Churchill Dies at 90 At Home in London
January 18, 2008
LONDON, Sunday, Jan. 24--Sir Winston Churchill is dead.
The great figure who embodied man's will to resist tyranny passed into history this morning. He was 90 years old.
His old friend and physician, Lord Moran, gave the news to the world after informing Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
Lord Moran's announcement said:
"Shortly after 8 A.M., Sir Winston died at his home."
The announcement by Lord Moran was read to reporters near the Churchill home at 8:35 A.M. (3:35 A.M., New York time).
About 30 members of the press were standing in the rain at the entrance to Hyde Park Gate, the small street south of Kensington Gardens where Sir Winston had lived for so long. A reporter for the Press Association read Lord Moran's statement to them.
Lord Moran had come to the house at 7:18. A few minutes earlier Sir Winston's son, Randolph, had driven up. Also there at the end were Lady Churchill and their daughter, Sarah, and Randolph's son, Winston.
Another daughter, Mary, Mrs. Christopher Soames, also survives Sir Winston. Other survivors are 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, the last born just two days ago.
Queen Elizabeth II sent the following message to Lady Churchill:
"The whole world is the poorer by the loss of his many-sided genius while the survival of this country and the sister nations of the Commonwealth, in the face of the greatest danger that has ever threatened them, will be a perpetual memorial to his leadership, his vision, and his indomitable courage."
Prime Minister Wilson immediately paid tribute to his illustrious predecessor in office.
"Sir Winston will be mourned all over the world by all who owe so much to him," Mr. Wilson said. "He is now at peace after a life in which he created history and which will be remembered as long as history is read."
The world had been watching and waiting since Jan. 15, when it was announced that Sir Winston had suffered a stroke. The last authentic giant of world politics in the 20th century was going down.
For nine days the struggle went on. Medical experts said that only phenomenal tenacity and spirit of life could enable a man of 90 to hold off death so long in these circumstances.
But then those were the qualities that had made Winston Churchill a historical figure in his lifetime. His pluck in rallying Britain to victory in World War II saved not only this country but, in all likelihood, free nations everywhere.
Sir Winston will be given a state funeral, the first commoner so to be honored since the death of William Ewart Gladstone in 1898.
The body will lie in state in Westminster Hall for several days. Then, after a long march from Westminster, the services will be held in St. Paul's Cathedral, whose huge dome has so long dominated London.
Anniversary of Father's Death
Today was the anniversary of the death of Sir Winston's father, Lord Randolph Churchill, a somewhat eccentric Tory politician. He died in 1894.
For virtually everyone in Great Britain, Sir Winston's death will be a wrenching personal loss and a symbolic break with a past whose glories seem already faded.
For the world, too, it is the end of an age.
Sir Winston will always be remembered as the great war leader who defied Hitler. But he was more than that, a personality larger than life, an extraordinary man in language and character as well as war and politics.
War Was His Finest Hour
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was one of the greatest men of his time. He was the linchpin of the Grand Alliance of 26 nations that vanquished the Axis powers in 1945 after nearly six years of war.
For him as for his countrymen his finest hour came in 1940 when Britain stood alone, beleaguered at sea and in the air. He employed all his skill as an orator to rally British pride and courage and all his ability as a statesman to get arms and sustenance from abroad.
With almost all of Europe under or about to fall under the Nazi jackboot, it was Sir Winston who flung this challenge at the enemy:
"We shall not flag, or fail. 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."
As the late President John F. Kennedy said in 1963, in conferring upon him an honorary citizenship of the United States, "He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle."
Won Nobel Prize in 1953
Quite apart from his fame as a world statesman and global strategist he won distinction as an artist and fame as a historian and author. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953. A special citation paid tribute to his oratory.
In 1953, Queen Elizabeth II, the last of the six British sovereigns he served, conferred upon him the highest order of chivalry that can come to a commoner when she made him a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter.
Great as was his contribution to the strategy of victory in World War II, Sir Winston's paramount place in history is as the man chiefly responsible for providing the leadership and insuring the cohesion of the three great wartime allies--Britain, the Soviet Union and the United States. He was a warm friend of Franklin D. Roosevelt and a tactfully candid collaborator with Josef Stalin.
To this end Sir Winston, who was in his 66th year when he became Prime Minister in May, 1940, was tireless. He was constantly on the go--to Washington, to Moscow, to the various fronts and to the conferences of the Big Three at Teheran, Yalta and finally at Potsdam.
It was in the middle of this postwar conference in 1945 that he learned that the British people had turned out his Government at the polls. As leader the Opposition for the next six years he fought Socialism at home and Communism abroad. It was not until 1951 that he became Prime Minister a second time.
His was among the first voices to warn of the dangers of Soviet expansionist exploitation of the peace, as it had been among the first to cry out against the hidden danger of Hitlerism.
Warned of 'Iron Curtain'
On March 5, 1946, he delivered his famous speech at Fulton, Mo. Although he spoke no longer as head of a government, his words were flashed around the world.
Introduced by President Harry S. Truman, he said:
"From Stettin on the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of central and eastern Europe--Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia--all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere and are all subject in one form or another not only to Soviet influence but to a very high, and in many cases increasing, measure of control from Moscow.
Backward In School
In his 81st year, on April 5, 1955, Sir Winston retired as Prime Minister but retained his seat in the House of Commons, until just prior to last October's general election when he announced, nearing 90, that would not stand again.
Having been elected uninterruptedly since 1924, he had become the "Father of the House of Commons." He had contested 19 elections and been successful in 14 since he was first elected in 1900. He had held every important Cabinet post save that of Foreign Minister.
Sir Winston, whose mother was the former Jennie Jerome of New York, never ceased to promote the solidarity of the English-speaking peoples everywhere. Only through the closest cooperation of Britain the United States and the British Commonwealth could peace and the civilization be assured, he believed.
Sir Winston was born on Nov. 30, 1874, at Blenheim Palace, built for his illustrious ancestor, the first Duke of Marlborough. His father, Lord Randolph Churchill, who had a distinguished political career, was the third son of the seventh Duke of Marlborough.
Winston was an undersized, emotional child, sometimes shy, sometimes over-assertive. He adored his brilliant father, who, however, was convinced by his son's school failures that the boy was retarded. The child saw little of his mother and became deeply attached to his nurse, Mrs. Everest. When he became one of the greatest figures of his age, Mrs. Everest's picture was over his desk.
After attendance at a small private school, where he was brutally caned, Winston was sent to Harrow. He twice failed his entrance examinations to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst and was finally admitted to the "cavalry class," a sort of scholastic back door for young gentlemen wealthy enough to provide their own horses.
Young Churchill was graduated from Sandhurst in 1894 and became a lieutenant in the Fourth (Queen's Own) Hussars. There being no active service at the moment, he went to Cuba as a war correspondent, without giving up his commission.
The fall of 1897 found him fighting in border expeditions in India as a war correspondent- officer, a dual role then permitted. In 1898 he held the same status in fighting in the Sudan.
Before the year was out, young Churchill was back in England. He had wanted to go to Oxford, but he had nothing like the Latin or Greek required for matriculation, and so he decided to enter politics forthwith. In his first try he was badly defeated in a hopeless race for a seat in the House of Commons.
On Oct. 11, 1899, the South African War started and young Churchill took the field, once more with the conveniently vague status of correspondent-officer. It was his fifth campaign and he was not yet 25.
On Nov. 15, while he was taking part in an armored train reconnaissance, the train was ambushed by the Boers. The young correspondent left his pistol on the train as he tried to escape in the excitement and was captured as he ran up the railway cut.
Interned for the duration of the war, he plotted an escape, which he finally brought off in a characteristic burst of skill and good luck. The Boers offered a reward for his capture. Their description of him stated that he had a "small, hardly noticeable mustache, talks through his nose and cannot pronounce the letter S properly."
Won Commons Seat
Back again in England, Sir Winston stood again for Parliament from Oldham and this time he won and took his seat in the House of Commons for the first time on Jan. 23, 1901.
The young member from Oldham maintained his father's tradition of being difficult in party harness. In 1904 he crossed the floor and joined the Liberals. In 1908 he was rewarded with the full Cabinet post of President of the Board of Trade. He was then 33.
When the Liberal party consolidated its power in the 1910 elections, Churchill was named Home Secretary. He took a somewhat military view of this office, which includes maintenance of domestic order. It was a time of great labor strife in Britain, and the Home Secretary seemed to some to be over-ready to use troops to suppress labor disorders, particularly in the coal mining districts of Wales.
On Oct. 21, 1911, Churchill was advanced to the then more important post of First Lord of the Admiralty.
To this position Churchill brought an ever-maturing talent for organization as well as a knowledge of global strategy that went far beyond either Sandhurst or his Indian and African combat experience.
On Aug. 4, 1914, a state of war was declared to exist between Britain and Germany. Good luck and Churchill's prevision and prompt action resulted in the rapid and uneventful concentration of the British fleet at its battle stations.
It was not long, however, until Winston Churchill's darting mind brought him into conflict with the more plodding personages associated with him in Britain's war effort. These saw only the war in France.
Britain and France were soon committed to a bloody, dead-locked struggle with the German armies in France. Prime Minister Herbert Asquith and Lord Kitchener, the Secretary of State for War, believed that victory would go to him who pounded hardest in Flanders and Lorraine--and the pounding was to be such as the world had never seen before.
The Gallipoli Campaign
Winston Churchill realized that the existence of a British fleet on guard at Scapa Flow was his country's chief buckler. Although he was horrified at the colossal bloodletting in France and suspected that it might not be entirely necessary, he knew that Britain was irrevocably committed to this front.
But as a student of Mahan, he believed in the strategic use of the British sea power reserve to relieve the pressure on the main front and find and exploit the flanks of the conflict.
The possibility of action in the Mediterranean, so stimulating to the minds of such strategic geniuses as Nelson and Napoleon, fascinated the agile imagination of Churchill in both World War I and World War II. In 1915 he argued with his Government for men and ships for a Dardanelles expedition, which he believed would "raise the Balkans in the rear of Germany" and open a road to Russia through the Black Sea.
Largely as a result of Churchill's enthusiasm, a joint British-French naval and military expeditionary force was sent to try to open the Dardanelles. The expedition had the support of Field Marshal Lord Kitchener, Britain's most widely respected soldier. It had the tepid and half-hearted backing of the mildly eccentric First Sea Lord of the Admiralty, Admiral John (Jackie) Fisher, the popular naval figure.
After a severe naval reverse, the first infantry units fought their way onto the Gallipoli Peninsula on April 25, 1915. In months of desperate fighting the British and Imperial troops and their French allies stood within a hairsbreadth of victory on several occasions. But they could not dislodge the rugged Turks from the rocky hills. More than 55,000 British and Imperial troops were killed in action there and the total British casualties were more than 251,000. The expedition was abandoned and the last troops were withdrawn on Jan. 6, 1916.
Churchill's political career had come to an abrupt pause some time before the evacuation of Gallipoli.
In Lloyd George Cabinet
After a few months in a Cabinet sinecure, as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Churchill resigned from the Government early in November, 1915. He requested an infantry command at the front in France, and after service as a major with the Grenadier Guards, in a short refresher course, he became a lieutenant colonel and was placed in command of the Sixth Battalion of the Royal Scots Fusiliers. He served six months as an infantry officer in France.
Dissatisfaction with the conduct of the war led to the resignation of Asquith on Dec. 5, 1916. David Lloyd George became Prime Minister. He would have included Churchill in his original cabinet but five political leaders necessary to his Government said they would not serve if Churchill was included. Lloyd George had to wait until July 15, 1917, to name Churchill, Minister of Munitions.
On Jan. 15, 1919, Churchill became Secretary of State for War and was faced with the politically undesirable task of demobilizing Britain's large wartime armies.
In January, 1921, Churchill left the War Office to take the post of Colonial Secretary and became chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Irish Affairs. Civil war loomed in Ireland and the negotiations with the Irish leaders required great skill and patience.
Churchill returned to the Conservative party in 1924 and, on Nov. 4, Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin named him Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was a post that his father had held and it was the highest post in the Government after Prime Minister.
Important differences of opinion arose between the bland, pipe-smoking Prime Minister Baldwin and his Chancellor of the Exchequer. The spirit of the country at the time was largely pacifist, and Baldwin acted upon the belief that the British people wanted peace at almost any price. Churchill believed that the nation should be aroused to the dangers of a second world war.
Warned of Hitler Rise
Churchill's tenure as Chancellor of the Exchequer ended with the fall of the Conservative Government in 1929. For some time differences had developed between Baldwin and Churchill over India. Churchill believed that Baldwin was making a mistake in dealing so extensively with Mohandas K. Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement.
Accordingly, Churchill resigned from the Conservative party's directing group.
Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, who came to power in 1929, was succeeded by Baldwin in 1935.
Many believed that Churchill's political power was so great that Baldwin would not dare to exclude him from the Government. However, when the Cabinet was constituted, Churchill was not included.
In the Churchill of the early nineteen-thirties, portly, middle-aged and at times somewhat pugnacious, dignity joined with youthful high spirits to make the figure that the world was to know in World War II.
Sir Winston lived handsomely in the international world of fashion and politics. He smoked expensive cigars and drank the best brandy. He knew many of the world's most interesting people.
Churchill's earnings were large as an author and journalist, but his scale of living required his diligence as a lecturer and investor as well.
Churchill spent much of his time between 1931 and 1935 at his home, Chartwell, in Kent. He was an enthusiastic amateur mason and built garden walls and a swimming pool.
In 1932 Churchill visited Germany and an appointment was made for him to meet Hitler. The Nazi leader did not keep the appointment, and Churchill later wrote:
"Thus Hitler lost his only chance of meeting me."
The drift toward war quickened on March 7, 1936, when Hitler suddenly occupied the demilitarized Rhineland zone. On May 28, 1937, the first coalition Government of Neville Chamberlain came to power, but pacifist sentiment was strong and Churchill was not asked to join the Government.
First Lord of Admiralty
At 6 P.M. Sept. 3, 1939, seven hours and 45 minutes after Britain had declared war on Germany, a wireless flash told British men-of-war in all parts of the world:
"Winston is back."
Churchill was made First Lord of the Admiralty, his post in 1914 at the outbreak of the World War I.
On April 9, 1940, Germany invaded Norway, and the presence of a British expeditionary force in Norway was announced April 15. Churchill played a great part in the planning and launching of this expedition, but it was a complete failure.
On May 10 Germany invaded the Netherlands and Belgium and the distraught Neville Chamberlain resigned as Prime Minister. King George VI invited Churchill to form a new Government.
In his memoirs Churchill wrote:
"But I cannot conceal from the reader of this truthful account that as I went to bed about 3 A.M. I was conscious of a profound sense of relief. At last I had authority to give direction over the whole scene."
Churchill was 65 when he first became Prime Minister. He was a tried statesman, politician and military strategist, and he possessed a capacity for work seldom equaled by one in his position.
He drove his associates with memorandums that crackled. It was usually: "Pray let me know by 4 P.M. today on one sheet of paper. . . ." Recent events had proved his wisdom in international affairs and his prestige was enormous.
On May 11 the formation of his National Coalition Government was announced and on May 13 he told Parliament grimly that: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat."
Within a few days it became apparent that disaster was overwhelming the French, British and Belgian Armies in Flanders and on May 28 King Leopold of the Belgians surrendered his forces. On May 29 the perimeter of Dunkirk was forming and the last contingent of Allied troops was evacuated on the night of June 3-4.
Britain had not been in such peril since the Spanish Armada. A French military leader predicted that Britain was going to have her "neck wrung like a chicken." Later, Churchill remarked: "Some neck. Some chicken!"
The Fall of France
On June 4 Churchill spoke plainly in telling Parliament of the Dunkirk evacuation and, although he asserted that it had been a disaster of the first magnitude, as he described it, it took on a heroic quality of victory.
On May 15 Churchill learned from France that disaster was in the making, and he flew to Paris the next day. Churchill loved and admired the French and spoke their language with vehemence, but with a high disregard for verb form. During this and four subsequent visits he pleaded with France's leaders to keep their country in the war.
Also, he wanted to establish the facts of the situation to the end that history would not distort his or Britain's part in the disaster. As discreetly as possible he cultivated Brig. Gen. Charles de Gaulle, then Assistant Defense Minister of France, as a rallying point for French resistance.
A few French leaders would have tried to fight on. Others were skeptical of the results. Albert Lebrun, President of France, wrung his hands and wept, and the aged Marshal Henri- Philippe Petain and the conspiratorial Pierre Laval joined with their associates to carry France out of the war on June 22, 1940.
Britain now faced the foe alone. On June 18, when it had become apparent that France was capitulating, Churchill broadcast a message of courage and defiance. His concluding sentence will be long remembered:
"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.'"
After the Dunkirk evacuation Churchill directed Britain's prodigious efforts to prepare home defenses against the German invasion that was expected daily.
It was not long before the Germans launched the long-expected air attack against Britain, much of it from airfields established conveniently in France and Belgium. The first heavy attack occurred on July 10 and the culminating date was Sept. 15, when it was anyone's bet whether Britain's air force could stave off defeat from the air.
As World War II progressed Churchill's obvious diplomatic tactic was to seek to convince the United States that its interests demanded that it join Britain in the war. Toward this end Churchill was greatly aided by the presence in the White House of President Roosevelt, a cultivated, European-minded statesman and a strong Anglophile.
Early in August, 1941, Churchill and President Roosevelt met for the first time as they conferred on warships of their respective countries in Placentia Bay, Nfld.
It was at this conference that swiftly and informally, they drew up the famous Atlantic Charter, in which they stated that they "deem it right to make known certain common principles in the national policies of their respective countries on which they base their hopes for a better future for the world."
The war was rapidly becoming global. The ebb and flow of Britain's fortunes in the battles of Libya, the British failure in Greece and her victory in Ethiopia, together with the many problems of the home front, engaged Churchill's attention in 1941. When the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, insured the entrance of the United States on Britain's side, Churchill's relief was great. Of his feelings at that moment he wrote at a later date:
"Being saturated and satiated with emotion and sensation, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the saved and thankful."
Christmas, 1941, found Churchill in Washington for the first of several American wartime conferences.
Returning home, Churchill found a brisk political storm brewing. British reverses in the Western Desert, the loss of the battleship Prince of Wales and the battle cruiser Repulse, the other war events had stirred some parliamentary opposition to the Prime Minister. On Jan. 27, 1942, a three-day secret debate began in the House of Commons. The House finally voted confidence in the Government by 461 to 1.
President Roosevelt sent Churchill his congratulations. "It is fun to be in the same decade with you," the President cabled.
In March of 1942 Churchill flew to Moscow for the first of several conferences with Stalin.
In January, 1943, the President and the Prime Minister met near Casablanca, French Morocco, where Roosevelt enunciated a policy of "unconditional" surrender for Germany. Churchill's enthusiasm for this policy was somewhat less than that of Roosevelt, but he adhered rigidly to that policy.
In August of the same year, aid to China was a major topic discussed by the two statesmen at Quebec. In Cairo, in November, the two met with Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek of China to clarify Allied war aims in the Pacific. Later in the same month, Prime Minister Churchill and President Roosevelt met at Teheran, Iran, with Premier Stalin.
Of all the wartime meetings of the Allied leaders, none became so controversial as the meeting of Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin at Yalta, in the Crimea, in February, 1945.
The Prime Minister, whose principal concern was to obtain Polish frontiers satisfactory to Britain, cannily avoided involving himself in anything more than the most perfunctory assent to the agreements made between President Roosevelt and Stalin regarding the Soviet position in the Far East after Japan's defeat. These agreements were to plague Roosevelt's Democratic party after the war.
Defeated in 1945 Election
During the remainder of the war in Europe, Churchill was tenacious, but not always successful, in having his strategic conceptions followed. But on the frequent occasions when the counsels of General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Allied commander, prevailed. Prime Minister Churchill supported the general's plans with all his strength.
On May 7, 1945, the Prime Minister proclaimed the end of European hostilities in a broadcast to the British people. A few week later his coalition Government broke up. In the election the Tories were defeated.
In an election in February of 1950, the Labor Government skinned through with a majority of only six. Then Churchill forced an election and he and his Conservative party were returned to power in October, 1951, but with a Commons majority of only sixteen.
On April 24, 1953, the Knighthood of the Order of the Garter was conferred on the British statesman by Queen Elizabeth II and on June 2 Sir Winston had the satisfaction of occupying the Prime Minister's place in Westminster Abbey when the young Queen was crowned.
Long sick of war and its horrors, Sir Winston would have liked to crown his career with the creation of a structure for durable and lasting world peace. On March 5, 1953, he told the Commons that the time was ripe for a conference of the major powers, including the Soviet Union, to seek pacific solutions for their problems.
On June 27 the Prime Minister, then in his seventy-ninth year, suffered a slight paralytic stroke and was absent from his desk until Aug. 19.
For some time he had wanted a conference with the United States and France on ways and means of negotiating a peaceful settlement between the Soviet Union and the West. On Dec. 2, 1953, Sir Winston flew to Bermuda and conferred with General Eisenhower, by then President of the United States, and Joseph Laniel, Premier of France. The results of the meetings fell considerably short of Sir Winston's hopes.
On April 27, 1954, a conference of the big powers, including Communist China, opened at Geneva. Hoping to draw the United States into a common front with Britain, Sir Winston and Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden flew to Washington on June 24 to confer with President Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles concerning the problems coming up at Geneva.
On April 1, 1955, Queen Elizabeth and a group of the most distinguished persons of the realm were the guests of Sir Winston at 10 Downing Street. The following day Sir Winston called upon the Queen at Buckingham Palace and received her permission to submit his resignation as Prime Minister. He did so.
In retirement, Sir Winston frequently visited the French Riviera and Monte-Carlo. On one visit to the Riviera, in 1958, he was stricken with pneumonia and pleurisy. On his recovery he returned to England.
In 1962, he fell while getting out of bed in Monte Carlo and fractured his left thigh. Although hospitalized in England for almost two months, the 87-year-old statesman flashed the V-for-victory sign as he returned to his home in late August.
In the opinion of the most competent critics, no statesman or military figure of the first half of the 20th century wrote better prose than did Winston Churchill. The 1953 Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to him. He was the sixth Briton to be thus honored.
When Churchill's historical narrative style was at its best, it was not surpassed by writing of its kind anywhere.
Sir Winston wrote about 20 books and his speeches and other papers were collected into other volumes. His first book, "The Story of the Malakand Field Force," was published in 1898 and recounted his Army adventures in India. Other books, published in the early Nineteen Hundreds, told of his experiences in war in Egypt and South Africa.
"The River War," an account of the 1898 reconquest of the Egyptian Sudan, marked Churchill as a writer of promise. His two-volume biography of his father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was published in 1906 and won critical praise.
In 1923 Mr. Churchill began a four-volume series, "The World Crisis," in which he told the story of Europe during and immediately after World War I. One of these books, "The Unknown War," tells the story of the vast, bloody and complicated battles on the Eastern Front.
Critics have said this book shows the author at his best as a student of military strategy and a writer of vivid and compelling prose.
The first volume of Churchill's study of his distinguished ancestor, the first Duke of Marlborough, was published in 1933. In these books Churchill defended Marlborough against charges of political treachery and peculation, and showed the great commander against the background of the morality of his time.
Novel Was Fevered
Churchill wrote one novel, "Savrola, a Tale of the Revolution in Laurania," published in 1900. It was a fevered affair in which a democratic young hero with a marked resemblance to the Winston Churchill of that day grappled with the forces of reaction in a mythical European kingdom. In later years Churchill earnestly urged his friends not to read it.
"Savrola" was reprinted in 1956 and in New York was made into a television drama in which Sara Churchill, Sir Winston's actress-daughter, played a part.
For many years Sir Winston had found time to work on an extensive study of the British and other English-speaking peoples. The first volume of this study appeared in 1956 and was followed by three other volumes.
Before Sir Winston's World War II recollections appeared in book form in six volumes, Life magazine and The New York Times published selections from these books. The first of these articles appeared in The Times for April 16, 1948, and the last in the issue for Nov. 26, 1953.
Churchill was widely known as an enthusiastic amateur painter. A need for distraction after he was dropped from the British Cabinet in 1915 and before he went to the French front as an infantry officer caused him to take up water colors. He soon switched to oils.
Because of his world fame, many of Churchill's paintings brought good prices. Sometimes he gave one to be sold for some charitable purpose. By 1950, 300 of his paintings were in his home at Chartwell.
Sir Winston's touch on canvas was softer than that of Hitler, who also had sought relaxation at the easel. Hitler, who had once striven to be an architect, tended to hold to a hard drawn line. Sir Winston liked the soft touch of the French impressionists. For several years Sir Winston's paintings were reproduced as Christmas cards.