Essential Margaret Thatcher

Overview including brief biography, chronology and commentary

Some key documents

Historic Moments

1975: Elected Conservative Party leader

Press conference immediately after winning the leadership
... "It is like a dream"

1979-81: The new Prime Minister

A prayer on the steps of No.10 (May 1979)
"Where there is discord, may we bring harmony" ...
The depths of recession (Oct 1980)
"You turn if you want to. The lady's not for turning" ...
Defending her Chancellor (Mar 1981 budget)
"Behind every good man there is a good woman"

1982: Fighting the Falklands War

  1. Argentina invades (2 Apr)
    "Nothing remains more vividly in my mind ..." (memoirs extract)
  2. Diplomatic warfare: the War Cabinet divided (24 Apr)
    "I would have resigned" ... (memoirs extract)
  3. Recapturing South Georgia (25 Apr)
    ... "Rejoice" ...
  4. Deciding to sink the Belgrano (2 May)
    "one of the most decisive military actions of the war" (memoirs extract)
  5. Announcing the Argentine surrender (14 Jun)
    ..."white flags over Port Stanley"
  6. Lessons of the war
    "We have ceased to be a nation in retreat"

1984: Surviving the Brighton Bomb

Terrorists bomb the party conference hotel
"At 2.54am a loud thud shook the room" ... (memoirs extract)
Speech the following day
... "all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail"

1984-87: Reagan, Gorbachev & the Cold War

First meeting with Gorbachev, 16 Dec 1984
"We can do business together" (memoirs extract)
Visiting President Reagan at Camp David, 22 Dec 1984
Full US record of a fascinating conversation, newly released
The Geneva Summit Nov 1985
Session 1: 19 Nov a.m
Full US record of the opening session of the first Reagan-Gorbachev summit, newly released
For full record of whole summit search 19-20 Nov 1985 in the Archive
The Reykjavik Summit Oct 1986
Session 1: 11 Oct a.m | Session 2: 11 Oct p.m | Session 3: 12 Oct a.m | Session 4: 12 Oct p.m
Full US records of the whole of the dramatic Reagan-Gorbachev summit, newly released [500K+ files]

1988-90: Standing against European federalism

The Bruges Speech
"Let Europe be a family of nations" ...
Summit in Rome: reporting to the Commons
"No no no"

1990: Falling from power

  1. Result of the first ballot
    "Not quite as good as we'd hoped" (memoirs extract)
  2. Remarks outside the Paris Embassy
    "I confirm it is my intention to let my name go forward for the second ballot"
  3. Cabinet overboard
    "I had lost the Cabinet's support" (memoirs extract)
  4. Final Commons Speech as PM
    "I am enjoying this"

Britain & America

1988: Margaret Thatcher on Ronald Reagan
article in the National Review
1994: the Anglo-American relationship
"inextricably linked"
1997: Lecture to the Heritage Foundation
President Reagan, Conservatism & the politics of the 1990s
Key site documents on USA
List key documents on this site

Europe

1979: Winston Churchill Lecture
"Europe - The Obligations of Liberty"
1979: Dublin Press Conference
"What we are asking is for a very large amount of our own money back"
1988: the Bruges speech
"Let Europe be a family of nations" ...
1992: the Hague speech
"yesterday's future" ...

The Cold War

1975: The Iron Lady I (Chelsea speech)
1976: The Iron Lady II (Kensington speech)
Attacking detente & angering the Soviets
1987: Interviewed on Soviet Television
"Conventional weapons have never been enough to stop wars."
2000: Speech at the Hoover Institution
Lessons of the Cold War, & the future

Reshaping Britain

 
1968: What's Wrong with Politics?
Seminal pamphlet
1969: Article for Daily Telegraph ("Consensus - or choice?")
1969: Article for Daily Telegraph ("Participation - in what?")
Rejecting 'consensus' & big government
1977: A speech in Zurich
Statement of Conservative economics
1983: An exposition of "Victorian Values"
"the values when our country became great"
1987: 'no such thing as society'?
A controversial interview (extract)
1988: Speech to the Centre for Policy Studies
Hitherto unreported speech, reflecting on the Thatcher record
1988: Speech to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
Politics, economics & Christianity
1988: Royal Society speech
The environment
1996: Keith Joseph Lecture
"Liberty & Limited Government"