Henry Mintzberg

Henry Mintzberg




Henry Mintzberg, Nascido em 2 de setembro de 1939 é um renomado acadêmico e autor de diversos livros na área de administração. Ele é Ph.D. pela MIT Sloan School of Management e atualmente é professor na McGill University, no Quebec, Canadá, onde leciona desde 1968, após ter concluído seu Mestrado em Gerência no MIT. Estudou Engenharia na McGill University de Montreal  Considerado um dos maiores especialistas mundiais em estratégia, Mintzberg dirigiu a sua obra para três temas principais: 


- Elaboração de estratégias; 
- Formas como os gestores distribuem o tempo e como funcionam os seus processos mentais; 
- Como são desenhadas as organizações para se adaptarem às suas necessidades. 

A estratégia não se planeja, constrói-se

Henry Mintzberg é um autor muito produtivo, escrevendo sobre estratégia de Gerência e de Negócios, com mais de 140 artigos publicados e treze livros no seu nome. Seu mais produtivo livro, “A Ascensão e a queda do Planejamento Estratégico”, critica algumas das práticas de hoje do planejamento estratégico, e é considerado leitura essencial para qualquer um que queira fazer parte do processo de tomada de decisões dentro de sua organização.

Recentemente publicou um livro chamado Managers Not MBAs onde esboça o que considera errado com a gerência hoje e, particularmente controvertido, escolhe como alvo prestigiosas e graduadas Instituições de Ensino em Administração e Negócios, tais como HBS (da Universidade de Harvard), Wharton (da Universidade da Pensilvânia) como exemplos do que a obsessão por números e um excesso de zelo em fazer do gerenciamento uma Ciência realmente podem danificar a disciplina da gerência. Ele sugere também um novo programa de ensino, mirando em gerentes com prática (em oposição a jovens estudantes com pouca experiência do mundo real) e enfatizando que lições práticas pode ser muito mais apropriado.

Dentro dessa crítica, ele teve duas iniciativas fundamentais, criando primeiramente o renomado Programa alternativo aos MBAs tradicionais, International Masters in Practicing Management, onde os executivos têm foco na discussão e reflexão com base em suas próprias experiências e de seus colegas, sendo os professores meros facilitadores do aprendizado (IMPM)

A segunda iniciativa, fundamentada na metodologia inovadora do IMPM, é a criação da empresa focada em desenvolvimento organizacional, juntamente como Phil LeNir, chamada Coaching Ourselves International. Empresa essa que tem como objetivo fornecer uma solução in-company, fundamentada nessa revolucionária ideia de desenvolvimento gerencial, aliando prática (a própria experiência dos gestores e de seus pares) e teoria gerencial, chancelada pelas principais autoridades do mundo de gestão. Mintzberg almeja de forma bastante ousada, conseguir paulatinamente "Mudar a maneira como se pratica Gestão".

Ironicamente, embora fosse um crítico sobre estratégias de consultores de negócios, ganhou duas vezes o prêmio McKinsey por ter a publicado o melhor artigo na revista “Harvard Business Review”.

Mais recentemente, ele lançou o livro Managing: Desvendando o dia a dia da Gestão, pela Editora Bookman, no qual procura desmistificar o gestor como alguém que é um planejador sistemático, sem interrupções e que tem controle de tudo na organização, gerindo-a como uma orquestra sinfônica, de forma cadenciada e afinada. Assim, ele mostra que o gestor, na verdade, gerencia em três níveis: ação, informação e pessoas, sendo interrompido constantemente, numa dinâmica extremamente acelerada e pouco previsível.

Leia também:
    Quem é Henry Mintzberg ?



Conheça o conteúdo de 17 livros:


Bibliografia:

1973 The Nature of Managerial Work
1979 The Structuring of Organizations: A Synthesis of the Research
1980 The Nature of Managerial Work. Harper and Row
1983 Power In and Around Organizations
1983 Structure in fives: Designing Effective Organizations
1989 Mintzberg on Management: Inside Our Strange World of Organizations
1991 The Strategy Process: (with Joe Lampel, Sumantra Ghoshal and J.B. Quinn)
1994 The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning: Reconceiving the Roles for Planning, Plans, Planners
1995 The Strategy Process. HBS Press
1998 Strategy Safari (with Bruce Ahlstrand and Joseph Lampel)
1999 AHLSTRAD, Bruce; LAMPEL, Joseph. Safári de estratégia. --: Bookman Companhia
2000 Managing Publicly (with Jacques Bourgault)
2000 Why I Hate Flying
2003 Criando organizações eficazes. São Paulo: Atlas
2004 Managers not MBAs (Mintzberg 2004)
2004 Ascensão e queda do planejamento estratégico. --: Bookman Companhia
2005 Strategy Bites back
2006 QUINN; GHOSAL. O processo da estratégia. ---: Bookman Companhia
2007 Tracking Strategies: Towards a General Theory of Strategy Formation
2009 Managing
2009 Management? It´s not What you Think! (with Bruce Ahlstrand and Joseph Lampel)
2011 Managing the Myths of Health Care (forthcoming)



 
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Martin Luther

Martin Luther






































Synopsis

Born in Germany in 1483, Martin Luther became one of the most influential figures in Christian history when he began the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. He called into question some of the basic tenets of Roman Catholicism, and his followers soon split from the Roman Catholic Church to begin the Protestant tradition.

Early Life

Martin Luther was born on November 10, 1483, in Eisleben, Saxony, in modern southeast Germany. His parents, Hans and Margarette Luther, were of peasant linage, but Hans had some success as a miner and ore smelter. In 1484, the family moved to nearby Mansfeld, where Hans held ore deposits.

Hans Luther knew that mining was a tough business and wanted his promising son to have better and become a lawyer. At age seven, Martin Luther entered school in Mansfeld. At 14, he went to north to Magdeburg, where he continued his studies. In 1498, he returned to Eisleben and enrolled in a school, studying grammar, rhetoric and logic. He later compared this experience to purgatory and hell.

In 1501, Martin Luther entered the University of Erfurt, where he received a Master of Arts degree (in grammar, logic, rhetoric and metaphysics). At this time, it seemed he was on his way to becoming a lawyer. However, in July 1505, Luther had a life-changing experience that set him on a new course. Caught in a horrific thunderstorm where he feared for his life, Luther cried out to St. Anne, the patron saint of miners, “Save me, St. Anne, and I’ll become a monk!” The storm subsided and he was saved. Most historians believe this was not a spontaneous act, but an idea already formulated in Luther’s mind. The decision to become a monk was difficult and greatly disappointed his father, but he felt he must keep a promise. Luther was also driven by fears of hell and God’s wrath, and felt that life in a monastery would help him find salvation.

Spiritual Anguish and Enlightenment

The first few years of monastery life were difficult for Martin Luther, as he did not find the religious enlightenment he was seeking. A mentor told him to focus his life exclusively on Christ and this would later provide him with the guidance he sought. At age 27, he was given the opportunity to be a delegate to a church conference in Rome. He came away more disillusioned, and very discouraged by the immorality and corruption he witnessed there among the Catholic priests. Upon his return to Germany, he enrolled in the University of Wittenberg in an attempt to suppress his spiritual turmoil. He excelled in his studies and received a doctorate, becoming a professor of theology at the university.

Through his studies of scripture, Martin Luther finally gained religious enlightenment. Beginning in 1513, while preparing lectures, Luther read Psalm 22, which recounts Christ’s cry for mercy on the cross, a cry similar to his own disillusionment with God and religion. Two years later, while preparing a lecture on Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, he read, “The just will live by faith.” He dwelled on this statement for some time. Finally, he realized the key to spiritual salvation was not to fear God or be enslaved by religious dogma but to believe that faith alone would bring salvation. This period marked a major change in his life and set in motion the Reformation.

Rejection of the Roman Catholic Church

In 1517, Pope Leo X announced a new round of indulgences to help build St. Peter’s Basilica. On October 31, 1517, an angry Martin Luther nailed a sheet of paper with 95 theses on the university’s chapel door. Though he intended these to be discussion points, the Ninety-Five Theses laid out a devastating critique of the indulgences as corrupting people’s faith. Luther also sent a copy to Archbishop Albert Albrecht of Mainz, calling on him to end the sale of indulgences. Aided by the printing press, copies of the Ninety-Five Theses spread throughout Germany within two weeks and throughout Europe within two months.

The Church eventually moved to stop the act of defiance. In October 1518, at a meeting with Cardinal Thomas Cajetan in Augsburg, Martin Luther was ordered to recant his Ninety-Five Theses by the authority of the pope. Luther said he would not recant unless scripture proved him wrong. He went further, stating that he didn’t consider the papacy had the authority to interpret scripture. The meeting ended in a shouting match and initiated his ultimate excommunication from the Church.

Throughout 1519, Martin Luther continued to lecture and write in Wittenberg. In June and July of that year he publicly declared that the Bible did not give the pope the exclusive right to interpret scripture, which was a direct attack on the authority of the papacy. Finally, in 1520, the pope had had enough and on June 15 issued an ultimatum threatening Luther with excommunication. On December 10, 1520, Luther publicly burned the letter.

Excommunication

In January 1521, Martin Luther was officially excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church. In March, he was summoned before the Diet of Worms, a general assembly of secular authorities. Again, Luther refused to recant his statements, demanding he be shown any scripture that would refute his position. There was none. On May 8, 1521, the council released the Edict of Worms, banning Luther’s writings and declaring him a “convicted heretic.” This made him a condemned and wanted man. Friends helped him hide out at the Wartburg Castle. While in seclusion, he translated the New Testament into the German language, to give ordinary people the opportunity to read God’s word.

Though still under threat of arrest, Martin Luther returned to Wittenberg Castle Church, in Eisenach, in May 1522. Miraculously, he was able to avoid capture and began organizing a new church, Lutheranism. He gained many followers and got support from German princes. When a peasant revolt began in 1524, Luther denounced the peasants and sided with the rulers, whom he depended on to keep his church growing. Thousands of peasants were killed, but Luther’s church grew over the years. In 1525, he married Katharina von Bora, a former nun who had abandoned the convent and taken refuge in Wittenberg. Together, over the next several years, they had six children.

Later Years

From 1533 to his death in 1546, Martin Luther served as the dean of theology at University of Wittenberg. During this time he suffered from many illnesses, including arthritis, heart problems and digestive disorders, and the physical pain and emotional strain of being a fugitive might have been reflected in his writings. Some works contained strident and offensive language against several segments of society, particularly Jews and to a lesser degree, Muslims, including Luther’s treatise The Jews and their Lies. During a trip to his hometown of Eisleben, he died on February 18, 1546, at age 62.

Legacy

Martin Luther is one of the most influential and controversial figures in the Reformation movement. His actions fractured the Roman Catholic Church into new sects of Christianity and set in motion reform within the Church. A prominent theologian, his desire for people to feel closer to God led him to translate the Bible into the language of the people, radically changing the relationship between church leaders and their followers.



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Wilhelm Richard Wagner

Wilhelm Richard Wagner 



Synopsis

Born in Germany on May 22, 1813, Wilhelm Richard Wagner went on to become one of the world's most influential—and controversial—composers. He is famous for both his epic operas, including the four-part, 18-hour Ring Cycle, as well as for his anti-semitic writings, which, posthumously, made him a favorite of Adolf Hitler. There is evidence that Wagner's music was played at the Dachau concentration camp to "re-educate" the prisoners. Wagner had a tumultuous love life, which involved several scandalous affairs. He died of a heart attack in Venice on February 13, 1883.

Early Life

Wilhelm Richard Wagner was born on May 22, 1813, in Leipzig, Germany, and went on to become one of the world's most influential—and controversial—composers.

Wilhelm Richard Wagner was famous for both his complex operas, such as the four-part, 18-hour Ring Cycle, as well as for his anti-semitic writings, which, posthumously, made him a favorite of Adolf Hitler. There is evidence that Wagner's music was played at the Dachau concentration camp to "re-educate" the prisoners.

Wagner's parentage is uncertain: He is either the son of police actuary Friedrich Wagner, who died soon after Richard was born, or the son of the man he called his stepfather, the painter, actor and poet Ludwig Geyer (whom his mother married in August 1814).

As a young boy, Wilhelm Richard Wagner attended school in Dresden, Germany. He did not show aptitude in music and, in fact, his teacher said he would "torture the piano in a most abominable fashion." But he was ambitious from a young age. When he was 11 years old, he wrote his first drama. By age 16, he was writing musical compositions. Young Wagner was so confident that some people considered him conceited.

The New York Times would later write in its obituary of the famous composer, "In the face of mortifying failures and discouragements, he apparently never lost confidence in himself."

Acclaimed Works

Wagner attended Leipzig University in 1831, and his first symphony was performed in 1833. He was inspired by Ludwig van Beethoven and, in particular, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, which Wagner called "that mystic source of my highest ecstasies." The following year, in 1834, Wagner joined the Würzburg Theater as chorus master, and wrote the text and music of his first opera, Die Feen (The Fairies), which was not staged.

In 1836, Wilhelm Richard Wagner married the singer and actress Minna Planer. The couple soon moved to Königsberg, where Wagner took the position of musical director at the Magdeburg Theatre. There, also in 1836, Das Liebesverbot was produced, with Wagner writing both the lyrics and the music. He called his concept "Gesamtunkstwerk" (total work of art)—a method, which he frequently used, of weaving German myths with larger themes about love and redemption.

After moving to Riga, Russia, in 1837, Wagner became the first musical director of the theater and began work on his next opera, Rienzi. Before finishing Rienzi, Wagner and Minna left Riga, fleeing creditors, in 1839. They hopped on a ship to London and then made their way to Paris, where Wagner was forced to take whatever work he could find, including writing vaudeville music for small theaters. Wagner was part of the quasi-revolutionary "Young Germany" movement, and his leftist politics were reflected in Rienzi; unable to produce Rienzi in Paris, he sent the score to the Court Theatre in Dresden, Germany, where it was accepted. In 1842, Wagner's Rienzi, a political opera set in imperial Rome, premiered in Dresden to great acclaim.

The following year, The Flying Dutchman was produced to critical acclaim. Considered a great talent by this time, Wagner was given the Prussian order of the Red Eagle and appointed director of the Dresden Opera. In 1845, Wagner completed Tannhäuser and began working on Lohengrin. In 1848, while preparing for a production of Lohengrin in Dresden, the revolutionary outbreak in Saxony occurred and Wagner, who had always been politically vocal, fled to Zurich.

Unable to enter Germany for the next 11 years due to his political stances, Wagner wrote the notoriously anti-semitic Jewishness in Music, as well as other criticisms against Jews, composers, conductors, authors and critics. He also wrote Opera and Drama and began developing what would become his famous Ring Cycle, which consisted of four separate operas tied together by leitmotifs, or recurring musical themes which link plot elements.

The Ring Cycle was ahead of its time in that it combined literature, visual elements and music in a way that would anticipate the future of film. Film composers, including John Williams, were inspired by Wagner's use of leitmotifs. His work would later influence modern film scores, including those of the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings film series.

After meeting and falling in love with Mathilde Wesendonck, the wife of Otto Wesendonck, Wagner was inspired to write Tristan and Isolde. His interest in Wesendonck, coupled with other events in his life, eventually led to his separation with his wife, Minna.

In 1862, Wagner was finally able to return to Germany. King Ludwig II, a fan of Wagner's work, invited Wagner to settle in Bavaria, near Munich, and supported him financially. Wagner didn't stay long in Bavaria, once it was discovered that he was having an affair with Cosima, the wife of the conductor Hans van Bülow, and Franz Liszt's illegitimate daughter. Bülow, who apparently condoned the affair, directed Tristan and Isolde in 1865. Wagner and Cosima had two children together before finally marrying in 1870.

The first two operas of The Ring Cycle, Das Rheingold and Die Walküre, were presented in Munich in 1869 and 1870. The Ring Cycle was finally performed in its entirely—all 18 hours—in 1876. Wagner completed his last opera, Parsifal, in January 1882, and it was performed at the Bayreuth Festival that same year.

Death and Legacy

Wagner died of a heart attack on February 13, 1883, at age 69, while vacationing in Venice, Italy for the winter. His body was shipped by gondola and train back to Bayreuth, where he was buried.







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Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Pierre-Auguste Renoir 



Synopsis

An innovative artist, Pierre-Auguste Renoir was born on February 25, 1841, in Limoges, France. He started out as an apprentice to a porcelain painter and studied drawing in his free time. After years as a struggling painter, Renoir helped launch an artistic movement called Impressionism in 1870s. He eventually became one of the most highly regarded artists of his time. He died in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France, in 1919.

Early Years

The son of a tailor and a seamstress, Pierre-Auguste Renoir came from humble beginnings. He was the couple's sixth child, but two of his older siblings died as infants. The family moved to Paris sometime between 1844 and 1846, living near the Louvre, a world-renowned art museum. He attended a local Catholic school.

As a teenager, Pierre-Auguste Renoir became an apprentice to a porcelain painter. He learned to copy designs to decorate plates and other dishware. Before long, Renoir started doing other types of decorative painting to make a living. He also took free drawing classes at a city-sponsored art school, which was run by sculptor Louis-Denis Caillouette.

Using imitation as a learning tool, a nineteen-year-old Pierre-Auguste Renoir started studying and copying some of the great works hanging at the Louvre. He then entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, a famous art school, in 1862. Renoir also became a student of Charles Gleyre. At Gleyre's studio, Renoir soon befriended three other young artists: Frédéric Bazille, Claude Monet, and Alfred Sisley. And through Monet, he met such emerging talents as Camille Pissarro and Paul Cézanne.

Beginning of Career

In 1864, Pierre-Auguste Renoir won acceptance into the annual Paris Salon exhibit. There he showed the painting, "La Esmeralda," which was inspired by a character from Victor Hugo's Notre-Dame de Paris. The following year, Renoir again showed at the prestigious Salon, this time displaying a portrait of William Sisley, the wealthy father of artist Alfred Sisley.

While his Salon works helped raise his profile in the art world, Pierre-Auguste Renoir had to struggle to make a living. He sought out commissions for portraits and often depended on the kindness of his friends, mentors, and patrons. The artist Jules Le Coeur and his family served as strong supporters of Renoir's for many years. Renoir also remained close to Monet, Bazille, and Sisley, sometimes staying at their homes or sharing their studios. According to many biographies, he seemed to have no fixed address during his early career.

Around 1867, Pierre-Auguste Renoir met Lise Tréhot, a seamstress who became his model. She served as the model for such works as "Diana" (1867) and "Lise" (1867). The two also reportedly became romantically involved. According to some reports, she gave birth to his first child, a daughter named Jeanne, in 1870. Renoir never publicly acknowledged his daughter during his lifetime.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir had to take a break from his work in 1870 when he was drafted into the army to serve in France's war against Germany. He was assigned to a cavalry unit, but he soon fell ill with dysentery. Renoir never saw any action during the war, unlike his friend Bazille who was killed that November.

After the war ended in 1871, Pierre-Auguste Renoir eventually made his way back to Paris. He and some of his friends, including Pissarro, Monet, Cézanne and Edgar Degas, decided to show their works on their own in Paris in 1874, which became known as the first Impressionist exhibition. The group's name is derived from a critical review of their show, in which the works were called "impressions" rather than finished paintings done using traditional methods. Renoir, like other Impressionists, embraced a brighter palette for his paintings, which gave them a warmer and sunnier feel. He also used different types of brushstrokes to capture his artistic vision on the canvas.

While the first Impressionist exhibition was not a success, Pierre-Auguste Renoir soon found other supportive patrons to propel his career. The wealthy publisher Georges Charpentier and his wife Marguérite took a great interest in the artist and invited him to numerous social gatherings at their Paris home. Through the Charpentiers, Renoir met such famous writers as Gustave Flaubert and Émile Zola. He also received portrait commissions from the couple's friends. His 1878 painting, "Madame Charpentier and her Children," was featured in the official Salon of the following year and brought him much critical admiration.

International Success

Funded with the money from his commissions, Pierre-Auguste Renoir made several inspirational journeys in the early 1880s. He visited Algeria and Italy and spent time in the south of France. While in Naples, Italy, Renoir worked on a portrait of famed composer Richard Wagner. He also painted three of his masterworks, "Dance in the Country," "Dance in the City" and "Dance at Bougival" around this time.

As his fame grew, Pierre-Auguste Renoir began to settle down. He finally married his longtime girlfriend Aline Charigot in 1890. The couple already had a son, Pierre, who was born in 1885. Aline served as a model for many of his works, including "Mother Nursing Her Child" (1886). His growing family, with the additions of sons Jean in 1894 and Claude in 1901, also provided inspiration for a number of paintings.

As he aged, Pierre-Auguste Renoir continued to use his trademark feathery brushstrokes to depict primarily rural and domestic scenes. His work, however, proved to be more and more physically challenging for the artist. Renoir first battled with rheumatism in the mid-1890s and the disease plagued him for the rest of his life.

Final Years

In 1907, Pierre-Auguste Renoir bought some land in Cagnes-sur-Mer where he built a stately home for his family. He continued to work, painting whenever he could. The rheumatism had disfigured his hands, leaving his fingers permanently curled. Renoir also had a stroke in 1912, which left him in a wheelchair. Around this time, he tried his hand at sculpture. He worked with assistants to create works based on some of his paintings.

The world-renowned Pierre-Auguste Renoir continued to paint until his death. He lived long enough to see one of his works bought by the Louvre in 1919, a tremendous honor for any artist. Renoir died that December at his home in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France. He was buried next to his wife, Aline (who died in 1915), in her hometown of Essoyes, France.


Besides leaving behind over two hundred works of art, Pierre-Auguste Renoir served as an inspiration to so many other artists—Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso are just a few who benefitted from Renoir's artistic style and methods.





 
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Richard I

Richard I



Synopsis

Born on September 8, 1157, in Oxford, England, Richard I, better known as "Richard the Lionheart," served as king of England from 1189 to 1199. By age 16, Richard was commanding his own army in a revolt against his father, and became a central Christian commander during the Third Crusade. He was seen as a hero by his subjects and remains an enduring iconic figure in England today.



 
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George VI

George VI




George VI served as king of the United Kingdom during World War II and was an important symbolic leader. He was succeeded by Queen Elizabeth II, in 1952.

Synopsis

George VI was crowned as king of the United Kingdom in 1937. He supported Winston Churchill completely and was an important symbolic leader for the British people during World War II, even visiting armies on the battle fronts. He was succeeded by his daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, after he died of lung cancer in 1952.

Early Life

King George VI, born Albert Frederick Arthur George Saxe-Coburg-Gotha on December 14, 1895, in Norfolk, England, was the second son of King George V and Victoria May, the Duchess of York (Mary of Teck). His youth was not easy. Though affectionate with his mother, affection was not always returned, and his father was harsh and critical. His tutors forced him to write with his right hand, though he was naturally left handed. He developed a stammer around age 8, and suffered the indignity of wearing leg braces to correct his knock knees. Often ill and easily frightened, George VI was somewhat prone to tears and tantrums—traits that he carried throughout much of his adult life.

Military Service and Education

Though formally known as "His Highness Prince Albert of York," within the family the future king was called "Bertie," and as a young man, "Albert." In 1909, he graduated from the Royal Naval Academy at Osborne, but finished at the bottom of his class in the final exam. Despite this, Albert progressed to the Royal Navy Academy at Dartmouth and then joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman. During World War I, he served on the HMS Collingwood, and saw action at the inconclusive Battle of Juteland in May 1916. In 1919, he joined the Royal Air Force and was certified as a pilot.

After the war, Prince Albert went to Trinity College (University of Cambridge) and studied history, economics and civics. He only stayed there for one year, however, and in 1920, he was made the Duke of York and began to carry out public duties for his father. At this time, he became reacquainted with Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, whom he had met as a child through their families' close relationship. Upon seeing her again as a startlingly attractive 18 year old, Albert was smitten, but shy and awkward. After twice rejecting Albert's marriage proposal, Elizabeth finally accepted, and they were married on April 26, 1923, at Westminster Abbey. They had two children: Elizabeth, born in 1926, and Margaret, born in 1930.

Prince Albert and Princess Elizabeth were able to solidify their relationship during the first several years of marriage. Recognizing that his stammer was an ordeal for her husband and his audiences, Elizabeth sought the help of Lionel Logue, an Australian speech therapist living in London. At first reluctant, Prince Albert began seeing Logue and partaking in his unorthodox exercises. His wife often accompanied him and participated in the sessions. Prince Albert and Logue cultivated a strong relationship and, gradually, his speech improved. 

Abdication and a Reluctant King

Though Albert was often berated by his father, King George V had reservations about his first son, Prince Edward (Duke of Windsor), taking the throne. He once said, "I pray God that my eldest son will never marry and that nothing will come between Bertie and Lilibet [Albert’s daughter] and the throne." On January 20, 1936, King George V died, and Edward ascended to the throne as King Edward VIII. In less than a year, he abdicated the throne so that he could marry his mistress, Wallis Simpson, an American socialite. Albert was crowned on May 12, 1937, and took on the name George VI to emphasize continuity with his father and restore confidence in the monarchy.

In the 1930s, King George VI, a strong supporter of British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, hoped that Chamberlain would be able to stave off a war with Nazi Germany. In 1938, Chamberlain met with German Fuehrer Adolph Hitler and signed the Munich Agreement. Though Chamberlain's efforts were criticized as a "policy of appeasement" by the opposition party in Parliament, King George supported his prime minister. He and Chamberlain appeared together on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to greet the crowds after the agreement’s announcement, a tradition normally restricted to royal family members.

Hitler ignored the agreement and continued his aggressive actions in Europe. Feeling war was a possibility, King George and Queen Elizabeth visited the United States in June 1939, and forged a strong friendship with President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The royals were also well received by the American public. In September 1939, Germany invaded Poland, violating the Munich Agreement, and war was declared. With the help of his speech therapist and his wife, King George successfully made one of the most important speeches of his life, announcing to the citizens of Britain that the country was at war—an event depicted in the 2010 film The King’s Speech.

World War II

The royal couple were resolved to stay in London at Buckingham Palace, despite intense German bombing raids. King George and Queen Elizabeth then undertook many morale-boosting visits to Britain’s bombed-out cities, touring hospitals and visiting with wounded troops. In 1943, the king visited British troops in North Africa. He later visited troops at Malta, bestowing on the entire island the honor of the George Cross, instituted by King George VI to honor exceptional acts of bravery by civilians. In June 1944, 10 days after the D-Day invasion, the king visited the troops in Normandy. He also suffered personal tragedy during the war when both his wife’s nephew and his youngest brother were killed.

King George VI was not enamored with the selection of Winston Churchill as prime minister after Neville Chamberlain’s resignation. Nevertheless, focused on a common goal, the two men quickly developed a strong working relationship and deep respect for each other. During the victory celebration at the end of the war in Europe, the king invited Prime Minister Churchill to appear with him on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, just as he had done with Neville Chamberlain.

During the post-war years, the stress of war began to catch up with King George VI and his health began to deteriorate rapidly. Around this time, his daughter, Princess Elizabeth, the presumptive heir, began to take on some of his royal duties. A planned tour of Australia and New Zealand was postponed after the king suffered an arterial blockage in 1949. In 1951, following years of heavy smoking, King George was diagnosed with lung cancer and arteriosclerosis. On September 23, 1951, his left lung was removed.

On the morning of February 6, 1952, at the age of 56, George VI was discovered dead in bed. It was later determined that he had died of a coronary thrombosis. After his death, George VI's daughter, Princess Elizabeth, took the throne, becoming Queen Elizabeth II; the king's wife, Queen Elizabeth, so as not to be confused with her daughter, took on the name "Queen Mother."

Legacy

Despite his reluctance to be king, George VI was a conscientious and dedicated sovereign who assumed the throne at a time when public faith in the monarchy was at an all-time low. Armed with strong determination and the help of his wife, he became a modern monarch of the 20th century. During his reign, George VI endured the hardships of war and the transition from an empire to a commonwealth of nations, and restored the popularity of the British monarchy.






 
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