“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.” Winston Churchill
Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, British Prime Minister, statesman and author, led Britain during World War II. He lost more political defeats that any other notable politician, but he had a fierce determination which allowed him to rise again. Churchill had an excellent command of the English language, both as an orator and writer. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953.
Name: Winston Churchill
Birth Date: November 1874 – January 1965
Job Functions: Prime Minister, Writer, Statesman
Known For: British Prime Minister during World War II, Painter, Nobel Prize for Literature
The eldest son of Lord Randolph Churchill and Jennie Jerome, Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was born on November 30, 1874 at Blenheim Place. Churchill had an aristocratic upbringing – he lived in a home that Queen Anne gave to his ancestor, the Duke of Marlborough. He received what was considered a conventional education in the UK: Churchill went to prep school, then to Harrow, and the Royal Military College. Churchill adored his American mother, but viewed his father as cold and distant.
Winston Churchill is no stranger to defeat and could be considered as the “comeback kid.” Churchill failed the entrance exam to the Royal Military College three times before he was finally successful and allowed to enter. During his time there he made the most of it and graduated eighth in his class.
Churchill was a military journalist, a position for those who are courageous and crave adventure. In 1895 he went to Cuba to write about the Spanish army for the Daily Telegraph; in 1896 he went to India and wrote the novel Savrola: A Tale of the Revolution in Laurania while he was there. While covering the Boer War in Africa Churchill was captured and placed in a South African prison, but managed to escape. This adventure made Churchill an international celebrity.
He advocated for British support for the creation and maintenance of independent Arab states in Iraq, Transjordan, Saudi Arabia and Syria after World War I, and the breakup of the Ottoman Empire. At the Cairo Conference in 1921, Churchill agreed to self-government in Iraq and Jordan and to the exclusion of Jewish settlement in Jordan. He also supported home for the Kurds in northern Iraq but was overruled. Gertrude Bell was very instrumental in some of these delicate negotiations between Britain and the Arab states.
First Lord of the Admiralty (1911 – 1915, and 1939 – 1940)
Chancellor of the Exchequer (1924 – 1929)
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1940 – 1945 and 1951 – 1955)
After major successes in his life, Churchill suffered spectacular defeats. He understood the Chinese saying, “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” He made some very bad decisions and well as some very good ones, like any other person. For instance, in 1925, he returned the UK to the gold standard, but it backfired because his action over-valuated the pound so it products were 10 percent higher than their trading partners. This resulted in unemployment, a depressed export sector, balance of payment difficulties and labour strife.
In August 1941, Churchill worked closely with American president, Franklin Roosevelt to draft the Atlantic Charter which stated that countries should have equal access to trade and raw materials and encouraged international collaboration for improved labour standards, economic development and social security. This had a powerful impact and International Monetary Fund, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade and the World Bank were subsequently created. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were created at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944.
One of his brightest moments in his life was when he became British Prime Minister on May 10, 1940. He led Britain through World War II and period of great crisis when the country faced a threat of German invasion. Churchill was an excellent orator and was able to inspire confidence. He worked tirelessly behind the scenes and won the support of the United States, and also formed an alliance with Joseph Stalin, Russian political leader – the three were the leaders of the “Grand Alliance.” Churchill was on a high, and expected that he would win the 1945 general elections in the UK. Churchill and the Conservatives lost. Many viewed Churchill as a war time leader.
He won a second term as prime minister in 1951 mainly because of postwar economic problems and austerity measures, but had to retire in 1955 because of ill health. Churchill’s second term as prime minister was an uneventful one.
Churchill had some strong conservative views. He was against the campaign for women’s suffrage, a strong opponent of socialism, drew a tough line against industrial unrest and opposed India’s independence. Churchill was egotistic, impetuous and had a lack of proportion which often led to difficulties and disasters. Whenever he fell from political grace he often found solace in writing, and also painting.
Winston Churchill’s Steps to Success
- Strong personality, forceful determination, audacity, brilliance and unfailing courage.
- Had the ability to master any topic and any job he held.
- Churchill is known for his persistence ability to rise from failure.
Why Winston Churchill’s contribution matters
- Winston Churchill led his country through World War II (1940 – 1945)
- Best remembered for his opposition to Nazi Germany in the 1930s
Lessons from Winston Churchill
- Persistence pays
- Take the time to master topics of interests, as well as your job.
World War II Biographies
Encyclopedia of World Biography
UXL Encyclopedia of World Biography
Encyclopedia of Modern Middle East and North Africa
Government, Politics and Protest: Essential Primary Sources
Europe Since 1914
History of World Trade since 1450
International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, 2nd Edition
The Times, Great Lives, A Century of Obituaries
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