Winston Churchill Timeline 1874-1965

Winston ChurchillBorn – 30th November 1874
Died – 24th January 1965
Father – Lord Randolph Churchill (1849 – 1895)
Mother – Jannie Jerome (1854 – 1921)
Spouse – m. 1908 – Clementine Hozier (1885 – 1977)
Children – Diana (1909 – 1963); Randolph (1911 – 1968); Sarah (1914 – 1982); Marigold (1918 – 1921); Mary (1922 – 2014)
UK Prime Minister – 1940 – 1945; 1951 – 1955
Predecessor – Neville Chamberlain 1937 – 1940
Successor – Clement Atlee 1945 – 1951


Early Years
Military Career
Early Political Career
World War One
Post War Political Career
Wilderness Years
World War Two
Leader of the Opposition
Prime Minister for the Second Time
Later Years

Early Years
1874 (30th November)
Winston Churchill was born Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill to Randolph Churchill and Jennie Jerome at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire. His father was a Conservative Member of Parliament.
1875 (January)
Elizabeth Everest was appointed nanny to the young Winston. She remained with the family until 1893.
1876 (11th December)
Winston’s grandfather, John Spencer Churchill, 7th Duke of Marlborough, was appointed Viceroy of Ireland. He then appointed Winston’s father as his private secretary and the family moved to Dublin, Ireland.
1880 (4th February)
Winston’s brother John was born to Randolph Churchill and Jennie Jerome at Phoenix Park, Dublin, Ireland. He was known as Jack.
1882 (around)
Winston was sent as a boarder to St George’s School, Ascot. He did not do very well and his grades were poor.
1884 (September)
Winston was moved to Brunswick School, Hove. Although his academic progress improved, his behaviour deteriorated.
1888 (April)
Having narrowly passed the entrance exam, Winston entered Harrow School. He did well academically but had a poor attitude to learning.
1893 (March)
After failing to be admitted to Sandhurst Military Academy, Winston took a job tutoring students to pass entrance exams at Lexham Gardens South Kensington.
1893 (September)
Winston entered Sandhurst Military Academy having gained admittance on his third attempt.
1894 (December)
Winston Churchill graduated from Sandhurst Military Academy.
1895 (24th January)
Winston’s father, Randolph, died, possibly from syphilis, possibly from the effects of mercury poisoning which had been used to treat genital herpes.
Military Career
1895 (February)
Churchill was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the 4th Queen’s Hussars.
1895 (3rd July)
Churchill’s nanny, Elizabeth Everest, died. Winston organised her funeral.
1895 (Autumn)
Churchill travelled to Cuba as an observer of the Cuban War of Independence.
1896 (October)
Churchill and his regiment were posted to India. They were stationed in Bangalore, southern India.
1897 (July)
Churchill requested permission to go to Malakand in north-west India and join Bindon Blood, Commander of the British troops relieving the Siege of Malakand. Permission was granted on condition that he go as a journalist. He gained the backing of The Daily Telegraph and The Pioneer and sent both newspapers regular updates.
1898 (during)
Winston Churchill published ‘The Story of the Malakand Field Force: An Episode of Frontier War’.
1898 (June)
Churchill returned to England.
1898 (August)
Churchill joined Kitchener’s campaign in Sudan as a journalist for The Morning Post.
1898 (October)
Churchill returned to England and began writing up his experiences.
Early Political Career
1898 (2nd December)
Churchill had decided to give up the military in favour of a career in politics. He returned to India to complete his resignation and settle his affairs. While in India he stayed at the home of the Viceroy, George Curzon.
1899 (April)
Churchill returned to England. To further his bid for political recognition, Churchill spoke at a number of Conservative party meetings.
1899 (June)
Churchill stood as Conservative candidate in the Oldham by-election. He narrowly lost the seat to the Liberal candidate.
1899 (Autumn)
Winston Churchill travelled to South Africa to cover the Boer War as a journalist for the Daily Mail and the Morning Post.
1899 (October)
A train that Churchill was travelling in was derailed and he was taken prisoner by the Boers.
1899 (November)
Winston Churchill published ‘The River War’, a critical account of Kitchener’s campaign in Sudan.
1899 (December)
Winston managed to escape from the Prisoner of War camp. After hiding from the Boers he managed to get to Portuguese East Africa where he took a boat to Durban. His escape attracted a lot of publicity.
1900 (January)
Churchill temporarily re-joined the army and took part in the campaign to relieve the Siege of Ladysmith.
1900 (28th February)
The British army relieved the Siege of Ladysmith an took Pretoria. Churchill urged the British to treat the Boers with ‘generosity and tolerance’.
1900 (July)
Churchill returned to London. He was now quite well known through his escape from prison and his articles in the Morning Post.
1900 (October)
A general election was held and Churchill was elected Member of Parliament for Oldham.
1901 (Spring)
Churchill became increasingly critical of the Conservatives particularly increasing army funding. He believed that Britain should focus on building up the navy rather than the army.
1903 (February)
Winston voted against his own government’s proposal to increase military expenditure. He found himself increasingly siding with the Liberals.
1904 (31st May)
Winston Churchill defected from the Conservative Party and joined the Liberals.
1906 (January)
A general election was held and was won by the Liberals. Winston became Liberal Member of Parliament for Manchester North West. He was appointed Under-Secretary of State for the Colonial Office. Winston appointed Edward Marsh as his secretary. marsh would serve Churchill for 25 years.
1906 (during)
Winston Churchill published ‘Lord Randolph Churchill’, a biography of the life of his father.
1908 (7th April)
Prime Minister Campbell-Bannerman resigned due to ill-health. He was succeeded by Herbert Asquith.
1908 (12th April)
Churchill was appointed President of the Board of Trade.
1908 (24th April)
As a new Cabinet member he had to be re-elected by his constituency. Unfortunately he lost that election.
1908 (9th May)
Churchill stood for election in Dundee where he won with a clear majority.
1908 (11th August)
Churchill became engaged to Clementine Hozier, daughter of Sir Henry Hozier and Lady Blanch Hozier nee Ogilvy.
1908 (12th September)
Winston Churchill married Clementine Hozier at St Margaret’s, Westminster, London. After their marriage they honeymooned in Venice and Moravia (East Czechia).
1908 (21st December)
Coal Mines Regulation Act
Churchill introduced this bill to limit miners’ working hours to 8 per day.
1909 (during)
Trade Boards Act
Churchill introduced this bill to set a minimum wage criteria and also entitled workers to breaks. The act also gave the boards the authority to prosecute employers that exploited their staff.
1909 (during)
Labour Exchanges Act
Churchill introduced this act to create labour exchanges which would help the unemployed to find work.
1909 (29th April)
People’s Budget
Chancellor of the Exchequer, David Lloyd George, announced higher taxation on the rich to fund reforms that would benefit the poor. The House of Lords vetoed the budget.
1909 (11th July)
A daughter, Diana, was born to Winston and Clementine Churchill.
1910 (January)
Herbert Asquith called a new election, seeking public approval for his People’s Budget. The election resulted in a hung parliament and the Liberals returned to government without a majority.
1910 (February)
Winston Churchill was made Home Secretary. He immediately began a programme of prison reform.
1910 (April)
The House of Lords finally passed the People’s Budget.
1910 (1st September)
Tonypandy Riots
Riots began in Tonypandy following a dispute between mine owners and miners over working conditions. All miners at the Naval Colliery were soon on strike.
1910 (1st November)
Tonypandy Riots/ Miners Strike
Following a ballot, miners across South Wales joined the strike. There were now around 13,000 miners on strike. The Welsh authorities requested the army be sent in but Churchill blocked this fearing bloodshed and sent more police instead.
1910 (7th November)
Tonypandy Riots/ Miners Strike
Miners formed picket lines around the mines after the collier owners decided to send strikebreakers into the mines This led to skirmishes with police on the picket lines. There was severe rioting in Tonypandy with shop windows smashed and goods looted.
1910 (7th November)
Tonypandy Riots/ Miners Strike
With the violence continuing Churchill agreed to the use of troops to supress the rioting.
1910 (late November)
Churchill was criticised for his handling of the Tonypandy riots. The Conservative Party accused him of being too soft with the strikers, while the Labour Party felt he had been too heavy-handed in his approach.
1910 (December)
Another election was held but the result was a hung parliament again.
1911 (January)
Siege of Sidney Street
Three Latvian burglars had killed several police officers and hidden in a street in Sidney Street, London. Churchill was with the police that surrounded the house as an observer. After the house caught fire he told the fire brigade to not go into the property because the men were armed. Two of the Latvians died in the fire. Churchill faced criticism for leaving them to die but he stood by his position.
1911 (March)
Coal Mines Bill
Churchill introduced this bill to improve the safety of coal mines.
1911 (31st March)
Shops Bill
Churchill introduced this bill to improve working conditions of shop assistants. It fixed the hours of shop workers and also gave them a half day off per week (in addition to Sundays).
1911 (April)
National Insurance Act
Churchill helped to draft this act introduced by Lloyd George. The act put in place an insurance scheme to help workers in times of sickness and unemployment.
1911 (April – November)
Agadir Crisis
Tension increased between France and Germany over Morocco. Churchill proposed that Britain ally with France to protect Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands against German expansion.
1911 (28th May)
A son, Randolph Frederick Edward, was born to Winston and Clementine Churchill.
1911 (14th June)
Liverpool General Transport Strike
The strike began when the National Sailor’s and Fireman’s Union announced they were taking strike action. Soon other trades had joined the strike.
1911 (13th August)
Liverpool General Transport Strike
Crowds gathered to hear trade unionist Tom Mann speak. Police used batons to break up the crowd and this led to rioting. Churchill sent in the army to dispel the rioters.
1911 (August)
National Rail Strike
Railway unions threatened a national rail strike unless rail companies agreed to negotiate with union representatives. Winston Churchill agreed with Asquith that troops should be deployed to keep the railways running.
1911 (October)
Winston Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty.
1912 (11th April)
Home Rule Bill
This bill which provided for a devolved Irish parliament, was introduced. However, it was met by opposition both from the House of Lords and the Ulster Unionists who formed the Ulster Volunteer Force to resist the act by force if necessary. The outbreak of World War One in 1914 led to the suspension of the bill.
1912 (21st May)
Germany announced a programme to increase German battleships. In response Churchill declared that Britain would surpass whatever Germany built.
1913 (December)
In response to criticism from his own party over his naval expansion programme, Churchill threatened to resign unless his proposal for four new battleships was accepted. It was duly accepted.
World War One
1914 (4th August)
World War One
Britain issued an ultimatum to Germany to remove its troops from Belgium by midnight. Germany did not comply and Britain declared war on Germany for violating Belgian neutrality.
1914 (August)
World War One
As First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill was responsible for transporting British troops to the continent.
1914 (7th October)
A daughter, Sarah, was born to Winston and Clementine Churchill.
1914 (November)
War Council
Prime Minister Herbert Asquith invited Churchill, Lloyd George, Lord Grey and Lord Kitchener to join him as members of a War Council.
1915 (March)
World War One – Dardanelles/ Gallipoli Campaign
Winston Churchill devised a plan to reduce pressure on Russia from Turkey. He proposed that the campaign would begin with Anglo-French bombardment of Turkish defences in the Dardanelles. Allied troops including around 65,000 Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) would then attack Gallipoli before advancing to Constantinople.
1915 (May)
World War One – Dardanelles/ Gallipoli Campaign
The campaign was not going to plan and the allies faced huge losses, particularly at Gallipoli. As architect of the campaign, Churchill was blamed for the losses.
1915 (25th May)
Amid fierce criticism of the Liberal’s handling of the war, Asquith decided to form a wartime coalition government. One of the Conservative’s conditions was that Churchill be removed from his position as First Lord of the Admiralty. He was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster instead.
1915 (25th November)
Churchill resigned his position as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.
1916 (January)
Winston Churchill joined the army as a lieutenant-colonel. He was given command of the 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers and they were posted to Belgium.
1916 (9th January)
World War One – Dardanelles/ Gallipoli Campaign
The campaign ended in defeat for the allied forces with huge losses.
1916 (May)
The 6th Royal Scots Fusiliers were merged with another regiment and Churchill decided to leave the army and return to politics.
1916 (25th May)
Herbert Asquith resigned as Prime Minister. David Lloyd George took over as Prime Minister.
1917 (May)
Lloyd George sent Winston Churchill to France as an observer of the French war effort.
1917 (July)
Winston was appointed Minister of Munitions.
1917 (7th November)
Russian Civil War
Civil War broke out in Russia between the Bolshevik Red Army and the White Army who opposed Communism favouring a constitutional monarchy or republican system of government for Russia. Churchill was opposed to Communism and sent British troops to help the White Army.
1918 (6th February)
Representation of the People Act
Churchill supported this act which gave more women the vote.
1918 (3rd March)
Treaty of Brest-Litovsk
This was a peace treaty negotiated by Russia with Germany. As part of the settlement Germany gained land in Russia. Winston Churchill was very concerned by the rise of the Communism in Russia.
1918 (June)
Winston Churchill brought a strike by munitions workers to an end after threatening to send strikers to the army.
1918 (11th November)
Armistice Day
At 11am on 11th November an armistice was signed bringing World War One to an end.
1918 (15th November)
A daughter, Marigold, was born to Winston and Clementine Churchill.
Post War Political Career
1918 (14th December)
A general election was held with the Liberals and Conservatives seeking election as a Coalition government. Winston kept his seat as MP for Dundee.
1919 (January)
Prime Minister, Lloyd George made Churchill Secretary of State for War and Secretary of State for Air. In this role Churchill took responsibility for de-mobilising British troops.
1919 (21st January)
Irish War of Independence
The Irish republican party, Sinn Féin, declared Irish independence from Britain. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) prepared for war against the
1919 (28th June)
Paris Peace Conference – The Treaty of Versailles
This treaty which dealt with the punishment of Germany contained 440 articles and came into effect in January 1920. Germany had not been invited to the negotiations and even though they felt the terms excessively harsh they had no choice but to sign. Failure to sign may have meant a return to a war that Germany could not win. Churchill personally felt the terms of the treaty were too harsh and could cause problems in the future.
1919 (Autumn)
Russian Civil War
British troops were withdrawn from Russia.
1920 (March)
Irish War of Independence
Churchill authorised a force of predominantly ex-soldiers, the Black and Tans, to go to Ireland and fight against the IRA.
1921 (February)
Churchill was appointed Secretary of State for the Colonies.
1921 (March)
Winston Churchill was a keen amateur painter. He exhibited some paintings in Paris under the pseudonym Charles Morin.
1921 (29th June)
Winston’s mother, Jennie, died of complications following the amputation of her left leg above the knee.
1921 (23rd August)
Churchill’s daughter, Marigold, died of sepsis.
1921 (6th December)
Anglo-Irish Treaty
This Act ended the Irish War of Independence. It provided for the partition of Ireland with Northern Ireland remaining part of the United Kingdom with the rest of Ireland becoming the Irish Free State.
1922 (15th September)
A daughter, Mary, was born to Winston and Clementine Churchill.
1922 (late September)
Winston Churchill purchased Chartwell House in Kent.
1922 (18th October)
Winston Churchill had his appendix removed after falling ill two days earlier.
1922 (15th November)
The Coalition government had come under increasing criticism from the Conservatives. In a bid to increase his majority, Lloyd George called a general election. The election was won by the Conservative Party and Andrew Bonar Law became Prime Minister. Churchill lost his seat and was no longer a Member of Parliament.
1923 (April)
After losing his seat in the 1922 election, Churchill had devoted much of his time to writing. He published ‘The World Crisis’ an account of the First World War.
1923 (23rd May)
Andrew Bonar Law resigned as Prime Minister due to ill health. Stanley Baldwin took over as Prime Minister.
1923 (6th December)
Stanley Baldwin called a general election. He was seeking public approval for his leadership and for the introduction of trade tariffs. Although the Conservatives gained the most seats they did not have a majority in the House of Commons and the Labour Party formed a minority government with Ramsay Macdonald as Prime Minister. Churchill had stood as Liberal candidate for Leicester West but had been defeated by the Labour candidate.
1924 (29th October)
Another general election was held and the Conservatives gained a majority. Stanley Baldwin returned as Prime Minister. Churchill was elected as Constitutionalist MP fore Epping and sat in the House as a Conservative MP.
1924 (6th November)
Stanley Baldwin appointed Churchill to the Cabinet as Chancellor of the Exchequer and Winston re-joined the Conservative Party.
1925 (April)
First Budget
Winston Churchill presented his first Budget. On the advice of the Bank of England, Churchill restored the British currency to the gold standard. As predicted by economists, this led to deflation and rising unemployment. This was particularly felt in the coal industry where the higher rate of the pound increased the price of coal and led to a marked decline in exports.
1925 (April)
First Budget
Winston Churchill reduced the pension age to 65 years from 70 years and reduced the rate of income tax for lower paid workers.
1926 (10th March)
Samuel Commission
This Royal Commission was led by Sir Herbert Samuel to investigate the problems in the mining industry. The Commission recommended that miners should accept a wage cut in order to maintain production but that their hours would not be increased.
1926 (April)
Second Budget
Churchill introduced a tax on petrol, lorries and luxury car purchase.
1926 (4th – 12th May)
General Strike
The mine owners and miners had rejected the terms of the Samuel Commission. The General Council of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) called a general strike seeking to protect both the wages and hours of miners. Around 1.75 million workers joined the strike. By 11th May many workers had begun returning to work. On 12th May the TUC agreed to accept the proposals of the Samuel Commission and called off the strike.
1927 (April)
Third Budget
Churchill introduced a tax on imported tyres and wines. He also increased the tax on matches and tobacco.
1928 (April)
Fourth Budget
Churchill reduced the rate of tax on British industry and agriculture by two-thirds.
1929 (April)
Fifth Budget
Churchill abolished the tax on tea.
1929 (30th May)
A general election was held. The Labour party won the election and Ramsay MacDonald returned as Prime Minister of a minority government.
Wilderness Years
1929 (Summer)
Wilderness Years
Churchill was dissatisfied with being an opposition Cabinet Minister and felt that his talents were wasted. The period when he was out of government (1929 – 1939) is often referred to as the Wilderness Years. Once again turned to writing. He began working on a biography of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough and an autobiography.
1929 (29th October)
Wall Street Crash
The New York stock market crashed and investors lost billions of dollars. Repercussions were felt across the World.
1930 (October)
Churchill published ‘My Early Life’ an autobiography which was well received.
1931 (January)
Churchill resigned from the shadow cabinet because he disagreed with Stanley Baldwin’s decision to support giving greater power to India by making it a dominion. He felt that this would lead to India demanding independence.
1931 (24th August)
To deal with the worsening economic conditions caused by the Wall Street Crash, MacDonald decided to form a National Coalition government.
1931 (27th October)
A general election was held and the National coalition government won the election. Although elected as a member of the National government, Churchill was not given a Cabinet position largely because of his views on India.
1931 (3rd December)
The House of Commons voted on Dominion Status for India. Churchill had tried to persuade members of his own party to vote against the proposal but he had little support. Disillusioned he left Britain for the United States where he was to give a series of lectures.
1931 (13th December)
Winston Churchill was knocked down by a car in New York and sustained a head injury. After a period of convalescence in the Bahamas he completed his lecture tour.
1932 (18th March)
Winston Churchill returned to the United Kingdom.
1932 (August)
Churchill took a trip to Germany to visit the battlefields his ancestor, John Churchill Duke of Marlborough, had fought at during the War of the Spanish Succession. While in Germany he witnessed first-hand the activities of the Nazi Party.
1932 (September)
While in Germany, Churchill became ill with paratyphoid fever and was admitted to a sanatorium.
1932 (25th September)
Winston returned to Britain but was taken ill again with paratyphoid. He spent a month in a nursing home recuperating.
1932 (12th December)
Churchill’s daughter, Diana, married John Milner Bailey. The marriage was not a success and she divorced three years later.
1933 (30th January)
1933 (Spring)
Winston Churchill urged the government to rethink its reduction in military spending in the light of the rise of Nazi Germany.
1933 (October)
Winston Churchill published the first volume of his biography of John Churchill, Duke of Marlborough.
1935 (February)
Government of India Act
Although Churchill and 85 other MPs voted against increased powers for India, this act was passed and became law.
1935 (7th June)
Ramsay MacDonald resigned as Prime Minister and Stanley Baldwin took over as leader of the National Coalition.
1935 (16th September)
Churchill’s daughter, Diana, married Conservative politician, Duncan Sandys.
1936 (during)
Churchill’s daughter, Sarah, married Vic Oliver, a comedian and musician. The marriage ended in divorce after six years.
1936 (20th January)
King George V died and was succeeded by his eldest son David who became King Edward VIII.
1936 (December)
Abdication Crisis
King Edward VIII wanted to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee and when he was told this was constitutionally impossible he decided to abdicate in favour of his brother. Churchill supported the King and believed that a way forward could have been reached, but he was in a minority and once again clashed with Baldwin who held an opposing view.
1937 (28th May)
Stanley Baldwin retired and Neville Chamberlain became Prime Minister.
1938 (Spring)
Winston Churchill was increasingly critical of Chamberlains policy of appeasement towards Adolf Hitler and Nazi aggression.
1938 (September)
Churchill urged Chamberlain to threaten Germany with war if it invaded Czech territory. Chamberlain refused.
1938 (30th September)
Munich Agreement
Chamberlain, Daladier of France, Mussolini of Italy and Hitler met to try to prevent an outbreak of war in Europe. It was decided that Adolf Hitler could take the Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia in return for a promise that he would make no further land grabs.
1939 (15th March)
In direct contravention of the Munich Agreement, Hitler sent his troops into Czechoslovakia. He occupied Bohemia and set up a protectorate over Slovakia.
1939 (31st March)
Chamberlain made a guarantee to Poland that Britain would defend Poland if Germany invaded on condition that Poland mobilised its army and resisted German invasion.
1939 (1st September)
German troops invaded Poland. Polish forces fought back but were no match for Hitler’s Blitzkrieg attack.
World War Two
1939 (3rd September)
World War Two began
At 9am Britain and France issued an ultimatum to Germany demanding that they withdraw troops from Poland. Germany had until 11am to comply. Germany did not comply and Britain and France declared war on Germany.
1939 (3rd September)
Chamberlain reappointed Churchill as First Lord of the Admiralty and became a member of the War Cabinet.
1939 (4th October)
Churchill’s son, Randolph, married Pamela Harriman. The marriage produced one child, Winston and lasted just six years before ending in divorce.
1939 (13th December)
Battle of the River Plate
The British victory in this battle was warmly welcomed by Churchill who made much of the victory.
1940 (16th February)
Altmark Incident
Around 300 British sailors who had been captured during the Battle of the River Plate, were being held prisoner on board the German ship Altmark. The Altmark was spotted by the Royal Navy but fled into neutral Norwegian waters. Winston Churchill ordered HMS Cossack into Norwegian waters and told Captain Philip Vian to board the German ship and liberate British prisoners. Churchill made much of the victory.
1940 (April)
Churchill was concerned about German activity in the Baltic Sea. The War Cabinet decided to mine Norwegian waters to stop Germany ships entering Norwegian waters. However, due to disagreements with France the operation was delayed.
1940 (9th April)
Germany invaded Norway
Following the Altmark incident the Germans mistrusted Norwegian neutrality and invaded and occupied Norway.
1940 (7th – 8th May)
Norway Debate
There was criticism of the War Cabinet following the German invasion of Norway. The Labour Party called for a vote of no confidence in the government which it lost. However, the vote showed that there was growing dissatisfaction on all sides.
1940 (9th May)
Neville Chamberlain tried to form a National Coalition government but the Labour Party refused to serve under his leadership.
1940 (10th May)
Nazi Germany invaded and occupied Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. It was believed that France would be next.
1940 (10th May)
Knowing his position was untenable, Chamberlain agreed to step down. Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of a National Coalition government. Although Churchill was not particularly well liked by either party he was considered to be the best man for the job. To give himself complete control over the progress of the war, he made himself Minister of Defence.
1940 (13th May)
Blood, toil, tears and sweat speech
Churchill made this speech to the House of Commons. It emphasised that the path to victory would be a long one.
1940 (14th May)
Home Guard
The Local Defence Volunteers (Home Guard) was created. Largely formed of older men they are trained to protect the Home Front in case of invasion.
1940 (14th May)
Winston Churchill asked President Roosevelt for help.
1940 (26th May)
The British Expeditionary Force had been pushed back to the beaches at Dunkirk.
1940 (30th May)
Winston faced calls from some members of his cabinet to pull out of the war. Churchill argued in favour of continuing and won the vote.
1940 (4th June)
Dunkirk Evacuation/ Fight on the Beaches Speech
The Royal Navy helped by a flotilla of ‘little ships’ had managed to rescue more than 330,000 soldiers from the beaches of Dunkirk. Churchill made his ‘we shall fight on the beaches’ speech.
1940 (11th June)
Desert War
Churchill ordered troops to North Africa to clear Italian troops from Libya and Egypt.
1940 (16th June)
Fall of France
France fell to the invading German forces. Churchill believed that Hitler would turn his attention to Britain next.
1940 (18th June)
Finest Hour Speech
Winston Churchill made this speech in the wake of the Fall of France and to praise the forces of the British Empire that would continue the fight against Nazi Germany.
1940 (18th June)
French Government in Exile
Following the fall of France, Charles de Gaulle had arrived in England and formed the French government in exile. He made a broadcast which included an appeal for America to join the war ‘..there are in the world, all the means necessary to crush our enemies one day.’ Despite working with Churchill, De Gaulle did not trust the British and believed that Churchill sought more power for Britain over France.
1940 (10th July)
Battle of Britain
This was a prolonged air battle fought between the Royal Air Force and the German Luftwaffe.
1940 (20th August)
Never was so Much Owed Speech
Winston Churchill made this speech which contains the infamous phrase ‘Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few’. The few are the men of the Royal Airforce who fought the Battle of Britain.
1940 (25th August)
Bombing of Berlin
Churchill ordered the bombing of Berlin in retaliation for the devastating attacks on Portsmouth and London the previous night.
1940 (7th September)
Battle of Britain/ The Blitz
The German Luftwaffe began a programme of daily and nightly bombing raids on key British cities.
1940 (16th November)
Against the advice of his military, Churchill sent some British troops from North Africa to help Greece which was in danger of falling to Germany.
1941 (11th January)
Desert War
Mussolini had requested support from Hitler. The Nazi leader responded by sending the Afrikakorps to northern Africa.
1941 (9th February)
Winston Churchill appealed to the United States to help the British War effort.
1941 (11th March)
Lend Lease
The US government agreed this initiative to provide monetary aid to help Britain in the war effort.
1941 (23rd April)
The Greek government and the British forces left the Greek mainland for Crete. Churchill maintained his support for Greece.
1941 (20th May – 1st June)
Battle of Crete
Germany invaded Crete. British, Australian, New Zealand and Greek forces were unable to defeat the Germans and lost the battle. The Royal Navy managed to evacuate around half of the forces but 17,000 were taken prisoner.
1941 (22nd June)
Operation Barbarossa
Having failed to defeat the British, Hitler turned his attention to Russia.
1941 (14th August)
Atlantic Charter
Churchill met President Roosevelt in Placentia Bay, Newfoundland. They discussed their views and aims for the post-war world. Although the United States was not directly involved in the war, Roosevelt made it clear that he supported Britain.
1941 (7th December)
Pearl Harbor
Japan made a surprise attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii.
1941 (8th December)
Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong, Malaya and the Philippines.
1941 (22nd December)
Arcadia Conference
This was the first day of a three-week conference to discuss military strategy for the war. It was attended by Roosevelt and Churchill and military leaders from the United States and Britain. It was decided that the first priority should be defeating Germany.
1941 (26th December)
After making a speech to the United States Congress, Churchill suffered a mild heart attack. Although ordered to rest, Churchill continued to work.
1942 (1st January)
Arcadia Conference – Declaration by United Nations
This was a declaration that the signatory countries would not make separate peace with any member of the Axis powers and would devote full resources to ensure victory in the war. It was signed by Britain, the United States, the Soviet Union and China. On the following day 22 other nations signed the declaration.
1942 (29th January)
Winston Churchill won a vote of no confidence by 464 votes to 1.
1942 (15th February)
Fall of Singapore
Commonwealth forces at Singapore surrendered to the Japanese.
1942 (April)
The Japanese conquered Burma.
1942 (21st June)
Fall of Tobruk
The allied armies, in the face of superior German strength, surrendered at Tobruk.
1942 (1st July)
Following a spate of defeats for Britain, John Wardlaw-Milne tabled a vote of no confidence in Winston Churchill. Churchill won the vote by 475 votes to 25.
1942 (1st – 27th July)
First Battle of El Alamein
British and Commonwealth forces in Egypt managed to halt the advance of the Axis Powers.
1942 (early August)
Winston Churchill visited troops in North Africa. While there he replaced the Commander-in-Chief, Field Marshal Auchinleck, with Field Marshal Alexander. General William Gott was given Command of the Eighth Army but was killed in action three days after being appointed. His place was taken by General Montgomery.
1942 (12th – 16th August)
Churchill flew to Moscow to meet with Joseph Stalin. The Soviet leader repeatedly requested that the allies open a second front in Europe to defeat Hitler. Stalin, who was distrustful of the west, was worried that Britain and the United States would make peace with Hitler and join the war against the Soviet Union and Communism.
1942 (Autumn)
Churchill met General Eisenhower to discuss where the allies should invade Europe. It was agreed to launch an attack from Sicily while still preparing for a later French invasion.
1942 (23rd October – 11th November)
Second Battle of El Alamein
Allied troops were victorious in this battle against the Axis Powers.
1942 (10th November)
Mansion House Speech
Winston Churchill spoke at the Lord Mayor’s Lunch at Mansion House. Speaking of the impending victory at El Alamein, his speech included the famous lines ‘This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.’
1942 (23rd November)
Battle of Stalingrad
Soviet forces had encircled German troops at Stalingrad. The Germans surrendered in early February.
1942 (2nd December)
Beveridge Report
Liberal economist William Beveridge produced a report on Britain’s social welfare system. He recommended areas of improvement to tackle health, unemployment and poverty. The government decided to publish the report which was popularly received.
1943 (14th – 24th January)
Casablanca Conference
Churchill and Roosevelt met at Casablanca. Stalin had been invited but declined due to the situation at Stalingrad. It was agreed that the Allies would work towards an unconditional surrender by the Axis Powers. The two men also discussed strategies for an invasion of Europe.
1943 (12th February)
Winston was taken ill with pneumonia. He now had no choice but to rest and took a month off.
1943 (12th May)
Trident Conference
Winston Churchill met with Franklin D Roosevelt in Washington for further talks on war strategy.
1943 (9th July)
Allied invasion of Sicily
Allied forces landed on Sicily, Italy. Once Sicily was taken, Churchill wanted the allied army to invade southern Italy and march towards Rome but Eisenhower wanted to withdraw men to England to begin training for the invasion of Normandy.
1943 (25th July)
King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy turned against Bennito Mussolini and dismissed him from office. He was replaced by Pietro Badoglio.
1943 (after 25th July)
King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Pietro Badoglio began secretly negotiating peace with the Allies.
1943 (17th August)
Allied invasion of Sicily
Allied forces succeeded in taking Sicily, Italy.
1943 (19th August)
Quebec Agreement
Winston Churchill met with Franklin D Roosevelt in Quebec, Canada. It was agreed to look into the development of nuclear power and weapons.
1943 (27th August)
Cairo Declaration
Winston Churchill met with Franklin D Roosevelt and Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek in Cairo. They agreed military strategy against Japan.
1943 (3rd September)
Armistice of Cassibile
Italy agreed an armistice with the Allies.
1943 (8th September)
The Italian surrender was made public and the German army immediately took control of most of Italy.
1943 (28th November)
Tehran Conference
Winston Churchill met with Franklin D Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin in Tehran. Strategy for an allied invasion of Europe was discussed. Operation Overlord was planned for June 1944.
1943 (10th December)
Churchill met General Eisenhower in Tunis. Eisenhower was to head the allied invasion of Europe, Operation Overlord.
1943 (mid December)
Winston Churchill was taken ill with atrial fibrillation. He remained in Tunis until he was well enough to return home.
1944 (14th January)
Churchill was well enough to fly from Tunis to Gibraltar where he boarded a boat and sailed for Britain.
1944 (26th March)
After the War speech
Churchill spoke to the people regarding his plans for Britain after the war. The people had expected the recommendations of the Beveridge Report to be put in place. Instead Churchill urged caution in spending outlining a cautious four-year plan.
1944 (4th June)
Churchill met with De Gaulle prior to the D-Day invasion. During the meeting Churchill stated ‘On each occasion that I shall have to choose between you and Roosevelt, I will always choose Roosevelt.’ For De Gaulle Churchill’s words reinforced his belief that Britain would never support France as a World power.
1944 (6th June)
D-Day Operation Overlord
British, Canadian and American forces landed at Normandy. Churchill had wanted to accompany the troops but this was vetoed by King George VI.
1944 (25th August)
Allied troops liberated Paris.
1944 (12th September)
Second Quebec Conference
Churchill met Roosevelt in Quebec to discuss strategy for the Pacific war and how to deal with Germany after the war.
1944 (9th October)
Moscow Conference
Churchill met Stalin to discuss the post-war future of the Balkans.
1945 (30th January – 2nd February
Malta Conference
Ahead of the Yalta Conference, Churchill met with Roosevelt in Malta. They discussed the final campaign against Germany and agreed that it would be preferable to keep the Soviet Union out of Europe.
1945 (4th – 11th February)
Yalta Conference
Winston Churchill met with Franklin D Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin in Yalta, Crimea, Soviet Union. The three allied leaders discussed strategies for maintaining peace at the end of the war.
1945 (13th – 15th February)
Bombing of Dresden
Winston authorised the bombing of this German city. The bombing was part of a series of raids on German towns designed to hasten German surrender. The bombing of Dresden remains controversial due to the large number of civilians killed.
1945 (12th April)
President Franklin D Roosevelt died. He was succeeded by Harry S Truman.
1945 (16th April)
The forces of the Soviet Union reached Berlin.
1945 (30th April)
Adolf Hitler committed suicide.
1945 (8th May)
VE Day
Celebrations were held to mark Victory in Europe following the German surrender the previous day. Churchill was invited to appear on the balcony of Buckingham Palace along with members of the Royal Family.
1945 (23rd May)
The wartime Coalition government ended. Churchill remained Prime Minister of a Caretaker Coalition government which would govern until a general election could be held.
1945 (17th July – 2nd August)
Potsdam Conference
Winston Churchill met with Harry Truman and Joseph Stalin in Potsdam, Germany. The three allied leaders discussed the administration of defeated Germany.
1945 (26th July)
a general election was held. It had been expected that Winston Churchill would lead the Conservatives to victory but it was the Labour Party that won a landslide majority having promised to implement the recommendations of the Beveridge Report. Clement Atlee became Prime Minister.
Leader of the Opposition
1945 (6th August)
The United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. It was believed that the loss of life caused by the bomb would be far less than a continuation of the war.
1945 (8th August)
Having received no response from the Japanese government, a second atomic bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki.
1945 (15th August)
VJ Day
Japan surrendered bringing the Second World War to an end.
1946 (5th March)
Iron Curtain Speech
Churchill spoke at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri as part of a trip to America. His words ‘an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent’ refer to the creation of the Eastern Bloc. He went on to call for a special relationship between Britain and the United States.
1946 (19th September)
Churchill spoke at the University of Zurich in Switzerland in favour of a United States of Europe which should be formed as soon as possible to provide unity to the continent. However, despite his belief in unity with Europe, Churchill remained firmly opposed to any form of federal Europe and maintained his belief in the British Empire.
1947 (11th February)
Churchill’s daughter, Mary, married Conservative politician, Christopher Soames.
1947 (23rd February)
Winston’s brother John died of heart disease.
1949 (during)
Churchill’s daughter, Sarah, married Anthony Beauchamp. Winston and Clementine both disapproved of the marriage.
1949 (during)
Council of Europe
Winston supported the formation of this Council designed to ‘uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe’.
1950 (23rd February)
A general election was held. The Labour party won the election but with a reduced majority.
1951 (18th April)
European Coal and Steel Community
Winston did not support the formation of this group which would regulate industrial production and Britain did not join. While Churchill welcomed co-operation with Europe he resisted any move towards federalism.
Prime Minister for the Second Time
1951 (25th October)
The Labour Party called a snap election hoping to increase their majority, but they lost the election to the Conservatives. Winston Churchill became Prime Minister for the second time.
1951 (December)
Winston Churchill, now aged 76 years, was not in good health. Members of his cabinet were concerned about his ability to govern effectively.
1952 (6th February)
King George VI died of lung cancer. His eldest daughter, Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II.
1952 (23rd July)
Egyptian Revolution
King Farouk of Egypt was overthrown in a coup d’état by Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser.
1953 (20th January)
Dwight Eisenhower was elected President of the United States.
1953 (5th March)
Joseph Stalin died. Georgy Malenkov became leader of the Soviet Union. Churchill suggested that the West reach out to the new Soviet leader but Eisenhower opposed the move.
1953 (23rd April)
Winston Churchill was made a member of the Order of the Garter by Queen Elizabeth II.
1953 (2nd June)
Churchill attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey.
1953 (June)
It had been thought that Churchill would retire after the coronation. However, foreign secretary, Anthony Eden, who was widely tipped to replace Churchill was unwell and Churchill stayed on.
1953 (18th June)
Egyptian Revolution
Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser proclaimed the Republic of Egypt. Churchill was forced to acknowledge the new republic.
1953 (23rd June)
Winston Churchill suffered a stroke which left him incapacitated for several months. With Eden still ill, it was decided to keep Churchill’s illness a secret.
1953 (October)
Winston Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
1955 (7th April)
Churchill resigned as Prime Minister on the grounds of ill health. He was succeeded by Anthony Eden who had recovered from his illness.
Later Years
1955 (after 7th April)
Winston Churchill continued to be Member of Parliament for Woodford.
1956 (29th October – 7th November)
Suez Crisis
Churchill was extremely critical of Eden’s handling of the crisis and the nnegative effect it had on Anglo-American relations.
1959 (8th October)
A general election was held and the Conservatives won. Churchill remained Member of Parliament for Woodford.
1962 (26th April)
Churchill’s widowed daughter, Sarah, married Thomas Touchet-Jesson, 23rd Baron Audley. She was widowed again 15 months later.
1962 (June)
While in Monte Carlo, Churchill fell and broke his hip. He was flown home and hospitalised for three weeks.
1963 (during)
President Kennedy made Churchill an Honorary Citizen of the United States. Churchill was unable to travel to the United States to attend the White House ceremony..
1963 (20th October)
Churchill’s daughter Diana, committed suicide by taking an overdose of barbiturates.
1964 (27th July)
Churchill attended the House of Commons for the last time. His retirement from politics was marked the following day by the presentation of a resolution commending his public service and leadership during the war years.
1965 (12th January)
Winston Churchill suffered another stroke.
1965 (24th January)
Winston Churchill died at his home in Hyde Park Gate, London.
1965 (30th January)
Winston Churchill was given a state funeral with a ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral. He was the first non-royal to be given such an honour. He was buried at St Martin’s Church, Bladon.


Published Oct 03 2020 @ 4:25 pm – Updated – [last-modified]

Harvard Reference for this page:

Heather Y Wheeler. (2020). Winston Churchill 1874 – 1965. – 1965/ Last accessed [date]


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