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Sir William Leonard Spencer Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill was born in Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England on 30 November 1874. He was born into a family of statesmen that had been politically active since the 17th century. His childhood interest in the military led him to enroll in the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. After graduating with honors, in 1895 Churchill was promoted to second Lieutenant in the British Army and traveled around the world from Cuba to India. Churchill resigned from the military in 1899 to pursue a career in politics and journalism, as he had demonstrated talent in speaking and writing during his military service.

Winston Churchill was elected to the British House of Commons in 1900 as a Conservative Party member. After voicing strong criticism to his party's policies, especially on excessive military

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spending, Churchill "crossed the floor of the House" and joined the Liberal party. He rose rapidly through the system and held all but one major cabinet office in British government. As Adolf Hitler began expanding his power in Germany, Churchill became very critical of the British Parliament's approach to dealing with the situation. He felt that Hitler posed a major and immediate threat to Europe and encouraged a more drastic response from his government and was further infuriated when Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact with Hitler in 1938. On 10 May 1940 Chamberlain resigned as Prime Minister and Winston Churchill took over the position until July of 1945.

During the last few months of World War II, Churchill became aware of the US plans to use an atomic bomb. He gave US President Harry Truman his approval in "principle" to drop the bomb on Japan before it had been successfully tested. On 26 July 1945, during the Potsdam Conference, Truman, Churchill, and Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union issued an ultimatum to Japan. The Potsdam Declaration called on Japan to surrender unconditionally or suffer "prompt and utter destruction."

Churchill distrusted Stalin throughout the war but accepted him as an ally in the fight against Hitler. After the end of World War II, the Soviets were no longer considered an ally of Britain, and Churchill proclaimed his concern of communism in his famous "Sinews of Peace" speech in 1946. In his speech, Churchill stated, "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent." He called for strengthening solidarity in the West to oppose the communist threat, thus signifying the beginning of the Cold War.

Winston Churchill was re-elected Prime Minister in 1951 and became increasingly concerned with the threat of nuclear weapons. He worked hard to establish a summit between the USSR and western powers to reduce the threat of nuclear war. In 1953 he received the Nobel Prize in Literature for his accomplishments as a writer and an orator. Churchill resigned from office in 1955. He died on 24 January 1965 at Hyde Park Gate in London.