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Winston Churchill

(1874—1965) prime minister

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British statesman, Prime Minister (1940–45; 1951–55). Originally a Conservative MP, he changed to the Liberal Party in 1904, serving as Home Secretary (1910–11) under the Liberals and First Lord of the Admiralty (1911–15), but lost this post after the unsuccessful Allied attack on the Turks in the Dardanelles. He returned to the Conservatives in 1924 and was Chancellor of the Exchequer (1924–29). In 1939, under Neville Chamberlain, he became First Lord of the Admiralty again, replacing Chamberlain as Prime Minister in May 1940. Serving as war leader of a coalition government until 1945, Churchill demonstrated rare qualities of leadership and outstanding gifts as an orator. Part of his contribution to victory was to maintain morale at home and to forge and maintain the Alliance, especially with the USA, which defeated the Axis Powers. After the victory he was defeated in the general election of 1945; elected Prime Minister for a second term in 1951, he retired from the premiership in 1955, but remained an MP until 1964. His writings include The Second World War (1948–53) and A History of the English-Speaking Peoples (1956–58); he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953.

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