Winston Churchill: Britain’s Man of the Century 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 S. Churchill
It was words such as these and the certitude with which he said them that played an important role in guiding Britain’s people through the trials and tribulations of the Second World War. Churchill was also an accomplished writer who composed several campaign reports and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 for his six volume history of World War II. But there is much more to this noble man other than his tongue and his pen. Sir Winston Spencer Churchill is a great mind because of the everlasting impression he left on Britain through his genuine leadership, his firm resolution, and his unrelenting defiance.
It was divine intuition that put Winston Churchill in a position of leadership made evident by the amazing effect he had on his countrymen through the words that he spoke and through his idea of forming the “Grand Alliance”. When his speeches were broadcasted over the radio during wartime, Britain stopped. Every citizen listened to each word he said with great attentiveness. Churchill’s Blood, Sweat and Tears speech is a fine example of his beautiful art of speaking as it filled the people of Britain with much needed hope and bountiful courage:
You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air. War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us, and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.
His manner of speaking was just as important as what he was saying, hence without his brilliant oratory, Churchill would not have been as successful in politics. As far back as 1930, Winston Churchill had the idea that the only way to stop Hitler was to form the “Grand Alliance” with France and the Soviet Union. He was certain that a unified and resolute front could cause Hitler to back down. It wasn’t until 1941 that his idea was put into action, but when in place, the “Grand Alliance” was a complete success and it ended the tyranny and sadness of World War II.
Winston Churchill’s resolution exemplifies the extent of which he cared for his country and his fellow citizens. After losing a by-election as a Conservative candidate at the age of twenty-five, he left for South Africa as a war correspondent for the London Morning Post. Within a month of his arrival, he was captured acting more as a soldier than as a journalist and he was put in a P.O.W. camp in Pretoria. After one month of incarceration, Churchill made a dramatic escape from captivity, eluded one of the most publicized manhunts in history, and returned to the fighting front in Natal. These accomplishments not only illustrate Churchill’s undying patriotism, but more importantly they demonstrate his great determination as he turned a seemingly impossible situation into a conceivable one. On May 10, 1940, it was due time to confront the expanding Nazi threat to Europe and the nation turned to Winston Churchill. As Prime Minister, Churchill’s decisiveness and his relentless approach to stopping Hitler’s evil acts gave him credibility with the British people and allowed him to tackle the nearly unthinkable task ahead. Knowing that Britain presently stood alone against the merciless German military, Churchill communicated the dreadful consequences of defeat in his Their Finest Hour speech:
Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science.
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.'
This is a great example of Sir Winston Churchill’s continual resolution because it demonstrates that even when things looked their very worst for the British, Churchill gleamed optimism and determination as he lead his people through the darkness and allowed Britain to survive as a nation.
Sir Winston Churchill’s unrelenting defiance served a very significant purpose in his success and allowed him to maintain honesty within himself. In his early teenage years, he refused to study languages other than English because he felt that it would have been a waste of time. He concentrated on his own language, willingly writing English essays, and he later claimed that this was much more profitable for him. This demonstrates that even at such a young age, he was sure that this decision would be beneficial for him and his eventual success as both a writer and as an orator justified his defiance. Throughout his twenties, Churchill constantly pointed out defects in the commands and in the administration of the British army both as a soldier and as a member of Parliament for Oldham as a Conservative. Winston Churchill made enemies among the professional soldiers because of his readiness to critically contend their thoughts and views on military operation. However, it was his unrelenting defiance that gave him the opportunity to develop his own opinions rather than simply modifying others’ which made him standout as a unique individual. Soon afterwards, Churchill left the Conservative party to join the Liberals because of a disagreement between himself and Joseph Chamberlain over issues of proposed tariffs for South Africa and of military operation. A member of Parliament rarely changed parties and Churchill was execrated for years by the Conservatives for his betrayal. Unaffected by his former party, Winston Churchill, as undersecretary of state for the Liberals, played a considerable part in making peace with the Boers. His decision to leave the Conservatives was largely criticized, but the ends justified the means in this case as it led to his political greatness.
Winston Churchill lead his country with such grace through the uncertain times of war, he showed great resolve especially while Prime Minister during Britain’s darkest hour, and he also chose to defy strong opposing forces to maintain honesty within himself. On January 24, 1965, Sir Winston Churchill died of a massive stroke and was later buried in a little churchyard near Blenheim Place, his birthplace. Winston Churchill was a very kind and gentle man with a terrific sense of humour and it is safe to say that such an individual will never again come to pass. Although he lies in eternal rest today, his unmatched spirit lives on in the heart and soul of every British citizen of the past, present, and future.