Winston Churchill was the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955, and is perhaps best known for his leadership of the UK during World War II. Churchill won a Noble Prize in literature and is also noted for his memorable speeches. A Winston Churchill quote was frequently repeated for its wit. In his writings, speeches and everyday discussions he was noted for his great insights. We’ve selected 117 of Winston Churchill quotes for your review.
Good Quotes from Winston Churchill
- I am easily satisfied with the very best.
- To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.
- A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
- History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days.
- Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.
- In war it does not matter who is right, but who is left.
- Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.
- Before you can inspire with emotion, you must be swamped with it yourself. Before you can move their tears, your own must flow. To convince them, you must yourself, believe.
- If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time-a tremendous whack.
- In finance, everything that is agreeable is unsound and everything that is sound is disagreeable.
- In those days he was wiser than he is now – he used frequently to take my advice.
- Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak, it’s also what it takes to sit down and listen.
- Nancy Astor: “Sir, if you were my husband, I would give you poison.”
Churchill: “If I were your husband I would take it.
- History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
- I’m just preparing my impromptu remarks.
- I have never developed indigestion from eating my words.
- There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.
- If you’re going through hell, keep going.
- Don’t interrupt me while I’m interrupting.
- In the course of my life I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.
- He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.
- Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.
Never Give Up Quote
This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense.
All I can say is that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.
A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt; long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.
There is no such thing as public opinion. There is only published opinion.
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.
Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others.
I like a man who grins when he fights.
The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.
- The price of greatness is responsibility.
- You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
- This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.
- We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
- The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.
- However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.
- It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see.
- Every man should ask himself each day whether he is not too readily accepting negative solutions.
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.
Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts.
Everyone has his day, and some days last longer than others.
You have enemies? Good. It means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
There is no such thing as a good tax.
Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.
One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.
The problems of victory are more agreeable than the problems of defeat, but they are no less difficult.
Show me a young Conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains.
Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes.
We are stripped bare by the curse of plenty.
Winston Churchill Quotes on Success
- Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
- Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
It is wonderful what great strides can be made when there is a resolute purpose behind them.
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.
History is written by the victors.
It is more agreeable to have the power to give than to receive.
The whole history of the world is summed up in the fact that when nations are strong they are not always just, and when they wish to be just, they are often no longer strong.
Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.
Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.We are all worms, but I do believe I am a glowworm.
Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe.
Broadly speaking short words are best and the old words when short, are best of all.
Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it has been said, it is the quality which guarantees all others.
Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.
We have not journeyed all this way across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy.
Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.
Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.
Great and good are seldom the same man.
Winston Churchill’s “We Shall Fight on the Beaches” speech.
There are two things that are more difficult than making an after-dinner speech: climbing a wall which is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you.
For myself, I am an optimist—it does not seem to be much use being anything else.
A nation trying to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to pull himself up by the handles.
I am ready to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.
Out of intense complexities, intense simplicities emerge.
Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.
Perhaps it is better to be irresponsible and right, than to be responsible and wrong.
Writing a book is an adventure. To begin with it is a toy then an amusement. Then it becomes a mistress, and then it becomes a master, and then it becomes a tyrant and, in the last stage, just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude, you kill the monster and fling him to the public.
Those who can win a war well can rarely make a good peace, and those who could make a good peace would never have won the war.
Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip.
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.
If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.
We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out.
We shall not fail or falter – We shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools and we will finish the job.
There is always much to be said for not attempting more than you can do and for making a certainty of what you try. But this principle, like others in life and war, has it exceptions.
There is only one duty, only one safe course, and that is to try to be right and not to fear to do or say what you believe to be right.
We shape our dwellings, and afterwards our dwellings shape us.
To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.
A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, then asks you not to kill him.
One does not leave a convivial party before closing time.
In the course of my life I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.
I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.
If we open a quarrel between the past and the present we shall find that we have lost the future.
The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult.
Winston Churchill Quotes
It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.
What is adequacy? Adequacy is no standard at all.
Every morn brought forth a noble chance, and every chance brought forth a noble knight.
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.
Churchill’s The War Situation: House of Many Mansions
Everyone wonders what is happening about the war. For several months past the Nazis have been uttering ferocious threats of what they are going to do to the Western Democracies-to the British and French Empires-when once they set about them. But so far it is the small neutral States that are bearing the brunt of German malice and cruelty. Neutral ships are sunk without law or mercy-not only by the blind and wanton mine, but by the coldly considered, deliberately aimed, torpedo.
The Dutch, the Belgians, the Danes, the Swedes, and, above all, the Norwegians, have their ships destroyed whenever they can be caught upon the high seas. It is only in the British and French convoys that safety is to be found. There, in those convoys, it is five-hundred-to-one against being sunk. There, controlling forces are at work which are steadily keeping the seas open, steadily keeping the traffic going, and establishing order and freedom of movement amid the waves of anarchy and sea-murder.
We, the aggrieved and belligerent Powers who are waging war against Germany, have no need to ask for respite. Every week our commerce grows; every month our organization is improved and reinforced. We feel ourselves more confident day by day of our ability to police the seas and oceans and to keep open and active the salt-water highways by which we have; and along which we shall draw the means of victory. It seems pretty certain that half the U-boats with which Germany began the war have been sunk, and that their new building has fallen far behind what we expected. Our faithful Asdic detector smells them out in the depths of the sea and, with the potent aid of the Royal Air Force, I do not doubt that we shall break their strength and break their purpose.
The magnetic mine, and all the other mines with which the narrow waters, the approaches to this Island, are strewn, do not present us with any problem which we deem insoluble. It must be remembered that in the last war we suffered very grievous losses from mines, and that at the climax more than six hundred British vessels were engaged solely upon the task of mine-sweeping. We must remember that. We must always be expecting some bad thing from Germany, but I will venture to say that it is with growing confidence that we await the further developments or variants of their attack.
Here we are, after nearly five months of all they can do against us on the sea, with the first U-boat campaign for the first time being utterly broken, with the mining menace in good control, with our shipping virtually undiminished, and with all the oceans of the world free from surface raiders. It is true that the Deutschland escaped the clutches of our cruisers by the skin of her teeth, but the Spee still sticks up in the harbor of Montevideo as a grisly monument and as a measure of the fate in store for any Nazi warship which dabbles in piracy on the broad waters.
As you know, I have always-after some long and hard experience-spoken with the utmost restraint and caution about the war at sea, and I am quite sure that there are many losses and misfortunes which lie ahead of us there; but in all humility and self-questioning I feel able to declare that at the Admiralty, as, I have no doubt, at the French Ministry of Marine, things are not going so badly after all.
Indeed, they have never gone so well in any naval war. We look forward as the months go by to establishing such a degree of safe sailings as will enable the commerce of all the nations whose ships accept our guidance, not only to live but to thrive. This part-this sea affair-at least, of the Nazi attack upon freedom is not going to bar the path of justice or of retribution.
Very different is the lot of the unfortunate neutrals. Whether on sea or on land, they are the victims upon whom Hitler’s hate and spite descend. Look at the group of small but ancient and historic States which lie in the North; or look again at that other group of anxious peoples in the Balkans or in the Danube basin behind whom stands the resolute Turk. Every one of them is wondering which will be the next victim on whom the criminal adventurers of Berlin will cast their rending stroke. A German major makes a forced landing in Belgium with plans for the invasion of that country whose neutrality Germany has so recently promised to respect. In Rumania there is deep fear lest by some deal between Moscow and Berlin they may become the next object of aggression.
German intrigues are seeking to undermine the newly strengthened solidarity of the southern Slavs. The hardy Swiss arm and man their mountain passes. The Dutch-whose services to European freedom will be remembered long after the smear of Hitler has been wiped from the human path-stand along their dykes, as they did against the tyrants of bygone days. All Scandinavia dwells brooding under Nazi and Bolshevik threats.
Only Finland-superb, nay, sublime-in the jaws of peril-Finland shows what free men can do. The service rendered by Finland to mankind is magnificent. They have exposed, for all the world to see, the military incapacity of the Red Army and of the Red Air Force. Many illusions about Soviet Russia have been dispelled in these few fierce weeks of fighting in the Arctic Circle. Everyone can see how Communism rots the soul of a nation; how it makes it abject and hungry in peace, and proves it base and abominable in war.
We cannot tell what the fate of Finland may be, but no more mournful spectacle could be presented to what is left to civilized mankind than that this splendid Northern race should be at last worn down and reduced to servitude worse than death by the dull brutish force of overwhelming numbers. If the light of freedom which still burns so brightly in the frozen North should be finally quenched, it might well herald a return to the Dark Ages, when every vestige of human progress during two thousand years would be engulfed.
But what would happen if all these neutral nations I have mentioned-and some others I have not mentioned-were with one spontaneous impulse to do their duty in accordance with the Covenant of the League, and were to stand together with the British and French Empires against aggression and wrong? At present their plight is lamentable; and it will become much worse. They bow humbly and in fear to German threats of violence, comforting themselves meanwhile with the thought that the Allies will win, that Britain and France will strictly observe all the laws and conventions, and that breaches of these laws are only to be expected from the German side.
Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last. All of them hope that the storm will pass before their turn comes to be devoured. But I fear-I fear greatly-the storm will not pass. It will rage and it will roar, ever more loudly, ever more widely. It will spread to the South – it will spread to the North. There is no chance of a speedy end except through united action; and if at any time Britain and France, wearying of the struggle, were to make a shameful peace, nothing would remain for the smaller States of Europe, with their shipping and their possessions, but to be divided between the opposite, though similar, barbarisms of Nazidom and Bolshevism.
The one thing that will be most helpful in determining the action of neutrals is their increasing sense of the power and resolution of the Western Allies. These small States are alarmed by the fact that the German armies are more numerous, and that their Air Force is still more numerous, and also that both are nearer to them than the forces of Great Britain and France. Certainly it is true that we are facing numerical odds; but that is no new thing in our history. Very few wars have been won by mere numbers alone.
Quality, will power, geographical advantages, natural and financial resources, the command of the sea, and, above all, a cause which rouses the spontaneous surgings of the human spirit in millions of hearts-these have proved to be the decisive factors in the human story. If it were otherwise, how would the race of men have risen above the apes; how otherwise would they have conquered and extirpated dragons and monsters – how would they have ever evolved the moral theme – how would they have marched forward across the centuries to broad conceptions of compassion, of freedom, and of right? How would they ever have discerned those beacon lights which summon and guide us across the rough dark waters, and presently will guide us across the flaming lines of battle towards better days which lie beyond?
Numbers do not daunt us. But judged even by the test of numbers we have no reason to doubt that once the latent, and now rapidly growing, power of the British nation and Empire are brought, as they must be, and as they will be, fully into line with the magnificent efforts of the French Republic, then, even in mass and in weight, we shall not be found wanting. When we look behind the brazen fronts of Nazidom-as we have various means of doing-we see many remarkable signs of psychological and physical disintegration. We see the shortages of raw materials which already begin to hamper both the quality and the volume of their war industry. We feel the hesitancy of divided counsels, and the pursuing doubts which assail and undermine those who count on force and force alone.
In the bitter and increasingly exacting conflict which lies before us we are resolved to keep nothing back, and not to be outstripped by any in service to the common cause. Let the great cities of Warsaw, of Prague, of Vienna banish despair even in the midst of their agony. Their liberation is sure. The day will come when the joybells will ring again throughout Europe, and when victorious nations, masters not only of their foes but of themselves, will plan and build in justice, in tradition, and in freedom a house of many mansions where there will be room for all.
Winston Churchill Quote On Democracy
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
- Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.
- It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.
- The first quality needed is audacity.
- To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to change often.
- When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber.
- All the greatest things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.
- The first duty of the university is to teach wisdom, not a trade; character, not technicalities. We want a lot of engineers in the modern world, but we do not want a world of engineers.
- Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.
- It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.
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