Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill


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Churchill, Winston Leonard Spencer

 

Born Nov. 30, 1874, in Blenheim, near Woodstock, Oxfordshire; died Jan. 24, 1965, in London. British statesman; a leader of the Conservative Party.

Churchill was a descendant of the dukes of Marlborough and a son of Lord Randolph Churchill. He was educated at the privileged Harrow school and at the military academy at Sandhurst. From 1896 to 1898 he served in India and took part in the suppression of an uprising on the Northwest Frontier. Churchill saw action in the Sudan in the campaign that led to the conquest of the country by British troops. He was a war correspondent in South Africa during the Boer War (1899–1902).

Churchill left military service to enter politics. In 1900 he was elected to Parliament as a Conservative. In 1904 he switched to the Liberal Party for careerist reasons. He was under-secretary for the colonies from 1906 to 1908, president of the board of trade from 1908 to 1910, and home secretary in 1910–11; in 1911 he sent troops against striking Welsh miners. Churchill became first lord of the admiralty in 1911. In World War I he initiated the Dardanelles Operation of 1915, the failure of which led to his resignation (1915). In 1917–18 he was minister of munitions in Lloyd George’s cabinet.

Churchill served as secretary for war and as air minister from 1919 to 1921. In this period Churchill, whom V. I. Lenin characterized as the most bitter enemy of Soviet Russia (see Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 41, p. 350), was one the main organizers of the anti-Soviet intervention. As colonial secretary (1921–22), he approved the use of the air force for the suppression of the national liberation movement in the colonies. In the 1920’s, as the Liberal Party lost its political power, Churchill returned to the Conservative Party, to whose political philosophy and policies he had always been close. He was a Conservative member of Parliament from 1924 until the end of his life.

From 1924 to 1929, Churchill was chancellor of the exchequer in S. Baldwin’s cabinet. As a result of Churchill’s efforts, the pound sterling was restored to the gold standard (1925), a move aimed at restoring London’s role as the center of world finance. In the 1930’s Churchill vigorously opposed the foreign policy of Baldwin and N. Chamberlain; he considered their policy of appeasing the fascist aggressors as short-sighted and extremely risky. In September 1939, after Great Britain entered World War II, Churchill was appointed first lord of the admiralty in Chamberlain’s government. In May 1940, after Chamberlain’s resignation, Churchill became prime minister in a coalition government. He headed a radical reorientation of the whole country for war against Germany and the other countries of the fascist bloc.

On June 22, 1941, after Germany’s attack on the USSR, Churchill, realizing that Great Britain could not avoid defeat in the war without a military alliance with the USSR, announced his support for the struggle of the Soviet people. The Churchill government signed an agreement with the USSR on joint actions against fascist Germany (July 1941) and a treaty of alliance in the war against Germany (May 1942). Subsequently, however, his government procrastinated in meeting its treaty obligations, in particular, on the pledge to open a second front. Churchill participated in the Tehran Conference (1943), the Yalta Conference (1945), and the Potsdam Conference (1945).

Churchill resigned after the defeat of the Conservatives in the parliamentary elections in July 1945. As leader of the opposition in Parliament, Churchill assumed leadership of the campaign to unleash the cold war. In a speech delivered on Mar. 5, 1946, in the presence of US president H. Truman in Fulton, Mo., Churchill called for the formation of a military and political alliance of Great Britain and the USA against the USSR and the people’s democratic countries. Churchill was again prime minister from 1951 to 1955. In these years Great Britain played an active role in the rearming of West Germany and in the forming of imperialist military blocs. In 1955, Churchill, now at an advanced age, resigned from office and abandoned active political life.

Churchill is also known as a publicist and as the author of historical works and of memoirs. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953.

WORKS

The Story of the Malakand Field Force. London, 1898.
The River War, vols. 1–2. London, 1899.
The Life of Lord Randolph Churchill, vols. 1–2. London, 1952.
The World Crisis, vols. 1–6. London, 1923–31.
Marlborough: His Life and Times, vols. 1–4. London, 1933–38.
The Second World War, vols. 1–6, London, 1948–54.
A History of the English-Speaking Peoples, vols. 1–5. New York, 1956–58.

REFERENCES

Trukhanovskii, V. G. Uinston Cherchill’, 2nd ed., Moscow, 1977. (Contains bibliography.)
Undasynov, I. N. Ruzvel’t, Cherchill’ i vtoroi front. Moscow, 1965.
Woods, F. A Bibliography of the Works of Sir Winston Churchill. Toronto [1969].

V. G. TRUKHANOVSKII

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