Winston Churchill (Prime Minister 1940-5 and 1951-5) was perhaps the most determined and inspirational war leader in Britain’s history. It was during that darkest summer of 1940 that Churchill’s astonishing oratory seemed to rally the nation, with his opening statement to the House of Commons on May 13 that he had ‘nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.’ Each successive crisis produced phrases that have resounded ever since, from the danger of invasion after the evacuation of troops from Dunkirk (‘their finest hour’) to the Battle of Britain (his tribute to the Few). HE lost the general election in June 1945, but he returned to Downing Street in 1951, finally retiring in 1955.
CHRIS WRIGLEY is Professor of Modern History at Nottingham University. His research interests are primarily on 20th century (or late 19th century) British economic, social and political history. He studied the role of government in the world wars, in industrial relations and in industry.