Born on 30th of November 1874
Died in London
Died on 24th of January 1965
Quotes from Winston Churchill
'The only statistics you can tr'... More
A descendent of the 1st Duke of Marlborough, with a father who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer before his death at 45, Winston Churchill was born into privilege. He attended Harrow, but in spite of his family’s supposed wealth he was not allowed to go on to university, and struggled with the entrance exam to Sandhurst, becoming however an excellent student once there.
Churchill was driven to pack the maximum into his own life by his father’s untimely death, thinking he too would die young: he pulled strings to obtain postings to conflicts in India and Sudan, a lancer in the charge at Omdurman; before that he had briefly worked as a war correspondent in Cuba, as he did again in the Boer War afterwards. Captured by the Boers he escaped their POW camp, thus becoming a celebrity in Britain, the constant desire of his life being to be noticed, perhaps compensating for the absence of his parents in his childhood.
As a politician Churchill displayed similar recklessness: as a very young Home Secretary he became personally involved in the Siege of Sydney Street, a bullet hitting his top hat; as First Lord of the Admiralty he conceived the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign; after the Great War he pushed for Britain to topple the Soviet Bolsheviks; and at the beginning of WWII he devised the Norway adventure that ironically sparked Chamberlain’s downfall. But he never lacked courage, physical or political: ousted from effective power in 1915 he re-joined the army, serving on the front line; it was Churchill who drove the development of the tank against conventional opinion; and as an MP he crossed and re-crossed the floor of the House of Commons, first Conservative, then Liberal, then Conservative again.
Between the wars, contrary to the popular image, Churchill was very actively involved in Britain’s disarmament: as Minister of War 1918 to 1920 he slashed the RAF from 154 to 24 squadrons, and was only prevented by threats of mass resignation from culling the fleet. And he was initially an admirer of Mussolini and supported the vile Edward VIII. But he recognized the danger of Hitler’s Germany, and became a critic of appeasement.
It is as primarily as the British Prime Minister who led the country from the brink of defeat to eventual victory that he is remembered: indefatigable, ruthless, and a great orator, some of his phrases now part of our national vocabulary. He won the war, but lost the election at the end of it, only to return as Premier between 1951 and 1955, when in his eighties he was nudged into retirement.
Throughout his life Churchill produced books and newspaper articles for the fame, the funds, and the fun of writing. As reward for his war efforts rather than literary greatness he was given the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953.
Churchill died in 1965, shortly after finally retiring as an MP. His state funeral was a huge event for Britain, marking a great man’s passing and the end of an era.
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