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1. Sir Winston Churchill
1.2. Boy into Soldier
1.3. War Correspondent
1.4. A Member of Parliament
1.5 World War One
1.6 .Between the Wars
1.7 . World War Two
1.8 . After the War
Sir Winston Churchill
The Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom have contained some of the most influential and interesting figures in British history. I will chose Churchill to get to know him better. Each Prime Minister has been living in 10 Downing Street, which is a very famous address in London.
The PMs in order beginning with the last:
20th century 19th. Century 17th century
Tony Blair Earl of Rosebery Earl Shelburne
John Major Marquess of Salisbury Marquess of
Margaret Thatcher William Ewart Gladstone Duke of North
James Callaghan Benjamin Disraeli Duke of Gaftone
Edward Heath Earl of Derby Earl of Chatham
Harold Wilson Earl Russell George Grenville
Sir Alec Douglas-Home Vioscount Palmerston Earl of Bute
Harold Macmillan Earl of Aberdeen Duke of Newcastle
Sir Anthony Eden Sir Robert Peel Duke of Devonshire
Clement Attlee Viscount Melbourne Henry Pelham
Sir Winston Churchill Duke of Wellington Earl of Wilmington
Neville Chamberlain Earl Grey Sir Robert Walpole
Ramsay MacDonald Viscount Goderich
Stanley Baldwin George Canning
Andrew Bonar Law Earl of Liverpool
David Lloyd George Spencer Perceval
H. H. Asquith Duke of Portland
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman Lord Grenville
Arthur James Belfour William Pitt
1. Sir Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill an English leader was born at the 30.11.1874 (Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxford) and, died at the 24.01.1965 (London) English on his father's side, American on his mother's side, Winston Churchill embodied and expressed the double vitality and the national qualities of both peoples.
His father was Lord Randolph Spencer Churchill, a
British statesman, who rose to be chancellor of the Exchequer and leader of the House of Commons.
Churchill took a leading part in laying the foundations of the welfare in Britain, in preparing the Royal Navy for World War One, and in setting the political boundaries in the Middle East after the war.
He served as Prime Minister from 1940-1945 and from 1951-1955. He is celebrated for his leadership during the Second World War. His public live extended from the reign of Queen Victoria till the Cold War. During this long political career, Churchill held every important cabinet office in the British government, except foreign minister. He is also famous for many books about the British history and politics.
He received the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953
1.2. Boy into Soldier
The Churchill family was typical of many Victorians. Winston's parents were often absent on social or political duties, and he saw a little of them.
Like many upper-class children of this time Winston was cared for by a nanny. She took cared for him and his younger brother Jack.
When Winston was seven years old he was sent to a boarding school. Here he was educated very strictly. Sometimes he was beaten for his lack of knowledge or mischievous behaviour. Later he was transferred at a school in Brighton.
Until he was thirteen he stayed there. Afterwards he
entered Harrow on the out skirt of London It was, however, necessary to pass an examination to gain
entrance. Winston took his exam very seriously, but he failed. Especially his Latin paper was bad.
At Harrow, his scholastic work was so poor that he always remained in the Lower School. He was unable to understand mathematics and could not comprehend Latin or Greek. After school his goal was it to wide his knowledge in his mother tongue. With hard work he could develop and later he made great use of it in speeches and books.
"In all twelve years I was at school, no one ever succeeded in making me write a Latin verse or learn any Greek except the alphabet." Winston Churchill
"Personally I am was always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught." Winston Churchill
But Churchill had a very good memory. When he was thirteen he won a prize for reciting 1,200 lines from Macauley's "Last Days of Ancient Rome", without any mistake. When leaving schools Winston asked for entering the army.
It was decided that he visit the Sandhurst Military College and become an Army Officer. Winston tried twice to pass the entrance examination. He failed.
Visiting a "crammer" at school, which is specialised in intensive study in order to pass examinations. Winston managed it. So he could enter the school.
When the course at Sandhurst commenced in 1893, Churchill aged 18 began his training as an army officer. He was a brilliant student at Sandhurst's. His best examination subjects were tactics, fortifications and riding.
1895, when he completed his course, his father died. Great changes were taking place in the life of Second Lieutenant Winston Churchill
1.3 War correspondent
Churchill was posted from Sandhurst to the 4th Hussars, stationed in Aldershot.
During a period of leaving the army, he obtained permission to visit Cuba, where Spanish forces were striving to subdue a rebellion , as a part of his holiday.
For his gallant behaviour he was awarded the Spanish military Red Cross.
While he was in Cuba, Churchill sent descriptive letters to the Daily Telegraph. It was Churchill's first venture into journalism. The letters were published and Winston got payment of £5 for each one.
On his 21st birthday which he spent in the Cuban jungle, he came under fire the first time . It was about
the time that he began to smoke cigars. In later life he was rarely photographed without his famous cigars.
Winston returned to England and in 1896 enjoyed the festivities Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. He was welcomed into London society, and on one occasion dined with the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII
Shortly afterwards the 4th Hussars was ordered to India. The troops were stationed at Bangalore in South India. Later he obtained permission from the 4th Hussars to go to the North West Frontier of India, where the trouble had broken out.
Before he left, he arranged to send reports to the Daily Telegraph of London and an Indian newspaper.
Finding that writing came easily, Churchill wrote a book about the actions on the North West Frontier of India. It was based on the material he had reported to the newspapers.
However the military authorities were, annoyed. With the Churchillian bluntness for which he was later to be become famous. The author had openly criticised their faults and mistakes. At about this time, trouble began to develop in the Sudan.
Britain was planning to drive south down the Nile to retake the Sudan which had been lost 13 years earlier.
Churchill managed to become attached to the 21st Lancers. The condition was to pay his own expenses. In order to earn the money, he again contracted to send reports from the front this time for the Morning Post at a fee of £15 per column.
Churchill arrived at the front in time to take part in the battle of Omdurman in September 1898. After the battle, Churchill returned back to his regiment now in North India. By this time he felt he needed a wider life. Having established himself as an author and journalist, he decided to make writing his career and also to take a greater interest in politics.
He resigned his army in 1899 commission, having been a soldier for four years. On the outbreak of the South African War in 1899, he went out as war correspondent for the London Morning Post.
Within a month of his arrival, he was captured while acting more as a soldier than as a journalist, by the Boer officer Louis Botha.
Taken to prison camp in Pretoria , Churchill made a dramatic escape and travelled via Portuguese East Africa back to the fighting front in Natal. His escape made him world-famous overnight. He described his experiences in a couple of journalistic books
And made a first lecture tour in the United States. The proceeds from the tour enabled him to enter parliament.
1.4. A Member of Parliament
When Churchill returned to England in 1900, his South African exploits had made him famous, and he was elected in 1901 to the House of Commons. He made his maiden speech on 18th February. Though he was a Conservative, he critized military spending and supported free trade, which soon resulted in conflict with the Conservative leadership, who supported large military budgets and protective tariffs.
In 1904, he " crossed the floor of the House" to take a seat with the Liberal Party. In consequence he was unpopular for years execrated by the Conservatives with army authorities.
Churchill also continued writing. His political ambition was evident in his sole novel Savrola, in which the Hero leads a democratic revolution and an imaginary country in the Balkans, only to see the revolution escape from his control.
During his first years in parliament, Churchill wrote a two volume biography of his father, an illuminating study of British parliamentary government. His diligent research about his father's political career helped him learn about British politics and prepare for cabinet office. After the Liberals won the General Elections in 1906, Churchill was appointed under- secretary at the Colonial Office, where he was minister responsible for issues concerning Britain's colonies. On one of his tours to inspect colonies in East Africa resulted in another book, My African Journey (1908).
In 1908, he gained his first cabinet post as president of the Board of Trade.
That same year, Churchill married, and in his own words, "lived happily ever afterwards." By his marriage to Clementine Ogilvy Hozier. There were one son ( Randolph) and four daughters ( Diana, Sarah, Mary, and one who died in infancy)
Winston became home secretary (1910-1911) with responsibility for police and the prison system. He held this post until 1911, superintending liberal reforms of Britain's prison system to reduce lengthy terms, to find alternatives to prison for youthful offenders, and to distinguish between criminal and political prisoners. He helped to create labour exchanges, to introduce health and unemployment insurance, to prescribe minimum wages in certain industries, and to limit working hours. And he introduced laws forbidding the employment of boys under fourteen years in coal mines
1.5. World War One
In the years prior to World War I (1914-1918), economic and political tensions grew among Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria. The British government was concerned about the build up of the German navy and believed that war was inevitable.
In 1911 Prime Minister Asquith made Churchill first lord of the admiralty, with a mandate to create a naval was staff and to maintain the fleet in constant readiness for war. Churchill threw himself into this task, developing heavier guns, faster battleships, and naval aviation.
As war clouds gathered in July 1914, Churchill conducted a test mobilisation of the fleet. When the test was over, he ordered the fleet to remain concentrated in readiness. That decision meant that Britain was prepared to act quickly when the war broke out.
On July 28, after Austria declared war on Serbia, the fleet proceeded to its war station at Scapa Flow, Britain's principal naval base, located in the Orkney Islands in northern Scotland. Within these days, Britain joined the growing international conflict. Throughout the war, the navy's presence in the North Sea dominated and contained the German fleet. In September 1914, distressed at the rapid deterioration of Belgian resistance to the German invasion, Churchill rushed to Belgium to help saving the critical port city of Antwerp. He was unable to save the city, but his intervention stiffened Belgian resolve and showed the German advance until Allied lines became firmer. This reduced the threat to Britain and saved some territories coming under German control. During this time Churchill realised that barbed wire and machine guns were not sufficient tools to break the stalemate on the western front and he worked on developing armoured fighting vehicles to break the deadlock and end the slaughter As the lines hardened on the western front, Churchill focused on a campaign to force open the Dardanelles Strait, controlled by the Ottoman Empire, to give the Allies a direct route to Russia through the Black Sea. Such a move would bring much-needed supplies to the Russian armies and eliminate the Ottomans from the war. When the naval attack faltered early in 1915, Churchill agreed to the War Office plan proposed by Horatio Herbert Kitchener for a land campaign at the Gallipoli Peninsula on the Dardanelles. However, delays, hesitations, and incompetent leadership in the field robbed the campaign of success, and the Allies suffered great losses.
Although the attack was one of the few brilliant strategic ideas of the war, Churchill's cabinet colleagues withdrew their support for the idea as soon as Britain met resistance, letting Churchill take the blame as scapegoat.
Churchill later concluded that, since he was not the prime minister, he had been wrong to make himself responsible for the attack without having full power to carry it out himself. Because of the ill-starred Dardanelles campaign, Churchill was demoted from the admiralty in May 1915, Churchill resigned his cabinet post and was given command of an infantry battalion in France. The next spring he returned to his seat in the House of Commons. In May 1917, David Lloyd George the new prime minister recalled Churchill to the cabinet as minister of munitions, and for the rest of the war Churchill directed industrial support of the effort by organising the national economy for the efficient production of war materials.
1.6. Between the wars
After World War I, Churchill tackled many problems, including the resettlement of troops into civilian life. His parliamentary career progressed and in 1921, he became Colonial Secretary.
In 1922, the war-time Coalition Government ended. Lloyd George was defeated in the election and Bonar Law became Prime Minister. Winston Churchill also lost his parliamentary seat and was unsuccessful at two by-elections he contested. He was recovering from appendicitis when he should have been fighting the election of 1922. It is now been 22 years since he had first been elected a Member of Parliament.
Churchill, on losing his seat in the 1922 General Elections:
" In the twinkling of one eye, I found myself without an office, without a seat, without a party and without an appendix."
Since he no longer held a political appointment, he returned to writing again. The result was A World Crisis, a six volume account of World War One. Financially it was a success. Churchill also inherited a large amount of money. He bought Chartwell, a large country house near Westerham, Kent.
He invited to become a member of the Amalgamated Union of Building Trades Workers and joined as a bricklayer.
He also painted as a hobby. He liked to use oil and he painted landscapes and flowers rather than portraits.
Churchill successfully regained a seat in parliament in the General Elections of October 1924. The next 40 years he would never lose his seat again.
For some time he had felt that the Liberal Party , to which he belonged, did not form an effective opposition to the Labour and the Communist parties, with whose politics he disagreed. He felt that the Conservative party was fulfilling this need, and so, once again, he became a Conservative.
The Conservative held the majority of seats in this parliament and Baldwin was Prime Minister. He made Churchill the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Churchill was a fine leader but he was not a financial expert.
At the General Election in 1929, the Labour party gained a victory, and although Churchill retained his Conservative seat, he was a member of the opposition.
Churchill wrote one of his most important books during this period. It was a biography in four volumes of his ancestor , the first Duke of Marlborough. Marlborough, his Life and Times was published between 1933-38.
In these years, when Churchill seemed to be a figure in the background of politics, he still held his own opinions and voiced them, believing that Germany's rising power was a danger. When Chamberlain signed the Munich Agreement in September 1938, it was welcomed by some as " peace with honour". But Churchill warned that this was not the case. He called the Munich Agreement "a defeat without a war".
1.7. World War Two - Prime Minister
On 30th January 1933, Hitler became the chancellor of the German state, the Reich. As Churchill had warned, Germany began to re-arm and make large quantities of military equipment.
Under the dictator's leadership, the German forces soon began to occupy the Rhineland, the Ruhr and Saar coalfields, Austria and the Sudeten lands bordering the northern and western borders of Czechoslovakia. It was when Hitler's forces were placed along the Czechoslovakian border in September 1938, that the British prime minister, Chamberlain, went to Munich in Germany in an attempt to prevent war. Mr. Chamberlain conferred with Adolf Hitler, Mussolini of Italy, and Daladier of France. They all signed the Munich Agreement.
In this document, Hitler promised not to overstep the boundaries of other countries, but Churchill did not believe Hitler would keep hid word.
He was right. The Munich Agreement was broken in 1939, when Hitler claimed control of the whole Czechoslovakia.
Hitler marched on, and when his troops entered Poland on September 1st 1939, England and France issued the declaration of war on Germany.
The British government was re-organised, and immediately Churchill was given the Cabinet post of First Lord of the Admiralty. Although he was almost sixty-five years of age, he undertook his duties with keenness and vigour. The signal went round the fleet, "Winston is back", a quarter of a century after his first going to the post.
The Navy went into action without delay, and within a few months was responsible for sinking of the German battleship.
The German Army soon became active . Churchill sensed that there was a danger to Norway. He wanted the Norwegian coast to be mined as a precautionary measure. Other ministers did not share his urgent concern, and were afraid to violate Norwegian neutrality. Churchill persisted, and in April 1940 the plan was approved. It was too late, for in April 1940 Germany occupied Norway and Denmark.
The combined forces of the British Royal Navy and Royal Air Force made an attempt to assist the Norwegians in a struggle to overcome the German invader. Like the Dardanelles Campaign in World War I, the operation was a failure.
With the collapse of Norway, the statesmen of the British government finally lost confidence in the Prime Minister Chamberlain.
The Members of Parliament felt that he was not taking sufficiently strong action to curb Hitler's onslaught. Chamberlain was asked to give up his office as Prime Minister, and his Government forced to resign.
On 10th of May 1940, King George VI sent for Churchill and asked him to form a Government. It was the beginning of the most distinguished phase of Churchill's career, that of war-time Prime Minister. Upon becoming Prime Minister he told the Commons:
"I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat; You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory."
On the same day, 10th May, Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium.
The position in Europe was desperate. Four days after Churchill took office, Holland collapsed under the pressure of the German attack, and only a fortnight later, Belgian resistance gave way.
Churchill made a total of four visits to France and had discussions with the French leaders regarding the conduct and progress of the war. For some time Churchill had confidence in the strength of the French army, but the ruthless German advance split the French and British Forces as the Germans captured the French towns of Calais and Boulogne.
In June 1940, the British Army was pushed westwards and trapped in the Dunkirk region of the French coast. It was at this time that the French surrendered.
Churchill remained strong and determined. He addressed the House of Commons with a speech which was a rallying cry to the whole nation. And the nation responded. Six hundred and fifty little ships gallantly crossed the English Channel under the protection of the Navy. They were not crewed by the Royal Navy, but by their owners and other volunteers. They rescued 233,000 British and 112,000 French soldiers from the Dunkirk beaches and brought them back to England.
Now France, had fallen and England was fighting on her own, the manufacture of fighter and bomber aircraft was speeded up. Every attempt was made to repair damaged aircraft as quickly as possible.
The famous V for Victory sign which was associated with Churchill.
The Royal Air Force needed more pilots. The training schedule was revised so that pilots were trained more quickly. In August 1940 , the Royal Air Force had 700 fighter- but the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force , had 3,500 aircrafts.
Churchill was aware that help was badly needed, and his thoughts and actions were not only on one battle-front- he negotiated with the United States and asked, if Britain could have the use of fifty American destroyers. This quest was granted.
Churchill realised what would happen next.
"The battle of France in over, I expect that the battle of Britain is about to begin."
With Churchill as a leader, England was ready to face a German invasion. It was known that Germany planned to invade Britain.
Invading forces had not succeeded in Britain. In since William the Conqueror and his armies had disembarked at Hastings in 1066.
Britain had the advantage of a new invention- the Radar.
This gave an early warning of the approach of enemy aircraft and enabled British fighter planes to intercept the enemy aircraft before the target was reached.
Hitler extended his attack on England. In the middle of August 1940, large formations of German bombers, protected by Messerschmitt fighter planes, flew to England in an attempt to put English ports, airfields and factories out of action. There were losses of both British and German planes and pilots, but Hitler was unable to conquer England by defeating the Royal Air force.
In his radio broadcast on September 11th 1940, Churchill warned the nation of the likelihood of invasion. Although he spoke of new dangers, he also boosted the morale of the people and strengthened their determination to overcome all difficulties in order to defeat the enemy. The war was spreading on many fronts. In June 1941, Hitler attacked Russia. Although Churchill greatly opposed Russia's Communist policies, he knew that all countries must work together to overcome Hitler.
Churchill conferred with the Russian leaders Stalin and Molotov, and promised to give whatever help is possible. December 1941 USA came, because of Japan' attack on Pearl Harbour, into war. Churchill and the American President became even closer. The war continued to creep into other areas. Hitler had sent his Afrika Korps, of which he was particularly proud, to north Africa in January 1942. At first the German forces were defeated, and the British 8th Army captured Tobruk. But the battle in North Africa went on, with opposing forces alternately meeting success and failure. Eventually, in June 1942, Tobruk was recaptured by the Germans and the 8th Army had to retreat to El Alamein. Churchill and his ministers decided that it was vital for the British and Allied Forces to conquer French North America in order to curb Hitler and his Italian ally, Mussolini. Churchill made General Alexander the Commander-in-Chief of the Middle East, and in August General Montgomery gave command of the Eight Army.
It was not until the autumn of 1942 that Churchill's strategies began to be effective. Montgomery gained a decisive victory at El Alamein in North Africa, and this proved to be the turning point of the war.
Churchill in his memoirs:
"Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat."
The Americans landed with the British troops in Algeria. Morocco and Tunisia. In spring 1943, General Alexander reported to Churchill that the enemy had been cleared from most of the Middle Eastern countries.
Churchill now started to attack North West of Europe. It was code-named "Operation Overlord" Just as in World War One, Churchill had encouraged the development of the tank, he now promoted such schemes as PLUTO (the pipe line under the ocean which carried petrol under the English Channel to France.) and FIDO, a method of dispersing fog from landing areas, The end of the war was now in sight. Without delay, Churchill made many visits. He saw General Montgomery in France, President Tito of Yugoslavia in Naples, President Roosevelt of the United States in Quebec, Joseph Stalin, the Russian Dictator, in Moscow and General Charles de Gaulle, the French statesman, in liberated France.
From the 4th to the 11th of February 1945, Churchill attended the Yalta Conference in the Crimea. Here he met Roosevelt and Stalin. The three leaders discussed military operations and the conduct of the war, as well as the post war settlement of Europe.
They also arranged the date of April 25th for a conference to be held in San Francisco, USA to prepare the Charter of a United Nations Organisation. The members of the UN would pledge themselves to the maintenance of international peace and security. At Yalta Churchill observed that Roosevelt, who suffered from Polio, was far from being well. Although Roosevelt attended to all matters of business with his usual effidence, he was, in fact, very ill. He died two months later. Churchill had lost a personal friend and ally.
Germany finally surrendered unconditionally on May 8th 1945.
1.9. After the war
Before the surrender of Japan, Churchill's wartime government broke up, and the Labour party won large majority in the general election of July 1945, so he lost his post as Prime Minister. Several reasons for the Conservative defeat were put forward. Some said the defeat was due to the Conservative a placing undue emphasis on the personality of Churchill, rather than on a policy for rebuilding post-war Britain. Others thought Churchill was too aggressive in his election campaign - a policy ideal for war but not suitable for peace.
Churchill was deeply affected by this blow, though it was in no sense a vote of censure upon him but 20 years of Conservative rule. He continued to enjoy as a leader of the opposition Conservative party.
On March 5th 1945, an honorary degree was conferred on him at Westminster College, Folton, Missouri, in the United States. The speech he held in this was one of his most celebrated yet most provocative. While speaking of the continuing friendship between England and America, Churchill emphasised the danger of Russian and its spreading communism into other countries. He mentioned the split between East and West. He called it the "Iron Curtain" which had descended across Europe. This expression entered in history.
" A shadow had fallen upon the scenes so lately lighted by the Allies victory... 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 Western Europe... Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia..." Churchill. In his speech at Fulton
In September 1946, Churchill mentioned that he wants to have United States of Europe. This eventually resulted in the European Economic Community and the Common Market. He turned on writing a personal History, The Second World War, (6 vols. 1948-53), and to painting, exhibiting regularly at the Royal Academy.
On October 26th, 1951, at the age of 77, he again became Prime Minister, as well as minister of defence. He held on to see the young Queen Elizabeth II crowned at 1953, himself at Westminster in June 1953 attending as a Knight of the Garter, an honour he had received a few weeks earlier.
Now his name is Sir Leonard Winston Churchill.
Also in 1953 he gained the Nobel Prize of Literature.
On April 5th, 1955, in his 80th year, he resigned as Prime, but continued the post as a Common in the Parliament until July 1964.
1963, he received the honour of being made an honorary American citizen by the US Government.
When he died in London on January 24th 1965, at the age of 90, he was acclaimed as a citizen of the world, and on January 30th he was given a funeral of a hero.
He was buried at Bladon, in the little churchyard near Blenheim Palace, his birthplace.
"He is history's child, and what he said and what he said and what he did will never die."
Charles de Gaulle, on the death of Churchill
- Quote paper
- Claudia Krobitzsch (Author), 2000, Churchill, Winston, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/99619