- , CHURCHILLIANSSo much has been said and written about this greatest political figure in twentieth-century Britain that no one should expect anything original. Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874-1965) was born at Blenheim Palace, in Oxfordshire, England, third son of politician Lord Randolph Churchill and his American wife, Jennie Jerome. He attended Harrow and Sandhurst and was commissioned in the Fourth Hussars. Churchill led an exciting life in different capacities and in different places. He changed his politics as he saw fit and, through the Liberal Party, was appointed lord of the admiralty in 1911. After active service in France, he became Lloyd George's minister of munitions and then secretary for war and air. He supported the Irish Free State and affirmed Palestine as a Jewish homeland. Churchill was out of the cabinet (but in Parliament) from 1929 to 1939, returning as the first lord of admiralty under Neville Chamberlain. The Germans invaded and conquered Norway, and he became prime minister on May 10, 1940. His refusal to consider Britain's defeat and his rallying phrases bolstered the spirit of Britons. Churchill's rhetoric was well chosen, clear, and poignant. He was a scholar, and his words came from an unlimited mental library accumulated throughout his life. Among the outstanding Churchillians are "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat"; "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few"; and "the soft underbelly of the Axis." At Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, where Churchill spoke at the invitation of President Truman, he declared that there had descended upon Europe "an iron curtain," cutting off the East from the rest of Europe. That phrase caught on and was repeated on innumerable occasions. Chagrined by the fall of France, he exclaimed, "Let us therefore brace ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will say, 'This was their finest hour.' "As happens to few persons, Churchill was made a citizen of the United States by a presidential proclamation issued by President Kennedy. It read: "In the dark days and darker nights when Britain stood alone — and most men save Englishmen despaired of England's life — he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle. The incandescent quality of his words illuminated the courage of his countrymen. Given unlimited powers by his fellow citizens, he was ever vigilant to protect their rights. Indifferent himself to danger, he wept over the sorrows of •others. A child of the House of Commons, he became in time its father. Accustomed to the hardship of battle, he has no distaste for pleasure. By adding his name to our rolls, we mean to honor him — but his acceptance honors us far more. For no statement or proclamation can enrich his name — the name Winston Churchill is already a legend." Churchill's Conservative Party was returned to power in 1951, with Churchill as prime minister. He resigned in 1955. His masterpiece The Second World War was published in six volumes. In 1965 Queen Elizabeth and the royal family attended the funeral of Mr. Churchill. This was an unprecedented honor, as the queen does not attend funerals save those of family.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.