Winston Churchill Quotes
Winston Churchill QuotesBirth Date: 1874-11-30 (Monday, November 30th, 1874)
Date of Death: 1968-06-06 (Thursday, June 6th, 1968)
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Winston Churchill life timeline
|Winston Churchill makes his maiden speech in the British House of Commons.||Monday, February 18th, 1901|
|Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman s cabinet (which included amongst its members H.H. Asquith, David Lloyd George, and Winston Churchill) embarks on sweeping social reforms after a Liberal landslide in the British general election.||Friday, January 12th, 1906|
|World War II: Winston Churchill is appointed Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.||Friday, May 10th, 1940|
|World War II: Germany s conquest of France begins as the German army crosses the Meuse River. Winston Churchill makes his "blood, toil, tears, and sweat" speech to the House of Commons.||Monday, May 13th, 1940|
|"Finest Hour" speech by Winston Churchill.||Tuesday, June 18th, 1940|
|World WarWinston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt sign the Atlantic Charter of war stating postwar aims.||Thursday, August 14th, 1941|
|World War II: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill begin the Casablanca Conference to discuss strategy and study the next phase of the war.||Thursday, January 14th, 1943|
|Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes the first President of the United States to travel via airplane while in office He travelled from Miami, Florida to Morocco to meet with Winston Churchill to discuss World War II.||Thursday, January 14th, 1943|
|World War II: Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill conclude a conference in Casablanca.||Sunday, January 24th, 1943|
|World War II: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt set Monday, May 1, 1944 as the date for the cross-English Channel landing (D-Day would later be delayed over a month due to bad weather).||Wednesday, May 19th, 1943|
|British Overseas Airways Corporation Flight 777 is shot down over the Bay of Biscay by German Junkers Ju 88s, killing actor Leslie Howard and leading to speculation the downing was an attempt to kill British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.||Tuesday, June 1st, 1943|
|World War II: First Quebec Conference of Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and William Lyon Mackenzie King begins.||Tuesday, August 17th, 1943|
|World War II: War in the PacificU.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Chinese leader Chiang Kai-Shek meet in Cairo, Egypt, to discuss ways to defeat Japan (see Cairo Conference)||Monday, November 22nd, 1943|
|World War II: Tehran ConferenceU.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin meet in Tehran, Iran to discuss war strategy.||Sunday, November 28th, 1943|
|World War II: Tehran Conference - U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin agree to the planned June 1944 invasion of Europe code-named Operation Overlord.||Tuesday, November 30th, 1943|
|Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill meet in Quebec as part of the Octagon Conference to discuss strategy.||Friday, September 15th, 1944|
|World War II: Potsdam ConferenceAt Potsdam, President Harry S. Truman, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, the three main Allied leaders, begin their final summit of the war. The meeting will end on August 2.||Tuesday, July 17th, 1945|
|The Labour Party wins the United Kingdom general election of July 5 by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power.||Thursday, July 26th, 1945|
|Winston Churchill uses the phrase "Iron Curtain" in his speech at Westminster College, Missouri.||Tuesday, March 5th, 1946|
|The Council of Europe is founded following a speech given by Winston Churchill at the University of Zurich.||Thursday, September 19th, 1946|
|The British government, under Winston Churchill, abolishes identity cards in the UK to "set the people free".||Thursday, February 21st, 1952|
|United Kingdom Prime Minister Winston Churchill announces that his nation has an atomic bomb.||Tuesday, February 26th, 1952|
|Winston Churchill is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.||Friday, April 24th, 1953|
|Winston Churchill resigns as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom amid indications of failing health.||Tuesday, April 5th, 1955|
|The Hamilton River in Labrador, Canada is renamed the Churchill River in honour of Winston Churchill.||Monday, February 1st, 1965|
- If I had been an Italian, I am sure I would have been entirely with you from the beginning to the end of your victorious struggle against the bestial appetites and passions of Leninism.
- Let us learn our lessons. ... Never believe any war will be smooth and easy or that anyone who embarks on that strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events: incompetent or arrogant commanders, untrustworthy allies, hostile neutrals, malignant fortune, ugly surprise, awful miscalculations. ... 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.
- She shone for me like the Evening Star. I loved her dearly - but at a distance.
- Where my reason, imagination or interest were not engaged, I would not or I could not learn.
- Thus I got into my bones the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence, which is a noble thing.
- I then had one of the three or four long intimate conversations with him which are all I can boast.
- Certainly the prolonged education indispensable to the progress of Society is not natural to mankind. It cuts against the grain. A boy would like to follow his father in pursuit of food or prey. He would like to be doing serviceable things so far as his utmost strength allowed. He would like to be earning wages however small to help to keep up the home. He would like to have some leisure of his own to use or misuse as he pleased. He would ask little more than the right to work or starve. And then perhaps in the evenings a real love of learning would come to those who are worthy - and why try to stuff in those who are not? - and knowledge and thought would open the 'magic casements' of the mind.
- 'In retrospect these years form not only the least agreeable, but the only barren and unhappy period of my life. I was happy as a child with my toys in my nursery. I have been happier every year since I became a man. But this interlude of school makes a sombre grey patch upon the chart of my journey. It was an unending spell of worries that did not then seem petty, of toil uncheered by fruitation; a time of discomfort, restriction and purposeless monotony. . . This train of thought must not lead me to exaggerate the character of my school days. . . Harrow was a very good school. . . .Most of the boys were very happy. . . I can only record the fact that, no doubt through my own shortcomings, I was an exception. . . I was on the whole considerably discouraged. . . .All my contemporaries and even younger boys seemed in every way better adapted to the conditions of our little world. They were far better both at the games and at the lessons. It is not pleasant to feel oneself so completely outclassed and left behind at the very beginning of the race.'
- I wonder whether any other generation has seen such astounding revolutions of data and values as those through which we have lived. Scarcely anything material or established which I was brought up to believe was permanent and vital, has lasted. Everything I was sure or taught to be sure was impossible, has happened.
- He was a gallant man, the man who never quit. He was not a man who easy to beat or defeat. To do like this, you must have great talent and also great effort.
- I have no doubt that the Romans planned the time-table of their days far better than we do. They rose before the sun at all seasons. Except in wartime we never see the dawn. Sometimes we see sunset. The message of sunset is sadness; the message of dawn is hope. The rest and the spell of sleep in the middle of the day refresh the human frame far more than a long night. We were not made by Nature to work, or even play, from eight o'clock in the morning till midnight. We throw a strain upon our system which is unfair and improvident. For every purpose of business or pleasure, mental or physical, we ought to break our days and our marches into two.
- I pass with relief from the tossing sea of Cause and Theory to the firm ground of Result and Fact.
- It is better to be making the news than taking it; to be an actor rather than a critic.
- How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities - but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.
- What is the true and original root of Dutch aversion to British rule? It is the abiding fear and hatred of the movement that seeks to place the native on a level with the white man : the Kaffir is to be declared the brother of the European, to be constituted his legal equal, to be armed with political rights.
- The conditions of the Transvaal ordinance under which Chinese Labour is now being carried on do not, in my opinion, constitute a state of slavery. A labour contract into which men enter voluntarily for a limited and for a brief period, under which they are paid wages which they consider adequate, under which they are not bought or sold and from which they can obtain relief on payment of seventeen pounds ten shillings, the cost of their passage, may not be a healthy or proper contract, but it cannot in the opinion of His Majesty's Government be classified as slavery in the extreme acceptance of the word without some risk of terminological inexactitude.
- What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone? How else can we put ourselves in harmonious relation with the great verities and consolations of the infinite and the eternal? And I avow my faith that we are marching towards better days. Humanity will not be cast down. We are going on swinging bravely forward along the grand high road and already behind the distant mountains is the promise of the sun.
- The unnatural and increasingly rapid growth of the feeble-minded and insane classes, coupled as it is with a steady restriction among all the thrifty, energetic and superior stocks, constitutes a national and race danger which it is impossible to exaggerate... I feel that the source from which the stream of madness is fed should be cut off and sealed up before another year has passed.
- The truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may distort it, but there it is.
- I think a curse should rest on me - because I love this war. I know it's smashing and shattering the lives of thousands every moment - and yet - I can't help it - I enjoy every second of it.
- I do not understand this squeamishness about the use of gas. We have definitely adopted the position at the Peace Conference of arguing in favour of the retention of gas as a permanent method of warfare. It is sheer affectation to lacerate a man with the poisonous fragment of a bursting shell and to boggle at making his eyes water by means of lachrymatory gas. I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes. The moral effect should be so good that the loss of life should be reduced to a minimum. It is not necessary to use only the most deadly gases: gases can be used which cause great inconvenience and would spread a lively terror and yet would leave no serious permanent effects on most of those affected... We cannot, in any circumstances acquiesce to the non-utilisation of any weapons which are available to procure a speedy termination of the disorder which prevails on the frontier. Many argue that quotes from this passage are often taken out of context, because Churchill is distinguishing between non-lethal agents and the deadly gasses used in World War I and emphasizing the use of non-lethal weapons; however Churchill is not clearly ruling out the use of lethal gases, simply stating that 'it is not necessary to use only the most deadly'. It is sometimes claimed that gas killed many young and elderly Kurds and Arabs when the RAF bombed rebelling villages in Iraq in 1920 during the British occupation. For more information on this matter, see Gas in Mesopotamia.
- First there are the Jews who, dwelling in every country throughout the world, identify themselves with that country, enter into its national life and, while adhering faithfully to their own religion, regard themselves as citizens in the fullest sense of the State which has received them. Such a Jew living in England would say, 'I am an English man practising the Jewish faith.' This is a worthy conception, and useful in the highest degree. We in Great Britain well know that during the great struggle the influence of what may be called the 'National Jews' in many lands was cast preponderatingly on the side of the Allies; and in our own Army Jewish soldiers have played a most distinguished part, some rising to the command of armies, others winning the Victoria Cross for valour. (A note: This article appears frequently on internet hate-sites. It must be kept in mind that some believe that the purpose and context of Churchill's article were quite different from that implied by some of those who are today openly hostile to the Jewish people. The 1920 article was intended by Churchill, and seen at the time by his many Jewish friends, as an antidote to the blood libel anti-Semitic tract, 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,' then enjoying wide circulation in Europe and the United States, in large part financed by the American automobile mogul, Henry Ford.)
- The choice was clearly open: crush them with vain and unstinted force, or try to give them what they want. These were the only alternatives and most people were unprepared for either. Here indeed was the Irish spectre - horrid and inexorcisable.
- I remember when I was a child, being taken to the celebrated Barnum's Circus, which contained an exhibition of freaks and monstrosities, but the exhibit on the program which I most desired to see was the one described as 'The Boneless Wonder'. My parents judged that the spectacle would be too demoralizing and revolting for my youthful eye and I have waited fifty years, to see The Boneless Wonder sitting on the Treasury Bench.
- It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations. Bartlett's Familiar Quotations is an admirable work, and I studied it intently. The quotations when engraved upon the memory give you good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more.
- 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.
- I do think unpunctuality is a vile habit, and all my life I have tried to break myself of it.
- I now began for the first time to envy those young cubs at the university who had fine scholars to tell them what was what; professors who had devoted their lives to mastering and focusing ideas in every branch of learning; who were eager to distribute the treasures they had gathered before they were overtaken by the night. But now I pity undergraduates, when I see what frivolous lives many of them lead in the midst of precious fleeting opportunity. After all, a man's Life must be nailed to a cross either of Thought or Action. Without work there is no play.
- I accumulated in those years so fine a surplus in the Book of Observance that I have been drawing confidently upon it ever since.
- I had been brought up and trained to have the utmost contempt for people who got drunk - and I would have liked to have the boozing scholars of the Universities wheeled into line and properly chastised for their squalid misuse of what I must ever regard as a gift of the gods.
- India is a geographical term. It is no more a united nation than the equator. ** Speech at Royal Albert Hall, London (18 March 1931)
- It is alarming and also nauseating to see Mr. Gandhi, a seditious Middle Temple lawyer of the type well-known in the East, now posing as a fakir, striding half naked up the steps of the Viceregal palace to parley on equal terms with the representative of the King-Emperor.
- One may dislike Hitler's system and yet admire his patriotic achievement. If our country were defeated, I hope we should find a champion as indomitable to restore our courage and lead us back to our place among the nations.
- We cannot tell whether Hitler will be the man who will once again let loose upon the world another war in which civilisation will irretrievably succumb, or whether he will go down in history as the man who restored honour and peace of mind to the Great Germanic nation.
- Mr. Gandhi has gone very high in my esteem since he stood up for the untouchables: I do not care whether you are more or less loyal to Great Britain: Tell Mr. Gandhi to use the powers that are offered and make the thing a success.
- The world looks with some awe upon a man who appears unconcernedly indifferent to home, money, comfort, rank, or even power and fame. The world feels not without a certain apprehension, that here is some one outside its jurisdiction; someone before whom its allurements may be spread in vain; some one strangely enfranchised, untamed, untrammelled by convention, moving independent of the ordinary currents of human action.
- So they go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent.
- I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.
- Britain and France had to choose between war and dishonour. They chose dishonour. They will have war.
- I have always said that if Great Britain were defeated in war I hoped we should find a Hitler to lead us back to our rightful position among the nations. I am sorry, however, that he has not been mellowed by the great success that has attended him. The whole world would rejoice to see the Hitler of peace and tolerance, and nothing would adorn his name in world history so much as acts of magnanimity and of mercy and of pity to the forlorn and friendless, to the weak and poor. ... Let this great man search his own heart and conscience before he accuses anyone of being a warmonger.
- I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma: but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.
- 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 suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can 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.
- We shall go on to the end, 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, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God's good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the Old.
- We shall show mercy, but we shall not ask for it.
- Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential
- Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. Upon it depends our own British life and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us now. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'
- The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict have so many owed so much to so few. All hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day; but we must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month, our bomber squadrons travel far into Germany, find their targets in the darkness by the highest navigational skill, aim their attacks, often under the heaviest fire, often with serious loss, with deliberate careful discrimination, and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the technical and war-making structure of the Nazi power.
- We are waiting for the long-promised invasion. So are the fishes.
- Goodnight then: sleep to gather strength for the morning. For the morning will come. Brightly will it shine on the brave and true, kindly upon all who suffer for the cause, glorious upon the tombs of heroes. Thus will shine the dawn. Vive la France! Long live also the forward march of the common people in all the lands towards their just and true inheritance, and towards the broader and fuller age.
- The hour has come; kill the Hun.
- Here is the answer which I will give to President Roosevelt: We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire... Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job.
- The British nation is unique in this respect. They are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst.
- Hitler is a monster of wickedness, insatiable in his lust for blood and plunder. Not content with having all Europe under his heel, or else terrorised into various forms of abject submission, he must now carry his work of butchery and desolation among the vast multitudes of Russia and of Asia. The terrible military machine - which we and the rest of the civilised world so foolishly, so supinely, so insensately allowed the Nazi gangsters to build up year by year from almost nothing - cannot stand idle lest it rust or fall to pieces. ... So now this bloodthirsty guttersnipe must launch his mechanized armies upon new fields of slaughter, pillage and devastation.
- If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.
- We ask no favours of the enemy. We seek from them no compunction. On the contrary, if tonight our people were asked to cast their vote whether a convention should be entered into to stop the bombing of cities, the overwhelming majority would cry, 'No, we will mete out to them the measure, and more than the measure, that they have meted out to us.' The people with one voice would say: 'You have committed every crime under the sun. Where you have been the least resisted there you have been the most brutal. It was you who began the indiscriminate bombing. We will have no truce or parley with you, or the grisly gang who work your wicked will. You do your worst - and we will do our best.'
- Never give in - never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
- When I warned them that Britain would fight on alone whatever they did, their generals told their Prime Minister and his divided Cabinet, 'In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chicken... ' Some chicken; some neck.'- Refering to France in a speech to the Canadian Parliament 1941
- The most dangerous moment of the War, and the one which caused me the greatest alarm, was when the Japanese Fleet was heading for Ceylon and the naval base there. The capture of Ceylon, the consequent control of the Indian Ocean, and the possibility at the same time of a German conquest of Egypt would have closed the ring and the future would have been black. (1942-04-05)
- Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
- Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein, we never had a defeat.
- I am prepared to meet my maker; whether my maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.
- I am sure it would be sensible to restrict as much as possible the work of these gentlemen, who are capable of doing an immense amount of harm with what may very easily degenerate into charlatanry. The tightest hand should be kept over them, and they should not be allowed to quarter themselves in large numbers among Fighting Services at the public expense.
- The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.
- I have nothing to add to the reply which has already been sent.
- You might however consider whether you should not unfold as a background the great privilege of habeas corpus and trial by jury, which are the supreme protection invented by the English people for ordinary individuals against the state. The power of the Executive to cast a man in prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government, whether Nazi or Communist.
- The object of presenting medals, stars, and ribbons is to give pride and pleasure to those who have deserved them.
- It is the Russian Army that has done the main work of ripping the guts out of the German Army ... In the air and on the ocean and the seas we can maintain ourselves, but there was no force in the world which could have been called into being except after several more years that would have been able to maul and break the German Army and subject it to such terrible slaughter and manhandling as has fallen upon the Germans but the Russian Soviet Armies.
- A love of tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril; but the new view must come, the world must roll forward.
- It seems to me that the moment has come when the question of bombing of German cities simply for the sake of increasing the terror, though under other pretexts, should be reviewed.
- Hitler expects to terrorise and cow the people of this mighty city: Little does he know the spirit of the British nation, or the tough fibre of the Londoners.
- I hate nobody except Hitler - and that is professional.
- The very first thing the President did was to show me the new Presidential Seal, which he had just redesigned. He explained, 'The seal has to go everywhere the President goes. It must be displayed upon the lectern when he speaks. The eagle used to face the arrows but I have re-designed it so that it now faces the olive branches: what do you think?' I said, 'Mr. President, with the greatest respect, I would prefer the American eagle's neck to be on a swivel so that it could face the olive branches or the arrows, as the occasion might demand.'
- From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.
- Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues and freebooters. All Indian leaders will be of low calibre and men of straw.
- Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
- One day President Roosevelt told me that he was asking publicly for suggestions about what the war should be called. I said at once 'The Unnecessary War'.
- Their horse cavalry, of which they had twelve brigades, charged valiantly against the swarming tanks and armoured cars but could not harm them with their swords and lances.
- I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial.
- In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Good Will.
- Baldwin, Stanley ... confesses putting party before country, 169-70; ...
- No American will think it wrong of me if I proclaim that to have the United States at our side was to me the greatest joy. I could not fortell the course of events. I do not pretend to have measured accurately the martial might of Japan, but now at this very moment I knew the United States was in the war, up to the neck and in to the death. So we had won after all! ... Hitler's fate was sealed. Mussolini's fate was sealed. As for the Japanese, they would be ground to powder.
- There are two main characteristics of the House of Commons which will command the approval and the support of reflective and experienced Members. The first is that its shape should be oblong and not semicircular. Here is a very potent factor in our political life. The semicircular assembly, which appeals to political theorists, enables every individual or every group to move round the centre, adopting various shades of pink according as the weather changes. I am a convinced supporter of the party system in preference to the group system. I have seen many earnest and ardent Parliaments destroyed by the group system. The party system is much favoured by the oblong form of chamber. It is easy for an individual to move through those insensible gradations from left to right, but the act of crossing the Floor is one which requires serious attention. I am well informed on this matter for I have accomplished that difficult process, not only once, but twice.
- Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.
- To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.
- For myself, I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else.
- 'Keep England White' is a good slogan.
- The day may dawn when fair play, love for one's fellow men, respect for justice and freedom, will enable tormented generations to march forth triumphant from the hideous epoch in which we have to dwell. Meanwhile, never flinch, never weary, never despair.
- I think it is the most important subject facing this country, but I cannot get any of my ministers to take any notice.
- I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion.
- Thus ended the great American Civil War, which upon the whole must be considered the noblest and least avoidable of all the great mass conflicts of which till then there was record.
- No one can understand history without continually relating the long periods which are constantly mentioned to the experiences of our own short lives. Five years is a lot. Twenty years is the horizon to most people. Fifty years is antiquity. To understand how the impact of destiny fell upon any generation of men one must first imagine their position and then apply the time-scale of our own lives.
- At this point the march of invention brought a new factor upon the scene. Iron was dug and forged. Men armed with iron entered Britain from the Continent and killed the men of bronze. At this point we can plainly recognise across the vanished millenniums a fellow-being. A biped capable of slaying another with iron is evidently to modern eyes a man and a brother.
- We see the crude and corrupt beginnings of a higher civilization blotted out by the ferocious uprising of the native tribes. Still, it is the primary right of men to die and kill for the land they live in, and to punish with exceptional severity all members of their own race who have warmed their hands at the invaders' hearth.
- Apparently, as in so many ancient battles, the beaten side were the victims of misunderstanding and the fate of the day was decided against them before the bulk of the forces realised that a serious engagement had begun. Reserves descended from the hills too late to achieve victory, but in good time to be massacred in the rout.
- Like other systems in decay, the Roman Empire continued to function for several generations after its vitality was sapped. For nearly a hundred years our Island was one of the scenes of conflict between a dying civilization and lusty, famishing barbarism.
- And wherever men are fighting against barbarism, tyranny, and massacre, for freedom, law, and honour, let them remember that the fame of their deeds, even though they themselves be exterminated, may perhaps be celebrated as long as the world rolls round. Let us then declare that King Arthur and his noble knights, guarding the Sacred Flame of Christianity and the theme of a world order, sustained by valour, physical strength, and good horses and armour, slaughtered innumerable hosts of foul barbarians and set decent folk an example for all time.
- The picture rises before us vivid and bright: the finely carved, dragon-shaped prow; the high, curving stern; the long row of shields, black and yellow alternately, ranged along the sides; the gleam of steel; the scent of murder.
- When we reflect upon the brutal vices of these salt-water bandits, pirates as shameful as any whom the sea has borne, or recoil from their villainous destruction and cruel deeds, we must also remember the discipline, the fortitude, the comradeship and martial virtues which made them at this period beyond all challenge the most formidable and daring race in the world.
- When the next year the raiders returned and landed near Jarrow they were stoutly attacked while harassed by bad weather. Many were killed. Their 'king' was captured and put to a cruel death, and the fugitives carried so grim a tale back to Denmark that for forty years the English coasts were unravaged.
- '872, Ivar, King of the Northmen of all Ireland and Britain, ended his life.' He had conquered Mercia and East Anglia. He had captured the major stronghold of the kingdom of Strathclyde, Dumbarton. Laden with loot and seemingly invincible, he settled in Dublin and died there peacefully two years later. The pious chroniclers report that he 'slept in Christ.' Thus it may be that he had the best of both worlds.
- A group of pagan ruffians and pirates had gained possession of an effective military and naval machine, but they faced a mass of formidable veterans whom they had to feed and manage, and for whom they must provide killings. Such men make plans, and certainly their descent upon England was one of the most carefully considered and elaborately prepared villainies of that dark time.
- Without any coherent national organisation to repel from the land on which they had settled the ever-unknowable descents from the seas, the Saxons, now for four centuries entitled to be deemed the owners of the soil, very nearly succumbed completely to the Danish inroads. That they did not was due--as almost every critical turn of historic fortune has been due--to the sudden apparition in an era of confusion and decay of one of the great figures of history.
- It was Twelfth Night, and the Saxons, who in these days of torment refreshed and fortified themselves by celebrating the feasts of the Church, were off their guard, engaged in pious exercises, or perhaps even drunk. Down swept the ravaging foe. The whole army of Wessex, sole guarantee of England south of the Thames, was dashed into confusion. Many were killed.
- Civilisation had been restored to the Island. But now the political fabric which nurtured it was about to be overthrown. Hitherto strong men armed had kept the house. Now a child, a weakling, a vacillator, a faithless, feckless creature, succeeded to the warriour throne.
- We have seen that Alfred in his day had never hesitated to use money as well as arms. Ethelred used money instead of arms. He used it in ever-increasing quantities, with ever-diminishing returns...There is the record of a final payment to the Vikings in 1012. This time forty-eight thousand pounds' weight of silver was extracted, and the oppressors enforce the collection by the sack of Canterbury, holding Archbishop Alphege to ransom, and finally killing him at Greenwich because he refused to coerce his flock to raise the money. The Chronicle states: 'All these calamities fell upon us through evil counsel, because tribute was not offered to them at the right time, nor yet were they resisted; but, when they had done the most evil, then was peace made with them. And notwithstanding all this peace and tribute they went everywhere in companies, harried our wretched people, and slew them'
- It is vain to recount further the catalogue of miseries. In earlier ages such horrors remain unknown because unrecorded. Just enough flickering light plays upon this infernal scene to give us the sense of its utter desolation and hopeless wretchedness and cruelty.
- The lights of Saxon England were going out, and in the gathering darkness a gentle, grey-beard prophet foretold the end. When on his death-bed Edward spoke of a time of evil that was coming upon the land his inspired mutterings struck terror into the hearers.
- On September 28 the fleet hove in sight, and all came safely to anchor in Pevensey Bay. There was no opposition to the landing. The local 'fyrd' had been called out this year four times already to watch the coast, and having, in true English style, come to the conclusion that the danger was past because it had not yet arrived had gone back to their homes.
- William now directed his archers to shoot high into the air, so that the arrows would fall behind the shield-wall, and one of these pierced Harold in the right-eye, inflicting a mortal wound. He fell at the foot of the royal standard, unconquerable except by death, which does not count in honour. The hard-fought battle was now decided.
- America should have minded her own business and stayed out of the World War. If you hadn't entered the war the Allies would have made peace with Germany in the Spring of 1917. Had we made peace then there would have been no collapse in Russia followed by Communism, no breakdown in Italy followed by Fascism, and Germany would not have signed the Versailles Treaty, which has enthroned Nazism in Germany. If America had stayed out of the war, all these 'isms' wouldn't today be sweeping the continent of Europe and breaking down parliamentary government - and if England had made peace early in 1917, it would have saved over one million British, French, American, and other lives.
- This is the type of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.
- We will not say thereafter that the Greeks fight like heroes, but heroes fight like the Greeks!
- I think I can save the British Empire from anything - except the British.
- Joan was a being so uplifted from the ordinary run of mankind that she finds no equal in a thousand years. She embodied the natural goodness and valour of the human race in unexampled perfection. Unconquerable courage, infinite compassion, the virtue of the simple, the wisdom of the just, shone forth in her. She glorifies as she freed the soil from which she sprang.
- Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed. (to be found in 'My Early Life', the story of his first 25 years).
- A modest man, who has much to be modest about.
- A nation trying to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to pull himself up by the handles.
- An old town clerk looking at European affairs through the wrong end of a municipal drainpipe
- A sheep in sheep's clothing.
- Broadly speaking, short words are the best, and the old words, when short, are best of all.
- Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities, because it is the quality which guarantees all others.
- Dictators ride to and fro on tigers they dare not dismount. And the tigers are getting hungry.
- Don't argue about the difficulties. The difficulties will argue for themselves.
- Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.
- Golf is like chasing a quinine pill around a cow pasture.
- Headmasters have powers at their disposal with which Prime Ministers have never been invested.
- He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.
- He is the man who brought pederasty into disrepute.
- He looks like a female llama who has been surprised in the bath
- His ear is so close to the ground, it has locusts in it.
- History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.
- Variant: I know history will be kind to me. For I intend to write it.
- I am a sporting man. I always like to give trains and aeroplanes a fair chance of getting away.
- I am prepared to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.
- I am reminded of the professor who, in his declining hours, was asked by his devoted pupils for his final counsel. He replied, 'Verify your quotations.'
- I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.
- If you wanted nothing done at all, Balfour was the man for the job.
- I gather, young man, that you wish to be a Member of Parliament. The first lesson that you must learn is, when I call for statistics about the rate of infant mortality, what I want is proof that fewer babies died when I was Prime Minister than when anyone else was Prime Minister. That is a political statistic.
- I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities he excites among his opponents.
- I have taken more good from alcohol than alcohol has taken from me.
- I like a man who grins when he fights.
- I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
- I must warn him that he runs a very grave risk of falling into senility before he is overtaken by age.
- I neither want it [brandy] nor need it, but I should think it pretty hazardous to interfere with the ineradicable habit of a lifetime.
- If you are going through hell, keep going.
- In time of war, when truth is so precious, it must be attended by a bodyguard of lies.
- It excites world wonder in the Parliamentary countries, that we should build a chamber starting afresh, which can only seat two thirds of its members. It is difficult to explain this to those who do not know our ways. They cannot easily be made to understand why we consider that the intensity, passion, intimacy, informality, and spontaneity of our Debates constitute the personality of the House of Commons and endow it at once with its focus and strength. (1950)
- It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.
- It is the habit of the boa constrictor to besmear the body of his victim with a foul slime before he devours it; and there are many people in England, and perhaps elsewhere, who seem to be unable to contemplate military operations for clear political objects, unless they can cajole themselves into the belief that their enemy are utterly and hopelessly vile: This may be very comforting to philanthropic persons at home; but when an army in the field becomes imbued with the idea that the enemy are vermin who cumber the earth, instances of barbarity may very easily be the outcome. This unmeasured condemnation is moreover as unjust as it is dangerous and unnecessary.
- Joe loved the working man, he loved to see him work.
- Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.
- In war it does not matter who is right, but who is left.
- Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.
- One must regard the hyphen as a blemish to be avoided whenever possible.
- One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.
- Personally I am of the opinion that four assessments in three days is excessive, especially in an assessment-free week.
- Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.
- 'Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.'
- So little time, so much to do.
- Success is going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.
- The ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn't happen.
- The biggest argument against democracy is a five minute discussion with the average voter.
- Variant: The best argument against democracy is a five-minute talk with the average voter.
- The essence and foundation of House of Commons debating, is formal conversation, the set speech, the harangues addressed to constituents, or to the wider public out of doors, have never succeeded much in our small wisely built chamber.
- The further back I look, the further forward I can see.
- Variant: The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.
- The honourable gentleman should not really generate more indignation than he can conveniently contain.
- The House of Commons has lifted our affairs above the mechanical sphere into the human sphere.
- The Hun is either at your throat or at your feet.
- The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.
- The maxim 'nothing avails but perfection' may be spelt shorter: PARALYSIS.
- The object of Parliament is to substitute argument for fisticuffs. (attributed to a House of Commons speech of 1951)
- The price of greatness is responsibility.
- The reason for having diplomatic relations is not to confer a compliment, but to secure a convenience.
- There, but for the grace of God, goes God.
- There's less to him than meets the eye.
- There are a terrible lot of lies going around the world, and the worst of it is half of them are true.
- There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result.
- The reserve of modern assertions is sometimes pushed to extremes, in which the fear of being contradicted leads the writer to strip himself of almost all sense and meaning.
- There should be on great occasions a sense of crowd and urgency. There should be a sense of the importance of much that is said, and a sense that great matters are being decided, there and then by the House... It has a collective personality which enjoys the regard of the public, and which imposes itself upon the conduct not only of individual Members but of parties.
- The Times is speechless and takes three columns to express its speechlessness.
- The United States invariably does the right thing, after having exhausted every other alternative.
- The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whisky. By diligent effort, I learnt to like it.
- This is Winston Churchill speaking. If you have a microphone in my room it is a waste of time. I do not talk in my sleep
- This paper by its very length defends itself against the risk of being read.
- To improve is to change. To be perfect is to change often.
- Truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it and ignorance may deride it; but, in the end; there it is.
- Unless some effective world supergovernment for the purpose of preventing war can be set up ... the prospects for peace and human progress are dark ....If .... it is found possible to build a world organization of irresistible force and inviolable authority for the purpose of securing peace, there are no limits to the blessings which all men enjoy and share.
- War is mainly a catalogue of blunders.
- We are all worms, but I do believe I am a glowworm.
- We didn't come this far because we are made of sugar candy.
- We know that he has, more than any other man, the gift of compressing the largest amount of words into the smallest amount of thought.
- When all was over, torture and cannibalism were the only two expedients that the civilized, scientific, Christian States had been able to deny themselves: and these were of doubtful utility.
- When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticise or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.
- When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.
- When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.
- When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite.
- When I was younger I made it a rule never to take strong drink before lunch. It is now my rule never to do so before breakfast.
- When you are winning a war almost everything that happens can be claimed to be right and wise.
- Why stand when you can sit?
- A medal glitters, but it also casts a shadow.
- Withhold no sacrifice, begrudge no toil, seek no sordid gain, fear no foe, all will be well.
- You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life.
- You will make all kinds of mistakes; but as long as you are generous and true and also fierce you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her.
- In attack most daring, in defence most cunning, in endurance most steadfast, they performed a feat of arms which will be remembered and recounted as long as the virtues of courage and resolution have power to move the hearts of men. (on the First Airborne Division at Arnhem)
- The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients, of delays, is coming to a close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.
- It's not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what's required.
- Lady Nancy Astor: Winston, if I were your wife, I'd poison your tea. Churchill: Nancy, if I were your husband, I'd drink it.
- Bessie Braddock: Sir, you are drunk. Churchill: And you, madam, are ugly. But in the morning, I shall be sober.
- Young man (after seeing Churchill leave the bathroom without washing his hands): At Eton they taught us to wash our hands after using the toilet. Churchill: At Harrow they taught us not to piss on our hands.
- Churchill: Madam, would you sleep with me for five million pounds? Socialite: My goodness, Mr. Churchill... Well, I suppose... we would have to discuss terms, of course... Churchill: Would you sleep with me for five pounds? Socialite: Mr. Churchill, what kind of woman do you think I am?! Churchill: Madam, we've already established that. Now we are haggling about the price.
- Unknown MP sitting behind Churchill on the back benches during his twilight years, to adjacent colleague, sotto voce: He's not what he used to be. They say he's gone senile. Churchill, turning around to face them: And they say he has gone deaf as well!
- If you're not a liberal when you're 25, you have no heart. If you're not a conservative by the time you're 35, you have no brain.
- An empty taxi arrived and out of it stepped Attlee.
- All this contains much that is obviously true, and much that is relevant; unfortunately, what is obviously true is not relevant, and what is relevant is not obviously true.
- You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.
- Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy, and the lash.
- The hardest cross I have to bear is the Cross of Lorraine.
- People often forget that in 1940 there was no guarantee that we were going to win.
- I only believe in statistics that I doctored myself.
- Yes, now bugger off.
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