Britain has been led by many leaders. Harold MacMillan is without doubt one of the most memorable ones. The former prime minister had relatively progressive approach in political career. He rebuilt Britain in the aftermath of Suez Canal Crisis.
His contributions to the country’s national and foreign affairs were particularly related to its past colonization. MacMillan still contributed to the country even in his retirement as government’s experienced critic.
The former prime minister was born in Chelsea, London to an Englishman father and American mother. He had two older brothers, Daniel and Arthur. He was the grandson of a worldwide renowned publishing company’s founder.
Macmillan grew up learning French at home. He also started learning Greek and Latin in his early years. He served at British military in his twenties and often fought at the frontline. His last rank in the army was captain.
Harold Macmillan had a mother who was especially concerned about his education. He was enrolled in language and dance classes since young. He attended private boarding school in Oxford before moving to Eton College.
Eventually, he earned scholarship to Balliol College at University of Oxford. During his time there, his interest in politics was cultivated. He joined varied political societies at university. That influenced his eclectic view in politics. After war, he did not return to Oxford to complete his study.
Career in Parliament and Ministry
Macmillan won a seat in parliament after contesting the constituency of Stockton-on-Tees that had depressed industry. Despite few setbacks in his parliament career, he managed to develop his political career wonderfully and became quite renowned figure.
He started working for British ministries. His earliest ministerial job was as assistant parliament at Ministry of Supply. He then moved to work as junior minister of State for the Colonies. Macmillan assumed posts as minister for various ministries before becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Working as Prime Minister
He was appointed as British Prime Minister in 1957, succeeding Anthony Eden who went into early retirement. He was known to be calm and unflappable leader. Macmillan earned the nickname Supermac from strip comic which was intended to be satire.
His main policy was to restore British foreign relationships after Suez Crisis. He also addressed the high unemployment rate well which led to better living standard. Harold Macmillan was also a big supporter of British nuclear program. His achievements earned him a second term.
Personal Life of MacMillan
Macmillan married to a daughter of British nobility, Lady Dorothy Cavendish. Together they had four children, a son and three daughters. The marriage was marred with affair from his wife’s side. They lived separately without divorcing until Lady Cavendish’s death in 1966.
His failing marriage took a toll in his mental health which led to nervous breakdown in early 1930. He managed to come right back up after starting affectionate relationship with Ava Anderson.
Life in Retirement
Macmillan was forced to retire early in his political career due to his falling popularity in his later years as prime minister. It was all due to his arguable policies. Nonetheless, he was still active in politics as government’s critic.
Harold Macmillan published some books such as Winds of Change and Tides of Fortune. He remained involve in politics by criticizing his successors. Despite that, he was still a respectable figure with prominent expertise.