born 1874, Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, Eng. died 1965, London
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, British statesman, orator, and author who as prime minister (194045, 195155) rallied the British people during World War II and led his country from the brink of defeat to victory.
After a sensational rise to prominence in national politics before World War I, Churchill acquired a reputation for erratic judgment in the war itself and in the decade that followed. Politically suspect in consequence, he was a lonely figure until his response to Adolf Hitler's challenge brought him to leadership of a national coalition in 1940. With Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin he then shaped Allied strategy in World War II, and after the breakdown of the alliance he alerted the West to the expansionist threat of the Soviet Union. He led the Conservative Party back to office in 1951 and remained prime minister until 1955, when ill health forced his resignation.