Winston Churchill: Prime minister during one of England’s toughest times–WWII–and inspired the British to never surrender the war. What he did to help win WWII for the allies made a difference in people’s lives.
But what did he do to participate in the allies’ win of WWII? How did that make a difference in people’s lives and inspire the British people?
When Churchill became Prime Minister, after Neville Chamberlain resigned from office, many of his officials wanted him, like Chamberlain did before, to make deals with Adolf Hitler for peace. For Hitler, it was easy for him to make the deals because he wouldn’t keep them when the other negotiator thought he would.
However, Churchill refused to deal with Hitler because he saw that dealing with Hitler wouldn’t stop the war. Churchill didn’t trust Hitler to keep the treaties, based what Hitler had done to the rest of Europe and, eventually, the Soviet Union: try to take it over. He’d rather have England go down fighting then see Hitler win and try to stop him with peace treaties.
And that’s exactly what he did: fight Hitler and the Axis (Germany, Italy, Japan). At first, England fought alone. No other country did because they were either didn’t want to get involved (U.S., Switzerland), had been taken over (France, Poland), or joined Hitler (Italy, Japan). It wasn’t until Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941 when the U.S. joined Britain in fighting Hitler. The Soviet Union switched sides earlier in 1941 and joined the Allies (England, U.S., Soviets) when the Axis attacked the Soviets.
Just because England first fought alone at first didn’t mean that Churchill stood by and watched to see if Hitler, and eventually Benito Mussolini (Italy) and General Hideki Tojo (Japan), attacked. Churchill knew that if England didn’t fight or tried more peace treaties, Hitler would win the war without much fighting from what was left of the free world.
So he put his skills and the British army to work. Churchill used the skills he gained during his time in the army and in charge of the navy at the beginnings of both WWI and WWII to work out some of the strategies used to deploy armies, fight battles, etc. He put talented, intelligent people in key positions and created a foundation for alliances with the U.S. and the Soviet Union. He kept the resistance to Hitler and his Nazi dominance alive and worked closely with the U.S. and Soviet Union to defeat the Axis and craft a post-war world.
With Churchill’s work, including the speeches he gave, as Prime Minister made a huge impact on the war. If he didn’t stand up to the Axis when no one else could or would, Europe and the rest of the world would have gone down more easily. More battles would have been lost and more people would have died if he didn’t stand up and fight. He didn’t give up when it got hard to fight, but persevered through the war and won.
He had put it best in his speech called “We Shall Fight on the Beaches“:
… 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, …
Churchill’s passion, never surrender attitude, perseverance, and the fact that he stood up to the enemy when no one else did inspired the British people to do something about the war. The Axis needed to be defeated. The world needed its freedom back and Churchill wasn’t going to back down until it happened. He wasn’t going to let everybody down and he wanted to stop Hitler, Mussolini, and Tojo from winning.
After a long, hard war and six years, it was over. The Allies had won and the Axis had lost. The war was finally over and it was eventually the end of Churchill’s role as Prime Minister. Although he was Prime Minister again from 1951-1955, Churchill lost his reelection to be Prime Minister again the next election a couple of months later.
Just because his biggest leadership role ended, it didn’t mean that his influence ended there as well. His influence still inspires people today. People still revere him as who he was and what he did.
But what about you? What are you going to do to change the world? You, like Churchill, can change the world by solving a problem, like stopping world hunger or stopping the use of child soldiers. The problem could be in your university, in your country, across the world. So, what are you waiting for?