Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer
Churchill, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer (1874-1965), became one of the greatest statesmen in world history. Churchill reached the height of his fame as the heroic prime minister of the United Kingdom during World War II. He offered his people only "blood, toil, tears, and sweat" as they struggled to keep their freedom. Churchill also was a noted speaker, author, painter, soldier, and war reporter.
Sir Winston Churchill
Early in World War II, the United Kingdom stood alone against Nazi Germany. The British people refused to give in despite the tremendous odds against them. Churchill's personal courage, the magic of his words, and his faith in victory inspired the British to "their finest hour." The mere sight of this stocky, determined man—a cigar in his mouth and two fingers raised high in a "V for victory" salute—cheered the people. Churchill seemed to be John Bull, the symbol of the English people, come to life.
Churchill not only made history, he also wrote it. As a historian, war reporter, and biographer, he showed a matchless command of the English language. In 1953, he won the Nobel Prize for literature. Yet as a schoolboy, he had been the worst student in his class. Churchill spoke as he wrote—clearly, vividly, majestically. Yet he had stuttered as a boy.
The vigor of Churchill's body equaled that of his mind. His tremendous physical endurance allowed him to live a long, eventful life. In youth, his boundless energy found release on the battlefield. Churchill loved the rough and ready life of a soldier, but he also had great sensitivity. He expressed this side of his nature beautifully in his paintings.
Churchill entered the service of his country in 1895 as an army lieutenant under Queen Victoria. He ended his career in 1964 as a member of the House of Commons under Queen Elizabeth II, Queen Victoria's great-great-granddaughter. Few men ever served their country so long or so well.
Boyhood and education. Winston Churchill was born on Nov. 30, 1874, in Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, England. He was the elder of the two sons of Lord Randolph Churchill (1849-1895) and Lady Churchill (1854-1921), an American girl whose maiden name was Jennie Jerome. Lord Randolph was the third son of the seventh Duke of Marlborough. The first Duke of Marlborough had been one of England's greatest military commanders. Winston's mother was famous for her beauty. Her father, Leonard Jerome, made and lost several fortunes in business.
Young Winston, a chunky lad with a mop of red hair, had an unhappy boyhood. He talked with a stutter and lisp, and did poorly in his schoolwork. His stubbornness and high spirits annoyed everyone. In addition, his parents had little time for him.
Winston stood in fear and wonder of his father. Lord Randolph, a leader in the Conservative party, showed little affection for Winston. Winston's mother charmed everyone with her beauty and wit. As...