Name: Winston Churchill

Alive: 1874-1965

Bio: Born into an aristocratic family, Winston served in the British military before making a move into politics. Upon his entrance into politics, Churchill immediately made waves. He became a member of Parliament in the Conservative Party for Oldham but, four years after his joining, he switched to the Liberal Party in favour of their social reforms. In 1908 he was elected to Parliament and selected to be part of the PM’s cabinet. Later down the line he served as First Lord of the Admiralty where he helped to modernize the British Navy. However, he resigned his post after the failures at The Battle of Gallipoli. After his re-joining to the conservative party in 1922 he served until 1929, and the defeat of the Conservative Government. Churchill was seen as out of touch with contemporary politics and remained out of government until WWII. Upon declaration in 1939 he was appointed back to First Lord of the Admiralty and a member of the war cabinet. Churchill’s handling of the Norwegian crisis is credited to have aided Churchill’s case for the position of British PM after Chamberlain’s resignation. Churchill is often described at the Prime Minister Britain needed during the war due to his tireless efforts at securing a Triple Alliance. Under Churchill Britain won the war against Hitler, along with the other allied nations. However, in the election after the war Churchill was defeated in the election of 1945. Churchill still remained in politics up, even becoming Prime Minister in 1951 until his health declined and he retired from the position in 1955. Churchill passed away after a battle with strokes amongst other health conditions.

Quotes:

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it”

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

(See speeches such as “This was their finest hour” and “We will fight them on the beaches”.)

Popular Culture:

“Into the Storm” – film, 2002 and 2009

“The Finest Hours” – film, 1964

Further Reading:

  • Harriet Castor, Winston Churchill: The Story of the Great British Statesman (2012)
  • Roy Jenkins, Churchill: A Biography (2002)