Winston Churchill (1874–1965)

by Jennifer Woodruff Tait

His speeches encouraged Britain and the allies during World War II.

[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue 121 in 2017 ]

Young Winston’s parents were a British lord (Lord Randolph Churchill, chancellor of the exchequer) and beautiful Brooklyn socialite Jennie Jerome. He fought in the British Army as a young man and, in his early thirties, married Clementine Hozier, an affectionate union producing five children. Churchill was officially Anglican, but attended religious services only occasionally.

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Churchill served in various government posts in World War I, but briefly resigned and commanded a battalion on the Western Front following his involvement in planning the Battle of Gallipoli (one of the Allies’ worst defeats by the Ottoman Empire). In the 1930s his resistance to the abdication of Edward VIII and other views made him unpopular, but in 1940 he became prime minister when Neville Chamberlain, who had sought peace with Hitler, resigned. Churchill was defeated for re-election in 1945, shortly after V-E Day, but returned for a second term in the 1950s.

Churchill’s speeches encouraging the British people as they were repeatedly bombed by Hitler have become the stuff of legend, none more so than this one: “We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

This article is from Christian History magazine #121 Faith in the Foxholes. Read it in context here!

Jennifer Woodruff Tait is managing editor of Christian History

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