Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965), son of Lord Randolph Churchill, first came to public attention as a result of his escape from a prison in Pretoria during the Boer War. He was a war correspondent and had been captured.
His political career began in 1900 with his election to Parliament as a Conservative converting later to the Liberals. He was in the Commons until 1923 and a number of ministerial offices including First Lord of the Admiralty in the Asquith government (1911-15). He served in the trenches of World War I in France in 1915-16, returning to Parliament in 1917 to serve as minister of munitions at the time the tank was being developed. After the war ended he served as secretary for war (1918-21). He was colonial secretary and was a major player in establishing the Irish Free State.
When World War II broke out, Churchill returned to his post at the Admiralty. When Chamberlain resigned he was asked to form a coalition government which he did in May, 1940 as its prime minister. Churchill became the voice of Britain during the war, his emotional speeches inspiring the nation to endure hardship and sacrifice. He had a close friendship with president Roosevelt and is often credited with jointly signing the Atlantic Charter in 1941 proclaiming their strategy for the war. However, Churchill would later admit that the Atlantic Charter was actually a press release that “took on a life of its own.” Created for propaganda reasons, both men never really signed this Charter. Churchill met with Allied leaders in Casablanca, Washington, Cairo, Moscow and Tehran. He met with Stalin and Roosevelt in the Crimea in February, 1945 to plan for the final victory over Germany. He announced the German surrender on May 8th.
Following his historic World War II ministry which secured his place in history, and his second term, Churchill took to writing and painting. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 for his six volume history of World War II (1948-1954). He also wrote “History of the English-Speaking Peoples” in four volumes (1956-58).
“Truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it; ignorance may deride it; malice may distort it; but there it is.”
“A fanatic is someone who can’t change his mind, and won’t change the subject.”
“Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has not heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.”
“One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!”
“Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.”
“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent vice of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.”
“There is only one duty, only one safe course, and that is to try to be right.”
“True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.”
“The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong.”
“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use the pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time; a tremendous whack.”
“Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival.”
“If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find we have lost the future.”
“Never, never, never, never give up.”
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
“If you are going through hell, keep going.”