"Attitude is a small thing that makes a big difference." - Winston Churchill.
|Winston Churchill (Yousuf Karsh))|
Many people, when asked to think of a hero, would think of Superman or Batman. My hero is a much humbler man. A man who was smart enough to never quit no matter the cost. A man who bid his time to gain his fame; he wasn't on the front lines saving lives, but rather a man who was at home inspiring his people that it was important to fight another day.
Winston Churchill is my personal hero. Born into a wealthy family, Churchill was well off in his childhood. However, he was neglected by his parents; his only true companion growing up was his nanny. After attending an inferior high school and not performing well, his father decided to enlist him in the army. He failed the entrance exam twice, but finally on his third try passed. Once he was accepted, he quickly turned his life around. He graduated in the top 20 in his class of 130 students. At the time there was very little fighting going on in the world so Churchill pursued one of his other passions that of a writer. While a writer Churchill became a well-known soldier. He traveled around the world reporting on what the British army was doing.
In 1899 Churchill resigned from the army to pursue a career in politics. In his first attempt to enter politics he lost the election by a narrow margin. With this defeat he would return to Africa to fight. This is the first time we see Churchill's military success. We also see his bravery as he led a group to rescue an armored train. In this expedition he was taken prisoner and what fame he gained from rescuing the train was tainted in the fact that he was now a prisoner of war. We see his bravery again when he escapes prison. His escape and trip back to London made him a hero again to the people. Once back in London, he decided to run for office again and won this time by a margin as narrow as the one he lost by previously. Churchill was a wise man and was satisfied with a narrow margin for he was now in politics.
Once achieving office, Churchill bid his time, slowly moving up the ranks. He was well prepared for WWI and when it arrived, he was ready and acted swiftly. These actions eventually allowed him to move up to Secretary of War.
|Winston Churchill inspecting American troops ( (AP))|
Churchill's next election was not a pretty one. He tried to prevent his troops to be pushed back as Turks attacked, but the battle in Parliament didn't go his way. They were unwilling to risk another war because of a small battle. This combined with Churchill having appendicitis contributed to him losing his next election by over 10,000 votes. This was a low time in his life. He said, "Without an office, without a seat, without a party, and even without an appendix." (Nicholas). Being out of office didn't mean that Churchill was out of politics. He became editor of the British Gazette, which he proceeded to fill with propaganda against some of his rivals. This caused many people in parliament to see him as unreliable, and therefore they did everything in their power to exclude him from office for the next ten years. Despite being out of office for so long Churchill never gave up. He still played the game of politics, he still fought for his country, and he continued to try to get back into office.
Eventually, the time came where all of his determination was rewarded. The Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, was one of the main people Churchill talked to. He attempted to warn him about German advances and the actions that needed to take place. However, as soon as war was declared the Prime Minister appointed Churchill back to his previous position because he knew he was right. As more and more land was taken over by the Germans the Prime Minister's popularity plummeted. This eventually led to him stepping down and asked the Foreign Secretary to succeed him, however, Lord Halifax wisely declined.
Halifax believed that Churchill alone could unite the country. Once appointed to Prime Minister, Churchill formed a separate Department of War cabinet which included Chamberlain and Halifax. When Churchill first saw the House of Commons he warned them of the road ahead and is quoted saying, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat" (Nicholas). That is exactly what Churchill gave to his country. Churchill needed help early in the war, losing his ally in France, and then not receiving any military support from America or Russia. Things were looking very grim for the British people. They were, most definitely, a lonely island fighting a war against what seemed to be the world. Quickly after losing to France, the Axis Powers turned their focus on their only remaining enemy, the British. Churchill tried to get allies throughout the war but after WWI everyone was reluctant to go back into war. Churchill was persistent and when Germany attacked Russia he was there to offer Russia an ally. Churchill was also there when the United States was attacked to offer them an ally and together they formed the allies of WWII.
Churchill may not have been on the front lines fighting or flying a fighter plane above Britain, but he was at the bombing sites talking to the victims, he was at the anti-aircraft batteries, making sure he was doing everything in his ability to keep his country and his people safe. One of the most heroic things he did was give his, "Our finest hour speech". He was doing his job to inspire the country that he was in charge of protecting. He was informing them that they would be okay and they would make it through this. He was doing the hardest thing as a leader and that is inspiring people to follow you.
Overall I do not see Winston Church hill as a hero like little kids see Superman or Batman, I see him as something above that. Someone who doesn't have the special power to make them a hero, but someone who woke up in the morning determined to accomplish great things. The fact that he did accomplish many great things makes him a hero to me.
Page created on 2/2/2016 12:25:48 PM
Last edited 2/2/2016 12:25:48 PM
Nicholas, Herbert G.. "Sir Winston Churchill | Prime Minister of United Kingdom.." [Online] Available http://www.britannica.com/biography/Winston-Churchill.
Gopnik, Adam. "Finest Hours." [Online] Available http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/08/30/finest-hours.
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Karsh, Karsh. "Winston Churchill inspects the troops".