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Winston Churchill

Summary:
On November 30th, 1874, a remarkable man was born as Winston Churchill came into the world at Blenheim Palace, ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough. Although the family was wealthy, he himself was not, and at many times in his life, especially in the wilderness years of the 1930s, he supported himself by his writing skills, and received backing from patrons who supported his stance.He gained early fame as an army officer and war correspondent, including an escape from imprisonment by the Boers in South Africa. During his political career he represented five constituencies, first as a Conservative, then as a Liberal, and finally as a Conservative again.He was out of power and influence in the 1930s when the UK’s policy was one of appeasement to the growing might of Nazi Germany.

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On November 30th, 1874, a remarkable man was born as Winston Churchill came into the world at Blenheim Palace, ancestral home of the Dukes of Marlborough. Although the family was wealthy, he himself was not, and at many times in his life, especially in the wilderness years of the 1930s, he supported himself by his writing skills, and received backing from patrons who supported his stance.

He gained early fame as an army officer and war correspondent, including an escape from imprisonment by the Boers in South Africa. During his political career he represented five constituencies, first as a Conservative, then as a Liberal, and finally as a Conservative again.

He was out of power and influence in the 1930s when the UK’s policy was one of appeasement to the growing might of Nazi Germany. Churchill warned of their menace and called for rearmament to resist the threat they posed. When war did break out, Churchill was made First Lord of the Admiralty, a post he had held in the First World War, and became Prime Minister in May, 1940, when Chamberlain lost the support of the House and resigned.

Churchill’s enduring fame is as war leader, the man who stubbornly refused to surrender against superior forces, and who ultimately led his country to victory alongside its Allies. He did many things wrong in his political life, and made many wartime decisions that led to disastrous outcomes. But he did one thing right that made up for all the wrong ones. He held out against the unspeakable evil that was Nazism, and saved the world from what he called “a new dark age.”

Many accolades were bestowed. He was reportedly offered the Dukedom of London, and would have been the first non-royal duke since Wellington. He declined, saying there was no higher honour than serving in His Majesty’s House of Commons.

He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature for his “History of the English-Speaking Peoples.” It was almost certainly a reward for winning the war, but they could hardly have given him the Peace Prize as a war leader.

A major poll conducted by BBC2 in 2002 sought to establish whom the British thought was the greatest Briton in History. Despite heavyweight candidates such as William Shakespeare, Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin, Churchill topped the poll.

He showed what character can achieve if one is prepared to buck the trend and swim against the tide, holding out for one’s convictions with tenacity. He gambled and won the big one, despite losing several of the smaller ones. The appreciation for him was never stronger than on VE Day, when he joined the King and Queen on the balcony at Buckingham Palace. Earlier that day he had told the cheering crowds, “In all our long history, we have never seen a greater day than this.” He led the nation in making it happen.

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