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The Right Honourable
 Sir Winston Churchill
Churchill seated holding a cane and wearing a suit

Winston Churchill in the Canadian Parliament, December 1941 by Yousuf Karsh


In office
26 October 1951 – 7 April 1955
Monarch
Deputy Anthony Eden
Preceded by Clement Attlee
Succeeded by Anthony Eden
In office
10 May 1940 – 26 July 1945
Monarch George VI
Deputy Clement Attlee
Preceded by Neville Chamberlain
Succeeded by Clement Attlee

In office
26 July 1945 – 26 October 1951
Monarch George VI
Prime Minister Clement Attlee
Preceded by Clement Attlee
Succeeded by Clement Attlee

In office
9 November 1940 – 6 April 1955
Preceded by Neville Chamberlain
Succeeded by Anthony Eden

In office
28 October 1951 – 1 March 1952
Preceded by Manny Shinwell
Succeeded by Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis
In office
10 May 1940 – 26 July 1945
Preceded by Ernle Chatfield, 1st Baron Chatfield (Coordination of Defence)
Succeeded by Clement Attlee

In office
3 September 1939 – 11 May 1940
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
Preceded by James Stanhope, 7th Earl Stanhope
Succeeded by A. V. Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Hillsborough

In office
6 November 1924 – 4 June 1929
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by Philip Snowden
Succeeded by Philip Snowden

In office
13 February 1921 – 19 October 1922
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner
Succeeded by Victor Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire

In office
10 January 1919 – 13 February 1921
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by William Weir, 1st Viscount Weir
Succeeded by Frederick Guest

In office
17 July 1917 – 10 January 1919
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by Christopher Addison
Succeeded by Andrew Weir, 1st Baron Inverforth

In office
25 May 1915 – 25 November 1915
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
Preceded by Edwin Samuel Montagu
Succeeded by Herbert Samuel

In office
24 October 1911 – 25 May 1915
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
Preceded by Reginald McKenna
Succeeded by Arthur Balfour

In office
19 February 1910 – 24 October 1911
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
Preceded by Herbert Gladstone
Succeeded by Reginald McKenna

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (30 November 1874 - 24 January 1965) was a British politician, army officer, and writer, who was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. As Prime Minister, Churchill led Britain to victory in the Second World War. Ideologically an economic liberal and British imperialist, he was a Conservative until 31 May 1904 when he crossed the floor, defecting from the Conservatives to sit as a member of the Liberal Party in the House of Commons Template:Sfnm where he was a member of the Liberal Party from 1904 to 1924 before defecting to the Conservative Party, which he led from 1940 to 1955. Churchill represented five constituencies during his career as Member of Parliament (MP).

Born in Oxfordshire to an aristocratic family, Churchill was a son of Lord Randolph Churchill and Jennie Jerome. Joining the British Army, he saw action in British India, the Anglo–Sudan War, and the Second Boer War, gaining fame as a war correspondent and writing books about his campaigns. Elected an MP in 1900, initially as a Conservative, he defected to the Liberals in 1904. In H. H. Asquith's Liberal government, Churchill served as President of the Board of Trade, Home Secretary, and First Lord of the Admiralty, championing prison reform and workers' social security. During the First World War, he oversaw the Gallipoli Campaign; after it proved a disaster, he resigned from government and served in the Royal Scots Fusiliers on the Western Front. In 1917 he returned to government under David Lloyd George as Minister of Munitions, and was subsequently Secretary of State for War, Secretary of State for Air, then Secretary of State for the Colonies. After two years out of Parliament, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Stanley Baldwin's Conservative government, returning the pound sterling in 1925 to the gold standard at its pre-war parity, a move widely seen as creating deflationary pressure on the UK economy.

Out of office during the 1930s, Churchill took the lead in calling for British rearmament to counter the growing threat from Nazi Germany. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was re-appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. Following Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain's resignation in 1940, Churchill replaced him. Churchill oversaw British involvement in the Allied war effort, resulting in victory in 1945. His wartime response to the 1943 Bengal famine, which claimed an estimated three million lives, has caused controversy, and he sanctioned the 1945 bombing of Dresden, which caused tens of thousands of civilian deaths and continues to be debated. After the Conservatives' defeat in the 1945 general election, he became Leader of the Opposition. Amid the developing Cold War with the Soviet Union, he publicly warned of an "iron curtain" of Soviet influence in Europe and promoted European unity. He was re-elected prime minister in the 1951 election. His second term was preoccupied with foreign affairs, including the Malayan Emergency, Mau Mau Uprising, Korean War, Syrian crisis and a UK-backed Iranian coup. Domestically his government emphasised house-building and developed an atomic bomb. In declining health, Churchill resigned as prime minister in 1955, although he remained an MP until 1964. Upon his death in 1965, he was given a state funeral.

Widely considered one of the 20th century's most significant figures, Churchill remains popular in the UK and Western world, where he is seen as a victorious wartime leader who played an important role in defending liberal democracy from the spread of fascism. Also praised as a social reformer and writer, among his many awards was the Nobel Prize in Literature. Conversely, his imperialist and racist views—coupled with his sanctioning of human rights abuses in the suppression of anti-imperialist movements seeking independence from the British Empire—have generated considerable controversy.[1][2][3][4]

Early lifeEdit

Childhood and schooling: 1874–1895Edit

Blenheim Palace from the Water Terraces October 2016

Blenheim Palace, Churchill's ancestral home and the place of his birth

Churchill was born at his parental home, Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, on 30 November 1874,Template:Sfnm[5] at which time the United Kingdom was the dominant world power.Template:Sfn A direct descendant of the Dukes of Marlborough, his family were among the highest levels of the British aristocracy,Template:Sfnm and thus he was born into the country's governing elite.Template:Sfnm His paternal grandfather, John Spencer-Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough, had been a Member of Parliament (MP) for ten years, a member of the Conservative Party who served in the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.Template:Sfn His own father, Lord Randolph Churchill, had been elected Conservative MP for Woodstock in 1873.Template:Sfnm His mother, Jennie Churchill (née Jerome), was from an American family whose substantial wealth derived from finance.Template:Sfnm The couple had met in August 1873, and were engaged three days later, marrying at the British Embassy in Paris in April 1874.Template:Sfnm The couple lived beyond their income and were frequently in debt;Template:Sfn according to the biographer Sebastian Haffner, the family were "rich by normal standards but poor by those of the rich".Template:Sfn

ReferencesEdit

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