London, , England
|| November 30, 1874
|Died||January 24, 1965
|Last Modifed||E Pluribus Unum|
Mar 12, 2019 12:42pm
English - Capitalist - Conservative - Internationalist - Alcoholic - Freemason - Agnostic - Anglican - Straight -
|Info||Upon being told that he drinks too much: "My dear lady, I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me." |
"The empires of the future are the empires of the mind"
"I am prepared to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."
On Attlee: "a modest man who has much to be modest about."
"Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years men will still say 'This was their finest hour.'"
On the RAF following victory in the Battle of Britain: "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few"
Winston Churchill was a politician, a soldier, an artist, and the 20th century's most famous and celebrated Prime Minister. His father was Lord Randolph Churchill, a Nineteenth Century Tory politician. He was educated at Harrow and at Sandhurst Royal Military College, after which he saw service in India and the Sudan, and acted off-duty as a war correspondent.
Churchill left the army in 1899 to take up politics, but first travelled to South Africa as a journalist. Although taken prisoner by the Boers, he made a daring escape and returned to safety despite the price on his head. His consequent fame no doubt aided his success as the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Oldham in 1900.
Churchill was instinctively independent, willing to work with any side agreeing with his goals. Thus his stand against protectionism led him to join the Liberals in 1904. As President of the Board of Trade in Asquith's Liberal government he set up labour exchanges and unemployment insurance. As Home Secretary in 1910 he improved safety in the mines and prevented the employment of child miners, though disappointed radicals by deploying troops in Wales during a miners strike.
In 1911 he was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty, and ensured the Navy was ready for the outbreak of war in 1914. However, he was blamed for failed Dardanelles Campaign in 1915, and was demoted in the coalition government. He resigned his post and went to the Front.
In 1916 Lloyd George appointed him Minister for Munitions, in which post he developed the use of the tank in warfare. In 1918 he took responsibility for demobilisation.
He returned to the Conservative Party in the 1920s and spent 5 years as Stanley Baldwin's Chancellor, but again fell out with his party. Unpopular and ostracised for a decade, his warnings from the backbenches of Fascist imperialism went unheeded. His influence, it was said, had fallen to zero. However, Chamberlain's policy of appeasement failed, leading to his resignation and to the vindication of Churchill's position. George VI then asked Churchill to form a government in 1940 at the age of 65.
Asking the House of Commons for its confidence in his small War Cabinet, he said "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat." His evocative and stirring rhetoric, employed in many famed speeches, is seen as representing the spirit of wartime Britain, and was essential to raising national morale. He was renowned as a great character and a great leader but was a paradoxical man. Possessed of astonishing vision, he also made disastrous mistakes. Nevertheless, he brought Britain to victory against Germany on the 8th of May, 1945.
Following the Labour landslide in the post-war 1945 election, a surprised Churchill found himself leading the Conservative Opposition. He then served four years as a peacetime Prime Minister. The second Churchill administration did not realise his hopes of ending the Cold War. In contrast to the stark choices of the second world war, he found the problems facing post-war Britain elusive and intangible.
Frustrated and in poor health, he resigned in 1955, aged 81. Following his death in 1965, Churchill's body lay in state for 3 days at Westminster Hall before his state funeral.