Quotes by Winston Churchill

150 quotes by Winston Churchill, full of the great man’s spirit and wit!

If you’re in a hurry, you can skip the Winston Churchill biography—complete with Winston Churchill photos—and scroll down to Quotes by Winston Churchill.

And DON"T MISS the Anecdotes about this great, often hilarious, man! You'll find them right after all the Winston Churchill quotes.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) English writer, statesman, historian and courageous leader

The Right Honourable Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was one of the greatest men of his time. He stood at only 5’ 8”, yet he towered like a giant above the danger he and the rest of the sane world faced in the Second World War.

Churchill was never your run-of-the-mill kind of fellow. I love that he’s a great example of an imperfect person who made a HUGE difference in the world. (Makes you wonder why society fantasizes about having “perfect” people as politicians and leaders, when such a creature doesn’t exist. But I digress!)

Childhood: A Bumpy Beginning

Baby Winston was born two months premature, on November 30, 1874, a descendant of a famous English aristocratic family, with Lord Randolph Churchill, a politician, for his father, and Lady Randolph Churchill (née Jennie Jerome) the daughter of an American millionaire, as his mother.

A young (age 9) Winston Churchill at school in 1884

An undersized, emotional child, at times shy, and at other times over-assertive, Winston displayed an independent, rebellious nature. Despite the canings he received in school, he did so badly scholastically, his illustrious father, whom Winston adored, feared he might be retarded.

Winston loved his mother deeply, but both his parents were emotionally distant. So his nanny, Mrs. Everest, became the “dearest and most intimate friend” of his young life. Much later, when he became one of the greatest figures of his age, Mrs. Everest's picture hung above his desk.

Winston ultimately proved his father’s fears wrong, when he attended England’s prestigious and private Harrow School. Finally, he did well at something—English, history and fencing. An interesting hint of his life to come…

He left Harrow in 1893, and after two failed attempts, was accepted by the Royal Military College at Sandhurst in the "cavalry class"—possibly because he had the means to provide his own horse. He graduated eighth out of a class of 150 at the end of 1894, and became a cavalry lieutenant.

This dashing 1895 picture of Winston Churchill shows him at 20, in his Hussars uniform

Fighting and Writing

Churchill saw military action in India, the Sudan and the Second Boer War in South Africa, before resigning from the British Army in 1900. Later, he also served briefly on the Western Front in the First World War. The words “courageous daring” characterize his military career.

Even though Churchill’s mother gave him an allowance greater than his earnings, it still wasn’t enough to maintain the lifestyle he desired. So he took up war correspondence as well, taking advantage of his family’s influence in high society to arrange to be sent to active military campaigns.

He worked as a war correspondent for several London newspapers, and also wrote books about the campaigns. His writing earned public attention, and significant additional income.

Churchill acquired his lifelong taste for Havana cigars when he went to Cuba in 1895, to write about the fighting between the Spanish and Cuban guerrillas. (Later on, his Cuban cigars became known as Winston Churchill cigars. And he smoked at least 6 of them daily!)

His father died early that year, when Churchill was only 20. Churchill had a lisp, just like his father, and he thought he might also share the fate of an early death with him. He decided not to waste any time in making his mark on the world.

A visit to New York, where Churchill stayed with an Irish-born American politician, greatly influenced Churchill in his approach to public speaking and politics, and in fostering his love of America.

He returned to England to stay with his childhood nanny for a week, before she died.

Churchill’s lack of Latin and Greek made it impossible for him to get into Oxford University, as he wished, so he attempted a Parliamentary career. But in 1899, despite vigorous campaigning, he failed to win a seat as a Conservative Member of Parliament.

In October 1899, the South African (Boer) War started, and Churchill was there. It was his fifth campaign. and he was only 24.

During the enemy ambush of an armoured train, the great bravery Churchill showed in coordinating the escape of many of the troops aboard the train led to speculation that he would be awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain's highest award for gallantry in the face of the enemy. (He wasn’t.)

Churchill was captured and imprisoned, but he plotted and pulled off his escape. 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."

Churchill managed to travel almost 300 miles (480 km) to Portuguese territory. Despite the minor national-hero status this won him in Britain, he carried on as a well-paid war correspondent, and rejoined the army in South Africa. He again accounted himself bravely before returning to England in 1900, where he published two books on his Boer War experiences.

Political Life

Churchill in 1904: Success! A young politician at last!

Churchill stood again for Parliament, in Oldham, the same place in which he lost before. This time he won. After the 1900 general election, he embarked on a speaking tour of Britain, followed by tours of the United States and Canada, earning a whopping £10,000 (the equivalent of about £800,000 today).

Disaffected with the Conservative party, Churchill joined the Liberal Party in 1904. When the Liberals won the 1905 election, Churchill became Under-Secretary of State at the Colonial Office. In 1908, at just 33 years old, he entered the Cabinet, as President of the Board of Trade. He became Home Secretary in 1910.

Churchill with the future Mrs. Clementine Churchill before their marriage in 1908

1904 was also the year Churchill first met his bride-to-be, Clementine Hozier. Four years passed before they met again, at a dinner party, where he found himself seated beside her. They began a lifelong romance, marrying that same year. They had five children, but the fourth died before her third birthday.

Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, in 1912

In 1911, Churchill became First Lord of the Admiralty. He held this post into the first months of the First World War, but he resigned after the military disaster of the Dardanelles war in Turkey (April 1915 to January 1916), for which he was blamed. (Britain lost more men in this madness than any other Allied country—21,255 dead and some 250,000 wounded.)

Churchill joined the army, commanded an infantry battalion, and rose to the rank of colonel. In 1917, he was back in government, appointed Minister of Munitions, although he was not a member of the small War Cabinet, and no longer had any influence over war strategy.

From 1919 to 1921, he was Secretary of State for War and Air. In 1924 he rejoined the Conservative party, and became the Chancellor of the Exchequer until 1929.

The 1930s were Churchill’s “wilderness years.” His outspoken opposition to Gandhi and Indian self-rule, and his support for Edward VIII during the “Abdication Crisis” made him unpopular. And his warnings about the rise of Nazi Germany and the need for British rearmament went unheeded.

He spent much of his time between 1931 and 1935 at Chartwell, in Kent, his home in the country. A keen amateur artist and mason, he painted in oils and constructed garden walls and a swimming pool. And although Churchill's earnings as author and journalist were large, his scale of living also necessitated diligence as a lecturer and an investor.

Second World War

When war broke out in 1939, Churchill again became First Lord of the Admiralty. Seven hours and 45 minutes after Britain declared war on Germany, a wireless mesage told British men-of-war across the world: "Winston is back."

Then when Neville Chamberlain resigned as Britain’s prime minister in May 1940, Churchill took his place. He was 65. He told the British Parliament: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."

Churchill’s absolute refusal to cower before the military might of Nazi Germany inspired his country. It’s safe to say that without his inspirational example of fearless fighting spirit, Britain would have lost the Second World War. He summed up his attitude towards Hitler in one wartime speech in this way: “You do your worst! And we will do our best!”

In 1942, Churchill visits the ruins of Coventry Cathedral. He frequently visited bomb sites to encourage his countrymen and women not to give up.

In 1940, when Britain stood alone against the Nazis, fighting tremendous odds at sea and in the air, Churchill exerted all his skill as an orator to rally British pride and courage, and all his ability as a statesman to get arms and provisions from abroad. (In 1963, when President John F. Kennedy conferred honorary citizenship of the United States on Churchill, Kennedy said, "He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle." )

The possibility of Britain winning against the unstoppable Germans seemed so tiny, that a French military leader predicted that Britain was going to have her "neck wrung like a chicken." Later, Churchill remarked: "Some neck. Some chicken!"

Despite poor health in the last two years of the war, Churchill became the tireless linchpin of the Grand Alliance of 26 nations that eventually defeated the Axis powers. He was 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.

On May 8, 1945, after nearly six years of war, Churchill announced Germany’s unconditional surrender. The Second World War was finally over.

Prime Minister Churchill acknowledges the crowds in London on May 8 with his famous V-for-victory sign. This is a live radio report of the event:

Post-War Years

Churchill emerged as a national hero from the Second World War, but surprisingly, his Conservative party was defeated by the Labour party in the 1945 election. So he led the Conservative opposition in the House of Commons, and remained active as a political thinker.

He suffered a mild stroke while on holiday in the south of France in the summer of 1949. Nevertheless, in 1951, Churchill again became Britain’s Prime Minister.

Grandad Churchill, his son Randolph and grandson Winston, resplendent in regalia for the June 2, 1953 coronation of Elizabeth II

Churchill won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953. (He authored some 20 books, and his speeches and other papers were collected into other volumes.) That same year, Queen Elizabeth II conferred upon him the highest order of chivalry awarded a commoner, when she made him a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter.

In June that year, when he was 78, Churchill suffered a slight paralytic stroke that affected his speech and his ability to walk. Both the public and Parliament were told he was suffering from exhaustion. He returned to his desk at 10 Downing Street after two months of recuperation at Chartwell.

Aware that he was weaker both mentally and physically, Churchill resigned as Prime Minister in 1955, at the age of 81. But he kept his seat in the House of Commons until 1964.

A frequent visitor to the French Riviera and Monte-Carlo, while on the Riviera in 1958 he was stricken with pneumonia and pleurisy. In 1962, he fell while getting out of bed in Monte Carlo, fracturing his left thigh. Hospitalized in England for almost two months, the 87-year-old statesman flashed his famous V-for-victory sign as he returned home.

When he was 90, Churchill suffered a severe stroke, on January 15, 1965. With typical bulldogged tenacity, he fought back for nine days, astounding the medical experts. But finally he died at his London home, on January 24,1965—70 years to the day after his father’s death.

So great was his standing and his service to his country, Churchill received the solemn honour of a state funeral, usually only reserved for royalty:

As well as his wife Clementine Churchill and four children, Sir Winston Churchill left 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Queen Elizabeth paid tribute to his “many-sided genius” in her message to the public about his death. She added that “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."

The British Prime Minister of the day said: "Sir Winston will be mourned all over the world by all who owe so much to him. He is now at peace after a life in which he created history, and which will be remembered as long as history is read.”

It seems the prime minister was right. In 2002, a BBC poll of the "100 Greatest Britons" proclaimed Winston Churchill The Greatest of Them All, based on approximately one million votes from BBC viewers.

I hope this account of some of the Winston Churchill facts increase your enjoyment of these Quotes by Winston Churchill…


Quotes by Winston Churchill: Adversity

~ If you are going through hell, keep going.

~ Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.

Short Quotes by Winston Churchill on Alcohol

~ I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.

~ When I was younger I made it a rule never to take strong drink before lunch. It is now my rule never to do so before breakfast.

~ I neither want it [brandy] nor need it, but I should think it pretty hazardous to interfere with the ineradicable habit of a lifetime.

Longer Quotes by Winston Churchill on Alcohol

~ When I was a young subaltern in the South African War, the water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable we had to put a bit of whiskey in it. By diligent effort I learned to like it.

~ My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them.

Quotes by Winston Churchill: Architecture

~ We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.

Short Quotes by Winston Churchill on Art

~ Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.

~ I cannot pretend to feel impartial about the colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns. (Of painting)

Long Quotes by Winston Churchill on Art

~ Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and the glory of the climb. (Of painting)

Really Short Quotes by Winston Churchill on Attitude

~ Why stand when you can sit?

~ Facts are better than dreams.

~ Without work there is no play.

Short Quotes by Winston Churchill on Attitude

~ No hour of life is lost that is spent in the saddle.

~ When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.

~ Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

~ A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.

~ The maxim “Nothing avails but perfection” may be spelt shorter: ”Paralysis.”

~ It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.

~ Never stand up when you can sit down, and never sit down when you can lie down.

~ In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Good Will.

~ It is better to be making the news than taking it; to be an actor rather than a critic.

Longer Quotes by Winston Churchill on Attitude

~ The treatment of crime and criminals is one of the unfailing tests of the civilization of any country.

~ Dogs look up to you, cats look down on you. Give me a pig! He looks you in the eye and treats you as an equal.

~ The truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may distort it, but there it is.

Long Quotes by Winston Churchill on Attitude

~ Tyranny is our foe, whatever trappings or disguise it wears, whatever language it speaks, be it external or internal, we must forever be on our guard, ever mobilized, ever vigilant.

Short Quotes by Winston Churchill on Courage

~ Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.

~ Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

~ Better to dare mighty things and fail, than to live in a grey twilight where there is neither victory nor defeat.

Longer Quotes by Winston Churchill on Courage

~ Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities, because, as has been said, “it is the quality which guarantees all others.”

Long Quotes by Winston Churchill on Courage

~ One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.

Really Long Quotes by Winston Churchill on Courage

~ Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are; yet without imagination not much can be done. Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination.

~ If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.

Quotes by Winston Churchill: Death

~ Although always prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it should be postponed.

~ I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter. (On his 75th birthday)

Short Quotes by Winston Churchill on Determination

~ The nose of the bulldog is slanted backwards so he can continue to breathe without letting go.

~ We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.

Longer Quotes by Winston Churchill on Determination

~ We have not journeyed all this way across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy.

Long Quotes by Winston Churchill on Determination

~ Never give in—never, never, never, never, in nothing, great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. (Contrary to popular belief, Churchil never actually said "Never give up.")

Short Quotes by Winston Churchill: Foolishness

~ No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism.

~ An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last.

~ The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.

Short Quotes by Winston Churchill about the Future

~ The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.

~ The farther backwards you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.

Longer Quotes by Winston Churchill about the Future

~ It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.

Long Quotes by Winston Churchill about the Future

~ A love of tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril; but the new view must come, the world must roll forward... Let us have no fear of the future.

~ The day may dawn when fair play, love for one's fellow men, respect for justice and freedom, will enable tormented generations to march forth triumphant from the hideous epoch in which we have to dwell. Meanwhile, never flinch, never weary, never despair.

Really Long Quotes by Winston Churchill about the Future

~ We have surmounted all the perils and endured all the agonies of the past. We shall provide against and thus prevail over the dangers and problems of the future, withhold no sacrifice, grudge no toil, seek no sordid gain, fear no foe. All will be well. We have, I believe, within us the life-strength and guiding light by which the tormented world around us may find the harbour of safety, after a storm-beaten voyage.

Quotes by Winston Churchill: Health

~ Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.

~ There is no finer investment for any community than putting milk into babies.

Really Short Quotes by Winston Churchill about Himself

~ I am easily satisfied with the very best.

~ History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.

~ Eating my own words has never given me indigestion.

~ I hate nobody except Hitler—and that is professional.

~ We are all worms, but I do believe I am a glowworm.

Short Quotes by Winston Churchill about Himself

~ I think I can save the British Empire from anything—except the British.

~ I like things to happen; and if they don't happen, I like to make them happen.

~ I do think unpunctuality is a vile habit, and all my life I have tried to break myself of it.

~ Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.

~ I am certainly not one of those who need to be prodded. In fact, if anything, I am the prod.

~ I pass with relief from the tossing sea of Cause and Theory to the firm ground of Result and Fact.

~ I am a sporting man. I always give them a fair chance to get away. (On why he missed so many trains and planes!)

~ I certainly hated every minute of my captivity more than I have ever hated any other period in my whole life. (Of his time as a prisoner-of-war in South Africa)

Quotes by Winston Churchill: Humour

~ A joke is a very serious thing.

~ You cannot deal with the most serious things in the world unless you also understand the most amusing.

Quotes by Winston Churchill: Individuality

~ Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.

Short Quotes by Winston Churchill on Life

~ You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

Longer Quotes by Winston Churchill on Life

~ All the greatest things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: Freedom; Justice; Honour; Duty; Mercy; Hope.

~ You will make all kinds of mistakes; but as long as you are generous and true, and also fierce , you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her.

Long Quotes by Winston Churchill on Life

~ We were not made by Nature to work, or even play, from eight o’clock in the morning till midnight. We throw a strain upon our system which is unfair and improvident. For every purpose of business or pleasure, mental or physical, we ought to break our days and our marches into two.

Really Long Quotes by Winston Churchill on Life

~ What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone? How else can we put ourselves in harmonious relation with the great verities and consolations of the infinite and the eternal? And I avow my faith that we are marching towards better days. Humanity will not be cast down. We are going on swinging bravely forward along the grand high road and already behind the distant mountains is the promise of the sun.

Short Quotes by Winston Churchill about His Opinions of Others

~ A sheep in sheep's clothing. (Of Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald)

~ Meeting Roosevelt was like uncorking your first bottle of champagne.

~ He’s got a lot to be modest about. (Of Prime Minister Clement Attlee)

~ There is less there than meets the eye. (Of Prime Minister Clement Attlee)

~ She shone for me like the Evening Star. I loved her dearly—but at a distance. (Of his mother)

~ Indomitable in retreat; invincible in advance; insufferable in victory. (Of Field Marshal Montgomery)

~ He has all the virtues I dislike, and none of the vices I admire. (Of Sir Stafford Cripps, British Labour politician)

Longer Quotes by Winston Churchill about His Opinions of Others

~ He occasionally stumbled over the truth, but hastily picked himself up and hurried on as if nothing had happened. (Of Stanley Baldwin, a U.K. prime minister)

~ We know that he has, more than any other man, the gift of compressing the largest number of words into the smallest amount of thought. (Of Ramsay MacDonald)

Really Long Quotes by Winston Churchill about His Opinions of Others

~ The world looks with some awe upon a man who appears unconcernedly indifferent to home, money, comfort, rank, or even power and fame. The world feels not without a certain apprehension, that here is someone outside its jurisdiction; someone before whom its allurements may be spread in vain; some one strangely enfranchised, untamed, untrammelled by convention, moving independent of the ordinary currents of human action. (Of Lawrence of Arabia)

Quotes by Winston Churchill: Optimism

~ I am an optimist—it does not seem to be much use being anything else.

~ A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

Quotes by Winston Churchill: Peace

~ If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another.

~ Unless some effective world super-government for the purpose of preventing war can be set up... the prospects for peace and human progress are dark. ... If.... it is found possible to build a world organization of irresistible force and inviolable authority for the purpose of securing peace, there are no limits to the blessings which all men enjoy and share.

Quotes by Winston Churchill: being Perfect

~ To improve is to change; to be perfect to change often.

~ They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they'd make up their minds.

Short Quotes by Winston Churchill on Politics

~ The object of Parliament is to substitute argument for fisticuffs.

~ Reconstructing a Cabinet is like solving a kaleidoscopic jigsaw puzzle.

~ The reason for having diplomatic relations is not to confer a compliment, but to secure a convenience.

~ Politics are almost as exciting as war, and—quite as dangerous... in war, you can only be killed once. But in politics, many times.

~ I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial. (Of his appointment as Prime Minister, in 1940)

~ When I am abroad I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the Government of my country. I make up for lost time when I am at home. (When he was leader of the Opposition)

~ For my own part, I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities which he excites among his opponents. I have always set myself not merely to relish but to deserve thoroughly their censure.

Long Quotes by Winston Churchill on Politics

~ The power of the Executive to cast a man in prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government, whether Nazi or Communist.

~ Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

Quotes by Winston Churchill: Quotations

~ It's a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.

~ Quotations when engraved upon the memory give you good thoughts. They also make you anxious to read the authors and look for more.

Short Quotes by Winston Churchill on his School Years

~ Where my reason, imagination or interest were not engaged, I would not or I could not learn.

~ I got into my bones the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence, which is a noble thing.

~ Headmasters have powers at their disposal with which Prime Ministers have never yet been invested.

~ In retrospect these years form not only the least agreeable, but the only barren and unhappy period of my life.

Long Quotes by Winston Churchill on his School Years

~ I was on the whole considerably discouraged... All my contemporaries and even younger boys seemed in every way better adapted to the conditions of our little world. They were far better both at the games and at the lessons. It is not pleasant to feel oneself so completely outclassed and left behind at the very beginning of the race.

Really Long Quotes by Winston Churchill on his School Years

~ I was happy as a child with my toys in my nursery. I have been happier every year since I became a man. But this interlude of school makes a sombre grey patch upon the chart of my journey. It was an unending spell of worries that did not then seem petty, of toil uncheered by fruition; a time of discomfort, restriction and purposeless monotony. This train of thought must not lead me to exaggerate the character of my school days... Harrow was a very good school... Most of the boys were very happy... I can only record the fact that, no doubt through my own shortcomings, I was an exception.

Quotes by Winston Churchill: Strategy

~ Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.

~ Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.

~ However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.

Quotes by Winston Churchill: Strength

~ Strength is granted to us all when we are needed to serve great causes.

~ Too often the strong, silent man is silent only because he does not know what to say, and is reputed strong only because he has remained silent.

Really Short Quotes by Winston Churchill on Success

~ The price of greatness is responsibility.

Short Quotes by Winston Churchill on Success

~ Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

~ Continuous effort—not strength or intelligence-—is the key to unlocking our potential.

~ True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous and conflicting information.

Longer Quotes by Winston Churchill on Success

~ During their lifetimes, every man and woman will stumble across a great opportunity. Sadly, most of them will simply pick themselves up, dust themselves down and carry on as if nothing ever happened.

Quotes by Winston Churchill: Taxes

~ There is no such thing as a good tax.

~ Can a people tax themselves into prosperity? Can a man stand in a bucket and lift himself up by the handle?

Quotes by Winston Churchill: the United States

~ The United States invariably does the right thing, after having exhausted every other alternative.

~ I want no criticism of America at my table. The Americans criticize themselves more than enough.

Quotes by Winston Churchill: Unity

~ If we are together nothing is impossible. If we are divided all will fail.

Really Short Quotes by Winston Churchill on War

~ War is mainly a catalogue of blunders.

~ To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.

~ In war it does not matter who is right, but who is left.

~ I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.

~ Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.

Short Quotes by Winston Churchill on War

~ In wartime, truth is so precious she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.

~ A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him.

~ If you go on with this nuclear arms race, all you are going to do is make the rubble bounce.

~ Of course, when you are winning a war almost everything that happens can be claimed to be right and wise.

~ I have not become the King’s First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire. (Nov. 10, 1942)

Longer Quotes by Winston Churchill on War

~ Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter.

~ One day President Roosevelt told me that he was asking publicly for suggestions about what the war should be called. I said at once “The Unnecessary War.”

~ We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle, nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job. (Feb. 9, 1941)

~ Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning. (Of the British victory over the German Afrika Korps at the Second Battle of El Alamein in Egypt, Nov. 10, 1942)

Long Quotes by Winston Churchill on War

~ Wherever men are fighting against barbarism, tyranny and massacre, for freedom, law and honour, let them remember that the fame of their deeds, even though they themselves be exterminated, may perhaps be celebrated as long as the world rolls round.

~ The British nation is unique in this respect. They are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst, and like to be told that they are very likely to get much worse in the future and must prepare themselves for further reverses.

~ These are not dark days; these are great days—the greatest days our country has ever lived; and we must all thank God that we have been allowed, each of us according to our stations, to play a part in making these days memorable in the history of our race. (Oct. 29, 1941)

~ These cruel, wanton, indiscriminate bombings of London are, of course, a part of Hitler’s invasion plans. He hopes, by killing large numbers of civilians, and women and children, that he will terrorize and cow the people of this mighty imperial city... Little does he know the spirit of the British nation, or the tough fibre of the Londoners. (During the London Blitz, Sept. 11, 1940)

~ Goodnight then: sleep to gather strength for the morning. For the morning will come. Brightly will it shine on the brave and true, kindly upon all who suffer for the cause, glorious upon the tombs of heroes. Thus will shine the dawn. Vive la France! Long live also the forward march of the common people in all the lands towards their just and true inheritance, and towards the broader and fuller age. (Oct. 21, 1940)

~ The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. (Of the Royal Air Force during the Battle of Britain, Aug. 20, 1940)

Really Long Quotes by Winston Churchill on War

~ It is the Russian Armies who have done the main work in tearing the guts out of the German army. In the air and on the oceans we could maintain our place, but there was no force in the world which could have been called into being, except after several more years, that would have been able to maul and break the German army unless it had been subjected to the terrible slaughter and manhandling that has fallen to it through the strength of the Russian Soviet Armies. (Aug. 2, 1944)

~ The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events. Antiquated War Offices, weak, incompetent, or arrogant Commanders, untrustworthy allies, hostile neutrals, malignant Fortune, ugly surprises, awful miscalculations—all take their seats at the Council Board on the morrow of a declaration of war. Always remember, however sure you are that you could easily win, that there would not be a war if the other man did not think he also had a chance.

~ We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival. (In May 1940, after becoming prime minister)

Churchill's famous speech, delivered on June 18th 1940:

~ The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us now. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, the whole world, including the Unites States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. 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 say, "This was their finest hour." (June 18, 1940)

~ Hitler is a monster of wickedness, insatiable in his lust for blood and plunder. Not content with having all Europe under his heel, or else terrorized into various forms of abject submission, he must now carry his work of butchery and desolation among the vast multitudes of Russia and of Asia. The terrible military machine—which we and the rest of the civilized world so foolishly, so supinely, so insensately allowed the Nazi gangsters to build up year by year from almost nothing—cannot stand idle lest it rust or fall to pieces. ... So now this bloodthirsty guttersnipe must launch his mechanized armies upon new fields of slaughter, pillage and devastation. (Of the Nazi invasion of Russia, June 22, 1941)

~ 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. (June 4, 1940)

Quotes by Winston Churchill: Wisdom

~ Wise men learn from their mistakes.

Short Quotes by Winston Churchill on Writing

~ Broadly speaking, short words are best, and the old words, when short, are best of all.

Longer Quotes by Winston Churchill on Writing

~ The reserve of modern assertions is sometimes pushed to extremes, in which the fear of being contradicted leads the writer to strip himself of almost all sense and meaning.

~ Writing is an adventure. To begin with, it is a toy and amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, then it becomes a master, then it becomes a tyrant. The last phase is that just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.

* * * * * * * * * * * *


Although these aren’t verbatim quotes by Winston Churchill, I’m including them because anecdotes about him abound. They help to show his witty, colourful character…

Quotes by Winston Churchill: Really Short Anecdotes

Nelson, Churchill's black cat, is reputed to have had his own chair at Cabinet meetings.

Of the Greek Prime Minister Plasteras, Winston Churchill once remarked: "I hope he doesn't have feet of clay, too."

Asked why he chose to paint landscapes instead of portraits, Churchill said, "Because no tree has ever complained about its likeness."

As he approached his 90th birthday, Winston Churchill was asked the secret of longevity. "Sport," he replied. "I never, ever got involved in sport."

Quotes by Winston Churchill: Short Anecdotes

A young man, seeing Churchill leaving public facilities without washing his hands, blurted, “At Eton they taught us to wash our hands after using the toilet."“At Harrow they taught us not to piss on our hands,” Churchill rejoined.

Towards the end of his life, Winston Churchill visited the House of Commons. "He’s not what he used to be. They say he's senile," murmured one Member of Parliament. "They say he has gone deaf as well," Churchill murmured back.

Quotes by Winston Churchill: Longer Anecdotes

Churchill was a prolific amateur painter. One of his bodyguards also painted and showed some of his canvases to the former Prime Minister, who was quite impressed. "They're much better than mine, he remarked, "but yours will have to be judged on merit."

One of the photographers present at Winston Churchill's 80th birthday expressed the hope that he might also photograph the great man on his 100th birthday, 20 years later. "I don't see why not, young man," Churchill replied. "You look reasonably fit to me."

In January 1960, a reporter for the London Standard approached Churchill at a reception. "Sir Winston, what is your comment on the prediction made the other day that in the year 2000, women will rule the world?" "They still will, will they?" was Churchill’s response.

George Bernard Shaw sent Churchill an invitation to the opening night of his play. Shaw enclosed two tickets and a note: "One for yourself, and one for a friend—if you have one." Churchill expressed his regrets, asking if it would be possible to have tickets for the second night—"if there is one."

As a young man, a friend asked Churchill about the London dinner party he had attended the night before. "Well," Churchill replied, "it would have been splendid… if the wine had been as cold as the soup, the beef as rare as the service, the brandy as old as the fish, and the maid as willing as the duchess."

While sitting on a platform waiting to speak, the 78-year-old Churchill was handed a note by an aide. Churchill glanced at the message, which advised, "Prime Minister—your fly is unbuttoned." Churchill then scrawled on the bottom of the note and passed it back. It read, "Never fear. Dead birds do not drop out of nests."

Winston Churchill often dined with friends, dignitaries and celebrities at Chartwell, his beautiful country home in Kent. His wit on such occasions was legendary. At one such dinner, he asked Charlie Chaplin what his next role would be. "Jesus Christ!" Chaplin exclaimed. Churchill replied: "Have you cleared the rights?"

One day during the 1945 Yalta Conference after the Second World War, Churchill proposed a toast to his Soviet counterpart: "To Premier Stalin, whose foreign policy manifests a desire for peace," Churchill began, before turning away from the interpreter and continuing in a low whisper: "A piece of Poland, a piece of Hungary, a piece of Romania..."

One evening during one of Winston Churchill's overnight visits to the White House, President Roosevelt unexpectedly opened the door of his guest's bedroom—and found the British statesman standing in the middle of the room, entirely naked and surprisingly unembarrassed. "You see, Mr. President," Churchill explained, "we British have nothing to hide."

Contrary to expectations, Churchill’s Conservative Party—having won the Second World War—lost the British general election in 1945. Shortly thereafter, King George VI offered Winston Churchill a British honour. Churchill declined. "Why should I accept from my sovereign the Order of the Garter," he asked, "when his people have already given me the Order of the Boot?"

Quotes by Winston Churchill: Long Anecdotes

After his escape from capture in the Boer War, the 26-year-old Churchill won a seat in Parliament. To make himself look older, he grew a moustache. A woman acquaintance, not enthusiastic about his independent political views, encountered him at a dinner party. "Winston," she scolded, “I approve of neither your politics nor your moustache." "Madam," replied Winston, "you are not likely to come in contact with either."

After a particularly acrimonious debate in Parliament, Churchill, famous for his love of spirits, missed his seat as he sat down. As he regained his seat, his bitter enemy, Lady Astor, shouted out from across the floor in high dudgeon, "Mr. Churchill, you are DRUNK!" Churchill eyed the harridan and replied, "Madam, I AM drunk. But you are ugly. Tomorrow I shall be sober, but you shall be ugly for the rest of your life."

Eleanor Roosevelt once subjected Winston Churchill to a diatribe on the subject of British imperialism. "The Indians have suffered for years under British oppression," she declared. "Are we talking about the brown-skinned Indians in India who have multiplied under benevolent British rule," Churchill retorted. "Or are we speaking about the red-skinned Indians in America who, I understand, are now almost extinct?"

In 1946, Winston Churchill travelled to Fulton, Missouri, to deliver a speech and to be present at the dedication of a bust in his honour. After his speech, a rather attractive and well-endowed woman approached Churchill. "Mr. Churchill," she declared, "I travelled over a hundred miles this morning for the unveiling of your bust." "Madam, I assure you," he enthusiastically replied, "in that regard I would gladly return the favour!"

At a dinner for Commonwealth dignitaries one evening, the chief of protocol approached Churchill and quietly informed him that one of the distinguished guests had slipped a silver saltshaker into his pocket. At the end of the meal, Churchill gingerly slipped up to the offender and produced the matching peppershaker from his own pocket. "Oh, dear," he said, "we were seen. Perhaps we had both better put them back."

Winston Churchill entered a men's washroom in the House of Commons one day and, observing Labour leader Clement Attlee standing before the urinal, took up his stance at the opposite end of the room. " My dear Winston, I hoped that despite being adversaries in the house, we could be friends outside of it.” Attlee said. " Ah Clement," Churchill replied, "I have no quarrel with you, but in my experience, when you see something that's big and works well, you tend to want to nationalize it.”

Churchill attended a reception during a speaking tour in Canada, and found himself seated next to a stiff-necked Methodist bishop. A young waitress appeared with a tray of sherry glasses. She offered one to Churchill, which he took, and then one to the Methodist bishop. The bishop was aghast at the alcoholic offer, saying, "Young lady, I’d rather commit adultery than take an intoxicating beverage." Thereupon, Churchill beckoned the girl. "Come back, lassie; I didn’t know we had a choice."

While visiting America one year, Winston Churchill attended a buffet luncheon at which cold fried chicken was among the dishes served. Churchill, delighted, returned for a second helping. "May I have some breast?" he politely asked. "Mr. Churchill," his hostess replied, "in this country we ask for white meat or dark meat." Churchill apologized profusely and, the following morning, sent the woman a magnificent orchid with an accompanying note. "I would be most obliged," it read, "if you would pin this on your white meat."

After the British deliverance at Dunkirk, Churchill, in the House of Commons, rallied Britain with his most memorable speech. "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," he declared. Then, as the House of Commons thundered in an uproar at his stirring words, Churchill muttered in a whispered aside to a colleague, "And we’ll fight them with the butt ends of broken beer bottles, because that’s bloody well all we’ve got."

Before escaping from captivity as a prisoner of the Boer War in South Africa, Churchill courteously left a letter on his bed, addressed to Louis de Souza, the Boer secretary for war. The letter began: "I have the honour to inform you that as I do not consider that your Government has any right to detain me as a military prisoner, I have decided to escape from your custody." It ended: "Regretting that I am unable to bid you a more ceremonious or a personal farewell, I have the honour to be, Sir, your most obedient servant, Winston Churchill."

Winston Churchill, a keen painter, once visited Time magazine publisher Henry Luce, who had one of the former prime minister's landscape paintings hanging in his private office. "It's a good picture," Luce declared, "but I think it needs something in the foreground—a sheep, perhaps." The next morning, Luce received a call from Churchill's secretary insisting that he return the painting. Luce complied but was greatly distressed that his mild criticism had caused so much offence. A few days later, the canvas was returned—with a single sheep grazing in the foreground.

One day during the Second World War, Winston Churchill visited a naval base to observe the "Asdic" anti-submarine defense system in action. Taken to an area well populated with submerged wrecks, Churchill watched as the system located a target and a depth charge was dropped overboard. Moments later, a tremendous underwater explosion rocked the ship and several pieces of wreckage surfaced—among them an intact door emblazoned with the letters "W. C." "The navy always knew," Churchill later quipped, "how to pay proper compliments." (WC means Water Closet; as Churchill knew, it was a toilet door!)

Quotes by Winston Churchill: A Really Long Anecdote!

Churchill was speaking in a church hall in rural England during an election campaign. The hall was painted in the colour scheme of that era—brown up to shoulder height, then cream up to and including the ceiling. When he finished his speech, Churchill called for questions. The first came from a middle-aged woman dressed in country tweeds. "Mr. Churchill, I am a member of the Temperance League," she began, "My local branch has been examining your use of alcohol. Are you aware, Prime Minister, that during your lifetime to date, you have consumed enough alcohol to fill this hall up to here?" And she stretched her arm to indicate the top of the brown paint on the wall. "We want to know what you intend to do about it!" Churchill looked at the woman, followed her arm to where it pointed, and then slowly allowed his gaze to move up to the ceiling. "So little time, so much to do," he said.

~ End of Quotes by Winston Churchill ~

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