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Winston Churchill Biography

Winston Churchill Biography

Sir Winston Churchill was the famous Prime Minister who successfully led Britain during the World War II. He was a politician, a soldier, an artist, and one of the most influential personalities of the 20th Century.
Nilesh Parekh
Sir Winston Churchill was born on 30th November, 1874, to Lord Randolph Churchill, a conservative politician (who was also a British MP and the grandson of the Duke of Marlborough) and Jennie Jerome in Blenheim Palace, Woodstock. Churchill was sent at Harrow to complete his education, after which he was admitted to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. In his school days, he was an ordinary student, and he also faced a couple of failures in his education. He was not very attracted towards academics, but he had interest in army, and he joined the army as a cavalry officer. When he was in the Fourth Hussars in 1898, he witnessed three battles, including the battle of Omdurman in Sudan.

Sir Winston Churchill was also fond of writing and reading. He wrote a couple of books, which were based on his battlefield experience (The Story of the Malakand Field Force (1898) and The River War (1899)). His interest in writing pulled him out of the army in 1899, and he joined Morning Post news group as a war correspondent. His escape from the Boers when they held him while reporting the 'Boer War' in South Africa is very famous. This incident influenced him, and he wrote a book on his escape from Boers in 1900 when he returned to England.

Foray into Politics

In 1900, he lost his father Randolph. He was requested to fight the election to fill the vacated place of his father, and he was elected as the Conservative MP for Oldham, in the 1900. This was an unexpected beginning of his political career. From the beginning, he wanted to bring changes in society he had been living; he wanted to change the condition of people and their living standards. Winston and his party leader's thinking never ran parallel, and this made him break away from his party, and he joined Liberal Party in 1904. He further campaigned and won a seat in the North West Manchester General Elections in 1906; he was promoted to the post of Under-Secretary of State for Colonies in the new Liberal government formed by Henry Campbell-Bannerman. His work at this post was so fair that he was offered a cabinet seat as the 'President of the Board of Trade' even after Herbert Asquith replaced the then Prime Minister in 1908. During his term of any post, Churchill always worked towards the expectations of working class people, and his policies included works such as establishing employment exchanges, facilities for working class people, etc.

Churchill married Clementine Ogilvy Spencer on 12th September, 1908, when he was 34 years of age. He kept himself engraved in the political life and never came out in his lifetime. He continued his work towards the improvement of lives of all those living in the society, his thinking was not confined only to few white-collar elements, but he considered other parts of the society also. In the 1910 General Elections, he was promoted to the post of Home Secretary, after which he brought in policies to help prisoners their lives and also set up some 'Special After-Care Associations' for them.

In 1911, Churchill became first Lord of the Admiralty. He knew that security was the most important factor that any country should keep its eye on, and he helped the process of modernizing the Navy and Military and also gave some valuable suggestions, he even came up with idea of employing aircraft in the military, and helped in setting up Britain's premier 'Royal Naval Air Service' in 1912. In the year 1914, when the war broke, he wanted to be an important part of the war council; but in 1915, as a result of failure of Dardanelles Campaign, he was removed from the post and shifted as a Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. He never welcomed this shift, and he resigned his post and joined the British Army as a commander of a battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers to become an active part of the war.

The next Prime Minister of Britain, David Lloyd George who was impressed by Churchill's work and struggle to become an active part of the war, offered him a seat as the Minister of Munitions, which interested Churchill very much. Further, he was also made in charge of the production of ammunitions and war vehicles, aero planes, etc. His policies against the enemies were very harsh and attracted many critics. He was criticized for his policies when he expressed his opinions such as using chemical weapons and poisoned gas against enemies.

Churchill re-joined the Conservative Party after the Liberal Party broke during 1922. In 1924, he campaigned the General Election from the Conservative Party and won a seat from Epping. He was appointed at the post of Chancellor and Exchequer by Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin.

Churchill witnessed a cold period in politics from 1929 to 1933 when his party had lost the election, and was never invited by any Prime Minister for any post in the government. During this time, he wrote a few articles and books. Even when he was away from the active politics, he never gave up on his thinking and was considered as an extremist.

During the Second World War, Churchill was made First Lord of the Admiralty, and further, he was promoted to the chairman seat of the Military Coordinating Committee. Britain witnessed many political changes during the same period, the Prime Minister at that time, Chamberlain, resigned because of the ongoing opposition. To handle the critical situation, George VI appointed him as next Prime Minister of Britain. At one side, the German Army was emerging as an immediate threat and had invaded Belgium, Luxembourg, and even France; and at the other side, Churchill had a challenge to stabilize the situation in Britain. He decided to bring up the best leaders he had seen during last few years to handle the situation in Britain, and started taking efforts in developing contacts with the American President, Franklin D. Roosevelt. He was successful in creating a bond between Britain and America, and won assurance from America for help and coordination during the war situation.

Churchill tried to handle situation at home front and even at war front, but a few inevitable battle defeats brought him in front of the no-confidence motion in Britain Parliament; but he was able to ensure majority, and continued with his work in government. He faced much opposition and was criticized for the strategies he used during the war period, but was unshaken by all of them. His strategies of uniting the power of friendly nations to fight enemy nations like Germany and Japan (and his nerve-stimulating speeches, which inspired the Britain citizens) helped Britain, America, and the Soviet Union in ensuring a safe victory.

Further, at home, Churchill was unable to convince Britain of the plans and strategies he had for the nation, and lost the 1945 General Elections. He sat in opposition and continued his work from there. Because of old age, his health was getting deteriorated, and he suffered several strokes after 1946. In the 1951 General Elections, he once again campaigned and was elected as the Prime Minister of Britain. In 1955, he received Noble Prize for Literature for the book he wrote 'The Second World War'. In the same year, because of health reasons, he retired from politics. He took his last breath on 24th January, 1965, when he was about 91 years of age.