Winston Churchill

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The Right Honourable
Sir Winston Churchill
KG OM CH TD FRS PC
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
26 October 1951 – 7 April 1955
Monarch George VI
Elizabeth II
Deputy Anthony Eden
Preceded by Clement Attlee
Succeeded by Anthony Eden
In office
10 May 1940 – 27 July 1945
Monarch George VI
Deputy Clement Attlee
Preceded by Neville Chamberlain
Succeeded by Clement Attlee
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
6 November 1924 – 4 June 1929
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by Philip Snowden
Succeeded by Philip Snowden
Home Secretary
In office
19 February 1910 – 24 October 1911
Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith
Preceded by Herbert Gladstone
Succeeded by Reginald McKenna
Personal details
Born 30 November 1874(1874-11-30)
Blenheim, Oxfordshire,
United Kingdom
Died 24 January 1965(1965-01-24) (aged 90)
Hyde Park, London,
United Kingdom
Resting place St Martin's Church, Bladon, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
(1900–1904, 1924–1964)
Liberal (1904–1924)
Spouse(s) Clementine Churchill
Relations Pamela Harriman (former daughter-in-law)
Children Diana Spencer-Churchill
Randolph Churchill
Sarah Tuchet-Jesson
Marigold Churchill
Mary Soames
Residence 10 Downing Street (official)
Chartwell (private)
Alma mater Harrow School, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Profession Member of Parliament, statesman, soldier, journalist, historian, author, painter
Churchill in military uniform in 1895
A young Winston Churchill on a lecture tour of the United States in 1900
This person won a Nobel Prize

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill KG OM CH TD FRS PC (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was an English politician. He was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, once during World War II, and again in the early 1950s.

Churchill is the only person to have been a member of the British Government during both World Wars, and the last commoner (non-royal) to be granted a State funeral. He was also a soldier, journalist, and author. He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1953.[1]

Churchill featured in two media polls. He was ranked as the greatest British prime minister of the twentieth century by 20 prominent historians, politicians and commentators. They were asked by BBC Radio 4's The Westminster Hour to rank the 19 prime ministers from Lord Salisbury at the turn of the century through to John Major in the 1990s.[2] In a 2002 BBC 2 television poll Churchill was ranked as the greatest Briton in history. A million votes were cast, and the voting was heavily influenced by public campaigns for various candidates.[3]

He is the only British Prime Minister to have received the Nobel Prize, and the first person to be made an Honorary Citizen of the United States.[4]

Personal life[change | change source]

Winston Churchill was born on 30 November 1874 at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, England, the home of the Dukes of Marlborough. His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was a younger son of the 7th Duke, and a leading Tory politician. His mother (née Jenny Jerome) was American.[1]

As a boy, Churchill went to the famous Harrow School.[1] He did not get good results, but said he was good at fighting.

He joined the British Army, in 1893. In 1896, he was transferred to Bombay, in what was the Indian Empire (British India). He fought in what is now Pakistan. After this, he fought in a war in Sudan, in 1898 as an officer in the cavalry. In 1899, he went to the Second Boer War in South Africa, to be a newspaper reporter. He was captured by the Boers, but managed to escape.

In 1900, he became a politician in the Conservative Party, and was elected to Parliament. In 1904, he changed parties and joined the Liberal Party, but later returned to the Conservative Party.[1] He married Clementine Hozier in 1908, and had 5 children named Diana, Randolph, Sarah, Marigold and Mary.

World War I[change | change source]

In 1910 Churchill became Home Secretary, one of the most important members of the government. In 1911 he was made First Lord of the Admiralty, which put him in charge of the Royal Navy. When World War I broke out, he stayed in that job. He organized an invasion in Gallipoli which went wrong, and because of this, he was made to leave the government. He joined the army and was sent to fight in France, although he was still a Member of Parliament. In 1917 he was made minister in charge of military supplies (Minister of Munitions).

Between the wars[change | change source]

After World War I, in 1919, Churchill was made Secretary of State for War, and Secretary of State for Air (aircraft). In 1921 he was in charge of the colonies as Secretary of State. Soon after, in 1922 he lost in an election. In 1924 he became a member of Parliament again, this time not as a member of any party. In 1925 he joined the Conservative Party again. He became Chancellor of the Exchequer (Minister of Finance) in 1924.

After 1929, Churchill disagreed with many things the Conservative party believed in. He was not given any job in the government. Instead he wrote books. One was called Marlborough: his life and times, about his famous ancestor John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough; another was A History of the English Speaking Peoples, which was not published until after World War 2.

When Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany, Churchill warned that Britain should strengthen its military and oppose Hitler. However, very few leaders agreed with him.

World War II[change | change source]

At the start of World War II, Churchill was again put in charge of the Navy. In 1940 the war was going badly for Britain, and the Prime Minister resigned. Churchill was given the job. Some people thought that Britain could not win the war, and that the British government should make peace with Hitler. Churchill was sure that Britain could win, and promised to continue the fight. He made famous speeches that are still remembered today.

He was friends with the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt. He persuaded Roosevelt to give supplies to Britain, and to help Britain. He had many meetings with Roosevelt and with Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union, after they came into the war. They were called the Big Three.

After the war[change | change source]

In 1945, his Conservative party lost an election, and he stopped being Prime Minister. However, he became Prime Minister again in 1951, which he was until 1955.

He was knighted in 1953, and became Sir Winston, and also won the Nobel Prize in Literature.

In 1955, he retired from being Prime Minister. In 1964, he retired from Parliament.

Winston Churchill's identification document as an Honorary Citizen of the United States, provided as a gift from President John F. Kennedy.[4]

In 1963, President John F. Kennedy named him 'Honorary Citizen of the United States' but too ill to attend a White House ceremony, his son and grandson accepted the award.

Sir Winston died of a stroke at the age of 90, in 1965. When he died, his wife Lady Clementine Churchill and other members of the family were at his bedside.

Books[change | change source]

Title (US Title) (Year of publication)

  • The Story of the Malakand Field Force (1898)
  • The River War (1899): about the reconquest of the Sudan, after the revolution of the self-proclaimed Mahdi, Muhammed Ahmed.
  • Savrola (1900; serialised 1899 and published USA 1899): a novel
  • London to Ladysmith via Pretoria (1900): the Second Boer War, and the Relief of Ladysmith
  • Ian Hamilton's March (1900): Second Boar War continued
  • Mr. Brodrick’s Army (1903)
  • Lord Randolph Churchill (1906): two-volume biography of his father
  • For Free Trade (1906)
  • My African Journey (1908)
  • Liberalism and the Social Problem (1909)
  • The People’s Rights (1910)
  • The World Crisis (1923–1931)
  • My Early Life: A Roving Commission (1930): autobiography
  • India (1931)
  • Thoughts and Adventures (Amid These Storms) (1932)
  • Marlborough: His Life and Times (1933–1938): four-volume biography on his greatest predecessor
  • Great Contemporaries (1937): short biographies
  • Arms and the Covenant or While England Slept: A Survey of World Affairs, 1932–1938 (1938): a call to arms, warning about Hitler, urging rearmament
  • Step by Step 1936–1939 (1939)
  • Addresses Delivered in the Year 1940 (1940)
  • Broadcast Addresses (1941)
  • Into Battle (Blood Sweat and Tears) (1941)
  • The Unrelenting Struggle (1942)
  • The End of the Beginning (1943)
  • Onwards to Victory (1944)
  • The Dawn of Liberation (1945)
  • Victory (1946)
  • Secret Sessions Speeches (1946)
  • War Speeches 1940–1945 (1946)
  • The Second World War (1948–1954): six volumes (12 in paperback)
  • The Sinews of Peace (1948)
  • Painting as a Pastime (1948)
  • Europe Unite (1950)
  • In the Balance (1951)
  • The War Speeches 1939–1945 (1952)
  • Stemming the Tide (1953)
  • A History of the English-Speaking Peoples (1956–1958): four volumes
  • The Unwritten Alliance (1961)

Essays and short stories[change | change source]

  • "Man Overboard!" (1899). First printed in The Harmsworth Magazine, January 1899
  • "If Lee had not won the Battle of Gettysburg" (1930). First published in Scribner's Magazine, December 1930.[5]

References[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]

Blenheim Palace: the birthplace of Winston Churchill