This week we commemorate 50 years since Winston Churchill’s death. Below, author of The Greatest Briton: Essays on Winston Churchill’s Life and Political Philosophy outlines the qualities of the man who led Britain to victory in the Second World War.
“50 years after his death, how should one assess the legacy of Winston Churchill? Quite simply, he was the greatest and most enigmatic figure in twentieth century British politics. He was a truly global figure who bestrode the century like a colossus. He served his country in war and peace, leaving his mark on nearly every major event of the age. He helped to save his country in 1940, when others were counselling appeasement and he provided the roar that his country needed when catastrophe beckoned. His lion hearted judgement, his oratorical genius and his indefatigable nature contributed to the cause of freedom throughout the world.
“But he also predicted the baleful consequences of appeasement and demanded that Europe stand up to tyranny, both in the 1930s and in the early years of the Cold War. Thus he showed a level of prescience quite remarkable for a statesman of his era. Yet Churchill was more than a statesman in war. He was also a leading champion of liberal reform, helping to instigate national insurance and labour exchanges, spurring on the cause of the British working man and highlighting the importance of sound economic policy. He was a true patriot who cared deeply about British prospects in a turbulent world. Unlike many of today’s politicians, he was also a man of conviction who maintained a consistent political philosophy over a period of 60 years. At a time when politicians around him were changing their political principles, Churchill changed parties instead. To quote Tony Benn, he was a signpost, not a weathercock.
“Above all, Churchill was a figure of prolific talents, as accomplished with the pen as the tongue. For all these reasons, the British public voted him as the ‘Greatest Briton’ in 2002. It is an accolade that would have made the great man smile” – Jeremy Havardi
Later in 2015, we will be publishing Winston Churchill, A Narrative Poem by Brian Hodgkinson. This literary work presents Churchill as an epic hero as it describes his leadership in the face of Nazi Germany:
‘You ask, “What is our aim?” I answer thus:
At all cost, victory, in spite of all,
However long and hard the road may be…
But I take up my task with buoyant hope,
In certainty our cause will never fail.
I feel the right to claim the aid of all.’
Let us go forward with united strength.’
Brian Hodgkinson, Winston Churchill, A Narrative Poem