(Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill; Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, 1874 – London, 1965) British politician especially remembered for his tenure as Prime Minister (1940-45) during World War II: with his “blood, sweat and tears” motto, managed to raise the morale of the troops and the civilian population and sustain the nation until the allied victory.
Throughout his brilliant career, Winston Churchill was successively the most popular and the most criticized man in England, and sometimes both at the same time. Considered the last of the great statesmen, he will always be remembered for his rare ability to predict future events, which at times became a heavy burden for his countrymen.
For years, Churchill was something like the voice of his country’s conscience, a voice that stirred spirits and infused them with great doses of energy and courage. His multifaceted genius, in addition to leading him to conquer immortality in the world of politics, made him stand out as a historian, biographer, orator, war correspondent and cognac drinker, and on a more modest level as a painter, bricklayer, novelist, aviator. , polo player, soldier and cavalry owner.
Winston Churchill was born on November 30, 1874 at Blenheim Palace, then owned by his grandfather, the 7th Duke of Marlborough. His father was Lord Randolph Churchill and his mother a stunningly beautiful young American woman named Jennie Jerome. There is no doubt that in his early years he knew happiness, for in his autobiography he tenderly evokes the days spent under the protective shadow of his mother, who in addition to being beautiful was cultured, intelligent and sensitive.
Perhaps for this reason, being interned by his father in an expensive Ascot school, the boy reacted with rebellion; being away from home was unbearable to him, and Winston voiced his protest against anything that was studying. He was frequently punished and his grades were always counted among the worst. When in 1888 he entered the famous Harrow school, the future prime minister was included in the class of the most retarded pupils. One of his teachers would say of him: “He was not an easy boy to handle. It is true that his intelligence was brilliant, but he only studied when he wanted and with teachers who deserved his approval.”
Churchill failed the entrance exams for Sandhurst Military Academy twice in succession. However, once he entered the institution, a radical change took place in him. His proverbial stubbornness, his resolve and his indomitable spirit did not leave him, but the habit of capriciously disagreeing with everything began to disappear. He worked hard, was diligent and serious in class and soon stood out among students at his level.
Shortly after he joined the Fourth Hussars, a cavalry regiment reputed to be one of the best in the army. He was, in 1895, in the war in Cuba, and fought in India (1898) and the Sudan (1899); on the battlefields he learned everything about the art of war that he had not found in books, especially practical questions of strategy that would later serve him in dealing with England’s enemies.
From journalism to politics
However, military life soon tired him. He resigned from her to devote himself to politics and joined the Conservative Party in 1898, standing for election a year later. Narrowly missing the MP, Churchill went to South Africa as the Morning Post ‘s Boer War correspondent.
There he was taken prisoner and transferred to Pretoria, but he managed to escape and returned to London as a popular hero: for the first time, his name appeared on the front pages of the newspapers, since he had traveled more than four hundred kilometers in his flight, facing endless of dangers with extraordinary cold blood. It is not surprising, then, that he got a seat as a conservative representative of Oldham in the House of Commons (1900) and that, just turned twenty-six, he could start a dazzling political career.
In Parliament, his speeches and good humor soon became famous. But his independent spirit, unwilling to submit to party disciplines, earned him important enemies in the chamber, even among his own co-religionists. It is not surprising that he changed parties several times and that his interventions, both expected and feared by all, always aroused tremendous controversy.
At odds with the party on the South African question, Churchill went over to the Liberals in 1904, and in 1906, at the age of thirty-one, he achieved his first government post in the cabinet of Henry Campbell-Bannerman , who appointed him Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Colonies; From that position he defended the granting of autonomy to the Boers. He then served as Minister of Commerce (1908-1910) and of the Interior (1910-1911) in the government of the one who would be Prime Minister between 1908 and 1916, Herbert Henry Asquith .
The first World War
Churchill foresaw with extraordinary accuracy the events that triggered the First World War and the course that the conflict followed in its first stage. His prophecies, considered crazy by the military, became reality and surprised everyone by the clairvoyance with which they had been formulated.
In 1911, three years before the conflagration broke out, Prime Minister Asquith appointed him Lord of the Admiralty; Churchill immediately embarked on a profound reorganization of his country’s military. He first set out to make the British navy the world’s first, switching from coal to oil as the fuel of the fleet and ordering the installation of large-caliber guns on all units. He then launched the creation of an aerial weapon and, finally, determined to counteract the fearsome German power, he promoted the construction of the first “land battleships”, making the tank begin to be considered essential as a weapon of war.
Faced with the failure of the Battle of the Dardanelles (1915), he was forced to resign; he rejoined the army and fought on the western front as a major and lieutenant colonel. In 1916, in the middle of the war, the government of Herbert Henry Asquith fell, who was replaced by David Lloyd George ; the new prime minister called Churchill back into his cabinet, first as Minister for Armaments (1917) and then for the War and Air portfolio (1918).
After the First World War , Winston Churchill suffered the consequences of the postwar reaction, and for a time he was relegated to a secondary role within the political scene. In 1924 he reconciled with the Conservatives and a year later he was put in charge of the Treasury in the government of Stanley Baldwin . It was a time of economic decline, unrest, labor unrest, and massive strike action, and his stubborn conservatism did not please even his own colleagues. In a word, the whole world was tired of him and his popularity dropped to heights unimaginable years before.
Retirement between two wars
Between 1929 and 1939, Winston Churchill voluntarily withdrew from politics, devoting himself mainly to writing and painting under the pseudonym Charles Morin. “If this man were a painter by trade,” Picasso once said , “he could earn a very good living.”
Churchill remained in Parliament, but during these years he had virtually no influence. He regained prominence when, observing the growing threat posed by Adolf Hitler , he proclaimed the urgent need for England to rearm and waged a lone struggle against emerging fascism. On repeated occasions, both on camera and in his newspaper articles, he vigorously denounced the Nazi danger to a nation that, once again, seemed afflicted with a blindness that could end in tragedy.
After the signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, in which Britain and France yielded to German might, people again realized that Churchill had been right all along. There were a dozen occasions when Hitler could have been stopped without bloodshed, experts would later claim. In each of them, Churchill ardently advocated action. But despite the energy displayed, his warnings had been ignored by the government.
World War II Prime Minister
On September 1, 1939, the Nazi army entered Poland with scintillating precision; two days later, France and England declared war on Germany, and in the evening Churchill was recalled to his old Admiralty post by Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain , who had hitherto attempted a futile policy of appeasement vis-à-vis Germany. All units in the fleet radioed the same message: “Winston is back with us.”
The same deputies who a week before were viciously fighting him cheered him to their feet when he made his entrance into Parliament. But that was a bitter hour for the Kingdom’s history. The nation was ill-prepared for World War II , both materially and psychologically. That is why, when he was appointed prime minister on May 10, 1940, Churchill delivered a moving harangue in which he claimed he could offer nothing but “blood, sweat and tears” to his fellow citizens.
The British people accepted the challenge and turned such a terrible phrase into a true popular slogan for five years; his contribution to the victory was to be decisive. Churchill managed to maintain morale at home and abroad through his speeches, exerting an almost hypnotic influence on all Britons. He formed a government of national concentration, which assured him the collaboration of his political opponents, and created the Ministry of Defense for a better direction of the war effort. When France was completely under Hitler’s rule, and while the United States continued to proclaim its unshakable neutrality, Churchill called a meeting of his cabinet and with high humor said: “Well, gentlemen, we are on our own. For my part, I find the situation in extremely stimulating.”
Churchill, of course, did his best to get the US and the US into the war, which he did in a short time. He maintained close contact with the then president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt ; In 1941, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, the Americans declared war on Japan and brought its invaluable military potential to the Allied side. Also in 1941, the decisive year of the war, Hitler undertook the invasion of Russia, putting an end to Soviet neutrality and pushing Stalin into a fragile alliance with England, which Churchill knew how to preserve, relegating his visceral anti-communism to the background and demonstrating his pragmatism.
As prime minister, he was called upon to participate in the crucial conferences in Casablanca (1943), Cairo (1943), Tehran (1943), Yalta (1945) and Potsdam (1945), in which the war strategy was designed and, once the conflict was over, the world political map would remain in force until 1989. For endless days he directed the military and diplomatic operations, working between sixteen and eighteen hours a day, transmitting his vigor to everyone and infecting them with his energy and optimism.
At last, on the day of the Allied victory, he again addressed Parliament, and as he entered he was met with the most tumultuous applause in the history of the assembly. The deputies forgot all the ritual formalities and climbed onto the benches, shouting and shaking newspapers. Churchill stood at the head of the ministerial pew, while tears rolled down his cheeks and his hands clenched shakily on his hat.
The last years
Despite the enormous popularity achieved during the war, two months later the vote of the English removed him from office. Churchill continued in Parliament and became the leader of the opposition. In a speech in March 1946 he popularized the term “iron curtain”, and a few months later he called for the creation of the United States of Europe.
After the victory of the conservatives in 1951 he became Prime Minister again, and two years later he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his Memoirs on the Second World War . Citing reasons of age, he tendered his resignation in April 1955, after being made a Knight of the Garter by Queen Elizabeth II and refusing a peerage in order to remain an MP in the House of Commons.
Re-elected in 1959, he no longer stood for election in 1964. However, his figure continued to weigh on political life and his advice continued to guide those who governed the destinies of the United Kingdom after him. The people had seen in Churchill the personification of the noblest of their history and of the most beautiful qualities of his race; That is why she did not stop acclaiming him as his hero until his death, which occurred on January 24, 1965.
-The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong.
-It is no use saying ‘we are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.
-We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our dwellings shape us.
-It has been said that Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
-It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.
-When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.
-I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
-Dictators ride to and fro on tigers from which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry.
-Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.
-I have never accepted what many people have kindly said, namely that I have inspired the nation. It was the nation and the race dwelling all around the globe that had the lion heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar.
-Without a measureless and perpetual uncertainty, the drama of human life would be destroyed.
-Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.
-An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile – hoping it will eat him last.
-Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.
-Say what you have to say and the first time you come to a sentence with a grammatical ending – sit down.
-Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say: “This was their finest hour.
-Do not let us speak of darker days; let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days: these are great days – the greatest days our country has ever lived.
-The English know how to make the best of things. Their so-called muddling through is simply skill at dealing with the inevitable.
-War is mainly a catalogue of blunders.
-In war, as in life, it is often necessary, when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might.
-No one can guarantee success in war, but only deserve it.
-If one has to submit, it is wasteful not to do so with the best grace possible.
-All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honor; duty; mercy; hope.
-Curse ruthless time! Curse our mortality. How cruelly short is the allotted span for all we must cram into it!
-We must beware of needless innovations, especially when guided by logic.
-One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!
-Success is never found. Failure is never fatal. Courage is the only thing.
-Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the hard may be; for without victory there is no survival.
-We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.
-The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult.
-My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.
-I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter.
-The English never draw a line without blurring it.
-It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.
-There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.
-To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.
-The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.
-You have enemies? Good. It means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
-In finance, everything that is agreeable is unsound and everything that is sound is disagreeable.
-If you’re going through hell, keep going.
-This is the lesson: 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. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
-There is only one duty, only one safe course, and that is to try to be right and not to fear to do or say what you believe to be right.
-It is a fine thing to be honest, but it is also very important to be right.
-I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
-Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
-The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
-We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
-What is adequacy? Adequacy is no standard at all.
-Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
-Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace, and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war.
-It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.
-Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.
-We shall not fail or falter. We shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job.
-Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.
-It is wonderful what great strides can be made when there is a resolute purpose behind them.
-We shall show mercy, but we shall not ask for it.
-Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.
-All the greatest things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honor; duty; mercy; hope.
-Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.
-“Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.”
-The first duty of the university is to teach wisdom, not a trade; character, not technicalities. We want a lot of engineers in the modern world, but we do not want a world of engineers.
-The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
-When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.
-History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
-All I can say is that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.
-Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.
-Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.
-If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time-a tremendous whack.
-Do not let spacious plans for a new world divert your energies from saving what is left of the old.
-If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find we have lost the future.
-I may be drunk, miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.
-Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it has been said, it is the quality which guarantees all others.
-Every man should ask himself each day whether he is not too readily accepting negative solutions.
-The power of man has grown in every sphere, except over himself.
-The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.
-Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy then an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then it becomes a tyrant and, in the last stage, just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.
-The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.
-Broadly speaking short words are best and the old words when short, are best of all.
-I am never going to have anything more to do with politics or politicians. When this war is over I shall confine myself entirely to writing and painting.
-Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, it’s also what it takes to sit down and listen.
-There is always much to be said for not attempting more than you can do and for making a certainty of what you try. But this principle, like others in life and war, has it exceptions.
-Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.
-If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.
-In the course of my life I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.
-Everyone has his day, and some days last longer than others.
-In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.
-The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.
-There are two things that are more difficult than making an after-dinner speech: climbing a wall which is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you.
-Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.
-I am certainly not one of those who need to be prodded. In fact, if anything, I am the prod.
-There is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure.
-We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out.
-Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.
-Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.
-No crime is so great as daring to excel.
-I always seem to get inspiration and renewed vitality by contact with this great novel land of yours which sticks up out of the Atlantic.
-We are stripped bare by the curse of plenty.
-A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.
Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.