Excerpted from “Which Historical and Contemporary Figures were Churchill’s Inspirations?” Written for the Hillsdale College Churchill Project, February 2020. For Hillsdale’s complete text and illustrations, please click here.
We are often asked which historical and contemporary personages most influenced Winston Churchill’s thought and statesmanship. One is right to start with Lord Randolph Churchill, Napoleon, Clemenceau and Marlborough. The classics open another avenue. Readers can find pithy remarks by Churchill on many of the following figures in Churchill by Himself.
Lord Randolph Churchill
His father was the first of young Winston’s political inspirations, and the subject of his first biography.…
We are constantly asked to verify the famous exchange. Shaw writes: “Am reserving two tickets for you for my premiere. Come and bring a friend—if you have one.” Churchill replies: “Impossible to be present for the first performance. Will attend the second—if there is one.” Though it’s lovely repartee, both of them denied it.