Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965) was the greatest British statesman of modern times. During his long, colorful public career he was a member of parliament for 63 years. He also held almost every government post. And, most important of all, he led his country to victory in World War II. He also wrote many important books and was a talented painter.
Churchill's full name was Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill. He was educated at Harrow School and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. He became a cavalry officer and fought in India and Sudan. He left the army and became a newspaper correspondent in the Boer War. In 1899, he was captured by the Boers, but escaped. In 1900 Churchill was elected a member of parliament. As First Lord of the Admiralty, in 1911, he was responsible for strengthening the British navy.
During World War I, he resigned from his post, and became a soldier again, fighting in France. In 1917, however, he became Minister of Munitions. In this job, he encouraged the development and use of the tank, which was then a new weapon. After the war, Churchill held several government posts.
From 1931 to 1939, he was only a member of parliament. He had fallen into disfavor because of his militant attitude. Even his closest friends discouraged him from seeking higher office. But when World War II started, in 1939, Churchill returned to his former job as First Lord of the Admiralty.
In May 1940, he became Prime Minister. Throughout the war, Churchill showed great strength and energy. He worked for long periods with little sleep and traveled many thousands of miles. By the courage and determination expressed in his speeches, he inspired the people of Britain to keep on fighting. His speeches also gave hope to people in parts of Europe occupied by enemy forces.
In the general election at the end of the war, the Conservative Party, of which he was leader, was defeated. But he became Prime Minister again in 1951. He resigned as Prime Minister in 1955. However, he remained a member of parliament until 1964. Some time later, in 1965, he died.