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Winston Churchill – Political Leader

Date of Birth: 30-11-1874

The son of Lord Randolph Churchill and the American heiress Jennie Jerome, Churchill graduated from Sandhurst, but resigned his cavalry commission to become a correspondent during the Boer War. In 1900 he was elected to Parliament as a Conservative, but switched in 1904 to the Liberal Party. He became a member of the Liberal cabinet, where he worked for reform of the navy.

During WWI his support of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign forced his resignation from the admiralty. However, he joined Lloyd George’s coalition cabinet, where he filled several important positions.

In 1924, he became chancellor of the Exchequer in Stanley Baldwin’s Conservative government, where he vigorously condemned the trade unions during the 1926 general strike. But Baldwin, and later, Chamberlain, disliked his opposition to self-government for India, and insistence on the need for rearmament, and he was excluded.

But, when Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939, Churchill returned to the admiralty.

Churchill succeeded Chamberlain as prime minister on May 10, 1940. He urged the British to conduct themselves so that, “if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour. By collaboration with President Roosevelt, he secured military support from the US. After the Soviet Union and the US entered the war in 1941, Churchill established close ties with leaders of what he called the “Grand Alliance.”

He also helped to shape the map of post-war Europe, his reputation disguising the fact that Britain’s military role had become secondary. Refusing social reform, however, Churchill was defeated by the Labour Party in 1945.

Churchill criticized the welfare state reforms of his successor, Attlee. He also helped to define and enforce the “Iron Curtain”.

He was knighted in 1953, and became prime minister again from 1951 to 1955.

He died in January 1965.

Famous Quotes

“Never in the face of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.”

“In Critical and baffling situations, it is always best to return to first principle and simple action”

“it so often happens that, when men are convinced that they have to die, a desire to bear themselves well and to leave life’s stage with dignity conquers all other sensations.”

“There is at least one thing worse than fighting with allies – and that is to fight without them”

“The power of an air force is terrific when there is nothing to oppose it.”

“No matter how enmeshed a commander becomes in the elaboration of his own thoughts, it is sometimes necessary to take the enemy into account.”

“The Americans will always do the right thing… After they’ve exhausted all the alternatives.”

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