Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill, born on Nov. 30, 1874, at Blenheim Palace, the famous palace
near Oxford built by the nation for John Churchill, 1st duke of Marlborough, the
great soldier. Blenheim, named after Marlborough\'s grandest victory (1704),
meant much to Winston Churchill. In the grounds there he became engaged to his
future wife, Clementine Ogilvy Hozier (b. 1885). He later wrote his historical
masterpiece, The Life and Times of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, with the
archives of Blenheim behind him. English on his father\'s side, American on his
mother\'s, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill embodied and expressed the
double vitality and the national qualities of both peoples. His names testify to
the richness of his historic inheritance: Winston, after the Royalist family
with whom the Churchills married before the English Civil War; Leonard, after
his remarkable grandfather, Leonard Jerome of New York; Spencer, the married
name of a daughter of the 1st duke of Marlborough, from whom the family
descended; Churchill, the family name of the 1st duke, which his descendents
resumed after the Battle of Waterloo. All these strands come together in a
career that had no parallel in British history for richness, range, length, and
achievement. Churchill took a leading part in laying the foundations of the
welfare state in Britain, in preparing the Royal Navy for World War I, and in
settling the political boundaries in the Middle East after the war. In WORLD WAR

II emerged as the leader of the united British nation and Commonwealth to resist
the German domination of Europe, as an inspirer of the resistance among free
peoples, and as a prime architect of victory. In this, and in the struggle
against communism afterward, he made himself an indispensable link between the

British and American peoples, for he foresaw that the best defense for the free
world was the coming together of the English-speaking peoples. Profoundly
historically minded, he also had prophetic foresight: British-American unity was
the message of his last great book, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples.

He was a combination of soldier, writer, artist, and statesman. He was not so
good as a mere party politician. Like Julius Caesar, he stands out not only as a
great man of action, but as a writer of it too. He had genius; as a man he was
charming, gay, ebullient, endearing. As for personal defects, such a man was
bound to be a great egoist; if that is a defect. So strong a personality was apt
to be overbearing. He was something of a gambler, always too willing to take
risks. In his earlier career, people thought him of unbalanced judgment partly
from the very excess of his energies and gifts. That is the worst that can be
said of him. With no other great man is the familiar legend more true to the
facts. We know all there is to know about him; there was no disguise. His
father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was a younger son of the 7th duke of

Marlborough. His mother was Jennie Jerome; and as her mother, Clara Hall, was
one-quarter Iroquois, Sir Winston had an Indian strain in him. Lord Randolph, a
brilliant Conservative leader who had been chancellor of the exchequer in his

30\'s, died when only 46, after ruining his career. His son wrote that one could
not grow up in that household without realizing that there had been a disaster
in the background. It was an early spur to him to try to make up for his gifted
father\'s failure, not only in politics and in writing, but on the turf. Young

Winston, though the grandson of a duke, had to make his own way in the world,
earning his living by his tongue and his pen. In this he had the comradeship of
his mother, who was always courageous and undaunted. Rejoining his regiment, he
was sent to serve in India. Here, besides his addiction to polo, he went on
seriously with his education, which in his case was very much self-education.

His mother sent out to him boxes of books, and Churchill absorbed the whole of

Gibbon and Macaulay, and much of Darwin. The influence of the historians is to
be observed all through his writings and in his way of looking at things. The
influence of Darwin is not less observable in his philosophy of life: that all
life is a struggle, the chances of survival favor the fittest, chance is a great
element in the game, the game is to be played with courage, and every moment is
to be enjoyed to the full. This philosophy served