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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.—Speech in the House of Commons, 4 June 1940
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (1874-1965). Knight of the Garter, Order of Merit, Companion of Honor, Territorial Decoration, Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council, Fellow of the Royal Society, first Honorary Citizen in United States history, and almost the Duke of London.
Switched political parties twice in his very long career (Conservative to Liberal, then back again). A very much beloved British Prime Minister, he is famous for his constant wit (e.g. Bessie Braddock MP: "You, sir, are drunk!" Churchill: "And you are ugly. Tomorrow morning, madam, I shall be sober."), his cigar-smoking (his scowl in the famous portrait, shown above, is because the photographer took his cigar away) and the Victory salute ("the bird" inverted, although he didn't invert it.)
Winning a world war (and funding the invention of the tank) will get a lot of people to forget your less popular policies, and some were very unpopular. He resigned from the War Cabinet in World War One after the failure of Gallipoli and his opposition to Indian autonomy played a large part in his isolation in the 1930s. Furthermore, his second term as Prime Minister is generally regarded a lot less favourably than his first; the general rule is that he's considered a fine wartime leader, but not very suited to peacetime. In 1943, while PM, he did nothing to solve a famine in Bengal, which eventually killed 4 million people--instead expressing disappointment that Gandhi was not killed by it, however given that the war was getting increasingly desperate at that time, his distraction was somewhat understandable. He was also a noted racist, like most leaders and people at the time, believing that one should not help the Palestinians from subjugation by Israel, because "a superior race naturally conquers an inferior one", and supported the use of non-lethal gas on rebellious Iraqis and other "uncivilised tribes" who had been attacking those under nominal British protection.
He'd been in the army before going into politics and was also a war correspondent. As well as his Nobel Prize-winning book on the Second World War (not the most reliable source, but an invaluable memoir), he wrote a history of the English-speaking peoples and a largely forgotten political thriller called Savrola: A Tale of the Revolution in Laurania.
A real-life Bunny Ears Lawyer, he once had a meeting with Franklin D Roosevelt while he was taking a bath, had little awareness of social mannerisms and sometimes wandered around his house naked. He more or less had a drink with him at all times, thus the, "You, sir, are drunk!", quote. He also suffered from depression, which he called his "black dog".
He was given a state funeral on his death in 1965, with a lot of leaders turning up. He is buried in a churchyard in Bladon, Oxfordshire. In a BBC series he was voted Greatest Briton of all time, and up until the funeral of Pope John Paul II his funeral was attended by the most heads of states.
Many of Churchill's quotes are rightly legendary, including (as well as our page quote):
- I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside An Enigma, but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.
- I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.
- If the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'
- From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the Continent.
- In time of war, when truth is so precious, it must be attended by a bodyguard of lies.
- One can always trust the United States to do the right thing, once every possible alternative has been exhausted.
- Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed, by so many, to so few.
- A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.
- An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
- If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.
- And so many more. You can get a lot of chapter titles from his quotes.
Winston Churchill is the Trope Namer for the following tropes:
- The Eternal Churchill
- Iron Curtain
- A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside An Enigma
- Written by the Winners
Churchill in fiction:
- Pretty much anything set in Britain during World War II.
- In The Bloody Red Baron by Kim Newman, set during World War I, Churchill makes a brief appearance as a member of the War Cabinet.
- The young war correspondent Churchill guest-stars in the Time Wars novel The Khyber Connection, and is attacked by time-travelling assassins.
- Appears in Time Squad, in which the main characters must go back in time and stop him from being a nudist.
- In the Time Travel / Alternate History novel The Proteus Operation, people from a different United States go back in time to the 1930s to save the world from the Nazi Empire which defeated Britain. They need to find someone in politics to work with to save the UK. When the name Winston Churchill comes up they are about to dismiss him as all washed up and his career over. Then they think more about it and realize that he is untarnished with the defeatism and appeasement of so many others.
- When the cast of Are You Being Served camps out on the floor one night, Mr Grainger does an impression of Churchill giving one of his famous speeches.
- A playable leader in Civilization IV. His traits are Charismatic/Protective.
- Makes a short appearance in Inglourious Basterds.
- Appeared in "Victory of the Daleks", the third episode of the 2010 series of Doctor Who. He and the Doctor are apparently old friends, and he keeps trying to swipe the TARDIS key from the Doctor. He also turns up in the season finale "The Wedding of River Song" in an corrupted version of the universe where every time is happening at once, where he intrinsically trusts the Doctor due to feeling echoes of their friendship in the proper timeline.
- Interestingly, in the latter, he is not prime minister; he is Holy Roman Emperor.
- In the Doctor Who spin off novel Players, the Sixth Doctor meets Churchill in two time periods--1899, when Churhill is a reporter during the Boer War; and in 1930's England, just prior to the abdication of Edward VIII. Churchill also meets the Second Doctor, but that's another story.
- Frequently mentioned but rarely seen in the Timeline-191 Alternate History series by Harry Turtledove. When Britain allies with the Confederacy and loses the First World War, he becomes Prime Minister in a coalition with Oswald Mosley's Blackshirts on a platform of revanchism. He is forced to resign when London, Brighton and Norwich are destroyed by German atomic bombs and the British counterattack is defeated. Every time he is mentioned, characters reflect on his gift of the gab (EVERY TIME).
- You really shouldn't be surprised, this is Turtledove after all. Like how every time Sam Carsten comes back to the fore we have to be told how easily he burns, and how pale his skin is, and how he always has to wear zinc oxide cream while on deck duty, and how he's sensitive to the Sun, etc, etc. If he thinks something's worth saying, Turtledove says it over and over again.
- Yet another Time Travel novel, Lightning by Dean Koontz, ends with a time-traveling ex-Nazi returning to just after World War II and persuading Churchill to finish off the Soviets as well, creating a much nicer world.
- Churchill would have liked nothing more. Roosevelt, however, was convinced he had a rapport going with Stalin and that he could "deal with him".
- Probably not as it would have required a lot of blood and even he was tired of war by then. He would have liked to if he could snap his fingers and get rid of Stalin though.
- I think the fact that military intervention in the USSR could only be considered and not acted upon is summed up by the name of the British plans for such an eventuality: Operation Unthinkable
- Churchill would have liked nothing more. Roosevelt, however, was convinced he had a rapport going with Stalin and that he could "deal with him".
- In the film,The King's Speech, about the abdication of Edward VIII and the ascension of George VI to the throne, Churchill was played by Timothy Spall.
- Ken Follett's Doorstopper novel Fall of Giants features Churchill during World War One.
- On Parks and Recreation, after Leslie had to pull down her pants on TV to prove her innocence in sex scandal, she says this in a Confession Cam:
"It's gotten a lot harder to work in government. You think Winston Churchill ever had to pull his pants down and show his butt? No. But would he have? Yes. Now could he have? Well, maybe not towards the end of his life. But he would have. Because he loved his job."
- The Eagle Has Landed was a fictionalized account of a real Nazi plot to kidnap Churchill on his native soil.
- Will becomes Churchill's speech writer in Irregular Webcomic.
- Assassin's Creed II gives him a Historical Villain Upgrade, in which he was a member of The Knights Templar and actually helped masterminded World War II along with FDR and Hitler.
- The Percy Jackson and The Olympians series imply that he was a son of the Big Three; Hades, Poseidon or Zeus. Its Wiki reveals that he is the son of Poseidon
- Gets a Historical Villain Upgrade as England's boss/dictator in All He Ever Wanted.
- "There's Winston Churchill dressed in drag, he used to be a British flag. Plastic bag, What a drag".
- Churchill: The Hollywood Years is an satire of Hollywood History where Winston Churchill is actually an American commando attempting to stop Hitler from marring into the British Royal Family. The Churchill the world knows was just an actor called Ray Bubbles.
- Darkest Hour features Churchill portrayed by acclaimed British actor Gary Oldman.
Tropes associated with Churchill:
- TheAlliance: A key member of the Allies in WWII, he also coined the term "Special Relationship" to describe his views on the unique friendship between Great Britain and the United States.
* TheAlcoholic: Barely averted. Churchill really liked a drink, but was professionally and socially Template:Functional. That said, legend has it that one officer was assigned to his wartime staff to countermand any orders that he might issue after his dinnertime brandies.
* AlternateHistory: In addition to his common appearances in this kind of fiction, Churchill penned a short story postulating a universe wherein TheAmericanCivilWar Robert E. Lee won the Battle of Gettysburg. Available [here].
* AmericaSavesTheDay: A good-natured non-American example. Winston spent the first years of the war seducing FDR, in a rather unsuccessful attempt to invoke this. When Japan obliged at Pearl Harbor, he was overjoyed, declaring "so we have won after all!"
* [[Template:AntiClimax Anti-Climax]]: His second tenure as Prime Minister, 1951-55.
** Churchill is often seen as LastStand EMBODYING the spirit of resistance, no matter the odds.
** And he was a BadassBookworm.
** Also, he was a BadassBaritone, his low, gravely voice being well-known.
* BeamMeUpScotty: Naturally, being a witty man, he's had a number of quotes misattributed to him. When he was alive, he said he wished he had said some of them.
** His most famous speech is often referred to as the "we shall fight them on the beaches" speech. The "them" makes that a misquote.
** See also PrepositionsAreNotToEndSentencesWith below.
* BecauseDestinySaysSo: On his accession to the office of Prime Minister on May 10, 1940, the same day that the Germans launched their long-awaited attack on the Western Allies:
--> ...on the night of the 10th of May, at the outset of this mighty battle, I acquired the chief power in the State. ... I cannot conceal from the reader of this truthful account that as I went to bed at about 3 a.m. I was conscious of a profound sense of relief. At last I had the authority to give directions over the whole scene. 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. Ten years in the political wilderness had freed me from ordinary party antagonisms. My warnings over the last six years had been so numerous, so detailed, and were now so terribly vindicated, that no one could gainsay me. I could not be reproached either for making the war or with want of preparation for it. I thought I knew a good deal about it all, and I was sure I should not fail.
* BigGood: While he wasn't exactly a grade A good guy, he held this postion with UsefulNotes/FranklinDRoosevelt and JosefStalin during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII.
* BlueBlood: He was a grandson of the seventh Duke of Marlborough, very bluest of non-Royal English aristocracy. Although he did not inherit a noble title because his father was a third son and England practiced strict male primogeniture for non-royal nobility, he was very aristocratic in social and political outlook and held commoners in (often unconscious, but obvious) contempt (See Working Class Hero below). This shows up in his History of English Speaking Peoples, for example, where high politics practiced by kings and aristocrats constantly take the center stage while the Industrial Revolution, mostly the work of commoners, hardly gets a mention.
* BornInTheWrongCentury: Actually he was born in exactly the right century as he was born in the third quarter of the nineteenth and was in many ways a stereotypical Victorian. However most of his life was spent in the twentieth century.
** He was something of a social reformer in his early political career (he was instrumental in introducing old age pensions, for instance), but that largely subsided after taking over the Admiralty in 1911.
** His unapologetic imperialism was certainly a 19th century throwback.
* BowTiesAreCool: Of course, they were still in style back then.
* BunnyEarsLawyer: Famous for his eccentricities and energetic quirks. At one point, the admirals seriously wondered if Winston had gone mad.
** He unsuccessfully spent the 30s trying to warn of the danger that Hitler posed to Europe, and of the lack of Britain's preparedness for war. The first chapter of his war memoirs is named AStormIsComing The Gathering Storm.
** The Munich Agreement that Neville Chamberlain brokered, in which the western powers agreed to hand over a slice of Czechoslovakia for Hitler's promise not to swallow the rest, has become a synonym for political weakness. At the time, however, it was wildly popular in England and Chamberlain was hailed as the man who had saved the peace. Churchill was practically alone when he rose up in the House of Commons and said ["we have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat".] Less than six months later Hitler gobbled up the rest of Czechoslovakia, and less than a year later Britain was at war.
** At the same time, he spent most of 1920s and 30s ranting against the threat posed by Gandhi and other anti-colonial activists. Generally, he was against everything that posed a threat to the grandeur of British Empire, whether it was Hitler, Gandhi, de Gaulle, or the Bolsheviks -- except the Americans, whom he considered the SpiritualSuccessor to the British Empire.
** Which said, strictly speaking, Churchill was right about the vital importance of India for maintenance of the British Empire. After India became independent, the far-flung colonial empire could no longer be sustained.
* CigarChomper: He was often seen touring the damage during DarkestHour The Blitz with a cigar in hand.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: According to one anecdote, Churchill was awoken one day with the news that an MP had been found naked in the bushes with a guardsman the previous night. Churchill asked, "Wasn't it awfully cold last night?" When told that yes, it had been one of the coldest winter nights in decades, he said, "Makes you proud to be British."
* CursedWithAwesome: Arguably. He was born with a speech impediment that he fought for years to overcome, and the lingering effect of it was that he paused a lot in his speeches, which lent them an additional sense of drama. This style may have been deliberately copied by a later Prime Minister, TonyBlair.
* DarkestHour: A real life TropeCodifier of sorts, "The Darkest Hour" is a phrase he coined to describe the phase of the war when Britain alone faced the Axis threat and was pounded daily by The Blitz. He also reversed it to praise such defiance.
-->If the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.
* DeadpanSnarker: And how !
** Two of the most famous are these exchanges (the first with one of his favourite House of Commons sparring partners, the Conservative backbencher [Nancy Astor]):
---> Astor: If I were your wife, I would put poison in your tea.\\
Churchill: Madam, if I were your husband, I would drink it.\\
Bessie Braddock: Sir, you are drunk!\\
Churchill: Madam, you are ugly. In the morning, I shall be sober.
** He of course has many more, one of which is the page quote for TheOnlyRighteousIndexOfFanatics.
** He was also on the receiving end of this a few times, including an exchange with a Halloween host on what he should come as. "Why don't you try coming sober, for a change?"
* DemocracyIsBad[=/=]DemocracyIsFlawed: Toyed with, as the man himself said, "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter," but he did also say "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", so it would seem although he felt that democracy was far from perfect, it was still notably less imperfect than the alternatives.
* DeathFromAbove: The Blitz. Also, the British bombing campaign against Germany, of which Churchill was a huge advocate.
* Template:Determinator: Summed up in one of his catchphrases, "Keep Buggering On". Even in his own life. Nearly killed in a car wreck, lieutenant in the militia and later obese, cigar smoking and drinking like there was no tomorrow. And yet he STILL lived to 91!
-->If you're going through hell, keep going.
* EnemiesEqualsGreatness: His quote sums up this trope:
-->Churchill: You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
* EnemyMine: He absolutely loathed Bolshevism and campaigned for active intervention against the communist faction in Russia's civil war, but when Germany invaded the USSR he quickly and warmly welcomed Stalin as a genuine ally of the British Empire.
-->Churchill: If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.
* EvilCounterpart: In his unfinished biography, William Manchester claims that the reason Churchill knew UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler was, well, UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler, instead of just another eccentric politician, was that Hitler was Churchill's EvilCounterpart. Both were romantic nationalists with a militaristic streak (although arguably Churchill's militarism was comparable that of high-school wargame geek or an unusually avid Creator/TomClancy fan) who had a sense of national mission. Of course Churchill's idea of Britain's mission was rather different from Hitler's idea of Germany's.
** They were also both competent, but not professionally successful artists.
** The similarity runs closer if Churchill's deep-seated racism towards colonial peoples and imperialist worldview are taken into consideration. (Especially given his involvement, direct or indirect, in mass murders like the Bengal Famine--see below under Historical Hero Upgrade)
** In fact, given Churchill's views on imperialism, Churchill himself can be considered an EvilCounterpart to India's Gandhi and Ireland's Eamon de Valera.
* FamousAncestor: Winston was a huge admirer and a descendant of John Churchill, the UsefulNotes/WarOfTheSpanishSuccession 1st Duke of Malborough, to whom he dedicated a very romanticized and panegyrical Template:Biography.
* FunctionalAddict: Dependent on alcohol without being an TheAlcoholic abuser. He boasted about being able to outdrink VodkaDrunkenski Molotov and Stalin, and also joked his doctor forbade him to ingest anything non-alcoholic between meals.
* GentlemanAndAScholar: He was well known as a writer as well as a politician.
* GentlemanSnarker: His witty insults are the stuff of legend.
* GlorySeeker: After the fiasco of Gallipoli and his exit from the government, he rejoined the British Army seeking to rehabilitate his reputation and was given a field commission as a Template:Colonel in Belgium, where he continued to exhibit the usual reckless daring of his military career.
* GodwinsLaw: Possibly the first ever invocation, during the 1945 election he attacked Labour, stating that they would limit free speech and claimed they would have to "fall back on some kind of Gestapo". This went over very badly and certainly didn't do anything to prevent Churchill's defeat.
* TheGoodChancellor: Well, that's what a Prime Minister is, right? Although Churchill's earlier stint as the actual Chancellor (of Exchequer, Britain's Minister of Economy) was rather disastrous.
* GoodNewsBadNews: Used in a reverse way in his WWII chronicles. Reportedly, after learning about the attack on Pearl Harbor and on the British possesion in East Asia, Churchill broke out a bottle of champagne and said, "We've won the war", since this meant AwakeningTheSleepingGiant, his longtime daydream.
* HesBack: His decade-long ostracism is ended when Chamberlain invites him to the government at the outbreak of WWII. The Navy welcomes the old First Lord of the Admiralty by sending out a signal to the Fleet: "Winston is back."
* HistoricalHeroUpgrade: Because of his status as one of the great heroes of British history, it's very unlikely to hear much about his MightyWhitey politically incorrect views on race (see that "If Lee Had Won the Battle of Gettysburg" essay) or his staunch opposition to Indian independence. This trope combined with RoseTintedNarrative also tends to see his racism and ValuesDissonance endorsement of the use of mustard gas against rebellious Iraqis and other "uncivilised tribes" frequently ignored. In fact, the Indian situation got so bad that [four million died of starvation during World War II]... and his only response was to keep claiming that Britain was ruling the place for the natives' own good, and express disappointment that Gandhi was not one of the casualties.
** A common criticism of Churchill is that he brought in London Metropolitan policemen to break up a strike at Tonypandy in Wales. While this is true, it ignores the fact that firstly Churchill did sympathise with the strikers, and secondly the rest of the government had wanted to send in DisproportionateRetribution the army.
** There's also the matter of him getting rather chummy with BenitoMussolini (mostly because Churchill admired the Italian dictator's anti-communist actions, and that until the later '30s, he was not well-disposed to UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler, making it a case of "He's an SOB, but he's our SOB."). Got a lot less chummy as the years dragged on, of course.
** The Bengali famine aside, Churchill was a passionate opponent of Indian independence and a true believer in Britain's right to rule over brown people around the world. Observe what he said about [India in general] and [Gandhi in particular]. Churchill's "wilderness years" when he was a powerless backbencher did not happen because he was against appeasing Hitler; he dropped out of leadership in the Conservative Party before Hitler came to power, because Churchill was opposed to Indian Home Rule.
** Churchill's steadfast support of Edward VIII during the Abdication Crisis not only proved a personal embarrassment, but hindered his credibility during the run up to World War II. Even [=MP=]s with reservations about Chamberlain's appeasement policies were reluctant to ally themselves with Churchill after this.
* HonorBeforeReason: Sometimes. Though not of course when he was IDidWhatIHadToDo Doing What He Had To Do.
* HumbleHero: While Winston was prone to egotism, he also was a romantic who genuinely put the credit collectively in the British and not in his leadership. Quoting from his 80th birthday ceremony in the middle of his second mandate:
-->It was the nation and the race dwelling all round the globe that had the lion's heart: I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar.
* IWasQuiteALooker: Prior to looking like a very large ugly baby in a suit, he was actually a rather handsome man.
* ImprobableAimingSkills: Was a excellent shot with a Mauser C96 in his cavalry days and practised with a Colt M1911 to keep his skill up.
* ImpoverishedPatrician: Lord Randolph was a younger son of the Duke of Marlborough, so money was always a bit of a concern. Indeed, one important reason Winston's mother is a daughter of an American millionaire is because his father didn't have much money. Winston's expensive tastes meant he was always on the knife's edge in adulthood, and he remained afloat only by churning out an astonishing pace of bestselling books and work-for-hire newspaper and magazine articles.
* IntrepidReporter: A war correspondent in his youth, a period in which he gained celebrity status after escaping from a POWCamp in TheSecondBoerWar.
* IronCurtain: TropeCodifier, at least, although Churchill's famous Fulton, Missouri speech was not the first to use that metaphor. The real TropeNamers Trope Namer, oddly enough, was ThoseWackyNazis Joseph Goebbels.
* ItsAllAboutMe: Accused of this a lot. For instance, when his history of UsefulNotes/WorldWarI was published in 1922:
--> ArthurBalfour: Winston has written an enormous book all about himself and called it The World Crisis.
* IWarnedYou: Churchill warned the Western powers of the threat to democracy Hitler and his fascist government posed. No one listened to him until WWII broke out, and he was elected as Prime Minister in 1940.
* KindheartedCatLover: Was very fond of his cats and often brought them to Cabinet meetings in a RealLife inversion of RightHandCat (the villainous trope).
* LargeHam: He had a habit of using that soaring rhetoric all the time.
* LesserOfTwoEvils: He opposed Communism with a passion, but he made this quote in response to Germany's invasion of Russia: "If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons."
** Randolph Churchill, son of Winnie who spent UsefulNotes/WorldWarII as a swashbuckling warrior, IntrepidReporter and general Template:Badass.
** Lord Randolph Churchill, Winston's father, who was a rising star in the Conservative Party but his political career ended in disaster due to a miscalculation when he became Chancellor. Exactly the same thing happened to Winston in the 1920s and, until WW2, most people assumed his career was over as well.
* LookBothWays: Struck by a car in New York City and nearly killed on Dec. 13, 1931. He looked the wrong way when stepping into the street (Americans drive on the right).
* TheMeanBrit: The patron saint of this trope; both in being sharp-tongued and being JerkassHasAPoint competent.
* MilitaryMaverick: He criticized Kitchener in the press while a serving officer. That would also be ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections.
* ModernMajorGeneral: Churchill's military incompetence is generally glossed over as part of his HistoricalHeroUpgrade. He was one of the architects of the disastrous British defeat in Gallipoli in World War I (something that derailed his political career for a time).
** The Dardanelles naval campaign failed because the field commander (Admiral John de Robeck) called off the final assault, against Churchill's advice. The marine landings were also opposed by Churchill, and went bad because of similarly awful leadership from commanders on the scene, but Churchill ended up taking the blame for their failure in spite of that.
** Probably a better example would be his tendency towards micromanaging British naval forces in the early stages of UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, which led to several notable failures and defeats (the flight of the Goeben and the battle of Coronel among them). During UsefulNotes/WorldWarII he had many novel ideas and schemes, though most of them were so outlandish and unrealistic that General Brooke (his chief of staff) was often driven to distraction. President Roosevelt commented "Winston has a hundred ideas a day, of which four are good ideas".
** Also Churchill diverting General Wavell's forces to defend Greece. Greece and Crete were lost anyway and the delay in the Libyan offensive enabled the Africa Corps time to deploy there.
** Apparently tougher on his Admirals than his Generals, during the Bismarck pursuit, Churchill micromanaged the situation to the Admiralty and Admiral Tovey's despair. At one point, he ordered Tovey to keep his capital ships out on the hunt even if they had to be towed back to port from running out of fuel (a possibly disastrous situation during the heyday of the U-boat). Tovey and the Admiralty blew him off and ignored him and not being a Hitleresque dictator with permission to kill, all Churchill could do was stew at them.
** He did try to get Admiral Cunningham punished after what Churchill felt was timidness during the Battle of Cape Matapan (which the British technically won anyway). No action was taken against Cunningham.
** While undeniably prescient on Hitler's designs against Europe, Churchill grossly underestimated Japan even after their invasion of China. His haphazard management of Singapore's defenses (allocating inadequate airplanes and tanks, dispatching only two warships to screen it against an entire Japanese fleet, sending significant reinforcements only after the city was under siege) contributed greatly (along with General Percival's poor leadership) to that city's surrender to the Japanese.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: At one point, when shown film footage of the bombing campaign against German cities, he burst out "Are we beasts? Are we taking this too far?" Also, his remark in his history of the Great War that the only atrocities that hadn't been committed by the "civilized" nations who fought the war had been "Torture, and Cannibalism; and those had been of doubtful expediency." As First Lord of the Admiralty he had been, of course, a senior political leader of one of the nations that had fought so dirty.
* MrViceGuy: His smoking and drinking, both seen as excessive, did nothing but add to his mystique.
* NiceHat: He frequently wore bowlers, as seen in photographs. This hat has become associated with his image almost as much as his famous cigars.
* NobleFugitive: During the Boer War.
* TheOnlyOne: Churchill was hardly the heroic saint he's remembered as in some quarters. However, regardless of why it happened, Churchill's standing as practically the only British politician who hadn't supported appeasement left him the only realistic candidate to take over as PM in the spring of 1940, when the war started to go bad.
--> "In England, there was such a man. [chapter break] Now, at last, his hour had struck." (William Manchester's Churchill bio)
* OnlySaneMan: During the 1930s, he was one of the few leading politicians in Britain who saw Hitler for what he truly was. (Although, ironically enough, he was one of some to openly congratulate BenitoMussolini on his policies, mainly because Mussolini was no threat to British supremacy, and even despite that he showed remorse for doing that later on.) Actually, there were a few British other politicians who saw Hitler for the threat he was, some before Churchill did; its just that most of them weren't famous.
* OverTheTopSecret: Churchill was properly appreciative over the intelligence services' cracking of German codes in WWII, which were accordingly classified as, literally, Ultra Secret; he called the codebreakers “the geese that laid the golden eggs – but never cackled”. In fact, there may have been times when he was unable to act on the information he received, in case the Germans deduced what had happened.
* PassingTheTorch: In 1955, when he was very infirm, to the unsuccessful Creator/AnthonyEden. Most historians remark the transition was made too late, as Churchill's [[Template:Sequelitis second term as prime minister was a failure]].
* ParentalSubstitute: Mrs. Everest, his childhood governess, who, as with most good Victorian households, handled most of the actual child-rearing.
* PowerTrio: With Uncle Sam FranklinDRoosevelt and AffectionateNickname Uncle Joe JosefStalin, who historically was the winner at Yalta, to Churchill's chagrin. Strategically Churchill was the leader of the weakest nation among the big three, but nevertheless fought to retain some parity.
* PrepositionsAreNotToEndSentencesWith: An UrbanLegend attributed to Churchill deals with this. Supposedly some bureaucrat wrote a memo in which he tortured his sentences greatly in order to avoid ending them with a preposition. Churchill is said to have scrawled the following BeamMeUpScotty apocryphal quote on the memo:
--> "That is the kind of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put."
** During the 1926 general strike, he nationalized Fleet Street machinery and started to edit, with great success, the government-biased paper The British Gazzette. He would wield it later as a warning "If ever you let loose upon us again a general strike, we will loose upon you another British Gazette"
** Liberally and justifiedly used during the war.
-->In war-time truth is so precious she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.
* QuintessentialBritishGentleman: With the caveat that a streak of eccentricity is considered tolerable in this as long as it is done with style.
* RealMenWearPink: Silk Underpants.
* RenaissanceMan: Politician, soldier, journalist, Nobel Prize winning author, water colour painter and bricklayer to name a few.
* ARiddleWrappedInAMysteryInsideAnEnigma: Churchill's assessment of Russia is the Template:Trope Namer. Considerating the long and complicated history of Anglo-Russian and Anglo-Soviet relations during his life, it was an understandable assessment. But this was also a subversion; this description of Russia in a speech was immediately followed by a major qualifier -- "That key (to understanding Russia) is Russian national interest."
* RousingSpeech: Pretty much the LastStand real-life king of this trope. Seriously, go read that page quote again. He's perhaps the only person in history to be awarded a Nobel Prize for his [speeches.] John Kennedy once said that he "weaponized the English language for use against tyranny."
* SelfDeprecation: At an election rally late in his career-
--> Female voter with baby: Look, sir, my baby looks just like you.
--> Churchill: Madam, all babies look like me.
** A frequent visitor to the ruins during the blitz, a moral act of defiance. He had trouble containing the tears however.
** His [declaration of war on Japan] received some flak for being extremely courteous, which he defended reasoning that "If you have to kill a man, it cost nothing to be polite"
* SeniorSleepCycle: Inverted, because of the siesta habit he picked up while covering the Spanish-American war, Churchill in his sixties was able to stay fresh and work until late at night and his junior colleagues or underlings were barely able to keep up.
* VindicatedByHistory: The "Iron Curtain" speech was regarded at the time it was given as being alarmist and extremist (nobody was in the mood for such confrontational language just a few months after World War II had ended). It didn't take long for that view to change, and today it's considered one of the greatest speeches that's ever been made, what with it accurately predicting the course of the Cold War and Soviet domination of Eastern Europe.
* VSign: He popularized its use as a "Victory" sign during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. Apparently he had to be told to do it with the palm out, because with the palm in it becomes TheFinger a vulgar gesture.
* WellDoneSonGuy: His father Lord Randolph tended towards this kind of attitude (BritishStuffiness though that was pretty standard for the time).
** Churchill almost met Hitler in person at a conference in the 1930s, but it ended up being cancelled, so they never met.
** Naturally his life is a popular topic for AlternateHistory, in particular the fact that he was nearly killed in a car crash in New York in the mid-1930s.
* WhatTheHellHero: FolkHero or not, he's not above criticism.
** Churchill and the Conservatives were defeated by the Labour Party in July 1945 (soon after Victory-in-Europe Day but before Victory-over-Japan Day) as the people deemed his martial traits and general agenda were not useful for a post-war Britain in need of reforms.
** Additionally, there was the dissolution of Britain's empire, which happened quite rapidly after the war, as Britain had gone so far into debt fighting Hitler that there was no possible way to maintain it. For Churchill, a strong believer in the Empire, this came hard.
** In a broader sense, Britain went to war to defend Poland's sovereignty and the European BalanceOfPower. By the end of the war Poland was a defacto Soviet satellite and Churchill was unable or powerless to convince Roosevelt against this. Churchill was at least able to sway Greece (but failed with other countries) away from the Soviet sphere in the Percentages agreement done with Stalin.
* WorkingClassHero: Winston, who was born in a Palace, fancied himself as one and liked to play-up this trope. He spent a lot of time personally renovating his house, had some skill at it and even joined the Guild of Bricklayers. Then again, he showed signs of being a ShelteredAristocrat, for instance, the one time he took the London underground he didn't know how to exit and had to be "rescued".
* WrittenByTheWinners: TropeNamers Trope Namer. Churchill, of course, made sure that he was one of those writers, publishing multi-volume histories of both the First and Second World Wars.
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: Churchill's defeat in 1945.