In the 11th hour of World War II, Winston Churchill is forced to resign as British prime minister following his party’s electoral defeat by the Labour Party. It was the first general election held in Britain in more than a decade. The same day, Clement Attlee, the Labour leader, was sworn in as the new British leader.
Born at Blenheim Palace in 1874, Churchill joined the British Fourth Hussars upon his father’s death in 1895. During the next five years, he enjoyed an illustrious military career, serving in India, the Sudan, and South Africa, and distinguishing himself several times in battle. In 1899, he resigned his commission to concentrate on his literary and political career and in 1900 was elected to Parliament as a Conservative MP from Oldham. In 1904, he joined the Liberals, serving in a number of important posts before being appointed Britain’s First Lord of the Admiralty in 1911, where he worked to bring the British navy to a readiness for the war he foresaw.
In 1915, in the second year of World War I, Churchill was held responsible for the disastrous Dardanelles and Gallipoli campaigns, and he was excluded from the war coalition government. He resigned and volunteered to command an infantry battalion in France. However, in 1917, he returned to politics as a cabinet member in the Liberal government of Lloyd George. From 1919 to 1921, he was secretary of state for war and in 1924 returned to the Conservative Party, where two years later he played a leading role in the defeat of the General Strike of 1926. Out of office from 1929 to 1939, Churchill issued unheeded warnings of the threat of Nazi and Japanese aggression.
READ MORE: Winston Churchill's World War Disaster
After the outbreak of World War II in Europe, Churchill was called back to his post as First Lord of the Admiralty and eight months later replaced the ineffectual Neville Chamberlain as prime minister of a new coalition government. In the first year of his administration, Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany, but Churchill promised his country and the world that the British people would “never surrender.” He rallied the British people to a resolute resistance and expertly orchestrated Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin into an alliance that eventually crushed the Axis.
In July 1945, a few weeks before the defeat of Japan in World War II, his Conservative government suffered an electoral loss against Clement Attlee’s Labour Party, and Churchill resigned as prime minister. He became leader of the opposition and in 1951 was again elected prime minister. Two years later, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for his six-volume historical study of World War II and for his political speeches. In 1955, he retired as prime minister but remained in Parliament until 1964, the year before his death.
READ MORE: FDR, Churchill and Stalin: Inside Their Uneasy WWII Alliance
The Accident And Prescription For Alcohol
“I certainly suffered every pang, mental and physical, that a street accident or, I suppose, a shell wound can produce. None is unendurable. There is neither the time nor the strength for self-pity. There is no room for remorse or fears.”
— Winston Churchill, “My New York Misadventure”, The Daily Mail
In December of 1931 Churchill visited New York on a lecture tour. According to The International Churchill Society, he was attempting to generate some funds to offset stock market losses. Later one night before he decided to head to bed, a friend staying nearby invited him over for a social gathering.
Churchill headed out, knowing the roundabout address of this friend. He hailed a taxi and headed out to Fifth Avenue in the general area of the home he visited previously. When he thought he had arrived, he had the cab stop and decided to cross the street to confirm his location.
As mentioned in countless movies, jokes, and social commentaries, Americans and the British drive on opposite sides of the road. As Churchill left the cab, he turned his head to the direction he’d normally expect a vehicle to come from on his side of the street. He had more than enough time to cross and went on his way.
Lights suddenly appeared coming from the opposite direction and he walked into a car. Churchill recalled a voice shouting someone had been killed and came to his senses noticing a police officer standing above him. He was taken to a local hospital where he asked for some sort of pain killer.
Churchill noted that doctors at the hospital said he seemed confused at points, but apparently his mind cleared up quickly. He was suddenly up in his bed writing about the incident and sold the story to the Daily Mail for $2500. The Churchill Society says the money was used on a trip to the Bahamas to recover from the injuries.
He’d later reflect on the accident saying:
“I do not understand why I was not broken like an egg-shell or squashed like a gooseberry. I have seen that the poor policeman who was killed on the Oxford road was hit by a vehicle travelling at very much the same speed and was completely shattered. I certainly must be very tough or very lucky, or both.”
Churchill also still had to finish his lecture tour while still in some pain from the accident. According to the Plymouth Guide, Dr. Otto Pickhardt, who treated Churchill, came up with a solution.
He wrote the future Prime Minister a doctor’s note for alcohol to treat whatever residual pain occurred. Not only was it an excuse note but gave a “minimum” alcohol dose for his patient.
This was a good thing because Churchill was a fan of Johnny Walker Red Label and Pol Roger Champagne. Bruk in her article also points out he’d leave room for fine brandy later in the evening as well. After all, he had to meet his minimum dose for the day.
He Joined The Fraternity in 1901
Winston Churchill was initiated into Freemasonry on 24th May 1901, into the Studholme Lodge No. 1591.
Military and political colleagues surrounded him. At the time, the brotherhood, just like other fellowship societies, was a fashionable social pursuit.
The Studholme Lodge records confirm the date above, his address at 105 Mount Street, age 26, and occupation as an MP (Member of Parliament.)
In his autobiography, Viscount Mersey states that…
‘that month I was initiated as a Freemasonry Studholme Lodge (1591). While waiting for the ceremony I walked round and round Golden Square with Winston Churchill, another candidate….’ (page 188)
Two months later, on 19th July, Churchill was graduated to the 2nd degree.
On 5th March 1902, he became a Master Mason. All of the three ceremonies were conducted in Studholme Lodge.
Following his defeat in the 1945 general election, Churchill became the Leader of the Opposition. His wartime reputation was such that he retained international respect and was able to make his views widely known. [ citation needed ]
Speech in Fulton, Missouri Edit
In 1946, Churchill was in America for nearly three months from early January to late March.  It was on this trip that he gave his "Iron Curtain" speech about the USSR and its creation of the Eastern Bloc.  Speaking on 5 March 1946 in the company of President Truman at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, Churchill declared: 
From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere.
The essence of Churchill's view was that the Soviet Union did not want war with the western Allies but that its entrenched position in Eastern Europe had made it impossible for the three great powers to provide the world with a "triangular leadership". Churchill's desire was much closer collaboration between Britain and America, but he emphasised the need for co-operation within the framework of the United Nations Charter.  Within the same speech, he called for "a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States". 
In 1947, according to a memorandum from the FBI's archives, Churchill allegedly urged the US to conduct a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the Soviet Union in order to win the Cold War while they had the chance. He reportedly spoke to right-wing Republican senator Styles Bridges, asking him to persuade Truman to launch a strike against Moscow to destroy the Kremlin and make it easy to handle the directionless Russia. The memorandum claims Churchill "stated that the only salvation for the civilization of the world would be if the President of the United States would declare Russia to be imperiling world peace and attack Russia". Russia would have been defenseless against a nuclear strike at the time of the Churchill's proposal, since the Soviets did not obtain the atomic bomb until 1949.  Churchill's personal physician, Lord Moran, recalled that he had already advocated a nuclear strike against the Soviets during a conversation in 1946.  Later, Churchill was instrumental in giving France a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, providing another European power to counter-balance the Soviet Union's permanent seat. 
Churchill was an early supporter of pan-Europeanism as, in the summer of 1930, he had written an article calling for a "United States of Europe", although it included the qualification that Britain must be "with Europe but not of it".  In a speech at the University of Zurich in 1946, he repeated this call and proposed creation of the Council of Europe. This would be centred around a Franco-German partnership, with Britain and the Commonwealth, and perhaps the United States of America, as "friends and sponsors of the new Europe". Churchill expressed similar sentiments during a meeting of the Primrose League at the Royal Albert Hall on 18 May 1947. He declared: "Let Europe arise", but he was "absolutely clear" that "we shall allow no wedge to be driven between Britain and the United States". In 1948, he participated in the Hague Congress, discussing the future structure and role of the Council, which was finally founded as the first pan-European institution through the Treaty of London on 5 May 1949.  
In June 1950, Churchill was strongly critical of the Attlee government's failure to send British representatives to Paris to discuss the Schuman Plan for setting up the European Coal and Steel Community, saying that: "les absents ont toujours tort" ("the absent are always wrong").  However, he still did not want Britain to actually join any federal grouping nevertheless, he is listed today as one of the "Founding fathers of the European Union".   After returning as Prime Minister, Churchill issued a note for the Cabinet on 29 November 1951 in which he listed Britain's foreign policy priorities as Commonwealth unity and consolidation, "fraternal association" of the English-speaking world (i.e., the Commonwealth and the US), and a "United Europe, to which we are a closely and specially-related ally and friend. (it is) only when plans for uniting Europe take a federal form that we cannot take part, because we cannot subordinate ourselves or the control of British policy to federal authorities". 
Partition of India Edit
Churchill continued to oppose the release of India from British control. In a speech to the House of Commons in early March 1947, he warned against handing power to an India government too soon because he believed the political parties in India did not truly represent the people, and that in a few years no trace of the new government would remain. [ citation needed ]
It was during his opposition years that Churchill twice expounded his views on Ireland to successive Irish ambassadors in London. In November 1946, he met John W. Dulanty and told him: "I said a few words in parliament the other day about your country because I still hope for a united Ireland. You must get those fellows in the north in, though you can't do it by force. There is not, and never was, any bitterness in my heart towards your country".  In May 1951, he met Dulanty's successor Frederick Boland and said: "You know I have had many invitations to visit Ulster but I have refused them all. I don't want to go there at all, I would much rather go to southern Ireland. Maybe I'll buy another horse with an entry in the Irish Derby".  Churchill had happy childhood memories of Ireland from his father's time there as private secretary to the lord lieutenant of Ireland from 1876 to 1880. 
The Second World War (book series) Edit
In the late 1940s, Churchill wrote and published six volumes of World War II memoirs. The series is entitled The Second World War and added his personal thoughts, beliefs and experiences to the historical record as he interpreted it. Churchill traded the literary rights to his books in return for double the salary he made as Prime Minister. Major points in Churchill's books included his disgust in the handling of Hitler prior to the outbreak of war, primarily with the policy of appeasement which the British and French governments pursued until 1939. [ citation needed ]
Election result and cabinet appointments Edit
The Conservatives won the general election in October 1951 with an overall majority of 17 seats and Churchill again became prime minister, remaining in office until his resignation on 5 April 1955.  As in his wartime administration, he appointed himself as Minister of Defence, but only on a temporary basis. On 1 March 1952, he handed over to the reluctant Field Marshal Alexander, who had been serving as Governor General of Canada since 1946.  Eden was restored to Foreign Affairs and Rab Butler became Chancellor. 
A significant appointment was Harold Macmillan as Minister of Housing and Local Government with a manifesto commitment to build 300,000 new houses per annum. Macmillan achieved his target and, in October 1954, was promoted to replace Alexander at Defence.  Housing was Churchill's only real domestic concern as he was preoccupied with foreign affairs. His government introduced some reforms including the Housing Repairs and Rents Act 1954 which inter alia addressed the issue of slums, and the Mines and Quarries Act 1954, which in some respects was a precursor to health and safety legislation. Churchill was, however, greatly concerned about immigration from the West Indies and Ian Gilmour records him saying in 1955: "I think it is the most important subject facing this country, but I cannot get any of my ministers to take any notice". 
Health issues to eventual resignation Edit
Churchill was just short of his 77th birthday when he became prime minister again and he was not in good health. The main worry was that he had had a number of minor strokes and he was not heeding their warnings.  In December 1951, George VI had become concerned about Churchill's decline and resolved to broach the subject in the new year by asking Churchill to stand down in favour of Eden, but the King had his own serious health issues and died on 6 February without making the request. 
Because of Churchill's health and his evident inability to focus on paperwork, he was not expected to remain in office for more than a year or so, but he constantly delayed resignation until finally his health necessitated it. One of the main reasons for the delay was that his designated successor Eden also suffered a serious long-term health issue, following a botched abdominal operation in April 1953.  George VI was succeeded by Elizabeth II, with whom Churchill developed a close friendship.  Some of Churchill's colleagues hoped that he might retire after her Coronation in June 1953 but, in response to Eden's illness, Churchill decided to increase his own responsibilities by taking over at the Foreign Office.    Eden was incapacitated until the end of the year and was never completely well again. 
Possibly because of the extra strain, Churchill suffered a serious stroke on the evening of 23 June 1953. Despite being partially paralysed down one side, he presided over a cabinet meeting the next morning without anybody noticing his incapacity. Thereafter his condition deteriorated, and it was thought that he might not survive the weekend. Had Eden been fit, Churchill's premiership would most likely have been over. News of his illness was kept from the public and from Parliament, who were told that Churchill was suffering from exhaustion. He went home to Chartwell to recuperate and it was not until November that he was fully recovered.    Aware that he was slowing down both physically and mentally, he retired as prime minister in April 1955 and was succeeded by Eden. 
Foreign affairs Edit
The special relationship Edit
Apart from his determination to remain in office for as long as possible, Churchill's main preoccupation throughout his second premiership was with foreign affairs and especially Anglo-American relations. The catalyst for his concern was the H-bomb as he feared a global conflagration and he believed that the only way to preserve peace and freedom was to build on a solid foundation of friendship and co-operation (the "special relationship") between Britain and America. Churchill made four official transatlantic visits from January 1952 to July 1954. 
Decline of empire Edit
The decline of the British Empire had been accelerated by the Second World War and the post-war Labour government pursued a policy of decolonisation. Churchill and his supporters believed that maintenance of Britain's position as a world power depended on the empire's continued existence.  A key location was the Suez Canal which gave Britain a pre-eminent position in the Middle East, despite the loss of India in 1947. Churchill was, however, obliged to recognise Colonel Nasser's revolutionary government of Egypt, which took power in 1952. Much to Churchill's private dismay, agreement was reached in October 1954 on the phased evacuation of British troops from their Suez base. In addition, Britain agreed to terminate her rule in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan by 1956, though this was in return for Nasser's abandonment of Egyptian claims over the region.  Elsewhere, the Malayan Emergency, a guerrilla war fought by pro-independence fighters against Commonwealth forces, had begun in 1948 and continued past Malayan independence (1957) until 1960. Churchill's government maintained the military response to the crisis and adopted a similar strategy for the Mau Mau Uprising in Kenya (1952–1960). 
Churchill and Truman Edit
Churchill and Eden visited Washington in January 1952.  The Truman Administration was supporting the plans for a European Defence Community (EDC), hoping that this would allow controlled West German rearmament and enable American troop reductions. Churchill affected to believe that the proposed EDC would not work, scoffing at the supposed difficulties of language.  Churchill asked in vain for a US military commitment to support Britain's position in Egypt and the Middle East (where the Truman Administration had recently pressured Attlee not to intervene against Mossadeq in Iran) this did not meet with American approval—the US expected British support to fight communism in Korea, but saw any US commitment to the Middle East as supporting British imperialism, and were unpersuaded that this would help prevent pro-Soviet regimes from coming to power. 
Churchill and Eisenhower Edit
Churchill had enjoyed a good political relationship with Truman but was uneasy about the election of Eisenhower in November 1952 and told Colville soon afterwards that he feared war had just become more probable. By July 1953, he was deeply regretting that the Democrats had not been returned and told Colville that Eisenhower as president was "both weak and stupid". The main problem, in Churchill's eyes, was John Foster Dulles, the new Secretary of State, whom he distrusted.  Churchill believed that Eisenhower did not fully comprehend the danger posed by the H-bomb: Churchill saw it in terms of horror, Eisenhower as merely the latest improvement in military firepower. 
After Stalin's death on 5 March 1953, Churchill proposed a summit meeting with the Soviets but Eisenhower refused out of fear that the Soviets would use it for propaganda.    Churchill persisted with his view before and after his stroke, but Eisenhower and Dulles continued to discourage him. One explanation for their cool response was that this was the McCarthy era in the US and Dulles took a Manichean view of the Cold War, but this just added to Churchill's frustration.   Churchill met Eisenhower to no avail at the Bermuda Conference in December 1953  and in June/July 1954 at the White House.  At the latter, Churchill became annoyed about friction between Eden and Dulles over US actions in Guatemala. By the autumn of 1954, Churchill was threatening, but also postponing, his resignation. In the end it was the Soviets who proposed a four-power summit, but it didn't meet until 18 July 1955, three months after Churchill had retired.  
After his stroke, Churchill carried on through 1954 until, aware that he was slowing down both physically and mentally, he retired as prime minister in April 1955 and was succeeded by Eden.  Elizabeth II offered to create Churchill Duke of London, but this was declined as a result of the objections of his son Randolph, who would have inherited the title on his father's death.  He did, however, accept the Order of the Garter to become Sir Winston. Although publicly supportive, Churchill was privately scathing about Eden's handling of the Suez Crisis and Clementine believed that many of his visits to the United States in the following years were attempts to help repair Anglo-American relations.  Churchill reportedly said about Suez: "I would never have done it without squaring the Americans, and once I'd started I'd never have dared stop". 
After leaving the premiership, Churchill never again spoke in the Commons, though he remained an MP and occasionally voted in parliamentary divisions. By the time of the 1959 general election, he seldom attended at all. Despite the Conservative landslide under Macmillan's leadership in 1959, Churchill's own majority in Woodford fell by more than a thousand. After that election, he became Father of the House, the MP with the longest continuous service: he had already gained the distinction of being the only MP to be elected under both Queen Victoria and Elizabeth II. He spent most of his retirement at Chartwell or at his London home in Hyde Park Gate, and became a habitué of high society at La Pausa on the French Riviera. He stood down as an MP before the 1964 general election. 
In June 1962, when he was 87, Churchill had a fall in Monte Carlo and broke his hip. He was flown home to a London hospital where he remained for three weeks. Jenkins says that Churchill was never the same after this accident and his last two years were something of a twilight period.  In 1963, US President John F. Kennedy, acting under authorisation granted by an Act of Congress, proclaimed him an Honorary Citizen of the United States, but he was unable to attend the White House ceremony.  There has been speculation that he became very depressed in his final years but this has been emphatically denied by his personal secretary Anthony Montague Browne, who was with him for his last ten years. Montague Browne wrote that he never heard Churchill refer to depression and certainly did not suffer from it. 
On 27 July 1964, Churchill was present in the House of Commons for the last time, and one day later, on 28 July, a deputation headed by the Prime Minister, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, presented Churchill with a Resolution which had been carried unanimously by the House of Commons. The ceremony was held in Churchill's London home at 28 Hyde Park Gate, and was witnessed by Clementine and his children and grandchildren: 
That this House desire to take this opportunity of marking the forthcoming retirement of the right honourable Gentleman the Member for Woodford by putting on record its unbounded admiration and gratitude for his services to Parliament, to the nation and to the world remembers, above all, his inspiration of the British people when they stood alone, and his leadership until victory was won and offers its grateful thanks to the right honourable Gentleman for these outstanding services to this House and to the nation.
Churchill suffered his final stroke on 12 January 1965. He died nearly two weeks later on the 24th, which was the seventieth anniversary of his father's death. He was given a state funeral six days later on Thursday, 30 January, the first for a non-royal person since W. E. Gladstone in 1898.  Planning for his funeral had begun in 1953 under the code-name of "Operation Hope Not" and a detailed plan had been produced by 1958.  His coffin lay in state at Westminster Hall for three days and the funeral ceremony was at St Paul's Cathedral.  Afterwards, the coffin was taken by boat along the River Thames to Waterloo Station and from there by a special train to the family plot at St Martin's Church, Bladon, near his birthplace at Blenheim Palace.  On 9 February 1965, Churchill's estate was probated at £304,044 (equivalent to £5,930,235 in 2019) of which £194,951 (equivalent to £3,802,428 in 2019) was left following payment of death duties.  
6 He Supported Eugenics
As a young man, Churchill proudly declared, &ldquoThe improvement of the British breed is my aim in life.&rdquo This wasn&rsquot a statement about his desire to expand territory or improve social policies. He was talking about eugenics.
Churchill was a strong supporter of sterilizing what he called &ldquothe unfit&rdquo to cut them out of the gene pool. He wrote that the mentally handicapped and unwell &ldquoconstitute a national and race danger which is impossible to exaggerate.&rdquo
In 1907, he supported a recommendation to sterilize the mentally handicapped&mdashand he didn&rsquot stop there. There are countless letters from Churchill in which he asked for recommendations on the best ways to keep unfit people from breeding.
Queen Elizabeth II and Winston Churchill's unlikely friendship
So strong was the relationship between the two that the Queen wrote the former prime minister a handwritten letter when he retired and broke protocol at his funeral.
As we know, Queen Elizabeth meets with the prime minister for weekly catch-ups, of which no record is kept. Over her reign, she has met with 15 prime ministers, including current PM Boris Johnson. The chat range from political to personal, and over the years stories have emerged that tell tales of how the Queen's meeting with Mr Churchill stretched from 30 minutes to two hours.
Conservative Party leader Winston Churchill speaking to Princess Elizabeth at the opening of the International Youth Centre, Chigwell, London, July 12th 1951. (Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Sir Winston served as Prime Minister from 1940 to 1945, then again from 1951 to 1955 and was the first leader Queen Elizabeth worked with when she ascended the throne in 1952.
According to the Daily Mirror, the Queen reportedly wrote Sir Winston a heartbreaking, handwritten letter after he retired in 1955, saying how much she would miss him.
She wrote that no other Prime Minister would "ever for me be able to hold the place of my first prime minister, to whom both my husband and I owe so much and for whose wise guidance during the early years of my reign I shall always be so profoundly grateful".
Years later, when Churchill died in 1965, Queen Elizabeth broke protocol by arriving at his funeral before his family. Protocol states that the Queen is supposed to be the last person to arrive at any function, but in this instance, she wanted to be respectful to the Churchill family.
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill is best known for his role as Prime Minister of Britain during World War II. Although he had a primary role in that conflict, he also had an illustrious and successful career as a statesman both before and after the war. His involvement in politics lasted for 64 years, a testament to his enduring popularity and excellent leadership.
Churchill was born into a privileged but not wealthy family, and early on began to make his own way in the world. He did not complete secondary school, but instead graduated from the Royal Military College, and while on leave in 1895 served as a military observer and correspondent during the Spanish-American War in Cuba.
After returning to the British army, he went to India for several years, and in 1899 became a war correspondent in South Africa during the Boer War. Captured as a prisoner of war, Churchill made a daring escape that brought him into the public eye. The proceeds from his memoirs of the experience allowed him to enter Parliament in 1901, initially in the Conservative Party. However, sympathy for the Boer cause and opposition to the new tariff laws of Prime Minister Joseph Chamberlain led him to join the Liberal party in 1904.
Churchill managed to wield a great deal of power during these years he helped negotiate an end to the Boer War and participated in the creation of the welfare state, which introduced health care and insurance, the minimum wage, and imposed a limit on work hours. Moreover, he was crucial in changing naval ships from coal-burning to oil-fueled, helped form a naval air service, and was involved in the development of the tank.
When World War I broke out in 1914, he immediately joined the naval forces, leading to the failed Dardanelles campaign, an event that seemed to signal the end of his political career: he took full responsibility and resigned. In 1916 he rejoined the army, but soon after was recalled by the new Prime Minister, Lloyd George, and became the Minister of Munitions and later the Secretary of War.
In 1922 Churchill lost his seat in Parliament, but rejoined the Conservative party in 1924, where he served as the Chancellor of the Exchequer. However, he left office in 1929 and spent the next ten years developing his love for painting and writing several books. He also began to predict the danger of an impending war, but was unable to sway the appeasement government of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin. But Churchill sensed that British involvement in World War II was inevitable and returned to the government as First Lord of the Admiralty. In 1940 he became the Prime Minister and remained in this position for the next five years.
The defeat of France, the Soviet Union’s nonaggression pact with Germany, and the official neutrality of the United States meant that Britain became almost solely responsible for waging war against Hitler. It was during the darkest days when Germany launched a massive aerial bombing campaign, the Battle of Britain, that Churchill’s stubbornness and tenacity became a symbol of the “never say die attitude” of the British people.
Finally, however, in late 1940 Churchill and Britain began to receive assistance from President Franklin Roosevelt and the United States, who provided indispensable aid in the form of naval destroyers, tanks, and weaponry through the policy of lend-lease.
In June 1941 Germany broke its nonaggression pact and invaded the Soviet Union. Later that year, in December, Japan attacked American naval bases at Pearl Harbor, officially drawing the United States into the war. Churchill was quick to see the folly of Germany’s and Japan’s decisions to declare war on the Soviet Union and the United States respectively, and immediately took advantage of these mistakes. He helped form the Grand Alliance comprised of the United States, the Soviet Union, and Britain, and through this coalition was instrumental in the eventual defeat of Nazi Germany.
Before the war ended, Churchill was ousted from power when the Liberal Party won the general elections of 1945. For the next several years, Churchill remained in private life, working on his autobiography, a history of World War II, and his painting. Nevertheless, he remained an influential character in England, frequently speaking out against the spread of communism. In 1951 he was reelected as Prime Minister at the age of 77. He resigned in 1955, but remained a Member of Parliament until 1964.
Churchill died at the age of 90 on 24 January 1965, but not before becoming a Knight of the Garter, an honorary citizen of the United States, and the winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature (1953).
Winston Churchill’s farewell from the Commons
The former prime minister made his final appearance at Parliament on 28 July 1964.
When offered the Order of the Garter after his defeat in the 1945 election, Winston Churchill turned it down. The electorate, he said, had already given him the Order of the Boot. In office again from 1951, he accepted the Garter in 1953 (and the Nobel Prize for Literature, too), but in 1955 he resigned, feeling he was no longer up to the task of being prime minister.
Churchill declined a dukedom and remained MP for Woodford in Essex, but he spent less time in the House of Commons than before and sometimes had to be in a wheelchair. Although he voted in some divisions in the House, he made no more speeches there. He had been an MP since Victoria’s time and in 1959 he became Father of the House, the member with the longest continuous service.
Churchill’s health was growing worse, he was seriously affected by ‘the black dog’ of depression and in 1964 he resigned his seat. On the day of his final visit to the House it was occupied with routine business and he returned to his London home in Kensington feeling miserable. The next day, after glowing tributes by the three party leaders and other members, the Commons passed a resolution, with no member dissenting, recording its ‘unbounded admiration and gratitude’ for Churchill’s ‘services to Parliament, to the nation and to the world’, remembering above all ‘his inspiration of the British people when they stood alone and his leadership until victory was won’. It was presented to him at home by a deputation led by the current prime minister, Sir Alec Douglas-Home.
Churchill died at his London residence in January 1965 a few days after suffering a severe stroke. Following his state funeral at St Paul’s Cathedral, when hundreds of thousands turned out to watch the magnificent procession, Sir Winston was buried at his family’s local church at Bladon in Oxfordshire, close to Blenheim Palace, where he had been born 90 years before.
Awards and Recognitions given to Winston Churchill
Within the awards and recognitions given to Winston churchill the most relevant were:
- Knight of the Garter (1953), awarded by Queen Elizabeth II.
- Nobel Prize in Literature (1953), for “his mastery of historical and biographical description, as well as his brilliant oratory in defense of human values.”
- Duke of london (1955), which he did not want to accept and since then, it has not been offered to anyone who is not part of royalty.
- Charlemagne Prize (1956), awarded by the German city of Aachen to those who have contributed the most in Europe to the cause of peace.
- Father of the House (Father of the House) (1959), for being the parliamentarian with the longest continuous service in the British Parliament.
- Honorary Citizen of the United States (1963) conferred by President John F. Kennedy.