Anthony Eden

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The Right Hon. Anthony Eden
Prime Minister 7 April 1955 - 10 January 1957
Political Party Conservative Party
Born 12 June 1897
Bishop Auckland, Durham
Died 14 January 1977
Alvediston, Salisbury, Wiltshire

Major Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC (12 June 1897 - 14 January 1977) was a prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1955 to 1957, and elected leader of the British Conservative Party from 1957 to 1957. During much of Sir Winston Churchill's time as prime minister (1951-1955), Eden also acted as de facto party leader.

Career

Eden studied at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. Following a military career during the First World War, for which he received a Military Cross, Eden entered politics in 1923 when elected as Member of Parliament for Leamington and Warwick. He became Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Foreign Office in 1926. In 1931 he was promoted to Under-Secretary of State. In 1935 he briefly served as Minister for the League of Nations under Stanley Baldwin's government but was soon promoted to Foreign Secretary. Three years later, he resigned from Neville Chamberlain's government in 1938 due to personal conflicts with Chamberlain, as well as in protest to Chamberlain's implementation of a policy of appeasement of Nazi Germany. In 1939 on the outbreak of war he returned to Chamberlain's government as Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs. When Winston Churchill became prime minister, Eden was appointed as Secretary of State for War. Later in 1940 he was appointed Foreign Secretary once more. In 1942 he was given the additional job of Leader of the House of Commons. After Clement Attlee's landslide election victory in 1945, Eden returned to the Opposition benches as deputy Leader of the Opposition. From 1951 to 1955 he was Foreign Secretary for a third time.

He succeeded Winston Churchill as Prime Minister of the UK in 1955, and resigned in 1957 in the aftermath of the Suez Crisis. About the crisis, Eden famously defended his decision to bomb Egyptian troops following the nationalisation of the Suez Canal by remarking 'We are in an armed conflict; that is the phrase I have used. There has been no declaration of war.' The crisis ended ignominiously for the Eden government. He faced fierce criticism from both the United Nations and critics at home. Stricken with illness, he resigned in January 1957 as both prime minister and MP.

He was made Earl of Avon in 1961. The book Another World is an account of his experiences as a soldier. Eden died in Salisbury in 1977.