the best Prime Minister we have’. It was a rather typical Butler equivocation but one which Eden never forgot.

On 6 February 1956, Eden wrote to his wife from Government House, Ottawa, ‘I am well but was very tired yesterday, so stayed in bed all day’. That was not the behaviour of a fit man. Lack of sleep and tiredness are too often underplayed when trying to assess the effect of people's health on their decision-making. Lord Moran in his diary entry for 21 July wrote: ‘The political world is full of Eden's moods at No 10’. There has been much written and said about Eden's behaviour and health over the next three months. Some of it is gossip, some mere speculation, some true. It is necessary to sift through all the evidence and try to form a judgement based on medical and political probabilities.

Eden's immediate decisions after Nasser's speech on 26 July, to prepare for but to postpone immediate military action, were understandable, given the attitudes of the Chiefs of Staff, and if anything at this time Eden's decisions were too cautious. They contrast dramatically with the more reckless decisions he took from 14 October.

Eden cautiously involved the Americans from the start, calling in the US Charge d’Affaires as well as the French Ambassador to talk the issues over with four Cabinet Ministers (Selwyn Lloyd, Salisbury, Kilmuir and Home) and two Chiefs of Staff (Templer and Mountbatten) until 4.00 am on 27 July. Eden did not immediately embrace the Lord Chancellor Kilmuir's view that Britain could base its case solely on grounds of illegality. Nor did he take the view of one of his old and close friends, J.P.L. Thomas, then the First Sea Lord, ‘who always believed that if force was to be used, it should have been in July, and not later in the autumn, by which time Nasser had covered many of his tracks‘, 9 and also thought that Eden, who had never worked in America, did not understand how the American mind worked, particularly approaching a Presidential election.

It is not clear when Eden ruled out involving British troops in Libya, fearing an Arab backlash. Using these forces in Libya was something which he still contemplated when Churchill went to see him very privately on 6 August. Churchill left behind a memo which he had dictated in the car and had had typed in a lay-by en route to Chequers. In it he warned Eden with great perceptiveness about just taking over the Canal, and believed that the armoured division in Libya would be used.

‘The more one thinks of taking over the Canal, the less one likes it. The long causeway could be easily obstructed by a succession of mines. We should get much of the blame for stopping work, if it is to be up to the moment of our attack a smooth-running show. Cairo is Nasser's centre of power. I was very glad to hear that there would be no weakening about Libya on account of the local Prime Minister etc., but that the armoured division, properly supported by air, with any additional forces that may be needed, would be used. On the other side, a volte face should certainly free our hands about Israel. We should want them to menace and hold the Egyptians and not be drawn off against Jordan.’ 10

Anthony Eden, Prime Minister of Great Britain, speaking to the nation from the BBC studio at Lime Grove, London at the time of the Suez canal crisis.

Anthony Eden, Prime Minister of Great Britain, speaking to the nation from the BBC studio at Lime Grove, London at the time of the Suez canal crisis.

President Nasser of Egypt waves to the crowds after nationalizing the Suez Canal Company, July 1956.

President Nasser of Egypt waves to the crowds after nationalizing the Suez Canal Company, July 1956.

John Foster Dulles, US secretary of state, shaking hands with Anthony Eden on the steps of 10 Downing Street, 24 August 1956.

John Foster Dulles, US secretary of state, shaking hands with Anthony Eden on the steps of 10 Downing Street, 24 August 1956.

On 17 August, Eden wrote to Churchill, ‘I am sorry to have been away on Monday, but I needed a few hours off. I am very fit now.’ He also said, ‘Most important of all, the Americans seem very firmly lined up with us on internationalisation.’ But Eisenhower never hid from Eden his opposition to the use of force. Writing on 3 September: ‘I must tell you frankly that American public opinion flatly rejects the use of force. I really do not see how a successful result could be achieved by forceable means …’ There was a clear divergence of interest between Britain and the US throughout the crisis. Britain was not solely concerned with the safety of vessels going through the Suez Canal. Considerations of UK prestige were also of major importance, and the Government was not able to draw a clear distinction between the question of the Canal and that of Nasser's regime. This is the retrospective conclusion of Guy Millard, who wrote in 1957 11 a most detailed private history of this period. He felt that it was a mistake for Britain to try to solve the two problems simultaneously, and this was a criticism of British policy made by the Americans during the crisis.

Eden's own diary entries are virtually non existent during the Suez crisis. One, on 21 August reads: ‘Felt rather wretched after a poor night. Awoke 3 30 am onwards with pain. Had to take pethidine in the end. Appropriately the doctors came. Kling was more optimistic than Horace. We are to try a slightly different regime. Agreed no final decision until a holiday has given me a chance to decide in good health’. The ‘final decision’ related to the possibility of another operation, the ‘different regime’ to a change of drug treatment. Yet despite having had pethidine, Eden chaired a Cabinet meeting at noon and had other meetings in the afternoon before seeing his doctors again later that day.

On 7 September he comments: ‘After fair night. Sleep at least uninterrupted, but not long, 5 hours’. On 12 September, ‘there were two difficult days in the House. I was quite exhausted by the end of the debate.’

Eden's engagement diary shows that, apart from his weekend in hospital on 5–8 October, he ‘consulted Dr Evans or Dr Kling on at least ten occasions between the canal nationalisation and the end of October’. 12

The Countess of Avon kindly allowed me access to the still closed Medical Records of her husband in Birmingham University Special Collections Archives, and there I found a letter Horace Evans wrote on 15 January 1957 to any doctor who might have to treat Eden while he visited New Zealand about his drug regime during the Suez crisis:

‘His general health during the past year has been maintained with extensive vitamin therapy—sodium amytal gr 3 and seconal enseal gr 1.5 every night and often a tablet of Drinamyl every morning. These treatments have only become really essential during the past six months. Before his rest in Jamaica the general condition was one of extreme over-strain with general physical nerve exhaustion, and at this time he seemed to be helped by rest, some increase in the sedation and Vitamin B.12 therapy’. 13

There is no doubt, therefore, that Eden was taking dextro-amphetamine, a stimulant which, combined with amylobarbitone, is contained in Drinamyl. This combination, also called Dexamyl in some countries, used to be referred to in Britain as ‘purple hearts’. We do not know how many a day Eden was taking, particularly after 5 October and until his doctors became deeply concerned about his health on 19 November. Amphetamines are stimulants that produce a feeling of energy and confidence. First synthesized in 1887 they were introduced into clinical practice in 1935, and then became very widely used in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1964, following a press outcry about their misuse, the unlawful possession of amphetamines was made an offence and doctors began to use them much less. Amphetamines act not only on the brain but also on the lungs, heart and other parts of the body, after releasing noradrenaline from binding sites. The effect depends upon the amounts used, but even moderate doses often produce insomnia, restlessness, anxiety, irritability, over-stimulation and overconfidence. Amphetamines do not create energy, they simply use it up. Prolonged use, even of a moderate dose, is invariably followed by fatigue, and the ‘come down’ effect is also often accompanied by difficulty with sleeping. Another sequel described after amphetamine use is called the ‘crash’. 15

Some of the minor side-effects of one Drinamyl each morning may have begun to develop in Eden by July 1956. It seems that they were increased after the episode on 21 August and possibly again in October, and contributed to his collapse in November. I found no evidence, however, of any reference by his doctors to excessive usage of amphetamine, no record of any clandestine use, nor of any dependence. Indeed there was one letter to a doctor in the Lahey Clinic in March 1971, where Eden shows a proper caution about drugs and their interactions on one another.

‘One other question about sleeping pills. As you know, I take Sparine. Is there any harm if I take the equivalent of four little yellow pills or two red ones occasionally at night? Sometimes I find that it is best to take a little yellow one an hour or more before I go to sleep, and another little yellow one as I turn out the light, followed by a red one, should I wake up, say about 2 00 am. Alternatively, I may take a red one on going to sleep and one yellow one about 3 00 am, should I be lying awake then, and another at 5 00 am if I have not gone to sleep. Both these methods are unusual, one red and one yellow is usually enough for a night, but I do use them occasionally. My local doctor felt that there was no harm at all in such a practice, but I thought that I should check up with you …‘ 16

When I collapsed in November, I was told by my doctors that if I wanted to carry on as PM I must get right away at once. This I did as I was anxious not to have to resign. When I returned from Jamaica I was depressed to find that my health though improved, had not done so as much as had been hoped. It was decided that we would wait another two weeks to see if it had improved. It has not. As you know, it is now nearly four years since I had a series of bad abdominal operations which left me with a largely artificial inside. It was not thought that I would lead an active life again. However, with the aid of (mild) drugs and stimulants, I have been able to do so. During these last five months, since Nasser seized the Canal in July, I have been obliged to increase the drugs considerably and also increase the stimulants necessary to counteract the drugs. This has finally had an adverse effect on my precarious inside . Naturally the first thing I asked the doctors was whether I could last out till the summer or Easter at the earliest. They told me they doubted it, and think it would not last (more than) six weeks. I know that many of you are genuinely tired and worn out by your work, but I can assure you that my past medical history puts me in a different class. I do not think I should be serving the best interests of my colleagues or of the country if I were to continue in my present condition.’ 18 (this author's underlining, not Eden's)

Robert Carr was as a young man a close friend and admirer of Anthony Eden, and someone whose judgement I respected when we were MPs together. Robert Carr served as Eden's Parliamentary Private Secretary and I have been much influenced by his comments:

‘I find it difficult to accept the judgement that Anthony's health did not have a decisive influence at least on the conduct of his policy. I agree that he might well have pursued the same basic policy had he been well, but I find it very hard to believe that he would have made such obvious miscalculations in its execution both in the political and the military spheres.’ 19

His physician, Sir Horace Evans, writing after the Suez crisis, in his letter of 15 January 1957, explains the feverish attacks, certainly those with rigors, of which the most serious was that of 5 October 1956, as indicating a transient ascending infection of the liver ducts, which he treated with mild sulphur drugs. 20 The fever on 5 October took place on a Friday afternoon while Eden was visiting his wife who was an in-patient at University College Hospital. He suddenly felt freezing cold and began to shake uncontrollably with a fever. On medical advice, he went to bed in a room close to his wife's and his temperature rose to 106°F, a very high reading for an adult. He was allowed to leave, it has been reported, much refreshed on Monday, 8 October. Most people were quite unaware of what had happened, including his colleagues. Eden carried on work, but as his official biographer noted, ‘a sinister bell had been sounded’. What is harder to unravel, apart from the cholangitis, is the contribution thereafter made by the sedatives and amphetamines that he was taking. Some have claimed that this high temperature could have been stimulated by taking amphetamines. A survey of the literature provides no convincing evidence for this.

To place the fever of 5 October in the context of the time, one needs to acknowledge that the Suez crisis was now coming to a head. On 3 October in Cabinet, Eden said there was ‘a risk that the Soviet Union might conclude a pact of mutual assistance with Egypt if that happened it would become much more hazardous to attempt a settlement of this dispute by force’. He knew too that as the British troop build up continued in Cyprus and elsewhere there would come a moment when he could not hold them in a state of military readiness, and on 5 October in the Security Council, Egypt complained about both British and French troop movements. On 8 October, Butler chaired the Egypt Committee, which normally would have been chaired by Eden, who came out of hospital that day.

Later that week Eden, however, was well enough to speak in the traditional leader's slot on the last day of the Conservative Party Conference on Saturday 13 October at Llandudno. The party faithful loved the passage when he said, ‘We have always said that with us force is the last resort, but cannot be excluded. We have refused to say that in no circumstances would we ever use force. No responsible government could ever give such a pledge’.

On the same day as his speech, he was informed in Wales by Anthony Nutting that the French Prime Minister Mollet had requested that Eden urgently see emissaries whom he wanted to send over from Paris. The French had been in close contact with Israel ever since Egypt's 1954 agreement with Britain. Israel felt the British troop withdrawal from Egypt had made them more vulnerable, while France feared Egyptian interference in their massive military and political challenge in Algeria. French arms sales to Israel were already stretching the balance of arms provision in the Tripartite Agreement which France had signed with the US and the UK. On the evening of 13 October after the Prime Minister had returned to Chequers from the Conference, Nutting told him on the telephone about the visit to London by Sir Gladwyn Jebb, our Ambassador in Paris. Jebb had revealed that the French had delivered 75 of the latest Mystere fighter aircraft to Israel without it being cleared with the UK and the Americans as part of the procedures of the Tripartite Agreement. Eden was suspicious, and asked Nutting whether the French were putting up the Israelis to attack Jordan, which was a major British anxiety at the time. Eden appeared not to have had any inkling that the French were already deep in collusion with the Israelis over Egypt.

On Sunday 14 October, Eden held a crucial meeting in the afternoon with General Maurice Challe, a Deputy Chief of Staff of the French Air Force and the French acting Foreign Minister, Albert Gazier. Anthony Nutting had lunch with Eden first when they discussed with some hope the direct negotiations Selwyn Lloyd was having in New York with the Egyptian Foreign Minister. The Challe Plan contained the first indication of a ‘conspiracy’ with Israel which was later to haunt Eden's conduct of the Suez crisis. It is cited by some as a sign of a slightly paranoid mental state that when his private secretary, Guy Millard, prepared to take a record, Eden said, ‘There's no need to take notes, Guy’. But in fairness to Eden, once a note had been taken, it would have been hard for the Private Secretary not to circulate it at the very least to the Permanent Secretary to the Foreign Office. He would have then circulated it to other senior diplomats and by telegram to the Foreign Secretary in New York. The circle of people in the know would have inexorably widened. It was wholly legitimate for Eden at this early stage to decide for himself who should be in the know.

The Challe Plan was that Israel would invade the Suez Canal Zone area, British and French forces having previously agreed with Israel to intervene to separate Israeli and Egyptian forces, posing to the world as peacekeepers between the combatants. The Royal Air Force would take out Egyptian planes which might otherwise threaten Israeli territory. To any Prime Minister, let alone Eden with his vast experience as Foreign Secretary, this was a highly contentious plan, and one that was bound to be fraught with political dangers at home and abroad. Eden did not formally commit himself to the plan, but that was in itself a decision. The nature of his questions left the French in little doubt that he was on board for the concept. Challe sensed that Eden was thrilled, Millard felt he was merely ‘intrigued’. The normally cautious pro-Arab Eden might have been expected, on his past record, to have ruled out the plan from the moment he heard of it. Nutting, previously very close to Eden, asked in his book, ‘How and why was this mortal decision arrived at? And how and why did the man, whose whole political career had been founded on his genius for negotiation, act so wildly out of character?’ 21 It was over these few days that Eden also decided that he would have to proceed on the basis of not informing the Americans of his intentions. This was the truly fateful consequence of colluding with Israel and France, and I judge that if Eden had been fit and well, he would have realized that such a course contained the seeds of its own destruction.

Eden decided personally to tell Selwyn Lloyd what Challe had proposed and asked for Lloyd to be summoned to fly back to London, where he arrived on the morning of Tuesday 16 October. Eden authorized Nutting to talk only to two senior Foreign Office diplomats, and specifically excluded the Legal Adviser. Eden knew that the Attorney-General and the Foreign Office Legal Adviser would say that what he proposed to do could not be justified in international law. Instead he relied on advice from the Lord Chancellor, who was not constitutionally the Legal Adviser to the Cabinet or the Prime Minister, but who maintained that intervention could be legally justified. 22 After Cabinet, Eden and Lloyd had lunch together before they both flew from Heathrow at 4.00 pm to Paris for a meeting with the French Prime Minister, Guy Mollet and his Foreign Minister, Pineau.

Nutting had had a quick conversation with Selwyn Lloyd before the Cabinet telling him what Eden was up to, and claims that Lloyd replied spontaneously: ‘You are right, we must have nothing to do with the French plan’. Nutting spoke to Lloyd again by telephone after his lunch with Eden, but found Lloyd was now in no mood to listen to his pleadings. The relatively inexperienced Foreign Secretary was not only acquiescing in the Challe Plan but saying that his agreement on six principles in New York with the Egyptian Foreign Minister would not be honoured by Nasser.

It was a sign of how desperate Eden had become that he saw the Challe Plan as an opportunity to defeat Nasser, and was ready even to contemplate what the French were advocating. He swept his Foreign Secretary off to Paris within hours of landing from New York, without either man having had, as far as one can determine, any formal professional input from the Foreign Office, though Eden could rely on the Permanent Secretary, Kirkpatrick. This failure to consult was an action quite out of character. This was but one of many examples of how personalized and unstructured Eden's decision-making had become in 10 Downing Street. Even during the Second World War under Churchill, the machinery of the War Cabinet functioned and different Departments of State had their input.

Eden was depending on his political instinct from 14 October onwards, but how sound were those instincts at that time when he had only a week earlier an exceptionally high fever, was daily taking a mixture of sedatives to sleep and stimulants to counter the effect of the drugs, and had been under prolonged stress since the end of July?

Alec Douglas Home, one of nature's gentlemen and someone who would always lean over backwards to be fair, was a supporter of Eden's policy, serving on the Egypt Committee. He described Eden's conduct of such meetings in a retrospective BBC radio programme in 1987. 23 ‘They were fairly restless’, he said, and the Prime Minister ‘was not undoubtedly well. I don't think it probably clouded his judgement, that will be for historians to tell us later on’. He went on to say that the ‘meetings were probably not as methodically conducted as at times of lesser stress’. On the same programme the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, Sir Robert Powell, whom Eden constantly rang up, described him as ‘very jumpy, very nervy, very wrought’. In another interview Sir Richard describes Eden as having ‘developed what one might call a pathological feeling about Nasser’ and as being ‘in a state of what you might call exaltation … He wasn't really 100% in control of himself. Extraordinary, strange things happened.’ 24 Air Chief Marshall, Sir William Dickson, Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, speaking in April 1957 to Churchill's former Private Secretary, John Colville, used the same word ‘exaltation‘, saying Eden ‘during the final days was like a prophet inspired, and he swept the Cabinet and the Chiefs of Staff along with him, brushing aside any counter arguments and carrying all by his exaltation’. Webster's International Dictionary defines exaltation as ‘a marked or excessive intensification of a mental state … a delusive euphoria.’ Dickson also said he ‘had never been spoken to in his life in the way the PM several times spoke to him during those tempestuous days.‘ 25

Against these descriptions one has to weigh the account of Eden's coolness under the strain and stress of 30 October, when Eden telegraphed Eisenhower after the launch of the invasion that he felt that ‘decisive action should be taken at once to stop the hostilities‘, by his Press Secretary, William Clark, who opposed the invasion. He described Eden's and Lloyd's mood, saying: ‘The big decisions are over and they seem calm and detached’. Also Elizabeth Home, on 31 October, when British bombers attacked military bases in Egypt, wrote: ‘Much impressed by how well the PM and everyone in Government look’. 26 There are, however, many other observations from people involved at the time confirming that the volatile personality of Eden was at various times in the Suez Crisis reacting atypically to the strain.

Eden's personality as it developed over the years is openly explored by Robert Rhodes James, and with some candour, helped by the author having been a Clerk to the House of Commons and then a Conservative MP, and writing from actual experience of how politics is ‘a high stress profession’. He makes no attempt to hide that Eden was highly strung, but he writes that he seldom became angry when really important matters were involved, but instead did so over irritating trivialities, usually in his own home, and very seldom did he lose his temper in public. An exception to this that he cites was when Eden lost his temper on the floor of the House of Commons. General Glubb, the British Commander in Chief of the Jordanian Army, had been peremptorily dismissed by King Hussein, and Eden, who thought Nasser had been trying to destabilize Jordan for some time, overreacted. The Labour Opposition forced a debate in the House of Commons on 7 March 1956, and when Eden came to make the wind-up speech, the House was in a noisy mood. After his speech, which in his memoirs Eden describes as one of the worst in his career, there were derisive cries of ‘Resign!’. Clarissa Eden wrote in her diary on 7 March, ‘The events in Jordan have shattered A. He is fighting very bad fatigue which is sapping his power of thought. Tonight's winding up of the debate was a shambles.‘ 27

Anthony Nutting describes Eden shouting down the phone at him, ‘What's all this nonsense about isolating Nasser or ‘neutralising’ him as you call it? I want him destroyed, can't you understand? I want him removed and if you and the Foreign Office don't agree, then you’d better come to the Cabinet and explain why.’ 28 Whether this account is true or not, it was true that Eden wanted regime change, not just to control the Canal. Another example of Eden's irritability is described in an incident involving the Foreign Office lawyer who reported back to Eden on the research he had ordered into the legality of Nasser's action, saying that Nasser's action was indeed perfectly legal so long as he did not close the canal to shipping. Eden allegedly tore up the report in front of the lawyer and flung it in the lawyer's face.‘ 29 Since there was almost certainly a civil servant present on this occasion, it is stretching one's imagination that Eden behaved quite like this report, and one has to be very careful about assuming that stories such as these are true. To illustrate this, The Times on 29 November 2003 carried an interview with John le Carré by James Naughtie. Le Carré, who was a master at Eton during Suez, said that during the crisis Eden found time on several evenings to climb into the prime ministerial car to drive to Eton and consult his old housemaster about what to do. Two people who knew Eden's movements challenged whether he could have made such visits, and his biographer, Richard Thorpe, pointed out that his housemaster had died in February 1956. All received apologies from le Carré and a promise of retraction, but even this story may at some stage reappear as fact. Another example is an incident described in Leonard Mosley's book on Dulles, 30 in which the widely respected military expert and historian, Captain R.H. Liddell Hart is reputed to have had a meeting with Eden in 10 Downing Street, during which Eden threw an inkwell at Liddell Hart. Yet this story is pure fiction, as Liddell Hart's wife and son confirm, since the men never actually met during the Suez Crisis.

Lord William Deedes, the distinguished journalist, who was also a Minister in Eden's government, accurately said on television in 2004 that during the Suez crisis, Eden ‘under prescription had, as many did, and still do, barbiturates, I think, to assist rest and sleep etc. and amphetamines sometimes for a little bit of a pick up’, and agreed that this was what was called ‘uppers and downers’. 31 That combination is contained in Drinamyl, identified by Eden's own doctor as the drug he was on. Drinamyl is now very rarely used, as the medical profession have become more aware of their effect on judgement, energy and mood. Deedes’ account, however, contrasts with Eden's wife's view that he was not taking ‘uppers and downers’ and was only taking anything like it (Benzedrine) in the last fortnight before he resigned. 32

There have been a number of stories about Eden being on very large doses of amphetamines such as Benzedrine. Hugh Thomas, the historian, alleges that Eden told an adviser that he was practically living on Benzedrine. 33 Thomas also wrote that a leading doctor who knew Eden well—probably Dr T. Hunt—thought he would not have acted very differently in the Suez Crisis if he had been in robust health. Hugh Thomas, nevertheless, went on to write, despite that viewpoint, that he felt it was also possible that from his fever in October onwards, Eden was really ill and that his doctors should have recommended his resignation. 34

If Eden had decided to resign on grounds of ill health, or more likely to go to Jamaica to recuperate, in the week of the Party Conference beginning on 9 October, not as he did later in November, the history of the Suez Crisis would have been very different. Selwyn Lloyd's negotiations in New York with the Egyptian Foreign Minister, which Eden and Nutting considered with a measure of optimism before meeting Challe at Chequers, would have been given a few more weeks. Neither a caretaker Prime Minister, like Rab Butler, nor any new Prime Minister would have been in any position even to consider a totally new policy like that proposed by Israel until after the US Presidential elections on 6 November.

Guy Millard, Eden's junior Private Secretary in the Foreign Office during the Second World War who then served the Prime Minister within 10 Downing Street, was not only present at all his most important meetings on international affairs, but would see him late at night, early in the morning, read his notations on documents and listen in on many of his telephone conversations. A contemporaneous diary entry of 1 November 1956 on Eden's state of mind in October by a Foreign Office diplomat quotes Millard: ‘Guy Millard says he is not mad, but merely exhausted. 35

Eden was certainly not mad, nor drugged in a way that he could not conduct himself as Prime Minister, and his stamina was in many ways remarkable after his fever. What is at issue was whether his decision-making, his judgement, were functioning at the same levels of consistency, caution, courage and calculation in October 1956, as during his conduct of Foreign Policy over the previous two decades. For example, Eden deliberated carefully and consulted widely during his period of disillusionment with Chamberlain, which led up to his resignation in 1938. During the Second World War, on numerous occasions it is well documented how he provided stability to Churchill's decision-making. After 1951, when he returned to government as Foreign Secretary, Eden's foreign policy decisions were taken dispassionately and like the 1954 Suez Canal Agreement, explicable in the context of the time. Yet analysing the crucial month of October 1956, one sees an honourable and courageous man, borne down by illness and fatigue, weighing very difficult questions but then making too many decisions which were not in keeping with his past record. An historical analysis by Professor David Dutton, who wrote a book on Anthony Eden: A Life and Reputation, also concludes that ‘it is difficult to understand why Eden believed that he would get away with the Franco/Israeli plan and conceal it from the United States, unless you believe that his judgement was not what it was at its peak.’ He also goes on to say that ‘all the evidence is that he [Eden] was seriously ill by that stage … In the beginning of October he was weak and tired and desperately in need of a rest and probably on the verge of a nervous breakdown‘ 36

In Eden's defence, why did the Cabinet of healthy men on 23 October and on 4 November go along with the policy and then by 6 November be ready to disown the policy? The short answer to both questions is realpolitik, and for a few of them, particularly Macmillan, party politics. Any Prime Minister on international affairs supported by the Foreign Secretary has great influence on a Cabinet—similar to, but rather greater than, the effect on domestic affairs when supported by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Harold Macmillan had advised Eden on scant evidence after visiting Washington in September that the Americans would ‘lie doggo’. Macmillan, however, apparently had a slight ‘wobble’ at the Egypt Committee on 4 November, but had no wish to jeopardize his position within the Conservative Party when that same day each member of the Cabinet was asked for their view on military action. It was only when his judgement of Eisenhower's reaction was proved wrong that on the night of 5–6 November he changed, 37 and this was powerful because he was able to speak with the authority of being Chancellor about the danger to the pound. Eden's authority, never more brittle than on 6 November, could have been challenged by Macmillan, the one man who could have swayed a Cabinet that had already lost its nerve to disown Eden. Eden summoned the Cabinet to meet in his room in the House of Commons at 9.45 am, and said that with the Americans likely to support economic sanctions in the Security Council later that day, there was no alternative but to announce a ceasefire. It was not the threatening letter from the Soviet leader Bulganin, or even the pressure on the pound: the crucial reality was France and Britain had run out of friends. It was a diplomatic debacle. It would have been wiser from Eden's point of view to have delayed calling the Cabinet together until 7 November, taking the whole Canal in the meantime and then veto with the French any UN resolution on sanctions.

Robert Rhodes James admits that over Suez it is difficult for him ‘to be precise about the factors that pushed Eden from an absolutely legitimate position to what was perilously close to being an illegitimate one’. 38 Along that path, we will probably never know what was the exact dosage of amphetamines Eden was taking, but on the assumption that he was by October taking more than one Drinamyl tablet a day, a review of the literature indicates that it could have affected his judgement and decisions, making him more changeable and unpredictable from one day to another, depending on whether he was under greater influence of their stimulant or their sedative actions.

Soldiers boarding the troopship Dilwara at Southampton, November 1956.


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