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People are Calling His Name

Updated on March 3, 2015
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Sir Winston Churchill

He was one of the greats of the Twentieth Century, handpicked by God I believe, to lead us through the horrible mess that was World War II. I was a child then, and very scared about what was happening all over the world. Our President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, stood up to be counted by Churchill's side despite public opposition, and through the innocuous name of Lend Lease, got Britain the war materials it needed to fight off Hitler when the U.K. stood alone during the Blitz.

Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was born on November 30, 1874, at Blenheim Palace, the home of his grandfather, the Seventh Duke of Marlborough. Queen Victoria was then on the throne, and cut a great swath on morals and such of her long reign. However, the parents of the aristocracy were short on child involvement; they had their children brought forth by nannies for limited visitation with their parents. In his biography by C. Brian Kelly, "Best Little Stories from the Life and Times of Winston Churchill," Churchill is quoted as saying of his beautiful American mother, Jennie, "She shone for me like the Evening Star. I loved her dearly- but at a distance." Of his father, Lord Randolph, he is quoted as stating in a letter to his father from his school in Brighton, "I cannot think why you did not come to see me when you were in Brighton. I was disappointed but I suppose you were too busy to come." Of his nanny, Elizabeth Ann Everest, whom he lovingly called Woomany or Wooms, he says that "It was to her I poured out my many troubles." And many troubles did the young Winston have aside from his poor grades. It has been attested that he suffered many thrashings from headmasters during his times at school. There is so much written in all of the biographies I've read about this man's childhood that recalls his eagerness for his parent's show of affection that makes one's heart break. But his mother certainly was given credit in everything I've read for her extraordinary help in his adulthood by getting his writing reviewed and appreciated by her wide circle of important people.

From Brighton, Churchill went on to Harrow and began to do little better scholastically. Before his graduation from Harrow, he decided to try for the military academy of Sandhurst. It took him three tries for the entrance exam before he passed. Sandhurst proved to be a Godsend for him and for the world.

Source for his nanny, thrashings, and letter to his father: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/acatholicthinker/2014/06/why-fathers-matter/

Winston Churchill, Sandhurst, 1893

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Churchill entered Sandhurst, the Royal Academy, in 1893, at the age of 18, and graduated 20th out of a class of 130 in 1894. He was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Queen's Own Hussars. While in the army, Churchill had many exciting adventures. He wrote dispatches from Cuba during the Spanish American War then wrote about his posting in India. After leaving the army he was a war correspondent during the Boar War in South Africa and was captured by the Boars and imprisoned in a war camp from which he escaped, and was hailed as a hero upon his return to Britain. His popularity influenced his run for politics.

Churchill in Parliament at the age of 25

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Churchill's father passed away before he began his political career. Though he always spoke lovingly of Lord Churchill and was proud of his political accomplishments Winston must have suffered cruelly with the biting criticism his father meted out to him. Nonetheless, Winston went on to superstardom in the political realm, far outdistancing his father. Of course trouble came to him in different ways; he was defeated in the election of 1915, for example, but came back to government again after serving in World War I, this time under Prime Minister David Lloyd George.


Winston and Clementine

Winston and Clementine Hozier were married on September 12, 1908. They had 5 children, Diana, the eldest, Randolph, Sara, Marigold, and Mary. Churchill, perhaps because he felt a dearth of affection from his parents, proved to be a loving father to his children. Sadly, Marigold just lived to be two years and 9 months old, developing a sore throat that went into septicemia while on holiday with her nanny. I once read a biography of her father where he was quoted as saying what a terrible ordeal he and Clementine suffered in their grief over "Duckadilly," their loving nickname for their beloved child, Marigold. "The Last Lion," by William Manchester, vol. 1, pg. 157-158.

Dry years, Winston paints

During his dry years in the 30s, away from Parliament, Winston took up painting along with keeping an eye on Adolph Hitler. It must have been infuriating and terribly frustrating during those years away from Parliament, when he was trying to alert everyone about Hitler's goal in taking over the world. He, of course continued on with his writing volumes of books. Churchill was ignored until Hitler made the unforgivable mistake of invading Poland. England declared war on Germany. When France fell to the Nazis, along with Belgium, the Netherlands, and others, Churchill, then The First Lord of the Admiralty, under Neville Chamberlin, knew that his fears would transpire in the Blitz. England stood alone. Chamberlin resigned after the Nazis invaded Poland and invalidated their peace agreement of 1938, King George VI asked Churchill to fill the Prime Minister seat.

The attack upon Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 brought outrage to the United States and the following day, President Roosevelt asked that Congress approve that a state of war existed between the USA and the Empire of Japan. Prime Minister Winston Churchill arrived in Washington some days later and spent 3 weeks at the White House, conferring with FDR about war strategies. On Christmas Day, Sir Winston accompanied the President to Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, for services. They sat in the George Washington pew.

It was abundantly clear to all Americans and the Brits that these men worked well together. And even though First Lady Eleanor disapproved of drinking because alcohol caused much heartache in her own family, she reined in her feelings and cast a blind eye to the hijinks enjoyed by the Prime Minister and FDR as they sat up until 2 or 3 in the morning discussing military plans along with their drinking and smoking. It was after all the Christmas Season, and all America rejoiced in the good spirited tone put forth by the strength of the two men forming their plans for eventual victory.

,Operation Torch was the name for the first battle of combined Brit and American forces against Hitler's troops, led by Field Marshall Rommel in North Africa in 1942.

The meetings continued throughout the war. In 1943, Sit Winston and FDR met in Casablanca. It was decided that an invasion in France was still too early, citing not enough air defense. FDR and Churchill went to Marrakesh because Churchill wanted Roosevelt to see the sun set over the Atlas Mountains. Churchill did a painting of the sun setting from Marrakesh and presented it later to FDR. Stalin wanted help when he decided to give up siding with Germany and joined the allies and became a third in the meetings. The last meeting FDR made was in Yalta, in February, 1945. By then it was clear that the war with Germany was nearly over, and though Stalin demanded control of Poland, FDR wasn't sure that Stalin would deal kindly with the Poles.

President Roosevelt died in Warm Springs, Georgia, on April 12, 1945. He was taken by train back to Washington, DC. People stood all along the track route, many crying. He had the longest record as President; to many he was the only President they ever knew.

Paris had been liberated, and Hitler killed himself. The war with Italy had come to an end and the war with Germany came to an end in May 1945. The war with Japan ended formally on September 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri, with documents of surrender signed by the Japanese. The free world rejoiced.

Churchill and Royal Family, May 1945

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Churchill celebrated the end of the war with Germany with the Royal Family. He lost the election to Labour Leader Clement Attlee in July, 1945. Accompanied by President Harry S. Truman, he went to Fulton, Missouri in 1946 to give "The Iron Curtain Speech," which warned of Russia's intent against the free world. Before he left for his home in England, Churchill stopped off to visit late President Roosevelt's grave at Springwood, FDR's home in New York State. He made further trips to the United States until his health declined. He died on January 24, 1965 at the age of 90. It was uncanny that he died 70 years after his father on the very date of his father's death, since he had always predicted he would die on the date his father left the world. But then, Churchill seemed to always have a bit of the supernatural about him. He once told a school fellow at Harrow that he would grow up to save London one day, perhaps all of England.

Much has been written about Sir Winston Churchill, mostly good, a little bad, but of the awesome leadership of the man there can be no question. He was in many opinions, the greatest statesman England ever had.


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      joe beicher 2 years ago

      Betsy,

      An enlightening article on one of the greatest statesman in our lifetime. You condensed an entire life time of Sir Winston in your writings with such an insight on this remarkable statesman, Excellent article.