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Churchill Rejected, elected, rejected

From 1939 to 1941 as German bombs blasted London, Winston Churchill directed Britain’s lone stand against Nazi Germany from underground war rooms. Even in a time of desperation as his nation faced Hitler’s unstoppable war machine, Churchill was confident. Today, the Churchill War Rooms house a museum that honors him. For years before World War II, Churchill was dismissed as a warmonger as his warnings about Hitler went unheeded. After the war, the British people voted his Conservative Party out of power. During his short time in office, Churchill led his nation through history's most terrible war with honesty, humor and hope.

Hitler's Luftwaffe dropped Bombs like this one on London for 76 consecutive nights during "The Blitz." churchill and other british military leaders took refuge in a bunker underneath the treasury building. Today, the bunker contains the original furnishings and maps that churchill used to direct the war, along with the Churchill Museum.

"I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial... I was sure I would not fail."

-Winston Churchill

The bomb shelter's War Rooms had everything Churchill needed to direct the war, from maps to conference rooms to a secret phone line to President Roosevelt. Royal Marines guarded the entrance against paratrooper attack, and gas masks designed for use while typing ensured that even poison gas wouldn't stop the communication of vital information. Still, the bunker would not have survived a direct hit from a bomb.

Both the Axis and the Allies used Churchill's image in art during the war. The British celebrated him with Churchill teapots, busts and desk ornaments. The Nazis and Japanese published cartoons portraying him as an oppressor of India and a warmonger. "Monster! You make us suffer!" reads the top caption in French.

As Churchill inspired the nation, public opinion of him changed.

Before the war, the press depicted Churchill as a warmonger who was far more interested in needless military buildup than in helping the public. For years, he argued for building up Britain's air force and navy to little avail. When the war came, his political foresight became obvious.

Churchill's determination and drive inspired the people around him. He worked 18-hour days and weekends, exhausting himself to win the war. This one focus so occupied him that he cared little for politeness. "He did not mean to be unkind," his personal secretary Elizabeth Nel said. "He was just heart and soul engaged in winning the war."

Churchill's bedroom in the bomb shelter.

Instead of telling people that the war would soon end, Churchill said that the struggle would be long and difficult. He inspired the British Empire to fight on against Hitler, no matter the defeats and setbacks they faced.

"When a heavy attack developed, I found nothing so heartrending as the constant reduction in the number of ships in a convoy. One had to take down the cardboard symbol from the chart, erase the scribbled total on it and substitute a lower figure, perhaps only to repeat this process within a short while."

-Lieutenant Commander D.P. Capper

The War Rooms buzzed with activity as information from all over the world poured in. Pins and string sketched out the ever-changing fronts on the wall, and phones rang as commanders provided updates. When the war ended, the maps were left on the walls unchanged.

"Words are the only things that will last forever."

-Winston Churchill

In 1945, Churchill's party lost an election to the Labour Party

"I told [Churchill] I thought the people were very ungrateful after the way they had been led in the War."

-King George VI

When Churchill entered the chamber of Parliament after losing the election, Conservatives sang "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" in his honor. Labour sang a socialist song, "The Red Flag" instead. After losing his office as Prime Minister, Churchill continued to warn the world about the threat of communism. "Trying to maintain good relations with a communist is like wooing a crocodile," he said. Defining the Cold War, Churchill coined the term "Iron Curtain" in a speech about the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe. Churchill remained in Parliament until a year before he died, serving one more term as Prime Minister from 1951 to 1955. He also took time to pursue his lifetime hobby of painting.

A beach at sunset, painted by Winston Churchill
Created By
Jackson Elliott
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Jackson Elliott