Winston Churchill

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Winston Churchill
Churchill, aged 67, wearing a suit, standing and holding into the back of a chair
Le lion rugissant , un portrait de Yousuf Karsh au Parlement canadien , décembre 1941
Premier ministre du Royaume-Uni
En fonction du
26 octobre 1951 au 5 avril 1955
Monarque
AdjointAnthony Eden
Précédé parClément Attlee
succédé parAnthony Eden
En fonction du
10 mai 1940 au 26 juillet 1945
MonarqueGeorges VI
AdjointClément Attlee (1942-1945)
Précédé parNeville Chamberlain
succédé parClément Attlee
Postes supérieurs
Father of the House of Commons
In office
8 October 1959 – 25 September 1964
Preceded byDavid Grenfell
Succeeded byRab Butler
Leader of the Opposition
In office
26 July 1945 – 26 October 1951
MonarchGeorge VI
Prime MinisterClement Attlee
Preceded byClement Attlee
Succeeded byClement Attlee
Leader of the Conservative Party
In office
9 October 1940 – 6 April 1955
Preceded byNeville Chamberlain
Succeeded byAnthony Eden
Bureaux ministériels
1939-1952
Minister of Defence
In office
28 October 1951 – 1 March 1952
Preceded byManny Shinwell
Succeeded byThe Earl Alexander of Tunis
In office
10 May 1940 – 26 July 1945
Preceded byThe Lord Chatfield (Coordination of Defence)
Succeeded byClement Attlee
First Lord of the Admiralty
In office
3 September 1939 – 11 May 1940
Prime MinisterNeville Chamberlain
Preceded byThe Earl Stanhope
Succeeded byA. V. Alexander
Bureaux ministériels 1908-1929
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
6 November 1924 – 4 June 1929
Prime MinisterStanley Baldwin
Preceded byPhilip Snowden
Succeeded byPhilip Snowden
Secretary of State for the Colonies
In office
13 February 1921 – 19 October 1922
Prime MinisterDavid Lloyd George
Preceded byThe Viscount Milner
Succeeded byThe Duke of Devonshire
Secretary of State for Air
In office
10 January 1919 – 13 February 1921
Prime MinisterDavid Lloyd George
Preceded byWilliam Weir
Succeeded byFrederick Guest
Secretary of State for War
In office
10 January 1919 – 13 February 1921
Prime MinisterDavid Lloyd George
Preceded byThe Viscount Milner
Succeeded byLaming Worthington-Evans
Minister of Munitions
In office
17 July 1917 – 10 January 1919
Prime MinisterDavid Lloyd George
Preceded byChristopher Addison
Succeeded byAndrew Weir
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
25 May 1915 – 25 November 1915
Prime MinisterH. H. Asquith
Preceded byEdwin Montagu
Succeeded byHerbert Samuel
First Lord of the Admiralty
In office
24 October 1911 – 25 May 1915
Prime MinisterH. H. Asquith
Preceded byReginald McKenna
Succeeded byArthur Balfour
Home Secretary
In office
19 February 1910 – 24 October 1911
Prime MinisterH. H. Asquith
Preceded byHerbert Gladstone
Succeeded byReginald McKenna
President of the Board of Trade
In office
12 April 1908 – 14 February 1910
Prime MinisterH. H. Asquith
Preceded byDavid Lloyd George
Succeeded bySydney Buxton
Bureaux parlementaires
Member of Parliament
for Woodford
In office
5 July 1945 – 25 September 1964
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byConstituency abolished
Member of Parliament
for Epping
In office
29 October 1924 – 15 June 1945
Preceded byLeonard Lyle
Succeeded byLeah Manning
Member of Parliament
for Dundee
In office
24 April 1908 – 26 October 1922
Serving with Alexander Wilkie
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Member of Parliament
for Manchester North West
In office
8 February 1906 – 24 April 1908
Preceded byWilliam Houldsworth
Succeeded byWilliam Joynson-Hicks
Member of Parliament
for Oldham
In office
24 October 1900 – 8 January 1906
Preceded byWalter Runciman
Succeeded byJohn Albert Bright
Détails personnels
Née
Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill

(1874-11-30)30 novembre 1874
Blenheim, Oxfordshire , Angleterre
Décédés24 janvier 1965 (1965-01-24)(90 ans)
Kensington , Londres , Angleterre
Lieu de reposL'église St Martin, Bladon , Oxfordshire, Angleterre
Parti politiqueConservateur
(1900-1904; 1924-1964)
Autres
affiliations politiques
Libéral (1904-1924)
Conjoint(s)
( M.  1908 )
Enfants
Parents
Éducation
Récompenses civilesVoir la liste
Signature
Service militaire
Succursale/service
Des années de service1893-1924
RangVoir la liste
Unité
Commandes6e bataillon, Royal Scots Fusiliers
Batailles/guerres
Récompenses militairesVoir la liste

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill , [a] KG , OM , CH , TD , DL , FRS , RA (30 novembre 1874 - 24 janvier 1965) était un homme d'État britannique qui a été premier ministre du Royaume-Uni de 1940 à 1945, au cours de la seconde guerre mondiale , et à nouveau de 1951 à 1955. Mieux connu pour son leadership en temps de guerre en tant que Premier ministre, Churchill était aussi un Sandhurst -educated soldat, un prix Nobel -winning écrivain et historien , un prolifique peintre, et l'un des hommes politiques les plus anciens de l'histoire britannique. En plus de deux ans entre 1922 et 1924, il était député (MP) 1900-1964 et représente un total de cinq circonscriptions . Idéologiquement libéral économique et impérialiste , il a été pendant la majeure partie de sa carrière membre du Parti conservateur , qu'il a dirigé de 1940 à 1955, bien qu'il ait été membre du Parti libéral de 1904 à 1924.

De parenté mixte anglaise et américaine, Churchill est né dans l' Oxfordshire dans une famille riche et aristocratique . Il a rejoint l' armée britannique en 1895 et a participé à l'action dans l'Inde britannique , la guerre anglo-soudanaise et la deuxième guerre des Boers , devenant célèbre en tant que correspondant de guerre et écrivant des livres sur ses campagnes. Élu député conservateur en 1900, il a fait défection aux libéraux en 1904. En HH Asquith 's gouvernement libéral , Churchill a été président de la Chambre de commerce et ministre de l' Intérieur , le champion de la réforme pénitentiaire et aux travailleurs de la sécurité sociale. En tant que premier seigneur de l'Amirauté pendant la Première Guerre mondiale , il a supervisé la campagne de Gallipoli mais, après qu'elle s'est avérée un désastre, il a été rétrogradé au rang de chancelier du duché de Lancaster . Il démissionna en novembre 1915 et rejoignit les Royal Scots Fusiliers sur le front occidental pendant six mois. En 1917, il est revenu au gouvernement sous David Lloyd George et a été successivement ministre des Munitions , secrétaire d'État à la Guerre , secrétaire d'État à l'Air et secrétaire d'État aux Colonies , supervisant le traité anglo-irlandais etLa politique étrangère britannique au Moyen-Orient . Au bout de deux ans sur le Parlement, il a été chancelier de l'Echiquier dans Stanley Baldwin du gouvernement conservateur , le retour de la livre sterling en 1925 à la norme d'or à sa parité d' avant-guerre, un mouvement largement considéré comme créant une pression déflationniste et en appuyant sur la économie britannique.

Hors du gouvernement pendant ses soi-disant « années sauvages » dans les années 1930, Churchill a pris l'initiative d'appeler au réarmement britannique pour contrer la menace croissante du militarisme dans l'Allemagne nazie . Au début de la Seconde Guerre mondiale, il est renommé Premier Lord de l'Amirauté. En mai 1940, il devient Premier ministre, remplaçant Neville Chamberlain . Churchill supervisa l' implication britannique dans l' effort de guerre des Alliés contre les puissances de l' Axe , débouchant sur la victoire en 1945 . Après la défaite des conservateurs aux élections générales de 1945 , il devient chef de l'opposition . Au milieu de la guerre froide en développementavec l' Union soviétique , il a publiquement mis en garde contre un « rideau de fer » de l'influence soviétique en Europe et promu l'unité européenne. Il a perdu les élections de 1950 , mais a été réélu l' année suivante lors des élections de 1951 . Son deuxième mandat était préoccupé par les affaires étrangères, en particulier les relations anglo-américaines et la préservation de l'Empire britannique. Sur le plan intérieur, son gouvernement a mis l'accent sur la construction de logements et a développé une arme nucléaire. Avec une santé déclinante, Churchill a démissionné de son poste de Premier ministre en 1955, bien qu'il soit resté député jusqu'en 1964 . À sa mort en 1965, il a reçu des funérailles nationales .

Largement considéré comme l'une des figures les plus importantes du XXe siècle, Churchill reste populaire au Royaume-Uni et dans le monde occidental, où il est considéré comme un chef de guerre victorieux qui a joué un rôle important dans la défense de la démocratie libérale européenne contre la propagation du fascisme . Il est également salué comme un réformateur social. Cependant, il a été critiqué pour certains événements en temps de guerre - notamment le bombardement de Dresde en 1945 - et aussi pour ses opinions impérialistes, y compris ses commentaires sur la race.

Début de la vie

Enfance et scolarité : 1874-1895

Jennie Spencer Churchill avec ses deux fils, Jack ( à gauche ) et Winston ( à droite ) en 1889.

Churchill est né le 30 novembre 1874 dans la maison ancestrale de sa famille, le palais de Blenheim dans l' Oxfordshire . [2] Du côté de son père, il était membre de l'aristocratie britannique en tant que descendant direct du 1er duc de Marlborough . [3] Son père, lord Randolph Churchill , représentant le Parti conservateur , avait été élu député (MP) pour Woodstock en 1873. [4] Sa mère, Jennie , était une fille de Leonard Jerome , un riche homme d' affaires américain. [5]

En 1876, le grand-père paternel de Churchill, John Spencer-Churchill , est nommé vice-roi d'Irlande , alors membre du Royaume-Uni. Randolph est devenu son secrétaire privé et la famille a déménagé à Dublin . [6] Le frère de Winston, Jack , y est né en 1880. [7] Pendant une grande partie des années 1880, Randolph et Jennie se sont effectivement éloignés, [8] et les frères ont été principalement soignés par leur nounou, Elizabeth Everest . [9] Churchill a écrit plus tard qu'« elle avait été mon amie la plus chère et la plus intime pendant l'ensemble des vingt années que j'avais vécues ». [dix]

Churchill a commencé à être pensionnaire à l'école St George à Ascot, dans le Berkshire , à l'âge de sept ans, mais n'était pas scolaire et son comportement était mauvais. [11] En 1884, il a été transféré à l' École Brunswick à Hove , où ses résultats scolaires se sont améliorés. [12] En avril 1888, âgé de 13 ans, il réussit de justesse l'examen d'entrée à la Harrow School . [13] Son père voulait qu'il se prépare à une carrière militaire et donc ses trois dernières années à Harrow étaient sous la forme de l'armée. [14] Après deux tentatives infructueuses d'obtenir l'admission à l' Académie militaire royale, Sandhurst , il a réussi son troisième.[15] Il a été accepté comme cadet dans la cavalerie , à partir de septembre 1893. [16] Son père est mort en janvier 1895, un mois après que Churchill a obtenu son diplôme de Sandhurst. [17]

Cuba, Inde et Soudan : 1895-1899

Churchill dans l'uniforme militaire du 4th Queen's Own Hussars à Aldershot en 1895. [18]

En février 1895, Churchill est nommé sous-lieutenant dans le 4e régiment des Queen's Own Hussars de l' armée britannique , basé à Aldershot . [19] Désireux d'assister à une action militaire, il a utilisé l'influence de sa mère pour se faire affecter dans une zone de guerre. [20] À l'automne 1895, lui et son ami Reggie Barnes , alors subalterne , se rendent à Cuba pour observer la guerre d'indépendance et sont impliqués dans des escarmouches après avoir rejoint les troupes espagnoles tentant de réprimer les combattants de l'indépendance. [21] Churchill se rendit à New Yorket, dans l'admiration des États-Unis, a écrit à sa mère sur « quel peuple extraordinaire les Américains sont ! [22] Avec les Hussards, il se rend à Bombay en octobre 1896. [23] Basé à Bangalore , il séjourne en Inde pendant 19 mois, visite trois fois Calcutta et rejoint des expéditions à Hyderabad et à la Frontière du Nord-Ouest . [24]

En Inde, Churchill a commencé un projet d'auto-éducation, [25] en lisant une gamme d'auteurs dont Platon , Edward Gibbon , Charles Darwin et Thomas Babington Macaulay . [26] Les livres lui ont été envoyés par sa mère, avec qui il a partagé une correspondance fréquente à l'étranger. Afin de se renseigner sur la politique, il a également demandé à sa mère de lui envoyer des exemplaires du Registre annuel , l'almanach politique. [27] Dans une lettre de 1898 à elle, il s'est référé à ses croyances religieuses, en disant : "Je n'accepte pas le chrétien ou toute autre forme de croyance religieuse". [28] Churchill avait été baptisé dans leÉglise d'Angleterre [29] mais, comme il l'a raconté plus tard, il a subi une phase virulente anti-chrétienne dans sa jeunesse, [30] et en tant qu'adulte était un agnostique . [31] Dans une autre lettre à l'un de ses cousins, il a qualifié la religion de "délicieux narcotique" et a exprimé une préférence pour le protestantisme par rapport au catholicisme romain parce qu'il le sentait "un pas plus proche de la raison". [32]

Intéressé par les affaires parlementaires britanniques, [33] il s'est déclaré « un libéral dans tout sauf le nom », ajoutant qu'il ne pourrait jamais approuver le soutien du Parti libéral à la règle intérieure irlandaise . [34] Au lieu de cela, il s'est allié à l' aile démocratique conservatrice du Parti conservateur et lors d'une visite chez lui, a prononcé son premier discours public pour la Primrose League du parti à Claverton Down , près de Bath . [35] Mélangeant des perspectives réformistes et conservatrices, il a soutenu la promotion d' une éducation laïque et non confessionnelle tout en s'opposant au suffrage des femmes . [36]

Churchill s'est porté volontaire pour rejoindre la Malakand Field Force de Bindon Blood dans sa campagne contre les rebelles Mohmand dans la vallée de Swat au nord-ouest de l'Inde. Blood l'a accepté à condition qu'il soit nommé journaliste, le début de la carrière d'écrivain de Churchill. [37] Il est revenu à Bangalore en octobre de 1897 et a écrit là son premier livre, L'histoire de la Force de campagne de Malakand , qui a reçu des critiques positives. [38] Il a aussi écrit sa seule œuvre de fiction, Savrola , une romance ruritanienne . [39] Pour se tenir pleinement occupé, Churchill a embrassé l'écriture comme ce que Roy Jenkinsappelle sa "toute habitude", notamment à travers sa carrière politique lorsqu'il n'était pas en fonction. C'était sa principale protection contre la dépression récurrente , qu'il appelait son « chien noir ». [40]

Grâce à ses contacts à Londres, Churchill s'est attaché à la campagne du général Kitchener au Soudan en tant que sous- officier du 21e Lanciers tout en travaillant en plus comme journaliste pour le Morning Post . [41] Après avoir combattu dans la Bataille d'Omdurman le 2 septembre 1898, les 21èmes Lanciers ont été démis de leurs fonctions. [42] En octobre, Churchill est revenu en Angleterre et a commencé à écrire The River War , un compte rendu de la campagne qui a été publié en novembre 1899; c'est à cette époque qu'il décide de quitter l'armée. [43]Il critiquait les actions de Kitchener pendant la guerre, en particulier le traitement impitoyable par ce dernier des blessés ennemis et sa profanation de la tombe de Muhammad Ahmad à Omdurman . [44]

Le 2 décembre 1898, Churchill s'embarque pour l'Inde pour régler ses affaires militaires et achever sa démission du 4th Hussars. Il y passe une grande partie de son temps à jouer au polo , le seul sport de balle auquel il s'est jamais intéressé. Ayant quitté les Hussards, il quitte Bombay le 20 mars 1899, déterminé à se lancer dans une carrière politique. [45]

Politique et Afrique du Sud : 1899-1901

Churchill en 1900 à l'époque de sa première élection au Parlement. [46]

Cherchant une carrière parlementaire, Churchill a pris la parole lors de réunions conservatrices [47] et a été choisi comme l'un des deux candidats parlementaires du parti pour l' élection partielle de juin 1899 à Oldham, Lancashire . [48] Pendant qu'il faisait campagne à Oldham, Churchill s'est présenté comme « un conservateur et un démocrate conservateur ». [49] Bien que les sièges d'Oldham aient été précédemment détenus par les Conservateurs, le résultat était une victoire libérale étroite. [50]

Anticipant le déclenchement de la seconde guerre des Boers entre la Grande-Bretagne et les républiques boers , Churchill s'embarqua pour l'Afrique du Sud en tant que journaliste pour le Morning Post sous la direction de James Nicol Dunn . [51] [52] En octobre, il a voyagé à la zone de conflit près de Ladysmith , alors assiégée par les troupes de Boer , avant de se diriger vers Colenso . [53] Après que son train ait déraillé par des bombardements d'artillerie boer, il a été capturé en tant que prisonnier de guerre (PG) et interné dans un camp de prisonniers de guerre boer à Pretoria . [54]En décembre, Churchill s'est évadé de la prison et a échappé à ses ravisseurs en se cachant à bord de trains de marchandises et en se cachant dans une mine. Il a finalement réussi à se mettre en sécurité en Afrique orientale portugaise . [55] Son évasion a attiré beaucoup de publicité. [56]

En janvier 1900, il rejoint brièvement l'armée en tant que lieutenant dans le régiment de chevaux légers sud-africains , rejoignant le combat de Redvers Buller pour soulager le siège de Ladysmith et prendre Pretoria. [57] Il était parmi les premières troupes britanniques dans les deux endroits. Lui et son cousin, le 9e duc de Marlborough , ont demandé et obtenu la reddition de 52 gardiens du camp de prisonniers boers. [58] Tout au long de la guerre, il avait publiquement réprimandé les préjugés anti-Boers, appelant à les traiter avec « générosité et tolérance », [59] et après la guerre, il a exhorté les Britanniques à être magnanimes dans la victoire. [60]En juillet, ayant démissionné de sa lieutenance, il retourna en Grande-Bretagne. Ses dépêches du Morning Post avaient été publiées sous le titre London to Ladysmith via Pretoria et s'étaient bien vendues. [61]

Churchill a loué un appartement à Mayfair à Londres , l'utilisant comme base pour les six prochaines années. Il se présente à nouveau comme l'un des candidats conservateurs à Oldham aux élections générales d'octobre 1900 , obtenant une victoire serrée pour devenir député à l'âge de 25 ans. [62] Le même mois, il publie Ian Hamilton's March , un livre sur son Expériences sud-africaines [63] [64] qui sont devenues le centre d'une tournée de conférences en novembre à travers la Grande-Bretagne, l'Amérique et le Canada. Les députés n'étaient pas payés et la tournée était une nécessité financière. En Amérique, Churchill a rencontré Mark Twain , le président McKinley et le vice-président Theodore Roosevelt; il ne s'entendait pas bien avec Roosevelt. [65] Plus tard, au printemps 1901, il a donné plus de conférences à Paris, Madrid et Gibraltar. [66]

Député conservateur : 1901-1904

Churchill en 1904 lorsqu'il " traversa la parole ".

En février 1901, Churchill a pris son siège à la Chambre des communes , où son premier discours a été largement couvert par la presse. [67] Il s'est associé à un groupe de conservateurs connus sous le nom de Hughligans , [68] mais il critiquait le gouvernement conservateur sur diverses questions, en particulier les augmentations du financement de l'armée. Il croyait que les dépenses militaires supplémentaires devraient aller à la marine. [69] Cela a bouleversé le banc avant conservateur mais a été soutenu par les libéraux, avec qui il a de plus en plus socialisé, en particulier les impérialistes libéraux comme HH Asquith . [70]Dans ce contexte, Churchill a écrit plus tard qu'il « a dérivé régulièrement vers la gauche » de la politique parlementaire. [71] Il a considéré en privé « la création progressive par un processus évolutif d'une aile démocrate ou progressiste au parti conservateur », [72] ou alternativement un « parti central » pour unir les conservateurs et les libéraux. [73]

En 1903, il y avait une véritable division entre Churchill et les conservateurs, en grande partie parce qu'il s'opposait à leur promotion du protectionnisme économique , mais aussi parce qu'il sentait que l'animosité de nombreux membres du parti l'empêcherait d'obtenir un poste au Cabinet sous un gouvernement conservateur. Le Parti libéral attirait alors un soutien croissant, de sorte que sa défection en 1904 a peut-être aussi été influencée par l'ambition personnelle. [74] Il a voté de plus en plus avec les Libéraux contre le gouvernement. [75] Par exemple, il s'est opposé à une augmentation des dépenses militaires ; [76] il a soutenu un projet de loi libéral pour restaurer les droits légaux des syndicats.; [75]et il s'est opposé à l'introduction de tarifs sur les marchandises importées dans l'Empire britannique, se décrivant comme un « admirateur sobre » des principes du libre-échange. [77] Le gouvernement de Balfour a annoncé une législation protectionniste en octobre 1903. [78] Deux mois plus tard, exaspéré par les critiques de Churchill envers le gouvernement, l'Association conservatrice d'Oldham l'a informé qu'elle ne soutiendrait pas sa candidature aux prochaines élections générales. [79]

En mai 1904, Churchill s'opposa au projet de loi sur les étrangers proposé par le gouvernement , conçu pour freiner la migration juive vers la Grande-Bretagne. [80] Il a déclaré que le projet de loi « ferait appel aux préjugés insulaires contre les étrangers, aux préjugés raciaux contre les Juifs et aux préjugés du travail contre la concurrence » et s'est prononcé en faveur de « la vieille pratique tolérante et généreuse de libre entrée et d'asile à laquelle ce pays a si longtemps adhéré et dont il a tant gagné". [80] Le 31 mai 1904, il a traversé le parquet , faisant défection des conservateurs pour siéger en tant que membre du Parti libéral à la Chambre des communes. [81]

Député libéral : 1904-1908

Churchill et le Kaiser Guillaume II allemand lors d'une manœuvre militaire près de Breslau , en Silésie, en 1906.

En décembre 1905, Balfour démissionna de son poste de Premier ministre et le roi Édouard VII invita le chef libéral Henry Campbell-Bannerman à prendre sa place. [82] Espérant obtenir une majorité de travail à la Chambre des communes, Campbell-Bannerman a convoqué des élections générales en janvier 1906, que les Libéraux ont remportées. [83] Churchill a remporté le siège de Manchester North West . [84] Dans le même mois, sa biographie de son père a été publiée; [85] il a reçu un acompte de 8 000 £. [86] Il a été généralement bien reçu. [87]C'est également à cette époque que la première biographie de Churchill lui-même, écrite par le libéral Alexander MacCallum Scott , est publiée. [88]

Dans le nouveau gouvernement, Churchill devient sous-secrétaire d'État au ministère des Colonies , un poste de ministre subalterne qu'il avait demandé. [89] Il a travaillé sous le Secrétaire d'État pour les Colonies , Victor Bruce, 9ème Comte d'Elgin , [90] et a pris Edward Marsh comme son secrétaire; Marsh est resté secrétaire de Churchill pendant 25 ans. [91] La première tâche de Churchill a été d'aider à rédiger une constitution pour le Transvaal ; [92] et il a aidé à superviser la formation d'un gouvernement dans l' État libre d'Orange . [93]En traitant avec l'Afrique australe, il a cherché à assurer l'égalité entre les Britanniques et les Boers. [94] Il a également annoncé une suppression progressive de l'utilisation de travailleurs chinois sous contrat en Afrique du Sud; lui et le gouvernement ont décidé qu'une interdiction soudaine causerait trop de bouleversements dans la colonie et pourrait nuire à l'économie. [95] Il a exprimé des inquiétudes au sujet des relations entre les colons européens et la population africaine noire; après que les Zoulous aient lancé leur rébellion Bambatha au Natal , Churchill s'est plaint de la « boucherie dégoûtante des indigènes » par les Européens. [96]

Gouvernement Asquith : 1908-1915

Président de la Chambre de commerce : 1908-1910

Churchill et sa fiancée Clémentine Hozier peu avant leur mariage en 1908.

Asquith succède à Campbell-Bannerman le 8 avril 1908 et, quatre jours plus tard, Churchill est nommé président du Board of Trade . [97] Agé de 33 ans, il était le plus jeune membre du Cabinet depuis 1866. [98] Les ministres du Cabinet nouvellement nommés étaient légalement tenus de se faire réélire lors d'une élection partielle et le 24 avril, Churchill a perdu l' élection partielle de Manchester North West contre le candidat conservateur par 429 voix. [99] Le 9 mai, les libéraux l'ont placé dans le siège sûr de Dundee , où il a gagné confortablement . [100]

Dans la vie privée, Churchill a proposé le mariage à Clémentine Hozier ; ils se sont mariés en Septembre à Sainte - Marguerite, Westminster et lune de miel à Baveno , Venise et Château Veveri en Moravie . [101] [102] Ils vivaient au 33 Eccleston Square , à Londres, et leur première fille, Diana , est née en juillet 1909. [103] [104]

L'une des premières tâches de Churchill en tant que ministre fut d'arbitrer un conflit du travail entre les ouvriers du navire et les employeurs sur la rivière Tyne . [105] Il a établi par la suite une Cour permanente d'arbitrage pour traiter les futurs conflits du travail, [106] établissant une réputation en tant que conciliateur. [107] Dans Cabinet, il a travaillé avec David Lloyd George pour défendre la réforme sociale . [108] Il a promu ce qu'il a appelé un « réseau d'intervention et de régulation de l'État » semblable à celui de l'Allemagne. [109]

Churchill a présenté le Mines Eight Hours Bill , qui interdisait légalement aux mineurs de travailler plus de huit heures par jour . [110] Il a présenté le Trade Boards Bill , créant des Trade Boards qui pourraient poursuivre les employeurs exploiteurs. Adopté à une large majorité, il instaure le principe d'un salaire minimum et le droit des travailleurs aux pauses repas. [111] En mai 1909, il a proposé le projet de loi sur les bourses du travail pour établir plus de 200 bourses du travail à travers lesquelles les chômeurs seraient aidés à trouver un emploi. [112] Il a également promu l'idée d'un régime d'assurance-chômage, qui serait en partie financé par l'État.[113]

Pour assurer le financement de leurs réformes, Lloyd George et Churchill dénoncent la politique d'expansion navale de Reginald McKenna [114] refusant de croire que la guerre avec l'Allemagne est inévitable. [115] En tant que chancelier de l'Échiquier , Lloyd George a présenté son « budget du peuple » le 29 avril 1909, le qualifiant de budget de guerre pour éliminer la pauvreté. Il a proposé des impôts sans précédent sur les riches pour financer les programmes sociaux libéraux. [116] Le budget a fait l'objet d'un veto par les pairs conservateurs qui ont dominé la Chambre des Lords . [117]Ses réformes sociales menacées, Churchill a averti que l'obstruction de la classe supérieure pourrait mettre en colère les Britanniques de la classe ouvrière et conduire à la guerre des classes . [118] Le gouvernement déclencha les élections générales de janvier 1910 , qui se soldèrent par une courte victoire libérale; Churchill a conservé son siège à Dundee. [119] Après les élections, il a proposé l'abolition de la Chambre des Lords dans un mémorandum du cabinet, suggérant qu'elle soit remplacée soit par un système monocaméral , soit par une nouvelle deuxième chambre plus petite qui n'avait pas d'avantage intrinsèque pour les conservateurs. [120] En avril, les Lords ont cédé et le Budget du peuple a été promulgué. [121]

Ministre de l'Intérieur : 1910-1911

En février 1910, Churchill est promu ministre de l'Intérieur , ce qui lui donne le contrôle de la police et des services pénitentiaires ; [122] il a mis en œuvre un programme de réforme pénitentiaire. [123] Les mesures comprenaient une distinction entre les prisonniers criminels et politiques , les règles pénitentiaires pour ces derniers étant assouplies. [124] Il y avait des innovations éducatives comme l'établissement de bibliothèques pour les prisonniers, [125] et une exigence pour chaque prison d'organiser des divertissements quatre fois par an. [126] Les règles sur l' isolement cellulaire ont été quelque peu assouplies, [127]et Churchill a proposé l'abolition de l'emprisonnement automatique de ceux qui n'ont pas payé les amendes. [128] L' emprisonnement des personnes âgées de 16 à 21 ans a été aboli sauf pour les infractions les plus graves. [129] Churchill a commué 21 des 43 peines capitales prononcées alors qu'il était ministre de l'Intérieur. [130]

L'un des principaux problèmes nationaux en Grande-Bretagne était le suffrage des femmes. Churchill a soutenu le fait de donner le droit de vote aux femmes, mais il ne soutiendrait un projet de loi à cet effet que s'il avait le soutien de la majorité de l'électorat (masculin). [131] Sa solution proposée était un référendum sur la question, mais n'a trouvé aucune faveur avec le suffrage des Asquith et des femmes est restée en suspens jusqu'à 1918. [132] De nombreux suffragettes croyaient que Churchill était un adversaire engagé du droit de vote des femmes, [133] et a visé son réunions de protestation. [132] En novembre 1910, le suffragette Hugh Franklin attaque Churchill avec un fouet ; Franklin a été arrêté et emprisonné pendant six semaines. [133]

Churchill (deuxième à gauche) photographié au siège de Sidney Street .

À l'été 1910, Churchill a dû faire face à l' émeute de Tonypandy , au cours de laquelle les mineurs de charbon de la vallée de Rhondda ont violemment protesté contre leurs conditions de travail. [134] Le chef de police de Glamorgan a demandé des troupes pour aider la police à réprimer les émeutes. Churchill, apprenant que les troupes voyageaient déjà, leur permet d'aller jusqu'à Swindon et Cardiff , mais bloque leur déploiement ; il craignait que l'utilisation de troupes ne conduise à une effusion de sang. Au lieu de cela, il a envoyé 270 policiers de Londres, qui n'étaient pas équipés d'armes à feu, pour aider leurs homologues gallois. [135]Alors que les émeutes se poursuivaient, il a offert aux manifestants un entretien avec l'arbitre industriel en chef du gouvernement, qu'ils ont accepté. [136] En privé, Churchill considérait à la fois les propriétaires de la mine et les mineurs en grève comme étant « très déraisonnables ». [133] Le Times et d'autres médias l'ont accusé d'être trop doux envers les émeutiers ; [137] en revanche, beaucoup au Parti travailliste , qui était lié aux syndicats, le considéraient comme ayant été trop autoritaire. [138]

Asquith déclencha des élections générales en décembre 1910 et les libéraux furent réélus avec Churchill en sécurité à Dundee. [139] En janvier 1911, Churchill s'implique dans le siège de Sidney Street ; trois cambrioleurs lettons avaient tué plusieurs policiers et s'étaient cachés dans une maison de l' East End londonien , qui était encerclée par la police. [140] Churchill s'est tenu avec la police bien qu'il n'ait pas dirigé leur opération. [141] Après que la maison ait pris feu, il a dit aux pompiers de ne pas entrer dans la maison en raison de la menace posée par les hommes armés. Par la suite, deux des cambrioleurs ont été retrouvés morts. [141]Bien qu'il ait été critiqué pour sa décision, il a déclaré qu'il « pensait qu'il valait mieux laisser la maison brûler plutôt que de passer de bonnes vies britanniques à sauver ces coquins féroces ». [142]

En mars 1911, Churchill a présenté la deuxième lecture du projet de loi sur les mines de charbon au parlement. Lorsqu'il a été mis en œuvre, il a imposé des normes de sécurité plus strictes dans les mines de charbon. [143] Il a également formulé le Shops Bill pour améliorer les conditions de travail des ouvriers des magasins; il s'est heurté à l'opposition des commerçants et n'a été adopté que sous une forme très émasculée. [144] En avril, Lloyd George a introduit la première législation sur l'assurance-maladie et l'assurance-chômage, le National Insurance Act 1911 ; Churchill avait joué un rôle déterminant dans sa rédaction. [144] En mai, Clémentine a donné naissance à leur deuxième enfant, Randolph , du nom du père de Churchill. [145]En réponse à l'escalade de la guerre civile en 1911, Churchill envoya des troupes à Liverpool pour réprimer les dockers qui protestaient et se rallia contre une grève nationale des chemins de fer . [146]

Pendant la crise d'Agadir d'avril 1911, alors qu'il y avait une menace de guerre entre la France et l'Allemagne, Churchill a suggéré une alliance avec la France et la Russie pour sauvegarder l'indépendance de la Belgique, du Danemark et des Pays-Bas pour contrer un éventuel expansionnisme allemand. [147] La crise d'Agadir a eu un effet profond sur Churchill et il a changé ses vues au sujet du besoin d'expansion navale. [148]

Premier Lord de l'Amirauté

En tant que Premier Lord de l'Amirauté, la résidence londonienne de Churchill était Admiralty House (salle de musique sur la photo).

En octobre 1911, Asquith nomma Churchill Premier Lord de l'Amirauté , [149] et il s'installa officiellement à Admiralty House . [150] Au cours des deux ans et demi suivants, il s'est concentré sur la préparation navale, en visitant les stations navales et les chantiers navals, en cherchant à améliorer le moral et en scrutant les développements navals allemands. [151] Après que le gouvernement allemand ait adopté sa loi sur la marine pour augmenter la production de navires de guerre, Churchill a juré que la Grande-Bretagne ferait de même et que pour chaque nouveau cuirassé construit par les Allemands, la Grande-Bretagne en construirait deux. [152] Il a invité l'Allemagne à s'engager dans une désescalade mutuelle des projets de construction navale, mais cela a été refusé. [153]

Churchill a fait pression pour des salaires plus élevés et de plus grandes installations de loisirs pour le personnel naval, [154] une augmentation de la construction de sous-marins, [155] et un regain d'intérêt pour le Royal Naval Air Service , les encourageant à expérimenter comment les avions pourraient être utilisés à des fins militaires. fins. [156] Il a inventé le terme " hydravion " et a ordonné que 100 soient construits. [157] Certains Libéraux se sont opposés à ses niveaux de dépenses navales; en décembre 1913, il menaça de démissionner si sa proposition de quatre nouveaux cuirassés en 1914-1915 était rejetée. [158]En juin 1914, il convainquit la Chambre des communes d'autoriser l'achat par le gouvernement d'une part de 51 % des bénéfices du pétrole produit par l' Anglo-Persian Oil Company , afin d'assurer un accès continu au pétrole pour la Royal Navy. [159]

La question centrale en Grande-Bretagne à l'époque était l' Irish Home Rule et, en 1912, le gouvernement d'Asquith a présenté le Home Rule Bill . [160] Churchill l'a soutenu et a exhorté les Unionistes d'Ulster à l'accepter alors qu'il s'opposait à la partition de l'Irlande. [161] Plus tard, suite à une décision du Cabinet, il a renforcé la présence navale en Irlande pour faire face à tout soulèvement unioniste. [162] Cherchant un compromis, Churchill a suggéré que l'Irlande fasse partie d'un Royaume-Uni fédéral, mais cela a irrité les libéraux et les nationalistes irlandais. [163]

En tant que Premier Lord, Churchill a été chargé de superviser l'effort naval de la Grande-Bretagne lorsque la Première Guerre mondiale a commencé en août 1914. [164] Le même mois, la marine a transporté 120 000 soldats britanniques en France et a commencé un blocus des ports allemands de la mer du Nord. Churchill envoya des sous-marins en mer Baltique pour aider la marine russe et il envoya la brigade des marines à Ostende , forçant une réaffectation des troupes allemandes. [165] En septembre, Churchill a assumé la pleine responsabilité de la défense aérienne de la Grande-Bretagne. [166] Le 7 octobre, Clémentine donne naissance à leur troisième enfant, Sarah . [167] En octobre, Churchill a visitéAnvers pour observer les défenses belges contre les Allemands assiégeants et promet des renforts britanniques pour la ville. [168] Peu de temps après, cependant, Anvers tomba aux mains des Allemands et Churchill fut critiqué dans la presse. [169] Il soutient que ses actions ont prolongé la résistance et permis aux Alliés de sécuriser Calais et Dunkerque . [170] En novembre, Asquith a convoqué un Conseil de guerre, composé de lui-même, Lloyd George, Edward Gray , Kitchener et Churchill. [171] Churchill a avancé quelques propositions dont le développement du char , et a offert de financer sa création avec les fonds de l'Amirauté.[172]

Churchill s'intéressait au théâtre du Moyen-Orient et voulait soulager la pression turque sur les Russes dans le Caucase en organisant des attaques contre la Turquie dans les Dardanelles . Il espérait qu'en cas de succès, les Britanniques pourraient même s'emparer de Constantinople . [173] L'approbation a été donnée et, en mars 1915, une force opérationnelle anglo-française a tenté un bombardement naval des défenses turques dans les Dardanelles. En avril, le Corps expéditionnaire méditerranéen , comprenant le Corps d'armée australien et néo-zélandais (ANZAC), a commencé son assaut à Gallipoli . [174]Ces deux campagnes ont échoué et Churchill a été tenu par de nombreux députés, en particulier les conservateurs, pour être personnellement responsable. [175]

En mai, Asquith accepta sous la pression parlementaire de former un gouvernement de coalition multipartite , mais la seule condition d'entrée des conservateurs était que Churchill soit retiré de l'Amirauté. [176] Churchill a plaidé sa cause auprès d'Asquith et du chef conservateur Bonar Law , mais a dû accepter la rétrogradation et est devenu chancelier du duché de Lancaster . [177]

Service militaire, 1915-1916

Churchill commandant le 6e Bataillon, les Royal Scots Fusiliers, 1916. Son commandant en second, Archibald Sinclair , est à sa droite.

Le 25 novembre 1915, Churchill démissionne du gouvernement, bien qu'il reste député. Asquith a rejeté sa demande d'être nommé gouverneur général de l'Afrique orientale britannique . [178]

Churchill décide de s'enrôler dans l'armée et est rattaché au 2e Grenadier Guards , sur le front occidental . [179] En janvier 1916, il est temporairement promu lieutenant-colonel et reçoit le commandement du 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers . [180] [181] Après une période d'entraînement, le bataillon a été déplacé dans un secteur du Front belge près de Ploegsteert . [182] Pendant plus de trois mois, ils ont fait face à des bombardements continus mais aucune offensive allemande. [183] Churchill a échappé de peu à la mort lorsque, lors d'une visite de son cousin officier d'état-major, le 9e duc de Marlborough, un gros éclat d' obustombé entre eux. [184] En mai, les 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers ont été fusionnés dans la 15th Division. Churchill n'a pas demandé de nouveau commandement, obtenant plutôt l'autorisation de quitter le service actif. [185] Sa promotion temporaire a pris fin le 16 mai, date à laquelle il est revenu au grade de major . [186]

Back in the House of Commons, Churchill spoke out on war issues, calling for conscription to be extended to the Irish, greater recognition of soldiers' bravery, and for the introduction of steel helmets for troops.[187] He was frustrated at being out of office as a backbencher but he was repeatedly blamed for Gallipoli, mainly by the pro-Conservative press.[188] Churchill argued his case before the Dardanelles Commission, whose published report placed no blame on him personally for the campaign's failure.[189]

Lloyd George government: 1916–1922

Minister of Munitions: 1917–1919

In October 1916, Asquith resigned as Prime Minister and was succeeded by Lloyd George who, in May 1917, sent Churchill to inspect the French war effort.[190] In July, Churchill was appointed Minister of Munitions.[191] He quickly negotiated an end to a strike in munitions factories along the Clyde and increased munitions production.[192] He ended a second strike, in June 1918, by threatening to conscript strikers into the army.[193] In the House of Commons, Churchill voted in support of the Representation of the People Act 1918, which gave some British women the right to vote.[194] In November 1918, four days after the Armistice, Churchill's fourth child, Marigold, was born.[195]

Secretary of State for War and Air: 1919–1921

Churchill meets female workers at Georgetown's filling works near Glasgow in October 1918.

With the war over, Lloyd George called a general election with voting on Saturday, 14 December 1918.[196] During the election campaign, Churchill called for the nationalisation of the railways, a control on monopolies, tax reform, and the creation of a League of Nations to prevent future wars.[197] He was returned as MP for Dundee and, although the Conservatives won a majority, Lloyd George was retained as Prime Minister.[197] In January 1919, Lloyd George moved Churchill to the War Office as both Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for Air.[198]

Churchill was responsible for demobilising the British Army,[199] although he convinced Lloyd George to keep a million men conscripted for the British Army of the Rhine.[200] Churchill was one of the few government figures who opposed harsh measures against the defeated Germany,[195] and he cautioned against demobilising the German Army, warning that they may be needed as a bulwark against threats from the newly established Soviet Russia.[201] He was an outspoken opponent of Vladimir Lenin's new Communist Party government in Russia.[202] He initially supported the use of British troops to assist the anti-Communist White forces in the Russian Civil War,[203] but soon recognised the desire of the British people to bring them home.[204] After the Soviets won the civil war, Churchill proposed a cordon sanitaire around the country.[205]

In the Irish War of Independence, he supported the use of the para-military Black and Tans to combat Irish revolutionaries.[206] After British troops in Iraq clashed with Kurdish rebels, Churchill authorised two squadrons to the area, proposing that they be equipped with mustard gas to be used to "inflict punishment upon recalcitrant natives without inflicting grave injury upon them".[207] More broadly, he saw the occupation of Iraq as a drain on Britain and proposed, unsuccessfully, that the government should hand control of central and northern Iraq back to Turkey.[208]

Secretary of State for the Colonies: 1921–1922

Curchill as Secretary of State for the Colonies during his visit to Mandatory Palestine, Tel Aviv, 1921.
Churchill as Secretary of State for the Colonies during his visit to Mandatory Palestine, Tel Aviv, 1921.
Churchill's main home was Chartwell in Kent. He purchased it in 1922 after his daughter Mary was born.

Churchill became Secretary of State for the Colonies in February 1921.[209] The following month, the first exhibit of his paintings was held; it took place in Paris, with Churchill exhibiting under a pseudonym.[209] In May, his mother died, followed in August by his daughter Marigold.[210]

Churchill was involved in negotiations with Sinn Féin leaders and helped draft the Anglo-Irish Treaty.[211] Elsewhere, he was responsible for reducing the cost of occupying the Middle East,[209] and was involved in the installations of Faisal I of Iraq and his brother Abdullah I of Jordan.[212] Churchill travelled to Mandatory Palestine where, as a supporter of Zionism, he refused an Arab Palestinian petition to prohibit Jewish migration to Palestine.[213] He did allow some temporary restrictions following the 1921 Jaffa riots.[214]

In September 1922, Churchill's fifth and last child, Mary, was born, and in the same month he purchased Chartwell, in Kent, which became his family home for the rest of his lifetime.[215] In October 1922, he underwent an operation for appendicitis. While he was in hospital, the Conservatives withdrew from Lloyd George's coalition government, precipitating the November 1922 general election, in which Churchill lost his Dundee seat.[216] Later, Churchill wrote that he was "without an office, without a seat, without a party, and without an appendix".[217] Still, he could be satisfied with his elevation as one of 50 Companions of Honour, as named in Lloyd George's 1922 Dissolution Honours list.[218]

Out of Parliament: 1922–1924

Churchill with children Randolph and Diana in 1923.

Churchill spent much of the next six months at the Villa Rêve d'Or near Cannes, where he devoted himself to painting and writing his memoirs.[219] He wrote an autobiographical history of the war, The World Crisis. The first volume was published in April 1923 and the rest over the next ten years.[216]

After the 1923 general election was called, seven Liberal associations asked Churchill to stand as their candidate, and he selected Leicester West, but he did not win the seat.[220] A Labour government led by Ramsay MacDonald took power. Churchill had hoped they would be defeated by a Conservative-Liberal coalition.[221] He strongly opposed the MacDonald government's decision to loan money to Soviet Russia and feared the signing of an Anglo-Soviet Treaty.[222]

On 19 March 1924, alienated by Liberal support for Labour, Churchill stood as an independent anti-socialist candidate in the Westminster Abbey by-election but was defeated.[223] In May, he addressed a Conservative meeting in Liverpool and declared that there was no longer a place for the Liberal Party in British politics. He said that Liberals must back the Conservatives to stop Labour and ensure "the successful defeat of socialism".[224] In July, he agreed with Conservative leader Stanley Baldwin that he would be selected as a Conservative candidate in the next general election, which was held on 29 October. Churchill stood at Epping, but he described himself as a "Constitutionalist".[225] The Conservatives were victorious and Baldwin formed the new government. Although Churchill had no background in finance or economics, Baldwin appointed him as Chancellor of the Exchequer.[226]

Chancellor of the Exchequer: 1924–1929

Churchill on Budget Day with his wife Clementine and children Sarah and Randolph, 15 April 1929.

Becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer on 6 November 1924, Churchill formally rejoined the Conservative Party.[227] As Chancellor, he intended to pursue his free trade principles in the form of laissez-faire economics, as under the Liberal social reforms.[227] In April 1925, he controversially albeit reluctantly restored the gold standard in his first budget at its 1914 parity against the advice of some leading economists including John Maynard Keynes.[228] The return to gold is held to have caused deflation and resultant unemployment with a devastating impact on the coal industry.[229] Churchill presented five budgets in all to April 1929. Among his measures were reduction of the state pension age from 70 to 65; immediate provision of widow's pensions; reduction of military expenditure; income tax reductions and imposition of taxes on luxury items.[230]

During the General Strike of 1926, Churchill edited the British Gazette, the government's anti-strike propaganda newspaper.[231] After the strike ended, he acted as an intermediary between striking miners and their employers. He later called for the introduction of a legally binding minimum wage.[232] In early 1927, Churchill visited Rome where he met Mussolini, whom he praised for his stand against Leninism.[233]

The "Wilderness Years": 1929–1939

Marlborough and the India Question: 1929–1932

Churchill meeting with film star Charlie Chaplin in Los Angeles in 1929.

In the 1929 general election, Churchill retained his Epping seat but the Conservatives were defeated and MacDonald formed his second Labour government.[234] Out of office, Churchill was prone to depression (his "black dog") as he sensed his political talents being wasted and time passing him by – in all such times, writing provided the antidote.[235] He began work on Marlborough: His Life and Times, a four-volume biography of his ancestor John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough.[236][237] It was by this time that he had developed a reputation for being a heavy drinker of alcoholic beverages, although Jenkins believes that was often exaggerated.[238]

Hoping that the Labour government could be ousted, he gained Baldwin's approval to work towards establishing a Conservative-Liberal coalition, although many Liberals were reluctant.[236] In October 1930, after his return from a trip to North America, Churchill published his autobiography, My Early Life, which sold well and was translated into multiple languages.[239]

In January 1931, Churchill resigned from the Conservative Shadow Cabinet because Baldwin supported the decision of the Labour government to grant Dominion status to India.[240] Churchill believed that enhanced home rule status would hasten calls for full independence.[241] He was particularly opposed to Mohandas Gandhi, whom he considered "a seditious Middle Temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir".[242] His views enraged Labour and Liberal opinion although he was supported by many grassroot Conservatives.[243]

The October 1931 general election was a landslide victory for the Conservatives[244] Churchill nearly doubled his majority in Epping, but he was not given a ministerial position.[245] The Commons debated Dominion Status for India on 3 December and Churchill insisted on dividing the House, but this backfired as only 43 MPs supported him.[246] He embarked on a lecture tour of North America, hoping to recoup financial losses sustained in the Wall Street Crash.[244][246] On 13 December, he was crossing Fifth Avenue in New York City when he was knocked down by a car, suffering a head wound from which he developed neuritis.[247] To further his convalescence, he and Clementine took ship to Nassau for three weeks but Churchill became depressed there about his financial and political losses.[248] He returned to America in late January 1932 and completed most of his lectures before arriving home on 18 March.[248]

Having worked on Marlborough for much of 1932, Churchill in late August decided to visit his ancestor's battlefields.[249] Staying at the Regina Hotel in Munich, he met Ernst Hanfstaengl, a friend of Hitler, who was then rising in prominence. Hanfstaengl tried to arrange a meeting between Churchill and Hitler, but Hitler was unenthusiastic, saying, "What on earth would I talk to him about?"[250] After Churchill raised concerns about Hitler's anti-Semitism, Hitler did not come to the hotel that day or the next.[251][252] Hitler allegedly told Hanfstaengl that Churchill was not in office and was of no consequence.[251] Soon after visiting Blenheim, Churchill was afflicted with paratyphoid fever and spent two weeks at a sanatorium in Salzburg.[253] He returned to Chartwell on 25 September, still working on Marlborough. Two days later, he collapsed while walking in the grounds after a recurrence of paratyphoid which caused an ulcer to haemorrhage. He was taken to a London nursing home and remained there until late October.[254]

Warnings about Germany and the abdication crisis: 1933–1936

After Hitler came to power on 30 January 1933, Churchill was quick to recognise the menace of such a regime and expressed alarm that the British government had reduced air force spending and warned that Germany would soon overtake Britain in air force production.[255][256] Armed with official data provided clandestinely by two senior civil servants, Desmond Morton and Ralph Wigram, Churchill was able to speak with authority about what was happening in Germany, especially the development of the Luftwaffe.[257] He told the people of his concerns in a radio broadcast in November 1934,[258] having earlier denounced the intolerance and militarism of Nazism in the House of Commons.[259] While Churchill regarded Mussolini's regime as a bulwark against the perceived threat of communist revolution, he opposed the Italian invasion of Ethiopia,[260] despite describing the country as a primitive, uncivilised nation.[261] Writing about the Spanish Civil War, he referred to Franco's army as the "anti-red movement", but later became critical of Franco.[262] Two of his nephews, Esmond and Giles Romilly, fought as volunteers in the International Brigades in defence of the legitimate Republican government.[263]

Between October 1933 and September 1938, the four volumes of Marlborough: His Life and Times were published and sold well.[264] In December 1934, the India Bill entered Parliament and was passed in February 1935. Churchill and 83 other Conservative MPs voted against it.[265] In June 1935, MacDonald resigned and was replaced as Prime Minister by Baldwin.[260] Baldwin then led the Conservatives to victory in the 1935 general election; Churchill retained his seat with an increased majority but was again left out of the government.[266]

In January 1936, Edward VIII succeeded his father, George V, as monarch. His desire to marry an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson, caused the abdication crisis.[267] Churchill supported Edward and clashed with Baldwin on the issue.[268] Afterwards, although Churchill immediately pledged loyalty to George VI, he wrote that the abdication was "premature and probably quite unnecessary".[269]

Anti-appeasement: 1937–1939

Churchill and Neville Chamberlain, the chief proponent of appeasement.

In May 1937, Baldwin resigned and was succeeded as Prime Minister by Neville Chamberlain. At first, Churchill welcomed Chamberlain's appointment but, in February 1938, matters came to a head after Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden resigned over Chamberlain's appeasement of Mussolini,[270] a policy which Chamberlain was extending towards Hitler.[271]

In 1938, Churchill warned the government against appeasement and called for collective action to deter German aggression. In March, the Evening Standard ceased publication of his fortnightly articles, but the Daily Telegraph published them instead.[272][273] Following the German annexation of Austria, Churchill spoke in the House of Commons, declaring that "the gravity of the events[…] cannot be exaggerated".[274] He began calling for a mutual defence pact among European states threatened by German expansionism, arguing that this was the only way to halt Hitler.[275] This was to no avail as, in September, Germany mobilised to invade the Sudetenland in Czechoslovakia.[276] Churchill visited Chamberlain at Downing Street and urged him to tell Germany that Britain would declare war if the Germans invaded Czechoslovak territory; Chamberlain was not willing to do this.[277] On 30 September, Chamberlain signed up to the Munich Agreement, agreeing to allow German annexation of the Sudetenland. Speaking in the House of Commons on 5 October, Churchill called the agreement "a total and unmitigated defeat".[278][279][280]

First Lord of the Admiralty: September 1939 to May 1940

The Phoney War and the Norwegian Campaign

On 3 September 1939, the day Britain declared war on Germany, Chamberlain reappointed Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty and he joined Chamberlain's war cabinet. Churchill later claimed that the Board of the Admiralty sent a signal to the Fleet: "Winston is back".[281] As First Lord, Churchill was one of the highest-profile ministers during the so-called "Phoney War", when the only significant action by British forces was at sea. Churchill was ebullient after the Battle of the River Plate on 13 December 1939 and afterwards welcomed home the crews, congratulating them on "a brilliant sea fight" and saying that their actions in a cold, dark winter had "warmed the cockles of the British heart".[282] On 16 February 1940, Churchill personally ordered Captain Philip Vian of the destroyer HMS Cossack to board the German supply ship Altmark in Norwegian waters freeing 299 captured British merchant seamen who had been captured by the Admiral Graf Spee. These actions, supplemented by his speeches, considerably enhanced Churchill's reputation.[282]

He was concerned about German naval activity in the Baltic Sea and initially wanted to send a naval force there but this was soon changed to a plan, codenamed Operation Wilfred, to mine Norwegian waters and stop iron ore shipments from Narvik to Germany.[283] There were disagreements about mining, both in the war cabinet and with the French government. As a result, Wilfred was delayed until 8 April 1940, the day before the German invasion of Norway was launched.[284]

The Norway Debate and Chamberlain's resignation

Churchill with Lord Halifax in 1938

After the Allies failed to prevent the German occupation of Norway, the Commons held an open debate from 7 to 9 May on the government's conduct of the war. This has come to be known as the Norway Debate and is renowned as one of the most significant events in parliamentary history.[285] On the second day (Wednesday, 8 May), the Labour opposition called for a division which was in effect a vote of no confidence in Chamberlain's government.[286] There was considerable support for Churchill on both sides of the House but, as a member of the government, he was obliged to speak on its behalf. He was called upon to wind up the debate, which placed him in the difficult position of having to defend the government without damaging his own prestige.[287] Although the government won the vote, its majority was drastically reduced amid calls for a national government to be formed.[288]

In the early hours of 10 May, German forces invaded Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands as a prelude to their assault on France.[289] Since the division vote, Chamberlain had been trying to form a coalition but Labour declared on the Friday afternoon that they would not serve under his leadership, although they would accept another Conservative. The only two candidates were Churchill and Lord Halifax, the Foreign Secretary. The matter had already been discussed at a meeting on the 9th between Chamberlain, Halifax, Churchill, and David Margesson, the government Chief Whip.[289] Halifax admitted that he could not govern effectively as a member of the House of Lords and so Chamberlain advised the King to send for Churchill, who became Prime Minister.[290] Churchill later wrote of feeling a profound sense of relief in that he now had authority over the whole scene. He believed himself to be walking with destiny and that his life so far had been "a preparation for this hour and for this trial".[291][292][293]

Prime Minister: 1940–1945

Dunkirk to Pearl Harbor: May 1940 to December 1941

Churchill takes aim with a Sten sub-machine gun in June 1941. The man in the pin-striped suit and fedora to the right is his bodyguard, Walter H. Thompson.

War ministry created

In May, Churchill was still generally unpopular with many Conservatives and probably most of the Labour Party.[294] Chamberlain remained Conservative Party leader until October when ill health forced his resignation. By that time, Churchill had won the doubters over and his succession as party leader was a formality.[295]

He began his premiership by forming a five-man war cabinet which included Chamberlain as Lord President of the Council, Labour leader Clement Attlee as Lord Privy Seal (later as Deputy Prime Minister), Halifax as Foreign Secretary and Labour's Arthur Greenwood as a minister without portfolio. In practice, these five were augmented by the service chiefs and ministers who attended the majority of meetings.[296][297] The cabinet changed in size and membership as the war progressed, one of the key appointments being the leading trades unionist Ernest Bevin as Minister of Labour and National Service.[298] In response to previous criticisms that there had been no clear single minister in charge of the prosecution of the war, Churchill created and took the additional position of Minister of Defence, making him the most powerful wartime Prime Minister in British history.[299] He drafted outside experts into government to fulfil vital functions, especially on the Home Front. These included personal friends like Lord Beaverbrook and Frederick Lindemann, who became the government's scientific advisor.[300]

Resolve to fight on

At the end of May, with the British Expeditionary Force in retreat to Dunkirk and the Fall of France seemingly imminent, Halifax proposed that the government should explore the possibility of a negotiated peace settlement using the still-neutral Mussolini as an intermediary. There were several high-level meetings from 26 to 28 May, including two with the French premier Paul Reynaud.[301] Churchill's resolve was to fight on, even if France capitulated, but his position remained precarious until Chamberlain resolved to support him. Churchill had the full support of the two Labour members but knew he could not survive as Prime Minister if both Chamberlain and Halifax were against him. In the end, by gaining the support of his outer cabinet, Churchill outmanoeuvred Halifax and won Chamberlain over.[302] Churchill believed that the only option was to fight on and his use of rhetoric hardened public opinion against a peaceful resolution and prepared the British people for a long war – Jenkins says Churchill's speeches were "an inspiration for the nation, and a catharsis for Churchill himself".[303]

Churchill succeeded as an orator despite being handicapped from childhood with a speech impediment. He had a lateral lisp and was unable to pronounce the letter s, verbalising it with a slur.[304] He worked hard on his pronunciation by repeating phrases designed to cure his problem with the sibilant "s". He was ultimately successful and was eventually able to say: "My impediment is no hindrance". In time, he turned the impediment into an asset and could use it to great effect, as when he called Hitler a "Nar-zee" (rhymes with "khazi"; emphasis on the "z"), rather than a Nazi ("ts").[305]

His first speech as Prime Minister, delivered to the Commons on 13 May was the "blood, toil, tears and sweat" speech. It was little more than a short statement but, Jenkins says, "it included phrases which have reverberated down the decades".[306] Churchill made it plain to the nation that a long, hard road lay ahead and that victory was the final goal:[307][308]

I would say to the House... that I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: it is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: it is victory, 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.

Operation Dynamo and the Battle of France

Operation Dynamo, the evacuation of 338,226 Allied servicemen from Dunkirk, ended on Tuesday, 4 June when the French rearguard surrendered. The total was far in excess of expectations and it gave rise to a popular view that Dunkirk had been a miracle, and even a victory.[309] Churchill himself referred to "a miracle of deliverance" in his "we shall fight on the beaches" speech to the Commons that afternoon, though he shortly reminded everyone that: "We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations". The speech ended on a note of defiance coupled with a clear appeal to the United States:[310][311]

We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

Germany initiated Fall Rot the following day and Italy entered the war on the 10th.[312] The Wehrmacht occupied Paris on the 14th and completed their conquest of France on 25 June.[313] It was now inevitable that Hitler would attack and probably try to invade Great Britain. Faced with this, Churchill addressed the Commons on 18 June and delivered one of his most famous speeches, ending with this peroration:[314][315][316]

What General Weygand called the "Battle of France" is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty and so bear ourselves that if the British Commonwealth and Empire lasts for a thousand years, men will still say: "This was their finest hour".

Churchill was determined to fight back and ordered the commencement of the Western Desert campaign on 11 June, an immediate response to the Italian declaration of war. This went well at first while the Italian army was the sole opposition and Operation Compass was a noted success. In early 1941, however, Mussolini requested German support and Hitler sent the Afrika Korps to Tripoli under the command of Generalleutnant Erwin Rommel, who arrived not long after Churchill had halted Compass so that he could reassign forces to Greece where the Balkans campaign was entering a critical phase.[317]

In other initiatives through June and July 1940, Churchill ordered the formation of both the Special Operations Executive (SOE) and the Commandos. The SOE was ordered to promote and execute subversive activity in Nazi-occupied Europe while the Commandos were charged with raids on specific military targets there. Hugh Dalton, the Minister of Economic Warfare, took political responsibility for the SOE and recorded in his diary that Churchill told him: "And now go and set Europe ablaze".[318]

The Battle of Britain and the Blitz

Churchill walks through the ruins of Coventry Cathedral with Alfred Robert Grindlay, 1941.

On 20 August 1940, at the height of the Battle of Britain, Churchill addressed the Commons to outline the war situation. In the middle of this speech, he made a statement that created a famous nickname for the RAF fighter pilots involved in the battle:[319][320]

The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

The Luftwaffe altered its strategy from 7 September 1940 and began the Blitz, which was especially intensive through October and November. Churchill's morale during the Blitz was generally high and he told his private secretary John Colville in November that he thought the threat of invasion was past.[321] He was confident that Great Britain could hold its own, given the increase in output, but was realistic about its chances of actually winning the war without American intervention.[322]

Lend-Lease

In September 1940, the British and American governments concluded the Destroyers for Bases Agreement, by which fifty American destroyers were transferred to the Royal Navy in exchange for free US base rights in Bermuda, the Caribbean and Newfoundland. An added advantage for Britain was that its military assets in those bases could be redeployed elsewhere.[323]

Churchill's good relations with United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt helped secure vital food, oil and munitions via the North Atlantic shipping routes.[324] It was for this reason that Churchill was relieved when Roosevelt was re-elected in 1940. Upon re-election, Roosevelt set about implementing a new method of providing necessities to Great Britain without the need for monetary payment. He persuaded Congress that repayment for this immensely costly service would take the form of defending the US. The policy was known as Lend-Lease and it was formally enacted on 11 March 1941.[325]

Operation Barbarossa

Churchill and Roosevelt seated on the quarterdeck of HMS Prince of Wales for a Sunday service during the Atlantic Conference, 10 August 1941

Hitler launched his invasion of the Soviet Union on Sunday, 22 June 1941. It was no surprise to Churchill, who had known since early April, from Enigma decrypts at Bletchley Park, that the attack was imminent. He had tried to warn General Secretary Joseph Stalin via the British ambassador to Moscow, Stafford Cripps, but to no avail as Stalin did not trust Churchill. The night before the attack, already intending an address to the nation, Churchill alluded to his hitherto anti-communist views by saying to Colville: "If Hitler invaded Hell, I would at least make a favourable reference to the Devil".[326]

Atlantic Charter

In August 1941, Churchill made his first transatlantic crossing of the war on board HMS Prince of Wales and met Roosevelt in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. On 14 August, they issued the joint statement that has become known as the Atlantic Charter.[327] This outlined the goals of both countries for the future of the world and it is seen as the inspiration for the 1942 Declaration by United Nations, itself the basis of the United Nations which was founded in June 1945.[328]

Pearl Harbor to D-Day: December 1941 to June 1944

Pearl Harbor and United States entry into the war

On 7–8 December 1941, the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was followed by their invasion of Malaya and, on the 8th, Churchill declared war on Japan. Three days later came the joint declaration of war by Germany and Italy against the United States.[329] Churchill went to Washington later in the month to meet Roosevelt for the first Washington Conference (codename Arcadia). This was important for "Europe First", the decision to prioritise victory in Europe over victory in the Pacific, taken by Roosevelt while Churchill was still in mid-Atlantic. The Americans agreed with Churchill that Hitler was the main enemy and that the defeat of Germany was key to Allied success.[330] It was also agreed that the first joint Anglo-American strike would be Operation Torch, the invasion of French North Africa (i.e., Algeria and Morocco). Originally planned for the spring of 1942, it was finally launched in November 1942 when the crucial Second Battle of El Alamein was already underway.[331]

On 26 December, Churchill addressed a joint meeting of the US Congress but, that night, he suffered a mild heart attack which was diagnosed by his physician, Sir Charles Wilson (later Lord Moran), as a coronary deficiency needing several weeks' bed rest. Churchill insisted that he did not need bed rest and, two days later, journeyed on to Ottawa by train where he gave a speech to the Canadian Parliament that included the "some chicken, some neck" line in which he recalled French predictions in 1940 that "Britain alone would have her neck wrung like a chicken".[332] He arrived home in mid-January, having flown from Bermuda to Plymouth in an American flying boat, to find that there was a crisis of confidence in both his coalition government and himself personally,[333] and he decided to face a vote of confidence in the Commons, which he won easily.[334]

While he was away, the Eighth Army, having already relieved the Siege of Tobruk, had pursued Operation Crusader against Rommel's forces in Libya, successfully driving them back to a defensive position at El Agheila in Cyrenaica. On 21 January 1942, however, Rommel launched a surprise counter-attack which drove the Allies back to Gazala.

Elsewhere, recent British success in the Battle of the Atlantic was compromised by the Kriegsmarine's introduction of its M4 4-rotor Enigma, whose signals could not be deciphered by Bletchley Park for nearly a year.[335] In the Far East, the news was much worse with Japanese advances in all theatres, especially at sea and in Malaya. At a press conference in Washington, Churchill had to play down his increasing doubts about the security of Singapore.[336]

Fall of Singapore, loss of Burma and the Bengal famine

Churchill already had grave concerns about the fighting quality of British troops after the defeats in Norway, France, Greece and Crete.[337] Following the fall of Singapore to the Japanese on 15 February 1942, he felt that his misgivings were confirmed and said: "(this is) the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British military history".[338] More bad news had come on 11 February as the Kriegsmarine pulled off its audacious "Channel Dash", a massive blow to British naval prestige. The combined effect of these events was to sink Churchill's morale to its lowest point of the whole war.[337]

Meanwhile, the Japanese had occupied most of Burma by the end of April 1942. Counter-offensives were hampered by the monsoon season and by disordered conditions in Bengal and Bihar, as well as a severe cyclone which devastated the region in October 1942. A combination of factors, including the curtailment of essential rice imports from Burma, poor administration, wartime inflation and a series of large-scale natural disasters such as flooding and crop disease led to the Bengal famine of 1943,[339] in which approximately 3 million people died.[340] From December 1942 onwards, food shortages had prompted senior officials in India to ask London for grain imports, although the colonial authorities failed to recognise the seriousness of the emerging famine and responded ineptly.[341] Churchill's government was criticised for refusing to approve more imports, a policy it ascribed to an acute wartime shortage of shipping.[342] When the British realised the full extent of the famine in September 1943, Churchill ordered the transportation of 130,000 tonnes of Iraqi and Australian grain to Bengal and the war cabinet agreed to send 200,000 tonnes by the end of the year.[343][344] During the last quarter of 1943, 100,000 tons of rice and 176,000 tons of wheat were imported, compared to averages of 55,000 tons of rice and 54,000 tons of wheat earlier in the year.[345] In October, Churchill wrote to the newly appointed Viceroy of India, Lord Wavell, charging him with the responsibility of ending the famine.[343] In February 1944, as preparation for Operation Overlord placed greater demands on Allied shipping, Churchill cabled Wavell saying: "I will certainly help you all I can, but you must not ask the impossible".[344] Grain shipment requests continued to be turned down by the government throughout 1944, and Wavell complained to Churchill in October that "the vital problems of India are being treated by His Majesty's Government with neglect, even sometimes with hostility and contempt".[342][346] The relative impact of British policies on the death toll of the famine remains a matter of controversy among scholars.[347]

International conferences in 1942

Huge portraits of Churchill and Stalin, Brisbane, Australia, 31 October 1941

On 20 May 1942, the Soviet Foreign Affairs minister, Vyacheslav Molotov, arrived in London and stayed until the 28th before going on to Washington. The purpose of this visit was to sign a treaty of friendship but Molotov wanted it done on the basis of certain territorial concessions re Poland and the Baltic States. Churchill and Eden worked for a compromise and eventually a twenty-year treaty was formalised but with the question of frontiers placed on hold. Molotov was also seeking a Second Front in Europe but all Churchill could do was confirm that preparations were in progress and make no promises on a date.[348]

Churchill felt well pleased with these negotiations and said as much when he contacted Roosevelt on the 27th.[349] The previous day, however, Rommel had launched his counter-offensive, Operation Venice, to begin the Battle of Gazala.[349] The Allies were ultimately driven out of Libya and suffered a major defeat in the loss of Tobruk on 21 June. Churchill was with Roosevelt when the news of Tobruk reached him. He was shocked by the surrender of 35,000 troops which was, apart from Singapore, "the heaviest blow" he received in the war.[350] The Axis advance was eventually halted at the First Battle of El Alamein in July and the Battle of Alam el Halfa in early September. Both sides were exhausted and in urgent need of reinforcements and supplies.[351]

Churchill had returned to Washington on 17 June. He and Roosevelt agreed on the implementation of Operation Torch as the necessary precursor to an invasion of Europe. Roosevelt had appointed General Dwight D. Eisenhower as commanding officer of the European Theater of Operations, United States Army (ETOUSA). Having received the news from North Africa, Churchill obtained shipment from America to the Eighth Army of 300 Sherman tanks and 100 howitzers. He returned to Britain on 25 June and had to face another motion of no confidence, this time in his central direction of the war, but again he won easily.[352]

In August, despite health concerns, Churchill visited the British forces in North Africa, raising morale in the process, en route to Moscow for his first meeting with Stalin. He was accompanied by Roosevelt's special envoy Averell Harriman.[353] He was in Moscow 12–16 August and had four lengthy meetings with Stalin. Although they got along quite well together on a personal level, there was little chance of any real progress given the state of the war with the Germans still advancing in all theatres. Stalin was desperate for the Allies to open the Second Front in Europe, as Churchill had discussed with Molotov in May, and the answer was the same.[354]

Turn of the tide: El Alamein and Stalingrad

While he was in Cairo in early August, Churchill decided to replace Field Marshal Auchinleck with Field Marshal Alexander as Commander-in-Chief of the Middle East Theatre. Command of the Eighth Army was given to General William Gott but he was shot down and killed while flying to Cairo, only three days later and General Montgomery replaced him. Churchill returned to Cairo from Moscow on 17 August and could see for himself that the Alexander/Montgomery combination was already having an effect. He returned to England on the 21st, nine days before Rommel launched his final offensive.[355]

As 1942 drew to a close, the tide of war began to turn with Allied victory in the key battles of El Alamein and Stalingrad. Until November, the Allies had always been on the defensive, but from November, the Germans were. Churchill ordered the church bells to be rung throughout Great Britain for the first time since early 1940.[355] On 10 November, knowing that El Alamein was a victory, he delivered one of his most memorable war speeches to the Lord Mayor's Luncheon at the Mansion House in London, in response to the Allied victory at El Alamein: "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."[355]

International conferences in 1943

Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill in Tehran.

In January 1943, Churchill met Roosevelt at the Casablanca Conference (codename Symbol), which lasted ten days. It was also attended by General Charles de Gaulle on behalf of the Free French Forces. Stalin had hoped to attend but declined because of the situation at Stalingrad. Although Churchill expressed doubts on the matter, the so-called Casablanca Declaration committed the Allies to securing "unconditional surrender" by the Axis powers.[356][357] From Morocco, Churchill went to Cairo, Adana, Cyprus, Cairo again and Algiers for various purposes. He arrived home on 7 February having been out for the country for nearly a month. He addressed the Commons on the 11th and then became seriously ill with pneumonia the following day, necessitating more than one month of rest, recuperation and convalescence – for the latter, he moved to Chequers. He returned to work in London on 15 March.[358]

Churchill made two transatlantic crossings during the year, meeting Roosevelt at both the third Washington Conference (codename Trident) in May and the first Quebec Conference (codename Quadrant) in August.[359] In November, Churchill and Roosevelt met Chinese Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek at the Cairo Conference (codename Sextant).[360]

The most important conference of the year was soon afterwards (28 November to 1 December) at Tehran (codename Eureka), where Churchill and Roosevelt met Stalin in the first of the "Big Three" meetings, preceding those at Yalta and Potsdam in 1945. Roosevelt and Stalin co-operated in persuading Churchill to commit to the opening of a second front in western Europe and it was also agreed that Germany would be divided after the war, but no firm decisions were made about how.[361] On their way back from Tehran, Churchill and Roosevelt held a second Cairo conference with Turkish president Ismet Inönü, but were unable to gain any commitment from Turkey to join the Allies.[362]

Churchill went from Cairo to Tunis, arriving on 10 December, initially as Eisenhower's guest (soon afterwards, Eisenhower took over as Supreme Allied Commander of the new SHAEF just being created in London). While Churchill was in Tunis, he became seriously ill with atrial fibrillation and was forced to remain until after Christmas while a succession of specialists were drafted in to ensure his recovery. Clementine and Colville arrived to keep him company; Colville had just returned to Downing Street after more than two years in the RAF. On 27 December, the party went on to Marrakesh for convalescence. Feeling much better, Churchill flew to Gibraltar on 14 January 1944 and sailed home on the King George V. He was back in London on the morning of 18 January and surprised MPs by attending Prime Minister's Questions in the Commons that afternoon. Since 12 January 1943, when he set off for the Casablanca Conference, Churchill had been abroad or seriously ill for 203 of the 371 days.[363]

Invasions of Sicily and Italy

Churchill in the Roman amphitheatre of ancient Carthage to address 3,000 British and American troops, June 1943

In the autumn of 1942, after Churchill's meeting with Stalin in Moscow, he was approached by Eisenhower, commanding North African Theater of Operations (NATOUSA), and his aides on the subject of where the Western Allies should launch their first strike in Europe. According to General Mark Clark, who later commanded the United States Fifth Army in the Italian campaign, the Americans openly admitted that a cross-Channel operation in the near future was "utterly impossible". As an alternative, Churchill recommended "slit(ting) the soft belly of the Mediterranean" and persuaded them to invade first Sicily and then Italy after they had defeated the Afrika Korps in North Africa. After the war, Clark still agreed that Churchill's analysis was correct but he added that, when the Allies landed at Salerno, they found that Italy was "a tough old gut".[364]

The invasion of Sicily began on 9 July and was successfully completed by 17 August. Churchill was then all for driving straight up the Italian mainland with Rome as the main target, but the Americans wanted to withdraw several divisions to England in the build-up of forces for Operation Overlord, now scheduled for the spring of 1944. Churchill was still not keen on Overlord as he feared that an Anglo-American army in France might not be a match for the fighting efficiency of the Wehrmacht. He preferred peripheral operations, including a plan called Operation Jupiter for an invasion of northern Norway.[365] Events in Sicily had an unexpected impact in Italy. King Victor Emmanuel sacked Mussolini on 25 July and appointed Marshal Badoglio as Prime Minister. Badoglio opened negotiations with the Allies which resulted in the Armistice of Cassibile on 3 September. In response, the Germans activated Operation Achse and took control of most of Italy.[366] Although he still preferred Italy to Normandy as the Allies' main route into the Third Reich, Churchill was deeply concerned about the strong German resistance at Salerno and, later, after the Allies successfully gained their bridgehead at Anzio but still failed to break the stalemate, he caustically said that instead of "hurling a wildcat onto the shore", the Allied force had become a "stranded whale".[367] The big obstacle was Monte Cassino and it was not until mid-May 1944 when it was finally overcome, enabling the Allies to at last advance on Rome, which was taken on 4 June.[368]

Preparations for D-Day

Churchill is greeted by a crowd in Québec City, Canada, 1943

The difficulties in Italy caused Churchill to have a change of heart and mind about Allied strategy to the extent that, when the Anzio stalemate developed soon after his return to England from North Africa, he threw himself into the planning of Overlord and set up an ongoing series of meetings with SHAEF and the British Chiefs of Staff over which he regularly presided. These were always attended by either Eisenhower or his chief of staff General Walter Bedell Smith. Churchill was especially taken by the Mulberry project but he was also keen to make the most of Allied air power which, by the beginning of 1944, had become overwhelming.[368] Churchill never fully lost his apprehension about the invasion, however, and underwent great fluctuation of mood as D-Day approached. Jenkins says that he faced potential victory with much less buoyancy than when he defiantly faced the prospect of defeat four years earlier.[369]

Need for post-war reform

Churchill could not ignore the need for post-war reforms covering a broad sweep of areas such as agriculture, education, employment, health, housing and welfare. The Beveridge Report with its five "Giant Evils" was published in November 1942 and assumed great importance amid widespread popular acclaim.[370] Even so, Churchill was not really interested because he was focused on winning the war and saw reform in terms of tidying up afterwards. His attitude was demonstrated in a Sunday evening radio broadcast on 26 March 1944. He was obliged to devote most of it to the subject of reform and showed a distinct lack of interest. In their respective diaries, Colville said Churchill had broadcast "indifferently" and Harold Nicolson said that, to many people, Churchill came across the air as "a worn and petulant old man".[371]

In the end, however, it was the population's demand for reform that decided the 1945 general election. Labour was perceived as the party that would deliver Beveridge. Arthur Greenwood had initiated its preceding social insurance and allied services inquiry in June 1941. Attlee, Bevin and Labour's other coalition ministers through the war were seen to be working towards reform and earned the trust of the electorate.[372][373]

Defeat of Germany: June 1944 to May 1945

Churchill's crossing of the Rhine river in Germany, during Operation Plunder on 25 March 1945.

D-Day: Allied invasion of Normandy

Churchill was determined to be actively involved in the Normandy invasion and hoped to cross the Channel on D-Day itself (6 June 1944) or at least on D-Day+1. His desire caused unnecessary consternation at SHAEF until he was effectively vetoed by the King who told Churchill that, as head of all three services, he (the King) ought to go too. Churchill expected an Allied death toll of 20,000 on D-Day but he was proven to be pessimistic because less than 8,000 died in the whole of June.[374] He made his first visit to Normandy on 12 June to visit Montgomery, whose HQ was then about five miles inland. That evening, as he was returning to London, the first V-1 flying bombs were launched. In a longer visit to Normandy on 22–23 July, Churchill went to Cherbourg and Arromanches where he saw the Mulberry Harbour.[375]

Quebec Conference, September 1944

Churchill met Roosevelt at the Second Quebec Conference (codename Octagon) from 12 to 16 September 1944. Between themselves, they reached agreement on the Morgenthau Plan for the Allied occupation of Germany after the war, the intention of which was not only to demilitarise but also de-industrialise Germany. Eden strongly opposed it and was later able to persuade Churchill to disown it. US Secretary of State Cordell Hull also opposed it and convinced Roosevelt that it was infeasible.[376]

Moscow Conference, October 1944

At the fourth Moscow conference (codename Tolstoy) from 9 to 19 October 1944, Churchill and Eden met Stalin and Molotov. This conference has gained notoriety for the so-called "Percentages agreement" in which Churchill and Stalin effectively agreed the post-war fate of the Balkans.[377] By that time, the Soviet armies were in Rumania and Bulgaria. Churchill suggested a scale of predominance throughout the whole region so as not to, as he put it, "get at cross-purposes in small ways".[378] He wrote down some suggested percentages of influence per country and gave it to Stalin who ticked it. The agreement was that Russia would have 90% control of Romania and 75% control of Bulgaria. The UK and the USA would have 90% control of Greece. Hungary and Yugoslavia would be 50% each.[379] In 1958, five years after the account of this meeting was published (in Churchill's The Second World War), Soviet authorities denied that Stalin had accepted such an "imperialist proposal".[377]

Yalta Conference, February 1945

Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin at the Yalta Conference, February 1945.

From 30 January to 2 February 1945, Churchill and Roosevelt met for their Malta Conference ahead of the second "Big Three" event at Yalta from 4 to 11 February.[380] Yalta had massive implications for the post-war world. There were two predominant issues: the question of setting up the United Nations Organisation after the war, on which much progress was made; and the more vexed question of Poland's post-war status, which Churchill saw as a test case for the future of Eastern Europe.[381] Churchill faced some strong criticism for the Yalta agreement on Poland. For example, 27 Tory MPs voted against him when the matter was debated in the Commons at the end of the month. Jenkins, however, maintains that Churchill did as well as he could have done in very difficult circumstances, not least the fact that Roosevelt was seriously ill and could not provide Churchill with meaningful support.[382]

Another outcome of Yalta was the so-called Operation Keelhaul. The Western Allies agreed to the forcible repatriation of all Soviet citizens in the Allied zones, including prisoners of war, to the Soviet Union and the policy was later extended to all Eastern European refugees, many of whom were anti-Communist. Keelhaul was implemented between 14 August 1946 and 9 May 1947.[383][384]

Dresden bombings controversy

The destruction of Dresden, February 1945.

On the nights of 13–15 February 1945, some 1,200 British and US bombers attacked the German city of Dresden, which was crowded with wounded and refugees from the Eastern Front.[385][386] The attacks were part of an area bombing campaign that was initiated by Churchill in January with the intention of shortening the war.[387] Churchill came to regret the bombing because initial reports suggested an excessive number of civilian casualties close to the end of the war, though an independent commission in 2010 confirmed a death toll between 22,700 and 25,000.[388] On 28 March, he decided to restrict area bombing[389] and sent a memorandum to General Ismay for the Chiefs of Staff Committee:[390][391]

The destruction of Dresden remains a serious query against the conduct of Allied bombing..... I feel the need for more precise concentration upon military objectives..... rather than on mere acts of terror and wanton destruction, however impressive.

British historian Frederick Taylor has pointed out that the number of Soviet citizens who died from German bombing was roughly equivalent to the number of German citizens who died from Allied raids.[392] Jenkins asks if Churchill was moved more by foreboding than by regret but admits it is easy to criticise with the hindsight of victory. He adds that the area bombing campaign was no more reprehensible than President Truman's use of the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki six months later.[389] Andrew Marr, quoting Max Hastings, says that Churchill's memorandum was a "calculated political attempt..... to distance himself..... from the rising controversy surrounding the area offensive".[391]

VE Day

Churchill waving the Victory sign to the crowd in Whitehall on the day he broadcast to the nation that the war with Germany had been won, 8 May 1945. Ernest Bevin stands to his right.

On 7 May 1945 at the SHAEF headquarters in Reims the Allies accepted Germany's surrender. The next day was Victory in Europe Day (VE Day) when Churchill broadcast to the nation that Germany had surrendered and that a final ceasefire on all fronts in Europe would come into effect at one minute past midnight that night (i.e., on the 9th).[393] Afterwards, Churchill went to Buckingham Palace where he appeared on the balcony with the Royal Family before a huge crowd of celebrating citizens. He went from the palace to Whitehall where he addressed another large crowd: "God bless you all. This is your victory. In our long history, we have never seen a greater day than this. Everyone, man or woman, has done their best."[394]

At this point he asked Ernest Bevin to come forward and share the applause. Bevin said: "No, Winston, this is your day", and proceeded to conduct the people in the singing of For He's a Jolly Good Fellow.[394] In the evening, Churchill made another broadcast to the nation asserting that the defeat of Japan would follow in the coming months (the Japanese surrendered on 15 August 1945).[395]

Caretaker government: May 1945 to July 1945

With a general election looming (there had been none for almost a decade), and with the Labour ministers refusing to continue the wartime coalition, Churchill resigned as Prime Minister on 23 May 1945. Later that day, he accepted the King's invitation to form a new government, known officially as the National Government, like the Conservative-dominated coalition of the 1930s, but sometimes called the caretaker ministry. It contained Conservatives, National Liberals and a few non-party figures such as Sir John Anderson and Lord Woolton, but not Labour or Archibald Sinclair's Official Liberals. Although Churchill continued to carry out the functions of Prime Minister, including exchanging messages with the US administration about the upcoming Potsdam Conference, he was not formally reappointed until 28 May.[396][397]

Potsdam Conference

Churchill at the Potsdam Conference, July 1945.

Churchill was Great Britain's representative at the post-war Potsdam Conference when it opened on 17 July and was accompanied at its sessions not only by Eden as Foreign Secretary but also, pending the result of the July general election, by Attlee. They attended nine sessions in nine days before returning to England for their election counts. After the landslide Labour victory, Attlee returned with Bevin as the new Foreign Secretary and there were a further five days of discussion.[398] Potsdam went badly for Churchill. Eden later described his performance as "appalling", saying that he was unprepared and verbose. Churchill upset the Chinese, exasperated the Americans and was easily led by Stalin, whom he was supposed to be resisting.[399]

General election, July 1945

Churchill mishandled the election campaign by resorting to party politics and trying to denigrate Labour.[400] On 4 June, he committed a serious political gaffe by saying in a radio broadcast that a Labour government would require "some form of Gestapo" to enforce its agenda.[401][402] It backfired badly and Attlee made political capital by saying in his reply broadcast next day: "The voice we heard last night was that of Mr Churchill, but the mind was that of Lord Beaverbrook". Jenkins says that this broadcast was "the making of Attlee".[403]

Although polling day was 5 July, the results of the election did not become known until 26 July, owing to the need to collect the votes of those serving overseas. Clementine and daughter Mary had been at the count in Woodford, Churchill's new constituency in Essex, and had returned to Downing Street to meet him for lunch. Churchill was unopposed by the major parties in Woodford, but his majority over a sole independent candidate was much less than expected. He now anticipated defeat by Labour and Mary later described the lunch as "an occasion of Stygian gloom".[404][405] To Clementine's suggestion that election defeat might be "a blessing in disguise", Churchill retorted: "At the moment it seems very effectively disguised".[404]

That afternoon Churchill's doctor Lord Moran (so he later recorded in his book The Struggle for Survival) commiserated with him on the "ingratitude" of the British public, to which Churchill replied: "I wouldn't call it that. They have had a very hard time".[405] Having lost the election, despite enjoying much personal support amongst the British population, he resigned as Prime Minister that evening and was succeeded by Attlee who formed the first majority Labour government.[406][407][408][409] Many reasons have been given for Churchill's defeat, key among them being that a desire for post-war reform was widespread amongst the population and that the man who had led Britain in war was not seen as the man to lead the nation in peace.[410][411] Although the Conservative Party was unpopular, many electors appear to have wanted Churchill to continue as Prime Minister whatever the outcome, or to have wrongly believed that this would be possible.[412]

Leader of the Opposition: 1945–1951

"Iron Curtain" speech

Churchill in 1949.

Churchill continued to lead the Conservative Party and, for six years, served as Leader of the Opposition. In 1946, he was in America for nearly three months from early January to late March.[413] It was on this trip that he gave his "Iron Curtain" speech about the USSR and its creation of the Eastern Bloc.[414] Speaking on 5 March 1946 in the company of President Truman at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, Churchill declared:[415]

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere.

The essence of his view was that, though the Soviet Union did not want war with the western Allies, its entrenched position in Eastern Europe had made it impossible for the three great powers to provide the world with a "triangular leadership". Churchill's desire was much closer collaboration between Britain and America. Within the same speech, he called for "a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States",[415] but he emphasised the need for co-operation within the framework of the United Nations Charter.[416]

Politics

Churchill was an early proponent of pan-Europeanism, having called for a "United States of Europe" in a 1930 article. He supported the creations of the Council of Europe in 1949 and the European Coal and Steel Community in 1951, but his support was always with the firm proviso that Britain must not actually join any federal grouping.[417][418][419]

Having lived in Ireland as a child, Churchill always opposed its partition. As a minister in 1913 and again in 1921, he suggested that Ulster should be part of a united Ireland, but with a degree of autonomy from an independent Irish government. He was always opposed on this by Ulster Unionists.[420] While he was Leader of the Opposition, he told John W. Dulanty and Frederick Boland, successive Irish ambassadors to London, that he still hoped for reunification.[421]

Labour won the 1950 general election, but with a much-reduced majority. Churchill continued to serve as Leader of the Opposition.[422]

Prime Minister: 1951–1955

Election result and cabinet appointments

Churchill with Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, 10 February 1953.

Despite losing the popular vote to Labour, the Conservatives won an overall majority of 17 seats in the October 1951 general election and Churchill again became Prime Minister, remaining in office until his resignation on 5 April 1955.[423] Eden, his eventual successor, was restored to Foreign Affairs, the portfolio with which Churchill was preoccupied throughout his tenure.[424] Future Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was appointed Minister of Housing and Local Government with a manifesto commitment to build 300,000 new houses per annum, Churchill's only real domestic concern. He achieved the target and, in October 1954, was promoted to Minister of Defence.[425]

Health issues to eventual resignation

Churchill was nearly 77 when he took office and was not in good health following several minor strokes.[426] By December, George VI had become concerned about Churchill's decline and intended asking him to stand down in favour of Eden, but the King had his own serious health issues and died on 6 February without making the request.[427] Churchill developed a close friendship with Elizabeth II. It was widely expected that he would retire after her Coronation in May 1953 but, after Eden became seriously ill, Churchill increased his own responsibilities by taking over at the Foreign Office.[428][429][430] Eden was incapacitated until the end of the year and was never completely well again.[431]

On the evening of 23 June 1953, Churchill suffered a serious stroke and became partially paralysed down one side. Had Eden been well, Churchill's premiership would most likely have been over. The matter was kept secret and Churchill went home to Chartwell to recuperate. He had fully recovered by November.[432][433][434] He retired as Prime Minister in April 1955 and was succeeded by Eden.[435]

Foreign affairs

Churchill with Anthony Eden, Dean Acheson and Harry Truman, 5 January 1952.

Churchill feared a global conflagration and firmly believed that the only way to preserve peace and freedom was to build on a solid foundation of friendship and co-operation between Britain and America. He made four official transatlantic visits from January 1952 to July 1954.[436]

He enjoyed a good relationship with Truman but difficulties arose over the planned European Defence Community (EDC), by which Truman hoped to reduce America's military presence in West Germany; Churchill was sceptical about the EDC.[437] Churchill wanted US military support of British interests in Egypt and the Middle East, but that was refused. While Truman expected British military involvement in Korea, he viewed any US commitment to the Middle East as maintaining British imperialism.[438] The Americans recognised that the British Empire was in terminal decline and had welcomed the Attlee government's policy of decolonisation. Churchill, always the imperialist, believed that Britain's position as a world power depended on the empire's continued existence.[439]

Churchill had been obliged to recognise Colonel Nasser's revolutionary government of Egypt, which took power in 1952. Much to Churchill's private dismay, agreement was reached in October 1954 on the phased evacuation of British troops from their Suez base. In addition, Britain agreed to terminate its rule in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan by 1956, though this was in return for Nasser's abandonment of Egyptian claims over the region.[440] Elsewhere, the Malayan Emergency, a guerrilla war fought by Communist fighters against Commonwealth forces, had begun in 1948 and continued past Malayan independence (1957) until 1960. Churchill's government maintained the military response to the crisis and adopted a similar strategy for the Mau Mau Uprising in British Kenya (1952–1960).[441]

Churchill was uneasy about the election of Eisenhower as Truman's successor. After Stalin died on 5 March 1953, Churchill sought a summit meeting with the Soviets but Eisenhower refused out of fear that the Soviets would use it for propaganda.[442][428][443] By July of that year, Churchill was deeply regretting that the Democrats had not been returned. He told Colville that Eisenhower as president was "both weak and stupid". Churchill believed that Eisenhower did not fully comprehend the danger posed by the H-bomb and he greatly distrusted Eisenhower's Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles.[444] Churchill met Eisenhower to no avail at the Three-Powers (French Prime Minister Joseph Laniel being the third participant) Bermuda Conference in December 1953[445][446] (with Churchill as the host, as the conference was on British territory) and in June/July 1954 at the White House.[447] In the end, it was the Soviets who proposed a four-power summit, but it did not meet until 18 July 1955, three months after Churchill had retired.[448][449]

Later life: 1955–1965

Retirement: 1955–1964

Elizabeth II offered to create Churchill Duke of London, but this was declined as a result of the objections of his son Randolph, who would have inherited the title on his father's death.[450] He did, however, accept the Order of the Garter to become Sir Winston. Although publicly supportive, Churchill was privately scathing about Eden's handling of the Suez Crisis and Clementine believed that many of his visits to the United States in the following years were attempts to help repair Anglo-American relations.[451] After leaving the premiership, Churchill remained an MP until he stood down at the 1964 general election.[452] Apart from 1922 to 1924, he had been an MP since October 1900 and had represented five constituencies.[453]

By the time of the 1959 general election, however, he seldom attended the House of Commons. Despite the Conservative landslide in 1959, his own majority in Woodford fell by more than a thousand. He spent most of his retirement at Chartwell or at his London home in Hyde Park Gate, and became a habitué of high society at La Pausa on the French Riviera.[454]

In June 1962, when he was 87, Churchill had a fall in Monte Carlo and broke his hip. He was flown home to a London hospital where he remained for three weeks. Jenkins says that Churchill was never the same after this accident and his last two years were something of a twilight period.[452] In 1963, US President John F. Kennedy, acting under authorisation granted by an Act of Congress, proclaimed him an Honorary Citizen of the United States, but he was unable to attend the White House ceremony.[452] There has been speculation that he became very depressed in his final years but this has been emphatically denied by his personal secretary Anthony Montague Browne, who was with him for his last ten years. Montague Browne wrote that he never heard Churchill refer to depression and certainly did not suffer from it.[455]

Death, funeral and memorials

Churchill's grave at St Martin's Church, Bladon.

Churchill suffered his final stroke on 12 January 1965. He died nearly two weeks later on the 24th, which was the seventieth anniversary of his father's death.[452][456] Like the Duke of Wellington in 1852 and William Gladstone in 1898, Churchill was given a state funeral.[452] Planning for this had begun in 1953 under the code-name of "Operation Hope Not" and a detailed plan had been produced by 1958.[457] His coffin lay in state at Westminster Hall for three days and the funeral ceremony was at St Paul's Cathedral on 30 January.[452][456] Afterwards, the coffin was taken by boat along the River Thames to Waterloo Station and from there by a special train to the family plot at St Martin's Church, Bladon, near his birthplace at Blenheim Palace.[458][456]

Worldwide, numerous memorials have been dedicated to Churchill. His statue in Parliament Square was unveiled by his widow Clementine in 1973 and is one of only twelve in the square, all of prominent political figures, including Churchill's friend Lloyd George and his India policy nemesis Gandhi.[459][460] Elsewhere in London, the wartime Cabinet War Rooms have been renamed the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms.[461] Churchill College, Cambridge, was established as a national memorial to Churchill. An indication of Churchill's high esteem in the UK is the result of the 2002 BBC poll, attracting 447,423 votes, in which he was voted the greatest Briton of all time, his nearest rival being Isambard Kingdom Brunel some 56,000 votes behind.[462]

He is one of only eight people to be granted honorary citizenship of the United States; others include Lafayette, Raoul Wallenberg and Mother Teresa.[463] The United States Navy honoured him in 1999 by naming a new Arleigh Burke-class destroyer as the USS Winston S. Churchill.[464] Other memorials in North America include the National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri, where he made the 1946 "Iron Curtain" speech; Churchill Square in central Edmonton, Alberta; and the Winston Churchill Range, a mountain range northwest of Lake Louise, also in Alberta, which was renamed after Churchill in 1956.[465]

Artist, historian, and writer

Allies (1995) by Lawrence Holofcener, a sculptural group depicting Franklin D. Roosevelt and Churchill in New Bond Street, London.

Churchill was a prolific writer. He used either "Winston S. Churchill" or "Winston Spencer Churchill" as his pen name to avoid confusion with the American novelist of the same name, with whom he struck up a friendly correspondence.[466] His output included a novel, two biographies, three volumes of memoirs, several histories, and numerous press articles. Two of his most famous works, published after his first premiership brought his international fame to new heights, were his twelve-volume memoir, The Second World War, and the four-volume A History of the English-Speaking Peoples.[467] For many years, he relied heavily upon his press articles to assuage his financial worries: in 1937, for example, he wrote 64 published articles and some of his contracts were quite lucrative.[468] In recognition of his "mastery of historical and biographical description" and oratorial output, Churchill received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953.[469]

As well as writing, Churchill became an accomplished amateur artist after his resignation from the Admiralty in 1915.[470] Using the pseudonym "Charles Morin",[471] he continued this hobby throughout his life and completed hundreds of paintings, many of which are on show in the studio at Chartwell as well as in private collections.[472]

Churchill was an amateur bricklayer, constructing buildings and garden walls at Chartwell.[471] To further this hobby, he joined the Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers but was expelled after he revived his membership of the Conservative Party.[471] He also bred butterflies at Chartwell, keeping them in a converted summerhouse each year until the weather was right for their release.[473] He was well known for his love of animals and always had several pets, mainly cats but also dogs, pigs, lambs, bantams, goats and fox cubs among others.[474] Churchill has often been quoted as saying that "cats look down on us and dogs look up to us, but pigs treat us as equals", or words to that effect, but the International Churchill Society believe he has mostly been misquoted.[475]

Legacy

"A man of destiny"

Roy Jenkins concludes his biography of Churchill by comparing him with W. E. Gladstone, whom Jenkins recognised as "undoubtedly" the greatest prime minister of the nineteenth century. When he began his biography, Jenkins regarded Gladstone as the greater man but changed his mind in the course of writing. He concluded his work by ranking Churchill:[458]

.....with all his idiosyncracies, his indulgences, his occasional childishness, but also his genius, his tenacity and his persistent ability (to be) larger than life, as the greatest ever (occupant of) 10 Downing Street.

Churchill always self-confidently believed himself to be "a man of destiny".[476] Because of this, he lacked restraint and could be reckless.[477][478] His self-belief manifested itself in terms of his "affinity with war" of which, according to Sebastian Haffner, he exhibited "a profound and innate understanding".[479] Churchill considered himself a military genius but that made him vulnerable to failure and Paul Addison says Gallipoli was "the greatest blow his self-image was ever to sustain".[480] Jenkins points out, however, that although Churchill was excited and exhilarated by war, he was never indifferent to the suffering it causes.[481]

Political ideology

As a politician, Churchill was perceived by some observers to have been largely motivated by personal ambition rather than political principle.[482][483] During his early parliamentary career, he was often deliberately provocative and argumentative to an unusual degree;[484] and his barbed rhetorical style earned him many enemies in parliament.[485][486] On the other hand, he was deemed to be an honest politician who displayed particular loyalty to his family and close friends.[487] He was, according to Jenkins, "singularly lacking in inhibition or concealment".[488] Robert Rhodes James said he "lacked any capacity for intrigue and was refreshingly innocent and straightforward".[489]

Until the outbreak of the Second World War, Churchill's approach to politics generated widespread "mistrust and dislike",[490] largely on account of his two party defections.[491] His biographers have variously categorised him, in terms of political ideology, as "fundamentally conservative",[492] "(always) liberal in outlook",[493] and "never circumscribed by party affiliation".[494] Jenkins says that Churchill's self-belief was "far stronger than any class or tribal loyalty".[476] Whether Churchill was a conservative or a liberal, he was nearly always opposed to socialism because of its propensity for state planning and his belief in free markets. The exception was during his wartime coalition when he was completely reliant upon the support of his Labour colleagues.[495][496] Although the Labour leaders were willing to join his coalition, Churchill had long been regarded as an enemy of the working class. His response to the Rhondda Valley unrest and his anti-socialist rhetoric brought condemnation from socialists. They saw him as a reactionary who represented imperialism, militarism, and the interests of the upper classes in the class war.[497] His role in opposing the General Strike earned the enmity of many strikers and most members of the Labour movement.[498] Paradoxically, Churchill was supportive of trade unionism, which he saw as the "antithesis of socialism".[499]

On the other hand, his detractors did not take Churchill's domestic reforms into account,[500] for he was in many respects a radical and a reformer,[501] but always with the intention of preserving the existing social structure, never of challenging it.[502] He could not empathise with the poor, so he sympathised with them instead,[503] displaying what Addison calls the attitude of a "benevolent paternalist".[504] Jenkins, himself a senior Labour minister, remarked that Churchill had "a substantial record as a social reformer" for his work in the early years of his ministerial career.[503] Similarly, Rhodes James thought that, as a social reformer, Churchill's achievements were "considerable".[505] This, said Rhodes James, had been achieved because Churchill as a minister had "three outstanding qualities. He worked hard; he put his proposals efficiently through the Cabinet and Parliament; he carried his Department with him. These ministerial merits are not as common as might be thought".[506]

Imperialism

British Empire at its territorial peak in 1921.

Assessments of Churchill's legacy are largely based on his leadership of the British people in the Second World War. Even so, his personal views on empire and race continue to stir intense debate. Whatever his political or reformist attitude at any time, Churchill was always staunchly an imperialist and a monarchist. He consistently exhibited a "romanticised view" of both the British Empire and the reigning monarch, especially of Elizabeth II during his last term as premier.[507][508][509]

He has been described as a "liberal imperialist"[510] who saw British imperialism as a form of altruism that benefited its subject peoples because "by conquering and dominating other peoples, the British were also elevating and protecting them".[511] Martin Gilbert asserted that Churchill held a hierarchical perspective of race, seeing racial characteristics as signs of the maturity of a society.[512] Churchill's views on race were driven by his imperialist mindset and outlook. He advocated against black or indigenous self-rule in Africa, Australia, the Caribbean, the Americas and India, believing that the British Empire promoted and maintained the welfare of those who lived in the colonies; he insisted that "our responsibility to the native races remains a real one".[343] According to Addison, Churchill was opposed to immigration from the Commonwealth[513] but, against that, Addison argues that it is misleading to describe Churchill as a racist in any modern context because the term as used now bears "many connotations which were alien to Churchill".[514] Addison makes the point that Churchill opposed anti-Semitism (as in 1904, when he was fiercely critical of the proposed Aliens Bill) and argues that he would never have tried "to stoke up racial animosity against immigrants, or to persecute minorities".[514] According to Anthony Rosenfelder, a trustee of the Jerusalem Foundation, Churchill was "a passionate Zionist all his life and a philo-semite", but Rosenfelder argued that this had been "under-recognised".[515]

Cultural depictions

While the biographies by Addison, Gilbert, Jenkins and Rhodes James are among the most acclaimed works about Churchill, he has been the subject of numerous others. Writing in 2012–13 for the International Churchill Society, Professor David Freeman counted 62 in total, excluding non-English books, to the end of the 20th century.[516]

At a public ceremony in Westminster Hall on 30 November 1954, Churchill's 80th birthday, the joint Houses of Parliament presented him with a full-length portrait of himself painted by Graham Sutherland.[517] Churchill and Clementine reportedly hated it and, later, she had it destroyed.[518][519]

Churchill has been widely depicted on stage and screen. Notable screen biopics include Young Winston (1972), directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Simon Ward; Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years (1981), starring Robert Hardy and with Martin Gilbert as co-writer; The Gathering Storm (2002), starring Albert Finney and Vanessa Redgrave; Darkest Hour (2017), starring Gary Oldman. John Lithgow played Churchill in The Crown (2016–2019). Finney, Oldman and Lithgow have all won major awards for their performances as Churchill.[520][521][522]

Family and ancestry

Marriage and children

Churchill married Clementine Hozier in September 1908.[523] They remained married for 57 years.[106] Churchill was aware of the strain that his political career placed on his marriage,[524] and, according to Colville, he had a brief affair in the 1930s with Doris Castlerosse,[525] although this is discounted by Andrew Roberts.[526]

The Churchills' first child, Diana, was born in July 1909;[527] the second, Randolph, in May 1911.[145] Their third, Sarah, was born in October 1914,[167] and their fourth, Marigold, in November 1918.[195] Marigold died in August 1921, from sepsis of the throat[528] and was buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.[529] On 15 September 1922, the Churchills' last child, Mary, was born. Later that month, the Churchills bought Chartwell, which would be their home until Winston's death in 1965.[530] According to Jenkins, Churchill was an "enthusiastic and loving father" but one who expected too much of his children.[531]

Ancestry

Ancestors of Winston Churchill[532]
8. George Spencer-Churchill, 6th Duke of Marlborough
4. John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough
9. Lady Jane Stewart
2. Lord Randolph Churchill
10. Charles Vane, 3rd Marquess of Londonderry
5. Lady Frances Anne Vane
11. Frances Anne Vane-Tempest
1. Winston Churchill
12. Isaac Jerome
6. Leonard Jerome
13. Aurora Murray
3. Jennie Jerome
14. Ambrose Hall
7. Clarissa Hall
15. Clarissa Willcox

Notes

  1. ^ The surname is the double-barrelled Spencer Churchill (unhyphenated), but he is known by the surname Churchill. His father dropped the Spencer.[1]

References

Citations

  1. ^ Price, Bill (2009). Winston Churchill: War Leader. Harpenden: No Exit Press. p. 12. ISBN 978-18-42433-22-5.
  2. ^ Jenkins 2001, p. 5.
  3. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 1; Jenkins 2001, pp. 3, 5.
  4. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 1; Best 2001, p. 3; Jenkins 2001, p. 4; Robbins 2014, p. 2.
  5. ^ Best 2001, p. 4; Jenkins 2001, pp. 5–6; Addison 2005, p. 7.
  6. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 1; Addison 2005, p. 9.
  7. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 2; Jenkins 2001, p. 7; Addison 2005, p. 10.
  8. ^ Jenkins 2001, p. 8.
  9. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 2–3; Jenkins 2001, p. 10; Reagles & Larsen 2013, p. 8.
  10. ^ Best 2001, p. 6.
  11. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 3–5; Haffner 2003, p. 12; Addison 2005, p. 10.
  12. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 6–8; Haffner 2003, pp. 12–13.
  13. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 17–19.
  14. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 22; Jenkins 2001, p. 19.
  15. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 32–33, 37; Jenkins 2001, p. 20; Haffner 2003, p. 15.
  16. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 37; Jenkins 2001, p. 20–21.
  17. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 48–49; Jenkins 2001, p. 21; Haffner 2003, p. 32.
  18. ^ Haffner 2003, p. 18.
  19. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 51; Jenkins 2001, p. 21.
  20. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 62; Jenkins 2001, p. 28.
  21. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 56, 58–60; Jenkins 2001, pp. 28–29; Robbins 2014, pp. 14–15.
  22. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 57.
  23. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 63; Jenkins 2001, p. 22.
  24. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 63; Jenkins 2001, pp. 23–24.
  25. ^ Jenkins 2001, pp. 23–24; Haffner 2003, p. 19.
  26. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 67–68; Jenkins 2001, pp. 24–25; Haffner 2003, p. 19.
  27. ^ Roberts 2018, p. 52.
  28. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 92.
  29. ^ Reagles & Larsen 2013, p. 8.
  30. ^ Addison 1980, p. 29; Reagles & Larsen 2013, p. 9.
  31. ^ Haffner 2003, p. 32; Reagles & Larsen 2013, p. 8.
  32. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 102.
  33. ^ Jenkins 2001, p. 26.
  34. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 69; Jenkins 2001, p. 27.
  35. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 69, 71; Jenkins 2001, p. 27.
  36. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 70.
  37. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 72, 75; Jenkins 2001, pp. 29–31.
  38. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 79, 81–82; Jenkins 2001, pp. 31–32; Haffner 2003, pp. 21–22.
  39. ^ Addison 1980, p. 31; Gilbert 1991, p. 81; Jenkins 2001, pp. 32–34.
  40. ^ Jenkins 2001, p. 819.
  41. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 89–90; Jenkins 2001, pp. 35, 38–39; Haffner 2003, p. 21.
  42. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 91–98; Jenkins 2001, pp. 39–41.
  43. ^ Jenkins 2001, pp. 34, 41, 50; Haffner 2003, p. 22.
  44. ^ Addison 1980, p. 32; Gilbert 1991, pp. 98–99; Jenkins 2001, p. 41.
  45. ^ Jenkins 2001, pp. 41–44.
  46. ^ Haffner 2003, p. x.
  47. ^ Jenkins 2001, p. 42.
  48. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 103–104; Jenkins 2001, pp. 45–46; Haffner 2003, p. 23.
  49. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 104.
  50. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 105; Jenkins 2001, p. 47.
  51. ^ Ridgway, Athelstan, ed. (1950). Everyman's Encyclopaedia Volume Nine: Maps to Nyasa (Third ed.). London: J.M. Dent & Sons Ltd. p. 390. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  52. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 105–106; Jenkins 2001, p. 50.
  53. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 107–110.
  54. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 111–113; Jenkins 2001, pp. 52–53; Haffner 2003, p. 25.
  55. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 115–120; Jenkins 2001, pp. 55–62.
  56. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 121; Jenkins 2001, p. 61.
  57. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 121–122; Jenkins 2001, pp. 61–62.
  58. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 123–124, 126–129; Jenkins 2001, p. 62.
  59. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 125.
  60. ^ Jenkins 2001, p. 63.
  61. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 128–131.
  62. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 135–136.
  63. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 136.
  64. ^ Jenkins 2001, p. 65.
  65. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 136–138; Jenkins 2001, pp. 68–70.
  66. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 141.
  67. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 139; Jenkins 2001, pp. 71–73.
  68. ^ Rhodes James 1970, p. 16; Jenkins 2001, pp. 76–77.
  69. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 141–144; Jenkins 2001, pp. 74–75.
  70. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 144.
  71. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 145.
  72. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 150.
  73. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 151–152.
  74. ^ Rhodes James 1970, p. 22.
  75. ^ a b Gilbert 1991, p. 162.
  76. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 153.
  77. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 152, 154.
  78. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 157.
  79. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 160; Jenkins 2001, p. 84.
  80. ^ a b Gilbert 1991, p. 165.
  81. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 165; Jenkins 2001, p. 88.
  82. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 173–174; Jenkins 2001, p. 103.
  83. ^ Gilbert 1991, pp. 174, 176.
  84. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 175; Jenkins 2001, p. 109.
  85. ^ Rhodes James 1970, p. 16; Gilbert 1991, p. 175.
  86. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 171; Jenkins 2001, p. 100.
  87. ^ Jenkins 2001, pp. 102–103.
  88. ^ Gilbert 1991, p. 172.
  89. ^ Rhodes James 1970, p. 23; Gilbert 1991, p. 174; Jenkins 2001, p. 104.
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