After Churchill left Harrow in 1893, he applied to attend the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. It took three attempts before he passed the entrance exam; he applied for cavalry rather than infantry because the grade requirement was lower and did not require him to learn mathematics, HP Pavilion DV4-1111TX Battery
which he disliked. He graduated eighth out of a class of 150 in December 1894, and although he could now have transferred to an infantry regiment as his father had wished, chose to remain with the cavalry and was commissioned as a Cornet(Second Lieutenant) in the 4th Queen's Own Hussars on 20 February 1895. In 1941, he received the honour of being appointed Colonel of the Hussars.HP Pavilion DV4-1112TX Battery
Churchill's pay as a second lieutenant in the 4th Hussars was £300. However, he believed that he needed at least a further £500 (equivalent to £25,000 in 2001 terms) to support a style of life equal to other officers of the regiment. His mother provided an allowance of £400 per year, but this was repeatedly overspent. According to biographer Roy Jenkins, this is one reason he took an interest in war correspondence. HP Pavilion DV4-1113TX Battery
He did not intend to follow a conventional career of promotion through army ranks, but to seek out all possible chances of military action and used his mother's and family influence in high society to arrange postings to active campaigns. His writings both brought him to the attention of the public, and earned him significant additional income. He acted as a war correspondent for several London newspapers and wrote his own books about the campaigns. HP Pavilion DV4-1114NR Battery
In 1895, Churchill travelled to Cuba to observe the Spanish fight the Cuban guerrillas; he had obtained a commission to write about the conflict from the Daily Graphic. To his delight, he came under fire for the first time on his twenty-first birthday. He had fond memories of Cuba as a "...large, rich, beautiful island..." HP Pavilion DV4-1114TX Battery
While there, he soon acquired a taste for Havana cigars, which he would smoke for the rest of his life. While in New York, he stayed at the home ofBourke Cockran, an admirer of his mother. Bourke was an established American politician, and a member of the House of Representatives. He greatly influenced Churchill, both in his approach to oratory and politics, and encouraging a love of America. HP Pavilion DV4-1115EF Battery
He soon received word that his nanny, Mrs Everest, was dying; he then returned to England and stayed with her for a week until she died. He wrote in his journal "She was my favourite friend." In My Early Life he wrote: "She had been my dearest and most intimate friend during the whole of the twenty years I had lived." HP Pavilion DV4-1115TX Battery
In early October 1896, he was transferred to Bombay, British India. He was considered one of the best polo players in his regiment and led his team to many prestigious tournament victories.
In 1897, Churchill attempted to travel to both report and, if necessary, fight in the Greco-Turkish War, but this conflict effectively ended before he could arrive. Later, while preparing for a leave in England, he heard that three brigades of theBritish Army were going to fight against a Pashtun tribe in the North West Frontier of India and he asked his superior officer if he could join the fight. HP Pavilion DV4-1116TX Battery
He fought under the command of General Jeffery, who was the commander of the second brigade operating in Malakand, in the Frontier region of British India. Jeffery sent him with fifteen scouts to explore the Mamund Valley; while on reconnaissance, they encountered an enemy tribe, dismounted from their horses and opened fire. HP Pavilion DV4-1117CA Battery
After an hour of shooting, their reinforcements, the 35th Sikhs arrived, and the fire gradually ceased and the brigade and the Sikhs marched on. Hundreds of tribesmen then ambushed them and opened fire, forcing them to retreat. HP Pavilion DV4-1117TX Battery
As they were retreating four men were carrying an injured officer but the fierceness of the fight forced them to leave him behind. The man who was left behind was slashed to death before Churchill's eyes; afterwards he wrote of the killer, "I forgot everything else at this moment except a desire to kill this man." However the Sikhs' numbers were being depleted so the next commanding officer told Churchill to get the rest of the men and boys to safety. HP Pavilion DV4-1118CA Battery
Before he left he asked for a note so he would not be charged with desertion. He received the note, quickly signed, and headed up the hill and alerted the other brigade, whereupon they then engaged the army. The fighting in the region dragged on for another two weeks before the dead could be recovered. He wrote in his journal: "Whether it was worth it I cannot tell." HP Pavilion DV4-1118TX Battery
An account of the Siege of Malakand was published in December 1900 as The Story of the Malakand Field Force. He received £600 for his account. During the campaign, he also wrote articles for the newspapers The Pioneer and The Daily Telegraph. His account of the battle was one of his first published stories, for which he received £5 per column from The Daily Telegraph. HP Pavilion DV4-1119TX Battery
Sudan and Oldham
under the command of General Herbert Kitchener. During this time he encountered two military officers with whom he would work during the First World War: Douglas Haig, then a captain and David Beatty, then a gunboat lieutenant. While in the Sudan, he participated in what has been described as the last meaningful British cavalry charge, at the Battle of Omdurman in September 1898. HP Pavilion DV4-1120BR Battery
He also worked as a war correspondent for the Morning Post. By October 1898, he had returned to Britain and begun his two-volume work; The River War, an account of the reconquest of the Sudan which was published the following year. Churchill resigned from the British Army effective from 5 May 1899. HP Pavilion DV4-1120TX Battery
Main article: Oldham by-election, 1899
He soon had his first opportunity to begin a Parliamentary career, when he was invited by Robert Ascroft to be the secondConservative Party candidate in Ascroft's Oldham constituency. Ascroft's sudden death caused a double by-election and Churchill was one of the candidates. In the midst of a national trend against the Conservatives, both seats were lost; however Churchill impressed by his vigorous campaigning. HP Pavilion DV4-1120US Battery
Having failed at Oldham, Churchill looked about for some other opportunity to advance his career. On 12 October 1899, the Second Boer War between Britain and the Boer Republics broke out and he obtained a commission to act as war correspondent for the Morning Post with a salary of £250 per month. He rushed to sail on the same ship as the newly appointed British commander, Sir Redvers Buller. HP Pavilion DV4-1121BR Battery
After some weeks in exposed areas he accompanied a scouting expedition in an armoured train, leading to his capture and imprisonment in a POW camp in Pretoria (converted school building for Pretoria High School for Girls). His actions during the ambush of the train led to speculation that he would be awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy, but this did not occur. HP Pavilion DV4-1121CA Battery
He escaped from the prison camp and travelled almost 300 miles (480 km) to Portuguese Lourenço Marques in Delagoa Bay, with the assistance of an English mine manager. His escape made him a minor national hero for a time in Britain, though instead of returning home, he rejoined General Buller's army on its march to relieve the British at the Siege of Ladysmith and take Pretoria. This time, although continuing as a war correspondent, he gained a commission in the South African Light Horse. HP Pavilion DV4-1121TX Battery
He was among the first British troops into Ladysmith and Pretoria. He and his cousin, the Duke of Marlborough, were able to get ahead of the rest of the troops in Pretoria, where they demanded and received the surrender of 52 Boer prison camp guards. HP Pavilion DV4-1122TX Battery
In 1900, Churchill returned to England on the RMS Dunottar Castle, the same ship on which he set sail for South Africa eight months earlier. He there published London to Ladysmith and a second volume of Boer war experiences, Ian Hamilton's March. Churchill stood again for parliament in Oldham in the general election of 1900 and won (his Conservative colleague, Crisp, was defeated) in the contest for two seats. After the 1900 general election he embarked on a speaking tour of Britain, followed by tours of the United States and Canada, earning in excess of £5,000. HP Pavilion DV4-1123LA Battery
In 1900, he retired from the regular army and in 1902 joined the Imperial Yeomanry where he was commissioned as a Captain in the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars on 4 January 1902. In April 1905, he was promoted to Major and appointed to command of the Henley Squadron of the Queen's Own Oxfordshire Hussars. In September 1916, he transferred to the territorial reserves of officers where he remained till retiring in 1924, at the age of fifty. HP Pavilion DV4-1123TX Battery
Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty at the start of the First World War, but was obliged to leave the war cabinet after the disastrous Battle of Gallipoli. He attempted to obtain an appointment as a brigade commander, but settled for command of a battalion. After spending some time as a Major with the 2nd Battalion, Grenadier Guards, he was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel, HP Pavilion DV4-1123US Battery
commanding the 6th Battalion, Royal Scots Fusiliers (part of the9th (Scottish) Division), on 1 January 1916. Correspondence with his wife shows that his intent in taking up active service was to rehabilitate his reputation, but this was balanced by the serious risk of being killed. As a commander he continued to exhibit the reckless daring which had been a hallmark of all his military actions, although he disapproved strongly of the mass slaughter involved in many western front actions. HP Pavilion DV4-1124LA Battery
Lord Deedes opined to a gathering of the Royal Historical Society in 2001 why Churchill went to the front line: "He was with Grenadier Guards, who were dry at battalion headquarters. They very much liked tea and condensed milk, which had no great appeal to Winston, but alcohol was permitted in the front line, in the trenches. So he suggested to the colonel that he really ought to see more of the war and get into the front line. This was highly commended by the colonel, who thought it was a very good thing to do." HP Pavilion DV4-1124NR Battery
Political career to the Second World War
Early years in Parliament
Churchill stood again for the seat of Oldham at the 1900 general election. After winning the seat, he went on a speaking tour throughout Britain and the United States, raising £10,000 for himself (about £800,000 today). In Parliament, he became associated with a faction of the Conservative Party led by Lord Hugh Cecil; the Hughligans. During his first parliamentary session, he opposed the government's military expenditure and Joseph Chamberlain's proposal of extensive tariffs, which were intended to protect Britain's economic dominance. HP Pavilion DV4-1124TX Battery
His own constituency effectively deselected him, although he continued to sit for Oldham until the next general election. After the Whitsun recess in 1904 he crossed the floor to sit as a member of theLiberal Party. As a Liberal, he continued to campaign for free trade. When the Liberals took office with Henry Campbell-Bannermanas prime minister, in December 1905, Churchill became Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies dealing mainly with South Africa after the Boer War. From 1903 until 1905, Churchill was also engaged in writing Lord Randolph Churchill, a two-volume biography of his father which was published in 1906 and received much critical acclaim. HP Pavilion DV4-1125BR Battery
llowing his deselection in the seat of Oldham, Churchill was invited to stand for Manchester North West. He won the seat at the1906 general election with a majority of 1,214 and represented the seat for two years, until 1908. When Campbell-Bannerman was succeeded by Herbert Henry Asquith in 1908, Churchill was promoted to the Cabinet as President of the Board of Trade. Under the law at the time, a newly appointed Cabinet Minister was obliged to seek re-election at a by-election; Churchill lost his seat but was soon back as a member for Dundee constituency. HP Pavilion DV4-1125LA Battery
As President of the Board of Trade he joined newly appointed ChancellorLloyd George in opposing First Lord of the Admiralty, Reginald McKenna's proposed huge expenditure for the construction of Navydreadnought warships, and in supporting the Liberal reforms. In 1908, he introduced the Trade Boards Bill setting up the first minimum wages in Britain, In 1909, he set up Labour Exchanges to help unemployed people find work. HP Pavilion DV4-1125NR Battery
He helped draft the first unemployment pension legislation, the National Insurance Act of 1911. As a supporter of eugenics, he participated in the drafting of the Mental Deficiency Act 1913, although the Act eventually passed rejected his preferred method of sterilisation of the feeble-minded in favour of their confinement in institutions. HP Pavilion DV4-1125TX Battery
Churchill also assisted in passing the People's Budget becoming President of the Budget League, an organisation set up in response to the opposition's "Budget Protest League". The budget included the introduction of new taxes on the wealthy to allow for the creation of new social welfare programmes. After the budget bill was sent to the Commons in 1909 and passed, it went to the House of Lords, where it was vetoed. HP Pavilion DV4-1126LA Battery
The Liberals then fought and won two general elections in January and December 1910 to gain a mandate for their reforms. The budget was then passed following the Parliament Act 1911 for which he also campaigned. In 1910, he was promoted to Home Secretary. His term was controversial, after his responses to the Siege of Sidney Street and thedispute at the Cambrian Colliery and the suffragettes. HP Pavilion DV4-1126TX Battery
In 1910, a number of coal miners in the Rhondda Valley began what has come to be known as the Tonypandy Riot. The Chief Constable of Glamorgan requested troops be sent in to help police quell the rioting. Churchill, learning that the troops were already travelling, allowed them to go as far as Swindon and Cardiff but blocked their deployment. On 9 November, The Timescriticised this decision. In spite of this, the rumour persists that Churchill had ordered troops to attack, and his reputation in Wales and in Labour circles never recovered. HP Pavilion DV4-1127LA Battery
In early January 1911, Churchill made a controversial visit to the Siege of Sidney Street in London. There is some uncertainty as to whether he attempted to give operational commands, and his presence attracted much criticism. After an inquest, Arthur Balfour remarked, "he [Churchill] and a photographer were both risking valuable lives. I understand what the photographer was doing, but what was the right honourable gentleman doing?" HP Pavilion DV4-1127TX Battery
A biographer,Roy Jenkins, suggests that he went simply because "he could not resist going to see the fun himself" and that he did not issue commands. Another account said the police had the miscreants – Latvian anarchists wanted for murder – surrounded in a house but Churchill, called in the Scots Guards from the Tower of London and, dressed in top hat and astrakhan collar greatcoat, directed operations. HP Pavilion DV4-1128TX Battery
The house caught fire and Churchill prevented the fire brigade from dousing the flames so the men inside were burned to death. "I thought it better to let the house burn down rather than spend good British lives in rescuing those ferocious rascals."
Churchill's proposed solution to the suffragette issue was a referendum on the issue, but this found no favour with Herbert Henry Asquith and women's suffrage remained unresolved until after the First World War. HP Pavilion DV4-1129LA Battery
In 1911, Churchill was transferred to the office of the First Lord of the Admiralty, a post he held into the First World War. He gave impetus to several reform efforts, including development of naval aviation (he undertook flying lessons himself), the construction of new and larger warships, the development of tanks, and the switch from coal to oil in the Royal Navy.
First World War and the Post War CoalitionHP Pavilion DV4-1129TX Battery
On 5 October 1914, Churchill went to Antwerp, which the Belgian government proposed to evacuate. The Royal Marine Brigade was there and at Churchill's urgings the 1st and 2nd Naval Brigades were also committed. Antwerp fell on 10 October with the loss of 2500 men. At the time he was attacked for squandering resources. It is more likely that his actions prolonged the resistance by a week (Belgium had proposed surrendering Antwerp on 3 October) and that this time saved Calais and Dunkirk. HP Pavilion DV4-1130BR Battery
Churchill was involved with the development of the tank, which was financed from naval research funds. He then headed the Landships Committee which was responsible for creating the first tank corps and, although a decade later development of the battle tank would be seen as a tactical victory, at the time it was seen as misappropriation of funds. In 1915, he was one of the political and military engineers of the disastrous Gallipoli landings on the Dardanelles during the First World War. He took much of the blame for the fiasco, and when Prime Minister Asquith formed an all-party coalition government, the Conservatives demanded his demotion as the price for entry. HP Pavilion DV4-1130TX Battery
For several months Churchill served in the sinecure of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. However on 15 November 1915 he resigned from the government, feeling his energies were not being used and, though remaining an MP, served for several months on theWestern Front commanding the 6th Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers, with the rank of lieutenant colonel. While in command he personally made 36 forays into no man's land, and his section of the front at Ploegsteert became one of the most active. In March 1916, Churchill returned to England after he had become restless in France and wished to speak again in the House of Commons. HP Pavilion DV4-1131BR Battery
Future prime minister David Lloyd George acidly commented: "You will one day discover that the state of mind revealed in (your) letter is the reason why you do not win trust even where you command admiration. In every line of it, national interests are completely overshadowed by your personal concern." HP Pavilion DV4-1131TX Battery
In July 1917, Churchill was appointed Minister of Munitions, and in January 1919, Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for Air. He was the main architect of the Ten Year Rule, a principle that allowed the Treasury to dominate and control strategic, foreign and financial policies under the assumption that "there would be no great European war for the next five or ten years". HP Pavilion DV4-1132TX Battery
A major preoccupation of his tenure in the War Office was the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. Churchill was a staunch advocate of foreign intervention, declaring that Bolshevism must be "strangled in its cradle". He secured, from a divided and loosely organised Cabinet, intensification and prolongation of the British involvement beyond the wishes of any major group in Parliament or the nation—and in the face of the bitter hostility of Labour. HP Pavilion DV4-1133TX Battery
In 1920, after the last British forces had been withdrawn, Churchill was instrumental in having arms sent to the Poles when they invaded Ukraine.He was also instrumental in having para-military forces (Black and Tans & Auxiliaries) intervene in the Anglo-Irish War. He became Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1921 and was a signatory of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, which established the Irish Free State. HP Pavilion DV4-1134TX Battery
Churchill was involved in the lengthy negotiations of the treaty and to protect British maritime interests, he engineered part of the Irish Free State agreement to include three Treaty Ports—Queenstown (Cobh),Berehaven and Lough Swilly—which could be used as Atlantic bases by the Royal Navy. In 1938, however, under the terms of the Chamberlain-De Valera Anglo-Irish Trade Agreement the bases were returned to the Irish Free State. HP Pavilion DV4-1135BR Battery
Churchill advocated the use of tear gas on Kurdish tribesmen in Iraq, Though the British did consider the use of poison gas in putting down Kurdish rebellions, it was not used, as conventional bombing was considered effective.
In 1923, he acted as a paid consultant for Burmah Oil (now BP plc) to lobby the British government to allow Burmah to have exclusive rights to Persian (Iraqi) oil resources, which were successfully granted. HP Pavilion DV4-1135EE Battery
Rejoining the Conservative Party—Chancellor of the Exchequer
In September, the Conservative Party withdrew from the Coalition government following a meeting of backbenchers dissatisfied with the handling of the Chanak Crisis, a move that precipitated the looming October 1922 General Election. Churchill fell ill during the campaign, and had to have an appendicectomy. This made it difficult for him to campaign, and a further setback was the internal division that continued to beset the Liberal Party. HP Pavilion DV4-1135EI Battery
He came only fourth in the poll for Dundee, losing to the prohibitionist Edwin Scrymgeour. Churchill later quipped that he left Dundee "without an office, without a seat, without a party and without an appendix". He stood for the Liberals again in the 1923 general election, losing in Leicester, and then as an independent, first without success in a by-election in the Westminster Abbey constituency, and then successfully in the general election of 1924 for Epping. The following year, he formally rejoined the Conservative Party, commenting wryly that "anyone can rat, but it takes a certain ingenuity to re-rat." HP Pavilion DV4-1135TX Battery
Churchill was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1924 under Stanley Baldwin and oversaw Britain's disastrous return to the Gold Standard, which resulted in deflation, unemployment, and the miners' strike that led to the General Strike of 1926. His decision, announced in the 1924 Budget, came after long consultation with various economists including John Maynard Keynes, the Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, Sir Otto Niemeyer and the board of the Bank of EnglandHP Pavilion DV4-1136BR Battery
. This decision prompted Keynes to write The Economic Consequences of Mr. Churchill, arguing that the return to the gold standard at the pre-war parity in 1925 (£1=$4.86) would lead to a world depression. However, the decision was generally popular and seen as 'sound economics' although it was opposed by Lord Beaverbrook and the Federation of British Industries.
Churchill later regarded this as the greatest mistake of his life. HP Pavilion DV4-1136TX Battery
However in discussions at the time with former Chancellor McKenna, Churchill acknowledged that the return to the gold standard and the resulting 'dear money' policy was economically bad. In those discussions he maintained the policy as fundamentally political—a return to the pre-war conditions in which he believed. In his speech on the Bill he said "I will tell you what it [the return to the Gold Standard] will shackle us to. It will shackle us to reality." HP Pavilion DV4-1137TX Battery
The return to the pre-war exchange rate and to the Gold Standard depressed industries. The most affected was the coal industry. Already suffering from declining output as shipping switched to oil, as basic British industries like cotton came under more competition in export markets, the return to the pre-war exchange was estimated to add up to 10% in costs to the industry. In July 1925, a Commission of Inquiry reported generally favouring the miners, rather than the mine owners' position. Baldwin, with Churchill's support proposed a subsidy to the industry while a Royal Commission prepared a further report. HP Pavilion DV4-1138TX Battery
That Commission solved nothing and the miners' dispute led to the General Strike of 1926, Churchill was reported to have suggested that machine guns be used on the striking miners. Churchill edited the Government's newspaper, the British Gazette, and, during the dispute, he argued that "either the country will break the General Strike, HP Pavilion DV4-1139TX Battery
or the General Strike will break the country" and claimed that the fascism of Benito Mussolini had "rendered a service to the whole world," showing, as it had, "a way to combat subversive forces"—that is, he considered the regime to be a bulwark against the perceived threat of Communist revolution. At one point, Churchill went as far as to call Mussolini the "Roman genius... the greatest lawgiver among men." HP Pavilion DV4-1140EK Battery
Later economists, as well as people at the time, also criticised Churchill's budget measures. These were seen as assisting the generally prosperous rentier banking and salaried classes (to which Churchill and his associates generally belonged) at the expense of manufacturers and exporters which were known then to be suffering from imports and from competition in traditional export markets, and as paring the Armed Forces too heavily. HP Pavilion DV4-1140GO Battery
The Conservative government was defeated in the 1929 General Election. Churchill did not seek election to the Conservative Business Committee, the official leadership of the Conservative MPs. Over the next two years, Churchill became estranged from the Conservative leadership over the issues of protective tariffs and Indian Home Rule and by his political views and by his friendships with press barons, financiers and people whose characters were seen as dubious. HP Pavilion DV4-1140TX Battery
When Ramsay MacDonald formed theNational Government in 1931, Churchill was not invited to join the Cabinet. He was at the low point in his career, in a period known as "the wilderness years".
He spent much of the next few years concentrating on his writing, including Marlborough: His Life and Times—a biography of his ancestor John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough—and A History of the English Speaking Peoples (though the latter was not published until well after the Second World War), Great Contemporaries and many newspaper articles and collections of speeches. HP Pavilion DV4-1141TX Battery
He was one of the best paid writers of his time. His political views, set forth in his 1930 Romanes Election and published as Parliamentary Government and the Economic Problem (republished in 1932 in his collection of essays "Thoughts and Adventures") involved abandoning universal suffrage, a return to a property franchise, proportional representation for the major cities and an economic 'sub parliament'.
Indian independence HP Pavilion DV4-1142TX Battery
See also: Simon Commission and Government of India Act 1935
Churchill opposed Mohandas Gandhi's peaceful disobedience revolt and the Indian Independence movement in the 1930s, arguing that the Round Table Conference "was a frightful prospect". Later reports indicate that Churchill favoured letting Gandhi die if he went on a hunger strike.During the first half of the 1930s, Churchill was outspoken in his opposition to granting Dominion status to India. He was a founder of the India Defence League, a group dedicated to the preservation of British power in India. HP Pavilion DV4-1143GO Battery
Churchill brooked no moderation. "The truth is," he declared in 1930, "that Gandhi-ism and everything it stands for will have to be grappled with and crushed." In speeches and press articles in this period he forecast widespread unemployment in Britain and civil strife in India should independence be granted. The Viceroy Lord Irwin, who had been appointed by the prior Conservative Government, eHP Pavilion DV4-1143TX Battery
ed in the Round Table Conference in early 1931 and then announced the Government's policy that India should be granted Dominion Status. In this the Government was supported by the Liberal Party and, officially at least, by the Conservative Party. Churchill denounced the Round Table Conference.
At a meeting of the West Essex Conservativ HP Pavilion DV4-1144TX Battery
e Association specially convened so Churchill could explain his position he said, "It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well-known in the East, striding half-naked up the steps of the Vice-regal palace... to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King-Emperor." He called the Indian National Congress leaders "Brahmins who mouth and patter principles of Western Liberalism". HP Pavilion DV4-1144US Battery
Two incidents damaged Churchill's reputation greatly within the Conservative Party in this period. Both were taken as attacks on the Conservative front bench. The first was his speech on the eve of the St George by-election in April 1931. In a secure Conservative seat, the official Conservative candidate Duff Cooper was opposed by an independent Conservative. The independent was supported by Lord Rothermere, Lord Beaverbrook and their respective newspapers. Although arranged before the by-election was set,HP Pavilion DV4-1145BR Battery
Churchill's speech was seen as supporting the independent candidate and as a part of the press baron's campaign against Baldwin. Baldwin's position was strengthened when Duff Cooper won, and when the civil disobedience campaign in India ceased with the Gandhi-Irwin Pact. The second issue was a claim by Churchill that Sir Samuel Hoare and Lord Derby had pressured the Manchester Chamber of Commerce to change evidence it had given to the Joint Select Committee considering the Government of India Bill, and in doing so had breached Parliamentary privilege. HP Pavilion DV4-1145GO Battery
He had the matter referred to the House of CommonsPrivilege Committee which after investigations, in which Churchill gave evidence, reported to the House that there had been no breach. The report was debated on 13 June. Churchill was unable to find a single supporter in the House and the debate ended without a division.
Churchill permanently broke with Stanley Baldwin over Indian independence and never again held any office while Baldwin was prime minister. Some historians see his basic attitude to India as being set out in his book My Early Life (1930). HP Pavilion DV4-1145TX Battery
Another source of controversy about Churchill's attitude towards Indian affairs arises over what some historians term the Indian 'nationalist approach' to the Bengal famine of 1943, which has sought to place significant blame on Churchill's wartime government for the excessive mortality of up to three million people. While some commentators point to the disruption of the traditional marketing system and maladministration at the provincial level, HP Pavilion DV4-1146TX Battery
Arthur Herman, author of Churchill and Gandhi, contends, 'The real cause was the fall of Burma to the Japanese, which cut off India's main supply of rice imports when domestic sources fell short...[though] it is true that Churchill opposed diverting food supplies and transports from other theatres to India to cover the shortfall: this was wartime.' HP Pavilion DV4-1147CL Battery
In response to an urgent request by the Secretary of State for India, Leo Amery, and Viceroy of India, Wavell, to release food stocks for India, Churchill responded with a telegram to Wavell asking, if food was so scarce, "why Gandhihadn't died yet." In July 1940, newly in office, he welcomed reports of the emerging conflict between the Muslim League and the Indian Congress, hoping "it would be bitter and bloody".
German rearmament and conflicts in Europe and AsiaHP Pavilion DV4-1147TX Battery
Beginning in 1932, when he opposed those who advocated giving Germany the right to military parity with France, Churchill spoke often of the dangers of Germany's rearmament. He later, particularly in The Gathering Storm, portrayed himself as being for a time, a lone voice calling on Britain to strengthen itself to counter the belligerence of Germany. However Lord Lloyd was the first to so agitate. HP Pavilion DV4-1148TX Battery
Churchill's attitude toward the fascist dictators was ambiguous. In 1931, he warned against the League of Nations opposing the Japanese in Manchuria "I hope we shall try in England to understand the position of Japan, an ancient state.... On the one side they have the dark menace of Soviet Russia. On the other the chaos of China, four or five provinces of which are being tortured under Communist rule". In contemporary newspaper articles he referred to the Spanish Republican government as a Communist front, and Franco's army as the "Anti-red movement". He supported the Hoare-Laval Pact and continued up until 1937 to praise Benito Mussolini. HP Pavilion DV4-1149TX Battery
Speaking in the House of Commons in 1937, Churchill said "I will not pretend that, if I had to choose between communism and Nazism, I would choose communism". In a 1935 essay titled "Hitler and his Choice", which was republished in his 1937 book Great Contemporaries, Churchill expressed a hope that Hitler, if he so chose, and despite his rise to power through dictatorial action, hatred and cruelty, might yet "go down in history as the man who restored honour and peace of mind to the great Germanic nation and brought it back serene, helpful and strong to the forefront of the European family circle." HP Pavilion DV4-1150BR Battery
Churchill's first major speech on defence on 7 February 1934 stressed the need to rebuild the Royal Air Force and to create a Ministry of Defence; his second, on 13 July urged a renewed role for the League of Nations. These three topics remained his themes until early 1936. In 1935, he was one of the founding members of The Focus, which brought together people of differing political backgrounds and occupations who were united in seeking "the defence of freedom and peace". The Focus led to the formation of the much wider Arms and the Covenant Movement in 1936. HP Pavilion DV4-1150EO Battery
Churchill was holidaying in Spain when the Germans reoccupied the Rhineland in February 1936, and returned to a divided Britain. The Labour opposition was adamant in opposing sanctions and the National Government was divided between advocates of economic sanctions and those who said that even these would lead to a humiliating backdown by Britain as France would not support any intervention. Churchill's speech on 9 March was measured, and praised by Neville Chamberlain as constructive. HP Pavilion DV4-1150EP Battery
But within weeks Churchill was passed over for the post of Minister for Co-ordination of Defence in favour of the Attorney General Sir Thomas Inskip. Alan Taylorcalled this "an appointment rightly described as the most extraordinary since Caligula made his horse a consul". In June 1936, Churchill organised a deputation of senior Conservatives who shared his concern to see Baldwin, Chamberlain and Halifax. HP Pavilion DV4-1150ER Battery
He had tried to have delegates from the other two parties and later wrote, "If the leaders of the Labour and Liberal oppositions had come with us there might have been a political situation so intense as to enforce remedial action". As it was the meeting achieved little, Baldwin arguing that the Government was doing all it could, given the anti-war feeling of the electorate. HP Pavilion DV4-1150ES Battery
On 12 November Churchill returned to the topic. Speaking in the Address in Reply debate, after giving some specific instances of Germany's war preparedness, he said "The Government simply cannot make up their mind or they cannot get the prime minister to make up his mind. So they go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful for impotency. HP Pavilion DV4-1150TX Battery
And so we go on preparing more months more years precious perhaps vital for the greatness of Britain for the locusts to eat."
R. R. James called this one of Churchill's most brilliant speeches in this period, Baldwin's reply sounding weak and disturbing the House. The exchange gave new encouragement to the Arms and the Covenant Movement. HP Pavilion DV4-1151TX Battery
Main article: Edward VIII abdication crisis
In June 1936, Walter Monckton told Churchill that the rumours that King Edward VIII intended to marry Mrs Wallis Simpson were true. Churchill then advised against the marriage and said he regarded Mrs Simpson's existing marriage as a 'safeguard'. In November, he declined Lord Salisbury's invitation to be part of a delegation of senior Conservative backbenchers who met with Baldwin to discuss the matter. HP Pavilion DV4-1152TX Battery
On 25 November he, Attlee and Liberal leader Archibald Sinclair met with Baldwin, were told officially of the King's intention, and asked whether they would form an administration if Baldwin and the National Government resigned should the King not take the Ministry's advice. Both Attlee and Sinclair said they would not take office if invited to do so. Churchill's reply was that his attitude was a little different but he would support the government. HP Pavilion DV4-1153TX Battery
The Abdication crisis became public, coming to a head in the first fortnight of December 1936. At this time Churchill publicly gave his support to the King. The first public meeting of the Arms and the Covenant Movement was on 3 December. Churchill was a major speaker and later wrote that in replying to the Vote of Thanks he made a declaration 'on the spur of the moment' asking for delay before any decision was made by either the King or his Cabinet. Later that night Churchill saw the draft of the King's proposed wireless broadcast and spoke with Beaverbrook and the King's solicitor about it. HP Pavilion DV4-1154TX Battery
On 4 December, he met with the King and again urged delay in any decision about abdication. On 5 December, he issued a lengthy statement implying that the Ministry was applying unconstitutional pressure on the King to force him to make a hasty decision. On 7 December he tried to address the Commons to plead for delay. He was shouted down. Seemingly staggered by the unanimous hostility of all Members he left. HP Pavilion DV4-1155SE Battery
Churchill's reputation in Parliament and England as a whole was badly damaged. Some such as Alistair Cooke saw him as trying to build a King's Party. Others likeHarold Macmillan were dismayed by the damage Churchill's support for the King had done to the Arms and the Covenant Movement. Churchill himself later wrote "I was myself smitten in public opinion that it was the almost universal view that my political life was ended." HP Pavilion DV4-1155TX Battery
Historians are divided about Churchill's motives in his support for Edward VIII. Some such as A J P Taylor see it as being an attempt to 'overthrow the government of feeble men'. Others such as Rhode James see Churchill's motives as entirely honourable and disinterested, that he felt deeply for the King. HP Pavilion DV4-1156TX Battery
Return from exile
Churchill later sought to portray himself as (to some extent) an isolated voice warning of the need to rearm against Germany. While it is true that he had a small following in the House of Commons during much of the 1930s he was given privileged information by some elements within the Government, particularly by disaffected civil servants in the War Ministry. The "Churchill group" in the later half of the decade consisted only of himself, Duncan Sandys and Brendan Bracken. HP Pavilion DV4-1157TX Battery
It was isolated from the other main factions within the Conservative Party pressing for faster rearmament and a stronger foreign policy. Churchill continued to be consulted on many matters by the Government or seen as an alternative leader.
Even during the time Churchill was campaigning against Indian independence, he received official and otherwise secret information.HP Pavilion DV4-1158TX Battery
From 1932, Churchill's neighbour, Major Desmond Morton with Ramsay MacDonald's approval, gave Churchill information on German air power. From 1930 onwards Morton headed a department of the Committee of Imperial Defence charged with researching the defence preparedness of other nations. Lord Swinton as Secretary of State for Air, and with Baldwin's approval, in 1934 gave Churchill access to official and otherwise secret information. HP Pavilion DV4-1159TX Battery
Swinton did so, knowing Churchill would remain a critic of the government, but believing that an informed critic was better than one relying on rumour and hearsay. Churchill was a fierce critic of Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Adolf Hitler and in a speech to the House of Commons, he bluntly and prophetically stated, "You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour, and you will have war." HP Pavilion DV4-1160ES Battery
First term as prime minister
After the outbreak of the Second World War on 3 September 1939, the day Britain declared war on Germany, Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty and a member of the War Cabinet, as he had been during the first part of the First World War. When they were informed, the Board of the Admiralty sent a signal to the Fleet: "Winston is back". In this job, he proved to be one of the highest-profile ministers during the so-called "Phoney War",HP Pavilion DV4-1160TX Battery
when the only noticeable action was at sea. Churchill advocated the pre-emptive occupation of the neutral Norwegian iron-ore port of Narvik and the iron mines in Kiruna, Sweden, early in the war. However, Chamberlain and the rest of the War Cabinet disagreed, and the operation was delayed until the successful German invasion of Norway. HP Pavilion DV4-1161TX Battery
Bitter beginnings of the war
On 10 May 1940, hours before the German invasion of France by a lightning advance through the Low Countries, it became clear that, following failure in Norway, the country had no confidence in Chamberlain's prosecution of the war and so Chamberlain resigned. The commonly accepted version of events states that Lord Halifax turned down the post of prime minister because he believed he could not govern effectively as a member of the House of Lords instead of the House of Commons. HP Pavilion DV4-1162TX Battery
Although the prime minister does not traditionally advise the King on the former's successor, Chamberlain wanted someone who would command the support of all three major parties in the House of Commons. A meeting between Chamberlain, Halifax, Churchill and David Margesson, the government Chief Whip, led to the recommendation of Churchill, and, as a constitutional monarch, George VI asked Churchill to be prime minister. Churchill's first act was to write to Chamberlain to thank him for his support. HP Pavilion DV4-1163TX Battery
Churchill had been among the first to recognise the growing threat of Hitler long before the outset of the Second World War, and his warnings had gone largely unheeded. Although there was an element of British public and political sentiment favouring negotiated peace with a clearly ascendant Germany, among them the Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax, Churchill nonetheless refused to consider an armistice with Hitler's Germany. His use of rhetoric hardened public opinion against a peaceful resolution and prepared the British for a long war. HP Pavilion DV4-1164TX Battery
Coining the general term for the upcoming battle, Churchill stated in his "finest hour" speech to the House of Commons on 18 June 1940, "I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin." By refusing an armistice with Germany, Churchill kept resistance alive in the British Empire and created the basis for the later Allied counter-attacks of 1942–45, with Britain serving as a platform for the supply of Soviet Union and the liberation of Western Europe. HP Pavilion DV4-1165TX Battery
In response to previous criticisms that there had been no clear single minister in charge of the prosecution of the war, Churchill created and took the additional position of Minister of Defence. He immediately put his friend and confidant, the industrialist and newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook, in charge of aircraft production. It was Beaverbrook's business acumen that allowed Britain to quickly gear up aircraft production and engineering that eventually made the difference in the warHP Pavilion DV4-1166CA Battery
Churchill's speeches were a great inspiration to the embattled British. His first speech as prime minister was the famous "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat". He followed that closely with two other equally famous ones, given just before the Battle of Britain. One included the words:
we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas an
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'.
At the height of the Battle of Britain, his bracing survey of the situation included the memorable line "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few", which engendered the enduring nickname The Few for the RAF fighter pilots who won it. HP Pavilion DV4-1167TX Battery
He first spoke these famous words upon his exit from No. 11 Group's underground bunker at RAF Uxbridge, now known as the Battle of Britain Bunker on 16 August 1940. One of his most memorable war speeches came on 10 November 1942 at the Lord Mayor's Luncheon at Mansion House in London, in response to the Allied victory at the Second Battle of El Alamein. Churchill stated: HP Pavilion DV4-1168TX Battery
This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
Without having much in the way of sustenance or good news to offer the British people, he took a risk in deliberately choosing to emphasise the dangers instead.
"Rhetorical power", wrote Churchill, "is neither wholly bestowed, nor wholly acquired, but cultivated." Not all were impressed by his oratory. HP Pavilion DV4-1169TX Battery
Robert Menzies, prime minister of Australia and himself a gifted phrase-maker, said of Churchill during the Second World War: "His real tyrant is the glittering phrase so attractive to his mind that awkward facts have to give way." Another associate wrote: "He is... the slave of the words which his mind forms about ideas.... And he can convince himself of almost every truth if it is once allowed thus to start on its wild career through his rhetorical machinery." HP Pavilion DV4-1180BR Battery
Relations with the United States
Churchill's good relationship with Franklin D. Roosevelt secured vital food, oil and munitions via the North Atlantic shipping routes. It was for this reason that Churchill was relieved when Roosevelt was re-elected in 1940. Upon re-election, Roosevelt immediately set about implementing a new method of providing military hardware and shipping to Britain without the need for monetary payment. HP Pavilion DV4-1190BR Battery
Put simply, Roosevelt persuaded Congress that repayment for this immensely costly service would take the form of defending the US; and so Lend-lease was born. Churchill had 12 strategic conferences with Roosevelt which covered the Atlantic Charter, Europe first strategy, the Declaration by the United Nations and other war policies. After Pearl Harbor was attacked, Churchill's first thought in anticipation of US help was, "We have won the war!" On 26 December 1941, Churchill addressed a joint meeting of the US Congress, asking of Germany and Japan, "What kind of people do they think we are?" HP Pavilion DV4-1190EA Battery
Churchill initiated theSpecial Operations Executive (SOE) under Hugh Dalton's Ministry of Economic Warfare, which established, conducted and fostered covert, subversive and partisan operations in occupied territories with notable success; and also the Commandos which established the pattern for most of the world's current Special Forces. The Russians referred to him as the "British Bulldog".HP Pavilion DV4-1190EJ Battery
Churchill's health was fragile, as shown by a mild heart attack he suffered in December 1941 at the White House and also in December 1943 when he contracted pneumonia. Despite this, he travelled over 100,000 miles (160,000 km) throughout the war to meet other national leaders. For security, he usually travelled using the alias Colonel Warden. HP Pavilion DV4-1190EL Battery
Churchill was party to treaties that would redraw post-Second World War European and Asian boundaries. These were discussed as early as 1943. At the Second Quebec Conference in 1944 he drafted and, together with US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, signed a toned-down version of the original Morgenthau Plan, in which they pledged to convert Germany after its unconditional surrender "into a country primarily agricultural and pastoral in its character." HP Pavilion DV4-1198ER Battery
Proposals for European boundaries and settlements were officially agreed to by Harry S. Truman, Churchill, and Joseph Stalin at Potsdam. Churchill's strong relationship with Harry Truman was also of great significance to both countries. While he clearly regretted the loss of his close friend and counterpart Roosevelt, Churchill was enormously supportive of Truman in his first days in office, calling him, "the type of leader the world needs when it needs him most." HP Pavilion DV4-1199EA Battery
Relations with the Soviet Union
When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, Winston Churchill, a vehement anti-Communist, famously stated "If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons," regarding his policy toward Stalin. Soon, British supplies and tanks were flowing to help the Soviet Union. HP Pavilion DV4-1199EE Battery
The Casablanca Declaration
A meeting of Allied powers held in Casablanca, Morocco, January 14–23, 1943, produced what was to be known as the “Casablanca Declaration.” In attendance were Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Charles de Gaulle. Joseph Stalin had bowed out, citing the need for his presence in the Soviet Union to attend to the Stalingrad crisis. It was in Casablanca that it was announced that the Allies would accept nothing less than “unconditional surrender” from the Axis powers. HP Pavilion DV4-1199EF Battery
“Unconditional surrender” has withstood the test of historical time to become a catch phrase epitomizing the implacable will and moral supremacy manifested by the Allied powers to countenance nothing less than the total annihilation of Nazism in Germany. That fascism in Germany, under certain conditions, could be a system of government tolerated by and integrated into the global community was likely a negotiable consideration for the Allies. In truth, Churchill was not committed to seeing the war through to Germany’s complete capitulation. HP Pavilion DV4-1199EO Battery
Both the United States and England hoped to come to some accommodation with Germany, which would allow the German army to help fight off the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe. It was perceived that Communist domination was an inevitable strategy of Soviet Russia. To Churchill and the other Allied leaders, the real obstacle to preventing a mutual accommodation with Germany was Adolf Hitler. HP Pavilion DV4-1199EP Battery
Allen Dulles, the chief of OSS intelligence in Bern, Switzerland, maintained that the “Casablanca Declaration” was “merely a piece of paper to be scrapped without further ado if Germany would sue for peace. Hitler had to go.”
The settlement concerning the borders of Poland, that is, the boundary between Poland and the Soviet Union and between Germany and Poland, was viewed as a betrayal in Poland during the post-war years, as it was established against the views of the Polish government in exile. HP Pavilion DV4-1199ER Battery
It was Winston Churchill, who tried to motivateMiko?ajczyk, who was prime minister of the Polish government in exile, to accept Stalin's wishes, but Miko?ajczyk refused. Churchill was convinced that the only way to alleviate tensions between the two populations was the transfer of people, to match the national borders.
As he expounded in the House of Commons on 15 December 1944, "Expulsion is the method which, insofar as we have been able to see, will be the most satisfactory and lasting. There will be no mixture of populations to cause endless trouble... A clean sweep will be made. HP Pavilion DV4-1199ES Battery
I am not alarmed by these transferences, which are more possible in modern conditions." However the resulting expulsions of Germans were carried out in a way which resulted in much hardship and, according to a 1966 report by the West German Ministry of Refugees and Displaced Persons, the death of over 2.1 million. Churchill opposed the effective annexation of Poland by the Soviet Union and wrote bitterly about it in his books, but he was unable to prevent it at the conferences. HP Pavilion DV4-1199ET Battery
Durg October 1944, he and Eden were in Moscow to meet with the Russian leadership. At this point, Russian forces were beginning to advance into various eastern European countries. Churchill held the view that until everything was formally and properly worked out at the Yalta conference, there had to be a temporary, war-time, working agreement with regard to who would run what. The most significant of these meetings were held on 9 October 1944 in the Kremlin between Churchill and Stalin. HP Pavilion DV4-1200 CTO Battery
During the meeting, Poland and the Balkan problems were discussed. Churchill recounted his speech to Stalin on the day:
Let us settle about our affairs in the Balkans. Your armies are in Rumania and Bulgaria. We have interests, missions, and agents there. Don't let us get at cross-purposes in small ways. So far as Britain and Russia are concerned, how would it do for you to have ninety per cent predominance in Rumania, for us to have ninety per cent of the say in Greece, and go fifty-fifty about Yugoslavia? HP Pavilion DV4-1200 Battery
Stalin agreed to this Percentages Agreement, ticking a piece of paper as he heard the translation. In 1958, five years after the account of this meeting was published (in The Second World War), authorities of the Soviet Union denied that Stalin accepted the "imperialist proposal".
One of the conclusions of the Yalta Conference was that the Allies would return all Soviet citizens that found themselves in the Allied zone to the Soviet Union. This immediately affected the Soviet prisoners of war liberated by the Allies, but was also extended to all Eastern Europeanrefugees. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn called the Operation Keelhaul "the last secret of World War II." The operation decided the fate of up to two million post-war refugees fleeing eastern Europe. HP Pavilion DV4-1201AU Battery
Dresden bombings controversy
Between 13–15 February 1945, British and US bombers attacked the German city of Dresden, which was crowded with German wounded and refugees. Because of the cultural importance of the city, and of the number of civilian casualties close to the end of the war, this remains one of the most controversial Western Allied actions of the war. Following the bombing Churchill stated in a top secret telegram: HP Pavilion DV4-1201TU Battery
It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed... I feel the need for more precise concentration upon military objectives such as oil and communications behind the immediate battle-zone, rather than on mere acts of terror and wanton destruction, however impressive. HP Pavilion DV4-1201TX Battery
On reflection, under pressure from the Chiefs of Staff and in response to the views expressed by Sir Charles Portal (Chief of the Air Staff) and Sir Arthur Harris (AOC-in-C of RAF Bomber Command), among others, Churchill withdrew his memo and issued a new one. This final version of the memo completed on 1 April 1945, stated: HP Pavilion DV4-1202AU Battery
It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of the so called 'area-bombing' of German cities should be reviewed from the point of view of our own interests. If we come into control of an entirely ruined land, there will be a great shortage of accommodation for ourselves and our allies... We must see to it that our attacks do no more harm to ourselves in the long run than they do to the enemy's war effort. HP Pavilion DV4-1202TU Battery
Ultimately, responsibility for the British part of the attack lay with Churchill, which is why he has been criticised for allowing the bombings to occur. The German historian Jörg Friedrich claims that "Winston Churchill's decision to [area] bomb a shattered Germany between January and May 1945 was a war crime", and writing in 2006 the philosopher A. C. Grayling questioned the whole strategic bombing campaign by the RAF, presenting the argument that although it was not a war crime it was a moral crime that undermines the Allies' contention that they fought a just war. On the other hand, HP Pavilion DV4-1202TX Battery
it has also been asserted that Churchill's involvement in the bombing of Dresden was based on the strategic and tactical aspects of winning the war. The destruction of Dresden, while immense, was designed to expedite the defeat of Germany. As the historian and journalist Max Hastings said in an article subtitled "the Allied Bombing of Dresden": "I believe it is wrong to describe strategic bombing as a war crime, for this might be held to suggest some moral equivalence with the deeds of the Nazis. HP Pavilion DV4-1203AU Battery
Bombing represented a sincere, albeit mistaken, attempt to bring about Germany's military defeat." British historian Frederick Taylor asserts that "All sides bombed each other's cities during the war. Half a million Soviet citizens, for example, died from German bombing during the invasion and occupation of Russia. That's roughly equivalent to the number of German citizens who died from Allied raids. But the Allied bombing campaign was attached to military operations and ceased as soon as military operations ceased." HP Pavilion DV4-1203TU Battery
The Second World War ends
In June 1944, the Allied Forces invaded Normandy and pushed the Nazi forces back into Germany on a broad front over the coming year. After being attacked on three fronts by the Allies, and in spite of Allied failures, such as Operation Market Garden, and German counter-attacks, including the Battle of the Bulge, Germany was eventually defeated. On 7 May 1945 at the SHAEFheadquarters in Rheims the Allies accepted Germany's surrender. On the same day in a BBC news flash John Snagge announced that 8 May would be Victory in Europe Day. HP Pavilion DV4-1203TX Battery
On Victory in Europe Day, Churchill broadcast to the nation that Germany had surrendered and that a final cease fire on all fronts in Europe would come into effect at one minute past midnight that night.Afterwards, Churchill told a huge crowd in Whitehall: "This is your victory." The people shouted: "No, it is yours", and Churchill then conducted them in the singing of Land of Hope and Glory. In the evening he made another broadcast to the nation asserting the defeat of Japan in the coming months. The Japanese later surrendered on 15 August 1945. HP Pavilion DV4-1204AU Battery
As Europe celebrated peace at the end of six years of war, Churchill was concerned with the possibility that the celebrations would soon be brutally interrupted. He concluded that the UK and the US must anticipate the Red Army ignoring previously agreed frontiers and agreements in Europe, and prepare to "impose upon Russia the will of the United States and the British Empire."HP Pavilion DV4-1204TU Battery
According to the Operation Unthinkable plan ordered by Churchill and developed by the British Armed Forces, the Third World War could have started on 1 July 1945 with a sudden attack against the allied Soviet troops. The plan was rejected by the British Chiefs of Staff Committee as militarily unfeasible. HP Pavilion DV4-1204TX Battery
Leader of the opposition
Although Churchill's role in the Second World War had generated much support for him amongst the British population, he was defeated in the 1945 election. Many reasons for this have been given, key among them being that a desire for post-war reform was widespread amongst the population and that the man who had led Britain in war was not seen as the man to lead the nation in peace. HP Pavilion DV4-1205AU Battery
It was anticipated that Churchill would step down and hand over the leadership to Anthony Eden, who became his deputy after the election defeat, but Churchill (despite now being in his seventies) was determined to fight on as leader and Eden was too loyal to challenge his leadership. It would be another decade before Churchill finally did hand over the reins to Eden.
For six years he was to serve as the Leader of the Opposition. During these years Churchill continued to have an impact on world affairs. HP Pavilion DV4-1205TU Battery
During his March 1946 trip to the United States, Churchill famously lost a lot of money in a poker game with Harry Truman and his advisors.(He also liked to play Bezique, which he learned while serving in the Boer War.)
During this trip he gave his Iron Curtain speech about the USSR and the creation of the Eastern Bloc. Speaking on 5 March 1946 atWestminster College in Fulton, Missouri, he declared: HP Pavilion DV4-1205TX Battery
From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere. HP Pavilion DV4-1206TU Battery
Churchill also argued strongly for British independence from the European Coal and Steel Community, which he saw as a Franco-German project. He saw Britain's place as separate from the continent, much more in-line with the countries of the Commonwealth and the Empire, and with the United States, the so-called Anglosphere.
Churchill held the office of Deputy Lieutenant (DL) of Kent in 1949.
Second term as prime ministerHP Pavilion DV4-1206TX Battery
Return to government and the decline of the British Empire
After the General Election of 1951, Churchill again held the office of Minister of Defence between October 1951 and January 1952. He also became prime minister in October 1951, and his third government—after the wartime national government and the brief caretaker government of 1945—lasted until his resignation in April 1955. HP Pavilion DV4-1207TU Battery
His domestic priorities in his last government were overshadowed by a series of foreign policy crises, which were partly the result of the continued decline of British military and imperial prestige and power. Being a strong proponent of Britain as an international power, Churchill would often meet such moments with direct action. One example was his dispatch of British troops to Kenya to deal with the Mau Mau rebellion. Trying to retain what he could of the Empire, he once stated that, "I will not preside over a dismemberment."
War in Malaya
fThis was followed by events which became known as the Malayan Emergency. In Malaya, a rebellion against British rule had been in progress since 1948. HP Pavilion DV4-1207TX Battery
Once again, Churchill's government inherited a crisis, and Churchill chose to use direct military action against those in rebellion while attempting to build an alliance with those who were not. While the rebellion was slowly being defeated, it was equally clear that colonial rule from Britain was no longer sustainable.
Relations with the United States HP Pavilion DV4-1208TU Battery
Churchill also devoted much of his time in office to Anglo-American relations and, although Churchill did not always agree with President Dwight D. Eisenhower,Churchill attempted to maintain the Special Relationship with the United States. He made four official transatlantic visits to America during his second term as prime minister. HP Pavilion DV4-1208TX Battery
The series of strokes
Churchill had suffered a mild stroke while on holiday in the south of France in the summer of 1949. In June 1953, when he was 78, Churchill suffered a more severe stroke at 10 Downing Street. News of this was kept from the public and from Parliament, who were told that Churchill was suffering from exhaustion. HP Pavilion DV4-1209TX Battery
He went to his country home, Chartwell, to recuperate from the effects of the stroke which had affected his speech and ability to walk. He returned to public life in October to make a speech at a Conservative Party conference at Margate. However, aware that he was slowing down both physically and mentally, Churchill retired as prime minister in 1955 and was succeeded by Anthony Eden. He suffered another mild stroke in December 1956. HP Pavilion DV4-1210EA Battery
Retirement and death
Elizabeth II offered to create Churchill Duke of London, but this was declined due to the objections of his son Randolph, who would have inherited the title on his father's death. After leaving the premiership, Churchill spent less time in parliament until he stood down at the 1964 General Election. As a mere "back-bencher," Churchill spent most of his retirement at Chartwell and at his home in Hyde Park Gate, in London. HP Pavilion DV4-1210EF Battery
In e 1959 General Election Churchill's majority fell by more than a thousand, since many young voters in his constituency did not support an 85-year-old who could only enter the House of Commons in a wheelchair. As his mental and physical faculties decayed, he began to lose the battle he had fought for so long against the "black dog" of depression. HP Pavilion DV4-1210EO Battery
There was speculation that Churchill may have had Alzheimer's disease in his last years, although others maintain that his reduced mental capacity was merely the result of a series of strokes. In 1963, US President John F. Kennedy, acting under authorisation granted by an Act of Congress, proclaimed him an Honorary Citizen of the United States, but he was unable to attend the White House ceremony.
Despite poor health, Churchill still tried to remain active in public life, and on St George's Day 1964, sent a message of congratulations to the surviving veterans of the 1918 Zeebrugge Raid who were attending a service of commemoration in Deal, Kent, where two casualties of the raid were buried in the Hamilton Road Cemetery. HP Pavilion DV4-1210ER Battery
On 15 January 1965, Churchill suffered a severe stroke that left him gravely ill. He died at his London home nine days later, at age 90, on the morning of Sunday 24 January 1965, 70 years to the day after his father's death.
By decree of the Queen, his body lay in state for three days and a state funeral service was held at St Paul's Cathedral on 30 January 1965. Unusually, the Queen attended the funeral. As his lead-lined coffin passed up the River Thames fromTower Pier to Festival Pier on the MV Havengore, dockers lowered their crane jibs in a salute. HP Pavilion DV4-1210TU Battery
The Royal Artillery fired the 19-gun salute due a head of government, and the RAF staged a fly-by of sixteen English Electric Lightning fighters. The coffin was then taken the short distance to Waterloo station where it was loaded onto a specially prepared and painted carriage as part of the funeral train for its rail journey to Handborough, seven miles north-west ofOxford. The funeral also saw one of the largest assemblages of statesmen in the world. HP Pavilion DV4-1210TX Battery
The funeral train of Pullman coaches carrying his family mourners was hauled by Battle of Britain class steam locomotive No. 34051 Winston Churchill. In the fields along the route, and at the stations through which the train passed, thousands stood in silence to pay their last respects. At Churchill's request, he was buried in the family plot at St Martin's Church, Bladon, near Woodstock, not far from his birthplace at Blenheim Palace. HP Pavilion DV4-1211EA Battery
Churchill's funeral van—Southern Railway van S2464S—is now part of a preservation project with the Swanage Railway, having been repatriated to the UK in 2007 from the US, to where it had been exported in 1965.
Later in 1965 a memorial to Churchill, cut by the engraver Reynolds Stone, was placed in Westminster Abbey. HP Pavilion DV4-1211TU Battery
Churchill as artist, historian, and writer
Winston Churchill was an accomplished artist and took great pleasure in painting, especially after his resignation as First Lord of the Admiralty in 1915. He found a haven in art to overcome the spells of depression, or as he termed it, the "Black Dog", which he suffered throughout his life. As William Rees-Mogg has stated, "In his own life, he had to suffer the 'black dog' of depression. In his landscapes and still lives there is no sign of depression." Churchill was persuaded and taught to paint by his artist friend, Paul Maze, whom he met during the First World War. HP Pavilion DV4-1211TX Battery
Maze was a great influence on Churchill's painting and became a lifelong painting companion. He is best known for his impressionist scenes of landscape, many of which were painted while on holiday in the South of France, Egypt or Morocco. He continued his hobby throughout his life and painted hundreds of paintings, many of which are on show in the studio at Chartwell as well as private collections. Some of his paintings can today be seen in the Wendy and Emery Reves Collection at the Dallas Museum of Art. HP Pavilion DV4-1212LA Battery
Emery Reves and Winston Churchill indeed were close friends and Churchill would often visit Emery and his wife in their villa in the South of France (villa La Pausa, originally built in 1927 for Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel). The villa was rebuilt within the museum in 1985 with a gallery of paintings and memorabilia from Sir Winston Churchill. Most of his paintings are oil-based and feature landscapes, but he also did a number of interior scenes and portraits. HP Pavilion DV4-1212TU Battery
Due to obvious time constraints, Churchill attempted only one painting during the Second World War. He completed the painting from the tower of the Villa Taylor in Marrakesh.
Despite his lifelong fame and upper-class origins, Churchill always struggled to keep his income at a level that would fund his extravagant lifestyle. MPs before 1946 received only a nominal salary (and in fact did not receive anything at all until theParliament Act 1911) so many had secondary professions from which to earn a living. HP Pavilion DV4-1212TX Battery
From his first book in 1898 until his second stint as Prime Minister, Churchill's income was almost entirely made from writing books and opinion pieces for newspapers and magazines. The most famous of his newspaper articles are those that appeared in the Evening Standard from 1936 warning of the rise of Hitler and the danger of the policy of appeasement. HP Pavilion DV4-1213LA Battery
Churchill was also a prolific writer of books, writing a novel, two biographies, three volumes of memoirs, and several histories in addition to his many newspaper articles. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values". Two of his most famous works, published after his first premiership brought his international fame to new heights, were his six-volume memoir The Second World War and A History of the English-Speaking Peoples; a four-volume history covering the period from Caesar's invasions of Britain (55 BC) to the beginning of the First World War (1914). HP Pavilion DV4-1213TU Battery
He was also an amateur bricklayer, building garden walls and even a cottage at Chartwell. As part of this hobby he joined the Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers.
In addition to the honour of a state funeral, Churchill received a wide range of awards and other honours. For example, he was the first person to become an Honorary Citizen of the United States. HP Pavilion DV4-1213TX Battery
In 1945, while Churchill was mentioned by Halvdan Koht as one of seven appropriate candidates for the Nobel Prize in Peace, the nomination went to Cordell Hull.
Churchill received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for his numerous published works, especially his six-volume set The Second World War. In a 2002 BBC poll of the "100 Greatest Britons", he was proclaimed "The Greatest of Them All" based on approximately a million votes from BBC viewers. Churchill was also rated as one of the most influential leaders in history byTIME. Churchill College, Cambridge was founded in 1958 to memorialise him. HP Pavilion DV4-1214LA Battery