Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill was born on 30 November 1874 at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. His father was the
prominent Tory politician, Lord Randolph Churchill. Churchill attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, before
embarking on an army career. He saw action on the North West Frontier of India and in the Sudan. While working as a
journalist during the Boer War he was captured and made a prisoner-of-war before escaping.
In 1900, Churchill became Conservative member of parliament for Oldham. But he became disaffected with his party and
in 1904 joined the Liberal Party. When the Liberals won the 1905 election, Churchill was appointed undersecretary at the
Colonial Office. In 1908 he entered the Cabinet as president of the Board of Trade, becoming home secretary in 1910. The
following year he became first lord of the Admiralty. He held this post in the first months of World War One but after the
disastrous Dardanelles expedition, for which he was blamed, he resigned. He joined the army, serving for a time on the
Western Front. In 1917, he was back in government as minister of munitions. From 1919 to 1921 he was secretary of state for
war and air, and from 1924-1929 was chancellor of the exchequer.
The next decade were his 'wilderness years', in which his opposition to Indian self-rule and his support for Edward VIII
during the 'Abdication Crisis' made him unpopular, while his warnings about the rise of Nazi Germany and the need for
British rearmament were ignored. When war broke out in 1939, Churchill became first lord of the Admiralty. In May 1940,
Neville Chamberlain resigned as prime minister and Churchill took his place. His refusal to surrender to Nazi Germany
inspired the country. He worked tirelessly throughout the war, building strong relations with US President Roosevelt
while maintaining a sometimes difficult alliance with the Soviet Union.