Duff Cooper

Alfred Duff Cooper, 1st Viscount Norwich, GCMG, DSO, PC (22 February 1890 – 1 January 1954), known as Duff Cooper, was a British Conservative Party politician, diplomat and military and political historian.


The Viscount Norwich

First Lord of the Admiralty
In office
28 October 1937  3 October 1938
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterNeville Chamberlain
Preceded bySir Samuel Hoare
Succeeded byThe Earl Stanhope
Secretary of State for War
In office
22 November 1935  28 May 1937
MonarchGeorge V
Edward VIII
George VI
Prime MinisterStanley Baldwin
Preceded byThe Viscount Halifax
Succeeded byLeslie Hore-Belisha
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
20 July 1941  11 November 1943
Prime MinisterWinston Churchill
Preceded byThe Lord Hankey
Succeeded byErnest Brown
British Ambassador to France
In office
1944–1948
MonarchGeorge VI
Preceded byVacant due to German occupation
Succeeded byOliver Harvey
Personal details
Born
Alfred Duff Cooper

(1890-02-22)22 February 1890
Died1 January 1954(1954-01-01) (aged 63)
At sea, North Atlantic
NationalityBritish
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Lady Diana Manners
(1892–1986)
ChildrenJohn Julius
ParentsSir Alfred Cooper
Lady Agnes Duff
Alma materNew College, Oxford
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Branch/serviceBritish Army
RankLieutenant
UnitGrenadier Guards
Battles/warsFirst World War
AwardsDistinguished Service Order
Mentioned in Despatches

First elected to Parliament in 1924, he lost his seat in 1929 but returned to Parliament in the 1931 Westminster St George's by-election, which was seen as a referendum on Stanley Baldwin's leadership of the Conservative Party. He later served in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for War and First Lord of the Admiralty. In the intense political debates of the late 1930s over appeasement, he first put his trust in the League of Nations, and later realised that war with Germany was inevitable. He denounced the Munich agreement of 1938 as meaningless, cowardly, and unworkable, as he resigned from the cabinet.

When Winston Churchill became prime minister in May 1940, he named Cooper as Minister of Information. From 1941, he served in numerous diplomatic roles. He also served an important role as representative to Charles de Gaulle's Free France (1943–44) and ambassador to France from 1944 to 1948.