united kingdontea explain

Level B2: Elementary

winston churchill statue

Statue of Winston Churchill, Parliament Square

Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

Winston Churchill was a British politician who was Prime Minister of the UK from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. He was also an officer in the British Army, a historian, a writer and an artist. He is known as one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century. He won the Nobel prize for literature and he was appointed honorary citizen of the United States. He was also named the Greatest Briton of all time in a 2002 poll.

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill was born into an aristocratic family. During his childhood he was looked after by his nanny Mrs Elizabeth to whom he was very close all his life. He was educated by a governess who taught him reading, writing and arithmetic.

In 1895 Winston joined the army. Because he wanted to be better paid he took an interest in correspondence and he tried to participate in active campaigns and that way we could act as war correspondent for several London newspapers. Here he developed a love for literature and world travel.

1895 was also the year when he made his first campaign to Cuba to observe the Spanish fight against the Cuban guerrillas. Here he acquired his fondness for cigars. Later he stayed in New York, at a home of an admirer of his mother where he discussed politics a great deal and grew to love America.

Other main destinations where he participated were in India, Sudan, South Africa and on the Western Front during the First World War. He was an important defender of the British Empire and he opposed the decolonization produced during the IXX century.

As a politician he was both in the Conservative and Liberal parties. His political career is difficult to summarize; he occupied influential positions in important institutions such as the State for the Colonies, the Board of Trade, the Dundee Constituency, the Budget League and the Admiralty.

On 10 May 1940, the Prime Minister Chamberlain resigned and recommended Churchill to replace him. The main reason was that Chamberlain thought that Churchill was a great commander, crucial for those war times.

As Prime Minister Churchill refused to sign the peace treaty with the Germans and kept the resistance alive in the British Empire in times when most people were pessimistic about Britain’s chances of victory. Beside ruling the countries Churchill had became very popular for inspiring the British during war times with touching speeches. His first speech as Prime Minister was: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”. Another famous one just before the Battle of Britain was: “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.
In June 1944 the Nazis were eventually defeated. Churchill told a huge crowd in Whitehall: “This is your victory”. The people shouted: “No, it is yours”. and then conducted them in the singing of “ Land of Hope and Glory”.

Despite his great popularity during the WWII he was defeated in 1945 election. One reason given is that British thought he wasn't the ideal person for post-war reform. Them, he led the opposition for 6 years. He was a critic of the British participation in the European Coal and Steel Community (The former European Union). He saw Britain’s role much more in-line with the United States and the rest of the Commonwealth countries.

He became Prime Minister again from 1952 to 1955. In this period Churchill’s domestic policies were overshadowed by several foreign crises resulting from the decline of British military and imperial power.

Winston died at his London house on a Sunday 24 January. He was 90. Churchill’s funeral was the largest state funeral in world history, There were representatives from 112 nations. Only China did not send an emissary. He was buried in the plot at St Martin’s Church.