"Politics is almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times."
Winston Churchill would serve in Great Britain's Parliament for fifty-five years. His deep sense of commitment to his country would be honored when on April 24, 1953, Britain's monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, appointed him a Knight of the Garter.
Winston Churchill's long political career began in October 1900, when he was elected to take the seat for Oldham as Member of Parliament or MP in the House of Commons. Later, Churchill represented, as MP, the areas of Manchester Northwest (1906-08); Dundee (1908-22); and Woodford (1924-64).
Between 1906 and 1940, Churchill served in the British Cabinet in charge of Board and Trade, Home Office, Admiralty (twice), and the Munitions, War and Air Ministries. From 1924 to 1929 he headed the Treasury as Chancellor of the Exchequer, a position once held by his father.
Churchill's career had its ups and downs. During World War I, as First Lord of the Admiralty, he was blamed for a failed attempt to seize the Dardanelles and Gallipoli Peninsula, which guarded the connection between the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Success would have aided Russia, while providing an alternative to the terrible slaughter in western Europe. The episode would haunt Churchill's political career for years to come. He learned, he said, never to undertake a key operation of war without full authority to carry it out.
Winston Churchill is forever remembered for his contributions as Prime Minister (PM) during World War II. On May 10, 1940, with the Germans attacking western Europe, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigned and King George VI asked Churchill to become Prime Minister and form a government. Churchill formed a coalition with the Labour, Liberal and Conservative parties. He later wrote, "I felt as if I were walking with Destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial." Developing the "Grand Alliance" with Russia and America, he became a symbol for victory among the oppressed and conquered peoples. In 1945, with the war in Europe over but the war with Japan still being fought, the Labour party defeated the Conservatives in an election. Churchill was no longer Prime Minister. However, he was easily reelected to his seat and became Leader of the Opposition.
After World War II, Churchill lobbied for peace. At Fulton, Missouri in 1946, Churchill warned of the "Iron Curtain" in Europe and urged Anglo-American preparedness. In 1951, the Conservatives triumphed again and Churchill returned as Prime Minister. Worried over the possibility of nuclear war, he urged "a meeting at the summit" with the new leaders of Russia while maintaining peace through strength. Ironically, the first postwar summit conference was held a few months after he retired as Prime Minister in April 1955. He would remain an MP for nine more years.