Wikijunior:World War II/Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill was the British leader during most of World War II. He replaced Neville Chamberlain as Prime Minister in May 1940, nine months after Britain declared war on Germany.

Quick Facts

  • Born: 30 November 1874
  • Died: 24 January 1965
  • Leader of: Britain
    • 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955
  • Full name: Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill
  • After the outbreak of the Second World War, Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. Following the resignation of Neville Chamberlain in May 1940, he became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and led Britain to victory against the Axis powers.

Joining the army


After leaving school, Churchill joined in the army in 1894. He served in a number of countries and fought in a number of battles and wars including Cuba, Sudan, India, South Africa and Egypt.

Becoming a politician and World War I


At the start of World War I, Churchill was "First Lord of the Admiralty" meaning he was in charge of what the Navy did. After a battle went badly wrong, he left this job and joined the army again. He showed a lot of courage and daring during the fighting.

After World War I


World War II


Churchill's speeches


Churchill was known for making speeches that lifted people's spirits and gave them hope. He made three very famous speeches that are still well known. He made the first of these the day he became Prime Minister:

...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 long months of struggle and of suffering.
You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs — Victory in spite of all terror — Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.

You can read his other famous speeches by following these links: "This was their finest hour" and "We shall fight on the beaches"

After the war


Although Churchill did a huge amount to win the war for Britain, he was still voted out as Prime Minister in 1945. This is thought to be because people wanted a change after six years of terrible fighting. For the next six years, Churchill was "Leader of the Opposition". Then in 1951 he became Prime Minister again.