Winston Churchill

Sample essay topic, essay writing: Winston Churchill - 1339 words

Winston S. Churchill, M. P.FIFTY years ago, the Second World War was approaching its crescendo. A million British andCommonwealth and a million American troops were preparing to hurl themselves across the EnglishChannel to storm Hitler's Atlantic Wall and embark upon the noble task of liberating Europe from the scourge of the swastika. I am therefore especially delighted to be asked to address you on the role of my grandfather as a War Leader. Everyone has his or her favorite Churchill story, some true, others apocryphal. One of my favorites goes back to the days before we had free telephones in the House of Commons, when a rather desperate Lloyd George sticks his head out of a phone-booth and, seeing the portly figure of my grandfather approaching, calls to him: 'Be a good fellow, Winston, and lend me sixpence so that I can call a friend.' My grandfather, making a great demonstration of digging deep into his pocket to produce a coin, and with a mischievous grin on his face replies: 'Here is a shilling - now you can call all your friends!'It is something of a paradox, but true nonetheless, that had it not been for Hitler and the Labour Party, Churchill would never have become Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Despite a political career that had already spanned forty years, and his evident availability, the Conservative Party had shown no inclination to invite him to be their leader. Only in the hour of maximum peril - indeed on the very day, 10 May 1940, that Hitler launched his Blitzkrieg against France, Belgium and the Low Countries - did the British nation turn, almost too late, to Churchill. This was a decision that owed much to the refusal of the leadership of the Labour Party to serve in a Coalition Government under Chamberlain, and the unwillingness of Halifax, who was the preferred successor by both the Conservative Party and King George VI, to serve as Premier. As Churchill himself pointed out, he was, at the moment he became Prime Minister, already sixty-five years of age and qualified to draw the Old Age Pension. FEW politicians have come to power so well qualified to lead their nation in war. His first career had been as a soldier

He had received his baptism of fire on his twenty-first birthday in 1895, while acting as an observer o the Cuban Revolutionary War against Spain. A bullet, which missed him by inches while he munched on a chicken leg, prompted him to exclaim, 'There is nothing so exhilarating as to be shot at without result!'.Thereafter he served on the skirmish line on the Northwest frontier of India and charged with the 21st Lancers at Omdurman in the Sudan in one of the last great cavalry charges of history, before participating in the Boer War in South Africa where he was taken prisoner. From there he made his dramatic escape from captivity, 'climbing out,' as he put it, 'of a public convenience, into world-wide acclaim and notoriety.' It was on this basis that, at the age of twenty-six, this impecunious cavalry officer was to launch his long, erratic but ultimately triumphant career in politics. He rose rapidly to become Home Secretary at the age of thirty-three and, in 1911, still only thirty-six years of age, First Lord of the Admiralty, where the responsibility fell to him to prepare the British Fleet for war. The failure of the Gallipoli landings in southern Turkey for which he was, wrongly, made the scapegoat, seemed to have brought his political career to an abrupt and premature conclusion at the age of forty He thereupon rejoined the Army and served in the front line in the trenches of Flanders in Southern Belgium, where he commanded a Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers in action at Ploegsteert, commonly known to the British Tommy as 'Plug Street.' In one of those strange quirks of history, serving at the time in the Kaiser's Army, just 10 km. away on the very same sector of the front, a certain Corporal HitlerThough he returned to office as Minister of Munitions and, after the Great War, as Colonial Secretary and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Churchill's warnings about the dangers of the rise of Hitler in the Thirties and his call for an urgent programme of rearmament fell on deaf ears and alienated him from his own party.

Which was so disastrously bent on the path of appeasement. Within two months of becoming Prime Minister in May 1940, France fell and all organised resistance to Nazi rule on the continent of Europe was at an end. Many, even among Britain's friends abroad, believed that it would be no more than a matter of weeks before Britain, too, ran up the white flag of surrender. Churchill's great strength as a War Leader rested in his burning conviction, in the teeth of all the odds, that in our island we were unconquerable. Second, and equal to that, was his ability to communicate that spirit to the British nation and to inspire them to feats of which they did not know themselves to be capable. In the words of Edward R. Murrow repeated by President John F.

Kennedy: 'He mobilised the English language and sent it into battle.'Churchill's unshakable resolve and puckish sense of humour, conveyed in his wartime radio broadcasts, galvanised a nation that hung on his every word. Thus as France fell and the British Army retreated from Dunkirk, he told the House of Commons, on 4 June 1940:'Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into thegrip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go onto the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growingconfidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be. Weshall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in thestreets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if which I do not for a momentbelieve, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time the NewWorld, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old.'And again, just two weeks later:'The Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this Battledepends the survival of Christian civilisation. Upon it depends our own British life, and the longcontinuity of our institutions and our Empire.

The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soonbe turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the War. If we standup to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlituplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we haveknown and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps moreprotracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that ~f the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'Nor was it only the British nation that he inspired.

Time and again I have met people from all thenations of Europe, occupied during the War, who told me how my grandfather's words alone gave themthe courage to endure, and provided the one hope of liberation. A brief quote from his broadcast to theFrench people of October 1940, conveys for me the power and majesty of those addresses:'Goodnight then: sleep to g...

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