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 must regard the next week or so as a very important period in our history. It ranks with the days when the Spanish Armada was approaching the Channel and Drake was finishing his game of bowls; or when Nelson stood between us and Napoleon‘s Grand Army at Boulogne. We have read all about this in the history books, but what is happening now is on a far greater scale and of far more consequence to the life and future of the world and its civilisation than these brave old days of the past.…
A wristwatch that the Commune de Vaud gave Churchill on 11 September 1946 was sold recently by Sotheby’s. Did he wear wristwatches? One almost always sees him with a pocket watch. —S.R., New Hampshire
From the 1890s until the end of his life Churchill carried his father’s pocket watch, nicknamed “The Turnip.” He did however sometimes wear a wristwatch, as the above photo shows. N.B.: This is a revised, extended version of a 2009 post, which I have left up for the comments by readers: click here.