Sir Winster Leonard Spencer Churchill was a writer, soldier and British statesman and served as Prime Minister of UK from 1940 to 1945, during Second World War and again from 1951 to 1955. He remained Member of Parliament from 1900 to 1964 and represented five constituencies.
He was born in Oxfordshire. His family was wealthy and aristocratic. He was of mixed English and American parentage. He joined British Army in 1895 and saw action in Anglo-Sudan war, and Second Boer war. He gained fame due to his writings on campaigns and as a war correspondent. Churchill was elected as President of Board and Trade and Home secretary. During First World War he was First Lord of the Admiralty, but he oversaw the Gallipoli campaign, due to which he was demoted to Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. In 1917 after returning to the government he was elected for the following positions: Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War, Secretary of State for Air, and Secretary of State for the Colonies.
His life in the 1930s is called wilderness years. Because that was the time when he took lead to counter threats of Nazi Germany. When the Second World war started, he was reappointed as Lord of Admiralty. He replaced Neville Chamberlain to become Prime Minister in 1945. His efforts in forming a national government and overseeing British involvement in the allied wars lead the British to victory. Conservatives were defeated in the 1945 elections and Churchill was made leader of the Opposition. He promoted European unity to fight the cold war with the Soviet Union. When he was elected as Prime Minister for the second time, foreign affairs took most of his time, he was occupied in Anglo-American relations and the preservation of the British Empire. His government paid more emphasis on House building and developed a nuclear weapon.
Most countries consider him the 20th century's most significant figure. He is popular in the modern world and UK. He is considered a victorious wartime leader. He played an important role in defending Europe's liberal democracy against the spread of dictatorship. He has also done noteworthy work in the reformation of Liberal welfare. However, he has faced his share of criticism for some wartime events and his imperialist views. He was awarded Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953. Along with literature he also had an interest in painting and he was a good painter.
Churchill was born at his family's ancestral home in Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire on 30th November 1874. His father's name was Lord Randolph Churchill, and he was elected as a member of parliament for Woodstock in 1873, he used to represent the conservative party. His mother Jennie came from a rich family, her father was a wealthy American businessman. In 1876, Churchill's paternal grandfather became viceroy of Ireland, which was part of the United Kingdom. Randolph got appointed as his private secretary and his family shifted to Dublin. Churchill's brother, Jack was born in Dublin in 1880. In the 1880's Randolph and Jennie didn't live together, and Churchill and his brother were mostly cared for by their nanny. After the death of their nanny, Winston wrote that "she had been my dearest and most intimate friend during the whole of the twenty years I had lived". When he got started with boarding school at St. George's school in Ascot, Berkshire his behavior and academic score were very bad. Then he got transferred to Brunswick School in Hove, where he started doing better. And then in 1888, he cleared the entrance exam for Harrow School. His father wanted him to serve in the Army, so his last three years at Harrow were in the military form. He got selected by the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst in his third attempt. He got admitted as a cadet in the cavalry, starting in September 1893. He completed his graduation from Sandhurst in December 1894, and his father died after one month after his graduation in January 1895.
Churchill started a self-educating project during his time in India. He started reading the works of Plato, Edward Gibbon, Charles Darwin, and Thomas Babington. His mother used to send him books. To teach him about politics his mother sent him copies of The Annual Register. He referred to his religious beliefs in one of his letters to his mother where he wrote "I do not accept the Christian or any other form of religious belief". When he was young, he was agnostic.
He joined Bindon blood's Malakand field force in its campaign against Mohmand rebels in Swat Valley of north-west India voluntarily. He wrote his first when he was in Bangalore in October 1897 "The story of the Malakand Field Force", which received positive reviews. Savrola, a Ruritanian romance is his only work of fiction. He used writing as a shield to fight depression which he called "Black Dog". He kept himself occupied with his writings.
Political career before 1939
Churchill's interests expanded and got mature after five years of Sandhurst. He entered politics in 1899 and started making living through his pen. He lost his first election as a conservative by a narrow margin. But he found his shadow of light when he reported the South African war for The Morning Post. He rescued an armored train ambushed by Boers after a month after his arrival in South Africa which brought him fame. He later escaped from prison which redoubled his fame. He again fought the elections at Oldham, this time he won the elections with the same margin through which he lost last time. The money he earned through his writings made it easy for him to make his way into politics. He was always good at giving speeches that were set but he was not that good at impromptu. Once Lord Balfour said about Churchill that, he carried "heavy but not very mobile guns."
World War 1
War was not a surprise to Churchill. He was already preparing for the military, he held a test naval mobilization. Out of all the cabinet ministers, he strongly supported the fact that they should resist Germany. He took responsibility on August 2, 1914, and ordered the naval mobilization in case there was an escalation in the situation. He organized the defense of Antwerp when it was falling in October 1914. But eventually, it fell and the people saw it as a defeat, but the delay in the fall helped the Belgian Army to escape. In 1915, Churchill went against the disapproval of Adm. Sir John Fisher, he became an enthusiast for the Dardanelles expedition as a way out of the costly stalemate on the Western Front. This campaign aimed at opening up direct communications and forcing the straits with Russia. But the plan eventually failed and he was under heavy political attack and it became more intense after the resignation of Fisher. When Churchill's plan failed it was immediately called off by Adm. J.M. de Robeck, he got support from the Admiralty war group and Asquith and Churchill didn't. He didn't expect the storm and was not prepared because he was preoccupied with departmental affairs. He was demoted from the Admiralty to the duchy of Lancaster. He was given responsibility without any powers of direction for the Gallipoli Campaign. It failed miserably and casualties were heavy.
He resigned from the government in 1915 and returned to the military as lieutenant colonel of the 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers. Although he enjoyed serving in the military, army life did not give full scope for his talents. He returned to parliament as a private member in 1916 when his battalion was merged and he did not want to command. He had no involvement in the formation of a coalition government under Llyod George. Conservatives considered his inclusion in the government after 1917.
World War 2
He was an intense patriot and he believed in his country's greatness. Qualities like devotion to action, always thriving on challenges and crises, a student, historian, and veteran of the war, mastery in the art of politics, concentration, a man of iron constitution, and inexhaustible energy made him a good leader. His past events helped him in becoming a good war leader. It seemed like he already prepared his faculties so that when the moment comes, they could fight for Britain.
Britain declared war on Germany on September 3, 1939. Chamberlain again appointed Churchill to his old post in charge of the Admiralty. And the line "Winston is back" was famous. Franklin D. Roosevelt sent a congratulatory note to Winston Churchill. Churchill's restless energy vibrated in the whole administration. He put much effort, but it wasn't working, he failed to energize the torpid Anglo-French during the "phony war". The failure of the Narvik and Trondheim were naval campaigns, evoked some memories of the Dardanelles and Gallipoli, so fateful for Churchill's reputation in World War 1. This time Churchill was not blamed, people blamed Chamberlain. But Churchill endeavored Chamberlain.
Death and Funeral
On January 12, 1965, he had his final stroke and he died 12 days later after the final stroke, which was also the seventieth death anniversary of his father. He was given a state funeral like Duke of wellington in 1852 and William Gladstone in 1898. His funeral planning started in 1952 under the code name "Operation Hope Not" and was produced in 1958. His funeral ceremony was performed at St. Paul's Cathedral on 30th January and his coffin lay in State at Westminster Hall for three days. Later the coffin was taken by boat along the river Thames to Waterloo Station and by special train to the family plot at St Martin's Church, Bladon, to his birthplace Blenheim Palace.
Numerous memorials have been dedicated to Winston Churchill. His widow Clementine unveiled his statue in Parliament Square in 1973. His statue is only one of twelve in the square. Only eight people have got Honorary citizenship of Britain and Winston Churchill is one of them. We can see Churchill's high esteem in the UK by the BBC poll conducted in 2002 where he was voted the Greatest Briton of all time.