Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Leopold Stennett Amery
He was born in Gorakhpur, India to an English father and a Hungarian Jewish mother who had come to India from England. Her parents had settled in England and converted to Protestantism. Leo Amery was educated at Harrow and Balliol College, Oxford. During the Boer War was a correspondent for The Times, and later edited the Times History of the South African War. In 1911 he was elected as a Conservative MP for Sparkbrook, Birmingham. As an under-secretary in Lloyd George's national government he helped draft the Balfour Declaration (1917). He was First Lord of the Admiralty (1922 - 1924) under Andrew Bonar Law and Stanley Baldwin then later Colonial Secretary (1924 - 1929).
In the 1930's Amery, along with Winston Churchill, was a bitter critic of appeasement, often openly attacking his own party. During the notorious Norway Debate in 1940 he famously attacked Chamberlain's government, quoting Oliver Cromwell at the end:
- You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go.
During World War II he was Secretary of State for India. At the 1945 general election, he lost his seat to Labour's P Shurmer , a Post Office worker. He was made a Companion of Honour. In retirement, Amery published his autobiography, My Political Life (1955).
Amery distanced himself from his Jewish origins, probably due to anti-Semitism among the British establishment which he sought to join. It is quite likely he never informed his children of their Jewish heritage. His son, John Amery (1912 - 1945), had a troubled early life and between 1942 and 1945 made pro-Nazi broadcasts from Berlin. After the war he was tried and executed for treason. Another son, Julian Amery (1919 - 1996) was a Conservative politician and served in the cabinets of Harold Macmillan and Edward Heath.
|- style="text-align: center;" | width="30%" |Preceded by:
The Marquess of Zetland | width="40%" style="text-align: center;" |Secretary of State for India
1940–1945 | width="30%" |Succeeded by:
The Lord Pethick-Lawrence
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