Winston Churchill | Wikipedia audio article

September 25, 2019

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (30
November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British politician, army officer, and writer, who
was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955.
As Prime Minister, Churchill led Britain to victory in the Second World War. Churchill
represented five constituencies during his career as Member of Parliament (MP). Ideologically
an economic liberal and British imperialist, he began and ended his parliamentary career
as a member of the Conservative Party, which he led from 1940 to 1955, but for twenty years
from 1904 he was a prominent member of the Liberal Party.
Of mixed English and American parentage, Churchill was born in Oxfordshire to an aristocratic
family. Joining the British Army, he saw action in British India, the Anglo–Sudan War, and
the Second Boer War, gaining fame as a war correspondent and writing books about his
campaigns. Elected an MP in 1900, initially as a Conservative, he defected to the Liberals
in 1904. In H. H. Asquith’s Liberal government, Churchill served as President of the Board
of Trade, Home Secretary, and First Lord of the Admiralty, championing prison reform and
workers’ social security. During the First World War, he oversaw the Gallipoli Campaign;
after it proved a disaster, he resigned from government and served in the Royal Scots Fusiliers
on the Western Front. In 1917 he returned to government under David Lloyd George as
Minister of Munitions, and was subsequently Secretary of State for War, Secretary of State
for Air, then Secretary of State for the Colonies. After two years out of Parliament, he served
as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Stanley Baldwin’s Conservative government, returning
the pound sterling in 1925 to the gold standard at its pre-war parity, a move widely seen
as creating deflationary pressure on the UK economy.
Out of office during the 1930s, Churchill took the lead in calling for British rearmament
to counter the growing threat from Nazi Germany. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he
was re-appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. Following Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s
resignation in 1940, Churchill replaced him. Churchill oversaw British involvement in the
Allied war effort, resulting in victory in 1945. His wartime leadership has been widely
praised; however, several of his decisions have proved controversial. After the Conservatives’
defeat in the 1945 general election, he became Leader of the Opposition. Amid the developing
Cold War with the Soviet Union, he publicly warned of an “iron curtain” of Soviet influence
in Europe and promoted European unity. He was elected prime minister in the 1951 election.
His second term was preoccupied with foreign affairs, including the Malayan Emergency,
Mau Mau Uprising, Korean War and a UK-backed Iranian coup. Domestically his government
emphasised house-building and developed an atomic bomb. In declining health, Churchill
resigned as prime minister in 1955, although he remained an MP until 1964. Upon his death
in 1965, he was given a state funeral. Widely considered one of the 20th century’s
most significant figures, Churchill remains popular in the UK and Western world, where
he is seen as a victorious wartime leader who played an important role in defending
liberal democracy from the spread of fascism. Also praised as a social reformer and writer,
among his many awards was the Nobel Prize in Literature. In more recent years however,
his imperialist views and comments on race, as well as his sanctioning of human rights
abuses in the suppression of anti-imperialist movements seeking independence from the British
Empire, have generated considerable controversy.==Early life=====Childhood and schooling: 1874–1895===Churchill was born at the family’s ancestral
home, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, on 30 November 1874, at which time the United Kingdom
was the dominant world power. A direct descendant of the Dukes of Marlborough, his family were
among the highest levels of the British aristocracy, and thus he was born into the country’s governing
elite. His paternal grandfather, John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough, had been a Member
of Parliament (MP) for ten years, a member of the Conservative Party who served in the
government of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. His own father, Lord Randolph Churchill, had
been elected Conservative MP for Woodstock in 1873. His mother, Jennie Churchill (née
Jerome), was from an American family whose substantial wealth derived from finance. The
couple had met in August 1873, and were engaged three days later, marrying at the British
Embassy in Paris in April 1874. The couple lived beyond their income and were frequently
in debt; according to the biographer Sebastian Haffner, the family were “rich by normal standards
but poor by those of the rich”. In 1876 John Spencer-Churchill was appointed
Viceroy of Ireland, with Randolph as his private secretary, resulting in the Churchill family’s
relocation to Dublin, when the entirety of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom. It
was here that Jennie’s second son, Jack, was born in 1880; there has been speculation that
Randolph was not his biological father. Throughout much of the 1880s Randolph and Jennie were
effectively estranged, during which she had many suitors. Churchill had virtually no relationship
with his father; referring to his mother, Churchill later stated that “I loved her dearly—but
at a distance.” His relationship with Jack would be warm, and they were close at various
points in their lives. In Dublin, he was educated in reading and mathematics by a governess,
while he and his brother were cared for primarily by their nanny, Elizabeth Ann Everest. Churchill
was devoted to her and nicknamed her “Woomany”; he later wrote that “She had been my dearest
and most intimate friend during the whole of the twenty years I had lived.”Aged seven,
he began boarding at St. George’s School in Ascot, Berkshire; he hated it, did poorly
academically, and regularly misbehaved. Visits home were to Connaught Place in London, where
his parents had settled, while they also took him on his first foreign holiday, to Gastein
in Austria-Hungary. As a result of poor health, in September 1884 he moved to Brunswick School
in Hove; there, his academic performance improved but he continued to misbehave. He narrowly
passed the entrance exam which allowed him to begin studies at the elite Harrow School
in April 1888. There, his academics remained high—he excelled particularly in history—but
teachers complained that he was unpunctual and careless. He wrote poetry and letters
which were published in the school magazine, Harrovian, and won a fencing competition.
His father insisted that he be prepared for a career in the military, and so Churchill’s
last three years at Harrow were spent in the army form. He performed poorly in most of
his exams.On a holiday to Bournemouth in January 1893, he fell and was knocked unconscious
for three days. In March he took a job at a cram school in Lexham Gardens, South Kensington,
before holidaying in Switzerland and Italy that summer.
He made three attempts to be admitted to the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, only succeeding
on the third. There, he was accepted as a cadet in the cavalry, starting his education
in September 1893. In August 1894 he and his brother holidayed in Belgium, and he spent
free time in London, joining protests at the closing of the Empire Theatre, which he had
frequented. His Sandhurst education lasted for 15 months; he graduated in December 1894.
Shortly after Churchill finished at Sandhurst, in January 1895, his father died; this led
Churchill to adopt the belief that members of his family inevitably died young.===Cuba, India, and Sudan: 1895–1899===In February 1895, Churchill was commissioned
as a second lieutenant in the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars regiment of the British Army,
based at Aldershot. This position earned him a wage of £150 a year, which was far outstripped
by his expenditure. In July, he rushed to Crouch Hill, North London to sit with Everest
as she lay dying, subsequently organising her funeral. Churchill was eager to witness
military action and used his mother’s influence to try to get himself posted to a war zone.
In the autumn of 1895, he and Reginald Barnes traveled to Cuba to observe its war of independence;
they joined Spanish troops attempting to suppress independence fighters and were caught up in
several skirmishes. In North America, he also spent time in New York City, staying with
the wealthy politician Bourke Cockran at the latter’s Fifth Avenue residence; Cockran profoundly
influenced the young Churchill. Churchill admired the United States, writing to his
brother that it was “a very great country” and telling his mother “what an extraordinary
people the Americans are!”With the Hussars, Churchill arrived in Bombay, British India,
in October 1896. They were soon transferred to Bangalore, where he shared a bungalow with
Barnes. Describing India as a “godless land of snobs and bores”, Churchill remained posted
there for 19 months, during the course of which he made three visits to Calcutta, expeditions
to Hyderabad and the North West Frontier, and two visits back to Britain. Believing
himself poorly educated, he began a project of self-education, reading the work of Plato,
Adam Smith, Charles Darwin, and Henry Hallam. Most influential for him were however Edward
Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Winwood Reade’s The Martyrdom
of Man, and the writings of Thomas Babington Macaulay.Keenly interested in British parliamentary
affairs, in a private letter he declared himself “a Liberal in all but name”, but added that
he could never endorse the Liberal Party’s support for Irish home rule. Instead, he allied
himself to the Tory democracy wing of the Conservative Party, and on a visit home gave
his first public speech for the Conservative’s Primrose League in Bath. Reflecting a mix
of reformist and conservative perspectives, he supported the promotion of secular, non-denominational
education while opposing women’s suffrage, referring to the Suffragettes as “a ridiculous
movement”. Churchill decided to join the Malakand Field
Force led by Bindon Blood in its campaign against Mohmand rebels in the Swat Valley
of Northwest India. Blood agreed on the condition that Churchill be assigned as a journalist;
to ensure this, he gained accreditation from The Pioneer and The Daily Telegraph, for whom
he wrote regular updates. In letters to family, he described how both sides in the conflict
slaughtered each other’s wounded, although he omitted any reference to such actions by
British troops in his published reports. He remained with the British troops for six weeks
before returning to Bangalore in October 1897. There, he wrote his first book, The Story
of the Malakand Field Force, which was published by Longman to largely positive reviews. He
also wrote his only work of fiction, Savrola, a roman à clef set in an imagined Balkan
kingdom. It was serialised in Macmillan’s Magazine between May–December 1899 before
appearing in book form.While staying in Bangalore in the first half of 1898, Churchill explored
the possibility of joining Herbert Kitchener’s military campaign in the Sudan. Kitchener
was initially reticent, claiming that Churchill was simply seeking publicity and medals. After
spending time in Calcutta, Meerut, and Peshawar, Churchill sailed back to England from Bombay
in June. There, he used his contacts—including a visit to the Prime Minister Lord Salisbury
at 10 Downing Street—to get himself assigned to Kitchener’s campaign. He agreed that he
would write a column describing the events for The Morning Post. He sailed for Egypt,
where he joined the 21st Lancers at Cairo before they headed south along the River Nile
to take part in the Battle of Omdurman against the army of Sudanese leader Abdallahi ibn
Muhammad. Churchill was critical of Kitchener’s actions during the war, particularly the latter’s
unmerciful treatment of enemy wounded and his desecration of Muhammad Ahmad’s tomb in
Omdurman. Following the battle, Churchill gave skin from his chest for a graft for an
injured officer. Back in England by October, Churchill wrote an account of the campaign,
published as The River War in November 1899.===Attempts at a Parliamentary career and
South Africa: 1899–1900===Deciding that he wanted a parliamentary career,
Churchill pursued political contacts and gave addresses at three Conservative Party meetings.
It was also at this point that he courted Pamela Plowden, later Countess of Lytton;
although a relationship did not ensue, they remained lifelong friends. In December he
returned to India for three months, largely to indulge his love of the game polo. While
in Calcutta, he stayed for a week in the home of Viceroy George Nathaniel Curzon. On the
journey home, he spent two weeks at the Savoy Hotel in Cairo, where he was introduced to
the Khedive Abbas II, before arriving in England in April. He refocused his attention on politics,
addressing further Conservative meetings and networking at events such as a Rothschild’s
dinner party. He was selected as one of the two Conservative parliamentary candidates
at the June 1899 by-election in Oldham, Lancashire. Although the Oldham seats had previously been
held by the Conservatives, the election was a narrow Liberal victory.Anticipating the
outbreak of the Second Boer War between Britain and the Boer Republics, Churchill sailed from
Southampton to South Africa as a journalist writing for the Daily Mail and Morning Post.
From Cape Town, in October he travelled to the conflict zone near Ladysmith, then besieged
by Boer troops, before spending time at Estcourt before heading for Colenso. After his train
was derailed by Boer artillery shelling, he was captured as a prisoner of war and interned
in a Boer POW camp in Pretoria. In December, Churchill and two other inmates escaped the
prison over the latrine wall. Churchill stowed aboard a freight train and later hid within
a mine, shielded by the sympathetic English mine owner. Wanted by the Boer authorities,
he again hid aboard a freight train and travelled to safety in Portuguese East Africa.Sailing
to Durban, Churchill found that his escape had attracted much publicity in Britain. He
did not return home, and in January 1900 he was appointed a lieutenant in the South African
Light Horse regiment, joining Redvers Buller’s fight to relieve the Siege of Ladysmith and
take Pretoria. In his writings during the campaign, he chastised British hatred for
the Boer, calling for them to be treated with “generosity and tolerance” and urging a “speedy
peace”; after the war was over he would call for the British to be magnanimous in victory.
He was among the first British troops into Ladysmith and Pretoria. He and his cousin,
the Duke of Marlborough, were able to get ahead of the rest of the troops in Pretoria,
where they demanded and received the surrender of 52 Boer prison camp guards. After the victory
in Pretoria, he returned to Cape Town and sailed for Britain in July. In May, while
he had still been in South Africa, his Morning Post despatches had been published as London
to Ladysmith via Pretoria, which sold well.==Early political career=====Early years in Parliament: 1900–1905
===Arriving in Southampton in July 1900, Churchill
rented a flat in London’s Mayfair, using it as his base for the next six years, and hired
a personal secretary. He stood again as a Conservative candidate for the seat of Oldham
at the 1900 general election, securing a narrow victory. At age 25, he was now an MP. MPs
were not then paid a wage and, to earn money, Churchill embarked on a speaking tour focusing
on his South African experiences; after touring Britain in late October and November he proceeded
to the US, where his first lecture was introduced by the writer Mark Twain. In the US, he met
President William McKinley and Vice President Theodore Roosevelt; the latter invited Churchill
to dinner, but took a dislike to him. Churchill then crossed to Canada to give more lectures,
and in spring 1901 gave talks in Paris, Madrid, and Gibraltar. In October 1900, he published
Ian Hamilton’s March, a book about his South African experiences.In February 1901, Churchill
took his seat in the House of Commons, where his maiden speech gained widespread press
coverage. He associated with a group of Conservatives known as the Hughligans, although he was critical
of the Conservative government on various issues. He condemned the British execution
of a Boer military commandant, and voiced concerns about the levels of public expenditure;
in response, Prime Minister Arthur Balfour asked him to join a parliamentary select committee
on the topic. He opposed an increase in army funding, suggesting that any additional military
expenditure should go to the navy. This upset the Conservative front bench but gained support
from Liberals. He increasingly socialised with senior Liberals, and particularly the
Liberal Imperialists like H. H. Asquith. In this context, he later wrote, he “drifted
steadily to the left” of British parliamentary politics. He privately considered “the gradual
creation by an evolutionary process of a Democratic or Progressive wing to the Conservative Party”,
or alternately a “Central Party” to unite the Conservatives and Liberals. In the House of Commons, Churchill increasingly
voted with the Liberal opposition against the government. In February 1903, he was among
18 Conservative MPs who voted against the government’s increase in military expenditure.
He backed the Liberal vote of censure against the use of Chinese indentured labourers in
South Africa, and in favour of a Liberal bill to restore legal rights to trade unions. His
April 1904 parliamentary speech upholding the rights of trade unions was described by
the pro-Conservative Daily Mail as “Radicalism of the reddest type”. In May 1903, the Liberal
Unionist MP Joseph Chamberlain, then the Secretary of State for the Colonies in a Conservative
government, called for the introduction of tariffs on goods imported into the British
Empire from outside; Churchill became a leading Conservative voice against such economic protectionism.
Describing himself as a “sober admirer” of “the principles of Free Trade”, in July he
was a founding member of the anti-protectionist Free Food League. In October, Balfour’s government
sided with Chamberlain and announced protectionist legislation.Churchill’s outspoken criticism
of Balfour’s government and imperial protectionism, coupled with a letter of support he sent to
a Liberal candidate in Ludlow, angered many Conservatives. In December 1903, the Oldham
Conservative Association informed him that it would not support his candidature in the
next general election. In March 1904, Balfour and the Conservative front bench walked out
of the House of Commons during one of his speeches; he described their response as “a
very unpleasant and disconcerting demonstration”. In May he expressed opposition to the government’s
proposed Aliens Bill, which was designed to curb Jewish migration into Britain. He stated
that the bill would “appeal to insular prejudice against foreigners, to racial prejudice against
Jews, and to labour prejudice against competition” and expressed himself in favour of “the old
tolerant and generous practice of free entry and asylum to which this country has so long
adhered and from which it has so greatly gained.” On 31 May 1904, he crossed the floor, defecting
from the Conservatives to sit as a member of the Liberal Party in the House of Commons.===Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies:
1905–1908===In December, Balfour resigned as Prime Minister
and King Edward VII invited the Liberal leader Henry Campbell-Bannerman to form a new government.
Hoping to secure a working majority in the House of Commons, Campbell-Bannerman called
a general election for January 1906. The Liberals won with 377 seats to the Conservatives’ 157.
Having had a previous invitation from the Manchester Liberals to stand in their constituency,
Churchill did so, winning the Manchester North West seat with a majority of 1241. January
also saw the publication of Churchill’s biography of his father, a work he had been working
on for several years. He received an advance payment of £8000 for the book, the highest
ever paid for a political biography in Britain to that point; on publication, it was generally
well received. It was also at this time that the first biography of Churchill himself,
written by the Liberal Alexander MacCallum Scott, was published.In the new government,
Churchill became Under-Secretary of State for the Colonial Office, a position that he
had requested. He worked beneath the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Victor Bruce, 9th
Earl of Elgin, and took Edward Marsh as his secretary; the latter remained Churchill’s
secretary for 25 years. In this junior ministerial position, Churchill was first tasked with
helping to draft a constitution for the Transvaal. In 1906, he helped oversee the granting of
a government to the Orange Free State. In dealing with southern Africa, he sought to
ensure equality between the British and Boer. He also announced a gradual phasing out of
the use of Chinese indentured labourers in South Africa; he and the government decided
that a sudden ban would cause too much upset in the colony and might damage the economy.
He expressed concerns about the relations between European settlers and the indigenous
southern African population; after Zulu launched the Bambatha Rebellion in Natal, he complained
of Europeans’ “disgusting butchery of the natives”.In August 1906, Churchill holidayed
on a yacht in Deauville, France, spending much of his time playing polo or gambling.
From there he proceeded to Paris and then Switzerland—where he climbed the Eggishorn—and
then to Berlin and Silesia, where he was a guest of Kaiser Wilhelm II. He went then to
Venice, and from there toured Italy by motorcar with his friend, Lionel Rothschild. In May
1907, he holidayed at the home of another friend, Maurice de Forest, in Biarritz. In
the autumn, he embarked on a tour of Europe and Africa. Traveling through France and then
Italy, he travelled to Malta and then Cyprus, before moving through the Suez Canal to Aden
and Berbera. Sailing to Mombasa, he travelled by rail through the Kenya Colony—stopping
for big game hunting in Simba—before heading through the Uganda Protectorate and then sailing
up the River Nile. He wrote about his experiences for Strand Magazine and later published them
in book form as My African Journey.===President of the Board of Trade: 1908–1910
===When Asquith succeeded Campbell-Bannerman
in 1908, Churchill was promoted to the Cabinet as President of the Board of Trade. Aged 33,
he was the youngest Cabinet member since 1866. Newly appointed Cabinet ministers were legally
obliged to seek re-election at a by-election; in April, Churchill lost Manchester North
to the Conservative candidate by 429 votes. The Liberals then stood him in a by-election
in the Scottish safe seat of Dundee, where he won comfortably. In his Cabinet role, Churchill
worked with Liberal politician David Lloyd George to champion social reform. In one speech
Churchill stated that although the “vanguard” of the British people “enjoys all the delights
of all the ages, our rearguard struggles out into conditions which are crueller than barbarism”.
To deal with this, he promoted what he called a “network of State intervention and regulation”
akin to that in Germany. His speeches on these issues were published in the volumes Liberalism
and the Social Problem and The People’s Rights. One of the first tasks he faced was in arbitrating
an industrial dispute among ship-workers and their employers on the River Tyne. He then
established a Standing Court of Arbitration to deal with future industrial disputes, establishing
a reputation as a conciliator. Arguing that workers should have their working hours reduced,
Churchill promoted the Mines Eight Hours Bill—which legally prohibited miners working more than
an eight-hour day—introducing its second reading in the House of Commons. In 1908,
he introduced the Trade Boards Bill to parliament, which would establish a Board of Trade which
could prosecute exploitative employers, establish the principle of minimum wage, and the right
of workers to have meal breaks. The bill passed with a large majority. In May, he proposed
the Labour Exchanges Bill which sought to establish over 200 Labour Exchanges through
which the unemployed would be assisted in finding employment. He also promoted the idea
of an unemployment insurance scheme, which would be part-funded by the state.To ensure
funding for these social reforms, he and Lloyd George denounced Reginald McKennas’ expansion
of warship production. Churchill openly ridiculed those who thought war with Germany was inevitable—according
to biographer Roy Jenkins he was going through “a pro-German phase”—and in autumn 1909
he visited Germany, spending time with the Kaiser and observing German Army manoeuvres.
In his personal life, Churchill proposed marriage to Clementine Hozier; they were married in
September at St Margaret’s, Westminster. They honeymooned in Baveno, Venice, and Moravia,
before settling into a London home at 33 Eccleston Square. The following July they had a daughter,
Diana.To pass its social reforms into law, Asquith’s Liberal government presented them
in the form of the People’s Budget. Conservative opponents of the reform set up the Budget
Protest League; supporters of it established the Budget League, of which Churchill became
president. The budget passed in the House of Commons but was rejected by the Conservative
peers who dominated the House of Lords; this threatened Churchill’s social reforms. Churchill
warned that such upper-class obstruction would anger working-class Britons and could lead
to class war. To deal with the deadlock, the government called a January 1910 general election,
which resulted in a narrow Liberal victory; Churchill retained his seat at Dundee. After
the election, he proposed the abolition of the House of Lords in a cabinet memorandum,
suggesting that it be replaced either by a unicameral system or by a new, smaller second
chamber that lacked an in-built advantage for the Conservatives. In April, the Lords
relented and the budget was passed.===Home Secretary: 1910–1911===In February 1910, Churchill was promoted to
Home Secretary, giving him control over the police and prison services, and he implemented
a prison reform programme. He introduced a distinction between criminal and political
prisoners, with prison rules for the latter being relaxed. He tried to establish libraries
for prisoners, and introduced a measure ensuring that each prison must put on either a lecture
or a concert for the entertainment of prisoners four times a year. He reduced the length of
solitary confinement for first offenders to one month and for recidivists to three months,
and spoke out against what he regarded as the excessively lengthy sentences meted out
to perpetrators of certain crimes. He proposed the abolition of automatic imprisonment of
those who failed to pay fines, and put a stop to the imprisonment of those aged between
16 and 21 except in cases where they had committed the most serious offences. Of the 43 capital
sentences passed while he was Home Secretary, he commuted 21 of them.One of the major domestic
issues in Britain was that of women’s suffrage. By this point, Churchill supported giving
women the vote, although would only back a bill to that effect if it had majority support
from the (male) electorate. His proposed solution was a referendum on the issue, but this found
no favour with Asquith and women’s suffrage remained unresolved until 1918. Many Suffragettes
took Churchill for a committed opponent of women’s suffrage, and targeted his meetings
for protest. In November 1910, the suffragist Hugh Franklin attacked Churchill with a whip;
Franklin was arrested and imprisoned for six weeks. It was these militant suffragettes
who were the primary beneficiaries of Churchill’s relaxed rules for those categorised as ‘political’
prisoners. In the summer of 1910, Churchill spent two
months on de Forest’s yacht in the Mediterranean. Back in Britain, he was tasked with dealing
with the Tonypandy Riot, in which coal miners in the Rhondda Valley violently protested
against their working conditions. The Chief Constable of Glamorgan requested troops to
help police quell the rioting. Churchill, learning that the troops were already travelling,
allowed them to go as far as Swindon and Cardiff, but blocked their deployment; he was concerned
that the use of troops could lead to bloodshed. Instead he sent 270 London police—who were
not equipped with firearms—to assist their Welsh counterparts. As the riots continued,
he offered the protesters an interview with the government’s chief industrial arbitrator,
which they accepted. Privately, Churchill regarded both the mine owners and striking
miners as being “very unreasonable”. The Times and other media outlets accused him of being
too soft on the rioters; conversely, many in the Labour Party, which was linked to the
trade unions, regarded him as having been too heavy-handed.Asquith called a general
election for December 1910, in which the Liberals were re-elected and Churchill again secured
his Dundee seat. In January 1911, Churchill became involved with the Siege of Sidney Street;
three Latvian burglars had killed several police officers and hidden in a house in London’s
East End, which was surrounded by police. Churchill joined the police although did not
direct their operation. After the house caught on fire, he told the fire brigade not to proceed
into the house because of the threat that the armed Latvians posed to them. After the
event, two of the burglars were found dead. Although he faced criticism for his decision,
he stated that he “thought it better to let the house burn down rather than spend good
British lives in rescuing those ferocious rascals.”In March 1911, he introduced the
second reading of the Coal Mines Bill to parliament, which—when implemented into law—introduced
stricter safety standards to coal mines. He also formulated the Shops Bill to improve
the working conditions of shop workers; it faced opposition from shop owners and only
passed into law in a much emasculated form. To maintain pressure on this issue, he became
president of the Early Closing Association and remained in that position until the early
1940s. In April, Lloyd George introduced the first health and unemployment insurance legislation,
the National Insurance Act 1911; Churchill had been instrumental in drafting it. In May,
his wife gave birth to their second child, Randolph, named after Churchill’s father.
In 1911, he was tasked with dealing with escalating civil strife, sending troops into Liverpool
to quell protesting dockers and rallying against a national railway strike. As the Agadir Crisis
emerged, which threatened the outbreak of war between Germany and France, Churchill
suggested that—should negotiations fail—the UK should form an alliance with France and
Russia and safeguard the independence of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark in the face of
possible German expansionism. The Agadir Crisis had a dramatic effect on Churchill and his
views about the need for naval expansion.===First Lord of the Admiralty: 1911–1915
===In October 1911, Asquith appointed Churchill
First Lord of the Admiralty. He settled into his official London residence at Admiralty
House, and established his new office aboard the admiralty yacht, the Enchantress. Over
the next two and a half years he focused on naval preparation, visiting naval stations
and dockyards, seeking to improve naval morale, and scrutinising German naval developments.
After the German government passed the German Navy Law to increase warship production, Churchill
vowed that Britain would do the same and that for every new battleship built by the Germans,
Britain would build two. Believing that Germany had been taken over by an oligarchy of “the
landlord ascendancy”, he expressed the hope that war with the country would be averted
if Germany’s “democratic forces” could re-assert their control over its government. To discourage
conflict, he invited the Germans to engage in a mutual de-escalation of the two country’s
naval building projects, but his offer was rebuffed.As part of his naval reforms, he
pushed for higher pay and greater recreational facilities for naval staff, an increase in
the building of submarines, and a renewed focus on the Royal Naval Air Service, encouraging
them to experiment with how aircraft could be used for offensive military purposes. He
coined the term “seaplane” and ordered 100 to be constructed for the Navy. In 1913 he
began taking flying lessons at Eastchurch air station, although close friends urged
him to stop given the dangers involved. Some Liberals objected to his levels of naval expenditure;
in December 1913 he threatened to resign if his proposal for four new battleships in 1914–15
was rejected. In June 1914, he convinced the House of Commons to authorise the government
purchase of a 51 percent share in the profits of oil produced by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company,
to secure continued oil access for the Royal Navy.
As a supporter of eugenics, he participated in the drafting of the Mental Deficiency Act
1913; however, the Act, in the form eventually passed, rejected his preferred method of sterilisation
of the feeble-minded in favour of their confinement in institutions. Taking political centre stage in this period
was the vexed issue of how the British government should respond to the Irish home rule movement.
In 1912, Asquith’s government had put forward the Home Rule Bill, which if passed into law
would grant home rule to Ireland. Churchill supported the bill and urged Ulster Unionists—a
largely Protestant community who desired continued political unity with Britain—to accept it.
He opposed partition of Ireland, and in 1913 suggested that Ulster have some autonomy from
an independent Irish government. Many Ulster Unionists rejected any option that left them
under the jurisdiction of a Dublin-based government and the Ulster Volunteers threatened an uprising
to establish an independent Protestant state in Ulster. Churchill was the Cabinet minister
tasked with giving an ultimatum to those threatening violence, doing so in a Bradford speech in
March 1914. Following a Cabinet decision, he boosted the naval presence in Ireland to
deal with any Unionist uprising; Conservatives accused him of trying to initiate an “Ulster
Pogrom”. Seeking further compromise to calm the Ulster Volunteers, Churchill suggested
that Ireland remain part of a federal United Kingdom; this in turn angered Liberals and
Irish nationalists.====First World War====Following the assassination of Archduke Franz
Ferdinand of Austria in June 1914 there was growing talk of war in Europe. Churchill began
readying the navy for conflict, convinced that if Germany attacked France then Britain
would inevitably join the war. Although there was strong opposition within the Liberal Party
to involvement in the conflict, the British Cabinet agreed that a German invasion of Belgium
would be a cause for war. When this happened, Britain declared war. Churchill was tasked
with overseeing the country’s naval warfare effort. In two weeks, the navy transported
120,000 British troops across the English Channel to France. In August, he oversaw a
naval blockade of German North Sea ports to prevent them from transporting food by sea;
he also sent submarines to the Baltic Sea to assist the Russian Navy against German
warships. Also in August, he sent the Marine Brigade to Ostend to force the Germans to
reallocate some of their troops away from their main southward thrust.In September,
Churchill took over full responsibility for the aerial defence of Britain, and made several
visits to France to oversee the war effort. While in Britain, he spoke at all-party recruiting
rallies in London and Liverpool, and his wife gave birth to their third child, Sarah. In
October he visited Antwerp to observe Belgian defences against the besieging Germans; he
promised Belgian Prime Minister Charles de Broqueville that Britain would provide reinforcements
for the city. The German assault continued, and shortly after Churchill left the city
he agreed to a British retreat, allowing the Germans to take Antwerp; many in the press
criticised Churchill for this. Churchill maintained that his actions prolonged the resistance
by a week (Belgium had proposed surrendering Antwerp on 3 October) and that this time had
enabled the Allies to secure Calais and Dunkirk. In November, Asquith called a War Council,
consisting of himself, Lloyd George, Edward Grey, Kitchener, and Churchill. Churchill
proposed a plan to seize the island of Borkum and use it as a post from which to attack
Germany’s northern coastline, believing that this strategy should shorten the war. Churchill
also encouraged the development of the tank, which he believed would be useful in overcoming
the problems of trench warfare, and financed its creation with admiralty funds. To relieve
Turkish pressure on the Russians in the Caucasus, Churchill was part of a plan to distract the
Turkish Army by attacking in the Dardanelles, with the hope that if successful the British
could seize Constantinople. In March, a fleet of 13 battleships attacked in the Dardanelles
but faced severe problems from submerged mines; in April, the 29th Division began its assault
at Gallipoli. Many MPs, particularly Conservatives, blamed Churchill for the failure of these
campaigns. Amid growing Conservative pressure, in May, Asquith agreed to form an all-party
coalition government; the Conservatives’ one condition of entry was that Churchill be demoted
from his position at the Admiralty. Churchill plead his case with both Asquith and Conservative
leader Bonar Law, but ultimately accepted his demotion to the position of Chancellor
of the Duchy of Lancaster.===On the Western Front: 1915–1916===For several months Churchill served in the
sinecure of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. However, on 15 November 1915 he resigned from
the government, realising that he would have no place in the smaller War Council being
formed by Asquith in response to Cabinet demand, and feeling his energies were not being used.Although
remaining a member of parliament, Churchill returned to the British Army, attempting to
obtain an appointment as brigade commander, but settling for command of a battalion. After
some time gaining front-line experience as a Major with the 2nd Battalion, Grenadier
Guards, he was appointed temporary Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding the 6th Battalion, Royal Scots
Fusiliers (part of the 9th (Scottish) Division), on 1 January 1916.Correspondence with his
wife shows that his intent in taking up active service was to rehabilitate his reputation,
but this was balanced by the serious risk of being killed. During his period of command,
his battalion was stationed at Ploegsteert but did not take part in any set battle. Although
he disapproved strongly of the mass slaughter involved in many Western Front actions, he
exposed himself to danger by making excursions to the front line and personally made 36 forays
into no man’s land.===Return to Parliament===
In March 1916, Churchill returned to the UK after he had become restless in France and
wished to speak again in the House of Commons. Future prime minister David Lloyd George acidly
commented: “You will one day discover that the state of mind revealed in (your) letter
is the reason why you do not win trust even where you command admiration. In every line
of it, national interests are completely overshadowed by your personal concern.” In July 1917, Churchill was appointed Minister
of Munitions, and in January 1919, Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for
Air. He was the main architect of the Ten Year Rule, a principle that allowed the Treasury
to dominate and control strategic, foreign and financial policies under the assumption
that “there would be no great European war for the next five or ten years”. (Later as
Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1928, Churchill would persuade the Cabinet to make the rule
self-perpetuating.) A major preoccupation of his tenure in the War Office was the Allied
intervention in the Russian Civil War. Churchill was a staunch advocate of foreign intervention,
declaring that Bolshevism must be “strangled in its cradle”.He was instrumental in having
para-military forces (Black and Tans and Auxiliaries) intervene in the Irish War of Independence.
He became Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1921 and was a signatory of the Anglo-Irish
Treaty of 1921, which established the Irish Free State. Churchill was involved in the
lengthy negotiations of the treaty and, to protect British maritime interests, he engineered
part of the Irish Free State agreement to include three Treaty Ports—Queenstown (Cobh),
Berehaven and Lough Swilly—which could be used as Atlantic bases by the Royal Navy.
In 1938, however, under the terms of the Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement, the bases were returned to
Ireland.In 1919, Churchill sanctioned the use of tear gas on Kurdish tribesmen in Iraq.
Though the British did consider the use of non-lethal poison gas in putting down Kurdish
rebellions, it was not used, as conventional bombing was considered more effective. In 1919, Britain and the United States signed
a treaty of alliance with France which the United States Senate refused to ratify, thus
making the proposed Anglo-Franco-American alliance stillborn. In July 1921, Churchill
argued at the Imperial conference of Dominion prime ministers that despite the rejection
by the United States Senate of the alliance with France that Britain should still sign
a military alliance with France to guarantee post-war security. Churchill’s ideas of an
Anglo-French alliance was rejected at the conference as British public opinion and even
more so Dominion public opinion was against the idea of the “continental commitment”.In
September, the Conservative Party withdrew from the Coalition government, following a
meeting of backbenchers dissatisfied with the handling of the Chanak Crisis, a move
that precipitated the looming November 1922 general election. Churchill fell ill during
the campaign, and had to have an appendectomy. This made it difficult for him to campaign,
and a further setback was the internal division which continued to beset the Liberal Party.
He came fourth in the poll for Dundee, losing to prohibitionist Edwin Scrymgeour. Churchill
later quipped that he left Dundee “without an office, without a seat, without a party
and without an appendix”.On 4 May 1923, Churchill spoke in favour of the French occupation of
the Ruhr, which was extremely unpopular in Britain saying: “We must not allow any particular
phrase of French policy to estrange us from the great French nation. We must not turn
our backs on our friends from the past”.In 1923, Churchill acted as a paid consultant
for Burmah Oil (now BP plc) to lobby the British government to allow Burmah exclusive rights
to Persian (Iranian) oil resources; these rights were ultimately granted. He stood for
the Liberals again in the 1923 general election, losing in Leicester West.===Constitutionalist===
In January 1924, the first Labour Government had taken office amid fears of threats to
the Constitution. Churchill was noted at the time for being particularly hostile to socialism.
He believed that the Labour Party, as a socialist party, did not fully support the existing
British Constitution. In March 1924, aged 49, he sought election at the Westminster
Abbey by-election, 1924. He had originally sought the backing of the local Unionist association,
which happened to be called the Westminster Abbey Constitutional Association, so he adopted
the term ‘Constitutionalist’ to describe himself during the by-election campaign. Despite support
from Beaverbrook and Rothermere newspapers, he lost by 43 votes.
After the by-election Churchill continued to use the term and talked about setting up
a Constitutionalist Party, though any formal plans that Churchill may have had were shelved
with the calling of another general election. Churchill and 11 others decided to use the
label Constitutionalist rather than Liberal or Unionist. He was returned at Epping against
a Liberal and with the support of the Unionists. After the election the seven Constitutionalist
candidates who were elected, including Churchill, did not act or vote as a group.===Rejoining the Conservative Party=======Chancellor of the Exchequer: 1924–1929
====Churchill accepted the post of Chancellor
of the Exchequer in Stanley Baldwin’s Unionist government, and formally rejoined the Conservative
Party, commenting wryly that “anyone can rat, but it takes a certain ingenuity to re-rat”
(in British English to “rat” means to betray).As Chancellor of the Exchequer Churchill oversaw
Britain’s disastrous return to the Gold Standard, which resulted in deflation, unemployment,
and the miners’ strike that led to the General Strike of 1926. His decision, announced in
the 1924 Budget, came after long consultation with various economists including John Maynard
Keynes, Sir Otto Niemeyer, the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, and the board of the Bank
of England. This decision prompted Keynes to write The Economic Consequences of Mr.
Churchill, arguing that the return to the gold standard at the pre-war parity in 1925
(£1=$4.86) would lead to a global depression. However, the decision was generally popular
and seen as ‘sound economics’, although it was opposed by Lord Beaverbrook and the Federation
of British Industries. Churchill later regarded this as the greatest
mistake of his life; in discussions at the time with former Chancellor Reginald McKenna,
Churchill acknowledged that the return to the gold standard and the resulting ‘dear
money’ policy were economically bad. In those discussions he maintained the policy as fundamentally
political—a return to the pre-war conditions in which he believed. In his speech on the
Bill he said “I will tell you what it [the return to the Gold Standard] will shackle
us to. It will shackle us to reality.”The return to the pre-war exchange rate and to
the Gold Standard depressed industries. The most affected was the coal industry, already
suffering from declining output as shipping switched to oil. As basic British industries
like cotton came under more competition in export markets, the return to the pre-war
exchange was estimated to add up to ten percent in costs to the industry. In July 1925, a
Commission of Inquiry report generally favoured the miners’ position rather than that of the
mine owners.With Churchill’s support Baldwin proposed a subsidy to the coal industry, while
a Royal Commission under Herbert Samuel prepared a further report. The Samuel Commission solved
nothing, and the miners’ dispute led to the General Strike of 1926. Churchill edited the
Government’s newspaper, the British Gazette, and was one of the more hawkish members of
the Cabinet, recommending that the route of food convoys from the docks into London should
be guarded by tanks, armoured cars and hidden machine guns. This was rejected by the Cabinet.
Exaggerated accounts of Churchill’s belligerency during the strike soon began to circulate.
Immediately afterward, the New Statesman claimed that Churchill had been leader of a “war party”
in the Cabinet and had wished to use military force against the strikers. He consulted the
Attorney-General Sir Douglas Hogg, who advised that although he had a good case for criminal
libel, it would be inadvisable to have confidential Cabinet discussions aired in open court. Churchill
agreed to let the matter drop.Later economists, as well as people at the time, also criticised
Churchill’s budget measures. These were seen as assisting the generally prosperous rentier
banking and salaried classes (to which Churchill and his associates generally belonged) at
the expense of manufacturers and exporters, which were known then to be suffering from
imports and from competition in traditional export markets, and as paring the Armed Forces,
and especially the Royal Navy, too heavily.===Political isolation===The Conservative government was defeated in
the 1929 general election. Churchill did not seek election to the Conservative Business
Committee, the official leadership of the Conservative MPs. Over the next two years,
he became estranged from Conservative leadership over the issues of protective tariffs and
Indian Home Rule, by his political views and by his friendships with press barons, financiers
and people whose character was seen as dubious. When Ramsay MacDonald formed the National
Government in 1931, Churchill was not invited to join the Cabinet. He was at the low-point
in his career, in a period known as “the wilderness years”.He spent much of the next few years
concentrating on his writing, works including Marlborough: His Life and Times—a biography
of his ancestor John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough—and A History of the English
Speaking Peoples (though the latter was not published until well after the Second World
War), Great Contemporaries and many newspaper articles and collections of speeches. He was
one of the best paid writers of his time. His political views, set forth in his 1930
Romanes Lecture and published as Parliamentary Government and the Economic Problem (republished
in 1932 in his collection of essays “Thoughts and Adventures”) involved abandoning universal
suffrage, a return to a property franchise, proportional representation for the major
cities and an economic ‘sub parliament’.====Indian independence====Churchill opposed Gandhi’s peaceful disobedience
revolt and the Indian Independence movement in the 1920s and ’30s, arguing that the Round
Table Conference “was a frightful prospect”. Churchill brooked no moderation. “The truth
is”, he declared in 1930, “that Gandhi-ism and everything it stands for will have to
be grappled with and crushed.” In response to Gandhi’s movement, Churchill proclaimed
in 1920 that Gandhi should be bound hand and foot and crushed with an elephant ridden by
the viceroy. Later reports indicate that Churchill favoured letting Gandhi die if he went on
a hunger strike. In speeches and press articles in this period,
he forecast widespread unemployment in Britain and civil strife in India should independence
be granted. The Viceroy, Lord Irwin, who had been appointed by the prior Conservative Government,
engaged in the Round Table Conference in early 1931 and then announced the Government’s policy
that India should be granted Dominion status. In this the Government was supported by the
Liberal Party and, officially at least, by the Conservative Party. Churchill denounced
the Round Table Conference.At a meeting of the West Essex Conservative Association, specially
convened so that Churchill could explain his position, he said “It is alarming and also
nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a
type well known in the East, striding half-naked up the steps of the Vice-regal palace … to
parley on equal terms with the representative of the King-Emperor.” He called the Indian
National Congress leaders “Brahmins who mouth and patter principles of Western Liberalism”. Two incidents damaged Churchill’s reputation
within the Conservative Party in this period. Both were taken as attacks on the Conservative
front bench. The first was his speech on the eve of the St George by-election in April
1931. In a safe Conservative seat, the official Conservative candidate Duff Cooper was opposed
by Ernest Petter, an independent Conservative. Petter was supported by Lord Rothermere, Lord
Beaverbrook and their respective newspapers. Although arranged before the by-election was
set, Churchill’s speech was seen as supporting the independent candidate and as a part of
the press barons’ campaign against Baldwin. Baldwin’s position was strengthened when Duff
Cooper won, and when the civil disobedience campaign in India ceased with the Gandhi-Irwin
Pact.The second issue was a claim by Churchill that Sir Samuel Hoare and Lord Derby had pressured
the Manchester Chamber of Commerce to change evidence it had given to the Joint Select
Committee considering the Government of India Bill, and in doing so had breached parliamentary
privilege. He had the matter referred to the House of Commons Privilege Committee which,
after investigations in which Churchill gave evidence, reported to the House that there
had been no breach. The report was debated on 13 June 1934. Churchill was unable to find
a single supporter in the House and the debate ended without a division.Churchill permanently
broke with Baldwin over Indian independence and never again held any office while Baldwin
was prime minister. Some historians see his basic attitude to India as being set out in
his book My Early Life (1930).====German and Italian rearmament and conflicts
in Manchuria and Abyssinia====In the 1920s, Churchill supported the idea
of a “reconciliation” between Germany and France with Britain serving as the “honest
broker” for the reconciliation”. Beginning in 1931, when he opposed those who advocated
giving Germany the right to military parity with France, Churchill spoke often of the
dangers of Germany’s rearmament.In 1931, Churchill said: “It is not in the immediate interest
of European peace that the French Army should be seriously weakened. It is not in British
interests to antagonize France”. He later, particularly in The Gathering Storm, portrayed
himself as being for a time, a lone voice calling on Britain to strengthen itself to
counter the belligerence of Germany. However Lord Lloyd was the first to so agitate.In
1932, Churchill accepted the presidency of the newly founded New Commonwealth Society,
a peace organisation which he described in 1937 as “one of the few peace societies that
advocates the use of force, if possible overwhelming force, to support public international law”.Churchill’s
initial attitude towards the fascist dictators was ambiguous. After the First World War defeat
of Germany, a new danger occupied conservatives’ political consciousness—the spread of communism.
A newspaper article penned by Churchill and published on 4 February 1920, had warned that
“civilisation” was threatened by the Bolsheviks, a movement which he linked through historical
precedence to Jewish conspiracy. In his 1920 newspaper article entitled “Zionism versus
Bolshevism”, Churchill wrote in part: This movement among the Jews is not new … this
world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilisation and for the reconstitution of
society on the basis of arrested development, of envious malevolence, and impossible equality,
has been steadily growing. However, in this article, Churchill praised
the Jews who had integrated into the national life of the countries in which they lived
“while adhering faithfully to their own religion”, contrasting them with those who had “forsaken
the faith of their forefathers” and come to play an influential role in the rise of the
Bolshevik movement. Most Churchill scholars cite his great admiration for the Jews. Due
in part to his childhood exposure to his father’s many Jewish friends and associates, Churchill
was a lifelong, fervent opponent of antisemitism and a supporter of the Zionist movement.In
1931, he warned against the League of Nations opposing the Japanese in Manchuria: “I hope
we shall try in England to understand the position of Japan, an ancient state … On
the one side they have the dark menace of Soviet Russia. On the other the chaos of China,
four or five provinces of which are being tortured under communist rule.” In contemporary
newspaper articles he referred to the Spanish Republican government as a communist front,
and Franco’s army as the “Anti-red movement.” He supported the Hoare-Laval Pact and continued
until 1937 to praise Mussolini. He regarded Mussolini’s regime as a bulwark against the
perceived threat of communist revolution, going as far (in 1933) as to call Mussolini
the “Roman genius … the greatest lawgiver among men.” However, he stressed that the
UK must stick with its tradition of Parliamentary democracy, not adopt fascism.Speaking in the
House of Commons in 1937, Churchill said, “I will not pretend that, if I had to choose
between communism and Nazism, I would choose communism.” In a 1935 essay, “Hitler and his
Choice”, which was republished in his 1937 book Great Contemporaries, Churchill expressed
a hope that Hitler, if he so chose, and despite his rise to power through dictatorial action,
hatred and cruelty, might yet “go down in history as the man who restored honour and
peace of mind to the great Germanic nation and brought it back serene, helpful and strong
to the forefront of the European family circle.” His first major speech on defence on 7 February
1934 stressed the need to rebuild the Royal Air Force and to create a Ministry of Defence;
his second, on 13 July urged a renewed role for the League of Nations. These three topics
remained his themes until early 1936. In 1935, he was one of the founding members of The
Focus, which brought together people of differing political backgrounds and occupations who
were united in seeking “the defence of freedom and peace.” The Focus led to the formation
of the much wider Arms and the Covenant Movement in 1936.====Germany and rearmament: 1936====
Churchill, holidaying in Spain when the Germans reoccupied the Rhineland in February 1936,
returned to a divided Britain. The Labour opposition was adamant in opposing sanctions
and the National Government was divided between advocates of economic sanctions and those
who said that even these would lead to a humiliating backdown by Britain as France would not support
any intervention. Churchill’s speech on 9 March was measured, and praised by Neville
Chamberlain as constructive. But within weeks Churchill was passed over for the post of
Minister for Co-ordination of Defence in favour of Attorney General Sir Thomas Inskip. A.
J. P. Taylor later called this “an appointment rightly described as the most extraordinary
since Caligula made his horse a consul.” At the time insiders were less worried: Duff
Cooper was opposed to Churchill’s appointment, while General Ellison wrote that he had “only
one comment, and that is ‘Thank God we are preserved from Winston Churchill.'”On 22 May
1936, Churchill was present at a meeting of Old Guard Conservatives (the group, not all
of them present on that occasion, included Austen Chamberlain, Geoffrey Lloyd, Leopold
Amery, and Robert Horne) at Lord Winterton’s house at Shillinglee Park, to push for greater
rearmament. This meeting prompted Baldwin to comment that it was “the time of year when
midges came out of dirty ditches”. Neville Chamberlain was also taking a growing interest
in foreign affairs, and in June, as part of a power-bid at the expense of the young and
pro-League of Nations Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, he demanded an end to sanctions against
Italy (“the very midsummer of madness”).In June 1936, Churchill organised a deputation
of senior Conservatives to see Baldwin, Inskip and Halifax. There had been demands for a
Secret Session of the House and the senior ministers agreed to meet the deputation rather
than listen to a potential four-hour speech by Churchill. He had tried to have delegates
from the other two parties and later wrote, “If the leaders of the Labour and Liberal
oppositions had come with us there might have been a political situation so intense as to
enforce remedial action.” Robert Rhodes James writes that this is “not quite the impression”
given by the documentary record of the meetings of 28–29 July, and another meeting in November.
Churchill’s figures for the size of the Luftwaffe, leaked to him by Ralph Wigram at the Foreign
Office, were less accurate than those of the Air Ministry and he believed that the Germans
were preparing to unleash thermite bombs “the size of an orange” on London. Ministers stressed
that Hitler’s intentions were unclear, and the importance of maximising Britain’s long-term
economic strength through exports, whereas Churchill wanted 25–30 percent of British
industry to be brought under state control for purposes of rearmament. Baldwin argued
that the important thing had been to win the election to get “a perfectly free hand” for
rearmament. The meeting ended with Baldwin agreeing with Churchill that rearmament was
vital to deter Germany.On 12 November, Churchill returned to the topic. Speaking in the Address
in Reply debate, after giving some specific instances of Germany’s war preparedness, he
said “The Government simply cannot make up their mind or they cannot get the Prime Minister
to make up his mind. So they go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved
to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful for impotency.
And so we go on preparing more months more years precious perhaps vital for the greatness
of Britain for the locusts to eat.” Robert Rhodes James called this one of Churchill’s
most brilliant speeches during this period, Baldwin’s reply sounding weak and disturbing
the House. The exchange gave new encouragement to the Arms and the Covenant Movement.====Abdication crisis====In June 1936, Walter Monckton told Churchill
that the rumours that King Edward VIII intended to marry Mrs Wallis Simpson were true. Churchill
then advised against the marriage and said he regarded Mrs Simpson’s existing marriage
as a ‘safeguard’.In November, he declined Lord Salisbury’s invitation to be part of
a delegation of senior Conservative backbenchers who met with Baldwin to discuss the matter.
On 25 November he, Attlee and Liberal Party leader Archibald Sinclair met with Baldwin,
were told officially of the King’s intention, and asked whether they would form an administration
if Baldwin and the National Government resigned should the King not take the Ministry’s advice.
Both Attlee and Sinclair said they would not take office if invited to do so. Churchill’s
reply was that his attitude was a little different but he would support the government.The Abdication
crisis became public, coming to a head in the first two weeks of December 1936. At this
time, Churchill publicly gave his support to the King. The first public meeting of the
Arms and the Covenant Movement was on 3 December. Churchill was a major speaker and later wrote
that in replying to the Vote of Thanks, he made a declaration ‘on the spur of the moment’
asking for delay before any decision was made by either the King or his Cabinet. Later that
night Churchill saw the draft of the King’s proposed wireless broadcast and spoke with
Beaverbrook and the King’s solicitor about it. On 4 December, he met with the King and
again urged delay in any decision about abdication. On 5 December, he issued a lengthy statement
implying that the Ministry was applying unconstitutional pressure on the King to force him to make
a hasty decision. On 7 December, he tried to address the Commons to plead for delay.
He was shouted down. Seemingly staggered by the unanimous hostility of all Members, he
left.Churchill’s reputation in Parliament and England as a whole was badly damaged.
Some, such as Alistair Cooke, saw him as trying to build a King’s Party. Others like Harold
Macmillan were dismayed by the damage Churchill’s support for the King had done to the Arms
and the Covenant Movement. Churchill himself later wrote “I was myself so smitten in public
opinion that it was the almost universal view that my political life was at last ended.”
Historians are divided about Churchill’s motives in his support for Edward VIII. Some such
as A. J. P. Taylor see it as being an attempt to ‘overthrow the government of feeble men’.
Others, such as R. R. James, view Churchill’s motives as honourable and disinterested, in
that he felt deeply for the King.==Return from exile==
Churchill later sought to portray himself as an isolated voice warning of the need to
rearm against Germany. While it is true that he had a small following in the House of Commons
during much of the 1930s, he was given privileged information by some elements within the government,
particularly by disaffected civil servants in the War Ministry and Foreign Office. The
“Churchill group” in the latter half of the decade consisted of only himself, Duncan Sandys
and Brendan Bracken. It was isolated from the other main factions within the Conservative
Party in pressing for faster rearmament and a stronger foreign policy; one meeting of
anti-Chamberlain forces decided that Churchill would make a good Minister of Supply.Even
during the time Churchill was campaigning against Indian independence, he received official
and otherwise secret information. From 1932, Churchill’s neighbour, Major Desmond Morton,
with Ramsay MacDonald’s approval, gave Churchill information on German air power. From 1930
onward Morton headed a department of the Committee of Imperial Defence charged with researching
the defence preparedness of other nations. Lord Swinton, as Secretary of State for Air,
and with Baldwin’s approval, in 1934 gave Churchill access to official and otherwise
secret information. Swinton did so, knowing Churchill would remain
a critic of the government, but believing that an informed critic was better than one
relying on rumour and hearsay. Churchill was a fierce critic of Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement
of Adolf Hitler and in private letters to Lloyd George (13 August) and Lord Moyne (11
September) just before the Munich Agreement, he wrote that the government was faced with
a choice between “war and shame” and that having chosen shame would later get war on
less favourable terms.===Return to the Admiralty===
On 3 September 1939, the day Britain declared war on Germany following the outbreak of the
Second World War, Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty, the same position
he had held during the first part of the First World War. As such he was a member of Chamberlain’s
small War Cabinet.In this position, he proved to be one of the highest-profile ministers
during the so-called “Phoney War”, when the only noticeable action was at sea and the
USSR’s attack on Finland. Churchill planned to penetrate the Baltic with a naval force.
This was soon changed to a plan involving the mining of Norwegian waters to stop iron
ore shipments from Narvik and provoke Germany into attacking Norway, where it could be defeated
by the Royal Navy. However, Chamberlain and the rest of the War Cabinet disagreed, and
the start of the mining plan, Operation Wilfred, was delayed until 8 April 1940, a day before
the successful German invasion of Norway.==First term as prime minister: 1940–1945
=====”We shall never surrender”===On 10 May 1940, hours before the German invasion
of France by a lightning advance through the Low Countries, it became clear that, following
failure in Norway, the country had no confidence in Chamberlain’s prosecution of the war and
so Chamberlain resigned. The commonly accepted version of events states that Lord Halifax
turned down the post of prime minister because he believed he could not govern effectively
as a member of the House of Lords instead of the House of Commons. Although a prime
minister does not traditionally advise the King on a prime minister’s own successor,
Chamberlain wanted someone who would command the support of all three major parties in
the House of Commons. A meeting between Chamberlain, Halifax, Churchill, and David Margesson, the
government Chief Whip, led to the recommendation of Churchill, and, as constitutional monarch,
George VI asked Churchill to be prime minister. Churchill’s first act was to write to Chamberlain
to thank him for his support.Churchill was still unpopular with many Conservatives and
the Establishment, who opposed his replacing Chamberlain; the former prime minister remained
party leader until dying in November. Churchill probably could not have won a majority in
any of the political parties in the House of Commons, and the House of Lords was completely
silent when it learned of his appointment. Ralph Ingersoll reported in late 1940 that,
“Everywhere I went in London people admired [Churchill’s] energy, his courage, his singleness
of purpose. People said they didn’t know what Britain would do without him. He was obviously
respected. But no one felt he would be Prime Minister after the war. He was simply the
right man in the right job at the right time. The time being the time of a desperate war
with Britain’s enemies.” An element of British public and political
sentiment favoured a negotiated peace with Germany, among them Halifax as Foreign Secretary.
Over three days in May (26–28 May 1940), there were repeated discussions within the
War Cabinet of whether the UK should associate itself with French approaches to Mussolini
to use his good offices with Hitler to seek a negotiated peace: they terminated in refusal
to do so. Various interpretations are possible of this episode, and of Churchill’s argument
that “it was idle to think that, if we tried to make peace now, we should get better terms
than if we fought it out”, but throughout Churchill seems to have opposed any immediate
peace negotiations. Although at times personally pessimistic about Britain’s chances for victory
(Churchill told Hastings Ismay on 12 June 1940 that “[y]ou and I will be dead in three
months’ time”) his use of rhetoric hardened public opinion against a peaceful resolution
and prepared the British for a long war.Coining the general term for the upcoming battle,
Churchill stated in his “finest hour” speech to the House of Commons on 18 June, “I expect
that the Battle of Britain is about to begin.” By refusing an armistice with Germany, Churchill
kept resistance alive in the British Empire and created the basis for the later Allied
counter-attacks of 1942–45, with Britain serving as a platform for the supply of the
Soviet Union and the liberation of Western Europe.In response to previous criticisms
that there had been no clear single minister in charge of the prosecution of the war, Churchill
created and took the additional position of Minister of Defence, making him the most powerful
wartime prime minister in British history. He immediately put his friend and confidant,
industrialist and newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook, in charge of aircraft production and made
his friend Frederick Lindemann the government’s scientific advisor. It has been argued that
it was Beaverbrook’s business acumen that allowed Britain to quickly gear up aircraft
production and engineering, which eventually made the difference in the war. Churchill’s speeches were a great inspiration
to the embattled British. His first as prime minister was the famous “I have nothing to
offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat” speech. One historian has called its effect on Parliament
“electrifying”. The House of Commons that had ignored him during the 1930s “was now
listening, and cheering”. Churchill followed that closely with two other equally famous
speeches, given just before the Battle of Britain. One included the words: … we shall fight in France, we shall fight
on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in
the air, 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.
The other: Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties,
and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand
years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour’.
At the height of the Battle of Britain, his bracing survey of the situation included the
memorable line “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so
few”, which engendered the enduring nickname The Few for the RAF fighter pilots who won
it. He first spoke these famous words upon his exit from No. 11 Group’s underground bunker
at RAF Uxbridge, now known as the Battle of Britain Bunker on 16 August 1940. One of his
most memorable war speeches came on 10 November 1942 at the Lord Mayor’s Luncheon at Mansion
House in London, in response to the Allied victory at the Second Battle of El Alamein.
Churchill stated: This is not the end. It is not even the beginning
of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
Without having much in the way of sustenance or good news to offer the British people,
he took a risk in deliberately choosing to emphasise the dangers instead. “Rhetorical
power”, wrote Churchill, “is neither wholly bestowed, nor wholly acquired, but cultivated.”
Not all were impressed by his oratory. Robert Menzies, Australian Prime Minister, said of
Churchill during the Second World War: “His real tyrant is the glittering phrase so attractive
to his mind that awkward facts have to give way.” Another associate wrote: “He is … the
slave of the words which his mind forms about ideas … And he can convince himself of almost
every truth if it is once allowed thus to start on its wild career through his rhetorical
Mental and physical health===The war energised Churchill, who was 65 years
old when he became Prime Minister. Stating that he was the only top leader from World
War I who still had an important political job, John Gunther wrote that Churchill “looks
ten years younger than he is”. H. R. Knickerbocker wrote that “The responsibilities which are
his now must be greater than those carried by any other human being on earth. One would
think such a weight would have a crushing effect upon him. Not at all. The last time
I saw him, while the Battle of Britain was still raging, he looked twenty years younger
than before the war began … His uplifted spirit is transmitted to the people”. Churchill’s
physical health became more fragile during the war; he suffered a mild heart attack in
December 1941 at the White House, and in December 1943 contracted pneumonia. Despite this, Churchill
travelled over 100,000 miles (160,000 km) throughout the war to meet other national
leaders. For security, he usually travelled using the alias Colonel Warden.Since the appearance
in 1966 of Lord Moran’s memoir of his years as Churchill’s doctor, with its claim that
“Black Dog” was the name Churchill gave to “the prolonged fits of depression from which
he suffered”, many authors have suggested that throughout his life Churchill was a victim
of, or at risk from, clinical depression. Formulated in this way, Churchill’s mental
health history contains unmistakable echoes of the seminal interpretation of Lord Moran’s
Black Dog revelations made by Dr Anthony Storr.In drawing so heavily on Moran for what he took
to be the latter’s totally reliable, first-hand clinical evidence of Churchill’s lifelong
struggle with “prolonged and recurrent depression” and its associated “despair”, Storr produced
a seemingly authoritative and persuasive diagnostic essay that, in the words of John Ramsden,
“strongly influenced all later accounts.” However, Storr was not aware that Moran, as
Moran’s biographer Professor Richard Lovell has shown and contrary to the impression created
in Moran’s book, kept no diary, in the usual sense of the word, during his years as Churchill’s
doctor. Nor was Storr aware that Moran’s book as published was a much rewritten account
which mixed together Moran’s contemporaneous jottings with later material acquired from
other sources.As Wilfred Attenborough demonstrated, the key Black Dog ‘diary’ entry for 14 August
1944 was an arbitrarily dated pastiche in which the explicit reference to Black Dog—the
first of the few in the book (with an associated footnote definition of the term)—was taken,
not from anything Churchill had said to Moran, but from much later claims made to Moran by
Bracken in 1958. Although seemingly unnoticed by Dr Storr and those he influenced, Moran
later on in his book retracts his earlier suggestion, also derived from Brendan Bracken,
that, towards the end of the Second World War, Churchill was succumbing to “the inborn
melancholia of the Churchill blood”; also unnoticed by Storr et al., Moran, in his final
chapter, states that Churchill, before the start of the First World War, “had managed
to extirpate bouts of depression from his system”. Despite the difficulties with Moran’s book,
the many illustrations it provides of a Churchill understandably plunged into temporary low
mood by military defeats and other severely adverse developments constitute a compelling
portrait of a great man reacting to, but not significantly impeded by, worry and overstrain,
a compelling portrait that is entirely consistent with the portraits of others who worked closely
with Churchill. Churchill did not receive medication for depression—the amphetamine
that Moran prescribed for special occasions, especially for big speeches from the autumn
of 1953 onwards, was to combat the effects of Churchill’s stroke of that year.Churchill
himself seems, in a long life, to have written about Black Dog on one occasion only: the
reference, a backward-looking one, occurs in a private handwritten letter to Clementine
Churchill dated July 1911 which reports the successful treatment of a relative’s depression
by a doctor in Germany. His ministerial circumstances at that date, the very limited treatments
available for serious depression pre-1911, the fact of the relative’s being “complete
cured”, and, not least, the evident deep interest Churchill took in the fact of the complete
cure, can be shown to point to Churchill’s pre-1911 Black Dog depression as having been
a form of mild (i.e. non-psychotic) anxiety-depression, as that term is defined by Professor Edward
Shorter. Moran himself leaned strongly in the direction
of his patient being “by nature very apprehensive”; close associates of Churchill have disputed
the idea that apprehension was a defining feature of Churchill’s temperament, although
they readily concede that he was noticeably worried and anxious about some matters, especially
in the buildup to important speeches in the House of Commons and elsewhere. Churchill
himself all but openly acknowledged in his book Painting as a Pastime that he was prey
to the “worry and mental overstrain [experienced] by persons who, over prolonged periods, have
to bear exceptional responsibilities and discharge duties upon a very large scale”. The fact
that he found a remedy in painting and bricklaying is a strong indicator that the condition as
he defined it did not amount to ‘clinical depression’, certainly not as that term was
understood during the lifetimes of himself and Lord Moran.According to Lord Moran, during
the war years Churchill sought solace in his tumbler of whisky and soda and his cigar.
Churchill was also a very emotional man, unafraid to shed tears when appropriate. During some
of his broadcast speeches it was noticed that he was trying to hold back the tears. Nevertheless,
although the fall of Tobruk was, by Churchill’s own account, “one of the heaviest blows” he
received during the war, there seem to have been no tears. Certainly, the next day Moran
found him animated and vigorous. Field Marshal Alanbrooke, Chief of the Imperial General
Staff, who had been present when President Roosevelt broke the news of the tragedy to
Churchill, focused afterward in his diary on the superbly well judged manner in which
the President made his offer of immediate military assistance, despite Alanbrooke’s
being ever ready to highlight what he perceived to be Churchill’s contradictory motivations
and flawed character during the war. For example, in his diary entry for 10 September 1944:
… And the wonderful thing is that 3/4 of the population of the world imagine that Churchill
is one of the Strategists of History, a second Marlborough, and the other 1/4 have no idea
what a public menace he is and has been throughout this war! It is far better that the world
should never know, and never suspect the feet of clay of this otherwise superhuman being.
Without him England was lost for a certainty, with him England has been on the verge of
disaster time and again … Never have I admired and despised a man simultaneously to the same
extent. Never have such opposite extremes been combined in the same human being.===Relations with the United States===Churchill’s good relations with United States
President Franklin D. Roosevelt—between 1939 and 1945 they exchanged an estimated
1700 letters and telegrams and met 11 times; Churchill estimated that they had 120 days
of close personal contact—helped secure vital food, oil and munitions via the North
Atlantic shipping routes.It was for this reason that Churchill was relieved when Roosevelt
was re-elected in 1940. Upon re-election, Roosevelt immediately set about implementing
a new method of providing military hardware and shipping to Britain without the need for
monetary payment. Roosevelt persuaded Congress that repayment for this immensely costly service
would take the form of defending the US; and so Lend-Lease was born. Churchill had 12 strategic
conferences with Roosevelt which covered the Atlantic Charter, Europe first strategy, the
Declaration by United Nations and other war policies.
After Pearl Harbor was attacked, Churchill’s first thought in anticipation of US help was,
“We have won the war!”On 26 December 1941, Churchill addressed a joint meeting of the
US Congress, asking of Germany and Japan, “What kind of people do they think we are?”
Churchill initiated the Special Operations Executive (SOE) under Hugh Dalton’s Ministry
of Economic Warfare, which established, conducted and fostered covert, subversive and partisan
operations in occupied territories with notable success; and also the Commandos which established
the pattern for most of the world’s current Special Forces. The Russians referred to him
as the “British Bulldog.”Churchill was party to treaties that would redraw post-Second
World War European and Asian boundaries. These were discussed as early as 1943. At the Second
Quebec Conference in 1944 he drafted and, together with Roosevelt, signed a less-harsh
version of the original Morgenthau Plan, in which they pledged to convert Germany after
its unconditional surrender “into a country primarily agricultural and pastoral in its
character.” Proposals for European boundaries and settlements were officially agreed to
by President Harry S. Truman, Churchill, and Joseph Stalin at Potsdam. Churchill’s strong
relationship with Harry Truman was of great significance to both countries. While he clearly
regretted the loss of his close friend and counterpart Roosevelt, Churchill was enormously
supportive of Truman in his first days in office, calling him, “the type of leader the
world needs when it needs him most.”===
Relations with the Soviet Union===When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Winston
Churchill, a vehement anti-communist, famously stated “If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at
least make a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons”, regarding his policy
towards Stalin. Soon, British supplies and tanks were being sent to help the Soviet Union.The
Casablanca Conference, a meeting of Allied powers held in Casablanca, Morocco, on 14
January through 23 January 1943, produced what was to be known as the “Casablanca Declaration”.
In attendance were Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Charles de Gaulle. Joseph Stalin
had bowed out, citing the need for his presence in the Soviet Union to attend to the Stalingrad
crisis. It was in Casablanca that the Allies made a unified commitment to continue the
war through to the “unconditional surrender” of the Axis powers. In private, however, Churchill
did not fully subscribe to the doctrine of “unconditional surrender”, and was taken by
surprise when Franklin Roosevelt announced this to the world as Allied consensus.The
settlement concerning the borders of Poland, that is, the boundary between Poland and the
Soviet Union and between Germany and Poland, was viewed as a betrayal in Poland during
the post-war years, as it was established against the views of the Polish government
in exile. It was Winston Churchill, who tried to motivate Mikołajczyk, who was prime minister
of the Polish government in exile, to accept Stalin’s wishes, but Mikołajczyk refused.
Churchill was convinced that the only way to alleviate tensions between the two populations
was the transfer of people, to match the national borders. As he expounded in the House of Commons on
15 December 1944, “Expulsion is the method which, insofar as we have been able to see,
will be the most satisfactory and lasting. There will be no mixture of populations to
cause endless trouble … A clean sweep will be made. I am not alarmed by these transferences,
which are more possible in modern conditions.” However, the resulting expulsions of Germans
from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary and Romania were carried out in a way which
resulted in much hardship and, according to a 1966 report by the West German Ministry
of Refugees and Displaced Persons, over 2.1 million Germans dead or missing. Churchill
opposed the Soviet domination of Poland and wrote bitterly about it in his books, but
was unable to prevent it at the conferences.During October 1944, he and Eden were in Moscow to
meet with the Russian leadership. At this point, Russian forces were beginning to advance
into various eastern European countries. Churchill held the view that until everything was formally
and properly worked out at the Yalta conference, there had to be a temporary, war-time, working
agreement with regard to who would run what. The most significant of these meetings was
held on 9 October 1944 in the Kremlin between Churchill and Stalin. During the meeting,
Poland and the Balkan problems were discussed. Churchill told Stalin: Let us settle about our affairs in the Balkans.
Your armies are in Rumania and Bulgaria. We have interests, missions, and agents there.
Don’t let us get at cross-purposes in small ways. So far as Britain and Russia are concerned,
how would it do for you to have ninety per cent predominance in Rumania, for us to have
ninety per cent of the say in Greece, and go fifty–fifty about Yugoslavia?
Stalin agreed to this Percentages agreement, ticking a piece of paper as he heard the translation.
In 1958, five years after the account of this meeting was published (in The Second World
War), authorities of the Soviet Union denied that Stalin accepted the “imperialist proposal”.One
of the conclusions of the Yalta Conference was that the Allies would return all Soviet
citizens that found themselves in the Allied zone to the Soviet Union. This immediately
affected the Soviet prisoners of war liberated by the Allies, but was also extended to all
Eastern European refugees. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn called the Operation Keelhaul “the last secret”
of the Second World War. The operation decided the fate of up to two million post-war refugees
fleeing eastern Europe.===Role in Bengal famine===
There has been debate over Churchill’s culpability in the deaths of millions of Indians during
the Bengal famine of 1943. Some commentators point to the disruption of the traditional
marketing system and maladministration at the provincial level as a cause, with Churchill
saying that the famine was the Indians’ own fault for “breeding like rabbits”. Adam Jones,
editor of the Journal of Genocide Research, calls Churchill “a genuine genocidaire”, noting
that the British leader called Indians a “foul race” in this period and said that the British
air force chief should “send some of his surplus bombers to destroy them.”Arthur Herman, author
of Churchill and Gandhi, contends, ‘The real cause was the fall of Burma to the Japanese,
which cut off India’s main supply of rice imports when domestic sources fell short … [though]
it is true that Churchill opposed diverting food supplies and transports from other theatres
to India to cover the shortfall: this was wartime.’In response to an urgent request
by the Secretary of State for India (Leo Amery) and the Viceroy of India (Wavell), to release
food stocks for India, Churchill responded with a telegram to Wavell asking, if food
was so scarce, “why Gandhi hadn’t died yet”. In July 1940, newly in office, he reportedly
welcomed reports of the emerging conflict between the Muslim League and the Indian Congress,
hoping “it would be bitter and bloody”.===Dresden bombings controversy===Between 13–15 February 1945, British and
US bombers attacked the German city of Dresden, which was crowded with German wounded and
refugees. There were unknown numbers of refugees in Dresden, so historians Matthias Neutzner,
Götz Bergander and Frederick Taylor have used historical sources and deductive reasoning
to estimate that the number of refugees in the city and surrounding suburbs was around
200,000 or less on the first night of the bombing. Because of the cultural importance
of the city, and of the number of civilian casualties close to the end of the war, this
remains one of the most controversial Western Allied actions of the war. Following the bombing
Churchill stated in a secret telegram: It seems to me that the moment has come when
the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though
under other pretexts, should be reviewed … I feel the need for more precise concentration
upon military objectives such as oil and communications behind the immediate battle-zone, rather than
on mere acts of terror and wanton destruction, however impressive.
On reflection, under pressure from the chiefs of staff, and in response to the views expressed
by Sir Charles Portal (Chief of the Air Staff) and Sir Arthur Harris (AOC-in-C of RAF Bomber
Command), among others, Churchill withdrew his memo and issued a new one. This final
version of the memo completed on 1 April 1945, stated: It seems to me that the moment has come when
the question of the so called ‘area-bombing’ of German cities should be reviewed from the
point of view of our own interests. If we come into control of an entirely ruined land,
there will be a great shortage of accommodation for ourselves and our allies … We must see
to it that our attacks do no more harm to ourselves in the long run than they do to
the enemy’s war effort. Ultimately, responsibility for the British
part of the attack lay with Churchill, which is why he has been criticised for allowing
the bombings to occur. German historian Jörg Friedrich claims that Churchill’s decision
was a “war crime”, and, writing in 2006, philosopher A. C. Grayling questioned the whole strategic
bombing campaign by the RAF, presenting the argument that although it was not a war crime
it was a moral crime that undermines the Allies’ contention that they fought a just war.On
the other hand, it has been asserted that Churchill’s involvement in the bombing of
Dresden was based on strategic and tactical aspects of winning the war. The destruction
of Dresden, while immense, was designed to expedite the defeat of Germany. As historian
and journalist Max Hastings wrote in an article subtitled “the Allied Bombing of Dresden”:
“I believe it is wrong to describe strategic bombing as a war crime, for this might be
held to suggest some moral equivalence with the deeds of the Nazis. Bombing represented
a sincere, albeit mistaken, attempt to bring about Germany’s military defeat.”
British historian Frederick Taylor points out that “All sides bombed each other’s cities
during the war. Half a million Soviet citizens, for example, died from German bombing during
the invasion and occupation of Russia. That’s roughly equivalent to the number of German
citizens who died from Allied raids.”===End of the Second World War===In June 1944, the Allied Forces invaded Normandy
and pushed the Nazi forces back into Germany on a broad front over the coming year. After
being attacked on three fronts by the Allies, and in spite of Allied failures, such as Operation
Market Garden, and German counter-attacks, including the Battle of the Bulge, Germany
was eventually defeated. On 7 May 1945 at the SHAEF headquarters in Rheims the Allies
accepted Germany’s surrender. On the same day in a BBC news flash John Snagge announced
that 8 May would be Victory in Europe Day. On Victory in Europe Day, Churchill broadcast
to the nation that Germany had surrendered and that a final ceasefire on all fronts in
Europe would come into effect at one minute past midnight that night.Afterward, Churchill
told a huge crowd in Whitehall: “This is your victory.” The people shouted: “No, it is yours”,
and Churchill then conducted them in the singing of “Land of Hope and Glory”. In the evening
he made another broadcast to the nation asserting the defeat of Japan in the coming months.
The Japanese surrendered on 15 August 1945. As Europe celebrated peace at the end of six
years of war, Churchill was concerned with the possibility that the celebrations would
soon be brutally interrupted. He concluded the UK and the US must anticipate the Red
Army ignoring previously agreed frontiers and agreements in Europe, and prepare to “impose
upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire.” According to the
Operation Unthinkable plan ordered by Churchill and developed by the British Armed Forces,
the Third World War could have started on 1 July 1945 with a sudden attack against the
allied Soviet troops. The plan was rejected by the British Chiefs of Staff Committee as
militarily unfeasible.===Syria crisis===Soon after VE day there came a dispute with
Britain over French mandates Syria and Lebanon, known as the Levant, which quickly developed
into a major diplomatic incident. In May, de Gaulle sent more French troops to re-establish
their presence, provoking an outbreak of nationalism. On 20 May, French troops opened fire on demonstrators
in Damascus with artillery and dropped bombs from the air. Finally, on 31 May, with the
death toll exceeding a thousand Syrians, Churchill decided to act and sent de Gaulle an ultimatum
saying, “In order to avoid a collision between British and French forces, we request you
immediately to order French troops to cease fire and withdraw to their barracks”. This
was ignored by both de Gaulle and the French forces, and thus Churchill ordered British
troops and armoured cars under General Bernard Paget to invade Syria from nearby Transjordan.
The invasion went ahead, and the British swiftly moved in cutting the French General Fernand
Oliva-Roget’s telephone line with his base at Beirut. Eventually, heavily outnumbered,
Oliva-Roget ordered his men back to their bases near the coast, and they were escorted
by the British. A furious row then broke out between Britain and France.Churchill’s relationship
with de Gaulle was at this time rock bottom in spite of his efforts to preserve French
interests at Yalta and a visit to Paris the previous year. In January he told a colleague
that he believed that de Gaulle was “a great danger to peace and for Great Britain. After
five years of experience, I am convinced that he is the worst enemy of France in her troubles
… he is one of the greatest dangers to European peace … I am sure that in the long run no
understanding will be reached with General de Gaulle”. In France, there were accusations
that Britain had armed the demonstrators, and de Gaulle raged against ‘Churchill’s ultimatum’,
saying that “the whole thing stank of oil”.==In opposition: 1945–1951=====Caretaker government and 1945 election
===With a general election looming (there had
been none for almost a decade), and with the Labour Ministers refusing to continue the
wartime coalition, Churchill resigned as Prime Minister on 23 May 1945. Later that day, he
accepted the King’s invitation to form a new government, known officially as the National
Government, like the Conservative-dominated coalition of the 1930s, but in practice known
as the Churchill caretaker ministry. The government contained Conservatives, National Liberals
and a few non-party figures such as Sir John Anderson and Lord Woolton, but not Labour
or Archibald Sinclair’s Official Liberals. Although Churchill continued to carry out
the functions of Prime Minister, including exchanging messages with the US administration
about the upcoming Potsdam Conference, he was not formally reappointed until 28 May.Although
polling day was 5 July, the results of the 1945 election did not become known until 26
July, owing to the need to collect the votes of those serving overseas. Clementine, who
together with his daughter Mary had been at the count at Churchill’s constituency in Essex
(although unopposed by the major parties, Churchill had been returned with a much-reduced
majority against an independent candidate), returned to meet her husband for lunch. To
her suggestion that election defeat might be “a blessing in disguise” he retorted that
“at the moment it seems very effectively disguised”. That afternoon Churchill’s doctor Lord Moran
(so he later recorded in his book The Struggle for Survival) commiserated with him on the
“ingratitude” of the British public, to which Churchill replied “I wouldn’t call it that.
They have had a very hard time.” Having lost the election, despite enjoying much support
amongst the British population, he resigned as Prime Minister that evening, this time
handing over to a Labour Government. Many reasons for his defeat have been given, key
among them being that a desire for post-war reform was widespread amongst the population
and that the man who had led Britain in war was not seen as the man to lead the nation
in peace. Although the Conservative Party was unpopular, many electors appear to have
wanted Churchill to continue as Prime Minister whatever the outcome, or to have wrongly believed
that this would be possible.On the morning of 27 July, Churchill held a farewell Cabinet.
On the way out of the Cabinet Room he told Eden “Thirty years of my life have been passed
in this room. I shall never sit in it again. You will, but I shall not.” However, contrary
to expectations, Churchill did not hand over the Conservative leadership to Anthony Eden,
who became his deputy but was disinclined to challenge his leadership. It would be another
decade before Churchill finally did hand over the reins.===Opposition leader===For six years Churchill was to serve as the
Leader of the Opposition. During these years he continued to influence world affairs. During
his 1946 trip to the United States, Churchill famously lost a lot of money in a poker game
with Harry Truman and his advisors.During this trip he gave his Iron Curtain speech
about the USSR and the creation of the Eastern Bloc. Speaking on 5 March 1946 at Westminster
College in Fulton, Missouri, he declared: From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the
Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the
capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague,
Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations
around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere.
Churchill’s doctor Lord Moran later (in his book The Struggle for Survival) recalled Churchill
suggesting in 1946—the year before he put the idea (unsuccessfully) in a memo to President
Truman—that the United States make a pre-emptive atomic bomb attack on Moscow while the Soviet
Union did not yet possess nuclear weapons.In parliament on 5 June 1946, three days before
the London Victory Parade, Churchill said he ‘deeply’ regretted that: none of the Polish troops, and I must say
this, who fought with us on a score of battlefields, who poured out their blood in the common cause,
are not to be allowed to march in the Victory Parade … The fate of Poland seems to be
unending tragedy and we who went to war all ill-prepared on her behalf watch with sorrow
the strange outcome of our endeavours. Churchill told the Irish Ambassador to London
in 1946, “I said a few words in parliament the other day about your country because I
still hope for a united Ireland. You must get those fellows in the north in, though;
you can’t do it by force. There is not, and never was, any bitterness in my heart towards
your country.” He later said “You know I have had many invitations to visit Ulster but I
have refused them all. I don’t want to go there at all, I would much rather go to southern
Ireland. Maybe I’ll buy another horse with an entry in the Irish Derby.”He continued
to lead his party after losing the 1950 general election.====European unity====In the summer of 1930, inspired by the ideas
being floated by Aristide Briand and by his recent tour of the US in the autumn of 1929,
Churchill wrote an article lamenting the instability which had been caused by the independence
of Poland and the disintegration of Austria-Hungary into petty states, and called for a “United
States of Europe”, although he wrote that Britain was “with Europe but not of it”.Ideas
about closer European union continued to circulate, driven by Paul-Henri Spaak, from 1942 onwards.
As early as March 1943 a Churchill speech on postwar reconstruction annoyed the US administration
not only by not mentioning China as a great power but by proposing a purely European “Council
of Europe”. Harry Hopkins passed on President Roosevelt’s concerns, warning Eden that it
would “give free ammunition to (US) isolationists” who might propose an American “regional council”.
Churchill urged Eden, on a visit to the US at the time, to “listen politely” but give
“no countenance” to Roosevelt’s proposals for the US, UK, USSR and Chiang Kai-shek’s
China to act together to enforce “Global Collective Security” with the Japanese and French Empires
taken into international trusteeship.Now out of office, Churchill gave a speech at Zurich
on 19 September 1946 in which he called for “a kind of United States of Europe” centred
around a Franco-German partnership, with Britain and the Commonwealth, and perhaps the US,
as “friends and sponsors of the new Europe”. The Times wrote of him “startling the world”
with “outrageous propositions” and warned that there was as yet little appetite for
such unity, and that he appeared to be assuming a permanent division between Eastern and Western
Europe, and urged “more humdrum” economic agreements. Churchill’s speech was praised
by Leo Amery and by Count Coudenhove-Kalergi who wrote that it would galvanise governments
into action.Churchill expressed similar sentiments at a meeting of the Primrose League at the
Albert Hall on 18 May 1947. He declared “let Europe arise” but was “absolutely clear” that
“we shall allow no wedge to be driven between Britain and the United States”. Churchill’s
speeches helped to encourage the foundation of the Council of Europe.In June 1950, Churchill
was strongly critical of the Attlee Government’s failure to send British representatives to
Paris to discuss the Schuman Plan for setting up the European Coal and Steel Community.
He declared that les absents ont toujours tort (“the absent are always wrong”) and called
it “a squalid attitude” which “derange(d) the balance of Europe” and risked Germany
dominating the new grouping. He called for world unity through the UN (against the backdrop
of the communist invasion of South Korea), while stressing that Britain was uniquely
placed to exert leadership through her links to the Commonwealth, the US and Europe. However,
Churchill did not want Britain to actually join any federal grouping. In September 1951,
a declaration of the American, French and British foreign ministers welcomed the Schuman
Plan, stressing that it would revive economic growth and encourage the development of a
democratic Germany, part of the Atlantic community.After returning as Prime Minister, Churchill issued
a note for the Cabinet on 29 November 1951. He listed British Foreign Policy priorities
as Commonwealth unity and consolidation, “fraternal association” of the English-speaking world
(i.e. the Commonwealth and the US), and “United Europe, to which we are a closely—and specially-related
ally and friend … (it is) only when plans for uniting Europe take a federal form that
we cannot take part, because we cannot subordinate ourselves or the control of British policy
to federal authorities”.In 1956, after retiring as Prime Minister, Churchill went to Aachen
to receive the Charlemagne Prize for his contribution to European Unity. Churchill is today listed
as one of the “Founding fathers of the European Union”.In July 1962, Field-Marshal Montgomery
told the press that the aged Churchill, whom he had just visited in hospital where he was
being treated for a broken hip, was opposed to Macmillan’s negotiations for Britain to
enter the EEC (which would, in the event, be vetoed by the French President, General
de Gaulle, the following January). Churchill told his granddaughter, Edwina, that Montgomery’s
behaviour in leaking a private conversation was “monstrous”.==Second term as prime minister: 1951–1955
=====Return to government=======Domestic policy====
After the general election of October 1951, Churchill again became prime minister, and
his second government lasted until his resignation in April 1955. He also held the office of
Minister of Defence from October 1951 until 1 March 1952, when he handed the portfolio
to Field Marshal Alexander.In domestic affairs, various reforms were introduced such as the
Mines and Quarries Act 1954 and the Housing Repairs and Rents Act 1954. The former measure
consolidated legislation dealing with the employment of young persons and women in mines
and quarries, together with safety, health, and welfare. The latter measure extended previous
housing Acts, and set out details in defining housing units as “unfit for human habitation.”
Tax allowances were raised, as well, construction of council housing accelerated, and pensions
and national assistance benefits were increased. Controversially, however, charges for prescription
medicines were introduced.Housing was an issue the Conservatives were widely recognised to
have made their own, after the Churchill government of the early 1950s, with Harold Macmillan
as Minister for Housing, giving housing construction far higher political priority than it had
received under the Attlee administration (where housing had been attached to the portfolio
of Health Minister Aneurin Bevan, whose attention was concentrated on his responsibilities for
the National Health Service). Macmillan had accepted Churchill’s challenge to meet the
latter’s ambitious public commitment to build 300,000 new homes a year, and achieved the
target a year ahead of schedule.===Colonial affairs=======Kenya and Malaya====Churchill’s domestic priorities in his last
government were overshadowed by a series of foreign policy crises, which were partly the
result of the continued decline of British military and imperial prestige and power.
Being a strong proponent of Britain as an international power, Churchill would often
meet such moments with direct action. One example was his dispatch of British troops
to Kenya to deal with the Mau Mau rebellion. Trying to retain what he could of the Empire,
he once stated that, “I will not preside over a dismemberment.”This was followed by events
which became known as the Malayan Emergency which had been in progress since 1948. Once
again, Churchill’s government inherited a crisis, and Churchill chose to use direct
military action against those in rebellion while attempting to build an alliance with
those who were not. While the rebellion was slowly being defeated, it was equally clear
that colonial rule from Britain was no longer sustainable.===Relations with the US and the quest for
a summit===In the early 1950s, Britain was still attempting
to remain a third major power on the world stage. This was “the time when Britain stood
up to the United States as strongly as she was ever to do in the postwar world”. However,
Churchill devoted much of his time in office to Anglo-American relations and attempted
to maintain the Special Relationship. He made four official transatlantic visits to America
during his second term as prime minister.Churchill and Eden visited Washington in January 1952.
The Truman Administration was supporting the plans for a European Defence Community (EDC),
hoping that this would allow controlled West German rearmament and enable American troop
reductions. Churchill affected to believe that the proposed EDC would not work, scoffing
at the supposed difficulties of language. Churchill asked in vain for a US military
commitment to support Britain’s position in Egypt and Middle East (where the Truman Administration
had recently pressured Attlee not to intervene against Mossadeq in Iran); this did not meet
with American approval—the US expected British support to fight communism in Korea, but saw
any US commitment to the Middle East as supporting British imperialism, and were unpersuaded
that this would help prevent pro-Soviet regimes from coming to power.
By early 1953, the Cabinet’s Foreign Policy priority was Egypt and the nationalist, anti-imperialist
Egyptian Revolution.After Stalin’s death, Churchill, the last of the wartime Big Three,
wrote to Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had just assumed office as US President, on 11 March
proposing a summit meeting with the Soviets; Eisenhower wrote back pouring cold water on
the suggestions as the Soviets might use it for propaganda.Some of Churchill’s colleagues
hoped that he might retire after the Queen’s Coronation in May 1953. Eden wrote to his
son on 10 April “W gets daily older & is apt to … waste a great deal of time … the
outside world has little idea how difficult that becomes. Please make me retire before
I am 80!” However, Eden’s serious illness (he nearly died after a series of botched
operations on his bile duct) allowed Churchill to take control of foreign affairs from April
1953.After further discouragement from President Eisenhower (this was the McCarthy era in the
US, in which Secretary of State Dulles took a Manichean view of the Cold War), Churchill
announced his plans in the House of Commons on 11 May. The US Embassy in London noted
that this was a rare occasion on which Churchill did not mention Anglo-American solidarity
in a speech. Ministers like Lord Salisbury (acting Foreign Secretary) and Nutting were
concerned at the irritation caused to the Americans and the French, although Selwyn
Lloyd supported Churchill’s initiative, as did most Conservatives. In his diary a year
later, Eden wrote of Churchill’s actions with fury.===Stroke and resignation===
Churchill had suffered a mild stroke while on holiday in the south of France in the summer
of 1949. By the time he formed his next government he was slowing down noticeably enough for
George VI, as early as December 1951, to consider inviting Churchill to retire in the following
year in favour of Anthony Eden, but it is not recorded if the King made that approach
before his own death in February 1952. The strain of carrying the Premiership and
Foreign Office contributed to his second stroke at 10 Downing Street after dinner on the evening
of 23 June 1953. Despite being partially paralysed down one side, he presided over a Cabinet
meeting the next morning without anybody noticing his incapacity. Thereafter his condition deteriorated,
and it was thought that he might not survive the weekend. Had Eden been fit, Churchill’s
premiership would most likely have been over. News of this was kept from the public and
from Parliament, who were told that Churchill was suffering from exhaustion. He went to
his country home, Chartwell, to recuperate, and by the end of June he astonished his doctors
by being able, dripping with perspiration, to lift himself upright from his chair. He
joked that news of his illness had chased the trial of the serial killer John Christie
off the front pages.Churchill was still keen to pursue a meeting with the Soviets and was
open to the idea of a reunified Germany. He refused to condemn the Soviet crushing of
East Germany, commenting on 10 July 1953 that “The Russians were surprisingly patient about
the disturbances in East Germany”. He thought this might have been the reason for the removal
of Beria. Churchill returned to public life in October 1953 to make a speech at the Conservative
Party conference at Margate. In December 1953, Churchill met Eisenhower in Bermuda.Churchill
was annoyed about friction between Eden and Dulles (June 1954). On the trip home from
another Anglo-American conference, the diplomat Pierson Dixon compared US actions in Guatemala
to Soviet policy in Korea and Greece, causing Churchill to retort that Guatemala was a “bloody
place” he’d “never heard of”. Churchill was still keen for a trip to Moscow, and threatened
to resign, provoking a crisis in the Cabinet when Lord Salisbury threatened to resign if
Churchill had his way. In the end the Soviets proposed a five-power conference, which did
not meet until after Churchill had retired. By the autumn Churchill was again postponing
his resignation.Eden, now partially recovered from his operations, became a major figure
on the world stage in 1954, helping to negotiate peace in Indo-China, an agreement with Egypt
and to broker an agreement between the countries of Western Europe after the French rejection
of the EDC. Aware that he was slowing down both physically and mentally, Churchill at
last retired as prime minister in 1955 and was succeeded by Anthony Eden. At the time
of his departure, he was considered to have had the longest ministerial career in modern
British politics.==Retirement and death: 1955–1965==Elizabeth II offered to create Churchill Duke
of London, but this was declined as a result of the objections of his son Randolph, who
would have inherited the title on his father’s death. He did, however, accept a knighthood
as Garter Knight. After leaving the premiership, Churchill spent less time in parliament until
he stood down at the 1964 general election. Churchill spent most of his retirement at
Chartwell and at his home in Hyde Park Gate, in London, and became a habitué of high society
on the French Riviera.Although publicly supportive, Churchill was privately scathing about Eden’s
Suez Invasion. His wife believed that he had made a number of visits to the US in the following
years in an attempt to help repair Anglo-American relations.By the time of the 1959 general
election Churchill seldom attended the House of Commons. Despite the Conservative landslide,
his own majority fell by more than a thousand. It is widely believed that as his mental and
physical faculties decayed, he began to lose a battle he had supposedly long fought against
depression. However, the nature, incidence and severity of Churchill’s depression is
uncertain. Anthony Montague Browne, Personal Secretary to Churchill during the latter’s
final ten years of life, wrote that he never heard Churchill refer to depression, and he
disputed that the former prime minister suffered from depression.There was speculation that
Churchill may have had Alzheimer’s disease in his last years, although others maintain
that his reduced mental capacity was simply the cumulative result of the ten strokes and
the increasing deafness he suffered from during the period 1949–1963. In 1963, US President
John F. Kennedy, acting under authorisation granted by an Act of Congress, proclaimed
him an Honorary Citizen of the United States, but he was unable to attend the White House
ceremony.Despite poor health, Churchill still tried to remain active in public life, and
on St George’s Day 1964, sent a message of congratulations to the surviving veterans
of the 1918 Zeebrugge Raid who were attending a service of commemoration in Deal, Kent,
where two casualties of the raid were buried in the Hamilton Road Cemetery. On 15 January
1965, Churchill suffered a severe stroke and died at his London home nine days later, aged
90, on the morning of Sunday, 24 January 1965, 70 years to the day after his own father’s
death.===Funeral===Churchill’s funeral plan had been initiated
in 1953, after he suffered a major stroke, under the name Operation Hope Not. The purpose
was to commemorate Churchill “on a scale befitting his position in history”, as Queen Elizabeth
II declared.The funeral was the largest state funeral in world history up to that time,
with representatives from 112 nations; only China did not send an emissary. In Europe,
350 million people, including 25 million in Britain, watched the funeral on television,
and only the Republic of Ireland did not broadcast it live.By decree of the Queen, his body lay
in state in Westminster Hall for three days and a state funeral service was held at St
Paul’s Cathedral on 30 January 1965. One of the largest assemblages of statesmen in the
world was gathered for the service. Unusually, the Queen attended the funeral because Churchill
was the first commoner since William Gladstone to lie-in-State. As Churchill’s lead-lined
coffin passed up the River Thames from Tower Pier to Festival Pier on the MV Havengore,
dockers lowered their crane jibs in a salute. The Royal Artillery fired the 19-gun salute
due a head of government, and the RAF staged a fly-by of sixteen English Electric Lightning
fighters. The coffin was then taken the short distance to Waterloo station where it was
loaded onto a specially prepared and painted carriage as part of the funeral train for
its rail journey to Hanborough, seven miles northwest of Oxford.
The funeral train of Pullman coaches carrying his family mourners was hauled by Battle of
Britain class steam locomotive No. 34051 Winston Churchill. In the fields along the route,
and at the stations through which the train passed, thousands stood in silence to pay
their last respects. At Churchill’s request, he was buried in the family plot at St Martin’s
Church, Bladon, near Woodstock, not far from his birthplace at Blenheim Palace. Churchill’s
funeral van—former Southern Railway van S2464S—is now part of a preservation project
with the Swanage Railway, having been repatriated to the UK in 2007 from the US, to where it
had been exported in 1965.Later in 1965 a memorial to Churchill, cut by the engraver
Reynolds Stone, was placed in Westminster Abbey.==Artist, historian, and writer==Churchill was an accomplished amateur artist
and took great pleasure in painting, especially after his resignation as First Lord of the
Admiralty in 1915. He found a haven in art to overcome the spells of depression which
some say he suffered throughout his life. William Rees-Mogg wrote “In his own life,
he had to suffer the ‘black dog’ of depression. In his landscapes and still lifes there is
no sign of depression.” Churchill was persuaded and taught to paint by his artist friend,
Paul Maze, whom he met during the First World War. Maze was a great influence on Churchill’s
painting and became a lifelong painting companion.Churchill’s best known paintings are impressionist landscapes,
many of which were painted while on holiday in the South of France, Egypt or Morocco.
Using the pseudonym “Charles Morin”, he continued his hobby throughout his life and painted
hundreds of paintings, many of which are on show in the studio at Chartwell as well as
private collections. Most of his paintings are oil-based and feature landscapes, but
he also did a number of interior scenes and portraits. In 1925 Lord Duveen, Kenneth Clark,
and Oswald Birley selected his Winter Sunshine as the prize winner in a contest for anonymous
amateur artists. Due to obvious time constraints, Churchill attempted only one painting during
the Second World War. He completed the painting from the tower of the Villa Taylor in Marrakesh. Some of his paintings can today be seen in
the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection at the Dallas Museum of Art. Emery Reves was Churchill’s
American publisher, as well as a close friend and Churchill often visited Emery and his
wife Wendy Russell Reves at their villa, La Pausa, in the South of France, which had originally
been built in 1927 for Coco Chanel by her lover the 2nd Duke of Westminster. The villa
was rebuilt within the museum in 1985 with a gallery of Churchill paintings and memorabilia.Gunther
estimated in 1939 that Churchill earned $100,000 a year ($1.39 million in 2016) from writing
and lecturing, but that “of this he spends plenty”. Despite his lifelong fame and upper-class
origins, Churchill always struggled to keep his income at a level which would fund his
extravagant lifestyle. MPs before 1946 received only a nominal salary (and in fact did not
receive anything at all until the Parliament Act 1911) so many had secondary professions
from which to earn a living. From his first book in 1898 until his second stint as Prime
Minister, Churchill’s income while out of office was almost entirely from writing books
and opinion pieces for newspapers and magazines, among them the fortnightly columns that appeared
in the Evening Standard from 1936 warning of the rise of Hitler and the danger of the
policy of appeasement.Churchill was a prolific writer, often under the pen name “Winston
S. Churchill”, which he used by agreement with the American novelist of the same name
to avoid confusion between their works. His output included a novel, two biographies,
three volumes of memoirs, and several histories. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature
in 1953 “for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant
oratory in defending exalted human values”. Two of his most famous works, published after
his first premiership brought his international fame to new heights, were his six-volume memoir
The Second World War and A History of the English-Speaking Peoples; a four-volume history
covering the period from Caesar’s invasions of Britain (55 BC) to the beginning of the
First World War (1914). A number of volumes of Churchill’s speeches were also published.
the first of which, Into Battle, was published in the United States under the title Blood,
Sweat and Tears, and was included in Life Magazine’s list of the 100 outstanding books
of 1924–1944.Churchill was an amateur bricklayer, constructing buildings and garden walls at
his country home at Chartwell, where he also bred butterflies. As part of this hobby Churchill
joined the Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers, but was expelled due to his revived
membership in the Conservative Party.Churchill was passionate about science and technology.
When he was 22 he read Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species and a primer on physics.
In the 1920s and 1930s, he wrote popular-science essays on topics such as evolution and fusion
power. In an unpublished manuscript, Are We Alone in the Universe?, he investigates the
possibility of extraterrestrial life in a thoroughly scientific way.==Political ideology==
Churchill was a career politician, with biographer Robert Rhodes James describing him as a man
“who was to devote himself for his entire adult life to the profession of politics”.
In James’ view, Churchill was “fundamentally a very conservative man”, and that this “basic
conservatism was a conspicuous feature of his political attitudes”. Gilbert described
Churchill as being “liberal in outlook” throughout his life, although Jenkins thought that “there
is room for argument about whether he was ever an engrained philosophical Liberal”. Gilbert described Churchill as “a radical”
who believed that the state was needed to ensure “minimum standards of life, labour
and social well-being for all citizens”. Many Liberals doubted the conviction of his radicalism
when it came to social reform. Churchill’s speeches on liberalism emphasised
the retention of Britain’s existing social structure and the need for “gradualness” rather
than revolutionary change; he accepted and endorsed the existence of class divisions
in British society. Churchill sought social reform not out of a desire to challenge the
existing social structure but out of an attempt to preserve it. Charles Masterman, a Liberal
reformer who knew Churchill, stated that the latter “desired in England, a state of things
where a benign upper class dispensed benefits to an industrious, bien pensant, and grateful
working class”. In Jenkins’ view, Churchill’s privileged background prevented him from empathising
with the poor, and instead he “sympathize[d] with them from on high”. As a minister, Churchill
engaged in anti-socialist rhetoric, and sought to clearly differentiate socialism from liberalism.Although
Churchill had upset both Edward VII and George V in his political career, he always remained
a firm monarchist, displaying a romanticised view of the British monarchy. Jenkins described
Churchill’s opposition to protectionism as being based on a “profound conviction”, although
during his political career many questioned the sincerity of Churchill’s anti-protectionist
beliefs. Although as Home Secretary he found sanctioning executions to be one of his most
emotionally taxing tasks, he did not endorse the abolition of the death penalty.Churchill
exhibited a romanticised view of the British Empire.
Churchill was well disposed to Zionism.===Links to political parties===
James described Churchill as having “no permanent commitment to any” party, and that his “shifts
of allegiance were never unconnected with his personal interests”.
When campaigning for his Oldham seat in 1899, Churchill referred to himself as a Conservative
and a Tory Democrat; the following year, he referred to Liberals as “prigs, prudes, and
faddists”. In a 1902 letter to a fellow Conservative,
Churchill stated that he had “broad, tolerant, moderate views—a longing for compromise
and agreement—a disdain for cant of all kinds—a hatred for extremists whether they
be Jingos or Pro-Boers; and I confess the idea of a central party, fresher, freer, more
efficient, yet, above all, loyal and patriotic, is very pleasing to my heart.” This dream
of a “Centre Party” that would bring together more moderate elements of the main British
parties—and thus remain permanently in office—was a recurring one for Churchill.By 1903, he
was increasingly dissatisfied with the Conservatives, in part due to their promotion of economic
protectionism, but also because he had attracted the animosity of many party members and was
likely aware that this might have prevented him gaining a Cabinet position under a Conservative
government. The Liberal Party was then attracting growing support, and so his defection may
have also have been influenced by personal ambition. In a 1903 letter, he referred to
himself as an “English Liberal … I hate the Tory party, their men, their words and
their methods”. Jenkins noted that, with Lloyd George, Churchill formed “a partnership of
constructive radicalism, two social reforming New Liberals who had turned their backs on
the old Gladstonian tradition of concentrating on libertarian political issues and leaving
social conditions to look after themselves”.Throughout his political career, Churchill’s relationship
with the Conservative Party was stormy.==Personal life==
Churchill firmly believed himself to be a man of destiny. Churchill biographers have
described him as egocentric, brash, self-confident and self-centred. He had a good memory, and
could be reckless. Describing Churchill’s “ebullient personality”, Jenkins noted that
in his youth, Churchill displayed “impetuous self-centredness” and “rash courage”. Jenkins
added that Churchill displayed a “self-confidence and determination always to go straight to
the top” when dealing with a situation, approaching the highest-ranking official he could, while
Rhodes James described him as “a career politician, profoundly ambitious and eager for prominence”.Jenkins
stated that in his early parliamentary years, Churchill was “often deliberately provocative”;
Rhodes James called it “deliberately aggressive”. Rhodes James was of the view that, when speaking
in the House of Commons, Churchill gave the impression of having a chip on his shoulder.
His barbed rhetorical style earned him many enemies in parliament, and many Conservatives
disliked him for his open criticism of Balfour and subsequent defection to the Liberals.
Gilbert stated that in his early parliamentary career, Churchill reflected “zeal, intelligence,
and eagerness to learn”. Churchill developed a reputation for being a heavy drinker of
alcoholic beverages, although this was often over-exaggerated. In India, he enjoyed playing
polo. Gilbert noted that Churchill’s literary style was “outspoken, vigorous, with the written
equivalent of a mischievous grin”. Jenkins thought that Churchill was excited and exhilarated
by war, but that he was never indifferent to the suffering that it caused.From childhood,
Churchill had been unable to pronounce the letter s, verbalising it with a slur. This
lateral lisp continued throughout his career, reported consistently by journalists of the
time and later. Authors writing in the 1920s and 1930s, before sound recording became common,
also mentioned Churchill having a stutter, describing it in terms such as “severe” or
“agonising”. The Churchill Centre and Museum says the majority of records show his impediment
was a lateral lisp, while Churchill’s stutter is a myth. His dentures were specially designed
to aid his speech. After many years of public speeches carefully prepared not only to inspire,
but also to avoid hesitations, he could finally state, “My impediment is no hindrance”.
Rhodes James thought that, in part because of his speech impediment, Churchill was “not
a natural impromptu speaker”. Churchill therefore memorised speeches before he gave them. Gilbert
believed that during the early 1900s, when Churchill worked as a professional speech
giver, he mastered “every aspect of the art of speech-making”. Jenkins noted that “Churchill
lived by phrase-making. He thought rhetorically, and was constantly in danger of his policy
being made by his phrases rather than vice versa.” For Rhodes James, Churchill was “particularly
effective” at “invective and raillery” and that he was “at his most effective when he
made deliberate use of humour and sarcasm”.For Jenkins, Churchill was “singularly lacking
in inhibition or concealment”, and for Rhodes James he “lacked any capacity for intrigue
and was refreshingly innocent and straightforward”. Jenkins stated that Churchill “naturally had
a lively sympathy for the underdog, particularly against the middle-dog, provided, and it was
quite a big proviso, that his own position as a top-dog was unchallenged”.
He was a particular fan of polo, a sport that he played while stationed in India.Churchill
displayed particular loyalty to his family and close friends. For instance, when Lloyd
George was going through the Marconi scandal, one of the lowest points of his career, Churchill
supported him. One of his closest friends, even when he was a Liberal, was the Conservative
MP F. E. Smith. In 1911, he became close with Grey, and another longstanding friend was
Violet Asquith. Like his father, Churchill faced jibes that
all of his friends were Jewish.In 1900, he retired from the regular army, and in 1902
joined the Imperial Yeomanry, where he was commissioned as a Captain in the Queen’s Own
Oxfordshire Hussars on 4 January 1902. In April 1905, he was promoted to Major and appointed
to command of the Henley Squadron of the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars. In September 1916,
he transferred to the territorial reserves of officers, where he remained until retiring
in 1924 as a Major.On 24 May 1901 he was initiated into Freemasonry at Studholme Lodge No.1591,
which at the time met in the Regent Masonic Hall at the Cafe Royal, London, passed to
the Second Degree on 19 July, and raised to the Third Degree on 25 March 1902.===Marriage and children===Churchill met his future wife, Clementine
Hozier, in 1904 at a ball in Crewe House, home of the Earl of Crewe and Crewe’s wife
Margaret Primrose (daughter of Archibald Primrose, 5th Earl of Rosebery, and Hannah Rothschild).
In March 1908, they met again at a dinner party hosted by Lady St Helier. Churchill
found himself seated beside Clementine, and they soon began a lifelong romance. He proposed
to Clementine during a house party at Blenheim Palace on 11 August 1908, in a small summer
house known as the Temple of Diana.On 12 September 1908, he and Clementine were married in St.
Margaret’s, Westminster. A. G. Edwards, the Bishop of St Asaph, conducted the service.
Their first child, Diana, was born in London on 11 July 1909. After the pregnancy, Clementine
moved to Sussex to recover, while Diana stayed in London with her nanny. On 28 May 1911,
their second child, Randolph, was born at 33 Eccleston Square. Their third child, Sarah,
was born on 7 October 1914 at Admiralty House. The birth was marked with anxiety for Clementine,
as Churchill had been sent to Antwerp by the Cabinet to “stiffen the resistance of the
beleaguered city” after news that the Belgians intended to surrender the town. Clementine
gave birth to her fourth child, Marigold Frances Churchill, on 15 November 1918, four days
after the official end of the First World War.In the early days of August 1921, the
Churchills’ children were entrusted to a French nursery governess in Kent, Mlle Rose. Clementine
travelled to Eaton Hall to play tennis with Hugh Grosvenor, 2nd Duke of Westminster, and
his family. While still under the care of Mlle Rose, Marigold had a cold but was reported
to have recovered from the illness. As the illness progressed with hardly any notice,
it turned into septicaemia. Rose sent for Clementine, but the illness proved fatal on
23 August 1921, and Marigold was buried in the Kensal Green Cemetery three days later.
On 15 September 1922, the Churchills’ last child, Mary, was born. Later that month, the
Churchills bought Chartwell, which would be their home until Winston’s death in 1965.
According to Jenkins, Churchill was an “enthusiastic and loving father” but one who expected too
much of his children.The Churchills were married for 57 years. Churchill was aware of the strain
that his political career placed on his marriage.===Relationship with Lady Castlerosse===
In autumn 1985, Churchill’s former private secretary, Sir John Colville, was interviewed
by archivists at Churchill College, Cambridge. During the interview Colville reported that
Churchill had had a ‘brief affair’ with Doris, Viscountess Castlerosse, a glamorous aristocrat.
During the 1930s, while he was out of political office, Churchill spent four holidays with
Castlerosse, in the south of France. Churchill painted at least two portraits of Castlerosse.
Following the revival of his political career, in the late 1930s, Churchill ended the relationship.
In the late 1950s, Castlerosse’s love letters to Churchill were revealed to Clementine.
Churchill’s relationship with Castlerosse was the subject of a documentary shown on
Channel 4, on 4 March 2018.===Religion===
Churchill was christened on December 27, 1874, in the chapel of Blenheim Palace, and was
raised in the Church of England; however, his religious beliefs as an adult have been
described as agnostic. A scholarly article published in 2013 sums up Churchill’s religious
views this way: He did not attend worship services regularly,
choosing rather to grace the cathedrals only for state occasions and rites of passage.
The Bible he read merely “out of curiosity” and discussions of Church dogma were, safe
to say, near the bottom of his to-do list. Furthermore, Churchill entered into a period
of anti-religious fervor during his early twenties. His attitude mellowed as he aged,
but the skepticism he adopted then never fully dissipated. It would appear fair to say that,
on a strictly intellectual level, Churchill was an agnostic.
On the other hand, he remained sympathetic to religious belief and, in particular, to
the Christian faith, and tended sincerely to draw on its resources as needed, irrespective
of any logical contradiction with his formal doubts. The hymns and worship that Churchill
imbibed in his youth embedded in him an emotional and spiritual connection with the Church of
England—albeit one that stood at arms’ length to its teachings. He once described his relationship
with the Church as a buttress: he supported it from the outside. He was an adamant defender
of Christian civilization and earnestly advocated the need for Christian ethics in a democratic
society. In 1898, in a letter calmly written while
facing the prospect of death in battle, he wrote to his mother, “I do not accept the
Christian or any other form of religious belief”. In a letter to his cousin he referred to religion
as “a delicious narcotic” and expressed a preference for Protestantism over Roman Catholicism,
relating that he felt it “a step nearer Reason”.During the Boer War, Churchill often prayed during
the heat of battle, but he admitted that he thought it was an unreasonable thing to do.
He reflected that: “The practice [of prayer] was comforting and the reasoning led nowhere.
I therefore acted in accordance with my feelings without troubling to square such conduct with
the conclusions of thought”.In 1907, Churchill received a letter from his future sister-in-law,
Lady Gwendoline Bertie, in which she pleaded: “Please don’t become converted to Islam; I
have noticed in your disposition a tendency to orientalise [fascination with the Orient
and Islam], Pasha-like tendencies, I really have”. However, Gwendoline may have been joking,
or his “orientalizing” tendency may have been merely whimsical, for Churchill had seen Muslim
fanaticism at close hand during his army service in the Sudan Campaign. In The River War (1899),
his account of the conflict, he had written at age 24: “Individual Muslims may show splendid
qualities … but the influence of the religion paralyses those who follow it. No stronger
retrograde force exists in the world”. In October 1940, however, Churchill gave “happy
approval” to the War Cabinet’s allocation of £100,000 towards the construction of the
London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park.===Pets and animals===Churchill was an animal lover and owned a
wide range of animals, including dogs, cats, horses, pigs, fish, and black swans, many
of which were kept at Chartwell. Jock Colville recounted how Churchill as wartime Prime Minister
would talk to his cats about the issues he was contemplating. Colville presented Churchill
with his last cat, called Jock, on his 88th birthday and Churchill made provision in the
Chartwell National Trust that it would always house a cat called Jock.==Honours==In addition to the honour of a state funeral,
Churchill received a wide range of awards and other honours, including the following,
chronologically: Churchill was appointed to the Privy Council
of the United Kingdom in 1907. He received the Order of the Companions of
Honour in 1922. He was awarded the Territorial Decoration
for his long service in the Territorial Army in 1924.
Churchill was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1941
In 1941, he was appointed to the Privy Council of Canada.
In 1945, while Churchill was mentioned by Halvdan Koht as one of seven appropriate candidates
for the Nobel Prize in Peace, the nomination went to Cordell Hull.
He received the Order of Merit in 1946. In 1953, Churchill was invested as a Knight
of the Garter (becoming Sir Winston Churchill, KG), and awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature
for his numerous published works, especially his six-volume set The Second World War.
In 1958, Churchill College, Cambridge was founded in his honour.
In 1963, Churchill was named an Honorary Citizen of the United States by Public Law 88-6/H.R.
4374 (approved/enacted 9 April 1963). On 29 November 1995, during a visit to the
United Kingdom, President Bill Clinton of the United States announced to both Houses
of Parliament that an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer would be named the USS Winston S.
Churchill. This was the first United States warship to be named after an Englishman since
the end of the American Revolution. In a BBC poll of the “100 Greatest Britons”
in 2002, he was proclaimed “The Greatest of Them All” based on approximately a million
votes from BBC viewers. Churchill was also rated as one of the most influential leaders
in history by TIME.===Military ranks and appointments===Churchill held substantive ranks in the British
Army and in the Territorial Army since he was commissioned as a Cornet in the 4th Queen’s
Own Hussars until his retirement from the Territorial Army in 1924 with the rank of
Major, having held the temporary rank of Lieutenant-Colonel during the Great War.In addition he held many
honorary military appointments. In 1939, he was appointed as an Honorary Air Commodore
in the Auxiliary Air Force and was awarded honorary wings in 1943.
In 1941, he was made a Regimental Colonel of the 4th Hussars. During the Second World
War, he frequently wore his uniform as an Air Commodore and as a Colonel of the Hussars.
After the war he was appointed as the Colonel in Chief of the 4th Hussars, Queen’s Royal
Irish Hussars and the Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars.In 1913, he was appointed an Elder
Brother of Trinity House as result of his appointment as First Lord of the Admiralty.
He held the post of Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports from 1941 until his death and in that
capacity was appointed Honorary Colonel of the 89th (Cinque Ports) Heavy Anti-Aircraft
Regiment, Royal Artillery, on 20 February 1942. In 1949, he was appointed Deputy Lieutenant
(DL) of Kent. Resuming, Churchill held the following military
ranks and appointments: Cornet, later Lieutenant, 4th Queen’s Own
Hussars (1895) Captain, Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars (1902)
Major, 2nd Bn/Grenadier Guards (provisional, December 1915)
Lt.Colonel, 6th Bn/Royal Scots Fusiliers (provisional, January–March 1916)
Major, Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars, Territorial Army (1916 – retired 1924)
Air Commodore, 615th (Co.of Surrey) Fighter Sqn Royal Auxiliary Air Force (honorary, 1939)
Honorary Colonel, 63rd Oxfordshire Yeomanry Anti-Tank Regiment, Royal Artillery (1939)
Honorary Colonel, 6th Bn/Royal Scots Fusiliers (1940)
Regimental Colonel, 4th Queen’s Own Hussars (1941)
Colonel-in-Chief, 4th Queen’s Own Hussars (1941), later Queen’s Royal Irish Hussars
(1958) Colonel-in-Chief, Queen’s Own Oxfordshire
Hussars (1941) Honorary Colonel, 5th (Cinque Ports) Bn/Royal
Sussex Rgt (1941), later 4th/5th Bn/Royal Sussex Rgt.(1943)
Honorary Colonel, 89th (Cinque Ports) Heavy Anti-Airctaft Rgt, Royal Artillery (1942)
Honorary Colonel, 4th Bn/Essex Rgt, Territorial Army (1945)
Honorary Colonel, 6th (Cinque Ports) Cadet Bn, the Buffs (1946)
Honorary Colonel, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire Yeomanty, Royal Artillery (1950)==Reputation and legacy==The historian Robert Rhodes James stated that
Churchill had lived an “exceptionally long, complex, and controversial life”, one which—in
the realm of British parliamentary politics—was comparable only to Gladstone’s in its “length,
drama and incident”. Churchill’s reputation among the general British
public remains high: he was voted number one in a 2002 BBC poll of the 100 Greatest Britons
of all time. Throughout his career, Churchill’s outspokenness earned him enemies, and his
legacy continues to stir intense debate among writers and historians.
By the time he entered the House of Commons as an MP, he was already controversial, perceived
by many as “an adventurer and a medal-hunter”. Up until 1939, his approach to politics resulted
in there developing a widespread “mistrust and dislike” of him, an attitude exacerbated
by his repeated party defections. When First Lord of the Admiralty, many “critics denigrated
him” as being “reckless, ignorant, and unprincipled, a political upstart with no understanding
of the glorious traditions and methods of work of the Royal Navy”.Haffner believed that
Churchill had an “affinity with war”, exhibiting “a profound and innate understanding of it.”
In his later career, Churchill gained a reputation as being the last Victorian in British politics;
Jenkins thought that this was not a fair assessment, stating that he remained “essentially an Edwardian
rather than a Victorian” in his attitudes. While staunchly opposed to labour unions and
holding Communist agitation responsible for the Labour movement during the 1920s, Churchill
supported social reform, if more in the spirit of Victorian paternalism. Jenkins remarked
that Churchill had “a substantial record as a social reformer” for his work in the first
part of his parliamentary career; similarly, Rhodes James thought that as a social reformer
“his achievements were considerable”. In Rhodes James’ view, this had been achieved because
“as a minister [Churchill] had three outstanding qualities. He worked hard; he put his proposals
efficiently through the Cabinet and Parliament; he carried his Department with him. These
ministerial merits are not as common as might be thought.” Between 1966 and 1988, an eight-volume biography
of Churchill was published, started by Randolph Churchill but completed largely by Martin
Gilbert after the former’s death in 1968. Rhodes James suggested that this official
biography was a “labour of love” for Randolph Churchill, and that “what was so admirable
in the son, was … less desirable in the biographer.”
According to Allen Packwood, director of the Churchill Archives Centre, even during his
own lifetime Churchill was an “incredibly complex, contradictory and larger-than-life
human being,” who frequently wrestled with those contradictions.Notably, Churchill’s
strongly held and outspoken racial views have frequently been highlighted, quoted and strongly
criticised. However, historian Richard Toye has observed that in the context of the era,
Churchill was not “particularly unique” in having strong opinions on race and the superiority
of white peoples, even if many of his contemporaries did not subscribe to them. From early on,
his reputation as an unbending imperialist was well established. At the November 1921
cabinet meeting where a final decision on a proposal to retrocede Weihaiwei to China
was to be made, he, alone with George Curzon, another uncompromising imperialist, adamantly
opposed the proposal, no matter how worthless the territory was known to be. He lamented
Britain’s historic readiness to barter away places such as Java and Corfu, asking “Why
melt down the capital collected by our forebears to please a lot of pacifists?”Churchill’s
attitudes towards and policies regarding Indians and Britain’s rule of the subcontinent are
frequently criticised, and have left a lasting and highly contentious mark on his legacy.
Historian Walter Reid, who has written admiringly about Churchill’s premiership and “absolutely
crucial role during the Second World War,” has however acknowledged that Churchill “was
very wrong in relation to India, where his conduct fell far below his usual level.” Reid
further observes that while it remains “tough to give a nuanced view on Churchill in a few
words,” Churchill’s efforts and those of several fellow back-bench parliamentarians in the
1930s to manipulate the 1935 Government of India Act further entrenched religious and
political divisions amongst Hindus, Muslims and the Indian princely rulers.In 2018, Afua
Hirsch wrote in The Guardian, “There’s a strange cognitive dissonance you experience
working on the inconvenient parts of Churchill’s legacy – as I have been recently for a documentary
I’m making. Two serious historians have told me in recent weeks that when they began
researching less popular episodes in Churchill’s life, they were warned that doing so would
either finish their careers, preclude them from promotion, or make them outcasts in academia.”===
Cultural depictions===Winston Churchill has been regularly portrayed
in film, television, radio and other media. The depictions range from minor character
to the biographical centerpiece, exceeding 30 films, more than two dozen television shows,
several stage productions, and countless books.==See also==
List of people on the cover of Time magazine (1920s); 14 April 1923, 11 May 1925
Politics of the United Kingdom Winston Churchill Memorial Trusts==
References=====Notes======Sources=====Further reading=====Primary sources======Secondary sources=====External links==Winston Churchill on IMDb
Winston Churchill at Curlie Churchill’s First World War from Imperial
War Museums FBI files on Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill and Zionism Shapell Manuscript Foundation
The Real Churchill (critical) and a rebuttal A Rebuttal to ‘The Real Churchill’ at the
Wayback Machine (archived 12 September 2007) “Archival material relating to Winston Churchill”.
UK National Archives. Churchill and the Great Republic Exhibition
explores Churchill’s relationship with the US
Churchill College Biography of Winston Churchill “Winston Churchill’s World War Disaster”.
Winston Churchill’s Personal Manuscripts===Bibliographies and online collections
===Online gallery of Churchill’s numerous oil
paintings Works by Winston Churchill at Project Gutenberg
Works by Winston S. (Spencer) Churchill at Faded Page (Canada)
Works by or about Winston Churchill at Internet Archive
Works by Winston Churchill at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
190 paintings by or after Winston Churchill at the Art UK site===Programmes about Churchill===
BBC Radio 4 Great Lives Winston Churchill (listen online)
The History Channel: Winston Churchill Winston Churchill on IMDb (Churchill portrayed
in film)===Recordings===
EarthStation1: Winston Churchill Speech Audio Archive
Collected Churchill Podcasts and speeches Amateur colour film footage of Churchill’s
funeral from Imperial War Museums===Museums, archives and libraries===
Portraits of Winston Churchill at the National Portrait Gallery, London
Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Winston Churchill
The Churchill Centre website Imperial War Museum: Churchill War Rooms.
Comprising the original underground War Rooms preserved since 1945, including the Cabinet
Room, the Map Room and Churchill’s bedroom, and the new Museum dedicated to Churchill’s
life. Winston Churchill Memorial and Library at
Westminster College, Missouri War Cabinet Minutes (1942), (1942–43), (1945–46),
(1946) Locations of correspondence and papers of
Churchill at The National Archives of the UK
Newspaper clippings about Winston Churchill in the 20th Century Press Archives of the
German National Library of Economics (ZBW)

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