A picture of Winston Churchill waving his hand. Source : A Public Domain

Sir Winston Churchill (KMG) was a British political leader, statesman, and orator who served as the British Prime Minister twice from 1940 to 1945 and 1951 to 1955.

Winston Churchill was once a member of the Liberal Party and later the Conservative Party. Under these two political parties, he won an election as a member of parliament (MP) and represented five different constituencies at different times that included Oldham, Manchester North West, Dundee, Epping, and Woodford, all between 1900 to 1964.

In the world affairs, Winston Churchill was one of the famous leaders of the 20th century, specifically due to his participation in the World War I and World War II. His role in the World War II was more significant as he served as one of the wartime leaders along with other leaders.

Early Life of Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill was born on 30 November, 1874, at Blenheim, Oxfordshire, to a father Lord Randolph Churchill who was from an aristocratic family that were known as the holders of title of the Duke of Marlborough. While his mother was Jennie Churchill who was of American origin.

Winston Churchill earned his early education at St. Georges, Brunswick School, and Harrow School. In 1893, he was enrolled into the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst where he studied until 1894.

Military Career of Winston Churchill

In 1895, Winston Churchill began his military career as a second lieutenant in the British Army Regiment at Aldershot. In the same year, and for the first time, he went into the field when he fight along the Spanish soldiers during the Cuban War of Independence.

In 1896, Churchill was sent together with some other British soldiers to India in order to carried out some military tasks. Later, he served as a military journalist in different British military campaigns in Northwest India, Sudan, and South Africa from 1897 to 1900.

Political Career

Since he was in a military service, Winston Churchill developed interest in politics especially parliamentary matters.


In 1900, Churchill left military service and joined politics as a member of the Conservative Party. In the same year, he contested and won the seat of the Oldham Constituency in the British Westminster Parliament. While a member of the parliament, Churchill acted as a vocal and earned a reputation of being among the daily participants in the parliament plenary sessions. For example, he opposed and voted against the government’s proposed military expenditures, despite the fact that the government was a ruled by the Conservative

Due to his uprightness on what he believed, Winston Churchill came into disagreement with some Conservative leaders, there in 1904 he defected to the Liberal Party.


In January 1906, general election was held, and Winston Churchill ran and won the seat again into the parliament but this time around representing Manchester North West under the banner of the Liberal Party.

Luckily enough, Liberal Party secured a majority in the parliament, and the it formed a government with Henry Campbell-Bennerman as the Prime Minister. Under the new Liberal, Winston Churchill was appointed as the Under Secretary of State for the Colonies until 1908.

In 1908, he was appointed the President of the Board of Trade with by the new Prime Minister Herbert Asquith who succeeded Bannerman.

In April 1908, Churchill lost his Manchester North West seat. But, due to his popularity, he was invited to run for Dundee seat which he successfully won.

In 1910, Liberal Party formed a new government after winning a narrow victory in the general election held in January. Under this new government, Winston Churchill was appointed Home Secretary and a cabinet member. During his time as the Home Secretary, he helped in coming up with many reforms in home affairs. For example, as a Home Secretary and a parliament member, he introduced many bills in the House such as coal mines safety bill, women suffrage bill, and others.

In 1911, Churchill was changed from the position of the Home Secretary to the Lord of the Admiralty with responsibility of looking after the British naval affairs.

In 1914 when Winston Churchill was still the Lord of Admiralty, the World War I broke out. Therefore, he was expected to manage the British navy in the War. But, not so long, due some problems he was removed from the position to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1915. However, in October, he left the government and joined British army fighting in France in the War as Lt. Colonel.

In 1916, a new government was formed with David Lloyd George as the Prime Minister. In 1917, Winston Churchill got a new position in the government as Minister of Munitions with responsibility of military supplies.

New election was held in 1918, and Winston Churchill was re-elected as member representing Dundee. Likewise, Prime Minister Lloyd George appointed him as the Secretary of State for War and Air, a post he held for three years until 1921.

In 1921, Winston Churchill was appointed Secretary of State for the Colonies with responsibility for the management of the British Colonies in the overseas. In that position, Churchill played a leading role regarding the issues of the British Mandate territories in the Middle East after the World War I. For example, under him, Great Britain oversaw the affairs of her Mandate territories of Iraq, Trans-Jordan, and the Palestine. It was at that time that helped in the migration of the Jews into Palestine.

In 1922, due to the withdrawal of the Conservative from the coalition with the Liberal, a new election was held. Unfortunately, Winston Churchill lost his Dundee seat and this made him to be out of the House of Commons until 1924.


Winston became tired of being a Liberal member, therefore he left the Party and returned back to the Conservative. In October general election was held and Winston Churchill ran and won the seat of the Epping Constituency. Fortunately, the new government of Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin appointed him the Chancellor of the Exchequer with responsibility of looking after the finance and tax matters. He remained in the position until 1929.

In 1929, general election was held and the Conservative Party lost. Therefore, a new government was formed by the Labor Party with Arthur MacDonald as the new Prime Minister. This change brought Churchill on the minority side.

Though still a parliamentarian, Winston Churchill remained without any post in the government since the defeat of the Conservative in 1929 until 1939. Instead, he devoted his time to his role as parliamentarian, and on the other hand returned back to active writing. He even wrote and published his autobiography titled “My Early Life”.

The Second World War and Prime Minister

The World War II broke out in September 1939, and on the other hand Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain appointed Winston Churchill as the First Lord of the Admiralty, the position he previously held.

As the War went on, on 10 May, 1940, Winston Churchill replaced Neville Chamberlain who resigned as the British Prime Minister.

After Winston Churchill became Prime Minister, the responsibility of steering the British War effort was now on his shoulders. Therefore, as part of his work, he became one of the Wartime leaders of the Allied Powers against the Axis Powers led by Germany. Together with the United States President Franklin Roosevelt and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin collectively known as the ‘Big Three’ have served as wartime leaders who contributed in combating the threat of the Axis Powers specifically Germany. Churchill attended all of the major wartime conferences in which wartime strategies were discussed against the enemies.

Towards the end of the World War II, preparation and arrangements for the post war world future were started to be discussed. As part of the process, Winston Churchill the other wartime leaders that included newly United States President Harry Truman and the Soviet Union Leader Joseph Stalin met and discussed the settlement of the European boundaries at Potsdam Conference in August 1945.

Leader of the Opposition and the Second Term as Prime Minister

As the World War II was about to be concluded, Winston Churchill resigned as the British Prime Minister because of his Party’s failure to secured the continuation of their coalition. Therefore, due to that reason, Winston Churchill became leader of the Opposition for almost six years from 1945 to 1951.


In 1951, general election was held and the result went in favor of the Conservative who acquired majority. In turn, Winston Churchill being the Leader of the Opposition formed a new government and became Prime Minister for the second time.

However, Winston Churchill in his second term as the Prime Minister was ineffective as a result of illness due to old ages. After some considerations, in April 1955, he retired from the office of the Prime Minister and succeeded by Anthony Eden. Therefore, he only retained his position of the member of parliament until 1964 when he gave up entirely.


Sir Winston Churchill died on 24 January, 1965, at the age of 90 after suffering from stroke at his home in London.

His body was laid in the St. Martins Church, Bladon, England.

Ahmad Abdullahi, BA History

My name is Ahmad Abdullahi, I was born on 10th March, 1994 in Garun-Danga Town, Gabasawa L.G., Kano State. I attended FCE Demonstration Primary School from 2002 to 2007, FCE Staff Secondary School from 2007 to 2013, and Northwest University, Kano from 2013 to 2017, where I obtained bachelor degree in History.

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