Sir Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill, son of Lord Randolph Churchill, first came to public attention as a result of his escape from a prison in Pretoria during the Boer War. He was a war correspondent and had been captured.
His political career began in 1900 with his election to Parliament as a Conservative. He joined the Liberals over tariff reform proposed by Chamberlain. In 1908 he was appointed president of the Board of Trade by Asquith and was home secretary in 1910. He was in the Commons until 1923 and a number of ministerial offices including First Lord of the Admiralty in the Asquith government (1911-15). He served in the trenches of World War I in France in 1915-16, returning to Parliament in 1917 to serve as minister of munitions under Lloyd George at the time the tank was being developed. After the war ended he served as secretary for war (1918-21). He was colonial secretary and was a major player in establishing the Irish Free State.
Out of Parliament from 1922-24, Churchill returned as a Conservative representing Epping in 1924 and was made chancellor of the Exchequer (1924-29) under Baldwin. While chancellor he returned Britain to the gold standard and was noticed for his part in breaking the General Strike of 1926. He was again out of office (1929-39) but was a vocal critic of Conservative policy on India and especially Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler and Mussolini.
When World War II broke out, Churchill returned to his post at the Admiralty. When Chamberlain resigned he was asked to form a coalition government which he did in May, 1940 as its prime minister. Churchill became the voice of Britain during the war, his emotional speeches inspiring the nation to endure hardship and sacrifice. He had a close friendship with president Roosevelt, signing the Atlantic Charter in 1941 proclaiming their strategy for the war. Churchill met with Allied leaders in Casablanca, Washington, Cairo, Moscow and Tehran. He met with Stalin and Roosevelt in the Crimea in February, 1945 to plan for the final victory over Germany. He announced the German surrender on May 8th.
Within two weeks the coalition government that Churchill headed was dissolved. He was defeated in a general election in July, 1945, becoming leader of the opposition until October, 1951 when he again became prime minister. He second government was in power until April, 1955 when he resigned.
Following his historic World War II ministry which secured his place in history, and his second term, Churchill took to writing and painting. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953 for his six volume history of World War II (1948-1954). He also wrote "History of the English-Speaking Peoples" in four volumes (1956-58).
1940 - [June]-Italy declares war on Britain and France, invades British Somaliland and attacks Greece; France surrenders to Germany and Hungary and Romania join the Axis Empire. British ships rescue more than 330,000 allied troops trapped on the beaches of Dunkerque. [July]-The Battle of Britain begins. [Sept.]-The London Blitz begins. Nearly nightly bombings last through early May. Earnest Hemingway's novel, "For Whom the Bell Tolls" is published in New York. [Oct.]- The Battle of Britain comes to an end on the 30th. The war in the air had cost the Royal Air Force 915 aircraft, but they had downed 1,733 of the Luftwaffe.
1941 - [Jan.]-Britain invades Ethiopia. [March]-Bulgaria joins the Axis.
[April]- Germany invades Greece and Yugoslavia. Japan and Russia sign a pact. [June]- Axis troops invade Russia. British and French troops invade Syria. [July]-U.S. troops land in Iceland. [Aug.]- Franklin D. Roosevelt and Churchill announce the Atlantic Charter, a show of allied solidarity. The British and Russians invade Iran. [Dec.]-Japanese attack Pearl Harbor sinking 18 ships, killing or wounding 3,700. The United States declares war on Japan on the 8th. Guam and Wake Island are captured by Japan. The British surrender in Hong Kong. On the 11th, the U.S. declares war on Germany and Italy and they reciprocate.
1942 - [Jan.]- In the Pacific, Manilla is captured by the Japanese. [Feb.]- U.S. ships raid the Marshalls and Gilbert Islands. Singapore surrenders to Japan. [April]- Bataan surrenders to Japan. U.S. carrier based aircraft bomb Tokyo. [May]- The Allies win the Battle of the Coral Sea. The Japanese take Corregidor[June]- The Japanese eastward expansion ends with their defeat in The Battle of Midway. In North Africa, German troops seize Tobruk. [July]- The British stop the Germans at El Alamein. [Aug.]- U.S. marines land on Guadalcanal. [Nov.]- Allied forces land in North Africa. British troops capture Tobruk. Russians counterattack in Stalingrad.
1943 - [May]- Axis resistance in Africa ends. [March]- The Japanese lose the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. Japanese troops retreat across the Yangtze River in China. [July]- The Allies invade Sicily. [Sept.]- The Allies land in Italy. Italy signs an armistice with the Allies in secret. [Oct.]- Italy declares war on Germany. [Nov.]- Russia retakes Kiev from the Germans. U.S. marines invade Tarawa and Makin in the Pacific. The Allies meet in Cairo, Egypt.
1944 - [Jan.]- Russians break the seige of Leningrad. [March]- Germans blitzkrieg Hungary. Japanese troops cross into India. [June]- The Allies land in Normandy. The Germans send V-1 guided missiles across the Channel, bombing London. U.S. marines land on Saipan Island. B-29 bombers raid Japan. U.S. wins the Battle of the Philippine Sea. [July]- U.S. troops break out of Normandy. In the Pacific, U.S. troops land on Guam. [Aug.]- Allies land in southern France. [Oct.]- U.S. Pacific Fleet wins the Battle for Leyte Gulf, decisively. [Dec.]- Germany begins the Battle of the Bulge on the 16th. The Allies halt their offensive by the 27th.
1945 - [Jan.]- Russian solders enter Warsaw. [Feb.]- In the Pacific, U.S. marines take Iwo Jima Island. [April]- U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt dies in office. Russian soldiers reach Berlin. [May]-Germans surrender in Italy. Berlin surrenders to the Russians. Germany surrenders to the Allies. [July]- The Allies issue the Potsdam Declaration. President Harry S. Truman authorizes the dropping of the atomic bomb on Japan. [Aug.]- U.S. drops atomic bomb on Hiroshima (6th) and Nagasaki (9th). Japan opens peace negotiations (10th). Japan accepts the Allies terms for surrender (14th). Sept.]- Japanese sign the terms for surrender. Their forces in China and Southeast Asia surrender.
1951 - The worst floods on record hit Missouri and Kansas. Princess Elizabeth lays the foundation stone of London's National Theatre. The Abbey Theatre in Dublin burns down.
1952 - King Farouk of Egypt is forced to abdicate.
1953 - General Dwight D. Eisenhower is elected president of the United States. Jacqueline Bouvier announces her engagement to Senator John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay conquer Everest. They are the first two climbers to reach the summit.
1954 - Rationing, begun during World War II, ends in Britain. Lester Piggott, 18, wins his first Derby aboard Never Say Die, a 33-1 long shot. The first nuclear power plant opens near Moscow.
1955 - Nassar becomes Egypt first president. Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California.
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