Personality of Winston Churchill
1. Who was Churchill?
“It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.”
Winston Churchill as a multi-dimensional personality
Winston Churchill, a British politician, an army officer, writer and journalist, is one of the most glorified and controversial personalities in modern history. Known mainly for his action as Prime Minister of Great Britain during World War II, many people have attributed to him the victory of allied forces against Nazism. He has been a strong believer in democracy and its institutions, and an opponent of totalitarian regimes. As a gifted writer, he was honoured with a Nobel Prize in literature due to his memoirs about World War II. On one hand, as a serviceman, his bravery and his tendency towards taking risks distinguished him from ordinary people. On the other hand, he succeeded in becoming a highly-paid journalist as he earned the public’s love.
His outward appearance had nothing particularly impressive. By observing the elements of his character, we should refer his passionate personality, and his extraordinary ability to handle the speech, that always glorified him. A middle-aged man rather short in height, of medium stature, who became plump because he led a sedentary lifestyle for several years -he drunk too much alcohol and he made a fattening diet; all these bad habits made him put excess weight on. What made him stand out was his white face with that intense look, the mirror of his soul, expressing sometimes dynamism, sometimes anger, sometimes sadness. When he was speaking about an issue he really cared about, he had the intensity of a genius. The wrinkles on his forehead showed his interior tension. He had reddish-brown thinning hair. In the photographs of his time, he was often shown with a cigar in the mouth, as he was a heavy smoker. He appeared lordly and handsome now, usually wearing a dark suit and hat in all his public appearances. He was a lovely man imperceptibly emitting a strong charm. He talked through his nose and had difficulty in pronouncing the letter “s”, which made him speak with a lisp.
Churchill, an extraordinary man of great vitality and mercurial temperament
The people who knew him, described him as an extraordinary man of great vitality and mercurial temperament. He had an excellent sense of humour which helped him copy with difficult situations and life’s challenges. He was a man of honest character and he couldn’t pretend in order to be popular. His behaviour was polite and friendly, but when he got angry, he became very volatile and spoke offensively and disparagingly; all that made others feel for him strong emotions like worship and admiration, hatred and repulsion. Even his opponents, however, admitted his intelligence and his brilliance. Despite his dynamism, he was very sensitive and he often couldn’t hold back his tears of sadness or emotion. He was generous and supportive to friends and family, generously offering his help if necessary. He enjoyed travelling, having a good time and living for the moment; he also liked drinking alcohol and gambling. In his free time, he adored reading books, painting and playing polo.
As a skilled public speaker, he had a natural gift for gripping his audience. In the dark days of the war, his speeches were a tonic for lay people, giving to the world strength and courage. When he spoke at the House of Commons, he combined good reasoning and expressiveness. His word was clear, rhetorical, with a sense of humour, together with intense gestures and a nervous pace up and down the hall. He supported his views on various issues with self-confidence and certainty. He greatly influenced both his associates and superiors with the arguments that he put forward and phrased with persuasiveness.
Churchill, a man of action
He was a workaholic, and he seemed to have boundless energy and time; because of it he got exhausted and often got sick. Even then, he kept on working. Doing his work he was feeling alive; finally he was generally accepted and his ideas soon gained currency. As a man of action, it was hard for him to remain inactive, and even in times he was off the government, he remained busy writing books and articles. According to his secretaries, he had a strict schedule that, when he couldn’t keep to, he got incredibly excited. Under high pressure, he often shouted at them without holding anything against them. He was distinguished by a strong sense of duty and responsibility, and every night, before falling asleep, he would consider if he accomplished an achievement that day.
Even in harsh situations, he kept his optimism and excitement, and he had the ability to transfer it to others. He was considered to be the driving force behind the resistance during World War II, and he had the ability to guide and inspire politicians, generals and people. He had an excellent acute perceptiveness, which made him seem wise. Even his competitors sometimes asked for his advice. His mind constantly created new plans and projects, some feasible, some extreme, looking to find ways to fully materialize them. His imagination and determination impressed. Although he had faith in his views and values, he did not hesitate to change his mind and tactics when he saw that they he did not serve him. Besides, he grew up learning to let his heart guide him to what was wrong and right, and he paid no attention to the public opinion. When he was trying to negotiate, he was smiling and he was easy to get along with, creating to his interlocutor the impression that he agreed, even if he didn’t. He had a really unique and interesting personality that attracted the attention of the people who get in touch with him.
2. Winston Churchill’s personality profile
“I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.”
Churchill and bipolar disorder
Looking back at Churchill’s life and the way he behaved, it can be concluded that he might suffer from bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder (manic depression) is a mental health condition that provokes extreme mood swings (emotional highs and lows). The mood swings depended mainly on the achievement of his goals concerning his career success and failure, and on the conditions of his country.
During the emotional highs (mania), he might feel euphoric or blissfully happy as for example when the Allies invaded Normandy. This mood was most commonly associated with the highest self-esteem or grandiosity, both for him and for Britain. In his speeches during the Second World War, we can easily see an overemphasis on the possibility of the British to triumph, which, however, excited a lot of people, made him believe in his self-importance, and finally brought positive results. Like many people who suffer from mania, his behaviour tended to lead to dangerous situations, such as the war in South Africa, interpreted as a result of his excessive boldness deriving from his highest self-esteem. Sometimes, he showed irritability, he became aggressive and got angry, on occasion offending those who were around him causing them a lot of discomfort. At times, in fact, they begged him to calm down for the sake of his health. These reactions took place when he was subjected to stress or when he was feeling that the others didn’t understand him. When someone did not agree on his opinion, Churchill could make belittling remarks about him.
Churchill and bipolar disorder symptoms
It is also taken into consideration that he had increased activity and energy since he might work too many hours, at a frantic pace or travel all the time from one side of the planet to the other, without complaining. In cases where others did not move at his own pace, this made him irritable as he realized that they reacted too late to his commands. From time to time, he might have a reduced need for sleep since he worked until the wee hours of the morning, especially when he wrote his books. He made exaggerated and ambitious plans, into which his superiors and associates often had to do all they could to put an end to this frantic activity, such as when he was minister and demanded many and rapid changes. These projects might have been accompanied by economic openness, which led to a crippling social and economic malaise. At individual level, he often spent his money on gambling and on the stock exchange, where he lost enormous amounts of money and he was deep in debt up to his ears. The intense way he spoke to them, this expressive face, the increased vitality in his movements and gestures signified that he was a man who tended to mania-depression.
Among the episodes, alternating periods of hypo-mania were associated with higher levels of energy and wakefulness (function of thought).
During these episodes, he might have become a nuisance to the people who interacted socially with him, but in general he was considered that he did many things and worked towards high levels of activity. It also seems that, during his lifetime, the British might need this kind of man to inspire them confidence and help them go through the wars. There are many cases of people who suffer from bipolar disorder and who, because of the fact that they are gifted, they achieve great success in their career and hold positions of authority thanks to the fact that they have vision and consume all their energy to achieve their goals in life.
Churchill and depression
As far as his depressed mood, it emerged when he experienced rejection and exclusion from high offices, when his country was adversely affected and when, due to health problems, he could not work. It was like someone had clipped his wings. During that period, he got isolated in the privacy of his house, and he did not go out at all. Wrapped up in himself, he recalled all over again the undesirable events that had occurred to him, felt despair and started to believe that he was not a person of value and made pessimistic thoughts over the future. In general, he gave the impression that he was a man of high self-confidence, although very fragile.
It could be said that Churchill continually experienced an internal tension, always present in his actions and the way he spoke and moved. Silence and tranquillity were entirely foreign to him, in the sense that, if he did not work on something, he would not feel good. Perhaps, because of the fact that he could not allay this internal tension, he resorted to substance abuse, namely alcohol and tobacco and overeating; that was a relief for him. The painting, which made him forget, and the writing, which helped him express himself, are considered to be as another way of surviving personal crisis. When he had the chance, he literally escaped from difficult situations, making big travels. It also seems that he might look for anything that could distract him from the sources of his stress or grief.
The emotionally absent parents and their impact on Churchill’s personality shaping
With regard to Churchill’s personality shaping, we should mention his relationship with his emotionally absent parents, who were not there, in order to give him the love and attention he needed, so that he would feel that he was a person who actually deserved to be with someone else, regardless of his accomplishments. Perhaps this was the reason that, in his lifetime, he sought to assume ever-higher offices and to accomplish unforgettable achievements through his work; maybe he was looking for the love and recognition he did not receive from his parents. Moreover, his parents were not available for emotional support; they did not help him come in contact with these feelings and handle them. That’s why he resorted to excessive drinking, smoking and overeating. Fortunately, his nanny seemed to have acted to some extent, in a corrective way, giving him care and affection. However, it was difficult to fill the gap of parenthood.
As an adult, the love and attention he was looking for, he found them in Clementine. They were tender and demonstrative with each other, and she cared for anything that seemed to annoy him. She was his best advisor, and he trusted her judgment. She managed to reduce his impulsive behaviours, after having advised him not to waste their property on the stock market and gambling. Churchill, for his part, extremely happy, showed her his love in every way. She always stood by his side in all his difficulties.
3. His childhood
“Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.”
The very first years of Churchill’s life
Young Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill was born on 30 November 1874, at Blenheim Palace, in Woodstock, England, residence of his grandfather, Duke of Marlborough. His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was a British aristocrat, a descendant of a military family, his mother, Lady Randolph Churchill, was of American birth and her father was a well-known New York stockbroker. When Churchill was two years old, his grandfather was declared Regent of Ireland and the whole family was transferred to Dublin, since his father assumed the office of the Regent’s secretary.
From the very first years of his life, his beloved nanny, Mrs. Everest took care of Churchill. She played an important role in his upbringing, as his mother, despite the fact that she was proud of the accomplishments his son achieved, she was emotionally unavailable and distant. Mrs. Everest took the time to help him solve his problems offering him tenderness, affection and trust.
Churchill and his beloved nanny
In addition to that, in Dublin, she had another nanny – of whom Churchill was not particularly fond, since she tried to teach him reading and mathematics, preventing him from dedicating time to explore the different routes and sports that a child would like to get involved in. The fact that his mother did not take part in the imparting of this knowledge, but she approved of it, worsened the situation.
It therefore seems that, from a very early age, Churchill’s parents kept badgering him about classes, limiting at the same time the pleasure of their child, such as the game. It is believed that this type of restriction might provoke to the child strong feelings of anger, anxiety and sadness, as well as behavioral difficulties. In particular, setting some limits on kid-friendly physical activities could adversely impact his whole state of health, development and sociability.
Churchill and his favourite games
Which games did he prefer? Mostly war games, like soldier figures toys, and other boy games, like model trains with steam locomotives; he mostly enjoyed playing in the garden of his house and kindergarten. Guns also always impressed him.
His parents believed that he was a naughty child who created problems. For this reason, shortly before he became 8 years old, they decided to send him to the St George’s Boarding School in order to get used to rigor and discipline. From the very first day, this school environment overwhelmed him with anxiety. When he went to the principal’s office to get to know him, he was anxious not to spill the tea to him; he just did not want to leave the principal with a bad impression of him. The idea of being left alone in this unknown place terrified him.
St George’s Boarding School: A living nightmare
Winston Churchill young.
The years Churchill lived in this boarding school had been a living nightmare; countless hours of classes and violent educational methods. He could never forget the fact that the principal beat the children with a stick, that they writhed in pain and that their bodies looked scary as they were bleeding. He couldn’t wait to get out of there. During schooling, this, in turn, resulted in low academic achievements in sports and poor conduct. On the contrary, when he returned home for Christmas holiday, he was more naughty and disobedient than ever, he teased constantly his younger brother, Jack, and he seemed to be afraid of his own mother. The grades on his first report card from the boarding school were the lowest of all the students in his class. Moreover, the stress he experienced often made him sick.
At this stage, it is interesting to note Churchill’s physical and psychological abuse during the years he lived and studied in this school. Children do not usually express their problems verbally, but through their behaviour, during their game and in the production of psychosomatic symptoms. Children who experience abuse may show behaviour problems, such as increased violence, or inappropriate and violent behaviour towards other children or infants, such as in the case of Churchill’s violent behaviour towards his brother; this happens perhaps because they expect something bad to happen to them; for instance, Churchill was afraid of his mother because he expected that she would beat him too. In addition, their academic and athletic achievements are often lower and they show reluctant to return or remain in the abusive environment.
The letters to his mother
Winston Churchill’s mother
He just kept on sending letters to his mother, desperately begging her for visiting him at St George’s School, but she never did it for him; she only sent Mrs. Everest on a sports day; and Churchill was happy with her visit. Furthermore, she often neglected to answer his letters; and the child was always complaining about her indifference. As far as his father was concerned, he listened to the principal’s wife talking about his political action, creating the rumour that he was a very important person.
During his further studies, his academic performance was improved, but his behaviour as his mood did not escalate, expressing to his mother the intense feeling of loneliness that was with him. In the half days of the week, he was late for class and he repeatedly got into trouble; and he was always up to some mischief. On one occasion, he caught hold of his principal’s straw hat and ripped it to pieces! However, everyone perceived this child’s intelligence and special abilities.
The collapse of his health
In the fall that followed his two year sojourn at St George’s School, his health collapsed completely. The family doctor who examined him suggested that he should have been transferred to a seaside resort, an educational institution in Brighton, where his son attended too; in this way, the child could be under his constant care and supervision, which pleased Churchill.
The new school
At his new school, the child felt much happier, but he started paying much more money on albums and stamps. In the years that followed, he often spent too much money and asked his parents to send him much more. The school climate was much friendlier and more benevolent, and the staff treated him with more geniality than at the previous school; so he focused on his academic performance that did not take long to improve, especially in English, French, Classical History and Literature. His behavior, however, remained bad.
Churchill’s father: a great political figure of England
Winston Churchill’s father
When Churchill was ten years old, his father left London. At that time, they lived in India as his father would expect to be declared Secretary of State in the British colony of India if the Conservative party he belonged to won the elections. There he remained for four months. Churchill heard about his father’s news from others. A train driver spoke highly of his father, and he stated that one day he would take the post of the Prime minister. In the papers, he started to read with enthusiasm articles about him; in the meantime his father managed to become secretary of State in India. In summer, Churchill was on holidays with his brother, while his parents went on a vacation somewhere else; the ten-year-old boy begged them to meet him. In that summer, his health problems flared up again; he had rashes on the legs, abdominal pain and high fever. In autumn, despite the fact that Lord Randolph held a speech at Brighton, he did not spend any time visiting his son, who sent him a letter complaining about it.
At the age of eleven, Churchill got pneumonia with fever, which was almost fatal. At that time, his father had been to Brighton twice in order to see him, bringing him fruit and games. His recovery was slow, lasted five whole months, and it coincided with the general elections in Britain, where his father would stand again as a candidate of the Conservative Party; the whole situation fascinated him.
It seems that Churchill’s father was a great political figure of England, which would provoke the boy’s admiration, his consequent identification with him and his passionate desire to become like him. However, this father was always absent from the child’s life since he was greatly absorbed by his political duties. Unfortunately, even when he abstained from his duties, he preferred to spend his time only with his wife, away from their sons.
The child neglect and the health problems
It could be said that Churchill’s parents neglected him. Although they were interested in covering his material needs, such as his medical care and his studies at expensive schools, they did not respond to his emotional needs, such as his need for parental presence, communication and support. The frequent manifestations of health problems – the physicalization of his grief, a kind of reaction to this neglect – and his constant requests for love were maybe a desperate attempt to get the attention of his parents.
Moreover, the fact that he was a sickly child helped him a lot, such as for example when he left from this terrible school and moved to another that he really liked.
Churchill and his father’s success in politics
As a son of a great politician, he felt really proud of his father’s success; though his failure was too much painful for him. When Churchill was twelve years old, Lord Randolph took the post of the Finance Minister, provoking the anger and exciting the jealousy of the public against him because of his rapid recognition. As a result of some dispute with the Government, he resigned from the post and Churchill was greeted with disapproval. In an incident, where he played a game of charades, the other kids made fun of a representation of his father. Then, he started to cry and he almost came to blows with them. His father, getting the news, rewarded his son’s loyalty with a gold pound sterling coin.
Churchill gets into Harrow School
Winston Churchill into Harrow School
At the age of thirteen, Churchill took an entrance exam for one of the best and most expensive schools in England, the Harrow School. He passed the final examination; though the whole procedure made him nervous. In particular, the time he waited for his test results as well as the fact that he faced difficulty in the exams of Latin and Ancient Greek made him extremely nervous. So, he got sick again. Despite his sickness and fatigue, he was content to attend this excellent school with good amenities, near London. Moreover, he hoped that his mother would visit him more often. However, a month after the exams, when he returned home for Easter holidays, his mother was not there for him one more time.
4. The Harrow School
“No boy or girl should ever be disheartened by lack or success in their youth, but should diligently and faithfully continue to persevere and make up for lost time.”
Winston Churchill at Harrow
Upon his arrival in the Harrow School, Churchill was thrilled, especially when he got aware of the fact that he achieved the highest score in arithmetic on the entrance exams. At the beginning of his studies, he participated in the cadet school team, with whom he took part in a battle simulation with another school. His mother’s visits did not make him content, as he was always reprimanded for his irresponsibility as a student. The school principal also complained about Churchill’s carelessness, his failure to act with prudence in order to show off his assets as a student. This matter, however, did not prevent him from winning twice the prize in English history; he also excelled in subjects like Roman history, Ancient Greek and Latin.
Churchill keeps on getting sick a lot
With regard to his health status, he kept on getting sick a lot. On Christmas holidays, he returned home, with a swollen neck and liver problems. In order to recover, he visited the Isle of Wight with Mrs. Everest, since his mother had gone on a vacation to another place. In March, he got sick again and in May he had a bicycle accident that caused him the concussion. Both times, Mrs. Everest visited him in Harrow to take care of him.
Winston’s unfulfilled desire for university studies
One year after his attendance at that school, Lord Randolph visited him and asked the director that his son should attend the Military Section of the College that was addressed to all students who considered a military career path. No one took into consideration Winston’s desire for university studies.
Winston: Popularity in School
In his peers’ circles, he stood out because he had an attractive personality that impressed with his brightness and bravery, the amazing ability to express himself to others well, and his undeniable historical knowledge. He even managed to dominate older people. He also distinguished himself in arts since he took part in a singing group and afterwards he was into painting, drawing mostly landscapes. At the age of 15, he started smoking, which brought the sharp condemnation from his parents. His mother promised to buy him a gun and a pony if he stopped smoking. At the age of 16, he was affected by influenza, which made him compose a poem, published in a magazine.
Churchill and Art
At this stage it seems that Churchill had the inclination to express himself through various forms of art: singing, painting, poetry. Maybe this was his way of dealing with situations that caused him stress and anxiety when he could not manage it psychologically, such as that kind of illness he had been through. Through art he might seek to capture the attention of the public and to gain the recognition he deserved from his family, especially since some of his works were published.
The holidays with his brother Jack
Winston Churchill with his mother and his brother.
During the holidays, he liked spending time with his brother Jack chasing and killing rabbits and mice. They had even built a makeshift hut from mud, wood and straw which was used as a fort so that they could play “war”. Two little cousins of his participated in this game; these kids pretended to be either their allies or their enemies. For instance, they cooperated with them throwing apples at the enemy in defence of the fort. At times, the mother insisted on her son going on a vacation for a while in France in order to learn to speak the language fluently. As a teenager, Winston reacted strongly against their parents, complaining that they treated him “like a machine part or as an object of control”. Finally, it was decided that he would visit Versailles, where he could stay for a month at the house of his teacher of Modern languages in the Harrow School.
The Relationship with the Money
At that time, Churchill was characterized as a person who used to spend money wastefully; as a consequence, his money often ran out, and he was obliged to ask her mother for extra money. Then, his mother would blame him that he wrote to her only for this reason. Afterwards, he would remind her that she was his sponsor and that there was no one else to address to.
For Churchill, asking their parents for money was a desperate gesture of a desperate man begging for their love, as his parents were emotionally absent and they did not express their affection and consideration in any other way.
The Success at the Military Academy
A few days before his 17th birthday, Churchill learned from his mother that Mrs. Everest would no longer be working there as the children had grown up and they did not need her anymore. This decision made him very unhappy, but, at least, he thought that they could visit her since his nanny started working for his maternal grandmother, Duchess Fanny. In the summer when Churchill was seventeen years old, besides the fact that he won the Public School Fencing Championship, he took his first entrance exams for the military academy, in which he failed. At the age of eighteen, he succeeded at third attempt. For him, this success was an opportunity to get out of the blackest and stressful period of his childhood and adolescence, since he always felt that he had poor academic performance in all the subjects (including sports).
5. The period of military training
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
Winston Churchill served with the 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers battalion
In January 1893, just before the beginning of his military training, Churchill had an accident while he was playing with his brother; he slipped from the top of a tree and his thigh fell was fractured. He was transferred to London, where doctors recommended a two-month rest for his recovery. He spent the second month at his maternal grandmother’s, a kind woman who enjoyed spending time with him.
Churchill and his father’s “cruel” behaviour
Winston Churchill soldier
In August of that year, while he left for his summer vacation, he was informed by his teacher, John Little, that he had finally succeeded in his examinations for the Military Academy. Then, he sent to his father a letter full of joy and pride, but the answer he received was unexpected. In fact, Lord Randolph was diagnosed with syphilis which caused the degeneration of his nervous system and destroyed his ability to make rational decisions. Churchill knew nothing about his disease. In his answer, his father grossly underestimated his son’s success because of the fact that he did not join the infantry. Churchill was harshly criticized for misconduct and irresponsibility in his school life and he was warned that if he kept on behaving like that, his father would not support him financially anymore, and he would let him wallow in misery and failure. Churchill felt devastated reading these cruel words.
Churchill’s talent in riding
Winston showed increased motivation for the attendance at a combative training course; he was really interested and excited about it. In his first exams at the academy, he scored high, with 1,198 out of 1,500 points. During that time, he referred to his first love, Polly Hacket whom he met in London where he started to date her. The relations with his father slightly improved; so he rewarded Winston when he was informed that Winston had been put in charge of the Horse Riding Club. Until the end of his studies, his biggest talent and passion lay in riding; though, when he expressed to his father the wish to join the cavalry, his father demonstrated a lack of ability or willingness to keep a horse due to its high care cost. Throughout this period, Winston’s health problems like influenza, toothaches and headaches were continued.
The letter in Westminster Gazette
In October 1894, for the first time, Churchill argued publicly for a controversial subject; in particular, he participated in the protests for the shutdown operations of a theatre, where peers hung out. He published a letter expressing his views in Westminster Gazette and a few days later he led the group of protesters and gave a public speech on the subject.
The poor health of his family
Meanwhile, the health condition of Lord Randolph deteriorated, as he showed delirium symptoms, difficulties in speech and terrible pains. He passed away in January 1895, just before the age of forty-six. Churchill, since he never found out about his father’s illness, thought that his early death was provoked by the poor health of his family, of which he was afraid that he had inherited; this fear grew deeper step by step since his health was always fragile and all the brothers of his father died young, even in their infancy.
6. Churchill, the army officer
“Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.”
Churchill on active duty as a second lieutenant
Churchill in the cavalry
In February 1895, Churchill joined the cavalry and became second lieutenant in Aldershot. Duchess Lilly bore the cost of keeping his horse. He had to supervise a group of about 30 horsemen, responsible for the proper care of their horses. In the morning, he gave riding lessons and in the evening he drilled the new recruits; he also dedicated his time to his entertainment, mainly to card games. He soon started to bet on horses.
Mrs. Everest’s health in danger
In July, Churchill was informed that Mrs. Everest’s health was in danger and he immediately began to visit her in London. He was touched by her concern for him, since, despite the fact that she experienced a complete physical breakdown, what was really worrying her was that Winston could get cold with the wet coat he was wearing at that time. Churchill hired a nurse and brought a doctor to see her in order to take care of her; later on, he left for Aldershot in order to attend the morning parade and immediately afterwards he came back. He stayed by her side until her last breath at dawn. The sight of his dead nanny shocked him, and, as he said to his mother, he thought he would never have had such a good friend again.
Churchill in Cuba
Young Winston Churchill’s Cuban adventure
In November 1895, Churchill arrived in Cuba, to join the Spanish troops so that they could undertake a wide range of military operations and missions; their main goal in their attacks against the natives was to suppress their revolutionary activities. Prior to his departure, he agreed with an English newspaper on writing reports on the disturbing events in the region. In the next few days, he suffered from bloody rebel attacks, where he saw many soldiers die. He personally thought that this revolt was absolutely justified since the country was subject to enormous economic exploitation and oppression by the Spanish while its production was destroyed and the political corruption reigned. However, the terrorist methods adopted by the rebels could not lead to the liberation of their nation. His views were published in his article in the paper Saturday Review, at which the famous Liberal politician Joseph Chamberlain was excited in particular with regard to the writer’s global approach and mental acuity.
Churchill in India
Winston Churchill in India with the 4th Hussars 1899. (HU 98777) Officers involved in the Inter-Regimental Polo Tournament at Meerut, 1899. Winston Churchill is standing second from right. Copyright: © IWM. Original Source: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205026821
In September 1896, Churchill left with his battalion for Bangalore, India, where he stayed for more than six months. There he stayed with two other friends in a spacious house with a large garden full of roses and butterflies. He thought that India was a boring country when he suddenly met Pamela Plowden; the flirt with this beautiful girl started from an elephant ride and ended up in a friendship that lasted to an old age. Throughout his stay in India, he read books. In particular he was impressed with Plato’s “Republic” and Winwood Reade’s “Martyrdom of Man”. He often asked his mother to send him books of different kinds, since he wanted to get an education; and this new habit awakened a strong echo of his desire for university studies. He had, in fact, admitted to his brother that he got quite jealous of him because he started studying for the university entrance exam.
In February 1897, in India, he had been serving two years in the army when he took the post of “Brigade Major“; in England, it usually took fifteen years of service in order to hold this rank.
The first political speech in Bath
In all that time, he just kept thinking of how he could get involved in the political life of England. Most of his activities were focused on the building of a strong respectable profile that could support the career of a politician. In June of the same year he gave his first political speech in Bath, England, in collaboration with the Conservative Party Tory Democracy in which his father participated actively. In this speech, he rushed to applaud the new decision of the Government in order to compensate the workers in the case of injury at work. He strongly supported the party’s effort to make workers shareholders of the firm since the idea was intended to ensure that they would endure much more work so as to receive share of the profits. Furthermore, he criticized the view that many expressed; England had to start limiting its colonialism in the various parts of the Earth. He also pointed out that the duty of the English was to honour this legacy given by their ancestors and to keep the vision of the British Empire alive. The crowd cheered enthusiastically, and the comments of the papers on his speech at this time were positive.
Back to India
In less than a month, Churchill returned to India as he was informed that a revolution of Pathans’ tribe had erupted at the border. The head of repressive forces of the English General Sir Bindon Blood suggested to him to attend the battlefront in the beginning as a correspondent and next up to take part in the conflicts, since at that time the posts of riders were occupied.
The first battle in India
Winston Churchill in India
The young officer newly arrived at the border of India also worked as a correspondent and sent to the Daily Telegraph letters referring to the fact where civilization came across Islam. Trying to be in the right place in order to cover the events, he ran galloping into the friendly enemy troops deeply impressed with his courage.
Afterwards, he took the position of an officer at one of the brigades that would take part in the battle. The day after the delegation of these tasks to him, he experienced the first battle at the border of India, where he preceded with a body of 1,300 horsemen. After a few hours of shooting, when the situation became too dangerous for his pony, he continued to fight on foot, until they were requested to retreat when they were attacked by the Afridi tribe. He was forced to shoot several times in self-defence and some died from his shots. On the whole, that day he fought between 7:30 in the morning and 8:30 in the evening, without a stop. The fact that he showed courage helped him become a regular army officer after a few days and participate in another 15 battles within a month and to get decorated. For him, these battles meant a way to fight his own personal fears; it was his own personal war in order to open the way for his future political career.
The letter to his brother
While he was still at the border, he sent a letter to his brother asking him to express his own opinion about the speech in Bath, but only if it was positive, as he could not stand being subject to criticism. Moreover, he informed him of the novel that had begun to write since long time, where his beliefs were expressed through the main character of the story. During his stay at the border and till the end of 1897, he wrote The Story of The Malakand Field Force, which narrated the conflicts of these days, both from his own perspective and other persons’ who took part in this war. His mother did not have any difficulty in getting in touch with a publisher to help him with his books, since the experts were very impressed by his talent; at an earlier time, they were really touched by his letters to the Daily Telegraph.
His service in Sudan
The legal action against his mother
Winston Churchill’s mother.
In India, Churchill was told that his mother, after the death of Lord Randolph, started spending the family fortune, which caused him financial insecurity. Of course, he had already started to make money from his published work about the operations of the Makaland Field Force, and his articles; he had faith in his talent as a writer, and he realized that the ideas he expressed in his books attracted growing attention. However, preoccupied with his finances, he decided to take legal action against her mother in order to safeguard his own share of the family fortune, in case she married another man, even though he could not stop himself from feeling some remorse for this action.
It can be concluded from the above-mentioned that he did not have any confidence in his mother. Trust is an emotional process. The development of this emotional brain state begins at a very young age; according to Erik Erikson, it begins to emerge dynamically as the infant is eighteen months old, i.e. when the child reaches the stage of confidence/mistrust building. At this stage, when the environment and the parents offer the infant’s life abundant support and love, the feelings of confidence and security develop towards others, feelings that man maintains as long as he lives. In case parents neglect the infant’s needs, the feelings of fear and mistrust towards others may develop. To be precise, an overall feeling of mistrust in the relationship of Churchill with his mother developed because of the fact that this parent neglected the emotional needs of her child; in this way, the childhood emotional neglect on behalf of his mother led to the development of this feeling of mistrust, a kind of trauma response that affected his whole adult life.
In a letter he sent to his mother at the same time, he referred to his way of thinking; namely, he said that he was not interested in following closely the proper moral principles. Moreover, he didn’t care if his actions were consistent with his beliefs. His main concern was the impression that others made of him, the concern others showed about him and the opinion others began to express of him. He also admitted that he rarely observed himself expressing spontaneous emotions, except for when he cried on the battlefield. He engaged in practical reasoning; he acted in light of reasons which could then explain his actions but he did not follow his heart.
Churchill might not give priority to his feelings but he had the ability to “speak to their heart” and to grab the audience’s attention in his speeches. In July 1897, in a public speech in Bradford, the audience cheered and burst into applause; and when the speech came to an end, as excited as they were, they begged him to keep on. Churchill really enjoyed the adoration of his people.
Churchill in Herbert Kitchener’s Army
At the end of the same month, he left England for Sudan, having managed to ensure for himself, after a great effort, a job as a lancer in Herbert Kitchener’s Army. During a fight, the Lancers were ordered to attack rival troops galloping, and as the enemy proved to be well armed and determined not to lay down its arms, serious injuries and deaths occurred in the English cavalry.
Churchill, as he stated, did not feel any anxiety during the attack. He simply killed anyone touching him while he was galloping towards them. In the next few days, however, when he was informed of how many officers and friends had got injured and died or when he faced the Dervishes left behind on the battlefield bleeding, he realized the awfulness of the war and got anxious. In “The River War”, book dedicated to the war in Sudan, Churchill described these horrible scenes and sharply criticized Kitchener’s actions, such as the kill of Dervishes after having been captured, and the desecration or destruction of sacred sites in the area. The sincerity with which he expressed his views created enemies throughout his career.
Churchill and the skin grafting
Shortly before he left Sudan, he was informed that an officer from his battalion had been heavily injured and he was in need of skin grafting. Churchill willingly offered a piece of skin from his chest for the transplantation despite the intensity of the pain he would feel from the removal surgery.
Cooperation with the Conservative party
Winston Churchill in 1898
In February 1898, Churchill accepted a proposal of Robert Ascroft, member of the Parliament in
in order to cooperate in the next general election, as another member of the Conservative party ceased to serve on health grounds. After two months, Churchill returned to England and took part in the electoral campaign by holding speeches that excited the patriotic feeling to the utmost. In the subsequent elections, he and his partner did not succeed, but Churchill did not seem unhappy with the result, since he saw little difference from their candidates and their opponents.
In September, at the dawn of the first Anglo-Boer War (in Transvaal, South), he opened up co-operation with the paper Morning Post as a correspondent with a high salary. In mid-October, he travelled to Cape Town to experience the war for the third time.
His Adventures in South Africa
Winston Churchill in Anglo-Boer War 1899-1902
When Churchill arrived in Durban, South Africa, he was informed that the Boers had occupied Ladysmith; there, they held British officers and soldiers as hostages. He had no other choice than to wait for the arrival of the British Army in order to take back the region.
A few days later, his friend, Captain Aylmer Haldane, was ordered to travel by train so as to visit the nearby areas and investigate the matter. Haldane suggested that he should follow him in this mission in order to help Churchill collect material for his articles. The train was full of ammunition and packed with 150 men.
The derailment of the train
When they reached their destination, they found out that the Boers ‘ soldiers had been spotted the previous night in the area, so they travelled back home by train. On their way back, they were ambushed with heavy gunfire; the train derailed because of the stones that had been put in the tracks.
Churchill got off the train, and as he was exposed to the enemy fire, he tried, with the help of volunteers, to remove the broken tracks and obstacles, and place again the train cars on the railroad. In subsequent reports on the particular issue, the soldiers exalted Churchill’s outstanding courage and the fact that he kept his nerve and did his best so as to deal with this difficult situation. One hour after that, the train went on its way again. Later on, Churchill, together with his driver, carried on their shoulders the men injured by bullets; they were packed into the train cars. Later on, he started on foot for the spot of derailment, so as to come to the aid of Haldane who had stayed behind. Although, he never arrived since on the way there two armed men of the Boers chased him and captured him.
His captivity in Pretoria
Winston Churchill serving in the British Army. Winston Churchill escape from a prisoner of war during camp the 2nd Boer war 1899-1902. (Photo by Time Life Pictures/Pictures Inc./The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Churchill was taken into the building of States Model School in Pretoria, into which other war prisoners were also kept. After a few days in captivity, he managed to escape by climbing over the toilet wall down the outer side of the building. For a short time, he wandered a completely unknown country to him at the risk of his life; the Boers’ authorities sought him frantically while his photograph was circulating all over the area. In the end, he found shelter in a mine that belonged to the British. The miners kept him for a while and later on they took him into a train car, hidden in some bunches of wool. When the train passed the borders and ended in a region that belonged to Portugal, Churchill got off the train and headed towards the British Consulate.
Two days later, he returned to Durban, where he was surrounded by a sea of excited people who greeted his arrival. His escape was considered to be a tremendous success in a period when Great Britain was losing ground in the war; that made him and his articles in Morning Post extremely popular all over the country.
Churchill, the correspondent
In January 1900, Churchill became officer of the British Cavalry in South Africa; at the same time, he had the privilege to work as a correspondent. The war was going on and, on 4th June, the British defeated their enemies outside Pretoria. The next day, British troops entered the city and saw the last Boers leave in a train full of military equipment. Then, Churchill released the prisoners (officers) ceremoniously from the place where he had been kept too.
7. Τhe Career in politics
“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.”
His come back in England
Winston Churchill in Oldham
In July 1900, Churchill came back to Southampton, England, and on the 25th of the same month he visited Oldham, where he joined the Conservative Party and put up his candidature in the forthcoming general elections. In an atmosphere of celebration, when he arrived, he received a warm welcome by 10,000 people with flags. His mother was not there as she was going to marry an army officer who was 20 years younger than her.
Churchill, the fine orator
Churchill soon became a fine orator who captured the attention of his audience; the politicians of his party sought to have him as their guest. He suffered from a functional speech disorder, a lisp in which his [s] tended to be substituted by [sh]; he managed to improve his speech problem but he never could get rid of it. He often kept notes for his speeches and the tone of his voice was rather edgy. He used to generate characteristic gestures; he put his hands on his hips while he was smiling. Sometimes, his hands lifted up in the air in intense moments of excitement. He tended to lean forward when he paced or even when he sat down; this is why a journalist had likened him to a panther ready to strike. However, despite his exuberant personality and his ambitious character, he seemed to demonstrate self-control.
The confrontational political climate
In October, Churchill scored an election victory. Though, the political climate in his party did not take long to become more confrontational. In the first speech he gave in the House of Commons, his statement that if he himself was a Boer, he would like to be on the battlefield, exalting in this way the Boers’ bravery and patriotism, prompted generally negative reactions from the Conservatives while the Irish nationalists cheered. The next conflict in which Churchill took part was the party’s proposal to increase defence spending, to which he objected, arguing that, perhaps, the Navy needed financial support – but in no case the army which could maintain order within the United Kingdom and in the colonies. He believed that England should maintain its moral and benign attitude towards other countries, and take care of their prosperity, rather than destroy them with its own army. He also claimed that it was appropriate to adapt cost-cutting measures, policy that his father would strongly defend.
The influence of «Poverty: A Study of town Life»
In December 1901, at the urging of a Liberal party member, he read a book that reinforced his vision for the policy that he would pursue; the book «Poverty: A Study of town Life» was written by Seebohm Rowntree and describes the difficulties the poor faced in America. He concentrated on the fact that these people, despite the fact that they were citizens of the British Empire, would enjoy much better living conditions if they belonged to a primitive tribe. He was critical of Great Britain’s tendency to face expansive wars, while its people were starving.
Churchill comes closer to the Liberals
Churchill gradually walked away from the fundamental policy line of action of the Conservatives, and came closer to the Liberals. The next and final conflict between him and the Conservatives involved the imposition of duties on products imported from countries outside the British Empire, which the party suggested. Churchill supported the operation of a free market, with no additional taxes on foreign products, which would lead to a decrease in the price of food for the people and a significant increase in the popularity of British exports. The Liberals took exactly the same stance as Churchill. In March, Manchester’s Liberals suggested that he should join them in the next elections. Then, in May, as it was expected, Churchill left ostentatiously the Conservatives’ benches in the House of Commons, and sat on the opposition benches, on the same bench that his father once sat.
The impact of parents on the development of Churchill’s personality
So far, it seems that Churchill identified with his father with regard to the shaping of his own political path. The psychosocial theory of development focuses on the impact of parents on the development of a man’s personality. In this case, the major emphasis was on the father’s political career. Despite the fact that his father was always absent from his life, Churchill identified with this father. Given that he was informed of his father’s successes in politics only by papers and third parties, he idealized his father in the political field.
8. Churchill, the Liberal
“You have enemies? Good. That means you ‘ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
Strong reactions against Churchill
Winston Churchill in 1905
As an official member of the opposition, Churchill became particularly argumentative towards the government in his speeches in the Parliament. On August 2nd, he ironically “congratulated” Balfour, who had succeeded in carrying out his mandate as Prime Minister despite the political errors of his government. In March 1905, he was highly critical of the Minister for the Presidency of the Government for the War; he severely criticized the unnecessary costs the Minister had made for the luxury image, and the meaningless, additional tasks of his officers. Even King Edward VII reacted negatively considering these words inadmissible for a former Hussar lieutenant. Other warnings came from the Liberals saying that the belittling remarks he made about Balfour reduced the validity of his arguments upon the issues raised by him. In October, Churchill had his first dinner with the King who intended to attack him verbally for his constant assaults on Balfour. Churchill was more receptive to this criticism; finally, they were able to have a more friendly conversation. A few days later, his health collapsed again and that forced him to stop his political action and went to stay at his aunt’s house in Dorset. Edward VII, in particular, deeply cared about his situation.
The meeting with the “woman of his life”
Winston Churchill and Clementine
In the summer of 1904, this passionate and controversial leader met Clementine Hozier in a ball dance where he had taken his mother. Beautiful Clementine, daughter of a friend of Lady Randolph, was 19 years old. When Churchill met her, he was stunned by her beauty and, of course, he did not ask her to dance. Being aware of the rumours around his name, she avoided him discreetly and cautiously; they did not meet again for four years.
Churchill in the Liberal Government
In December 1905, Balfour gave up his position as Prime Minister and the King delegated the Liberals to form a government. Churchill demanded and took up office as Undersecretary of State at the Colonial Office, while Lord Elgin would be appointed as Minister.
The top political biography in English
In January 1906, the biography that Churchill wrote about his father and described as one of the top political biographies in English was released.
Churchill and his great work for South Africa
After taking up his duties, his first concern was the creation of an independent government in Transvaal, South Africa and the withdrawal of British power from the region. The Council of Ministers approved of his proposal in terms of the ensuring equal rights for both the British of the region and for the Boers, who had lost the war in previous years. Within the next few months, were declared two self-governing states on equal terms: The Transvaal Democracy and the Orange Free State. For the approval of his proposals, he had put forward the argument that it is much better for an nation to be self-governed in a wrong way than to be governed by another country correctly, as this other country is not in a position to know the problems that affect it. The Prime Minister congratulated Churchill on the great work he had done for South Africa.
Churchill, his long travel and the death of his servant
In September 1907, starting from France, Churchill made a long travel, and he visited British colonies: Cyprus, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, and Egypt. He recorded the needs of the regions, and he sought for the realization of priority projects. While he was in Sudan, his servant, Scrivings, got choleric diarrhea and died within two days. His death shocked Churchill, and his loss hurt him deeply, since he got used to the care services, the emotional support and companionship of this kind man. His funeral was held in Sudan, and Churchill was decided to erect a monument at his grave in order to commemorate his name. He promised to take the servant’s wife and children under his wings. After he returned from his five-month travel adventure, Churchill was determined to make changes at the social level.
Churchill’s love life
Pamela Plowden – Winston Churchill
In March 1908, he saw Clementine again at a party in London. This time, he sat next to her and showed her his interest. He suggested sending her a copy of his father’s biography, but he never did. It seems that Churchill started to get more interested in his love life, maybe because of the fact that his little brother got engaged. In the letter in which Jack informed him of the happy event, he was saying that Winston had dedicated his life to his career neglecting his love life. In the past, he had once fallen in love with Plowden, but this love affair continued only via correspondence for some time.
9. Churchill’s social action
“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.”
The sudden meeting with Clementine
Winston Churchill (1874-1965) with fiancée Clementine Hozier (1885-1977) shortly before their marriage in 1908
When he returned from the colonies, Churchill was intent on a social change; he resolved to imitate the German economic and social model for health, work and leisure time. In April 1908, at the age of 33, he became President of Board of Trade, a position in the Government Presidency from where he could make the changes he dreamed of. A few days later, he met Clementine at his mother’s house; in his correspondence to her, he asked her to meet him so that they could get to know each other better.
Interested in the social welfare of the citizens
In July, Churchill suggested some changes to the Draft Bill for the reductions in miners’ working hours. He was intended to promote the social welfare of his people; he dreamed of a society where people had the time to devote to themselves and to their family. Another proposal of his was the constitution of a tribunal which should be called in whenever there were settling disputes between workers and employers. Sometimes, by participating himself in this “action”, he was good at reconciling both sides of the political spectrum, and he proposed comprise solutions for these issues.
In December, he was opposed to the request of Conservatives for the manufacturing of eight battleships, as Churchill believed that four ships were enough and that the remaining funds should be spent on social change. In particular, he made a proposal to take steps to set up an insurance scheme for unemployed financed by the state. And besides, in February 1909, Churchill first spoke of the development of Air Force of the country. Moreover, in March, he introduced a Bill by proposing the establishment of a committee that would take legal action against those employers who took advantage of their staff either by offering them lower wages or working under adverse conditions.
Winston Churchill’s wedding
In addition to his stable and prudent approach to the political action, he aimed to conquer Clementine’s heart. In a letter that he sent her in August 1908, he spoke of his brother’s recent marriage, and he invited her to visit him to Blenheim. His awkwardness with women and his need for independence, as he said, led him to loneliness. However, he impatiently waited to find out who this mysterious girl really was. During the third day of her visit to Blenheim, he proposed to her and she said yes. Their wedding was held in September; the king made him a cane with a golden head as a present that he carried with him all his life.
The difficult delivery
For a while, Churchill was less engaged in politics, when, in July of the next year, his wife gave birth to a girl, Diana, after a difficult delivery that exhausted her. He found her a quiet place near Brighton to get rest and to recover from the delivery process, while he stayed in London with his newborn daughter taking care of her with the help of a nanny, who did not like his involvement in the baby care. Clementine, in all her life, suffered from fatigue and tiredness when she experienced stress, and Churchill was always very supportive to her, and he advised her to take a rest and relax.
10.Churchill as Minister of the Interior
“The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilization of any country.”
Churchill and prison reform
Winston Churchill in 1910- Army ManeuverWinston Churchill in 1910- Army Manoeuvres
In February 1910, Churchill took on the position of Minister of the Interior. Among his duties was supervising the police and the prisons. Soon, he began submitting plans for prison reform. Having been held captive himself in the past, he felt close to the prisoners and was planning to turn their sentence into a less harrowing and more educational experience by adding libraries and entertainment to the prisons. Aiming at the decongestion of prisons, he abolished the automatic imprisonment of offenders who did not pay their fines. The whole process was, in his opinion, a waste of state money and a traumatic experience for offenders. His next objective was to reduce the number of inmates aged 16-21, as he believed that their reformation should aim at their smooth integration into society by acting in a disciplined and educational way rather than in a punitive one. It seems that Churchill believed in the inherent kindness in people’s hearts and their ability to evolve into something nobler.
His involvement in prison reform gave him pleasure, but there was a part of his job that he experienced as a real ordeal, and this was the examination of cases where convicts appealed to him for the suspension of their sentence. He felt horrible when he examined all the facts of a case and could find nothing that could assist in their acquittal. However, he often intervened when he considered that the imposed punishment was too harsh and, as a result, he was attacked in Parliament by members of the Conservatives for those actions, which they considered as arbitrary. He raged against the fact that a poor man could be imprisoned for an offense, when, an aristocrat, for the same offense, would not even be put on trial.
During his time as Minister of the Interior, his associates often blamed him for supporting ideas that seemed initially impossible to implement, but, after careful consideration, he always managed to find ways to implement them in the end.
Churchill’s relationship with his wife
On May 28, 1911, Clementine bore his son, who was named after Churchill’s father, Randolph. She seemed to have particularly appealed to her husband’s circles, as, when the King found out that she was unlikely to attend his coronation due to her pregnancy, he offered to accommodate her in his Abbey, so that she could feel more comfortable. Moreover, Churchill’s Liberal friend and associate, Lloyd George, used to praise her to her husband, pointing out that she was a “salvation” for him.
In his letters to Clementine, he would express how much he missed her and how depressed he felt when she was not at home with him. He wished to spend time with his family, since, as soon as he finishes with his duties in July, he joined them at their seaside resort where they spent their holidays, having bought toys for his two-year-old daughter.
Depression and cyclothymia symptoms
At that time, in his letters he also referred to the mood swings he experienced. The wife of a cousin of his had visited a doctor who helped her cope with her depression, and Churchill was thinking of contacting him himself in case his “black dog” returned, although at that point he did not bother him and his life seemed to be full of colours.
Given that depression is often referred to as “the black dog”, it seems that Churchill indeed developed some depression symptoms, while the mood swings he refers to are suggestive of cyclothymia.
11. Churchill as an Admiral
“Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon.”
Churchill’s reforms on the English Navy
A portrait Winston Churchill in the official dress of First Lord of the Admiralty taken in 1914 at the beginning of World War I. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read -/AFP/Getty Images)
In the summer of 1911, during a dispute between France and Germany over the naval bases in Morocco, England was called upon to support France. Suddenly, Europe found itself on the brink of a war. Prime Minister Asquith considered Churchill to be the right person for the post of Admiral during that critical period.
Churchill held a new perspective on the country’s war system, the Air Force. The risk of a potential war seemed to have been momentarily prevented, but Churchill was still concerned about Germany’s growing naval forces and even more about the fact that they were not controlled by a democratic regime but rather a military Oligarchy. In February, when he passed this information on to the Council of Ministers, he stressed the immediate need of strengthening the English navy by increasing the number of battleships, submarines and men. After a few months, he started visiting the British naval bases and inspecting the sailors’ training, the use of equipment and the shipyards. He had a close relationship with the sailors; for their own well-being, he proposed a raise in their salaries and the provision of their entertainment and accommodation on the coast, provoking reactions from Council members, who accused him of wastefulness.
Churchill’s training as a pilot
In 1913, during a visit to an airfield in Eastchurch, he expressed his desire to learn to fly an airplane for the first time and asked the pilots to train him. He soon became an enthusiastic trainee and spent many weekends training. According to his instructors, he flew even ten times a day. His mistakes did not demotivate him, but rather made him eager to fly again in order to correct them. His family and friends criticized him for being involved in that activity due to the risks involved. In fact, after the death of two of his instructors in flight and therefore, after Clementine’s repeated requests, he decided not to fly again for her sake, shortly before getting his pilot’s license.
12. Churchill in World War I
“These are not dark days: these are great days — the greatest days our country has ever lived.
Churchill before the war
Winston Churchill in 1914
In July 1914, Europe was on the brink of a war that had begun between Austria and Serbia, but was expected to affect more powerful countries. On July 25, Churchill had dinner with Alfred Ballin, an affiliate of the German Emperor. According to Ballin, they were expecting a chain of events that would lead to a conflict between England and Germany, which Churchill wished to avoid, aware of the fact that a war between two such militarily powerful countries would be disastrous, not only for the loser but also for the defeated. However, as he assured, England could not remain idle in the event of Germany attacking France. That night, he left Ballin, begging him in tears to do his best to prevent Germany from getting involved.
England gets involved in the war
The events unfolded exactly as predicted by Ballin. The German army had to go past Belgium to attack France. The United Kingdom stated that it would prevent German navy from crossing the North Sea English passage in its effort to attack France by sea.
In the British Council of Ministers there was controversy over the country’s involvement in the war, which led some ministers to resign. Those who remained discussed how the UK’s involvement in the war would benefit the country, which particularly pleased Churchill. For him, now, action on the part of England had become a matter of protecting world peace, securing the country’s honor and supporting its allies that supplied it with food.
On August 2, the German troops invaded Belgium, and England gave them a notice to retreat within 24 hours. When the deadline went unanswered, Churchill ordered an attack on Germany. According to Lloyd George, Churchill rushed into the Prime Minister’s office that night, joyful and radiant, speaking quickly and confidently about the messages of watchfulness he would send across the front.
Churchill in the first year of the war
Churchill, in the first year of the war, played a leading role in defining the strategy that England should follow. Taking into consideration that his country had to take initiatives on the battlefield, or else he would simply have to wait passively for the enemy’s next step, he proposed a series of campaigns, such as the seizure of a Dutch island, to be used as a naval and air base. He ordered the navy to block food shipments to and from German ports and created a battalion to leverage the hundreds of volunteers who offered to help in the war. The English submarines reached the Russian sea and British soldiers arrived in France to fortify defence against the Germans. Churchill was constantly generating ideas and taking initiatives, most of which proved to be successful.
In August, the English Navy’s first victory was announced, which was attributed to the action that Churchill had inspired them to take. Following the Prime Minister’s speech at Guildhall, the public was asking Churchill to continue and he made them cheer, instilling courage and hope in their hearts. After the first month of conflicts, when the English army had started losing their initial strength, and pessimism prevailed in the country, Churchill gave a speech before the Council of Ministers, where he managed to boost the members’ morale with his boldness and energy. He did the same in his various anonymous publications in newspapers, with a view to encouraging people.
Churchill in Antwerp
In October, when he received a notice in London that the Belgian forces were preparing to abandon Antwerp, one of the bulwarks of the struggle, Churchill immediately rushed to the area, where, while discussing with the Belgian Prime Minister, he managed to convince him to continue the resistance for ten more days and promised to send him reinforcements. His visit to the battlefield also contributed to the psychological boost of the Belgian army that was disheartened at the time. Eventually, Antwerp fell after six days, but this extension of resistance allowed British troops to barricade themselves in Flanders without any problems.
While in Antwerp, Churchill asked Asquith to resign from the post of Admiral and lead the forces in the battlefront instead. He felt that the intensity of the battlefield would suit him more than the office and was thirsty for blood and glory. However, Asquith’s response was negative. Churchill now seemed to enjoy the battles and, according to Asquith’s wife, he spoke of that glorious war with excitement, since all the war events, but also he himself that participated in them, would go down in history.
Churchill’s new ideas and explosive character
At some point, the situation of the battles in the trenches greatly deteriorated for the British army. At that time, Churchill was the first to support the idea of creating bulletproof tanks that would be able to cross the trenches and destroy the barbed-wire barriers that enemies had created. He thus received the Prime Minister’s authorization as well as funding of £70,000 for the tanks. He had always been receptive to new ideas but also bold enough to realize them.
During the War Council’s meetings, of which he was a member, whenever his proposals were not accepted, his reaction was often explosive and he spoke in an angry and rude way. In fact, Asquith once invited him to talk in private about this tendency of his.
Churchill on the sidelines
Following Fisher’s resignation, who was one of the most important Admirals of the English Navy, Prime Minister Asquith, in order to avoid negative reactions on the opposition’s part, decided to form a coalition with the Conservatives and allow them to join the War Council. The Conservatives accepted it; however, they set Churchill’s removal from Admiralty as a condition, thus taking revenge for the attacks and the underestimation they had suffered for years. Churchill, having lost after nearly five years of service the office he was most proud of, begged to retain his position, as if the future of the whole country was judged by that decision. However, the condition was non-negotiable.
Asquith offered him the position of Minister of Finance (Chancellor) in the Duchy of Lancaster, which was a derogatory, meaningless position, allowing him to remain at the War Council at the same time. However, he also lost his influence within the Council. That deposition made him feel that his life had come to an end. Clementine thought he was going to die of distress.
Churchill’s new hobby and subsequent resignation
In his effort to find peace, he would spend his weekends on a farm in the countryside, where he bought an easel and dedicated himself to painting. There he was able to find warmth near his family, to which a new-born daughter had been added. Painting constituted a way for him to forget about his worries and calm down. He mainly painted landscapes, as he did in his teens.
After his withdrawal, he became the scapegoat for many of England’s failures during the war, particularly for the unsuccessful outcome of the Gallipoli campaign, failures for which he was not even responsible himself. Wretched by the wave of unfortunate events, he decided to leave the country and submitted his resignation to the Prime Minister, as he hated being idle, even though the salary he earned was quite good. In November, he left the country to serve as Hussars’ Major in France.
Churchill on the battlefield
Upon arrival in France, Churchill received a proposal for the post of Brigadier General, which he accepted. For the following six months, he served in trench battles in a place full of mud, graves, corpses and bullets. However, he felt pleased and relieved of the burden of his previous responsibilities. The shots and bombs did not seem to frighten him; the sound of them did not make his heart beat any faster. He made use of his resourcefulness to tackle problems in the battlefield.
Clementine, who never stopped believing in his abilities, kept reminding him that he deserved much more and was concerned about his safety. She took care of him from a distance by sending him warm sleeping bags and supplies, such as alcohol, cigarettes, food and clothes.
Churchill as commander of a battalion
The original proposal referred to the position of Brigadier General, but Asquith prevented its realization, fearing that such an event would trigger protests in Parliament. He was only willing to give Churchill a battalion instead of a brigade, which meant that only 1,000 men would be under his command, instead of 5,000. Churchill accepted that turn of events and in January 1916 took command of a battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, the majority of whom consisted of volunteers, with no prior experience in battle, yet brave and intelligent. Within a few days, he managed to boost his soldiers’ morale and quickly gained their trust. He examined in detail every activity that took place within his battalion. He had a rather lenient attitude towards them, reducing the punishments imposed and catered for their entertainment, with sport events and concerts.
All this time he had been devoted to his work on the front, but he could not help but feel that his deposition was unfair and was deeply hurt by his country’s ingratitude for what he had offered. He was waiting for the right time to regain his role in English politics. In France, he had to deal with two frustrations: his superiors reprimanded him for being extremely lenient with his battalion and he thus lost an opportunity to be promoted to a Brigadier. Believing that there would be no progress for him in the army, he decided to return to England and reclaim his seat in Parliament.
Churchill as Minister of Munitions
In November 1916, Prime Minister Asquith resigned and the King ordered the formation of a new government, led by Lloyd George, who decided to have Churchill as his close associate. When asked what made him reunite with Churchill, he replied that he needed a cheerful, supportive person who would give him courage, rather than scaremongering, like the rest of his associates did. In July 1917, he handed him over the Ministry of Munitions, at his own request.
Churchill vigorously began his career at the Ministry, managing to reconcile with a group of workers in munitions factories who had been on strike and were exiled, in reprisal. At their meeting, the strike leader was expecting to meet an arrogant and abrupt politician, but Churchill surprised him with his friendly and pleasant attitude, inviting him to negotiate over a cup of tea. Not only did the strike come to an end, but those factories turned into some of the most productive of the country, after the addition of a bonus for their workers.
Supporting women’s rights
In November of the same year, he met with representatives of working women, as the increasing needs of the war called for their entry in the labour market, and who demanded an increase in their wages. Churchill, who had recently voted in favour of giving women the right to vote, responded with understanding and supported their request to retain their jobs after the war.
What made him a staunch supporter of women’s rights though? It was possibly the love and unlimited appreciation for the woman that was by his side, Clementine. In a letter to his wife, he told her that he wished for her to live happier, finding interests that would fulfil her and a satisfying job, benefiting from the changes that were taking place in favour of the country’s female population.
Churchill’s contribution to the end of the war
During that time, he took advantage of every available opportunity to provide the necessary war equipment for both British and American soldiers who, in the meantime, had entered the war. He spent endless hours working at the Ministry and in 1918, one of the most critical moments of the war, he ended up staying and sleeping in his office permanently to save time and complete his work.
He believed that the use of tanks would make a decisive contribution to the events’ outcome, as they would replace many British soldiers that were killed in trenches. With the help of those sweeping vehicles and the Allies, German troops began to retreat and Germany requested a ceasefire in November. Churchill was then invited to join the committee that would negotiate its terms.
13. Churchill in the Interwar period
“The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult.”
Churchill as Minister of the Government Presidency for War
In January 1919, Churchill assumed the position of Minister of the Government Presidency for War and Aviation. Two months earlier, Clementine had given birth to another daughter. Churchill wanted to spend time with them, but his commitments did not allow him to stay for more than ten days.
The first problem he faced after taking office was the uprising of British soldiers who, being exhausted after nearly five years of war, were requesting immediate demobilisation. According to Churchill’s plan, the process would unfold gradually, giving priority to those who had served at least four years, those over 40 and the injured soldiers. It was one of his smartest and fairest plans. However, he believed that a million soldiers had to remain on duty to guard the areas of Rhine that had been seized after the war. Lloyd George considered this number excessive in times of peace, especially since Germany had withdrawn its own troops, but a trip to France and a few hours of argumentation on the part of Churchill were enough to persuade the Prime Minister of the urgent need to retain those soldiers in order to be able to protect what they had gained in their fair fight.
Churchill’s attitude towards revolutions in Russia, Ireland and Iraq
Another issue that was of particular interest for him was the attitude that Britain should have towards the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. As early as 1917, English troops had been dispatched to the area to reinforce the anti-Bolshevik forces. Under Lloyd George’s guidance, Churchill stated that the Russians themselves were responsible for rescuing their homeland, while the English aid would be limited to sending munitions and volunteers. Although British troops had been dispatched before Churchill took office, because of his public disapproval of Bolshevik tyranny, which he perceived as a risk for Democracy all over Europe, he was widely believed to have led the operations against Bolsheviks. However, he kept pressuring the Parliament to send aid to the Russians and, as a consequence, the Prime Minister accused him of being so obsessed with Russian affairs that he had neglected his duty of cutting military spending that he had asked him to do.
During the same period, he was also forced to use bombings and armed attacks to suppress revolutions in two areas: in Ireland, due to the criminal activities of the Sinn Fein nationalist organization, and in Iraq, due to local uprisings. Those operations were carried out against his will, as he himself rejected the use of violence for peace enforcement. Having realised that he was not satisfied with his responsibilities at the War Office, he accepted the proposal to move to the Colonial Office.
Churchill at the Colonial Office
Before being officially transferred to the Colonial Office in January 1921, Churchill had set out to change the way Middle East was governed in order to reduce government expenditure and the consequential burden on British taxpayers. In March, he travelled to Iraq with his wife to discuss with its leaders any reforms that would be helpful. Before Iraq, though, he made a stop in Paris, where a young painter, Charles Morin, who was actually Churchill himself, made his first exhibition.
After Iraq, he went to Jerusalem, where he supported the establishment in Palestine of an independent state for the Jews, who until then lived scattered around the world. His appertaining speech in Parliament was triumphant, but one Conservative commented that with the favour he was showing to the Jews he would have to be confronted with the rest of the world who hated this people.
Churchill’s family losses
The death of Winston Churchill’s daughter
In May 1921, Churchill’s mother, aged 67, broke her ankle in an accident, which required partial leg amputation due to gangrene. A few days later she died of sudden bleeding. Churchill, who immediately rushed to her side when informed of her condition, saw his unconscious mother shortly before she died. She was buried next to Lord Randolph. As he said to a friendly person, he could feel the loss of his mother, but he did not grieve because she had lived her life to the fullest and had not let her difficulties befall her. After all, she had been married for the third time at the age of 64 to a man many years younger than her.
Winston Churchill’s daughter – Mary Lady Soames
The loss, however, that shocked both himself and Clementine was the death of his youngest daughter at the age of two and a half of meningitis. He was mourning for this happy little creature who left before she could even live. His grief made him retire to a friend’s castle in Scotland, where he painted and immersed himself in his thoughts for many days.
Diplomacy with Ireland and Turkey
During Churchill’s time at the Colonial Office, a burning issue was raised: the continuous uprisings and murders of Sinn Fein in Ireland in an effort to claim the country’s independence. Clementine advised her husband to try to achieve a smooth resolution of the problem and a fairer treatment of the Irish. He seemed to have taken her opinion into account as he proposed a truce between Britain and Sinn Fein and stated that he was willing to grant Ireland its autonomy. In November 1921, Churchill and three other Ministers negotiated with Irish delegates the terms of the Irish Treaty. The delegates showed their respect for his willingness to find solutions even to the most complex problems. The Treaty was signed in December.
In September 1922, during the Greek-Turkish War, the Turks regained their territory reaching Chanak, in Hellespont, an area conquered by the British after World War I. Churchill before the Council of Ministers argued that Britain should retain its territory, a view the Prime Minister agreed with. As a result, British troops were transferred to Chanak and the British officer of the area warned the Turks that they would start a conflict if they did not retreat immediately. The Turkish army retreated, without a single shot being fired. Although that harsh diplomacy had worked successfully, it triggered turmoil in England, as the Conservatives were criticizing the government for its despotic attitude towards Turkey. That crisis resulted in the disintegration of the coalition government and Lloyd George’s resignation. Churchill suddenly found himself in limbo and charged with recklessness.
Churchill’s short interval from politics and comeback
Winston Churchill- Westminster Abbey by election in 1924
Following the disintegration of the government, elections were held again in which the Liberal Party was overthrown and Churchill, for the first time in decades, was out of Parliament. After this failure, he left for France with his family for a few months. Fortunately, they had resolved their economic problems by then, having inherited two towers in Ireland from a relative of Churchill’s which they leased for a significant amount of money. When he returned to London, he began writing “The World Crisis“, a book about World War I. This work seemed to focus on Churchill himself and his efforts to defend himself and was characterized by critics of the time as sincere and spirited.
In the following elections, in September 1924, he ran as a candidate with the Conservative party. In his speech he claimed that there was no unbridgeable gap between the Conservatives and the Liberals, but the real threat lay with the Labour Party that supported Soviet Russia. The election results made him regain his seat in the Parliament. To his surprise, Prime Minister Baldwin recommended that he could also take part in the Government as Minister of Finance, a position that his father had taken on previously and which, of course, he gladly accepted.
Churchill as Minister of Finance
Churchill in 1924 – War Industry in Britain during the First World War
In December 1924, at the age of 50, Churchill took on the post of Minister of Finance. His main focus was on reforms he deemed necessary at a social level, in particular with the aim of strengthening state insurance, by introducing pensions for widows and orphans, by reducing the retirement age from 70 to 65 years, and by creating opportunities for cheap housing. He also sought to reduce the income tax levied on sellers, entrepreneurs and low-income citizens, in an effort to boost entrepreneurship and industrial development. Moreover, he managed to reduce the real estate tax to 1/3, aiming to relieve local industries and farmers from the excessive amounts they paid. To make up for it, he imposed taxes on luxury items, such as expensive cars and trucks, but also on oil. The budgets he presented in those years were described by his associates as brilliant, but, according to his opponents, he was simply playing with the state money. His fourteen-year-old son, Randolph, appeared to be supportive of his father, as he used to attend his presentations in the House of Commons as a spectator.
Churchill’s support for workers’ rights and change in attitude
Churchill played a key role in the dispute between mine owners, who were planning to dismiss some of their workers, and the latter, who were threatening with strikes. During that crisis, he played the role of the peacemaker as he persuaded the owners not to make redundancies. He also secured a state subsidy for mines so as not to reduce wages. However, a few months later, the dispute was rekindled when mine owners reintroduced the issue of wage cuts and the workers went on strike. The Prime Minister, trusting in Churchill’s abilities, asked him to direct their negotiations. However, after various prolonged unsuccessful efforts and as other Ministers were backlashing against his involvement, he decided to let workers and employers resolve their issues on their own.
Both Churchill’s supporters and his old Conservative opponents could observe a dramatic change in him. Although he opposed to the proposals he did not approve, he was willing to find alternative solutions and did not treat those who disagreed with him with hostility or irony. By keeping his appeal and radiance intact, he had become more patient, polite and approachable. He could always attract people with his argumentation and eloquence, but his popularity had now begun to take off, increasing his power in Parliament all the more.
Churchill out of government
In the elections of May 1929, the Conservatives found themselves out of government, which was taken over by the Labour Party. Churchill lost the post of Minister but was re-elected as a member of the Parliament.
No longer in charge of any ministry, he took the opportunity to complete and publish his autobiography, “My Early Life,” which referred to his years in school and the army, instilling the wisdom he gained from his experiences in his work. The fact that he had been isolated from political life distressed him, but the widespread popularity of his book and the engagement of his daughter Diana gave him a little joy. Another blow that year was the stock market crash in 1929, during which he lost much of his money, which he tried to regain through a series of lectures he held in various US cities. The income of his lectures far exceeded the British Prime Minister’s annual income.
Churchill against India’s independence
Since 1929, the issue of India’s independence, which had been an English colony until then, had come to the fore. The majority of the Members of the Parliament argued in favour of the independence of the area, but Churchill was of an opposite opinion. He believed that only partial autonomy should be given to the administration of the provinces, while the main control should remain in Great Britain. In addition, he considered it imperative to suppress passive resistance movements that had spread throughout India. Churchill, as an avid fan of Democracy, disapproved of popular revolutions, worried that the anarchy that would follow, as in the case of Russia, would overthrow democratic institutions worldwide. Moreover, he argued in Parliament that India’s autonomy had the ultimate goal of completely displacing the British from the country. He expressed doubts that many other Members had previously considered, but had not outwardly expressed, therefore they endorsed his speech, though they were not convinced to vote against Indian independence in the end.
In December 1931, while in Massachusetts for a lecture, he was hit by a car and was seriously injured in his head and leg. It took him a while to recover, which caused him depressive feelings that were intensified by an acute pain in his hands caused by some kind of neuritis. In September of the following year, he suffered by paratyphoid fever and after a few days he developed a haemorrhage due to paratyphoid ulcer, which made him stay in bed for a while. Even in bed, however, he could not stop working. He spent his time writing the book “Marlborough: His Life and Times“, which revolved around his ancestor John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough.
14. Churchill’s efforts to waken the Parliament
“A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.”
Churchill’s insistence on improving UK’s defence system
During the decade preceding World War II, Churchill, while οut of government, sought to prompt the Parliament to increase spending in order to reinforce the country’s defence system, especially since he was able to see that Germany, having violated the Treaty of Versailles, had reorganised its army and military equipment. He realised that the war was not far off. However, the Government, following a pacifist policy and underestimating the emerging risk, had not made such moves.
In his speech in the Parliament in November 1934, he stressed the imperative need to improve their national defence system, without necessarily declaring war. He focused on the fact that Germany had developed its own weapon manufacturing industry, as well as its air force. He estimated that in the event of a bombing in London, the casualties would exceed 40,000 and thus the only way they could defend their country was to develop forces equal to those of the opponent. Besides the already known facts, that is, that the potential of the German aviation had reached the British one in power and number, Germany also seemed to have developed additional war innovations, which were not yet disclosed. When he finished his speech, the crowd burst into cheers and the Government promised that the British aviation would not be left to weaken as compared with the German one. It seemed that Churchill had finally managed to mobilise the Parliament. What he did not know when he made his speech was that in fact the German forces had already outreached the British by 50%.
In July 1935, Churchill joined the Air Defence Research Sub-Committee, where he was informed about the invention of the radar.
Churchill’s removal from Government and loss of influence
In November of that year, in the general elections that were held, the Conservative Party won. Churchill was re-elected, but his expectations that Prime Minister Baldwin would assign him a ministry were never met. He was left out of the Government, just as he had foreseen, irritating the Ministers with his foresight.
His proposals to Parliament for forming an alliance with France and Russia and then with smaller European countries so as to outface the common enemy came to naught. On the contrary, the English Government was trying to establish friendly relations with Germany and Italy, showing tolerance even when the German troops began to invade European states. Churchill was able to understand that the democratic nature of Britain was incompatible with the phenomenon of Nazism. The Government’s passive policy and his inability to influence its decisions seemed to emotionally overwhelm him, since, at the time, he had retired to his home where he would write and draw, without even going out to his garden.
15. Churchill during World War II
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
Churchill on the eve of the war
In November 1938, Churchill was a mere member of Parliament, with no particular responsibilities. However, during a speech Hitler himself launched an attack on him, for urging those Germans opposed to the Nazi regime to express their disagreement. Churchill replied that he was impressed by the fact that the leader of the German nation was dealing with insignificant members of the British Parliament and that in doing so he was increasing their influence. Indeed, it was believed at the time that Churchill was the only British to inspire fear to Hitler, who by no means wanted to see the former become Prime Minister.
In the meantime, Churchill struggled to exert as much influence as he could, often acting as a Minister. On the day Albania was invaded by Italy, he was in a state of despair, examining the region geographically and trying to find information on the position of the English fleet in the Mediterranean at that moment. With so much activity on his part, it seemed as if he himself was responsible for the developments. A storm of phone calls to Prime Minister Chamberlain followed in an effort to persuade him to invite Parliament to a meeting the following day, which was Easter Sunday, and send the English fleet to Corfu in Greece to prevent the expansion of the Italians. Eventually, the meeting was held after five days, with Churchill reprimanding the government for its lack of mobilisation. After the meeting, he requested a seat in the Council of Ministers. Although the Prime Minister trusted in Churchill’s abilities, he believed that, if he were given a position of power, his recklessness and impatience would create many problems that he would be unable to solve. With Churchill in government, a war would be inevitable.
People in favour of Churchill’s return
At the same time, newspaper articles and opinion polls showed that the people were in favour of Churchill’s return to government. His patriotism moved them since, as he had stated, he preferred to die fighting the Germans rather than surrender his country to them.
In September 1939, after Germany’s refusal to withdraw its troops from the Polish territory it had invaded a few days earlier, Britain officially entered the war.
Churchill as Admiral for the second time
After Chamberlain briefed the public about the beginning of the war on a radio broadcast, he convened a Parliament meeting where Churchill was asked to be one of the first to speak because of the great influence he exerted on people. In his speech, he emphasized that the war did not aim at conquering territories but at protecting people from the scourge of Nazism and defending human rights. The Prime Minister then offered him the post of First Admiral, which he had adored in the past, and included him in the members of the War Council.
For as long as Churchill served as an Admiral, he was constantly trying to find reasons for action, often assigning tasks to his subordinates that had to be performed on the same day, as he hated idleness. The Prime Minister put him in charge of determining the number of troops needed on land and the required ammunition. Churchill also led the transfer of British troops to France. He carried out his job with zeal and mourned the loss of his sailors, as if they were his own family. Since September, he had been pressuring the government to give the order to block Germany’s supply of iron ore, seizing Narvik in Norway, through which the ships carrying the material were passing. However, the government delayed the decision so much that the Germans were the ones that seized Narvik and the surrounding areas in the end, leading to the failure of another clever plan of his. For him, a peaceful approach towards Germany was out of the question, since, when Minister Halifax made a similar proposal, Churchill accused him of treason. Halifax complained that his statement was unfair and Churchill apologized for his overreaction that had been triggered by his fear.
Churchill’s worth is recognised
During his speeches in the House of Commons, he was capable of boosting the Members’ morale, inspiring confidence in their own strengths. This was also the key to the success of the radio broadcasts he made during the war: a combination of a realistic outlook and confidence. He gave hope to the countries occupied by the Nazi troops by arguing that their liberation, though delayed, was sure to come and by praising the heroism of the areas that were resisting. He was warning that the war was expected to spread throughout Europe and called the smaller states to work together to fight the common enemy. His speeches were transmitted, apart from England, to all the invaded countries, boosting the nations’ morale.
In May 1940, he resigned after a strong outcry from Members of Parliament about the passive policy of Chamberlain. People saw in Churchill’s face the powerful and courageous successor they needed in times of war. The same night, the King invited him to the palace and asked him to become the new Prime Minister.
Churchill as Prime Minister
Winston Churchill as Prime Minister 1940-1945
When Churchill took over as Prime Minister, his greatest ambition had been fulfilled. He felt he had been preparing for this position all his life. In his first speech as Prime Minister in the House of Commons, he said: «I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat».
He went on saying:
«You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.
You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival. Let that be realised; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal.
But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, ‘Come then, let us go forward together with our united strength’» (Gilbert,1991)
This speech is deemed to be one of the most representative of Churchill’s and the most epic in the history of England.
A few days later, there was a serious risk of French troops retreating in Paris in the face of the German invasion. Churchill, when informed on the event, immediately travelled to France, where he agreed to send additional reinforcements from Britain, preventing, at least temporarily, the occupation of the French capital, thus giving hope to the British.
Some members of the Government kept pressuring Churchill to make peace with the enemies. In a speech in the Government Presidency in late May, he explained that, if he started negotiations with Hitler, he realised that his associates would overthrow him because that would mean enslavement of their country. Only with the glorious death of all of them would the British Empire collapse. The Ministers were cheering, enthralled. Churchill believed they were willing to sacrifice their lives in order not to surrender. Most importantly, he also made others believe so and therefore he gave strength to the British to help them withstand the imminent onslaught.
Churchill’s new burdens
In those hard days, Churchill, burdened by the responsibilities he had assumed, he had become more irritable, and Clementine complained that he behaved rudely and abruptly, which some of his associates had also observed.
Meanwhile, the German air force had begun bombing residential areas of England; first Welsh cities and then London. In early September, a massive bomb attack in London left 300 people dead. When Churchill visited an area of London that had been hit and saw the disasters and relatives mourn the victims, he broke down and cried.
Churchill during the period of constant bombardment
In October 1940, the number of dead by the German bombings in London amounted to 10,000. Churchill had thought of bombing German cities since the beginning of the war with a view to removing part of the Nazi forces from the front, but he considered it an act of cowardice attacking a civilian population. However, when, at the end of the month, Italian forces bombed Athens, he ordered the bombing of Naples and Berlin.
In mid-November, he had planned to spend the weekend in a provincial area. While he was in the car, he was informed about a forthcoming bomb attack that night in London. He was in such need of being close to his compatriots at the time of the attack that he immediately made his way back to his office in Downing Street. When he arrived, he asked his female employees to run to a shelter while he stayed to watch the attack from the Aviation Ministry. After a few hours, he was informed that another area had been planned to be bombed instead.
During that period of constant bombardment, Churchill said he had lost his cheerfulness and woke up with a sense of fear every day. It was only on Christmas holidays that he managed to unwind and enjoy the warm and festive mood of his family at his country house in Chequers, where they all had a nice time singing and dancing. In general, during the war, he suffered from mood swings, depending on the outcome of events. In January 1941, the British forces, in cooperation with the Australian ones, successfully attacked the Italian troops. The following days, Churchill was in a good mood and shone all over. In June, after a failed British operation against the Nazi army in Egypt, Churchill retired to his home for a few days, keeping to himself. When one of his associates suggested that the British forces retreat from Egypt due to adverse circumstances, he reacted furiously.
The US supports Britain
In January 1941, with the British forces seriously affected and the war at a critical point, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated that he would support Britain by providing it with munitions and food. The President sent a representative to London to discuss with Churchill the supplies the country needed. The representative promised to help the British throughout the course of their struggle, right to the end, moving Churchill to tears. He also praised him for his impressive ability to direct the efforts of his people and influence them, irrespective of social class or group.
Churchill during the expansion of the war
In June 1941, the German army invaded Russia. Churchill’s associates argued that Russia would not maintain its resistance for more than a few weeks. However, Churchill believed that it would manage to do so for at least two years and expressed his willingness to help Russia. Indeed, following his directions, the British forces carried out bombings on the Nazi army and attacked northern France by sea with a view to removing part of the German forces from the Russian front. In mid-June, an alliance was signed between Britain and Russia.
In December, Churchill was informed about Japan’s imminent invasion in the Far East. A few days later, the Axis Powers declared war on the United States, which gave Churchill hope that he would now formally have a strong ally. He travelled to Washington, where he was hosted by Roosevelt for a few weeks, during which they daily discussed the next moves they should make together. They planned a military operation on the coast of North Africa and they both agreed on the particular attention that should be paid on the European and Atlantic regions as well as the victory over Germany. During his stay in Washington, he suffered a mild stroke: while he was lying down, he suddenly felt hot and could not breathe, along with a heart and left hand pain. His doctor never revealed the diagnosis to Churchill himself, so as not to make him feel insecure; the only thing he told him was that he had a blood circulation problem and he had to avoid excessive fatigue for a while. Before returning, he spent a few days on Miami Beach to rest.
Churchill’s partnership with Stalin
Churchill and Stalin
In August 1942, Churchill visited Russia to encourage Stalin and determine the moves that Britain should make to support his country, as Stalin was angry at the lack of assistance from England and the US up to that point. Churchill tried to explain the complexity of the matter, as the fronts were too many and their forces were limited. He managed to impress Stalin by describing the operations they had planned for North Africa. When he accused the English of being afraid of fighting the Germans, Churchill repelled the insult by keeping his temper. He tried to calm tensions, assuring Stalin that he sought to establish a good partnership with him that would secure them the victory. The rest of the discussions continued in a friendlier atmosphere.
Churchill’s energy seemed to be inexhaustible and his courage inconceivable, since at the age of 67 and already bearing the burden of the Prime Minister’s responsibility on his shoulders, he made two long trips through skies full of enemies and bombs.
On the way to victory
In November 1942, the British-American army completed a series of successful landings in North Africa, in which Churchill’s son, Randolph, was also present. In January, Churchill went to Morocco to discuss with Roosevelt the strategy they needed to follow. They agreed to prioritize the liberation of the Mediterranean regions. He then travelled to Cairo, where he dined with his son, with whom they had a quarrel that night. During his stay in Cairo, he was informed of the victory of the Russian army against the Germans in Stalingrad. When he returned to London, he was welcomed at the station by 13 of his Ministers and Clementine, who begged him to get on the train to kiss him, away from the photographers’ cameras.
Upon his return, he was diagnosed with pneumonia, which made him stay in bed with fever. He hated it when he got sick and was looking forward to recovering. While burning with fever, he wrote a seven-page letter to the King. He felt that it was good for him to work even while ill. The nurse who took of him said that he was eating and drinking excessively and was not exercising at all.
After the British army’s victory in North Africa, a bombing in Sicily followed in June. After a few days, Mussolini resigned, therefore Churchill initiated new negotiations with the new Italian, non-dictatorial government. He insisted that their next move should be to free Rhodes, a proposal that was rejected by Roosevelt. His enthusiasm for the idea had reached such a point that it irritated his associates, as he did not take into account the dangers inherent in such a project and the arguments of the others. He was angry with Roosevelt, who could not understand him, and he felt that working with him was limiting him. His anger intensified when the Germans invaded some islands near Rhodes. At that point, his wife had to intervene to remind him of the importance of having allies.
Churchill’s son Randolph Churchill.
In December 1943, while Churchill was in Tunisia to attend meetings with generals, he again fell ill with pneumonia. His doctor reprimanded him for keeping accepting visits and dictating telegrams to his secretary even in hospital bed. Over the following three days, he suffered two more heart attacks. Clementine then travelled to Tunisia to be by his side, as did his son Randolph and his daughter Sarah. He was frustrated by the fact that a few days were not enough for him to recover. After two weeks, he attended a council for the upcoming landing in Anzio, Italy. A few days before the New Year, he flew to Morocco, using an oxygen mask during his flight due to his condition, in order to organize the landing in Normandy, which had long been under preparation.
In February 1944, Churchill discussed with Polish leaders Stalin’s request for areas of Poland to be annexed to the Soviet Union in exchange for certain areas of Germany. Stalin, however, was not at all willing to commit that he would not impose a communist regime on his new areas. Churchill was highly concerned about Russia’s dominant tendencies and realised that although he did not have many years to live, any decision of his would affect post-war Europe.
In March, during a radio broadcast, he referred to the bomb missiles invented by the enemy, but assured that Britain would deal with that issue. He sounded old and exhausted. At another meeting with his associates, he seemed to have lost his energy, had trouble concentrating and was constantly talking about his fatigue, giving rise to concerns about whether he was able to continue. However, in a speech in late April on India’s independence, he appeared to have recovered his energy to some extent. Churchill was 69 years old at the time and had served as Prime Minister for four years, with all the responsibilities and pressure that that position entailed. His main concern at that time was the forthcoming operation in Normandy.
Churchill during the Normandy operation
The Normandy landing, the most complex and critical battle of the war, according to Churchill, began on June 6, 1944. After the initial successes, he decided to visit the battlefield to monitor the situation closely. He was transported by destroyer ship to French waters, where he boarded the British Admiral Vian’s barge. He was joyful and the sailors could hear him sing cheerfully. Then, he passed by a point where ships launched bomb attacks on the German army and asked the Admiral to launch one with their own as well. He was excited about the idea of being on board at the time of the attack.
Two days later, upon his return to London, German aircraft began bombing the city. On the night of the attack, his secretary found him outside their offices watching the spectacle, defying the danger. At the beginning of July, the number of deaths caused by bombs amounted to 2,752. Churchill was ill-tempered and drank a lot of alcohol at the time.
In early September, British forces continued their victorious course reaching Brussels. The Russian army was quite successful in the Balkans. In October, Churchill travelled to Moscow, where he discussed with Stalin their interests in the Balkan countries, as well as Germany’s future after the war. It was agreed that after Germany’s defeat, their next target should be Japan, with the aim of ending the war. Churchill also tried in vain to resolve the border problem between Russia and Poland. At the end of his visit, he seemed to have established a rather good relationship with Stalin.
16. Churchill’s action towards the end of the war
“In war, you can only be killed once, but in politics, many times.”
Churchill’s role as a diplomat
** FILE ** A photo from July 23, 1945 showing the handshake between Winston Churchill, left, Harry S. Truman and Josef Stalin, right infront of Churchill’s residence in Potsdam, Germany. Ninety years after he was executed, Czar Nicholas II is leading a tight race to be named the greatest Russian in history. His closest competitors? Soviet dictator Josef Stalin and Vladimir Lenin, the founder of the Soviet state that killed the last czar and his entire family. The contest, sponsored by state-owned Rossiya television, is a Russian version of the 2002 BBC show “Great Britons,” which was won by Winston Churchill. A U.S. version in 2005 declared Ronald Reagan, the former president who had died the year before, to be the “Greatest American.” (AP Photo/Files)
Churchill was concerned that the countries liberated by the Germans were in danger of establishing communist regimes. He was particularly concerned about the situation in Greece, where, after the Germans’ retreat, Communist uprisings against the government had broken out, resulting in police killings and unlawful occupation of buildings. Churchill, supporting the Greek Government, ordered the suppression of the revolution, even by force and bloodshed, if necessary. On Christmas Eve of 1944, he decided to leave for Athens, despite Clementine’s upset over his being absent during Christmas time. When he arrived, he summoned representatives of the Communists and other parties with a view to achieving reconciliation and the formation of a multi-party government. However, in the middle of the meeting he left, as he felt that the discussion was focused on purely Greek matters that did not concern him. He hesitantly left the country, having not yet succeeded in bringing about peace.
In February 1945, he travelled to Yalta, Russia, where he met Stalin and Roosevelt. While there, the three of them planned the ultimate attacks on Germany, as well as the sanctions to be imposed on it after the end of the war. Churchill argued that excessive demands would not help, as had been the case after the previous war. He hoped that they would seize a better future, learning from the mistakes of the past. They also talked about the establishment of a World Organization that would have the power to intervene in the disputes between the countries and contribute to their settlement. As to how they would deal with war criminals, Churchill insisted that they be tried and not executed, as Stalin suggested. In fact, at a previous conference, he had left the room furious after hearing that proposal. As for Poland’s matter, Churchill was in favour of the conduct of free elections by the Polish, in order to choose their preferred government and leaders. After the end of the conference, tired of the long discussions that lasted almost a week, he wanted to leave immediately.
Victory over Germany
Following the meeting in Yalta, Churchill was informed of Stalin’s failure to comply with the terms agreed, since the latter allowed solely representatives of Russian Communism to participate in the new Polish Government. Besides that, thousands of prominent Poles, such as priests, teachers and military men, were arrested or sent to labour camps in Russia. Churchill thus sent a letter to Stalin protesting against the breach of their agreement and requesting that the English Republic be represented in the Polish Government, reminding him of the support it had offered Russia during its effort to expand its territory.
In the spring of 1945, after the US army entered Nuremberg and British-American forces started ruling throughout Italy, Mussolini was killed by his compatriots, and Hitler committed suicide. German representatives declared their country’s surrender. On May 8, in a radio broadcast, Churchill announced the end of the war, as well as the negotiations on Germany’s surrender. However, he pointed out that they still had a long way to go, as Japan continued to fight. He ended his speech with the phrase “Advance, Britannia!” He then gave a speech at the House of Commons, praising the Members of Parliament who, despite the mistakes made, amidst the adverse conditions of the war, managed to abide by democratic processes to the full. During his speech at the Ministry of Health, the public kept arguing that Churchill was to praise for that victory. His associates also attributed the victory to him, stressing that without his guidance and encouragement that this end might never have been reached. The world was pouring into the streets, celebrating the end of one of the fiercest wars of mankind.
Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” Speech
In July 1945, general elections were held in Great Britain. Although Churchill’s popularity remained high, the Labour Party prevailed, leaving him once more out of government. However, he remained in Parliament as the opposition leader. The result shocked him, because of the warm support he received from the public, both during his governance and during his pre-election speeches. The day after the results’ announcement, he felt the defeat pain even more severe and found it difficult to accept the situation. Nonetheless, he showed an understanding of the British people, aware of the fact that they had suffered greatly in recent years. After a month, when the war officially ended upon Japan’s surrender, Churchill was even more afflicted, as he wished more than anything that he be the one to make peace, for which he had striven all those years.
In September, searching for a way out of his troubles, he travelled with his daughter Sarah to Italy and Southern France. He also asked Clementine to accompany them, but she was busy preparing their new home in Hyde Park Gate, London. He missed her incredibly during the journey and sent her messages of love and remembrance of her beautiful songs. He returned to London at the end of the month.
Churchill’s relationship with his wife and his lifestyle
Back home, Clementine was quite melancholic and often irritable with her husband. He acted fussy and sparked fights, that yet did not last long, as they were both eager to reconcile.
In January, he travelled with her to Miami. During their stay, he found out that Randolph had divorced with his wife, which particularly upset Churchill, who felt close to his bride. In those days, he was quite discontent with the change in his lifestyle, from being fully active to being idle. Fortunately, his painting hobby occupied his mind and gave him pleasure.
The “Iron Curtain” Speech
Winston Churchill – World Leaders for the Operation Habbakuk
In March, Churchill travelled to Missouri, USA, where he gave a speech that was broadcast nationwide. He had been informed that Russia was refusing to withdraw its troops from Persia. In his speech, he expressed his view that an “iron curtain” would descend in the middle of Europe in the near future. Behind it would be the countries of Central and Eastern Europe that would be subject to Russia’s control, with the exception of Greece, the only country due to determine its own fate through elections under British supervision. He stressed the need for a European nations’ union, in which all European countries would be able to participate. The speech was widely criticized by both the Labour Party and Stalin, who accused Churchill of scaremongering, in his effort to disrupt Russia’s cooperation with its allies. However, a few days later, Russia withdrew its troops from Persia, a development that the New York Times attributed to Churchill’s speech. It seemed that, even outside the Government, he was still able to influence international politics.
17. Churchill after the war
“If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another.”
Churchill’s new occupations and the deterioration of this health
In March 1946, Churchill began writing his memoirs of World War II, an extensive six-volume work called “The Gathering Storm.” The books made impressive sales worldwide. However, he often made adjustments to the chapters after receiving criticism from those involved in the story. He described each of his books as an adventure that at the beginning of the writing thrilled him, but then ended up dominating him. In addition to writing, he spent time engaging in his new hobby, the hippodrome, having bought a horse named Colonist II to join it.
While out of government, he continued giving speeches in various countries as he was still highly appreciated. In September of that year, at the University of Zurich he talked again about the formation of a union of European states, in line with the US model, for which reconciliation between France and Germany was a prerequisite. To achieve the proper functioning of this union, it would be essential to maintain friendly relations with America and, ideally, with the Soviet Union.
In August 1949, Churchill suffered a mild stroke, which began with numbness and cramps and then with difficulty in writing. Trying to keep the event secret, he withdrew to his home for a few days, in order to hide his walking problems, and for almost a month and a half he did not make any further public speeches. Despite his rapid recovery and the persistence of its ability as a savvy speaker, his old age had worn him out. According to his neurologist, some of his brain cells that were connected to shoulder nerves had deadened and, as a result, his shoulders were constantly clenched. He also suffered from hearing problems. However, his irrepressible desire to live for the moment and his remarkable ability to fully concentrate on anything he did never left him.
Churchill as Prime Minister for the second time
In the elections of October 1951, the Conservative Party won. Churchill, at the age of 77, became Prime Minister for the second time and was self-appointed Minister of Defence. Upon the taking up of the post, he was fully aware of the burden that that responsibility entailed, especially at his age, so he intended to stay for only a year until he restored the country’s relations with the US and removed part of the woes that the country had suffered due to the war and the previous Socialist Government.
He then proceeded to privatise the iron and steel industry and cut the Ministers’ salaries because of the desperate financial situation he encountered. He travelled to the US, where he had a series of meetings with the new President Truman and made two speeches. Those meetings exhausted him and he thus had to stay another two days to recover, before heading back. He was also particularly concerned with the defence system of Britain and its colonies, as he did not want his country to appear vulnerable to the Russians.
Churchill is losing his strength
It seemed that he was gradually losing his energy and strength. During a series of overnight Parliament meetings, Churchill was struggling to concentrate and the Socialists of the opposition were mocking him for his old age and hearing problems. At the meetings of the Ministers, though always present, he found it difficult to write his speeches and read the extensive texts submitted. In June, he found out about the discontent that existed within his own government after some members asked him to resign. However, he still had the strength to effectively support his Government’s decisions.
In June 1953, he suffered another stroke that caused partial paralysis on his right side. His doctor feared he would not live for more than a few days. At that point, Churchill was seriously thinking of resigning. However, it seemed that his desire to continue prevailed in the end.
Two months after the second stroke, Churchill had almost recovered, except for some instability in walking and easy fatigue. He was trying to complete his memoirs, with the assistance of his secretaries. They started writing halfway through the day, having first consumed plenty of champagne and tobacco and he was able to continue writing until the early hours, without losing any of his shrewdness. His mood, though initially depressed, had begun to improve.
In October, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. After a few days, he spoke again in the Parliament and felt he had regained his energy. In the ensuing period, he made two more trips to the United States, where he agreed with President Eisenhower on a specific way of approaching Russia in order to avoid the consequences of the Cold War, and on collaboration with a view to deploying atomic energy for peaceful purposes.
However, as he used to say, he felt like an airplane running out of fuel. As time passed by, he found it more and more difficult to read nothing but newspapers and it took him endless hours to complete his proposals to Parliament. He preferred to spend his time playing cards, rather than attend public events. His family environment and the opposition increasingly pressured him into resigning. However, what was most impressive was not the clamours of the Labour Party in the Parliament demanding his withdrawal, but his apathy towards them, whereas before he was always willing to fight them off. Nevertheless, his wisdom and radiance still emerged through his words and decisions.
After many consecutive postponements, in April 1955 he resigned. Upon suggestion of the Queen who praised him for his insight during the Cold War in recent years, he accepted the proposal to remain a Member of Parliament. Therefore, he resigned from the post of Prime Minister, knowing that he had done the best he could.
18. The last years of a “national hero”
“I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.”
New phase of life
Following Churchill’s resignation, general elections were announced. He gave a few speeches in his constituency, but preferred to abstain from the Conservative party’s campaign. The overwhelming majority of the seats they occupied were attributed to the fact that people were satisfied by the former Churchill Government. After the elections, he appeared to be calmer and more polite, and even more lenient with the mistakes of his two new secretaries. He now had the time to proceed undisturbed with the writing of his book on the history of English-speaking people. Two months after his resignation, he hired a personal secretary, Montague Browne, who stayed by his side and helped him devotedly until the end of his life. Freed from the duties of the Prime Minister, his health had deteriorated and he suffered from excessive fatigue. Having lost his role, he felt that he had lost his power. His attitude also appeared to have changed, as he preferred to listen rather than speak, which seemed kind of sad for such a feisty man.
In the new phase of his life that had just begun, Churchill often went on trips to the sunny French Riviera, either with Clementine or with friends. He enjoyed spending his day in bed writing and taking breaks only for meals. Although he was not a member of the Government anymore, the new Prime Minister, Eden, seemed to take his opinion into account. When, in April 1956, the Russian leaders went to Britain for a meeting with Eden, he invited Churchill and Clementine to dinner, where he claimed that Churchill was the one that had won the war. In addition, in June of that year, Eden sent him information on secret telegrams concerning the impending invasion of Egypt and, a few days later, they met privately to discuss the matter in detail.
Churchill’s loss of a daughter and withdrawal from writing
In the ensuing years, he suffered from intense emotional distress, as his friends died the one after another. He was also worried about his wife’s health, as well as his three children. Randolph was isolated from his father’s surroundings due to his aggressive behaviour. Sarah, just like her father, was addicted to alcohol. Diana suffered from depression and, in October 1963, committed suicide. Her father stoically faced her loss, mourning silently.
In June 1957, after having completed the fourth volume of his work, he decided to withdraw from writing. By the age of 86, he had travelled to various parts of the world, but he had no strength to pursue his favourite painting hobby anymore. He still had a little energy to read literature, though. Until his old age, he was surrounded by his friends and family. He had a special relationship with his grandson, who sometimes followed him in his travels.
Churchill’s death and burial
Churchill’s death and burial
In January 1965, Churchill died of a fatal stroke. In his last years, he had suffered four more strokes. His death caused national mourning and his funeral was attended by 6,000 people, including kings and heads of state. His burial took place in Bladon, where his parents and brother lay, near Blenheim Palace, where he was born.
Sir Winston Churchill – St. Paul’s Cathedral Funeral
After his death, the Queen in a speech to Parliament called him a “national hero”. His action, though often criticized and challenged, was undoubtedly infused with his patriotism and his firm belief in t
he values of Democracy. Thanks to his vision and impressive ability to foresee events but also with his compassion and self-sacrifice, he managed to save his country from many woes. The whole British nation owed him their freedom.
Below you can find the whole collection of Winston Churchill’s mottos and quotes in text form but also here.
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Winston Churchill Mottos and Quotes:
1. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. (Winston Churchill said)
2. Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. (Winston Churchill said)
3. I may be drunk, miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly. (Winston Churchill said)
4. Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. (Winston Churchill said)
5. The price of greatness is responsibility. (Winston Churchill said)
6. If you ‘re going through hell, keep going. (Winston Churchill said)
7. We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
8. (Winston Churchill said)
9. Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential. (Winston Churchill said)
10. You have enemies? Good. That means you ‘ve stood up for something, sometime in your life. (Winston Churchill said)
11. Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. (Winston Churchill said)
12. A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject. (Winston Churchill said)
13. A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. (Winston Churchill said)
14. A politician needs the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen. (Winston Churchill said)
15. A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him. (Winston Churchill said)
16. A state of society where men may not speak their minds cannot long endure. (Winston Churchill said)
17. All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope. (Winston Churchill said)
18. Although personally I am quite content with existing explosives, I feel we must not stand in the path of improvement. (Winston Churchill said)
19. An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. (Winston Churchill said)
20. Baldwin thought Europe was a bore, and Chamberlain thought it was only a greater Birmingham. (Winston Churchill said)
21. Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver. The greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver, the less he demands in slaughter. (Winston Churchill said)
22. Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat. (Winston Churchill said)
23. Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all. (Winston Churchill said)
24. Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities… because it is the quality which guarantees all others. (Winston Churchill said)
25. Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things. (Winston Churchill said)
26. Difficulties mastered are opportunities won. (Winston Churchill said)
27. Do not let spacious plans for a new world divert your energies from saving what is left of the old. (Winston Churchill said)
28. Eating words has never given me indigestion. (Winston Churchill said)
29. Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put. (Winston Churchill said)
30. Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others. (Winston Churchill said)
31. For good or for ill, air mastery is today the supreme expression of military power and fleets and armies, however vital and important, must accept a subordinate rank. (Winston Churchill said)
32. From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. (Winston Churchill said)
33. Great and good are seldom the same man. (Winston Churchill said)
34. He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. (Winston Churchill said)
35. Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have. (Winston Churchill said)
36. History is written by the victors. (Winston Churchill said)
37. History will be kind to me for I intend to write it. (Winston Churchill said)
38. I always avoid prophesying beforehand, because it is a much better policy to prophesy after the event has already taken place. (Winston Churchill said)
39. I always seem to get inspiration and renewed vitality by contact with this great novel land of yours which sticks up out of the Atlantic. (Winston Churchill said)
40. I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else. (Winston Churchill said)
41. I am certainly not one of those who need to be prodded. In fact, if anything, I am the prod. (Winston Churchill said)
42. I am easily satisfied with the very best. (Winston Churchill said)
43. I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals. (Winston Churchill said)
44. I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter. (Winston Churchill said)
45. I cannot pretend to be impartial about the colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns. (Winston Churchill said)
46. I have never developed indigestion from eating my words. (Winston Churchill said)
47. I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. (Winston Churchill said)
48. I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me. (Winston Churchill said)
49. I like a man who grins when he fights. (Winston Churchill said)
50. I never worry about action, but only inaction. (Winston Churchill said)
51. I was only the servant of my country and had I, at any moment, failed to express her unflinching resolve to fight and conquer, I should at once have been rightly cast aside. (Winston Churchill said)
52. If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons. (Winston Churchill said)
53. If it weren’t for painting, I wouldn’t live; I couldn’t bear the extra strain of things. (Winston Churchill said)
54. If the Almighty were to rebuild the world and asked me for advice, I would have English Channels round every country. And the atmosphere would be such that anything which attempted to fly would be set on fire. (Winston Churchill said)
55. If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another. (Winston Churchill said)
56. If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future. (Winston Churchill said)
57. If you go on with this nuclear arms race, all you are going to do is make the rubble bounce. (Winston Churchill said)
58. If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law. (Winston Churchill said)
59. I’m just preparing my impromptu remarks. (Winston Churchill said)
60. In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet. (Winston Churchill said)
61. In those days he was wiser than he is now; he used to frequently take my advice. (Winston Churchill said)
62. In war as in life, it is often necessary when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might. (Winston Churchill said)
63. In war, you can only be killed once, but in politics, many times. (Winston Churchill said)
64. In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies (Winston Churchill said)
65. India is a geographical term. It is no more a united nation than the Equator. (Winston Churchill said)
66. It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried. (Winston Churchill said)
67. It is a fine game to play – the game of politics – and it is well worth waiting for a good hand before really plunging. (Winston Churchill said)
68. It is a fine thing to be honest, but it is also very important to be right. (Winston Churchill said)
69. It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations. (Winston Churchill said)
70. It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time. (Winston Churchill said)
71. It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see. (Winston Churchill said)
72. It is more agreeable to have the power to give than to receive. (Winston Churchill said)
73. It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary. (Winston Churchill said)
74. It was the nation and the race dwelling all round the globe that had the lion’s heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar. (Winston Churchill said)
75. Kites rise highest against the wind – not with it. (Winston Churchill said)
76. Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning. (Winston Churchill said)
77. Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on. (Winston Churchill said)
78. Meeting Franklin Roosevelt was like opening your first bottle of champagne; knowing him was like drinking it. (Winston Churchill said)
79. Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. (Winston Churchill said)
80. Mr. Attlee is a very modest man. Indeed he has a lot to be modest about. (Winston Churchill said)
81. My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me. (Winston Churchill said)
82. My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them. (Winston Churchill said)
83. My wife and I tried two or three times in the last 40 years to have breakfast together, but it was so disagreeable we had to stop. (Winston Churchill said)
84. Never give in – never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. (Winston Churchill said)
85. Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room. (Winston Churchill said)
86. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. (Winston Churchill said)
87. Never, never, never give up. (Winston Churchill said)
88. ‘No comment’ is a splendid expression. I am using it again and again. (Winston Churchill said)
89. No crime is so great as daring to excel. (Winston Churchill said)
90. Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result. (Winston Churchill said)
91. Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. (Winston Churchill said)
92. One does not leave a convivial party before closing time. (Winston Churchill said)
93. One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never! (Winston Churchill said)
94. Perhaps it is better to be irresponsible and right, than to be responsible and wrong. (Winston Churchill said)
95. Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. (Winston Churchill said)
96. Play the game for more than you can afford to lose… only then will you learn the game. (Winston Churchill said)
97. Politics is almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times. (Winston Churchill said)
98. Politics is not a game. It is an earnest business. (Winston Churchill said)
99. Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen. (Winston Churchill said)
100. Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. (Winston Churchill said)
101. Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all. (Winston Churchill said)
102. Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery. (Winston Churchill said)
103. Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong. (Winston Churchill said)
104. Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon. (Winston Churchill said)
105. Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft. (Winston Churchill said)
106. Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer. (Winston Churchill said)
107. The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter. (Winston Churchill said)
108. The British nation is unique in this respect. They are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst. (Winston Churchill said)
109. The empires of the future are the empires of the mind. (Winston Churchill said)
110. The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see. (Winston Churchill said)
111. The first quality that is needed is audacity. (Winston Churchill said)
112. The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. (Winston Churchill said)
113. The power of an air force is terrific when there is nothing to oppose it. (Winston Churchill said)
114. The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. (Winston Churchill said)
115. There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true. (Winston Churchill said)
116. There are two things that are more difficult than making an after-dinner speech: climbing a wall which is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you. (Winston Churchill said)
117. There is no such thing as public opinion. There is only published opinion. (Winston Churchill said)
118. This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure. (Winston Churchill said)
119. This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read. (Winston Churchill said)
120. Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war. (Winston Churchill said)
121. To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. (Winston Churchill said)
122. Too often the strong, silent man is silent only because he does not know what to say, and is reputed strong only because he has remained silent. (Winston Churchill said)
123. True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information. (Winston Churchill said)
124. Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. (Winston Churchill said)
125. You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else. (Winston Churchill said)
126. Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong – these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history. (Winston Churchill said)
127. War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can’t smile, grin. If you can’t grin, keep out of the way till you can. (Winston Churchill said)
128. We are all worms. But I believe that I am a glow-worm. (Winston Churchill said)
129. We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out. (Winston Churchill said)
130. We are stripped bare by the curse of plenty. (Winston Churchill said)
131. We do not covet anything from any nation except their respect. (Winston Churchill said)
132. We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English. (Winston Churchill said)
133. We occasionally stumble over the truth but most of us pick ourselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened. (Winston Churchill said)
134. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender. (Winston Churchill said)
135. We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival. (Winston Churchill said)
136. We shall show mercy, but we shall not ask for it. (Winston Churchill said)
137. We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us. (Winston Churchill said)
138. What kind of people do they think we are? Is it possible they do not realize that we shall never cease to persevere against them until they have been taught a lesson which they and the world will never forget? (Winston Churchill said)
139. When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home. (Winston Churchill said)
140. When the war of the giants is over the wars of the pygmies will begin. (Winston Churchill said)
141. When we look back on all the perils through which we have passed and at the mighty foes that we have laid low and all the dark and deadly designs that we have frustrated, why should we fear for our future? We have come safely through the worst. (Winston Churchill said)
142. Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse. (Winston Churchill said)
143. A shadow has fallen upon the scenes so lately lighted by the Allied victory. From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. (Winston Churchill said)
144. All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes. (Winston Churchill said)
145. Always remember, a cat looks down on man, a dog looks up to man, but a pig will look man right in the eye and see his equal. (Winston Churchill said)
146. An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile — hoping it will eat him last. (Winston Churchill said)
147. Anyone can rat, but it takes a certain amount of ingenuity to re-rat. (Winston Churchill said)
148. Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm. (Winston Churchill said)
149. Courage is rightly considered the foremost of the virtues, for upon it, all others depend. (Winston Churchill said)
150. Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others. (Winston Churchill said)
151. Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen (Winston Churchill said)
152. Danger — if you meet it promptly and without flinching — you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never! (Winston Churchill said)
153. Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. (Winston Churchill said)
154. Dictators ride to and fro upon tigers which they dare not dismount. (Winston Churchill said)
155. For myself I am an optimist it does not seem to be much use being anything else. (Winston Churchill said)
156. From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put. (Winston Churchill said)
157. Give us the tools, and we will finish the job. (Winston Churchill said)
158. Golf is a game whose aim is to hit a very small ball into an even smaller hole, with weapons singularly ill-designed for the purpose. (Winston Churchill said)
159. He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. (Winston Churchill said)
160. He is a modest little man who has a good deal to be modest about. (Winston Churchill said)
161. Here is the answer which I will give to President Roosevelt. Give us the tools, and we will finish the job. (Winston Churchill said)
162. I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns. (Winston Churchill said)
163. I do not hold that we should rearm in order to fight. I hold that we should rearm in order to parley. (Winston Churchill said)
164. I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents. (Winston Churchill said)
165. I was not the lion, but it fell to me to give the lion’s roar. (Winston Churchill said)
166. If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find we have lost the future. (Winston Churchill said)
167. If we win, nobody will care. If we lose, there will be nobody to care. (Winston Churchill said)
168. If you have knowledge, let others light their candles with it. (Winston Churchill said)
169. If you’re going through hell, keep going. (Winston Churchill said)
170. In war you can be killed only once. In politics, many times. (Winston Churchill said)
171. In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Goodwill. (Winston Churchill said)
172. It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time. (Winston Churchill said)
173. It is better to be frightened now than killed hereafter (Winston Churchill said)
174. It’s no use saying, We are doing our best. You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary. (Winston Churchill said)
175. Logic is a poor guide compared with custom. (Winston Churchill said)
176. Moral of the Work. In war: resolution. In defeat: defiance. In victory: magnanimity. In peace: goodwill. (Winston Churchill said)
177. Never, never, never, never give up. (Winston Churchill said)
178. No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism. (Winston Churchill said)
179. No two on earth in all things can agree. All have some daring singularity. (Winston Churchill said)
180. Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilization. (Winston Churchill said)
181. Nothing is more costly, nothing is more sterile, than vengeance. (Winston Churchill said)
182. Nothing is so exhilarating in life as to be shot at with no result. (Winston Churchill said)
183. Opening amenities are often opening inanities. (Winston Churchill said)
184. Out of intense complexities intense simplicities emerge. (Winston Churchill said)
185. Personally, I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught. (Winston Churchill said)
186. Politics are almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times. (Winston Churchill said)
187. Responsibility is the price of greatness. (Winston Churchill said)
188. Say what you have to say and first time you come to a sentence with a grammatical ending; sit down. (Winston Churchill said)
189. Short words are the best and old words when short are best of all. (Winston Churchill said)
190. Socialism is like a dream. Sooner or later you wake up to reality. (Winston Churchill said)
191. Socialists think profits are a vice; I consider losses the real vice. (Winston Churchill said)
192. Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party. (Winston Churchill said)
193. Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. (Winston Churchill said)
194. Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. (Winston Churchill said)
195. Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm. (Winston Churchill said)
196. Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer. You have only to persevere to save yourselves. (Winston Churchill said)
197. The empires of the futures are the empires of the mind. (Winston Churchill said)
198. The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see. (Winston Churchill said)
199. The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes. (Winston Churchill said)
200. The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries. (Winston Churchill said)
201. The nation will find it very hard to look up to the leaders who are keeping their ears to the ground. (Winston Churchill said)
202. The nose of the bulldog has been slanted backwards so that he can breathe without letting go. (Winston Churchill said)
203. The price of greatness is responsibility. (Winston Churchill said)
204. The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult. (Winston Churchill said)
205. The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. (Winston Churchill said)
206. There is in the act of preparing, the moment you start caring. (Winston Churchill said)
207. There is no finer investment for any community than putting milk into babies. (Winston Churchill said)
208. There is only one duty, only one safe course, and that is to try to be right. (Winston Churchill said)
209. These are not dark days: these are great days — the greatest days our country has ever lived. (Winston Churchill said)
210. This is no time for ease and comfort. It is the time to dare and endure. (Winston Churchill said)
211. This is the sort of pedantry up with which I will not put. (Winston Churchill said)
212. To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war. (Winston Churchill said)
213. Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival. (Winston Churchill said)
214. We are happier in many ways when we are old than when we were young. The young sow wild oats. The old grow sage. (Winston Churchill said)
215. We are stripped bare by the curse of plenty. (Winston Churchill said)
216. We have a lot of anxieties, and one cancels out another very often. (Winston Churchill said)
217. When I look back on all the worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened. (Winston Churchill said)
218. When the eagles are silent the parrots begin to jabber. (Winston Churchill said)
219. Without a measureless and perpetual uncertainty, the drama of human life would be destroyed. (Winston Churchill said)
Winston Churchill rare and unique Mottos:
220. Any intelligent community will much rather govern itself ill, than be well governed by some other community. (Winston Churchill said)
221. Wherever the reformer casts his eye, he is confronted with a mass of largely preventable and even curable suffering. (Winston Churchill said)
222. The mood and temper of the public in regard to the treatment of crime and criminals is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilization of any country. (Winston Churchill said)
223. If any two great and highly scientific nations go to war with one another, they will become heartily sick of it before they come to the end of it. (Winston Churchill said)
224. There is no evil worse than submitting to wrong and violence for fear of war. (Winston Churchill said)
225. There is safety in numbers. (Winston Churchill said)
226. Nations which went down fighting rose again, but those who surrendered tamely were finished. (Winston Churchill said)
227. Never maltreat the enemy by halves. (Winston Churchill said)
228. Business before pleasure. (Winston Churchill said)
229. The finest way to die is in the excitement of fighting the enemy. (Winston Churchill said)
230. The only worse thing than Allies is not having Allies. (Winston Churchill said)
231. The difficulty is not in winning the war, it is in persuading people to let you win – persuading fools. (Winston Churchill said)
231. Anything can be done once or for a short time, but custom, repetition, prolongation is always to be avoided when possible in war. (Winston Churchill said)
232. What is public opinion? The right to be crushed! (Winston Churchill said)
233. If you want your horse to pull your wagon, you have to give him some hay. (Winston Churchill said)
234. The eagle should permit the small birds to sing and care not where of they sang. (Winston Churchill said)
235. If a man is coming across the sea to kill you, you do everything in your power to make sure he dies before finishing the journey. This may be difficult, it may be painful, but at least it is simple. (Winston Churchill said)
236. In my country, the people can do as they like, although it often happens that they don’t like what they have done. (Winston Churchill said)
237. No boy or girl should ever be disheartened by lack of success in their youth, but should diligently and faithfully continue to persevere and make up for lost time. (Winston Churchill said)
238. Life slips away, but one fights with what strengths remain for the things one cares about. (Winston Churchill said)
239. Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and an amusement; then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then a tyran. The last phase is that just as you are about to reconcile to your servitude, you kill the monster, and fling him out to the public. (Winston Churchill said)
240. We are for the ladder. Let all try their best to climb. They are for the queu. Let each wait his place until his turn comes. (Winston Churchill said)
241. Peace is our aim, and strength is the only way of getting it. (Winston Churchill said)
242. Man is spirit. (Winston Churchill said)
243. The worst thing about it (retiring) is that when you let all these responsibilities drop, you feel your power falls with the thing it held. (Winston Churchill said)
244. It is difficult to overtake slander, but the truth is very powerful too. (Winston Churchill said)