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Book Review — Six Minutes in May: How Churchill Unexpectedly Became Prime Minister

The ‘Phoney War’ ended in Spring, 8th of April 1940 when Germany invaded Norway. It was called the ‘Phoney War’, after the German defeat of Poland the previous year, there was several months where little happened in the Second World War. Britain tried to help Norway in any way they could. Winston Churchill, part of the War Cabinet, was keep to take the Norwegian town of Narvik, a population of 10,000, to try and cut off the supply of iron-ore. In short, it was the first land battle which ended up being a disaster for Great Britain, and they were forced to evacuate. Many blamed Churchill.

This led to the ‘Norway Debate’ in the British parliament on the 7th of May and the 8th of May. It took only six minutes for the MPs to cast their vote that would be downfall Prime Minister Neville Chamberlin. Many favoured Lord Halifax. He was the favourite to succeed Chamberlin. Yet Halifax himself, would turn down the offer of being Prime Minister. Nicholas Shakespeare, looks into the history of and the behind the scene events, the biographies of all the people involved, that lead to Winston Churchill the PM on May 10th 1940 after Chamberlin goes to King George VI to tender his resignation. It appears no minutes were taken at the time. Often diary entries, and memories of all the players couldn’t not be fully trusted. I like history when it just focuses on a specific event or just one chapter on a person’s life. This interesting book, reads like a novel. While it looks like much of the events have been lost in time, all we can do is speculate the most likely scenarios, in this case the almost unexpected rise of Prime Minister Churchill. Whatever you can say about the man, Churchill and his War Cabinet is what Great Britain and the world need for the second European war within thirty years.

Author: Nicholas Shakespeare

Minimum Age: 16+

Type of Book: Political History

Book Length: 508

Published: 2017

Note: This book review is from Carl Strehlow, a valued member of Coffin Nation.

Photo credit: Public domain


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