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Winston Churchill: An Inspiring Soul
“We shall not flag or fail, we shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight in the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we will fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the hills, we shall never surrender…” ~Winston Churchill
These are the words of one of the most inspiring figures in World War II, Sir Winston Churchill. His courage and will spurred the people of the United Kingdom to fight back, to defend their land, to never surrender. As the Prime Minister of England, he visited battle sites and fortresses, inspected defenses himself and visited the wounded. He would walk through the streets of a city as bombs were falling from the open sky, and everywhere he went, he held up his two fingers: his ‘v’ for victory. To me, Winston Churchill was not only an important figure in British and World War history; he is a role model for the world, someone our leaders should aspire to be.
If you had known Winston Churchill as a child, you would have never thought that he would turn out to be such an impacting leader. The boy did not do well in school, and often stuttered when he spoke. Later, and with stunning perseverance, Churchill overcame his stuttering speech problem, and he is often quoted, even so long after his death. Lord Randolph Churchill, his father, enrolled him in a military college thinking that it was his only option. Churchill proved a good soldier, graduating 8th in his class of 150. In between stations at war during WWI, and during his military schooling, he worked to educate himself. He studied boxes upon boxes of books that his mother sent him. One day in the war, on the battlefield, he was captured by opposing soldiers. Finally after a torturous length of time he escaped, and traveled miles and miles to get out of enemy territory. When he, at last, got back to England, he was declared a war hero. His status helped him gain a seat in Parliament. He moved up quickly in politics, eventually rising to power as 1st Lord, who makes important decisions regarding war in British government, and lead England through the rest of WWI. After said war was lost, he resigned, considering himself finished, a political failure.
But Winston was still in politics. Noticing the tension in Germany, He warned his colleagues of another war, but he was ignored, and called a warmonger. Most people in English politics chose to ignore Hitler’s rise to power. They tried to quench his power thirst with meetings and bargains for peace, and Hitler seemed to convince them, but not Churchill. Sure enough, when Hitler’s motives became too clear to ignore, the UK declared war on the Axis powers. Churchill was re-appointed First Lord right away, and the message went out to the troops and the fortresses of England: Winston is back. By May 10th he was elected Prime Minister and worked closely with President Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin to end the war. He formed ties between the US and the UK that will never be broken, for he strongly believed in the unification of the “English speaking peoples.”
Churchill’s father died at a young age, leaving Winston to believe that he was to have a similar fate. His father’s death sparked his desire to make a change in the world, and it’s very clear that he did just that. Winston was one of the greatest wartime leaders in history. Winston Churchill’s many, well known speeches were inspiring and exciting, setting alight the courage of the people of the allied nations, filling the soldier’s hearts and minds with confidence and will, and rekindling the hope that the Nazi-targeted peoples of Europe clung to so dearly, and not without difficulty. From the struggles of WW2, two great leaders arose in Europe. One courageous, passionate,
stubborn, noble, wise and witty Minister, and one corrupt, poisonous, terrible and unforgiving tyrant. Wartime brings out the best and the worst in our world leaders, and Winston Churchill is truly one of the best.
“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many months of struggle and suffering…You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs - Victory in spite of all terrors - Victory, however long and hard the road may be…I feel entitled at this juncture, at this time, to claim the aid of all and to say, come then, let us go forward together with our united strength." ~Winston Churchill
De Angelo, Don. “The Rise to Power of Winston Churchill”. World War II Seminar and Timeline. 6/18/97. http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/WW2Timeline/churchill.html.
Author Unknown. “Winston Churchill- Blood, Sweat and Tears". The History Place - Great Speeches Collection. Not Dated. http://www.historyplace.com/speeches/churchill.htm.
Thompson, Carol L., “Sir Winston Churchill”. World Book Encyclopedia. Copyright 2008.
Rouse, A.L. “Winston Churchill”. Encyclopedia Americana. Scholastic Publishing. Copyright 2006.
Quotes Courtesy of www.winstonchurchill.org