Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, KG, OM, CH, TD, DL, FRS, RA (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British politician who was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a writer, and an artist. He is the only British Prime Minister to have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, and was the first person to be made an honorary citizen of the United States.
Churchill was born into the aristocratic family of the Dukes of Marlborough, a branch of the Spencer family. His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was a charismatic politician who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer; his mother, Jennie Jerome, was an American socialite. As a young army officer, he saw action in British India, the Sudan, and the Second Boer War. He gained fame as a war correspondent and wrote books about his campaigns.
At the forefront of politics for fifty years, he held many political and cabinet positions. Before the First World War, he served asPresident of the Board of Trade, Home Secretary, and First Lord of the Admiralty as part of the Asquith Liberal government. During the war, he continued as First Lord of the Admiralty until the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign caused his departure from government. He then briefly resumed active army service on the Western Front as commander of the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He returned to government as Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War, and Secretary of State for Air. After the War, Churchill served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Conservative (Baldwin) government of 1924–29, controversially returning the pound sterling in 1925 to the gold standard at its pre-war parity, a move widely seen as creating deflationary pressure on the UK economy. Also controversial were his opposition to increased home rule for India and his resistance to the 1936 abdication of Edward VIII.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Out of office and politically “in the wilderness” during the 1930s, Churchill took the lead in warning about Nazi Germany and in campaigning for rearmament. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was again appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. Following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain on 10 May 1940, Churchill became Prime Minister. His steadfast refusal to consider defeat, surrender, or a compromise peace helped inspire British resistance, especially during the difficult early days of the War when Britain stood alone in its active opposition to Adolf Hitler. Churchill was particularly noted for his speeches and radio broadcasts, which helped inspire the British people. He led Britain as Prime Minister until victory over Nazi Germany had been secured.
After the Conservative Party lost the 1945 election, he became Leader of the Opposition to the Labour Government. After winning the 1951 election, he again became Prime Minister, before retiring in 1955. Upon his death, Elizabeth II granted him the honour of a state funeral, which saw one of the largest assemblies of world statesmen in history. Named the Greatest Briton of all time in a 2002 poll, Churchill is widely regarded as being among the most influential people in British history, consistently ranking well in opinion polls of Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom.
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
Churchill as artist, historian, and writer
Winston Churchill was an accomplished artist and took great pleasure in painting, especially after his resignation as First Lord of the Admiralty in 1915. He found a haven in art to overcome the spells of depression which he suffered throughout his life. As William Rees-Mogg has stated, “In his own life, he had to suffer the ‘black dog’ of depression. In his landscapes and still lives there is no sign of depression.” Churchill was persuaded and taught to paint by his artist friend, Paul Maze, whom he met during the First World War. Maze was a great influence on Churchill’s painting and became a lifelong painting companion.
Churchill is best known for his impressionist scenes of landscape, many of which were painted while on holiday in the South of France, Egypt or Morocco. Using the pseudonym “Charles Morin”, he continued his hobby throughout his life and painted hundreds of paintings, many of which are on show in the studio at Chartwell as well as private collections. Most of his paintings are oil-based and feature landscapes, but he also did a number of interior scenes and portraits. In 1925 Lord Duveen, Kenneth Clark, and Oswald Birley selected his Winter Sunshine as the prize winner in a contest for anonymous amateur artists.:46–47 Due to obvious time constraints, Churchill attempted only one painting during the Second World War. He completed the painting from the tower of the Villa Taylor in Marrakesh.
Some of his paintings can today be seen in the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection at the Dallas Museum of Art. Emery Reves was Churchill’s American publisher, as well as a close friend and Churchill often visited Emery and his wife at their villa, La Pausa, in the South of France, which had originally been built in 1927 for Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel by her lover Bendor, 2nd Duke of Westminster. The villa was rebuilt within the museum in 1985 with a gallery of Churchill paintings and memorabilia.
Despite his lifelong fame and upper-class origins, Churchill always struggled to keep his income at a level which would fund his extravagant lifestyle. MPs before 1946 received only a nominal salary (and in fact did not receive anything at all until the Parliament Act 1911) so many had secondary professions from which to earn a living. From his first book in 1898 until his second stint as Prime Minister, Churchill’s income was almost entirely made from writing books and opinion pieces for newspapers and magazines. The most famous of his newspaper articles are those that appeared in the Evening Standard from 1936 warning of the rise of Hitler and the danger of the policy of appeasement.
Churchill was also a prolific writer of books, writing a novel, two biographies, three volumes of memoirs, and several histories in addition to his many newspaper articles. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 “for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values”. Two of his most famous works, published after his first premiership brought his international fame to new heights, were his six-volume memoir The Second World War and A History of the English-Speaking Peoples; a four-volume history covering the period from Caesar’s invasions of Britain (55 BC) to the beginning of the First World War (1914).
Churchill was also an amateur bricklayer, constructing buildings and garden walls at his country home at Chartwell, where he also bred butterflies. As part of this hobby Churchill joined the Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers, but was expelled because of his membership in the Conservative Party.
“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
- In 1945, while Churchill was mentioned by Halvdan Koht as one of seven appropriate candidates for the Nobel Prize in Peace, the nomination went to Cordell Hull.
- In 1953 Churchill received the Nobel Prize in Literature for his numerous published works, especially his six-volume set The Second World War. In a BBC poll of the “100 Greatest Britons” in 2002, he was proclaimed “The Greatest of Them All” based on approximately a million votes from BBC viewers. Churchill was also rated as one of the most influential leaders in history by TIME. Churchill College, Cambridge was founded in 1958 in his honour.
- In 1963, Churchill was named an Honorary Citizen of the United States by Public Law 88-6/H.R. 4374 (approved/enacted April 9, 1963).
- On 29 November 1995, during a visit to the United Kingdom, President Bill Clinton of the United States announced to both Houses of Parliament that an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer would be named the USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG-81). This was the first United States warship to be named after a non-citizen of the United States since 1975.
- University of Rochester (LLD) in 1941
- Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts (LLD) in 1943
- McGill University in Montreal, Canada (LLD) in 1944
- Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri 5 March 1946
- Leiden University in Leiden, Netherlands, honorary doctorate in 1946
- University of Miami in Miami, Florida in 1947
- University of Copenhagen in Copenhagen, Denmark (PhD) in 1950
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
Portrayal in film and television
Churchill has been portrayed in film and television on multiple occasions. Portrayals of Churchill include Dudley Field Malone (An American in Paris, 1951); Peter Sellers (The Man Who Never Was, 1956); Richard Burton (Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years, 1961); Simon Ward (Young Winston, 1972); Warren Clarke (Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill, 1974); Wensley Pithey (Edward and Mrs Simpson, 1978); Timothy West (Churchill and the Generals, 1979, Hiroshima, 1995); William Hootkins (The Life and Times of David Lloyd George, 1981); Robert Hardy (Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years, 1981, War and Remembrance, 1989); Bob Hoskins (World War II: When Lions Roared 1994); Albert Finney (The Gathering Storm 2002); Ian Mune (Ike: Countdown to D-Day, 2004); Rod Taylor (Inglourious Basterds, 2009); Brendan Gleeson (Into the Storm, 2009); Ian McNeice(Doctor Who: “Victory of the Daleks“; “The Pandorica Opens“; “The Wedding of River Song” in 2010 and 2011); Timothy Spall (The King’s Speech, 2010).
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.”
- The Story of the Malakand Field Force (1898)
- The River War (1899)
- Savrola (1900, serialised 1899 and published USA 1899)
- London to Ladysmith via Pretoria (1900)
- Ian Hamilton’s March (1900)
- Mr. Brodrick’s Army (1903)
- Lord Randolph Churchill (1906)
- For Free Trade (1906)
- My African Journey (1908)
- Liberalism and the Social Problem (1909)
- The People’s Rights (1910)
- The World Crisis (1923–1931)
- My Early Life: A Roving Commission (1930)
- India (1931)
- Thoughts and Adventures (Amid These Storms) (1932)
- Marlborough: His Life and Times (1933–1938)
- Great Contemporaries (1937)
- Arms and the Covenant or While England Slept: A Survey of World Affairs, 1932–1938 (1938)
- Step by Step 1936–1939 (1939)
- Addresses Delivered in the Year 1940 (1940)
- Broadcast Addresses (1941)
- Into Battle (Blood Sweat and Tears) (1941)
- The Unrelenting Struggle (1942)
- The End of the Beginning (1943)
- Onwards to Victory (1944)
- The Dawn of Liberation (1945)
- Victory (1946)
- Secret Sessions Speeches (1946)
- War Speeches 1940–1945 (1946)
- The Second World War (1948–1954)
- The Sinews of Peace (1948)
- Painting as a Pastime (1948)
- Europe Unite (1950)
- In the Balance (1951)
- The War Speeches 1939–1945 (1952)
- Stemming the Tide (1953)
- A History of the English-Speaking Peoples (1956–1958)
- The Unwritten Alliance (1961)
“My tastes are simple: I am easily satisfied with the best.”
Essays and short stories
- “Man Overboard!” (1899). First printed in The Harmsworth Magazine, January 1899
- “If Lee Had Not Won the Battle of Gettysburg” (1930). First published in Scribner’s Magazine, December 1930.
Retirement and death
Elizabeth II offered to create Churchill Duke of London, but this was declined due to the objections of his son Randolph, who would have inherited the title on his father’s death. He did, however, accept a knighthood as Garter Knight. After leaving the premiership, Churchill spent less time in parliament until he stood down at the 1964 general election. As a mere “back-bencher,” Churchill spent most of his retirement at Chartwell and at his home in Hyde Park Gate, in London, and became a habitué of high society on the French Riviera.
In the 1959 general election Churchill’s majority fell by more than a thousand, since many young voters in his constituency did not support an 85-year-old who could only enter the House of Commons in a wheelchair. As his mental and physical faculties decayed, he began to lose the battle he had fought for so long against the “black dog” of depression.
There was speculation that Churchill may have had Alzheimer’s disease in his last years, although others maintain that his reduced mental capacity was merely the result of a series of strokes. In 1963, US President John F. Kennedy, acting under authorisation granted by an Act of Congress, proclaimed him an Honorary Citizen of the United States, but he was unable to attend the White House ceremony.
Despite poor health, Churchill still tried to remain active in public life, and on St George’s Day 1964, sent a message of congratulations to the surviving veterans of the 1918 Zeebrugge Raid who were attending a service of commemoration in Deal, Kent, where two casualties of the raid were buried in the Hamilton Road Cemetery. On 15 January 1965, Churchill suffered a severe stroke that left him gravely ill. He died at his London home nine days later, at age 90, on the morning of Sunday 24 January 1965, 70 years to the day after his father’s death.
“If you are going through hell, keep going.”
Churchill’s funeral was the largest state funeral in world history up to that point in time, with representatives from 112 nations;
only China did not send an emissary. Only Ireland did not broadcast the service live on television in Europe, where 350 million people watched, including 25 million in Britain. By decree of the Queen, his body lay in state in Westminster Hall for three days and a state funeral service was held at St Paul’s Cathedral on 30 January 1965. One of the largest assemblages of statesmen in the world was gathered for the service. Unusually, the Queen attended the funeral. As Churchill’s lead-lined coffin passed up the River Thames from Tower Pier to Festival Pier on the MV Havengore, dockers lowered their crane jibs in a salute.
The Royal Artillery fired the 19-gun salute due a head of government, and the RAF staged a fly-by of sixteen English Electric Lightning fighters. The coffin was then taken the short distance to Waterloo station where it was loaded onto a specially prepared and painted carriage as part of the funeral train for its rail journey to Hanborough, seven miles north-west of Oxford.
The funeral train of Pullman coaches carrying his family mourners was hauled by Battle of Britain class steam locomotive No. 34051Winston Churchill. In the fields along the route, and at the stations through which the train passed, thousands stood in silence to pay their last respects. At Churchill’s request, he was buried in the family plot at St Martin’s Church, Bladon, near Woodstock, not far from his birthplace at Blenheim Palace. Churchill’s funeral van—former Southern Railway van S2464S—is now part of a preservation project with the Swanage Railway, having been repatriated to the UK in 2007 from the US, to where it had been exported in 1965.
Later in 1965 a memorial to Churchill, cut by the engraver Reynolds Stone, was placed in Westminster Abbey. [From: Wikipedia.com]
“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
List of Interesting Facts about Winston Churchill
- Fact 1 – Accomplishments and reasons Winston Churchill is famous: British Prime Minister duringWW2
- Fact 2 – Winston Churchill was born on 30 November 1874
- Fact 3 – The name of the parents of Winston Churchill were Lord Randolph Churchill and Lady Randolph Churchill (née Jennie Jerome) who was the daughter of an American millionaire
- Fact 4 – He was born at the stately home of his father in Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxfordshire
- Fact 5 – He came from an aristocratic family and spent a wretched childhood at public schools and liitle affection from his mother and father
- Fact 6 –
- Fact 7 – He was a poor scholar and entered the army, following his time at Sandhurst, which was deemed to be a poor career choice
- Fact 8 – Winston Churchill was given affection by his nanny Elizabeth Anne Everest, whom he used to call “Old Woom”
- Fact 9 – Winston Churchill was extremely ambitious and focussed on making a success of his army career in the Fourth Hussars – he was mentioned in despatches and used his mother’s connections to obtain postings to active campaigns in India, the Sudan and the Second Boer War
- Fact 10 – During the Boer War (1899-1902) Winston Churchill was captured and then escaped
- Fact 11 – He wrote newspaper accounts of his escapades which provided great publicity
- Fact 12 – He wrote several successful books
- Fact 13 – Churchill was elected as the Conservative MP for Oldham in the 1900 General Election – he later joined the Liberal Party but returned to the Conservatives
- Fact 14 – Winston Churchill married Clementine Hozier on 12 September 1908
- Fact 15 – He became First Lord of the Admiralty in October 1911
- Fact 16 – Winston Churchill joined the War Council during WW1
- Fact 17 – Winston Churchill became a leading advocate of rearmament and against the appeasement policy during the rise of Adolf Hitler
- Fact 18 – Winston Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty on the outbreak of WW2
- Fact 19 – Winston Churchill was appointed Prime Minister on 10th May, 1940 by King George VI and formed a coalition government
- Fact 20 – He was famous for his great oratory skills – see Winston Churchill Speech – We Shall Fight on the Beaches
- Fact 21 – Winston Churchill worked closely with Franklin D. Roosevelt following the attack on Pearl Harbor
- Fact 22 – Winston Churchill played a major role in leading the allies to victory during WW2
- Fact 23 – He became leader of the opposition after World War 2
- Fact 24 – Winston Churchill won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953
- Fact 25 – He retired from politics in 1955 due to ill health
- Fact 25 – Sir Winston Churchill died on 24th January, 1965 and was given a state funeral
Now Watch His Videos:
Winston Churchill ‘Now we are Masters of Our Fate’ Speech
Sir Winston Churchill – Funeral (I Vow To Thee)