Reflections on Winston Churchill Essay
Winston Churchill had many accomplishments during his life. He was a remarkable politician but also a great solider, speech writer, and artist. He was considered one of the best politicians and speech writers of both his time and ours. He was born into the upper class but was able to sympathize with the poor and working class too. Churchill was loved and respected by all. Of all his great accomplishments, Churchill was best known for his two terms as prime minister.
Winston Churchill was the son of Lord Randolph Churchill and Jennie Jerome. His father was a member of parliament and various other high positions.
His mother, considered one of the most beautiful women of her time, was an American and part Cherokee Indian. Winston’s parents had a whirlwind romance and were married in Paris in early 1874. They had Winston later on that same year. Winston spent his first few years in Ireland where his father had gone to be a secretary to Winston’s grandfather, the ninth Duke of Marlborough.
When Winston was five they moved to England. Lord Randolph and Jennie were part of the upper-class English families and young Winston saw very little of them. Winston loved his mother very much and worshiped her “from a distance. Winston also followed his father’s career by cutting out newspaper stories and saving them. Like many other children of this time, a nanny named Mrs. Everest brought up Winston from infancy throughout his childhood. A young Winston Churchill nicknamed her “woom” and stayed very close to her as long as she lived. Winston parents put him a boarding school starting at age seven. The idea of going off to school terrified young Winston. His first school was Saint James with an especially strict headmaster who was notorious for his harsh physical punishment.
This was considered a public school for the upper English class, but it was really a boarding school where the students lived except for long holidays. In addition, this was an all boy’s school. Winston especially hated Latin and French and both of these classes were drilled into his head. While Winston was at Saint James he received many beatings because he was a prankster and his independent nature and quick mind caused many misunderstandings. While young Winston was at Saint James his health suffered greatly and he found it hard to keep up with his schoolwork.
Winston’s nanny and family doctor continued begging for his removal from the school until his parents finally moved him to a less strict and harsh school called Brighton, run by two elderly women. He now studied more poetry, which he loved to memorize and recite. Instead of playing rough sports such as rugby he could now ride horses and swim. Brighton loved plays and staged them very often. Winston loved to act in them and often played the lead. Even though, his parents never came to see him act he continued with his love for theater.
At the age of twelve it was time for Winston to move on to a preparatory school which prepared him for a university. Lord Randolph applied him to Harrow, one of the most well know private boarding schools. To be accepted Winston would have to pass entrance exams in many subjects including Latin. He handed in the Latin portion of his exam completely blank and had not been for his famous father Winston would never have been accepted. When the school held functions, the students marched in according to their entrance exam grades and Winston could hear all the comments about his low standing and was very shameful.
Churchill was not a very good student, but he was smart and largely self-taught. (Conan n. p. ) Young Winston Churchill went on to study military and graduated eighth in his class of 150. He was assigned second lieutenant in the queen’s army and severed many other ranks during his military career. Although Winston never saw any real military action, he did travel to Cuba and went to the front lines of the Cuban war, along with another English lieutenant, as a war correspondent. Later own, Winston returned to his regiment in India and throughout his military career worked as a war correspondent in many different places.
On one of Winston’s trips as a war correspondent, he was captured and taken as a prisoner. He finally managed to escape and went back England to begin a new chapter in his life. Winston was earning a steady salary from his newspaper war stories, two best-seller books, and his great demand for speeches. He could now follow in his father’s footsteps and focus more on politics. Winston’s first political job was in Parliament where he took his seat for the first time on February 14th. (Driemen 49) Winston Churchill was very excited to be starting his new job.
This was his second time to run for Parliament and the Liberals campaigned hard against him but it did not work. (Driemen 44) While in Parliament, Winston Churchill was called a radical and fought hard for what he believed in. During this first term, Winston changed his political party from Conservative to Liberal and this too caused great discontent with many people. Most people loved and respected Churchill for his passion of the job. He fought hard for the working class and the responsibility of the government to help the poor out of poverty.
On May 10, 1940, Winston Churchill succeeded Neville Chamberlin and took his seat as prime minister for the first time. (Dickey 283) Churchill had now served in a tremendous amount of political offices, each with even more power. Although, Churchill had taken a few years off from his political battles, the Second World War was well underway and the people demanded Winston Churchill come back to office. He began as the first lord of admiralty then became prime minister when the people demanded Chamberlin resign and Churchill fill the position. (Downing n. p. It was said, “While Chamberlin wrings his hands, Churchill shakes his fist. ” (Driemen 94) The citizens of Great Britain needed someone who would come in and take control. Churchill had always been good at war strategies, even from an early age, and loved to predict military battles. Winston was extremely excited about his new position and wrote, “…I felt as if I was walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and trial…I was sure I should not fail. ” (Driemen 95) At the age of 65, this was the goal he had always been trying to achieve, but it would be his greatest challenge.
In Churchill’s first speech to parliament as the new prime minister he said, “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat…” (Wertheimer n. p. ) This is one of his most famous speeches still today and one of his most powerful. Churchill truly gave all he had in any position he was in, but prime minister was one of his greatest. The people of Great Britain loved him for this and trusted their lives in his hands. As a sign to the people he would do everything it took and more to win this war he began holding his fingers up in a V-shape for the people. This now infamous “peace” sign stood for victory.
Winston Churchill again spoke to the people and said, “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, we shall fight in the hills…we shall never surrender! ” (Driemen 98) This speech again aroused great pride and vigor among the people. Even the President Franklin Roosevelt was moved by Churchill’s speech. After listening to it on the radio, he turned to his assistant and said, “Whatever we give to England will not be money down the drain. As long as that old so-and-so is in charge, England will never surrender. Not only did Churchill’s followers have great satisfaction with Churchill’s performance, but so did everyone else. A month after Winston Churchill gave this speech France surrendered and Hitler made a “peace offering” to England. Hitler’s idea of peace was complete control of British life by the Nazis. (Driemen 98) Churchill greatly angered Hitler when he refused his offer and braced Britain for a Nazi invasion. Hitler decided to attack by air and soon after the British took to the skies. Some pilots few as much as eighteen hours daily and shot down fifty-six enemy bombers in one day.
Hitler’s planes soon turned back and the people began to have even more faith in Churchill. The bombers continued to attack London and turned the city into ruins. 100,000 British civilians died as a result of the raids along with the huge fires that swept the cities. (Driemen 100) Winston Churchill worked vigorously to lift the spirits of the people. Many of them were forced to live in the city’s subway system and this pain and suffering deeply pained Churchill. The crowds would often shout, “He cares! He cares about us! ” (Driemen 100) This frequently brought the prime minster to tears, which only made them cheer harder.
He often raised his hand in his famous V-shape to show their country would have victory. Churchill turned to the United States for help. President Roosevelt arranged for a Lend-Lease Act and loaned the British fifty destroyers. Churchill’s speeches once again convinced Roosevelt to come to the British aid. Although the United States officially remained neutral, they sent military aid. Churchill continued to fight and drive the Nazis out. Hitler had earlier signed a treaty saying he would not invade the Soviet Union, but in July of 1941 he did.
Churchill had tried to warn Stalin and was absolutely against communism but offered his aid to this country in need. Churchill became increasingly closer friends with the American president and visited often. Churchill had now not only won the support of the British, he had now won most of the Americans too. Winston Churchill continued to risk his life flying to meetings with the American president and top leaders of other countries. (Driemen 106) Churchill believed it was extremely important to sustain good relations with these men and continue to fight for victory and peace.
It would take ten more months before Churchill could ultimately achieve this goal. (Driemen 108) After all fighting had been resolved and peace treaties signed Winston Churchill learned his Conservative party had lost the new election. (Driemen 112) This meant that the prime minister would no longer be able to keep his political seat. This pained Churchill very much, but it seemed to be a blessing in disguise. He was now seventy and feeling the terrible strain of the war years. For many months after his party being defeated and losing his title as prime minister, Churchill was in a deep depression.
The queen wanted to make Winston Churchill a nobleman but he refused this offer because it required him to resign from parliament and he was not ready to give it up yet. Churchill began to feel a little bit better when United States President Truman invited him to speak at a college ceremony. Huge crowds greeted Churchill everywhere he went during his visit to the United States. (Driemen 113) Once again, Churchill’s party was voted back into power. The people had grown tired of socialism and were ready for a change. Once the conservatives regained power Winston Churchill was immediately restored as the prime minister.
Churchill had just turned seventy-five and was not as exuberant as during his first term but he was still loved and respected by all the people. He was happy to once again be called the prime minister and achieved many more notable accomplishments. To the people’s delight, Winston returned many of the important industries back to private ownership as well as lead the country to prosperity. During his second term as prime minister, King George V died and Queen Elizabeth II took control. Churchill played a vital role in the coordination of the new monarch.
Winston Churchill suffered a stroke, and although he recovered, his health was declining. He called a summit meeting with the heads of several countries and together they formed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. (Driemen 116) This would be one of the last things he would during his second term as prime minister. A short time later, during his eightieth birthday party Churchill announced to the world the time had come for him to resign. Churchill’s late years were anything but quiet and desolate. Churchill continued to serve on parliament even though he could not be as active as before.
Churchill filled his days with painting, writing, and traveling. He made two more trips to the United States and by an act of Congress made an honorary citizen. (Driemen 117) In July of 1964, Winston appeared before parliament once more to say goodbye and the current prime minister of that time paid a special tribute to him. Years before Winston had predicted his death would be on the same day as his father. On Sunday morning January 24, 1965, Sir Winston Churchill passed away. This was exactly seventy years after his father’s death just as he predicted. Driemen 118) Sir Winston Churchill was given a funeral like that of a queen. It was held at Saint Paul’s Cathedral and millions either attended or tuned in to watch. A writer, named James Humes, describes it as this, “not so much as a funeral as a festival celebrating the greatness of one man’s humanity. ” Winston’s body was carried by a river boat then by a train before arriving near the Bleheim Castle for burial. In an unplanned event, the dock workers lowered their huge boat cranes in salute as Churchill’s body went by. (Driemen 120) This was a sign of just how much Sir Winston Churchill was truly loved.
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