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Having led Britain to victory in World War II, Winston Churchill is often regarded as the greatest Briton. He was an exceptional orator, writer, and leader.
Throughout his lifetime, he achieved many things that most men wouldn’t even dare to dream of. For many around the world, Churchill is simply known as a hero.
The son of Lord Randolph Churchill and American heiress Jennie Jerome, Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was born into a life of wealth and privilege.
His father, a prominent figure in Tory politics, was a descendant of the First Duke of Marlborough. His mother was a dollar princess, a wealthy American heiress who was affluent enough to marry an English nobleman.
Churchill received his education at a boarding school for boys in London called Harrow School. Because he had low marks, he never bothered to enter Oxford or Cambridge. So, he went to military school instead. He attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1893.
Winston Churchill, the Writer
Soon after he graduated from Sandhurst, Churchill did quite a bit of traveling around the British Empire as a war correspondent.
He went to India in 1896, and in 1898, his experiences there were published in his first book. A year later, he was sent by the London Morning Post to South Africa to write about the ongoing Boer War.
Churchill was captured by the enemy as soon as he arrived. However, he managed to flee from his captors by jumping out of a bathroom window.
26-year-old Churchill became a minor celebrity in England when news of his daring escape spread. By the time he reached home, he had authored a total of five books.
Winston Churchill, the Statesman
Churchill’s first attempt to join the House of Commons wasn’t successful. He earned a seat in Parliament on his second attempt in 1900.
From then onwards, he devoted his time and energy to serving the public until his retirement. Four years after he joined the Conservatives, he crossed the floor and sided with the Liberals.
The unapologetic elitist supported progressive social reforms like public health insurance, eight-hour workdays, and a government-sanctioned minimum wage.
His actions infuriated his colleagues from the other side of the chamber, claiming he betrayed his class.
Winston Churchill, the First Lord of the Admiralty
Before Churchill led the British against the Germans as Prime Minister, he took a quick break from domestic politics to prepare his country for war as the First Lord of the Admiralty.
This position is equivalent to Secretary of the Navy in the US. Like many people, he didn’t initially see Adolf Hitler’s sudden rise to power as a threat. But when he did, he was one of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s most staunch critics.
As Germany was establishing its forces, he started advocating for British rearmament. He became the First Lord of the Admiralty on the same day the country declared war on Germany.
Churchill formed the Royal Naval Air Service, and started funding their operations. Not only did he transform the British fleet, but he also helped design one of the first tanks.
Chamberlain’s inaction led to the invasion of Norway. After earning a vote of no confidence from Parliament, King George VI chose Churchill to succeed Chamberlain as Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.
Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of Great Britain
As soon as he became Prime Minister, Churchill established his cabinet of leaders. It was composed of intelligent and highly-skilled men from Conservative, Labor, and Liberal parties.
On the 18th of June, 1940, Churchill delivered one of his most iconic speeches before his fellow statesmen, reminding his constituents that the Battle of Britain was imminent.
Churchill formed an alliance with the Soviet Union and the United States. Thanks to US President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the country was able to receive vital war supplies on credit.
Together with Roosevelt and the Soviet Union’s Joseph Stalin, Churchill created an Allied war strategy and envisioned a post-war world centered on the United Nations.
After the war, Churchill sought to implement several other social reforms across Britain, but wasn’t able to do so. Following the surrender of Germany, he wasn’t re-elected as Prime Minister. Six years after the war, he returned to office and served Britain as Prime Minister for the second time.
He gave miners better working conditions through the Mines and Quarries Act of 1954. He also set up the standards for housing through the Housing Repairs and Rent Act of 1955.
Queen Elizabeth II knighted him in 1953. That same year, his six-volume history of WWII won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Churchill was far from perfect, but many celebrate him for his unwavering courage and his refusal to give up in times of adversity.
Here are 101 quotes from Winston Churchill worth remembering:
Winston Churchill Quotes
“The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that, when nations are strong, they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are no longer strong.” – Winston Churchill
“Politics is more dangerous than war, for in war you are only killed once.” – Winston Churchill
“We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our dwellings shape us.” – Winston Churchill
“It has been said that Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” – Winston Churchill
“It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.” – Winston Churchill
“When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.” – Winston Churchill
“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” – Winston Churchill
“Dictators ride to and fro on tigers from which they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry.” – Winston Churchill
“A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” – Winston Churchill
“Employ your time in improving yourself by other men’s writings so that you shall come easily by what others have labored hard for.” – Winston Churchill
“I have never accepted what many people have kindly said, namely that I have inspired the nation. It was the nation and the race dwelling all around the globe that had the lion heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar.” – Winston Churchill
“Without a measureless and perpetual uncertainty, the drama of human life would be destroyed.” – Winston Churchill
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” – Winston Churchill
“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile – hoping it will eat him last.” – Winston Churchill
“I am easily satisfied with the very best.” – Winston Churchill
“Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.” – Winston Churchill
“Say what you have to say and the first time you come to a sentence with a grammatical ending – sit down.” – Winston Churchill
“It is no use saying ‘we are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.” – Winston Churchill
“Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say: “This was their finest hour.” – Winston Churchill
“Do not let us speak of darker days; let us speak rather of sterner days. These are not dark days: these are great days – the greatest days our country has ever lived. “ – Winston Churchill
“The English know how to make the best of things. Their so-called muddling through is simply skill at dealing with the inevitable.” – Winston Churchill
“Continuous efforts – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” – Winston Churchill
“War is mainly a catalogue of blunders.” – Winston Churchill
“In war, as in life, it is often necessary, when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might.” – Winston Churchill
“No one can guarantee success in war, but only deserve it.” – Winston Churchill
“If one has to submit, it is wasteful not to do so with the best grace possible.” – Winston Churchill
“All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honor; duty; mercy; hope.” – Winston Churchill
“Without courage, all other virtues lose their meaning.” – Winston Churchill
“Curse ruthless time! Curse our mortality. How cruelly short is the allotted span for all we must cram into it!” – Winston Churchill
“We must beware of needless innovations, especially when guided by logic.” – Winston Churchill
“One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!” – Winston Churchill
“Success is never found. Failure is never fatal. Courage is the only thing.” – Winston Churchill
“Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the hard may be; for without victory there is no survival. “ – Winston Churchill
“We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.” – Winston Churchill
“History is written by the victors.” – Winston Churchill
“The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult.” – Winston Churchill
“My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.” – Winston Churchill
“I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the ordeal of meeting me is another matter.” – Winston Churchill
“The English never draw a line without blurring it.” – Winston Churchill
“It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.” – Winston Churchill
“The price of greatness is responsibility.” – Winston Churchill
“There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.” – Winston Churchill
“To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.” – Winston Churchill
“The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.” – Winston Churchill
“You have enemies? Good. It means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” – Winston Churchill
“In finance, everything that is agreeable is unsound and everything that is sound is disagreeable.” – Winston Churchill
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill
“A state of society where men may not speak their minds cannot long endure.” – Winston Churchill
“This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” – Winston Churchill
“There is only one duty, only one safe course, and that is to try to be right and not to fear to do or say what you believe to be right.” – Winston Churchill
“It is a fine thing to be honest, but it is also very important to be right.” – Winston Churchill
“I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.” – Winston Churchill
“Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.” – Winston Churchill
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” – Winston Churchill
“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” – Winston Churchill
“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.” – Winston Churchill
“Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.” – Winston Churchill
“What is adequacy? Adequacy is no standard at all.” – Winston Churchill
“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” – Winston Churchill
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
“Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace, and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war.” – Winston Churchill
“It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.” – Winston Churchill
“Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.” – Winston Churchill
“We shall not fail or falter. We shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job.” – Winston Churchill
“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.” – Winston Churchill
“It is wonderful what great strides can be made when there is a resolute purpose behind them.” – Winston Churchill
“I never worry about action, but only inaction.” – Winston Churchill
“We are stripped bare by the curse of plenty.” – Winston Churchill
“If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.” – Winston Churchill
“Great and good are seldom the same man.” – Winston Churchill
“I always seem to get inspiration and renewed vitality by contact with this great novel land of yours which sticks up out of the Atlantic.” – Winston Churchill
“We shall show mercy, but we shall not ask for it.” – Winston Churchill
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
“All the greatest things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honour; duty; mercy; hope.” – Winston Churchill
“Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others.” – Winston Churchill
“Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.” – Winston Churchill
“The first duty of the university is to teach wisdom, not a trade; character, not technicalities. We want a lot of engineers in the modern world, but we do not want a world of engineers.” – Winston Churchill
“The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” – Winston Churchill
“When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.” – Winston Churchill
“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” – Winston Churchill
“Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.” – Winston Churchill
“If we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find we have lost the future.” – Winston Churchill
“Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.” – Winston Churchill
“If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time-a tremendous whack.” – Winston Churchill
“Do not let spacious plans for a new world divert your energies from saving what is left of the old.” – Winston Churchill
“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill
“All I can say is that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.” – Winston Churchill
“Out of intense complexities intense simplicities emerge.” – Winston Churchill
“I may be drunk, miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.” – Winston Churchill
“Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it has been said, it is the quality which guarantees all others.” – Winston Churchill
“Every man should ask himself each day whether he is not too readily accepting negative solutions.” – Winston Churchill
“The power of man has grown in every sphere, except over himself.” – Winston Churchill
“The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.” – Winston Churchill
“Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy then an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then it becomes a tyrant and, in the last stage, just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.” – Winston Churchill
“To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to change often.” – Winston Churchill
“The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” – Winston Churchill
“Broadly speaking short words are best and the old words when short, are best of all.” – Winston Churchill
“I am never going to have anything more to do with politics or politicians. When this war is over I shall confine myself entirely to writing and painting.” – Winston Churchill
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, it’s also what it takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
“There is always much to be said for not attempting more than you can do and for making a certainty of what you try. But this principle, like others in life and war, has it exceptions.” – Winston Churchill
“Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill