Biography of Lord Beaverbrook

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Throughout the course of Canada's history, several figures had been discussed about that have had a significant importance in developing Canada into what it is known as today. Having a plaque dedicated to either figure shows how important each contributor had towards Canadians and others by giving a brief description on what this specific figure had accomplished. For Lord Beaverbrook, a plaque dedicated in his name was seen as an event that was bound to occur, for Beaverbrook was a well renowned Canadian figure during the 20th century. Beaverbrook was profiled as a renowned figure for the 20th century because of his prolific work in the newspaper industry and for the outstanding efforts and skill that was used in aircraft production during the time period of World War II. Though the commemorative plaque displays bits and pieces of Lord Beaverbrook's accomplishments, it draws the argument of how a plaque could be compared and contrasted from other secondary and primary sources. Through Lord Beaverbrook's personal biography, a solid political background and war time scenarios, similarities and differences can be made from a plaque commemorating a special figure to scholarly sources of primary and secondary.

The biography that depicts Lord Beaverbrook and his possesses is without a doubt a true piece of information that is both written in primary and secondary sources, and as well, the commemorative plaque stationed in Maple, Ontario. Beaverbrook, who is named William Maxwell Aitken[1], is written about on the commemorative plaque which is located in front of his actual house. The plaque gives a brief, but concise rundown on what Lord Beaverbrook had contributed towards not only Canada, but to the British flag. The plaque presents the information in a way that shows Lord Beaverbrook as being a well known publisher, politician and a philanthropist. To draw a similarity from a primary source, one website shared the same description of Lord Beaverbrook stating that Lord Beaverbrook was a press baron and a British politician[2]. The website also added descriptive information on how Beaverbrook had the reputation as a sharp and strong political figure, and as well, a newspaper publisher that displayed dynamic interest in publishing works of news[3]. The source also extends its description of Lord Beaverbrook to include information that show how Beaverbrook became a millionaire businessman[4], similar to what the plaque shows Lord Beaverbrook as being successful financially. The plaque and the primary source show a similarity in words because both depict Beaverbrook as being a politician, a respected politician, and also a successful businessman. Another example is how the plaque shows Beaverbrook as being involved in different acts of war throughout his time in the 20th century. On the plaque, Lord Beaverbrook is cited as being a Minister of Aircraft Production for the British War Cabinet. This sentence that was shown on the plaque depicts Lord Beaverbrook in a way that shows his noble bravery towards the British Cabinet. The plaque however, does not give a sense of feeling that Lord Beaverbrook enjoyed time as aircraft production minister, which draws a difference between what the plaque states and what another primary source writes about the Lord's time as an aircraft producer. In this other primary source, Lord Beaverbrook is seen as being more than an aircraft producer, for it shows Beaverbrook joining the British Cabinet as the information minister[5]. It was not until 1940 when Lord Beaverbrook would be appointed as Minister of Aircraft Production by British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill[6]. This other primary source continues to describe Beaverbrook in different information by stating that Beaverbrook would later be Minister of Supply[7]. The way that the plaque presents information on Lord Beaverbrook's behalf is shown in a brief form, ways that make it certain how a plaque informs the public eye about this British Canadian hero. The primary source however, includes quotations that depict Lord Beaverbrook as being the right kind of figure for aircraft production minister. When Beaverbrook was appointed as aircraft production and supply minister, the usage of fighter and bombs significantly increased, which eventually lead to Winston Churchill showing praise towards Beaverbrook, stating how Beaverbrook had a force and a sense of intelligence which made it Beaverbrook's finest moment as aircraft production minister [8]. This primary source clearly indicates a brief similarity between how the plaque labels Lord Beaverbrook and how the Lord is describe in another source of information. The difference between both is that the plaque fails to analyze other key contributions Beaverbrook had shown for to the British Cabinet. The primary source clearly analyzes more on brief and specific time frames in which Lord Beaverbrook was a part while presenting it in a different way that includes quotes from other figures around Beaverbrook during the time of his minister duties. Even though the commemorative plaque and the two primary sources both present similar information from each other, the plaque shows Lord Beaverbrook as showing accomplishments made during his tenure as politician, newspaper giant and war time actions. One other difference that the plaque does not mention about this British- Canadian figure is that Lord Beaverbrook is mentioned to be a publisher of a giant newspaper company, and not mentioned of the fact that books were published under Lord Beaverbrook. Beaverbrook had written a series of books after the First World War entitled Canada in Flanders[9], which describes what Canadian soldiers accomplished during the time in Europe. The biographical source on Lord Beaverbrook continues to show other books credited to his name including Politicians and the Press, which was written in 1925 and another book entitled Politicians and the War, written in 1928[10]. This set of information is presented in a different context that shows how Lord Beaverbrook expanded his publishing knowledge to create other works of literature. It also shows the difference that the primary sources present information on Lord Beaverbrook, which is in a more descriptive manner by including more background knowledge and also showing the way Beaverbrook's work styles are present when reading more about this key figure in Canadian history. After analyzing similarities and differences between how a plaque describes a person compared to other sources of material, it is evident that both similarities and differences have been made between both sources of information. Another area in which both similarities and differences can be made from the Beaverbrook plaque is Lord Beaverbrook's time as a politician, which drew some criticism from other scholarly pieces of work.

Lord Beaverbrook, as described by the commemorative plaque, was considered to be a well know politician who was very informative and knowledgeable about politics. The plaque commemorates Beaverbrook for his work of political strengths by only showing that Lord Beaverbrook was 'a well known politician'. Whoever had written this piece of information about this proclaimed figure surely did not know the both sides to Lord Beaverbrook and the status of being a 'well known politician. Lord Beaverbrook was without a doubt a well known political figure during the 20th century, but the exact actions and information that Lord Beaverbrook presented are not found on the commemorative plaque, which brings up already differences from who wrote the plaque about the Lord and the other source of material on Beaverbrook. For one thing, Lord Beaverbrook has had a share of moments in which political conflict became an issue of discussion between other political figures, and Lord Beaverbrook too. In John O. Stubbs "Beaverbrook as Historian", the author displays Lord Beaverbrook as being a figure with many different parts, and that politics coloured a majority of things Beaverbrook did[11]. The author continues to display Lord Beaverbrook as being a politician of conservative thoughts and ideas, and also shows how Beaverbrook was very outspoken of the Tariff Reform[12], which was a policy introduced by the British to end all talks of free trade by protecting the duties on imported goods[13]. This shows a similarity in how Lord Beaverbrook is displayed as a well known politician because Beaverbrook was very vocal when it came to politics, as it was a major part of what the Lord knew how to do best. It draws a difference into how Beaverbrook is perceived as, because it shows how Lord Beaverbrook was open minded when it came time to discussing the Tariff Reform policy, which ended up failing several times before finally being implemented in the 1930s[14]. Another example that perceives Lord Beaverbrook differently from the commemorative plaque is found within another scholarly source of material, entitled "Review", which shows briefly about the infamous Gestapo speech that was made, which stated how the Labour force was pressurized into establishing a political police group[15]. It also stated that Beaverbrook mentioned no part taken into coming up with the Gestapo speech, however, the author claims that seeing as how Beaverbrook was one of the election managers at the time, Beaverbrook had an input on what was mentioned in the speech[16]. This point of information shows clearly how differences between what the plaque reads about Lord Beaverbrook and what the author of the secondary source state about Beaverbrook. It is clear through these different events that Beaverbrook was a 'well known politician' but in a different meaning. Even though the plaque points out the status of Lord Beaverbrook and the knowledge and passion shown for politics, it fails to give the viewer the exact knowledge to back up the point of Beaverbrook being well known to Canada and Britain. To further show how a plaque describes a figure, Beaverbrook in this case, compared to other methods of material can be found in Lyle Dick's "Public History in Canada: An Introduction", where it shows that within the last few decades, different events in history have been attained in the form of plaques and commemorative sites[17], and that the construction, reaction and analysis of plaques and commemorative sites that display the rich historical past[18]. These points correspond in ways that show how Lord Beaverbrook's commemorative plaque shows a link to the past and how Beaverbrook was well known for being involved in the political spectrum during the 20th century. The article also draws the idea of how constructing the plaques draw reception and reaction from other public viewers, which leads to analyzing the plaque and what the viewer thinks of the plaque. For Beaverbrook, the plaque has drawn different sources of reaction, having different authors and scholars drawing up more background information on this well known Canadian figure. The final area that can show similarities and differences on how Lord Beaverbrook is presented upon differently from the plaque is the way Beaverbrook was involved during specific war battles.

The commemorative plaque that is in Lord Beaverbrook's' name states how Beaverbrook was a part of the British War Cabinet and was assigned the duty of ministering the production of aircraft during the Britain War. Even though the plaque states that Lord Beaverbrook is a part of the British War Cabinet and shows a strong tone towards war, it can also help argue how similarities and differences between what the plaque describes Beaverbrook as being different to other sources of information. An example to present Lord Beaverbrook in a different kind of manner can be from Gerard De Groot's article Review found in "The International History Review". In this secondary source, De Groot presents the same tone of Lord Beaverbrook being an Aircraft Production Minister for the British Cabinet, but presents information in a different manner, ways that the plaque does not depict about Lord Beaverbrook. De Groot states that Beaverbrook approached the task of producing aircrafts in the same way that Beaverbrook produced his newspaper company[19], stating that a form of circulation was the one and only concern behind minister of producing aircrafts. This is another example of how the commemorative plaque displays Lord Beaverbrook in a different way from the secondary source because the secondary source clearly illustrates the mentality that Lord Beaverbrook attained while producing hundreds of fighter crafts for the British Cabinet. The way that the author presents information about Beaverbrook is a different way of presenting information, as it does not correspond to the plaque, where it does not analyze how Beaverbrook produced these fighter crafts. Another example of how Lord Beaverbrook is portrayed differently can be seen from the same source used above. Lord Beaverbrook, as described by De Groot, mentioned that Beaverbrook was very fond of causes and scenarios, those in which had been disliked by a certain amount of people during this time of war[20]. The author continues to state that even though Lord Beaverbrook's mentalities as an aircraft producer were disliked, Lord Beaverbrook was still able to gain a sense of power through manipulating the finances to fund for the aircraft producing[21]. Lord Beaverbrook had also gained power through pressuring others into helping out when it came time to produce aircrafts for war[22], which lead to the author linking Beaverbrook's actions to a quote that was mentioned by Daily News editor A.G. Gardiner, who stated that Lord Beaverbrook is considered dangerous because of the way Beaverbrook would put things together with a passion like no other[23]. One other final point that illustrates Lord Beaverbrook differently in this source is how Lord Beaverbrook would use the power gained for harsh endings[24]. With these different points of information taken into consideration, it could only help prove how Lord Beaverbrook was presented differently from the commemorative plaque. The way in which this secondary source entitles Lord Beaverbrook to show how power was attained and the path Beaverbrook took is interesting because it helps distinguish the way in which Beaverbrook took sole lead of producing aircrafts for the war in a manner that was portrayed in a negative way. Lord Beaverbrook showed that having an intense passion when it came time to Minster aircraft production was an overwhelming effort that lead to a source of information describing Beaverbrook's actions in a way that presents a different kind of feel about this proclaimed figure of Canadian history.

When posed the argument of how Lord Beaverbrook's commemorative plaque is compared and contrasted through other sources of information, it is evident enough to say that both major similarities and differences have been spotted during the course of this paper. Lord Beaverbrook may have been known as a well known publisher, politician and a aircraft producer as stated on the plaque, but the story behind how Lord Beaverbrook got the status of each is further examined through various primary and secondary sources that illustrate this work of 20th century Canadian history.


  • "CBC News In Depth: Lord Beaverbrook." - Canadian News. (accessed February 27, 2010).
  • Cannon, John. "Lord Beaverbrook." Encyclopedia - Online Dictionary. (accessed March 21, 2010).
  • De Groot, Gerard J. "Beaverbrook: A Life." The International History Review 15, no. 4 (1993): 833.
  • Dick, Lyle. "Public History in Canada: An Introduction." The Public Historian 31, no. 1 (2009): 7.
  • "History of Maple." City of Vaughan - Home. (accessed February 27, 2010).
  • "Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook - Biography." (accessed March 19, 2010).
  • Stubbs, John O. "Beaverbrook As Historian." Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies 14, no. 3/4 (1982): 235.
  • "Tariff Reform." Encyclopedia - Online Dictionary. (accessed March 20, 2010).
  1. "History of Maple." City of Vaughan - Home. (accessed February 27, 2010).
  2. "CBC News In Depth: Lord Beaverbrook." - Canadian News. (accessed February 27, 2010).
  3. CBC News In Depth
  4. Ibid
  5. "Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook - Biography." (accessed March 19, 2010).
  6. Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook
  7. Ibid
  8. Ibid
  9. Ibid
  10. Ibid
  11. John O Stubbs, "Beaverbrook As Historian." Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies 14, no. 3/4 (1982): 235.
  12. John O Stubbs, pp.235
  13. "Tariff Reform." Encyclopedia - Online Dictionary. (accessed March 20, 2010).
  14. Tariff Reform
  15. Gerard J De Groot, "Beaverbrook: A Life." The International History Review 15, no. 4 (1993): 833.
  16. Gerard J De Groot, pp.833
  17. Lyle Dick, "Public History in Canada: An Introduction." The Public Historian 31, no. 1 (2009): 7.
  18. Lyle Dick, pp.7
  19. Gerard J De Groot, "Beaverbrook: A Life." The International History Review 15, no. 4 (1993): 833.
  20. Gerard J De Groot, pp.834
  21. Gerard J De Groot, pp.834
  22. Ibid
  23. Ibid
  24. Ibid