Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister
Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister

When did he live?

Winston Churchill was born on 30 November 1874. He died on 24 January 1965.

A Young Winston Churchill
A Young Winston Churchill

Why is he famous?

Churchill was twice Prime Minister of the UK (1940 – 1945; 1951 – 1955). His first stint as Prime Minister was during World War II. The legacy of winning World War II – although Churchill was never on the battlefield – is huge.

Churchill was also a famous orator, wit, and writer. His speech referred to as ‘We’ll fight them on the beaches’ remains one of the best known war-time speeches. His famous off-the-cuff remarks are also well-known.

Churchill is also the only Prime Minister to win a Nobel Prize for Literature.

His lifestyle – he was a famously heavy drinker – also helped to create a charismatic figure and the Churchill legend.

World War II Leaders
World War II Leaders: Winston Churchill (UK), Franklin D. Roosevelt (USA), Joseph Stalin (USSR)

What was his mark on history?

As the inspiring leader of the UK during World War II, Churchill’s place in British history is secure. His speeches and style of leadership during the war even created a new word: ‘Churchillian’.

As well as being held in the utmost respect in the UK, where he is seen as a great national leader, Churchill is also popular outside the UK. For example, he was named an honorary citizen of the United States due to his war efforts.

In 2002 a vote by the British public named Winston Churchill the greatest Briton in history.

Notes

Churchill came from an aristocratic family: his father was the chancellor of the UK, and his grandfather was a duke. Churchill’s family are also connected to that of Princess Diana.

Churchill fought in the British army (seeing action in the second Boer War, India, and the Sudan), and was a war correspondent.

Part of the reason Churchill became Prime Minister at the outbreak of World War II was that he was an early leader in speaking of the dangers of Nazi Germany.

Famous Quotes

Lady Astor: “Sir, if you were my husband, I would poison your drink.
Winston Churchill: “Madam, if you were my wife, I would drink it.”

Lady Astor: “Mr. Churchill, you’re drunk!”
Winston Churchill: “Yes, and you, Madam, are ugly. But tomorrow, I shall be sober.”

“Americans always try to do the right thing — after they’ve tried everything else.”