Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer 18741965 Essay

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Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer 18741965




Churchill, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer (1874-1965), became one of the greatest statesmen
in world history. Churchill reached the height of his fame as the heroic prime minister of
the United Kingdom during World War II. He offered his people only "blood, toil, tears,
and sweat" as they struggled to keep their freedom. Churchill also was a noted speaker,
author, painter, soldier, and war reporter.


Sir Winston Churchill


Early in World War II, the United Kingdom stood alone against Nazi Germany. The British
people refused to give in despite the tremendous odds against them. Churchill's personal
courage, the magic of his words, and his faith in victory inspired the British to "their
finest hour." The mere sight of this stocky, determined man—a cigar in his mouth and two
fingers raised high in a "V for victory" salute—cheered the people. Churchill seemed to be
John Bull, the symbol of the English people, come to life.


Churchill not only made history, he also wrote it. As a historian, war reporter, and
biographer, he showed a matchless command of the English language. In 1953, he won the
Nobel Prize for literature. Yet as a schoolboy, he had been the worst student in his
class. Churchill spoke as he wrote—clearly, vividly, majestically. Yet he had stuttered as
a boy.


The vigor of Churchill's body equaled that of his mind. His tremendous physical endurance
allowed him to live a long, eventful life. In youth, his boundless energy found release on
the battlefield. Churchill loved the rough and ready life of a soldier, but he also had
great sensitivity. He expressed this side of his nature beautifully in his paintings.

Churchill entered the service of his country in 1895 as an army lieutenant under Queen
Victoria. He ended his career in 1964 as a member of the House of Commons under Queen
Elizabeth II, Queen Victoria's great-great-granddaughter. Few men ever served their
country so long or so well.


Early life

Boyhood and education. Winston Churchill was born on Nov. 30, 1874, in Blenheim Palace in
Oxfordshire, England. He was the elder of the two sons of Lord Randolph Churchill
(1849-1895) and Lady Churchill (1854-1921), an American girl whose maiden name was Jennie
Jerome. Lord Randolph was the third son of the seventh Duke of Marlborough. The first Duke
of Marlborough had been one of England's greatest military commanders. Winston's mother
was famous for her beauty. Her father, Leonard Jerome, made and lost several fortunes in
business.


Young Winston, a chunky lad with a mop of red hair, had an unhappy boyhood. He talked with
a stutter and lisp, and did poorly in his schoolwork. His stubbornness and high spirits
annoyed everyone. In addition, his parents had little time for him.


Winston stood in fear and wonder of his father. Lord Randolph, a leader in the
Conservative party, showed little affection for Winston. Winston's mother charmed everyone
with her beauty and wit. As Lord Randolph's wife, she had many duties. Little time was
left for Winston. Churchill later wrote of his mother: "She shone for me like the Evening
Star. I loved her dearly—but at a distance."


When Winston was 6 years old, his brother, John, was born. The difference in their ages
prevented any real companionship. At the age of 12, Winston entered Harrow School, a
leading English secondary school. Winston entered as the lowest boy in the lowest class,
and in that unhappy position he stayed. At Harrow, however, his love of the English
language began to grow. There, he said later, he "got into my bones the essential
structure of the ordinary English sentence ..."


Lord Randolph noticed that Winston spent many hours playing with toy soldiers. He decided
that soldiering was the only career for a boy of limited intelligence. In 1893, at the age
of 18, Winston entered the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. He had failed the entrance
examinations twice before passing them. But he soon led his class in tactics and
fortifications, the most important subjects. He was graduated eighth in a class of 150. In
1895, Churchill was appointed a second lieutenant in the 4th Hussars, a proud cavalry
regiment.


Soldier and reporter. Twenty-year-old Lieutenant Churchill ached for adventure. For a
soldier, adventure meant fighting. But the only fighting at the moment was in Cuba, where
the people had revolted against their Spanish rulers. Churchill was on leave from the
army, and used his family's influence to go to Cuba as an observer with the Spanish. While
there, he wrote five colorful articles on the revolt for a London newspaper. Churchill
returned to London with a love for Havana cigars that lasted the rest of his life.


In 1896, Churchill's regiment was sent to Bangalore, in southern India. There he acquired
a fondness for polo, and read many books he had neglected in school. The works of Edward
Gibbon and Thomas B. Macaulay interested him the most.


In 1897, Churchill learned that fighting had broken out in northwestern India between
British forces and Pashtun warriors. He obtained a leave from his regiment, and persuaded
two newspapers to hire him as a reporter. Churchill joined the advance guard of the
Malakand Field Force and took part in bloody hand-to-hand fighting. After returning to
Bangalore, Churchill wrote about the campaign in his first book, The Story of the Malakand
Field Force (1898).


Churchill's adventurous spirit made him restless again. A British force was being built up
in Egypt to invade the Sudan. Churchill got himself transferred to the force, and again
obtained a newspaper assignment. In 1898, he took part in the last great cavalry charge of
the British army, in the Battle of Omdurman. Churchill returned to England and wrote a
book about the Sudanese campaign, The River War (1899).


In 1899, while working on his book, Churchill resigned from the army and ran for
Parliament as a Conservative from Oldham. But he did not impress the voters of Oldham,
most of whom were laborers and belonged to the Liberal party. Churchill lost his first
election.


The Boer War in South Africa began in October 1899. A London newspaper hired Churchill to
report the war between the Boers—most of whom were Dutch settlers—and the British. Soon
after Churchill arrived in South Africa, the Boers ambushed an armored train on which he
was riding. He was captured and imprisoned, but made a daring escape. He scaled the prison
wall one night, and slipped by the sentries. Then, traveling on freight trains, he crossed
300 miles (480 kilometers) of enemy territory to safety. He became a famous hero
overnight.


Early political career

First public offices. In 1900, Churchill returned to England and to politics. Oldham gave
him a hero's welcome, and the voters elected him to Parliament.


In January 1901, Churchill took his seat in the House of Commons for the first time. He
soon began to criticize many Conservative policies openly and sharply. In 1904, Churchill
broke with his party completely. He dramatically crossed the floor of Commons, amid the
howls of Conservatives and the cheers of Liberals, to sit with the Liberals. In the next
election, in 1906, Churchill ran as a Liberal and won.


With enormous energy, Churchill moved through three government positions during the next
few years. He served as undersecretary of state for the colonies (1906-1908), president of
the board of trade (1908-1910), and home secretary (1910-1911). His appointment to the
board of trade was his first cabinet position.


Churchill's family. In the spring of 1908, Churchill met Clementine Hozier (1885-1977),
the daughter of a retired army officer. Clementine and Churchill were married on Sept. 12,
1908. Years later, Churchill wrote that he "lived happily ever afterwards." He also wrote:
"My most brilliant achievement was my ability to persuade my wife to marry me." Churchill
became a devoted parent to his four children: Diana (1909-1963), Randolph (1911-1968),
Sarah (1914-1982), and Mary (1922-...). Another daughter, Marigold, died in 1921 at the
age of 3.


World War I. In 1911, Prime Minister Herbert H. Asquith appointed Churchill first lord of
the admiralty. The build-up of German military and naval forces had convinced Asquith that
the admiralty needed a strong leader. Churchill was one of the few people in England who
realized that war with Germany would probably come. He reorganized the navy, developed
antisubmarine tactics, and modernized the fleet. He also created the navy's first air
service. When the United Kingdom entered World War I, on Aug. 4, 1914, the fleet was
ready.


In 1915, Churchill urged an attack on the Dardanelles and the Gallipoli Peninsula, both
controlled by Turkey. If successful, the attack would have opened a route to the Black
Sea. Aid could then have been sent to Russia, the United Kingdom's ally. But the campaign
failed disastrously, and Churchill was blamed. He resigned from the admiralty, although he
kept his seat in Parliament. Churchill regarded himself as a political failure. "I am
finished," he told a friend. In November 1915, Churchill joined the British army in
France. He served briefly as a major in the 2nd Grenadier Guards. Then he was promoted to
lieutenant colonel and given command of a battalion of the 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers.


David Lloyd George became prime minister in December 1916. He appointed Churchill minister
of munitions in July 1917. While in the admiralty, Churchill had promoted the development
of the tank. Now he began large-scale tank production. Churchill visited the battlefields
frequently. He watched every important engagement in France, often from the air.


Between wars

World War I ended in November 1918. The next January, Churchill became secretary of state
for war and for air. As war secretary, he supervised the demobilization (release of men)
of the British army. In 1921, Lloyd George named him colonial secretary.


Three days before the 1922 election campaign began, Churchill had to have his appendix
removed. He was able to campaign only briefly, and lost the election. He said he found
himself "without office, without a seat, without a party, and without an appendix."


In 1924, Churchill was returned to Parliament from Epping after he rejoined the
Conservative Party. He was later named chancellor of the exchequer under Prime Minister
Stanley Baldwin. Churchill's father had held this office almost 40 years earlier. The
Conservatives lost the 1929 election, and Churchill left office. He did not hold a Cabinet
position again until 1939. He kept his seat in Parliament throughout this period.


During the years between World Wars I and II, Churchill spent much of his spare time
painting and writing. He did not begin painting until in his 40's, and surprised critics
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