Sir Winston Churchill was born on 30th November 1874 at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England. He belonged to a rich aristocratic family. Churchill was much like his father Lord Randolph Churchill who belonged to an established English family and was a British statesman. His mother Jennie Churchill belonged to an American family and she was an independent lady. He was the elder son of his parents and had a brother Jack Churchill, the second son of Randolph and Jennie Churchill. Churchill’s family belonged to the elite class.
Churchill went to the school when he was seven years of age. He started his schooling from St. George’s School in Ascot, Berkshire. He was very much disinterested in studies and that could be shown on his grades that were poor during his school time. On one hand, he lacked interest in academics and on the other, he had a great fascination towards militarism and wanted to be a military man from a very small age. He misbehaved a lot in the school and in 1884, he moved to another school Brunswick school in Hove where his grades improved a little but were still an in-obedient boy. In 1888, after passing his exams, he could finally join the Harrow school where his grades improved a lot, he excelled in studies but was naughty and a careless boy. His entire interest was still on being a military man. After his schooling, he completely devoted himself to being a military person and tried for getting admission to the Royal military academy, Sandhurst. After trying consecutively for two times, he was admitted to the Royal military academy in his third attempt and was chosen as a cadet in the cavalry in 1893 and graduated in 1895.
As a military man
Churchill remained in the army for a very little time. He was a part of the British army at the zenith of British military power. He served a lot for the country while he was in the army. He served at the Indian northwest frontier and Sudan. In 1895, he joined the Fourth Queen’s Own Hussars. He also had a lot of interest in writing poems, stories, and other content work. He wrote two books on his experience “The Story of the Malakand Field Force” (1898) and “The River War” (1899). For the newspapers, The Pioneer Mail and also the Daily Telegraph, the two English newspapers at that time, Churchill wrote several military reports while he was in the army. In 1898, he also witnessed the Battle of Omdurman. Churchill became the war correspondent of a daily newspaper in 1899 after he left the army.
Member of the Parliament
From 1900 onwards his life took a turn towards being a member of the parliament. He became a member of the British parliament in 1900 as a Conservative MP for a town in Manchester named Oldham. His father was a social reformer and an independent rich aristocrat and Churchill who was much like his father followed his footsteps and became an independent persona and a social reformer. As he was not satisfied with the policies of the Conservative party of being a social reformer, he switched his party and started supporting the Liberal Party in 1904. Succeeding further in 1908, he was elected as the President of the Board of the table in the Prime Ministers cabinet. Being the president of the Board of the table, Churchill introduced a lot of changes in the economy at that time, he set up the first minimum wages for laborers, unemployment insurances and also some changes in the prison system of the country. As a social reformer, he also changed a lot of system and introduced the People’s Budget which passed in the House of Lords in 1909 and began with the tax policy of taking a huge amount of tax from the wealthy people and proposed to use it in the social programs that were beneficial for the society as a whole. Besides being a person who always thought of the right of his people through good behavior, Churchill was also a tougher person when it comes to illegal activities in the country. So, as a member of the parliament, he did his duty at his best introducing new laws and policies and making required changes in the system for leading it on the path of growth.
Churchill was a family man too. He married Clementine Ogilvy Hozier after wooing her for a short period in 1908. They both gave birth to five children Diana, Randolph, Sarah, Marigold, and Mary. Out of these five, Marigold lost his life when he was an infant of 2 years of age and died due to Tonsillitis. All the other children except Mary died earlier than their parents in the age of 50s or 60s while Mary lived longer.
Churchill was appointed on a dignified post of the ‘First Lord of the Admiralty’ in October 1911. He settled in the Admiralty house, London making his own house there. Further for a much time being at this post, his duties increased and he had always to visit the naval stations, to look at the preparations there. He again at a dignified post changed a lot of things that were done earlier. He modernized the British navy and ordered to use new warships made of oil-fired engines than the earlier used coal-fired engines. He also brought about a lot of changes and introduced military aircraft and also introduced the Royal Navy air service. Besides always wanting to be a military man, he developed an interest in aviation and made him take the flying lessons so that he can understand his military potential from that. He also introduced another important policy, an act which was passed in both the houses of the parliament. He introduced a piece of legislation to amend the Mental Deficiency Act of 1913. So, being at a dignified post as the Lord of Admiralty, he introduced new changes in the system and improved the system from the earlier way of its working.
During and after World War 1
Churchill continued to be in the dignified post during World War 1 too and continued to make new changes and improve the earlier ones. He did not want to leave but was forced to leave his part in the Battle of Gallipoli. At the end of 1915, Churchill resigned from the government and lost his post. After resigning from the government, he again joined the British army. He there commanded the battalion of the Royal Scots of Fusiliers on the Western Front. He was elected as the Minister of Munitions in 1917 in the last year of World War 1. At that time, David Lloyd George was the Prime Minister of the country and from 1919-1922 i.e. after World War 1, Churchill was elected as the Minister of the war and air and colonial secretary. Churchill at that time was a colonial secretary and was accused of the controversy in which he was involved. As a result, he could not continue with the liberal party and he switched again to the Conservative party in 1922. Again he made some possible changes when he was elected as the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he brought back Britain to the Gold standard. He also took strict and severe actions against the labor who broke a strike to disable the British economy. The Conservative party could not survive further and was defeated by the liberal party in 1929. After this big defeat, Churchill completely left the government and stepped out.
His wilderness years
After stepping out of the parliament and the government as a whole, Churchill was not in the situation to accept it further. Hence, the years going on after the 1930s are considered to be his Wilderness years in which he just took up his own personal interests. He focused mainly on his writings, a memoir and also his interest in the biography of the Duke of Marlborough. He focused mainly on the content part, investing his time in another very important A History of the English-Speaking Peoples. As an activist, when India was getting independence from the British rule, Churchill opposed it and was strictly against it. Churchill had a strong disdain against Mahatma Gandhi who wanted the independence of India and followed his rules and regulations remaining under British rule too. Hence, in these wilderness years, Churchill studied other aspects and on his writings rather than being a politician or working for the government.
During World War 2
In the 1930s, Churchill became the leading advocate of the British rearmament. Adolf Hitler at that time constituted a major threat in the rise of his power. In 1938, Churchill highly criticized the then prime minister Neville Chamberlain who gave a policy against the propitiation towards the Nazis. In 1939, Churchill was appointed as the First Lord of Admiralty for the second time and also became a member of the war cabinet after Great Britain announced its war on Germany on 3rd September 1939. In April 1940 Churchill also rested his hand upon being the chairman of the Military coordinating committee. Churchill was on the highest-profile among all the other ministers while the ongoing process of the Phoney war. The only major and great action could be seen at the sea when USSR attacked Finland. Churchill made his major plan named Operation Wilfred, he being concerned about the naval activity in the Baltic sea, as a consequence, under the Wilfred he sent naval forces to mine the Norwegian waters. Another task of the plan Wilfred was to stop the shipments of the iron ore that were being shipped from Narvik to Germany. Wilfred did not take place immediately and took some time till the 8th of April, 1940. After this, Germany captured Norway and it gave a huge setback to Neville Chamberlain.
As the Prime Minister
After Germany captured Norway, people lost confidence in the then prime minister and appealed for the vote of no confidence against him. In May, after the crisis, Neville was removed from the post of the prime minister after he received a vote of no confidence from the public. King George VI on the 10th of May, 1940 designated Churchill as the prime minister and also gave him the post of the minister of defence. German army started invading on the areas like the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and also after some days entered France. During the time frame when Churchill was the Prime minister i.e. from 1940-1945, he witnessed the great impact of Germany over the country. On 18th June 1940, Churchill as the prime minister gave his speech in the House of the Commons on the Battle of Britain which was about to begin then. He formed a committee of the cabinet members from all the parties for the war which was about to happen. As a result of Churchill’s good terms with the U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the country received a lot many war weapons on credit as aids from the U.S. government under the Lend-lease act. After the war came to an end, then also being the prime minister, he gave some policies regarding social reforms but were not successful. Germany capitulated on 7th May 1945 and just further Churchill did not win in the general elections of July 1945, thus not becoming the prime minister for the second time.
After Churchill’s defeat, he did not withdraw from the government and continued to be a leader from the opposition party and took an active part in world affairs. Churchill is famous for his “Iron Curtain Speech” in 1946 which he gave on his visit to the U.S. He made the speech as a warning of the Soviet power on the European nations.
Again Churchill stood up to fight for the post of the prime minister for the second time and fought in the general elections of 1951, where he won and became the prime minister for the second time in October 1951. He also became the minister of defence but for only 4 months starting from October 1951 and ending in January 1952. He during his time as a prime minister understood after many activities and policies and changing frameworks that Britain was no longer able to maintain its colonial rule and had to end it anyway.
Churchill was awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature for “his mastery of historical and biographical description and for his brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values” and the same year he was baptized by Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
Churchill was one of the well-known politicians who served his posts honestly and with full activeness. Even though he had an ill-health, he still tried to remain active always in his public life and worked for the country. Churchill died on 24th January 1965 when he was 90 years old. He died due to a severe stroke he had. During his lifetime he had poor health, having attacks on a regular basis, but surviving through all the attacks and continue serving the public he lived for 90 years, till his health had completely given up. It is also known that Churchill suffered from critical Alzheimer’s disease in his years near to death. So, he was one of a kind serving for the public and the nation despite his bad health throughout his life.
Churchill’s legacy was complicated. He kept in mind his countrymen and gave the top priority to writers like Charles Darwin and William Shakespeare. His legacy towards the British imperialism and towards the independence of India also shows that he had no hard heart towards the people of different races and caste and also supported everyone. Still, his legacy is considered to be a matter of question in the minds of artists and historians and is a complicated one.
Churchill was a politician by birth, he was much interested in politics and being a person serving his country rather was interested in his studies. His ideologies relate to him being a politician and a countryman. His major ideology Conservatism and Liberalism, following with Imperialism are considered and also his links towards the political parties. Churchill was a conservative man and his main policy was that he served his country through politics as his profession. Churchill was much dedicated to the citizens of the country, introducing new schemes and policies to raise the minimum standards of the poor people and to promote social reforms to help people in need. Churchill was an imperialist too. Churchill also did not have any faith in both the parties, he switched on to the other in need as he did in his life. He chose the party in which he was comfortable in governing the people and the country and to make his policies that were suitable for the country irrespective of the party through which he was leading in the country.
His awards and medals
Churchill has received a number of medals in his life. Some of them are:-
India medal (1898)
Queen’s Sudan medal (1899)
Distinguished Service Medal (1919)
British War Medal (1919)
Victory medal (1920)
King George V Silver Jubilee medal (1935)
King George VI Coronation Medal (1937)
Military medal (1946)
Medaille Militaire (1947)
Croix de Guerre (1947)
Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal (1953)
Order of Liberation (1958)
He also received awards like Crosses of Military merit 1895, Italy star 1945, France and Germany star 1945, Africa Star 1945, Nobel Prize in Literature 1953, Civitan International World Citizenship award in 1964, etc. Hence, he served his country to an extent that he has been awarded so many medals and awards related to the country itself. He was devoted to his country.
Churchill in his lifetime has seen a lot and now his later generations can see him being portrayed through television or cinema and can have a look at what he was when he was preset and served his country. A Netflix series “The Crown” casting John Lithgow portrays Churchill in his life. The series won the Emmy award in 2017 for his work. Events up to World War II have been shown by one of the biopics released starring Brian Cox in the role of Churchill. Another biopic starring Gary Oldman also portrays him as Churchill in the “Darkest Hour.” Television programs on Churchill are also running like The history channel: Winston Churchill, BBC Radio 4 Great lives Winston Churchill, etc. Portraits of Winston Churchill have also been developed and kept at the National Portrait Gallery, London. Newspaper clippings are also present about Winston Churchill. He is also remembered through a number of online collections. His speeches and words can also be known after so many years in today’s life and he has left a great impact of intelligence and an honest countryman to his further generations.