Winston S. Churchill quotes

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Winston S. Churchill

Birthdate: 30. November 1874
Date of death: 24. January 1965

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a British statesman, army officer, and writer. He served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. As a Member of Parliament , he represented five constituencies over the course of his career. As Prime Minister, Churchill led Britain to victory during the Second World War. He led the Conservative Party for fifteen years from 1940 to 1955.

Churchill was born into an aristocratic family, the son of an English politician and American socialite. Joining the British Army, he saw action in British India, the Anglo–Sudan War, and the Second Boer War, gaining fame as a war correspondent and writing books about his campaigns. Moving into politics, before the First World War, he served as President of the Board of Trade, Home Secretary, and First Lord of the Admiralty as part of Asquith's Liberal government. During the war, Churchill departed from government following the disastrous Gallipoli Campaign. He briefly resumed active army service on the Western Front as a battalion commander in the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He returned to government under Lloyd George as Minister of Munitions, Secretary of State for War, Secretary of State for Air, then Secretary of State for the Colonies. After two years out of Parliament, he served as Chancellor of the Exchequer in Baldwin's Conservative government of 1924–1929, controversially returning the pound sterling in 1925 to the gold standard at its pre-war parity, a move widely seen as creating deflationary pressure on the UK economy.

Out of office during the 1930s, Churchill took the lead in warning about Nazi Germany and in campaigning for rearmament. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was again appointed First Lord of the Admiralty. Following Neville Chamberlain's resignation in May 1940, Churchill became Prime Minister. His speeches and radio broadcasts helped inspire British resistance, especially during the difficult days of 1940–41 when the British Commonwealth and Empire stood almost alone in its active opposition to Adolf Hitler. He led Britain as Prime Minister until after the German surrender in 1945. After the Conservative Party's defeat in the 1945 general election, he became Leader of the Opposition to the Labour Government. He publicly warned of an "Iron Curtain" of Soviet influence in Europe and promoted European unity. He was re-elected Prime Minister in the 1951 election. His second term was preoccupied by foreign affairs, including the Malayan Emergency, Mau Mau Uprising, Korean War, and a UK-backed Iranian coup. Domestically his government laid great emphasis on house-building. Churchill suffered a serious stroke in 1953 and retired as Prime Minister in 1955, although he remained an MP until 1964. Upon his death, he was given a state funeral.

Named the Greatest Briton of all time in a 2002 poll, Churchill is among the most influential people in British history, consistently ranking well in opinion polls of Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom. As a writer, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953 for his overall, lifetime body of work. His highly complex legacy continues to stimulate intense debate amongst writers and historians.

Works

The Second World War
The Second World War
Winston S. Churchill
The World Crisis
The World Crisis
Winston S. Churchill
My Early Life
My Early Life
Winston S. Churchill
The River War
The River War
Winston S. Churchill
Lord Randolph Churchill
Lord Randolph Churchill
Winston S. Churchill

„I believe we shall make them rue the day they try to invade our island. No such discussion can be permitted.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Minute (1 June 1940) in response to the Foreign Office's suggestion that preparations should be made for the evacuation of the Royal Family and the British Government to "some part of the Overseas Empire", quoted in Martin Gilbert, Finest Hour: Winston S. Churchill, 1939–1941 (London: Heinemann, 1983), p. 449
The Second World War (1939–1945)

„You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is 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.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Speech in the House of Commons, after taking office as Prime Minister (13 May 1940) This has often been misquoted in the form: "I have nothing to offer but blood, sweat and tears ..."
The Official Report, House of Commons (5th Series), 13 May 1940, vol. 360, c. 1502. Audio records of the speech do spare out the "It is" before the in the beginning of the "Victory"-Part.
The Second World War (1939–1945)
Context: You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is 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.
Context: I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government: '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 policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is 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.

„Unless Germany is beaten in a manner which leaves no room for doubt or dispute, unless she is convinced by the terrible logic of events that the glory of her people can never be achieved by violent means, unless her war-making capacity after the war is sensibly diminished, a renewal of the conflict, after an uneasy and malevolent truce, seems unavoidable.“

—  Winston S. Churchill

The War by Land and Sea, Part IV, The London Magazine, January 1917.
Reproduced in The Collected Essays of Sir Winston Churchill, Vol I, Churchill at War, Centenary Edition (1976), Library of Imperial History, p. 147-8.
Early career years (1898–1929)
Context: The German hope is that if the frontiers can be unshakeably maintained for another year, a peace can be obtained which will relieve Germany from the consequences of the hideous catastrophe in which she has plunged the world, and leave her free to scheme and prepare a decisive stroke in another generation. Unless Germany is beaten in a manner which leaves no room for doubt or dispute, unless she is convinced by the terrible logic of events that the glory of her people can never be achieved by violent means, unless her war-making capacity after the war is sensibly diminished, a renewal of the conflict, after an uneasy and malevolent truce, seems unavoidable.

„Enterprises must be prepared, with specially-trained troops of the hunter class, who can develop a reign of terror down these coasts, first of all on the "butcher and bolt" policy“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Minute to General Ismay, 6 June 1940.
Reproduced in The Second World War, Vol II, Their Finest Hour, 1949, Cassell & Co Ltd, p. 217.
The Second World War (1939–1945)
Context: Enterprises must be prepared, with specially-trained troops of the hunter class, who can develop a reign of terror down these coasts, first of all on the "butcher and bolt" policy; but later on, or perhaps as soon as we are organised, we could surprise Calais or Boulogne, kill and capture the Hun garrison, and hold the place until all preparations to reduce it by siege or heavy storm have been made, and then away. The passive resistance war, in which we have acquitted ourselves so well, must come to an end. I look to the Joint Chiefs of the Staff to propose me measures for a vigorous, enterprising and ceaseless offensive against the whole German-occupied coastline.

„Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realise that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.“

—  Winston S. Churchill

Source: My Early Life: A Roving Commission (1930), Chapter 18 (With Buller To The Cape), p. 246
Quoted in This Time It's Our War http://www.forward.com/articles/7759/ (2003) by Leonard Fein in The Forward (July 25, 2003).
Context: Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realise that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events. Antiquated War Offices, weak, incompetent, or arrogant Commanders, untrustworthy allies, hostile neutrals, malignant Fortune, ugly surprises, awful miscalculations — all take their seats at the Council Board on the morrow of a declaration of war. Always remember, however sure you are that you could easily win, that there would not be a war if the other man did not think he also had a chance.

„The Balkans produce more history than they can consume“

—  Winston S. Churchill

also reported in the form: The peoples of the Balkans produce more history than they can consume, and the weight of their past lies oppressively on their present.
Although widely attributed to Winston Churchill (e.g. by the President of the British Academy, Professor Sir Adam Roberts), the quote is spurious.
The remark was quoted - although without attribution, and concerning East Central Europe instead - by Margaret Thatcher in her speech, "New Threats for Old," in Westminster College, Fulton, Mo., at a joint commemoration with the Churchill Centre of the "Iron Curtain" speech's 50th anniversary, on 9 March 1996: "It is, of course, often the case in foreign affairs that statesmen are dealing with problems for which there is no ready solution. They must manage them as best they can. That might be true of nuclear proliferation, but no such excuses can be made for the European Union's activities at the end of the Cold War. It faced a task so obvious and achievable as to count as an almost explicit duty laid down by History: namely, the speedy incorporation of the new Central European democracies--Poland, Hungary and what was then Czechoslovakia--within the EU's economic and political structures. Early entry into Europe was the wish of the new democracies; it would help to stabilize them politically and smooth their transition to market economies; and it would ratify the post-Cold War settlement in Europe. Given the stormy past of that region--the inhabitants are said to produce more history than they can consume locally--everyone should have wished to see it settled economically."
The sources of Thatcher's quote is likely a passage in the 1911 "Chronicles of Clovis", by Hector Hugh Munro (Saki), referring actually to Crete: "It was during the debate on the Foreign Office vote that Stringham made his great remark that "the people of Crete unfortunately make more history than they can consume locally." It was not brilliant, but it came in the middle of a dull speech, and the House was quite pleased with it. Old gentlemen with bad memories said it reminded them of Disraeli."
Misattributed
Source: Reinventing the Wheel http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and-events/reinventing-the-wheel-the-cost-of-neglecting-international-history. Footnote #5
Source: The speech is in James W. Muller, ed., Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" Speech Fifty Years Later (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1999), which collects the papers from that occasion. A readable .pdf is on the Churchill Centre website (scroll to pages 18-24): http://www.winstonchurchill.org/images/finesthour/Vol.01%20No.90.pdf
Source: Full text available here: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Chronicles_of_Clovis/The_Jesting_of_Arlington_Stringham

„The further backward you look, the further forward you can see.“

—  Winston S. Churchill

In Churchill by Himself (2008), Appendix I: Red Herrings, ed. Langworth, PublicAffairs, p. 577 ISBN 1586486381; “Commonly ascribed to WSC, even by The Queen (Christmas Message, 1999). What Churchill actually said was ‘The longer you can look back, the farther you can look forward’”.
The attribution of the mistaken form of the quote to Churchill dates from at least 1959 https://books.google.com/books?id=QN3hAAAAMAAJ&dq=The+farther+backward+you+look%2C+the+further+forward+you+can+see&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=%22backward+you+can+look%22.
Misattributed

„All the greatest things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: Freedom; Justice; Honour; Duty; Mercy; Hope.“

—  Winston S. Churchill

United Europe Meeting, Albert Hall, London (May 14, 1947). Cited in Churchill by Himself, ed. Langworth, PublicAffairs (2008), p. 26 ISBN 1586486381
Post-war years (1945–1955)

„It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Speech in the House of Commons, February 27, 1945 "Crimea Conference" http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1945/feb/27/crimea-conference#column_1294; in The Second World War, Volume VI: Triumph and Tragedy (1954), Chapter XXIII – Yalta: Finale.
The Second World War (1939–1945)

„Doubts [can] be swept away only by deeds.“

—  Winston S. Churchill

Source: Their Finest Hour

„Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon.“

—  Winston S. Churchill

As quoted in the United States of America Congressional Record: Proceedings and Debates of the 105th Congress Second Session, Government Printing Office, Vol. 144, Part 4, p. 5738 https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=nEI6WcjH8ykC&pg=PA5738
Post-war years (1945–1955)

„Mr Churchill, to what do you attribute your success in life?

Conservation of energy. Never stand up when you can sit down. And never sit down when you can lie down.“

—  Winston S. Churchill

Variant: Mr.Churchill, to what do you attribute your success in life? Conservation of energy. Never stand up when you can sit down. And never sit down when you can lie down.

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