| Great British politician and statesman, he served as
prime-minister twice, most notably in 1940-1945, gaining the fame of
one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century. A respectable
orator, historian, writer and an artist, Churchill was also an officer
in the British Army.
Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was born on 30 November 1874 in the
aristocratic family of the dukes of Marlborough. In 1894 he graduated
from the Sandhurst Royal Military College, and in 1895 was commissioned
Second Lieutenant in a cavalry regiment. In 1896-1900 he took part, as
an observer and soldier in colonial wars in India, Sudan and South
Africa (Boer War), all recorded in the books he wrote afterwards.
Upon returning to Britain, Churchill retired from the active service
and started political career as a member of the Parliament for the
Conservative Party. Since 1908 he held various governmental offices,
most notably the First Lord of Admiralty (24 October 1911). While in
the office, he eagerly promoted expansion and technological advancement
of the Royal Navy. He resigned from the Admiralty and the government in
1915 in wake of the disastrous fiasco of the Allied landing in
Gallipoli, to which he was one of the main engineer.
In 1916 Churchill served on the Western front, advancing to the rank of
Lieutenant-Colonel. In 1917 he returned to the politics as the Minister
of Munitions, and the Secretary of State for War (1919). A major
preoccupation of his at that time was the Russian civil war. As a
staunch "bulwark of the British Empire", he declared that the Russian
revolution must be "strangled in its cradle", and became one of the
architects of the foreign intervention in Russia.
After Britain's withdrawal from Russia, Churchill held various posts in
the government. People of that time, as well as economists and
historians have been criticizing his unpopular decisions, especially
financial measures. He also made a lot of damage to his own reputation
while praising Italian fascism and its dictator, Benito Mussolini. When
the Conservative Party lost the election in 1929, Churchill fell into
political isolation, and spent few next years in seclusion,
concentration on his private life and historical writings.
With the rise of Adolf Hitler to power in Germany, Churchill returned
to politics as an adamant enemy of the German Nazism and outspoken
opponent of the policy of "appeasement", that is making compromise with
Hitler's aggressive policy. He was one of the firs, and few, British
politicians, who recognized the danger of a new world war and advocated
the necessity to mount a broad coalition of European countries to keep
Germany at bay.
After the outbreak of the Second World War, on 3 September 1939, the
day Britain declared war on Germany, Churchill was appointed again the First Lord of the Admiralty and a member of
prime-minister Neville Chamberlain's War Cabinet. On 10 May 1940, hours
after the German invasion of France and the Low Countries, as well as
in view of earlier debacles, Chamberlain resigned and king
George VI asked Churchill to be the prime-minister.
As the prime-minister of the coalition War Cabinet, and the Minister of
Defence, Churchill led his nation through the Second World War. Despite
of his staunch enmity towards the communism, he made the alliance with
the Soviet Union, and played a key role in creating of the anti-fascist
coalition. He was also an architect of the Atlantic Charter and
presided over the Allies' conferences in Casablanca, Quebec, Cairo,
Teheran, Yalta and Potsdam.
After the Second World War, although defeated in 1945 election,
Churchill continued to have an impact on world affairs. During his 1946
to the United States he gave his infamous "Iron Curtain" speech about
the USSR and the creation of the Eastern Bloc, which marked the
beginning of so-called "Cold War" - the global opposition of two
political blocs. He was the prime-minister in 1951-1955 again, but
after a series of strokes Churchill's physical and mental health
started deteriorating quickly, forcing him to retire from public life.
He died on 24 January 1965 in his estate at Chartwell, Kent.