Born: 30 November 1874, Died: 24 January, 1965
Considered one of the defining statesmen of the 20th century, and one of the greatest figure in wartime history, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill served two terms as Prime Ministers of Britain - first during the 2nd Word War between 1940 and 1945, and again in 1951 - 1955 and has been a parliamentarian from 1900 to 1964. He was the only British prime minister to have won the Nobel Prize of Literature in 1953 not for any single work, but for his mastery of body of work that exhibit his mastery of history and brilliant oratorical prowess in defending human values. He was the first person to become an honorary citizen of the US. He certainly was quite conscious about his role in history. At a stressful time facing severe challenges in his political career, he was known to have said: "History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it." Winston Churchill
has been a fierce outspoken critic of Neville Chamberlain's policy of appeasement with Adolf Hitler in the years preceding the 2nd World War. He knew for the start the war was inevitable. In a privilege speech before the House of Commons, Churchill prophetically and bluntly made his point when he declared before the Prime Minister: "You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You choice dishonor, and you now have war."
In September 1991m
Britain declared war on Germany and Churchill was made First Lord of the Admiralty and member of the War Cabinet. The following year, after the fall of Dunkirk in Norway, Chamberlain resigned and Churchill, at the insistence of King George VI, became prime minister in 1940.
Churchill figured as an inspiring statesman that would not bow down to Hitler who rained down bombs on England in early part of the war. At a time when various European states were falling to Hitler's blitzkriegs, his voice was a familiar rallying cry that influenced the outcome of the Second World War. To him, there can be no other option but to achieve total victory against the monstrous Hitler and was quoted as saying, "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."
Churchill's political success did not spare him from crossing paths with several noted personages in his time such as Lord Halifax who as Foreign Secretary had wanted to make peace with Hitler, along with the press tycoon Lord Beaverbrook who used his newspaper empire to support appeasement initiatives with Germany. To learn that he said: "You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life,"
is no surprise for the man who stood firm when just about everyone else disagreed with him.
His thoughts on politics were just as charming and full of wit. Remarking about what ails world politics, he is quoted to have said: "There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true."
And with the growth of Marxist-Leninist ideologies during his time, Churchill learned to recognize the weakness of capitalism and the virtues of socialism when he wittily and sarcastically declared: "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries."
Audiences who heard him can make their choice lightheartedly but Churchill's stand was quite clear.