One of the most important political figures of the 20th century, Churchill was a man of many experiences and talents who exemplified the ideal of the modern Renaissance man. Most importantly, when serving as British Prime Minister his gift for inspirational oratory helped strengthen the British people as they resisted the Nazi onslaught during the darkest days of World War II. He was one of the earliest European politicians to recognize the dangers posed by Hitler, and to oppose the policy of appeasement. Later, he coined the phrase “Iron Curtain” and was one of the first to warn of the dangers of Soviet communism.
Churchill’s political career was full of twists and turns. He first attracted national attention as a reporter covering the Boer War, when he was imprisoned and then made a daring escape. He switched parties twice and held a wide variety of government and military positions prior to World War II. After losing the elections at the end of the war he became prime minister again from 1951 to 1955, and served in parliament until 1964, having first been elected in 1900.
Churchill was also a great writer of history, winning the Nobel Prize for literature for his history of World War II. He enjoyed painting in his later years, and always had a notoriously keen sense of humor.