Winston Churchill
Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005


Astro-Rayological Interpretation & Charts
Images and Physiognomic Interpretation

to Volume 3 Table of Contents


Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill—British Statesman, Prime Minister 1940-1945, 1951-1955

Orator, Author, Historian, Artist: November 30, 1874, Blenheim Palace, England, 1:30 AM, LMT. (Source: entry in father’s diary, and a letter written by his father. Rectified to 1:19 AM by T. Pat Davis). Died, January 25, 1965, London, England.

(Ascendant, Virgo {some suggest Libra}; Midheaven, Gemini; Sun Sagittarius with Venus also in Sagittarius; Moon and Uranus in Leo; Mercury in Scorpio; Mars conjunct Jupiter in Libra; Saturn in Aquarius; Neptune in Aries; Pluto in Taurus)

Winston Churchill was undoubtedly one of the greatest statesmen of the twentieth century. So many and varied were his notable achievements, that few can equal the scope, depth and variety of his impact upon the progress and welfare of the human race. He was a man of extraordinary vitality and resilience, imagination, intelligence and daring—a truly great patriot, leader and defender of the values of Western civilization, one of humanity’s most inspiring orators, an author and historian of the first rank, a talented amateur painter, and a writer with a masterful command of the English language. Although the positive aspects of his character overshadowed by far his liabilities, these too, were significant and surprising—excessive and ill-considered zeal, stubbornness, arrogance, inconsistency and a kind of perpetual adolescence exacerbated by an immoderate use of alcohol.

Humanity owes an inestimable debt of gratitude to Winston Churchill. Without exaggeration it can be said that the heroic valor of his spirit was a decisive force in preventing the enslavement of humanity by the horrific tyranny loosed upon the world by the Nazi regime. Churchill (and the soul of Britain he inspired in those dark days in the early 1940’s) held out, virtually alone, against the murderous onslaught of the world’s mightiest military machine (the German Army) directed by malicious and hateful individuals who were obsessed by a vision of world conquest and domination. The odds were overwhelmingly against Britain’s survival. Once the Luftwaffe unleashed its full fury against the English cities and military bases, it was conservatively estimated that the country would fall in less than three months. The German war machine seemed invincible and hope but a cruel illusion.      

In terms of men and materiel the situation was, indeed, desperate, but wars are not won and lost on the basis of physical realities alone. Deep-seated psychological and spiritual factors played their crucial part, and it is here that Churchill’s character was worth millions of soldiers in the field. Well he knew that Western civilization (not just Britain) was in mortal peril. So deep was his love of that civilization and its cherished values, that his will was strengthened to a point inconceivable by normal standards. If the selfish and sadistic rulers of Nazi Germany were obsessed by members of the Black Lodge, then Winston Churchill was, equally, obsessed by the “Forces of Light”, by the “Good”. No doubt the Masters of the Wisdom directed towards him potent streams of vitalizing energy and inspiration, to sustain this man whose spirit stood as a bulwark between a besieged civilization and the yawning abyss. Had Britain fallen, Germany would not have been forced to fight a war on two fronts, and, through the concentration of its superbly trained forces, may well have prevailed over the Soviet Union. With all of Europe and the Soviet Union subdued, America, threatened from the West by Japanese aggression, and still inadequately armed compared to Germany, would have been gravely endangered. World enslavement under Germany and the Axis Powers would have been conceivable, and with it, the beginning of a thousand years of darkness—a “re-initiation into the Earth…”. The Tibetan described the dire possibility in this way:       

“If this does not take place [humanity’s ability to ‘use the mind as a reflector of soul purpose’], the present situation will turn into something far worse—a situation wherein the mass of men will be ‘re-initiated into the Earth and forced to turn their backs upon the dawning light.’ A dark period of civilisation will ensue. Instead of the dark cave of initiation wherein the light of the initiate's own nature illumines the darkness and so demonstrates his command of light, the dark cave of materialism and of physical, animal control will take the place of the ‘lighted Way.’ The earthy aspect of Capricorn, the lowest concrete aspect of the mind and an increased control by the Taurian spirit in its worst form will take the place of the divine possibility of entrance into greater light,…” (EA 543) (It should be noted that a number of Nazi leaders were powerfully conditioned by Taurus and Capricorn—Hitler especially—and by Scorpio as well.)               

That this terrible fate was possible (and even probable) was the conviction of the Spiritual Hierarchy of our planet Who, in the latter days of 1942, were preparing to withdraw from contact with humanity, convinced that the human race would indeed go down to defeat, and that the Black Lodge would triumph.

But Britain did not collapse. It stood, with firm and unflinching steadfastness before an overwhelming superiority of men and arms. This resolute refusal to give up was the glory of the British soul—yes—but that glory was magnificently inspired by the valiant spirit/soul of one man who insisted that not only would Britain stand, but that it would prevail in victory over Hitler and his Germany. With one-pointed almost superhuman intent, Churchill willed Hitler’s defeat—and it came to pass. He held the blazing torch of fiery resistance to evil when so few fires of freedom flamed against the encroaching darkness. Churchill. consumed in the fires of the Will-to-Good, burned with such persistence that, at length, the many lesser torches were ignited; a roaring bonfire at last arose and, directed against the aggressor, consumed it completely.

Winston Churchill and his Britain could not have won the war without the tremendous sacrifices of the United States, the Soviet Union and all their allies, but at a time when few seemed to care, or care enough, about the fate of humanity, he, at least, refused to lose the war—thereby buying precious time in which those, less alert to the peril than he recognized, could awaken and mobilize their forces. In the development of all great conflicts there are pivotal moments—hinge points—upon the outcome of which the future is decisively determined. The Battle of Britain was such a moment. Britain survived still strong; Germany paused and changed direction, divided its focus and was, at length, drawn into a war on two fronts which it could not sustain. Thus, did Germany meet its final defeat. The Battle of Britain and the victory of  the British resistance were the beginning of the end of German invincibility.

Which is the Correct Astrological Chart for Winston Churchill?

For many years it was supposed that the proper Ascendant for Winston Churchill’s astrological chart was Scorpio. Indeed, his powerful Scorpio qualities were easily discerned and the assumption seemed logical and astrologically valid.           

Some however, suggested a Libra Ascendant. Again, Libra is a sign evident in Churchill’s nature (he has two planets, Mars and Jupiter in this sign), and often appears in the charts of generals, public figures, and those who do not so much start wars as finish them.

Then, a letter from Winston Churchill’s father, Randolph Churchill, and an entry from his diary were discovered, stating that Winston’s birth had occurred at 1:30 AM, and not a few hours later as had been supposed. Although the 1:30 AM time is under suspicion as being, at least, slightly rounded-off, it gives an Ascendant different from those used previously (an Ascendant in the last degree of Virgo)—which might seem an unlikely Rising Sign for one of the world’s most resolute and willful wartime statesmen. Yet, this Ascendant has been accepted by many astrologers and rectified by some. Some have rectified this time slightly forward to as to produce, again, a Libra Ascendant. At least one other has rectified the time to about ten minutes earlier, to produce an Ascendant unequivocally in Virgo.

Some Justifications for the Virgo-Rising Chart 

As one examines the chart with the Virgo Ascendant, number of convincing justifications emerge.

1.       Physiognomically, the Virgo Ascendant makes sense. The 28th degree of Virgo, for instance, lies in the Taurus decanate of Virgo. Churchill’s decidedly ‘bull-dog’ appearance is, therefore, at least partially accounted for. A close examination of the facial structure of those born in the any of the three decanates of Virgo, will show the last decanate (20° - 30°), all things being equal, to be the ‘beefiest’. As with both Mercurial signs (Virgo and Gemini) the physiognomy will depend much upon the position of Mercury (as in the case of a well-known triple-Gemini individual, Queen Victoria, who had physiognomically-determining Mercury in Taurus).

2.       A Virgo Ascendant would emphasize the importance of the planet Mercury, placed in Scorpio. A Scorpio Ascendant, on the other hand, contradicts the birth information found in the letter and diary entry of Churchill’s father. A rectification producing a Libra Ascendant emphasizes the importance of Venus rather than Mercury. Venus is important, and can be seen in the Churchill’s fair and florid appearance, but Mercury in Scorpio is even more important—both physiognomically and psychologically. 

a.       Churchill was a war correspondent (Mercury in Scorpio), a master of irony, sarcasm and biting humor (Mercury in Scorpio), and was, perhaps, the greatest war-time orator in modern history (Mercury in Scorpio in the second house ruling the voice).

b.       His caustic criticism—so characteristically Churchillian—makes far more sense if the clarity and sharpness of critical Virgo reinforce the sting of the Scorpionic Mercury. This would be the case were Virgo the Ascendant.

c.       He was a master of English prose (grammatical Virgo rising) and claimed to understand “the essential structure of the normal British sentence—which is a noble thing” (a skill, by imputation, beyond the capacity of most writers).

d.       Churchill was, of course, a great writer—in fact receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953, for his history in six volumes, The Second World War. After 1899, he made his living through the pen—thus his Mercury in the second house of personal finances is a convincing placement. This Mercury position is, of course, emphasized considerably if the Ascendant is Virgo.

e.       It must further be remarked that Churchill’s thrilling exactitude in the use of words is far more Virgoan than Libran.

f.        The emphasis upon Mercury through a Virgo Ascendant accounts for Churchill’s extraordinary mobility—for instance, his eagerness during both wars to go wherever he might be needed—to the front lines, to meet on numerous occasions Franklin Roosevelt, to fly to Russia to meet with Stain—he was simply always ready to go.

g.       Perhaps, as well, the presence of the Vulcanian cane or walking-stick is a hint about the importance of Virgo/Vulcan. Vulcan was a ‘god with a limp’.

3.       Thus, we notice quite a number of Virgoan traits in this great leader. It should be pointed out that, were Libra the Ascendant, there would be no astrological influence of Virgo in the chart, but with Virgo as the Ascendant, the astrological influence of Libra is still very much present, through the Mars/Jupiter conjunction in Libr

4.       When one thinks of Churchill’s emphatic character, his remarkable stamina, his refusal to give up or give in, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that Vulcan (the planet of persistence and endurance) is mightily important. The Virgo Ascendant, esoterically ruled by Moon-Veiled Vulcan (and Neptune), gives the necessary Vulcanian emphasis.. It seems that in the case of advanced Virgo individuals, one must often, if not always, choose between the importance of Vulcan or Neptune. In Churchill’s case, Vulcan is the obvious choice, though Neptune (planet of romanticism) should not be discounted.

5.       The Taurus decanate of Virgo does offer an important Venusian sub-influence, but again, an esoteric rulership by Vulcan is important. Thus, twice, Vulcan emerges within the context of a Virgo Ascendant, and not at all with a Libra Ascendant. We must remember that Vulcan rules “men of will”. (cf. EA 264)

6.       Remembering that the principal esoteric ruler of Virgo is the Moon, Churchill’s Moon in Leo, conjunct Regulus, the “Heart of the Lion” is a highly significant placement. Here is great star of law and command, emphasizing, because conjoined with the Moon, Churchill’s tremendous personal authority and magnetism. He became the very embodiment (Leo, and the Moon as the “Mother of the Form”) of Britain’s courage and greatness of heart (Leo).

7.       Of course, there are matters of timing which suggest the importance of a late Virgo Ascendant, giving, as it does, a late Gemini Midheaven.

a.       The Nobel Prize for Literature was received on a conjunction of Jupiter to the late Gemini MC.

b.       Churchill resigned the office of Prime Minister of Great Britain within the range of a solar eclipse which occurred within less than a degree of the 27°Gemini22’ MC of the 1:19 AM rectified chart. He resigned on April 5, 1955 and the eclipse occurred on June 20, 1955. An earlier solar eclipse at 2°Capricorn59’ on December 25th, 1954, would also be considered effective (especially in an early Libra-rising chart) but other matters of timing make such a chart less likely.

c.       There are a number of aspects and eclipses to indicate his marriage on September 12, 1908, but, interestingly, the progressed Ascendant of the rectified Virgo chart, has reached natal Jupiter (indicator of marriages, and, also, orthodox ruler of his Pisces seventh house cusp—the marriage cusp). If the time were a little earlier than the 1:19 AM proposed by T. Pat Davis, the accuracy of the P-Ascendant/N-Jupiter conjunction would be even more exact. There is also a lunar eclipse at 23°Sagittarius04', about four degrees off the 27°Gemini22’ MC of the 1:19 AM chart. Again, a slightly earlier time would make it closer, and also tighten the T-Jupiter to MC aspect on his reception of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

d.       In January of 1919, Churchill became Secretary of War. A lunar eclipse occurred on Dec 18 1918 at 25°Ge03' (just two degrees of the proposed Gemini MC). Again, the eclipse suggests a time slightly earlier than 1:19 AM, but would be effective in any case. It would not be effective with a Libra Ascendant and a consequent Capricorn MC.

e.       In the autumn of 1922, Churchill became the worst casualty of the fall of an already shaky coalition government; shortly afterwards had an attack of appendicitis (Virgo and Scorpio), and was unable to campaign properly, losing the election for which he was standing by a humiliating margin. There is a solar eclipse at on Sep 21 1922 at 27°Virgo25', just 34 minutes of arc from the 27°Virgo59' Ascendant proposed by T. Pat Davis. Again, a slightly earlier time of birth would render the already close eclipse even more exact. (There is a trend here which points to the validity of a time of birth perhaps slightly earlier than 1:19 AM.)

f.        As a final “pièce de resistance”, marshaled for the purpose of validating the Virgo Ascendant, the Sabian Symbol for the 28th degree of Virgo rising is almost supernaturally congruent with Churchill’s image: “A Bald-Headed Man Who Has Seized Power”, or “A Bald-Headed Man Dominates a Gathering of National Figures”; “The sheer power of personality in times that call for decision”; “The Power of the Will”. These images are uncannily accurate, given the nature of Churchill’s character and the circumstances which brought him to his greatest power. Can the individual who rectified the chart from 1:30 AM to 1:19 AM have been aware of this symbol, and was it his principal reason for choosing that time? Probably not, as there are a number of other convincing astrological confirmations (especially matters of timing) and, in any case, the same symbol would have been in effect with a birth time as early as 1:13:30 AM—more the five minutes from the chosen time of 1:19 AM. The Sabian Symbols were derived in the earlier part of the century, and indicate a specific quality of energy which inheres in each of the 360 degrees. Are they universally accurate and useful? This has yet to be convincingly determined. In this case, the symbol for the proposed degree of Churchill’s Ascendant captures a description of character which is, to say the least, remarkably apt.

g.       Perhaps the foregoing reasons will offer a sufficiently convincing justification for a Virgo Ascendant to allow us to proceed confidently with the interpretation.

Hypotheses Regarding Winston Churchill’s Rays 

The Soul Ray: Ray I 

There can be little doubt that Winston Churchill’s soul ray is the first Ray of Will and Power. Almost single-handedly, Churchill saved European civilization from barbarism. He did so by sheer force of character, and by a refusal to surrender no matter how punitively savage the attacks against Britain. He persisted; he endured; he stood and at the same time inspired his countrymen to dogged resistance and heroic countermeasures and offensives against the enemy. Clearly, these are all first ray virtues, and of them, Churchill was an outstanding example.

Astrological Conduits for the First Ray

The astrological conduits for the first ray force are noteworthy and important. Constellationally, the first ray signs Aries and Leo are tenanted—Aries holding Neptune, the North Node, the planetoid, Chiron, and the asteroid, Pallas Athene; Leo holds the all important Leo Moon, for which we may substitute the planet Uranus (already in Leo), thus adding weight to the Moon position as a conduit of the first ray. The star, Regulus, within less than a degree and a half from the Moon, adds its first ray, regulatory and directorial, power. Churchill was not a dictator, but his powers of persuasion were immense, strengthened (at least during the war) by his irresistible force of character.      

Uranus, monadically a first ray planet, is in the first ray sign Leo, in the house of idealistic group action, the eleventh. It opposition to Saturn (with its own first ray component) in Aquarius strengthens the first ray, creating a tension concerning how the first ray shall be applied—whether conservatively (Saturn) or creatively (Uranus), or both.

If sixth ray Neptune is considered one of the veiled esoteric rulers of Virgo, its placement in first ray Aries creates a combination of the first and sixth rays, and, thus, augments the power to inspire.

The importance of Vulcan—that most willful planet—has already been stressed. Following the presently useful rule of thumb that Vulcan should be no more than eight degrees on either side from the Sun’s position (many say, toward Mercury), the probability is that it would be found in Sagittarius (the sign of inspiration), but a possibility also exists that it might be found in the last degree of Scorpio. If found in Sagittarius, again the first ray (Vulcan) and the sixth ray Sagittarius are combined. Churchill was the master of the “set speech” over which he took enormous pains (fourth ray as “Corrector of the Form”), rather than the impromptu. A comment attributed to F. E. Smith, a British lawyer and politician illustrates this: “Winston has devoted the best years of his life to preparing his impromptu speeches”. The politician Lord Balfour, the Conservative leader said of him, that he carried “heavy by not very mobile guns”. Churchill knew how to take aim with those big guns, and Vulcan in Sagittarius would promote the undeniable power of his oratory to move and inspire. Churchill’s tremendous power of resistance, his one-pointed willfulness, suggests a Vulcan closer to the Sun rather than farther.

Pluto, another conduit of the first ray, must be mentioned, placed as it is in Vulcan’s sign, Taurus, and opposite the all-important ruling planet Mercury in Scorpio, a sign which Pluto rules. The ability to transmit will through the word, is thereby many times increased. Churchill was gifted with the word-power to destroy obstacles in the mental field. He was master of morale, rousing the British to unexpected heights of courage and resistance. Churchill spoke frankly of Britain’s dire situation: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat”, but this brutal frankness had the effect not of depressing the nation, but of summoning its valor to the fore. The T-square between Pluto, Uranus and Mercury, with Uranus on the short leg, represents the ability to mobilize group-courage (Uranus in Leo) through the compelling force (Pluto) of speech (Mercury). From yet another perspective, the Pluto/Mercury opposition can be seen as contributing to Churchill’s speech defect—the impediment of lisping and stuttering—which at length he overcame through sheer determination and oratorical power.          

Sometime first ray Saturn reinforces by sextile the Sagittarian Sun, and Mars (with its own first ray component) conjunct expansive Jupiter (both in karmically motivated Libra), confers the power to retaliate against the aggressor—mobilizing the counter-blow.

Searching for the Personality Ray—Either Ray Six or Ray Four 

When it comes to assigning the personality ray, we are faced with a dilemma, because both the fourth and sixth rays are so strongly represented that it is difficult to choose between them. Both of them are active on the personality level, and it is merely a question of discovering which is the principal ray and which is its sub-quality.

The Case For (and Against) a Fourth Ray Personality 

1.       Winston Churchill was a colorful and dramatic character, notable for his lack of discipline in a number of personal matters—he drank and smoked to excess—though, in all matters of high purpose, his focus and concentration were absolute.

2.       Churchill was moody and experienced periodic bouts of heavy depression—“the black dog on my back”. Depression is not an attribute of the fourth ray alone, but such natures are cyclically prone to it.

3.       He was a man of temperament, with a great love expressive language and of painting. Of course, the artist, we are told by the Tibetan, is found equally on all the rays, but it cannot be denied that the fourth ray is especially connected with artistic expression. His two important planets in Libra (Jupiter and Mars) would, in part, account for this expressiveness, as well as Venus (planet of art and beauty) is partially fourth ray Sagittarius. The fourth ray Moon is self-expressive Leo is undeniably important, as well.

4.       A certain British Labour politician, Aneurin Bevin, said of him, “He is a man suffering from petrified adolescence”. His frequent errors in judgment were a product of an erratic fourth ray nature as much as the over-zealousness of the sixth.

5.       The factor of steadfastness—an objective most often yet to be achieved by the fourth ray personality, was already and indisputably present in Churchill’s psychological equipment. One can ask whether a fourth ray personality (with its proverbial inconstancy) could have withstood the pressures of leading Britain safely throughout the harrowing war years.

Conduits for the Fourth Ray

There can be no question that the fourth ray is prominent in Churchill’s ray chart—the question is, does it condition the personality as well as the mind (of which more shortly).

1.       All three constellational conduits for the fourth ray are tenanted.

2.       Scorpio, the major fourth ray constellation, holds the major planet of the fourth ray—Mercury—in its hierarchical position.

3.       Sagittarius, a sign transmitting the fourth, fifth and sixth rays, holds the both the Sun and Venus (a planet which, for its capacity to harmonize, seems to have important fourth ray associations).

4.       Taurus, another sign transmitting only the fourth ray (at least this is what D.K. tells us), holds the lethal planet Pluto

5.       The fourth ray Moon is in a sign (Leo) which sign, itself, brings out a fourth ray quality—drama.

6.       The sign Libra, associated with the process of harmonization (as is the fourth ray), holds conflict-prone Mars (thus, Mars in Libra is a ‘war-and-peace’ position), and benevolent Jupiter (emphasizing more the harmony aspect of the fourth ray)

The Case for a Sixth ray Personality 

1.       Churchill was one of the most inspiring statesmen of the modern world. His powers to arouse, motivate and uplift (in even the darkest hours) were extraordinary, incomparable. The sixth ray is, above all rays, the ray of inspiration. Perhaps his greatest gift to Britain was that he never allowed its morale to flag. The power and presence of the sixth ray are unmistakable.

2.       Churchill was a great orator—not because he screamed and gesticulated wildly as did Hitler, but because of the clarity and perfection of his language (Virgo), the steady, dignified and controlled emotion which underlay his delivery, and an unmistakable nobility of thought and aspiration which poured through his thrilling words—spoken with greatness and generosity of heart. The sixth ray, above all rays, makes the great orator.

3.       He approached life with what some have called, “characteristic Churchillian intensity”. He threw himself into his projects with immoderate zeal. Whether he proposed to lead Britain to victory, write a book, or paint a picture, he was zealous in approach. The sixth ray is the ‘Ray of Undue Emphasis’. (cf., DINA I 322-323) His relish for dramatic action often led him beyond acceptable limits.

4.       Churchill never wavered with regard to his major objectives. Disconcertingly, he might change tactics, sometimes unwisely, but in intent he was inflexible—a quality of the sixth ray (much reinforced by the first). One of his own statements of purpose will give the idea:       

“I have only one purpose, the destruction of Hitler, and my life is much simplified thereby. If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the Devil in the House of Commons”.

One has to laugh and simultaneously applaud. The humor of the fourth ray mind dances in these words, but the obsessive intent cannot be mistaken. The Tibetan has said of the sixth ray man, “his friends are angels, his enemies are very much the reverse”
(EP I 209) This one-pointed (Sagittarius and the sixth ray) will to destroy Hitler is a perfect expression of the sixth ray.

5.       Churchill’s personal energy was prodigious and almost constant. He was ‘down’ now and then (for the fourth ray was strong), but his enormous resilience was proverbial. He drove the British Government with his immense and unrelenting energy—too intent and too focussed to be purely the product of the inconstant fourth ray on the personality level.

6.       Churchill was a great idealist. When Greece, the cradle of Western civilization (as Churchill saw it) came under heavy attack, Churchill (idealistically more than strategically and wisely) diverted many badly needed troops from the North African theatre in the attempt to rescue that brave nation. He suffered the consequences, not really achieving his objective and sacrificing a nearly-achieved advantage in North Africa.

7.       When the Duke of Windsor decided to abdicate his throne to marry the lady he loved (a “commoner”—Wallis Warfield Simpson), Churchill quixotically and romantically defended his decision, even though public opinion was strongly against the abdication. Interestingly, that year, there was a solar eclipse within twenty-two minutes of arc of the proposed Gemini MC, and another solar eclipse on Churchill’s Venus in Sagittarius—hence his support of King Edward’s romanticism. The sixth ray, expressed through Neptune (and in a deep way through Venus) is the ray of romanticism—reinforced, of course, by the fourth.


Conduits for the Sixth ray

1.       From a certain perspective, all three of the constellations/signs expressing the sixth ray are tenanted.

2.       Sagittarius, of course, is the major sixth ray sign and it holds the Sun—in itself a strong indication of a possibly sixth ray personality. Venus, ruler of the third (or Taurus) decanate of the Virgo Ascendant is also of importance, and Venus is trine the sixth ray planet Neptune, which, itself, is a veiled esoteric co-ruler of the Virgo Ascendant.

3.       The proposed Virgo Ascendant also transmits the sixth ray. Virgo is ruled by Mercury, placed in Scorpio, a sign strongly conditioned by sixth ray Mars. Virgo is also ruled by the veiled Vulcan and Neptune. Vulcan is probably placed in sixth ray Sagittarius and sixth ray Neptune is placed in Aries, which, like Scorpio, is a sign conditioned by sixth ray Mars.

4.       The Equatorial Ascendant (not insignificant, especially as it is conjuncting the normal Ascendant) is placed in sixth ray Virgo.

5.       The Anti-Vertex is also found is sixth ray Virgo, conjunct both the Equatorial Ascendant and the Ascendant, and the Vertex (which sign is significant for the quality of fated encounters) is placed in sixth ray Pisces.

6.       Vesta, asteroid of devotional commitment, is opposed the Sun.

7.       Mars and Jupiter, both planets of enthusiasm (Mars with a strong sixth ray, and Jupiter with sixth ray resonances on some level of its expression) are conjunct each other.

8.       Sixth ray Neptune in sixth ray Mars-ruled Aries is closely trine the Moon (which presides largely over the sixth or watery astral plane of emotions.

Choosing the Personality Ray 

As we can see, there are good reasons for choosing either of these rays (sixth or fourth) as the personality ray. While both rays share the ‘pros’, perhaps there are more ‘cons’ against the fourth ray. Churchill’s unremitting zeal in the defense of his nation and the pursuit of Hitler, suggests more the sixth ray than the fourth. His Nazi opponent, was, in the author’s new estimation, also a first ray soul, and very reasonably a sixth ray personality. If Churchill possessed a sixth ray personality, then the two of them were matched fatefully and equally—engaged in a relentless battle to the death. Curiously, Hitler almost ‘courted’ Churchill, feeling rather like a rejected suitor when Churchill refused Hitler’s frequent secret overtures for Anglo-German cooperation. Hitler, it seems, loved England in a strange way—identifying Englishmen with the Aryan Race. Churchill, on the other hand, simply hated Hitler (however, impersonally) and all that he stood for—without, however, hating Germany.           

Churchill spoke so often against the irresolution of the British leaders who preceded him, that a double fourth ray would be unlikely—the potential for the very irresolution that he deplored would be too great.     

Perhaps the reader will find the following quotation from the Encyclopedia Britannica a convincing testimony to the strength of Churchill’s sixth ray—most reasonably assigned to the personality level:

In a sense, the whole of Churchill's previous career had been a preparation for wartime leadership. An intense patriot; a romantic believer in his country's greatness and its historic role in Europe, the empire, and the world; a devotee of action who thrived on challenge and crisis; a student, historian, and veteran of war; a statesman who was master of the arts of politics, despite or because of long political exile; a man of iron constitution, inexhaustible energy, and total concentration, he seemed to have been nursing all his faculties so that when the moment came he could lavish them on the salvation of Britain and the values he believed Britain stood for in the world”.

Note the keywords: “intense patriot”, “romantic believer”, “devotee of action”, a man capable of “total concentration”—there is nothing here to suggest the vacillation of the fourth ray, should both the personality and mind be qualified by that ray.

It is the conclusion of the author, therefore, that assigning Churchill a sixth ray personality has the greatest explanatory power, accounting most for his character and behavior. The Sun (so strong a contributor to the quality of the personality ray) is in the major sixth ray sign, which sign also expresses the fourth ray. It is reasonable to think of Churchill therefore as colored in his personality by both rays, but predominantly and preeminently by the sixth and modified by the fourth—a ray which almost certainly is the main ray of the concrete mental vehicle.

The Ray of the Mind: Ray 4, Sub-Ray 1 

Here there can be little doubt: the planet of the fourth ray, Mercury, is the exoteric ruler of the Ascendant and placed in a sign which is, during this world period, most identified with the expression of the fourth ray—Scorpio.  Further, Mercury in Scorpio is found in the second house, associated with Taurus, another fourth ray sign. It must be said however, that Mercury is quite close to the house of communication, the house three (by the Placidus house system) where it would have a certain suitability. Mercury can also be ‘read into’ the third house, because its sign is the same as the sign on the cusp of the third house.

For his noble prose, his constant colorful contrasts, for the delightful and arresting surprises in his turns of phrase, for the exhaustive labor he expended upon his choice of words, for his refinement and harmony of expression, for his irony and pungent humor, and for the power of his evocative imagery—for all these reasons, assigning the fourth ray as the ray of the mind seems incontestable.

Perhaps a few quotations from his various speeches and writings will demonstrate the fourth ray quality with clarity.           

“So they told me how Mr. Gladstone read Homer for fun, which I thought served him right”—from My Early Life, Ch. 2.

Note the element of surprise, playful irreverence and unpredictability characteristic of the fourth ray.

“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”—from My Early Life, Ch. 26.

Here the fourth ray ability to compare, contrast and oppose one thing to another is demonstrated. Churchill’s frequent symmetry of phrasing suggests the use of the fourth ray.

“In defeat unbeatable; in victory unbearable”—referring to Viscount Montgomery, commander of the North African forces.

Here the fourth ray, which might be called the ‘Ray of Contradiction’, is used to emphasize (with a mixture of praise and humor) the contradictions in Montgomery’s character.

“The is the sort of English up with which I will not put”—taken from Churchill’s commentary in the margin of a report in which a Civil Servant had used an awkward construction to avoid ending a sentence with a proposition.

This is one of Churchill’s most humorous grammatical remarks (perfectly in keeping with his proposed Virgo Ascendant) . It uses the fourth ray method of exaggeration to prove the point

“Men will forgive anything except bad prose”—from an election speech, 1906.

Again, Churchill surprises us. We have to remember that Uranus (the planet of surprises) is quite closely square to his Mercury in Scorpio. He simply does not say what is expected. The fourth ray uses this technique to shock (and delight) by contrast and thus engage the reader’s attention.

“I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”—from a Broadcast Talk, October 1, 1939.

Here Churchill is doing some fourth ray word painting, creating a very evocative effect overall.

“We are waiting for the promised invasion. So are the fishes”—from a radio broadcast to the French People, October 21, 1940.

Here we have the fourth ray love of humorous contrast. Always the fourth ray in the mind offers the possibility of the surprising non-sequitur.

“This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning”—referring to the Battle of Egypt in a speech on November 10, 1942.

Here again is the fourth ray love of word-play, creating so many contrasts that the reader is made to think.

“There are few virtues which the Poles do not possess and there are few errors they have ever avoided”—from a speech before the House of Commons, 1945.

Here again (as in the reference to Montgomery) is the fourth ray method of apportioning praise and blame through contrast. This method is also psychologically revelatory—it clarifies through contrast.

An appeaser is one who feed a crocodile—hoping that it will eat him last”—attributed.

In his frustration with the blindness and denial of the government in power during the menacing build-up of German might, Churchill had the following to say. It is remarkable for its series of ironic contradictions:      

Here we find the undeniable stamp of the fourth ray as paradox is piled upon paradox, inconsistency upon inconsistency, for the purpose of revealing  the untenable position of the timid pre-war British government in all its cowardly hesitation.

A First Ray Component to the Mind 

The fourth ray for the mental vehicle seems an unmistakably clear choice, but there are powerful displays of first ray energy through Churchill’s thought as well. Mercury is in Scorpio (which is ruled by Mars and Pluto—both of which have strong first ray components). In addition, Scorpio (the sign of Hercules) can be conceived as transmitting the first ray constellationally. Not only does Scorpio add the first ray coloring to the mind (and its thought and speech), but first ray Pluto is opposed to the Mercury position, adding its destructive power to the thought process.

The Rays of the Emotional Vehicle: Ray 6 

Given the passion and ardor of his oratory, his great devotion to his country and his family, and his enthusiastic zeal in pursuit of any objective, there can be little doubt that his emotional vehicle was qualified by the sixth Ray of Devotion and Idealism.

The Ray of the Physical Vehicle: Ray 3 with Ray 1 

Winston Churchill had small use for formalities. Though he labored tirelessly over his speeches to create the perfect oratorical effect, his actions on the physical plane were spontaneous and unpredictable. He showed little talent for strictly administrative projects or posts (which would appeal to those with a strong seventh ray). There was little about his life which exemplified seventh ray regularity. Rather, he was in constant motion, traveling where needed on the spur of the moment. (Uranus square Mercury promoted this.) A man of prodigious energy, his expenditures of vitality were equally prodigious. Evidence points to an etheric-physical body upon the third ray, reinforced by the first, for, equally, he was a man of “iron constitution and inexhaustible energy”.

Astrological Conduits for the Third Ray 

Of the three constellations/signs which transmit the third ray, only Libra is tenanted, but it holds the powerful Mars/Jupiter conjunction. The Earth (heliocentrically placed in Gemini, representing the third ray and having much to do with the etheric/physical body) receives a trine from third ray Saturn in Aquarius. Mercury, with its third ray component, is ruler of the proposed Virgo Ascendant. The third ray is not found in Churchill’s psycho/mental vehicles, but it may be important as a factor conditioning the highest and lowest levels of his energy system.

Considerations Related to the Monadic Ray 

As always, hypotheses upon the quality of the monadic ray are simply speculations supported by reason and inference.

Whatever the subray of the monad, its major ray must in all cases be the first, second or third. First ray monads are rare and even rarer in full expression at this time of history. A “pure” first ray type (by which may be meant, the individual with both a first ray soul and a first ray monad) are not presently to be found in the ranks of humanity, as the human race would not be ready for such an focussed application of pure will.      

The degree to which a subray of the monad will have a powerful modifying effect upon the expression of the monadic ray is worthy of careful consideration. The first ray (like any other ray) may be found as a subray on the monadic level. Or, in the event that the principal monadic ray were the first, the modifying influence of the monadic subray might be so powerful, that the prohibition against the appearance of a pure first ray type would be preserved. This would mean that an individual could have both a first ray monad and first ray soul, but that the monadic subray (being other than the first) would buffer the expression of the first.     

Given, however, the breadth and diversity of Churchill’s multiple interests and accomplishments, his outstanding intelligence, his love of the written and spoken word, his passion for history and his proficiency as a historian, as well as the enormous activity he typically displayed, it is not unreasonable to hypothesize the major monadic ray as the Third—the Ray of Activity and Creative Intelligence. Churchill’s great commitment was to the values of Western civilization. The preservation of values is the task of those upon the first ray; dedication to the creative life as an enhancement of civilization is pursued by those upon the third ray. Churchill was a man of brilliant mentality—reasonably a reflection of the third ray monad. The gentler, slower, more unitive second ray seems less a part of his make-up.

Another great first ray soul, who displayed an outstanding talent for writing and for historical analysis, was H.P. Blavatsky, for whom a monad upon the third ray may also be a reasonable hypothesis. H.P.B. (incarnated as Cagliostro in the eighteenth century), had a close relationship to the Comte de St. Germain (later known as Master R.) This connection may have occurred on the third ray, for Master R. (now the Lord of Civilization and director of the entire greater third ray Ashram which includes ashrams upon the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh rays) is certainly a third ray monad. If H.P.B.’s monadic ray is principally the third, then the subray would almost certainly have to be the first.

(Parenthetically, when thinking of both Master Morya and Master Koot-Hoomi, we can with all reason understand them to have soul rays which are the same as their monadic rays. (Although They have no longer has a causal body, They do have a triad/soul.)  In the case of Master M, there would be a first ray monad and a predominantly first ray spiritual triad. In the case of Master K.H., there would be a second ray monad and a predominantly second ray spiritual triad. We may ask, “For how many of their leading disciple/initiates would this be similarly the case?” For instance, could AAB (a leading disciple/initiate of KH’s) be considered to have both a second ray monad and a second ray triad/soul? And what about H.P.B. in this regard? And yet, the counter-indications to identical rays for both monad and soul are there in H.P.B.’s case, so it may be best to avoid premature generalization.)

The point opposite the Sun Sign is considered, in any one life, an important conduit for the monadic ray. In the case of Churchill, it is the third ray/second ray Earth (in Gemini, heliocentrically). The Earth is the hierarchical ruler of Gemini. The placement of Earth in the ninth house, accentuates the global and historical perspectives, and would be an effective source of service (Earth) in the field of international statesmanship carried forward within the context of a deep understanding of the meaning of civilization.

It the matter of discerning the monadic ray, it may be the subray of the monad which comes into prominence before the major ray of the monad is detectible. This seems to be the case for Master Hilarion Whose monadic subray can be considered the fifth (as he is a Chohan upon the fifth ray and directs the entire fifth ray ashram), his major monadic ray being almost certainly the first. It is often difficult to determine which of two rays (sensed as conditioning the monadic aspect) should be considered major and which minor. Only if one of such rays is a Ray of Attribute, is the matter easy to decide, as no Ray of Attribute can be a major monadic ray.

Combining the Principal Ray and Astrological Indications 

1.       The first ray of the soul in combination with the proposed Ascendant, Virgo, confers the capacity to discern the highest values of civilization and culture, and the strength and endurance to preserve and defend them.

2.       The first ray of the soul in combination with the Sagittarian Sun Sign, confers the power to strengthen the will (first ray) to achieve the envisioned ideal (Sagittarius). Churchill demanded victory over Hitler no matter what might be the cost. He envisioned total victory and was unrelenting in its pursuit.

3.       The sixth ray of the personality in combination with the Virgo Ascendant renders one a devotee of excellence. In Churchill’s case the excellence to be achieved was in the field of thought and language, and in the area of aesthetics.

4.       The sixth ray of the personality in combination with the Sagittarian Sun sign confers full and unrestrained devotion to a higher vision—so often for Churchill, the vision of powerful British Empire upholding and sustaining its rightful place in a dangerous world.

Ray Hypothesis for Winston Churchill 

Monad: Ray Three, speculatively, Is the monadic subray the first? The fourth?

Soul: Ray I (with certainty); Sub-Ray 4 or 6

Personality: Ray 6/strong Sub-4

Mental Vehicle: Ray 4/Sub-1 (with certainty)

Astral/Emotional Vehicle: Ray 6

Etheric-Physical Vehicle: Ray 3, with strong Ray 1


Important Features in Winston Churchill’s Astrological Chart 

1.       From the perspective of elemental balance, we see five major planets (Sun, Venus, Moon, Uranus, Neptune) and a major asteroid and planetoid (respectively Pallas and Chiron) in fire signs. Essentially we have two grand trines in fire endowing Churchill with his seemingly inexhaustible energy and his undeflectable ardor. All air signs are tenanted (if we include Vesta in Libra), two of the earth signs and one water sign. Water (representing feeling and emotional sensitivity), therefore, is Churchill’s weakest element, and yet Mercury, the planet found therein, in Scorpio, is very powerful in the chart. We might say of him that he was a fiery romantic—not a languid and sentimental romantic. Even Neptune and the Moon (the most ‘watery’ of planets) are placed in fire signs.

2.       We have already discussed the importance of the proposed Virgo Ascendant, which made of Churchill a discriminating thinker and astute historian, masterful in the perfection of his prose, and in the choice of the oratorically apt word and phrase. Through Virgo, we can understand him as well as an individual intent on the preservation of cherished values, fighting (using other strengths of his chart) against anything that would compromise them.  

Virgo is also a sign of purification and eventual perfection. The two great wars, in which Churchill played so large a part, were part of humanity’s terrible purificatory process preparatory to the re-emergence of a new civilization inspired by the Spiritual Hierarchy of the planet. Perhaps Winston Churchill did not realize this for, like certain other great leaders, he may purposefully (before incarnation) have relinquished knowledge of his affiliations with Hierarchy for the sake of greater effectiveness in service to the race. He was, nevertheless, one of the leading warriors in the “Army of Maitreya”, helping to make the way safe for the emergence of the Christ Consciousness in the hearts and minds of humanity (Virgo) and for the tangible Reappearance of the Christ. Had his Nazi opponents prevailed, the Christ could not have returned—worse, the Hierarchy would have been forced to withdraw from contact with humanity.         

Beneath his more obvious struggles as war-leader and statesman was a ongoing struggle for perfection of thought, for perfection of literary and artistic expression. Largely through his heroic efforts, the freedom without which no true culture can thrive was preserved. His various writings (and especially his histories) contributed significantly to the elevation of culture.

3.       Churchill’s Sun is in the first decanate of Sagittarius. This was one of his greatest assets. Under its influence he became the most inspiring leader of the Second World War—a prophet (Sagittarius) alerting his country and the world to dangers they refused to see, an orator who vitalized the morale of his countrymen and inspired all lovers of freedom at a time when psychological depression would have meant defeat.  

Note that the Sun is placed in the third house—the house of communication, thought and the word through which thought is communicated. The Sun does not make many major aspects: a sextile to regulatory Saturn in the fifth house (steadying his resolve, and welding his Sagittarian zeal to group responsibility, for Saturn is in the group sign, Aquarius). Although the square would be wide, Saturn, actually, can be read as square to Mercury—yet another indication of the speech impediment and stuttering which he overcame so magnificently. Demosthenes, the greatest orator of ancient Greece, also stuttered as a youth. That Saturn is in the fifth house of personal self-expression only reinforced the initial inhibition, and acted as a check against spontaneity of expression.           

The Sun is also found in septile to Mars (the “God of War” in Libra, one of the karmic signs). The septile is often considered an aspect of
fate. This septile creates a link between Sagittarian inspiration and the will to fight back against the aggressor (retaliatory Mars in justice-conscious Libra).    

The Sun is also quintile to the proposed Ascendant degree, making of his thought, speech and oratory an intelligent and creative servant of the soul-purpose indicated by the Virgo Rising Sign. His inspiring words were spoken and written in service to the refined values he sought to see preserved.

4.       The Moon in the last degree of Leo, conjunct Regulus, and veiling, in this case, the electric fire of Uranus, is a position powerful for the expression of individual authority—and, the authority and indisputable leadership of the first ray soul. The grand trine between the Moon, Neptune and Venus (all in fire signs) is potent for intuition and artistic inspiration. It is a uniquely aesthetic triangle, combining imagination, beauty and deeply dramatic instincts. Occultly it signifies the alignment of buddhi with manas, and their embodiment in the persona.

5.       The importance of Mercury has been much discussed. Churchill destroyed and purified (two powers of Shamballa) chiefly through the mind and its expression through speech. It is not a gentle vibration which reverberates through his words. Relying upon lethal Scorpio, he explodes one illusion after another. The mind of humanity is much clarified after it has been subjected to his perception. The two World Wars were principally battles against glamor, illusion and maya. Though his Pluto-empowered, Uranianly electrified, Saturninely chastened Mercury, Churchill was through and attacked the three-headed Dweller. The critique (spurred by perfectionistic Virgo) was complete. No flaw went undetected or unexposed. All stupidity and corruption were brought to light. A verbal blow has been struck against the forces of obstruction and obscuration.

6.       Mercury holds an exalted relation to Virgo and is the hierarchical ruler of Scorpio. Hierarchical rulers come into play in those individuals who possess the initiate consciousness—and Winton Churchill may have been one. The power of the mind to access the intuition and, thereby, triumph over illusion is indicated by this hierarchical position.

Was the war won on the physical plane or in the mind and psyche? Surely, there was a tremendous battle for the hearts and minds of men, and Churchill’s hierarchical Mercury in Scorpio made him an fierce warrior in this subjective battle. His greatest opponent was more the Nazi thoughtform than the Nazis, themselves. He was one of the principal warriors committed to the destruction of Nazi glamor and illusion, and hierarchical Mercury in Scorpio (clear, deadly and uncompromising) was one of his greatest weapons. He saw Nazism for what it was. Could any good and reasonable person hearing his speeches and reading his words see otherwise?

7.       Venus, representing the light and love of the soul, the higher values and aesthetic ideals, is found in Sagittarius in the third house of thought and word. Venus is also retrograde, pointing to a more reserved and introverted expression. Surely he was capable of many tender and romantic words—in private.  

Venus (reinforced by the trines from Neptune and the Moon) gave him his love of the arts, of beautiful verbal expression, and of the creative process in general. It contributed also to the harmony of his written and spoken words. The secret of his inspired oratory lies not only in its power, its incisiveness and arresting contrasts, but in the beauty of sound of the chosen words. Venus is a ruler of the Taurus decanate of the proposed Virgo Ascendant, and esoteric ruler of his MC. Clearly, through Venus, Churchill was carrying the inspiring “Word of the Soul”, and his many words (servants of the One Word), turned his readers and listeners
inward to their own soul as a source of strength. He carried people beyond their smaller, personal concerns into a state of self-sacrifice and even heroism—of which each soul is ever capable.          

Churchill’s marriage was a long and happy one. The grand trine in which Venus plays its part and the close sextile to Venus from felicitous Jupiter in Libra, the sign of relationship, beneficently condition this one area of his life in which harmony prevailed. There was a time, also, when, as the man who held the light, he merged with the soul of Britain, ruled by the opposite sign, Gemini. Under the influence of Venus and responsive to Sagittarius, he offered Britain the opportunity to
see in the light of the soul, and tread the path of the soul. Through illumined and illuminating Venus, he became the ‘Guide in the Night’. The prominent fixed star, Polaris, also had a important part to play in offering this spiritual guidance to his nation and, by extension, to the world.

8.       Mars in Libra makes the fighter for justice and right relations. Hesitant as an aggressor, it is determined to finish any fight forced upon it—in the interests of karmic redress. This position in Churchill’s chart contributed to the continual disruption of any harmony he managed to achieved. It also contributed to the creative ferment of his psyche.      

The parallel of declination between Mars and Juno (in a chart distinctive for its
lack of such parallels) contributed to his romantic ardor. He was a devoted husband, father of five children (of whom one died early) and, in all matters concerning relationships between men and women, a romantic—as his defense of the abdicating Edward VII demonstrated.

9.       Though a zealot in his stance first against Nazism and then Communism, Churchill knew how to cooperate and accept the advice of others when there was the possibility that it might be sound. The fourth ray, which was so often used by him to emphasize contrasts, could also be used to promote harmony and accord. Jupiter (a major planet of unification) in Libra (the sign of peace) could only be helpful in his attempt to promote cooperation. During the Second World War Churchill presided over a coalition government, which held together admirably under the circumstances. We see that this Jupiter-in-Libra ability to promote cooperation is furthered by a trine from Jupiter to the Midheaven. Churchill was a firebrand, but, gradually, he learned his lessons, emerging as a mature statesman. It is easily realized that Jupiter in Libra contributes to popularity—especially, when, as in Churchill’s case, it is sextile to Venus (planet of love and magnetism), the exoteric ruler of Libra. Since Jupiter is conjuncted the South Node, it would appear that Churchill brought these conciliatory and unifying abilities with him from previous life cycles. In order to hold to his first purpose and priority of defeating Hitler, he was even willing to join forces with the Communists. His cooperative overtures, however, always served a higher purpose.

10.   Saturn in Aquarius in the fifth house is part of a grand-cross involving, by translation of light, Mercury, Uranus, and Pluto (to which Saturn is not, in itself, really square). Mundanely, Churchill lost a child (Saturn in the house of children opposed to Uranus, ruler of that house) and had trouble and pressures with some of the others. He also labored under the pressure to become an ever more creative individual, and attempted to overcome his inherent inhibitions (Saturn) to the creative process.   

His life was extraordinarily responsible. There were sudden and apparently irresponsible flights from duty (and from wise judgment), but, on the whole, his life path was not one of amusement (Saturn in the fifth house) but one of ceaselessly intensifying pressure—until his last ten synthetic and reflective years.  

Was Churchill a progressive (Uranus) a conservative (Saturn) or both and neither? The fourth ray enters the equation with all its attendant paradoxes. He took very individual stands on differing issues—sometimes Uranus predominated, sometimes Saturn. Their opposition caused him another of those sources of strain and tension which sought release in writing, art and war.          

As an indicator of
group responsibility, Saturn in Aquarius is important. It signifies one who takes on burdens for the collective.

11.   First ray Uranus is in the first ray sign, Leo, in the house of creative group endeavor (the eleventh)—and also the house which represents the Spiritual Hierarchy as a creative Organism. This position points to Churchill as a dramatically expressive individuality offering his creative gifts to the greater group—thus shaking and electrifying the group. He stood uncompromisingly in his own uniqueness (Uranus and the Moon both in Leo), and re-mobilized his nation through force of character. Uranus is trine the midpoint of the Sun and Venus in Sagittarius. His words of inspiration led to great and revolutionary changes—first of all, in the conduct of war. We can see this position as one of the most important conduits through which his first ray soul could work.          

In synastry, we find Churchill’s Uranus on Hitler’s Saturn—disrupting the permanent structure which Hitler was seeking to build. The two were really deadly enemies, with strong Pluto, Mars and Mercury aspects—mostly oppositions and conjunctions. It appears, as well, that their soul, personality, mental and emotional rays were also the same.

12.   Intuitive Neptune is in Aries, sign of the “new”. Neptune is involved in a grand-trine with Venus and Moon, and opposes Jupiter in Libra. It also is in close and supportive sextile to the MC. Exoterically, this eighth house position of Neptune contributed to his alcoholism, because the grand-trine is not only artistic and inspirational, but self-indulgent. The eight house, as well, has not only to do with transformation and triumph, but with that which one must transform and over which one must triumph. So there is some self-undoing occurring in this very psychological ‘mansion’.     

The opposition of Neptune to Jupiter shows strong heart center activation. Although Churchill was not principally a second ray type, any world leader of his stature,
must have a strong heart center activation, or he could not be the focal point for a national (and even international) group. It is clear that Churchill was great-hearted. Many are the heart indications: the Moon in Leo conjunct the “Heart of the Lion”—Regulus; Uranus (associated with the rhythmic pulse of the heart) in Leo, the sign of the heart; Jupiter and Neptune (the first being the disciplic ruler of the heart center, and the second being the ruler of the “solar flames” of the “Heart of the Sun”) in opposition, and Venus, another planet with heart center associations, related to all these planets—Neptune, Uranus, Moon, and Jupiter.      

Courage arises in the mature heart. We can say that Churchill held the British Nation (and also the Commonwealth) in his heart. In his person he absorbed and magnified the courage of the British People. Here is what he said—so beautifully, so nobly, with such humility—exemplifying his relation to the heart of his nation. 

“The nation had the lion’s heart. I had the luck to give the roar”—said on his 80th birthday.

This is a deeply soul-inspired statement. The “lion’s heart” was the second ray soul of Britain expressed through its first ray personality. London, the center of the British Empire, has Leo (the Lion) as its soul sign. The “roar” was the magnificent, magical oratory without which Britain would not have survived. The poignancy of this statement lies in his humble recognition of the priceless privilege it was to serve the soul of his nation. Through the word, “luck”, Churchill, recognizes the work of fate in the role he played—he was but an instrument.

13.   Pluto is, technically, in the sign of its detriment, Taurus. It is, perhaps, not so important by sign as it is in aspect and house position. Placed in the ninth house it serves as a prophet of dire danger and impending catastrophe, and as the destroyer of illusions—principally the illusion of peace in which England ‘slept’.    

Further, Churchill knew Nazism as an abomination, a world-view which threatened all that was best in human civilization and culture. He thought much the same of Bolshevism (Red Communism). He threw himself against these perspectives, seeking to destroy them not only on the physical plane, but on the plane of mind. This was part of his clearing, purifying, destroying dharmic work for humanity. As Pluto was the ruler of his third house of communication, thought and speech, he had the destructive mental power to wage war on the mental plane against philosophies he considered perverse and revolting.    

In some ways, he may have gone too far. His vision of a continuingly prominent British Empire made him the enemy of the self-rule of Britain’s colonies. He dismissively said of India, for instance: “India is a geographical term. It is no more a united nation than the Equator”. Gandhi, another great disciple/initiate, can not have liked to hear that.

14.   We find the North Node in the eighth house and the South Node in the second. It may have been Churchill’s personal desire to preserve the status quo—in which the political and financial (second house) role of Britain in the world was secure and undisputed—but he was obliged to throw himself into the destructive processes of war (eighth house) to salvage his country’s freedom. Churchill’s life saw little of peace—first the Boer War, then the Great War, then the Second World War. His life and times called for struggle and triumph.

Testimony of Asteroids and Other Lesser Factors

Of the several larger asteroids (including the planetoid, Chiron) there are two significant positions.

1.                   The mother asteroid Ceres, is in a sign congenial to its expression, Cancer, and in the prominent tenth house. Under this influence, he preferred a paternal/maternal role for Britain, rather than the relinquishment of the colonies. More positively, there is a tenderness which emerges in his most moving oratory; his care for his nation and his sympathy for his countrymen were profound.

2.                   Chiron is placed in often-imprudent Aries, which indicates that one will be injured by what one initiates and one will learn therefrom. Churchill’s reputation was, on several occasions, badly damaged by ill-conceived initiatives—causing him to lose popularity, elections and posts. It is instructive to see that Mars, the dispositor of Chiron (since it is the orthodox ruler of Aries) stands opposed to Chiron. This aspect ensured that impulsively or hastily conceived action would come to grief. He always had abundant boldness and zeal in excess; these needed to be tempered and over time they were. Sobering Saturn is in quintile relationship to Chiron. The Second World War forced upon Britain great economies, and upon Churchill caution as a counterbalance to audacity.

Testimony of the Fixed Stars 

1.       We have already discussed the power of the royal star, Regulus. Regulus is not within a degree of the Moon, but it is within a degree and a half. The theme of Regulus (according to Brady) is “success if revenge is avoided”. Regulus is also called, “The Crushing Foot” and “King of the Heavenly Sphere”.  Churchill was the eternal warrior, fighting with the full powers of his impressive personality. But he was large-minded, as well, and although he could wither an opponent with a few well-chosen words, he was not mean-spirited or petty.

His antipathy for Hitler was not, essentially, personal. Hitler represented a monstrous ideology which had to be destroyed (for the sake of humanity). Hitler focussed his full “Will-to-Destroy” upon Hitler and his Reich, but he was not consumed by an ignoble and debilitating hatred. The impersonal force of the Good fed his intent, and avoiding the vengefulness which can accompany the influence of Regulus, he went on to victory. The forcefulness of Regulus contributed greatly to Churchill’s influence as a war-time leader.

Regulus is considered the most powerful of the four royal stars. Conjunct the Moon, it suggests a noble past instinctively accessed.

2.       Antares, another of the royal stars, is closely conjunct Churchill’s Sun. Thus, there are two stars, Regulus and Antares which confer military prowess. Just as Regulus is the “Heart of the Lion”, Antares is the “Heart of the Scorpion”. Again the heart theme and its life-power are emphasized.

Antares is called the “Watcher in the West”, and can lead to great success if success does not turn to obsession. In a way, Churchill was
obsessed or possessed by his mission—the salvation of Western civilization. His entire psyche was captured by the “Good”, in the same way that Hitler and his “evil gang” were overshadowed by evil entities. However, Churchill did not let his obsession consume him to the point of losing his larger perspective—the reason why obsession leads to downfall.      

Churchill’s extraordinary vitality was at least partially augmented by this star of extreme focus--working in combination with the one-pointedness of Sagittarius. With single-minded intent he pursued the defeat of Germany and victory for the Allies—he would accept nothing less.      

Antares is known as “Anti-Aries”—the rival of Mars. This was clearly a force useful in countering Hitler’s Martian aggression. Churchill’s oratorical Mercury in Scorpio (no insignificant weapon) was, in fact, opposed Hitler’s Mars. Antares, conjunct Churchill’s Sun was widely opposed Hitler’s Pluto. Antares with the Sun confers mental alertness, strategic ability, courage and risk-taking bordering on foolhardiness. A headstrong self-destructiveness and obstinacy are indicated in the undeveloped, and firm will and great strength in battle in those more advanced. If there were any star to render Churchill a warrior, it would be Antares.

3.       Mercury is in very close conjunct (just 02’ of arc) with Zuben Elschamali, the star of “negative social reform” according to Brady. The negativity of this star and the more positive reformative tendencies of companion star, Zuben Elgenubi, cannot be taken too literally. Suffice it to say that both stars represent powerful forces which change the pattern of society; to this one can add Churchill’s Uranus (the planet of reformation) in Leo in the eleventh house of social reformation. It was the power of Churchill’s thoughts and words which changed the tide of the early European War. Churchill regenerated the morale of his country and Zuben Elschamali assisted.

4.       A very different indication is afforded by Mirach conjunct Churchill’s well-aspected Neptune. Mirach confers harmony and receptivity; beauty, brilliance, beneficence and good fortune in marriage all attend its influence. Venus (the planet of marriage) is trine to Neptune (conjunct Mirach).  Mirach would influence positively the artistic, aesthetic side of Churchill’s nature.

5.       Perhaps the most important fixed star contacts are the close conjunctions of both Betelgeuse and Polaris with the proposed Midheaven. These are two extremely important stars. Betelgeuse is said to give complete success (without complications) and is considered one of the most fortunate stars in the sky. It gives martial honors and great military fortune, preferment, wealth, fame, command and perfection in the arts and sciences. With Orion it is said to give a heart which presses on with unflagging energy in spite of every trial. We can see how well these descriptors fit with Churchill’s considerable attainments and lofty  reputation.

6.       Polaris is a major “Star of Direction” and of “Reorientation”. It confers a good sense of direction and the ability to conceive and realize one’s aims.  The power to offer guidance is considerable. This quality is entirely applicable to Churchill in relation to his nation (especially during the Second World War). He was the captain of the ship of state, and successfully guided the entire process of the war.          

Polaris confers the art of “refacing and recovering that which is lost”.  Britain began the war at a terrible disadvantage—so much had already been lost; European culture had been thrown down. But through the guidance Churchill offered, that which was lost was recovered and reestablished. The people of Europe found their way back to the soul and the threatening darkness was dissipated.

7.       Note that both of these stars are only conjunct the Midheaven within one degree if that Midheaven is in the 28th degree of Gemini, pointing again to the explanatory usefulness of the late Virgo Ascendant, especially an Ascendant in the 28th degree of Virgo.

Some Important Events in Churchill’s Life, Astrologically Considered 

1.       In 1895, he father died tragically after a slow and painful syphilitic illness. Churchill entered the Fourth Hussars.     

T-Pluto opposed the progressed natal Sun—within 2 degrees. There was a solar eclipse on the natal Moon later that year. In some ways the death was a liberation, as transiting Jupiter was crossing the MC. As well, the progressed Sun was conjuncting the IC—the place of family and tradition, often indicating the father. Later in the year, there was a solar eclipse very close to his proposed Virgo Ascendant, indicating his new military career. Because of the death, Churchill was forced to establish himself in the world and found the opportunity to do so.     

Mon           LEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Sep 15 1894 NS            13:31    22°Pi18' D       
Sun             SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Aug 20 1895 NS22:08    27°Le14' D      
Sun             SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Sep 19 1895 NS            05:44    25°Vi40' D       

2.       In 1899, he resigned his military commission to enter politics, and make a living by the pen. T-Uranus was, conjuncting the N-Sun and the Nodes were transiting conjunct the MC/IC. Later in the year, there is a solar eclipse on his N-Sun and also a lunar eclipse involving his MC/IC axis.         

Sun             SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Dec 3 1899 NS 09:57    10°Sg41' D      
Mon           LEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Dec 17 1899 NS10:26    24°Ge56' D      

3.       In 1908 he won an important election and later that year, and on September 12th, he married the beautiful Clementine Hozier; it was a marriage of unbroken affection that provided a secure and happy background for his turbulent career.     

There is a lunar eclipse on June 14, 1908, involving a conjunction with Venus. T-Uranus conjuncted the progressed Sun, The progressed Moon conjuncted N-Mercury. Importantly, P-Asc conjuncted N-Jupiter, ruler of H7 in the 1:19 AM Chart. T-Jupiter also conjuncted N-Moon. These are certainly sufficient indications of a time of active affections, happiness and emotional expression.        

Mon           LEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Jun 14 1908       23:05    23°Sg04' D      

4.       He was transferred to the Admiralty in 1911, and went to work with a conviction of the need to bring the navy to a pitch of instant readiness.    

There were important eclipses involving his progressed Vertex and natal Pluto. As well, there was a solar eclipse on his progressed Ascendant in late Libra. T-Pluto hovered very near his MC, and had been so for two years. 

Mon           LEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Nov 17 1910     09:21    23°Ta47' D      
Mon           LEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    May 13 1911     14:55    21°Sc21' D      
Sun             SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Oct 22 1911      13:12    7°Li39'D          

5.       In 1915 Churchill came under heavy political attack after the failure of the naval campaign in the Dardanelles. He was removed from his post as Lord of the Admiralty in 1915 and demoted to the Duchy of Lancaster. Disheartened, he rented a farm to retreat from public life and reflect upon the circumstances of his removal.   

The progressed Moon was in the area of N-Saturn and then P-Saturn. T-Uranus (bringing reversals) was conjunct the P-Moon and P-Saturn. Transiting Saturn. T-Saturn (bringing career pressures) had been hovering about the MC for about a year. Jupiter, however, was transiting through the fifth house of creativity, offering new opportunity. Jupiter was also opposed N-Uranus bringing unexpected openings. T-Uranus was also conjuncting the progressed IC, bringing a new basis to the life, and new activities which could be pursued in private. There is a solar eclipse widely opposed the expressive Leo Moon. More importantly, there is a solar eclipse conjunct N-Uranus (again a fresh start). At that time, T-Uranus (the liberator) was transiting N-Saturn, which had been involved in inhibition of expression. There was now scope for new expression and an end to old restraints.      

Sun SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Feb 14 1915      13:33                24°Aq25' D      
Sun SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Aug 11 1915     07:52                17°Le12' D      

6.       In January of 1919, Churchill became Secretary of War, presiding over the cutting of military expenditures with surprising zeal.       

Progressed Moon was just moving into Aries across the Descendant, giving a new burst of energy. There was a solar eclipse on the Sagittarian Sun on December 4, 1918 and a lunar eclipse involving the MC and IC on December 18th, 1918. Toward the middle of the year, there was another solar eclipse in Gemini, exactly opposite the N-Sun. T-Saturn had been quite active nearly conjuncting the N-Moon (economy) and sextile the MC. It was an important moment for the advancement of his career, and as was so often the case at such times, eclipses were activated in relation to his natal Sun position.

Sun             SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Dec 4 1918       00:22    10°Sg40' D      
Mon           LEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Dec 18 1918     04:06    25°Ge03' D      
Sun             SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    May 29 1919     22:08    07°Ge06' D      

7.       In the autumn of 1922 the insurgent Turks appeared to be moving toward a forcible reoccupation of the Dardanelles neutral zone, which was protected by a small British force at Chanak. Churchill was foremost in urging a firm stand against them, but a political debacle (prompted by fears of a new war)ensued, bringing the government down in ruins. He was also gripped by a sudden attack of appendicitis, could not campaign properly for office in the forthcoming election, and was humiliatingly defeated.

Saturn was crossing the Descendant (popularity) by solar arc direction and the Nodes were also making their transit of the Ascendant/Descendant. On April 21, 1922 there was an lunar eclipse which included the Nodal Axis and involved Chiron (sickness) as well. Later, a solar eclipse on September 21 1922, occurred exactly on the proposed Virgo Ascendant (to the degree). The Ascendant is also a health indicator, and, interestingly, Virgo is a sign related to the intestines and the bowel, to which the appendix is attached.

Mon           LEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Apr 12 1922      05:31    21°Li09' D       
Sun             SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Sep 21 1922      13:40    27°Vi25' D       

8.       At home there was one grievous, characteristic, romantic misreading of the political and public mood, when, in Edward VIII’s abdication crisis of 1936, he vainly opposed prime minister  Baldwin by a public championing of the King's cause.         

The MC had progressed to a conjunction with his Leo Moon. There was a solar eclipse exactly on his Gemini MC, and also a solar eclipse, later that year, on his natal Venus.   

Sun SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Jun 19 1936       14:19                27°Ge44' D      
Sun SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Dec 14 1936     08:27                21°Sg49' D      

9.       Churchill was deeply alarmed by the developments in 1938—the appeasement which gave Czechoslovakia to the Germans. He recognized that Britain, without firing a shot, had sustained a great defeat.         

There is a solar eclipse within three degrees of his Sagittarian Sun. A lunar eclipse involves progressed Mars and also natal Pluto. Another solar eclipse takes place opposite the natal Sun. Finally a solar eclipse occurs exactly square the natal Moon.

Churchill was moving towards prominence. He was empowered by these eclipses, and Britons began to think of him as the only man who could lead them during an increasingly threatening situation. 

Sun SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Dec 3 1937       08:05                10°Sg22' D      
MonLEcl                (X)       Tr-Tr    May 14 1938     17:43                22°Sc54' D      
Sun SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    May 29 1938     22:50                07°Ge31' D      
Sun SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Nov 22 1938     08:51                29°Sc01' D      

10.   On Sept. 3, 1939, the day Britain declared war on Germany, Chamberlain appointed Churchill to his old post in charge of the Admiralty. The signal went out to the fleet: “Winston is back.” 

T-Uranus is conjunct N-Pluto. There is a solar eclipse on natal Neptune, co-ruler of the seventh house. Neptune, Lord of the Sea is involved with the appointment to the highest level of the Navy—the Admiralty. There is also a solar eclipse on natal Mars  

Sun SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Apr 20 1939      01:44                28°Ar44' D      
Sun SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Oct 13 1939      05:39                18°Li37' D       

11.   On May 10, 1940, after a great and growing demand for his leadership, Churchill was appointed prime minister and received the highest seals of office. 

The progressed Moon had entered Capricorn in H4,
P-Venus was near the IC and solar arc directed Jupiter was  near IC.     

The Vertex was closing on the proposed MC, Uranus was transiting conjunct Pluto, and there was a solar eclipse on natal Chiron—the guide and mentor.       

Sun SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Apr 8 1940        05:20                17°Ar52' D      

12.   It is significant that during the period when Britain faced the greatest danger (1940-1942), the Vertex (the ‘Point of Fate’) was cresting by progression the top of Churchill’s chart, conjuncting the Midheaven. Indeed, he was “walking with destiny”.

13.   Churchill wrote a six volume history of World War II, for which he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1953. That same year he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. (T-Jupiter was conjuncting MC in the latter part of 1953. It is opposing N-Venus which is the esoteric ruler of the MC. There is a solar eclipse conjunct N-Uranus (which is the ruler of house five, the house of creativity and is natally placed in house eleven, the house of culture and its rewards). There is also a solar eclipse opposed the natal Leo Moon and conjunct the progressed Sun in late Aquarius—again in house five, the house of creativity.)        

Sun SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Feb 14 1953      09:58                25°Aq03' D      
Sun SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Aug 10 1953     00:55                16°Le45' D      

14.   Aging and in declining health, Winston Churchill resigned his post as prime minister on April 5, 1955, at the age of eighty. There was a solar eclipse within less than a degree of his proposed late Gemini Midheaven, emphasizing an important, precipitating event in the field of his vocation and public career. T-Nodes were also conjunct MC/IC. Later in the year there was a solar eclipse conjunct Venus in Sagittarius (Venus, being the esoteric ruler of his Gemini MC). T-Pluto (finality) was opposing progressed Sun in late Aquarius and at the end of the year the progressed Sun changed sign to Pisces—the sign of retirement          .

Sun SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Jun 20 1955       13:09                28°Ge05' D      
Sun SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Dec 14 1955     16:01                21°Sg31' D      

15.   Just after Christmas 1964, Churchill suffered another stoke and developed a bad cough. He died peacefully at 8:00 AM of 1/25/1965 at the age of 90, London.  

We see a solar eclipse within four degrees of his natal Sun. These solar eclipses have always been found at particularly important points in the life.         

Sun SEcl                 (X)       Tr-Tr    Dec 4 1964       10:30                11°Sg56' D      

Discussion of Winston Churchill’s Initiatory Level 

It becomes clear that even among initiates of the third degree, no perfection of character can be expected. One sees greatness, and accompanying it, an imperfection which, in an ideal world, should have been outlived. One sees this with H.P.B, with Krishnamurti (both in their last incarnations, initiates of the fourth degree). One sees this with the extraordinarily gifted Richard Wagner—an artistic and mental giant who behaved shamefully at times (at least if judged by “conventional” standards). And, perhaps, one sees this in Winston Churchill—a leading ‘general’ in the human battalion of the Army of Maitreya.

Winston Churchill is certainly the proverbial “Rich Young Man”. His accomplishments were many, varied, and one of them, at least (his heroic defense of Britain), was indispensable to the survival of Western civilization and thus, to the progress of all humanity. Surely he was, even technically, a “world disciple”, an individual who guided the destiny of millions and inspired many more.

For all his irregularities of habit, his unconventionality, his apparent irreverence, his disconcerting manners—the vastly more important part of him was solidly in the first ray ashram.

One simply must laugh at the following anecdote. When lunching with the Arab Leader Ibn Saud, and learning that the king’s religion forbade smoking and alcohol, he became typically Churchillian:      

What can one say? Is this an initiate speaking? After a pause, one must simply say, “Yes”. There are parts of every human being which don’t enter the Ashram, with which the Master has simply no concern. These things refine in time as perfection is reached. At the third degree—the stage of true world-discipleship—perfection is not reached, but a sense of planetary wholeness is  .

What would the world be today without an Einstein, a Schweitzer, a Beethoven, a Bach, a Leonardo, a Newton—and without a Winston Churchill? The stature of these great individuals shows that they stand with the Hierarchy and within the Ashram—regardless of their personal shortcomings.

We must, therefore, conclude that Winston Churchill saw human civilization and culture as from the mountain top—imperfectly, yes, (as his attitude towards India and other colonies demonstrated), but still comprehensively and with deep understanding. It is this large, impersonal vision of wholeness which the third degree confers, and the power to identify with and reveal this vision to others so that they may be inspired to leave behind lesser things.

The contrast between Churchill and Hitler is instructive. Hitler, brilliant in his own way, disciplined in his own way, and pure—in his own perverted way—was the example of a second degree initiate who went wrong. He made the choice (Libra Ascendant) and followed the “Left-Hand Path”. Churchill, wider, healthier, robustly larger in heart and mind (yet equally fierce upon the first and sixth rays) choose to champion the Path of Freedom, and thus came under the influence of Sirius and its Law of Freedom which is consciously recognized by initiates of the third degree. Hitler refused the Christ; Churchill, though he was not of a specifically ‘religious’ temperament, embraced Him and in so doing, served the Hierarchy and humanity as few have done or can hope to do.

Astrology and Initiation  

Does Winston Churchill’s astrological chart reveal some of the customary signatures of initiation? Surely the signatures of the second degree are there—with the Sun in idealistic Sagittarius and purificatory Virgo rising. Sagittarius gives purification by fire (the process of war throughout his life) and purification of the mind proceeds through Virgo. As well, Mars, the Moon and Uranus are all related—Mars in semisquare to the Moon and in sextile to Uranus.

Sagittarius relates specifically to the first two initiations, but as the Sun progresses other opportunities are offered. Capricorn relates to the third degree (as well as all of the first five) and Aquarius to the third and fourth degrees (as well as the second). There came a time in later 1942 ( very dangerous time for humanity), when the Sun, the Moon and Saturn gathered conjunct in the fifth house (the causal body) in the sign Aquarius (in preparation for a new lunation—progressed Sun/Moon conjunction), buddhic Neptune was crossing the Ascendant, the progressed Ascendant was conjuncting Mercury in Scorpio, and progressed Venus had just moved into transfigurative Capricorn, still conjunct the fourth house cusp. A solar eclipse had just occurred on Uranus, and within less than a year preceding, solar eclipses had occurred exactly on the Ascendant and very close to the Descendant. Deep opportunities were offered by these alignments and emphases. It is impossible to tell whether they were taken—but there is a good chance they were.

Summary and Conclusion 

Some have speculated that Winston Churchill was the reincarnation of both Alexander the Great and Napoleon (the relationship between whom can easily be seen)—but returning chastened, and determined to fight against tyranny rather that impose it. However the truth may be, certainly, without Churchill, the free world as we know it might not have survived.

To think of the valor of his “finest hour”, is to find the unconquerable spirit in every human heart. Humanity will always be severely tested before it can proceed into greater livingness. Now that Shamballa draws ever closer, the tests will be increasingly severe. Courage will always be needed on the Path of Occultism. We all have it, but some have yet to find it. To think on Churchill—his words, his deeds—it so come closer to the undying Spirit-Source of that courage.

In a stirring documentary called, “Churchill’s War”, the following words are heard, and with them we will end:      

“In sullen fear-laden camps across the huge bleak expanse of Nazi-occupied Europe, prisoners often with no other language in common, would exchange in greeting a single whispered word—‘Churchill’. ‘Churchill’—in that name, lay the hope beyond despair.”


Noteworthy Quotations

1.       “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.”—from his maiden speech as prime minister, May 13, 1940.         

These words ring with the first ray power to face adversity without flinching. By speaking directly of the inevitability of the very worst, he evoked the very best—for he understood that the spirit, in its own essence, will not accept defeat.

2.       “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour’.”—from a speech given before the House of Commons, June 18, 1940, announcing the fall of France, and the start of the Battle of Britain.     

The moment was desperate. France had fallen and the Battle of Britain was about to begin. Here he displays the first ray/sixth ray power to evoke in his countrymen a soaring strength based upon their love of the British Empire. His call was to their patriotism and nobility of spirit. The vision of a splendid future is given; the suggestion is planted—the Commonwealth will last for a thousand years; there will be no Thousand Year Reich. All that is required is that we face the peril—braced and ready to perform our duty to the uttermost. Churchill is lifting the morale of his nation, preparing it for battle.

3.       “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”—from a speech before the House of Commons, London, August 20, 1940, in which he referred to the pilots who fought the Battle of Britain.     

Gratitude pours through these words which could not help but evoke gratitude from every British citizen. The heroism of the pilots calls for heroism on the part of all. His fourth ray power of contrast is at work.

4.       This is no war for domination or imperial aggrandisement or material gain.... It is a war ... to establish, on impregnable rocks, the rights of the individual and it is a war to establish and revive the stature of man.”—from a speech before the house of Commons, London, September 3, 1939, on the day of the declaration of war against Germany by Britain and France.      

Here Churchill is speaking for the preservation of civilized values. As a historian, he understands that the Nazi peril is not just an attack against certain nations, but against the very progress of humanity.

5.       “Outside the storms of way may blow and the lands may be lashed with the fury of its gales, but in our own hearts this Sunday morning there is peace. Our hands may be active but our consciences are at rest.”—spoken by Churchill to Parliament on the day that Hitler invaded Poland.           

Here in image and metaphor he comforts the people, assuring them that theirs is a righteous cause and that they are on the side of the “Good”. It is a spiritual message, reinforcing the alignment of the nation with the subtle spiritual potencies.

6.       “I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and this trial”—from The Gathering Storm, p. 38.   

Churchill realizes that there is a guiding providence. He is under the direction of his soul and realizes that he is an instrument of impersonal destiny. This is a first ray realization.

7.       Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer. You have only to persevere to save yourselves.”—from his first wartime address, September 4, 1914, London.  

Some of his leading thoughts were already fashioned during the First World War. We see the themes of endurance and perseverance. These are Vulcanian themes and relate to the holding power of the first ray.

8.       “Do not let us speak of darker days; let us rather speak of sterner days. These are not dark days: these are great days—the greatest days our country has ever lived.”—from a speech at Harrow School, England, October 29, 1941.         

Here Churchill is lifting his listeners out of the looming darkness into the promising light. He is altering the quality of their perception by speaking from a elevated perspective which sees all circumstance with the eye of history, perhaps, though unconsciously, from the perspective of those who are the hidden source of his spiritual inspiration. He insists upon an unrelenting positivity which does not allow the spirit/soul to capitulate even subjectively. Using the Sagittarian energy, as well as the sixth and first rays, he is subtly transforming how the British perceive their situation and prospects. Refusing to be negatively conditioned by apparently dire circumstance, he, instead, insists upon a reinterpretation which infallibly evokes inner strength and resilience.

9.       “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”—quoted in the New York Times, July 5, 1954.      

This quotation comes from post-war years. It is humorous and precisely true. As usual, his fourth ray mind and razor-sharp words, make the statement memorable.

10.   “You ask what is our policy—I will say, it is to wage war by sea, land and air, with all our might, and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the darkened, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, “What is our aim?” I can answer in one word, “Victory”—victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be.”  

Here are not only the “Will-to-Persist” and “Will-to-Victory” of his first ray would, but the great historical compassion of one who has seen too much of grief and human misery over the centuries, over the millennia. A mature and chastened soul is speaking, and his resolve is born of a vast and encompassing perspective.

11.   “I want a war. I want a war”—Churchill’s rousing daily exhortation to himself. When this was reported to Hitler, he became disconcerted, unable to understand Churchill’s continued defiance and resistance. 

The first and sixth rays are at work, causing the fiery energy in his own system to rise up and beat back any thought of negativity or depression.

12.   “You do your worst, and we will do our best”—addressed to Hitler in a speech on July 14, 1941.        

A simple epigram dividing Good from evil, and simultaneously strengthening his countrymen, aligning them with the Good. The reader or listener is affirmed—exactly sure of where everyone stands, and that he or she is standing with the “Good”.

13.   “We shall not flag or fail. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”—from a speech to the House of Commons, June 4, 1940.  

Churchill is actually leading the battle. With these words he becomes pervading presence in every place of conflict, infusing himself into every moment of struggle. This affirmation drives all Britons forward with an irresistible strength. Churchill has invoked the first ray with its motion of “Progress Onward”. Every thoughtform of failure is driven back. The vision of victory is firmly implanted in the psyche of his countrymen—they have no choice but to follow it and prevail.

14.   “In Franklin Roosevelt there died the greatest American friend we have ever known and the greatest champion of freedom who has ever brought help and comfort from the New World to the Old”—from The Second World War.     

Roosevelt and Churchill were great friends (and only occasional rivals). These healing words bind the old wounds which arose during the Revolutionary War. They convey a recognized reciprocity. The Geminian brother/sister nations are harmonized and united. Churchill, himself, was the son of a British aristocrat and an American socialite.

Together Churchill and Roosevelt celebrated Freedom; unconsciously they were working under the Sirian Law of Freedom, and the Atlantic Charter is a testimony to their alignment with this great stellar Source. Both of them had Virgo Ascendants, within four degrees of each other; as the two major leaders of the free world, they were working, together for the purification of humanity and the Reappearance of the Christ.

15.   In war: resolution. In defeat: defiance. In victory: magnanimity. In peace: goodwill.—from an epigram used by Sir Edwin Marsh who called this “a moral of the work” in Churchill’s book.        

Here we see the breadth, heart and highest virtues of the first Ray of Will and Power. This epigram expresses the Will-to-Good in action.


A joke is a very serious thing.

A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.

A politician needs 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.

A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him.

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.
(Sun & Venus in Sagittarius)

Although personally I am quite content with existing explosives, I feel we must not stand in the path of improvement.

Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.
(Mars in Libra)

Although present on the occasion, I have no clear recollection of the events leading up to it.

An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.
(Mercury in Scorpio opposition Pluto.)

Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities... because it is the quality which guarantees all others.

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.

Danger - if you meet it promptly and without flinching - you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!
(Moon in Leo)

Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.
(Saturn opposition Uranus)

Do not let spacious plans for a new world divert your energies from saving what is left of the old.

Don't talk to me about naval tradition. It's nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.

Eating words has never given me indigestion.

Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others.

For good or for ill, air mastery is today the supreme expression of military power and fleets and armies, however vital and important, must accept a subordinate rank.

For my part, I consider that it will be found much better by all parties to leave the past to history, especially as I propose to write that history myself.

He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.

History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.

However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.

I also hope that I sometimes suggested to the lion the right place to use his claws.
(Moon in Leo)

I always avoid prophesying beforehand, because it is a much better policy to prophesy after the event has already taken place.

I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.

I am certainly not one of those who need to be prodded. In fact, if anything, I am the prod.
(Sun in Sagittarius)

I am easily satisfied with the very best.

I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.

I cannot pretend to be impartial about the colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.

I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
(Virgo Ascendant)

I never worry about action, but only inaction.

I'm just preparing my impromptu remarks.

If you are going through hell, keep going.

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.
(Sun in Sagittarius. Mercury opposition Pluto)

In war, you can only be killed once, but in politics, many times.

In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.

It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.
(Uranus opposition Saturn)

It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.

It was the nation and the race dwelling all round the globe that had the lion's heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give the roar.
(Moon & Uranus in Leo)

It's no use saying, "We are doing our best." You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.

Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.
Winston Churchill

Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.
(Sun in Sagittarius)

Meeting Franklin Roosevelt was like opening your first bottle of champagne; knowing him was like drinking it.

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.

Moral of the Work. In war: resolution. In defeat: defiance. In victory: magnanimity. In peace: goodwill.

Most people stumble over the truth, now and then, but they usually manage to pick themselves up and go on, anyway.

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

Never, never, never give up.

Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.

Out of intense complexities intense simplicities emerge.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.

The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.
(Saturn opposition Uranus)

The first quality that is needed is audacity.
(Moon in Leo)

The price of greatness is responsibility.

The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is.
(Sun & Venus in Sagittarius)

There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.


Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Born 30 November 1874
Blenheim Palace, Woodstock,
Oxfordshire, England
Died 24 January 1965
Hyde Park Gate, London, England

Early life
Churchill's legal surname was Spencer-Churchill (he was related to the Spencer family), but starting with his father, Lord Randolph Churchill, his branch of the family used the name Churchill in their public life.

Winston Churchill was a descendant of the first famous member of the Churchill family, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. Winston's politician father, Lord Randolph Churchill, was the third son of the 7th Duke of Marlborough; Winston's mother was Lady Randolph Churchill (née Jennie Jerome), daughter of American millionaire Leonard Jerome.

Winston Churchill was born in Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire; he was delivered unexpectedly when his mother went into labour during a carriage ride. The common myth that he was born in the ladies room during a ball is untrue.

As was typical for upper-class boys at that time, he spent much of his childhood at boarding schools. He sat the entrance exam for Harrow School, but, famously, on confronting the Latin paper, carefully wrote the title, his name, and the number 1 followed by a dot, and could not think of anything else to write. He was accepted despite this, but placed in the bottom division where they were primarily taught English, at which he excelled. Today, this famous ancient public school offers an annual Churchill essay-prize on a subject chosen by the head of the English department.

He was rarely visited by his mother (then known as Lady Randolph), whom he loved very dearly, despite his letters begging her to either come or let his father permit him to come home. In later years, after Winston reached adulthood, he and his mother became closer, developing a kinship more like a brother and a sister than son and mother, coupled by a strong friendship.

He followed his father's career keenly but had a distant relationship with him. Once, in 1886, he is reported to have proclaimed, "My daddy is Chancellor of the Exchequer and one day that's what I'm going to be." His desolate, lonely childhood stayed with him throughout his life. On the other hand, as a child he was very close to his nanny, Elizabeth Anne Everest. Churchill did badly at Harrow, regularly being punished for poor work and lack of effort. He had an independent, rebellious nature and he failed to achieve much academically, failing some of the same courses numerous times and refusing to study the classics (that is, Latin and Greek). He showed ability in other areas such as history, in which he was sometimes top of his class. The view of Churchill as a failure at school is one which he himself propagated. He did, however, become the school's fencing champion.

The Army
Churchill attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Upon his graduation at age 20, Churchill joined the army as a Subaltern of the IV (Queen's Own) Hussars Cavalry regiment. This regiment was stationed in Bangalore, India. On arriving in India, Churchill dislocated his shoulder while reaching from his boat for a chain on the dock and being thrown against the quay. This shoulder gave him trouble in later years, occasionally dislocating from its socket.

In India the main occupation of Churchill's regiment was polo, a situation which did not appeal to the young man, hungry for more military action. He devoted his time to educating himself from books which he had sent out.

While stationed in India, he began to seek out wars. In 1895 he and Reggie Barnes obtained leave to travel to Cuba to observe the Spanish battles against Cuban guerrillas. Churchill obtained a commission to write about the conflict from the Daily Graphic newspaper. To Churchill's delight he came under fire for the first time on his twenty-first birthday. On his way to Cuba he also made his first visit to the United States, being introduced to New York society by one of his mother's lovers, Bourke Cockran. In 1897 Churchill attempted to travel to the Greco-Turkish War but this conflict effectively ended before he could arrive. He therefore continued on to England on leave before hearing of the Pathan revolt on the North West Frontier and rushing back to India to participate in the campaign to put it down.

Sir Bindon Blood, the commander of this expedition, had promised Churchill could be involved; he participated in the six-week campaign, also writing articles for the newspapers The Pioneer and The Daily Telegraph at £5 an article. By October 1897 Churchill was back in Britain and his first book, The Story of the Malakand Field Force, on that campaign, was published in December.

While still officially stationed in India, and having obtained a long period of leave, Churchill attempted to get himself assigned to the army being put together and commanded by Lord Kitchener and intended to achieve the reconquest of the Sudan. Kitchener opposed the assignment but Churchill pulled strings, including a telegram to Kitchener from the Prime Minister the Marquess of Salisbury. In the end, Churchill was able to obtain a posting to the 21st Lancers—a force whose composition was chosen by the War Office, not Kitchener. He also served as a war correspondent for the Morning Post, at a rate of £15 per column. While in the Sudan, Churchill participated in what has been described as the last meaningful British cavalry charge at the battle of Omdurman. By October 1898, he had returned to Britain and begun work on the two-volume The River War, published the following year.

In 1899 Churchill left the army and decided upon a parliamentary career. He stood as a Conservative candidate in Oldham in a by-election of that year. He came in third (Oldham was at that time a two-seat borough), failing to be elected.

On 12 October 1899 the second Anglo-Boer war between Britain and the Afrikaners broke out in South Africa. Churchill set off as a war correspondent for the Morning Post, receiving £250 a month for four months. Once in South Africa, he accepted a lift on a British Army Armoured Train under the command of Aylmer Haldane; this train was derailed by a Boer ambush and explosion. Churchill, though not officially a combatant, took charge of operations to get the track cleared and managed to ensure that the engine and half the train, carrying the wounded, could escape. Churchill, however, was not so lucky and, together with other officers and soldiers, was captured and held in a POW camp in Pretoria, despite uncertainty about his combatant status. Churchill would claim, in My Early Life, published in 1930, that he had been captured by General Louis Botha, subsequently prime minister of the then Union of South Africa, but this claim has been challenged, notably by Churchill's grand-daughter Celia Sandys in her book Churchill Wanted Dead or Alive.

Churchill managed to escape from his prison camp, resulting in a long-running criticism and controversy as it was claimed that he did not wait for Haldane and another man who had planned the escape, but who were unable, or unwilling, to risk slipping over the fence when Churchill did. Once outside the Pretoria prison camp, Churchill travelled almost 300 miles (480 km) to Portuguese Lourenço Marques in Delagoa Bay, with the assistance of an English mine manager who hid him down his mine and smuggled him onto a train headed out of Boer territory. His escape made him a minor national hero for a time in Britain, though instead of returning home he took ship to Durban and rejoined General Redvers Buller's army on its march to relieve Ladysmith and take Pretoria. This time, although continuing as a war correspondent, Churchill gained a commission in the South African Light Horse Regiment. He fought at Spion Kop and was one of the first British troops into Ladysmith and Pretoria; in fact, he and the Duke of Marlborough, his cousin, were able to get ahead of the rest of the troops in Pretoria, where they demanded and received the surrender of 52 Boer guards of the prison camp there.

Churchill's two books on the Boer war, London to Ladysmith via Pretoria and Ian Hamilton's March, were published in May and October 1900 respectively.

After returning from South Africa, Churchill again stood as a Conservative party candidate in Oldham, this time in the 1900 general election, or Khaki election.

He was duly elected, but rather than attending the opening of Parliament, he embarked on a speaking tour throughout Britain and the United States, by means of which he raised ten thousand pounds for himself. (Members of Parliament were unpaid in those days and Churchill was not rich by the standards of the time.) While in the United States, one of his speeches was introduced by Mark Twain. He dined with Theodore Roosevelt, however, they did not take to each other.

In February 1901, Churchill arrived back in Britain to enter Parliament, and became associated with a group of Tory dissidents led by Lord Hugh Cecil and referred to as the Hughligans, a play on "Hooligans". During his first parliamentary session, Churchill provoked controversy by opposing the government's army estimates, arguing against extravagant military expenditure. By 1903, he was drawing away from Lord Hugh's views. He also opposed the Liberal Unionist leader Joseph Chamberlain, whose party was in coalition with the Conservatives. Chamberlain proposed extensive tariff reforms intended to protect the economic pre-eminence of Britain behind tariff barriers. This earned Churchill the detestation of his own supporters — indeed, Conservative backbenchers staged a walkout once while he was speaking. His own constituency effectively deselected him, although he continued to sit for Oldham until the next general election.

In 1904, Churchill's dissatisfaction with the Conservatives and the appeal of the Liberals had grown so strong that, on returning from the Whitsun recess, he crossed the floor to sit as a member of the Liberal Party. As a Liberal, he continued to campaign for free trade. He won the seat of Manchester North West (carefully selected for him) in the 1906 general election.

Churchill as a young manFrom 1903 until 1905 Churchill was also engaged in writing Lord Randolph Churchill, a two-volume biography of his father which came out in 1906 and was received as a masterpiece. However, filial devotion caused him to soften some of his father's less attractive aspects.[citation needed]

Ministerial office
When the Liberals took office, with Henry Campbell-Bannerman as Prime Minister, in December 1905 Churchill became Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. Serving under the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Victor Bruce, 9th Earl of Elgin, Churchill dealt with the adoption of constitutions for the defeated Boer republics of the Transvaal and Orange River Colony and with the issue of 'Chinese slavery' in South African mines. He also became a prominent spokesman on free trade. Churchill soon became the most prominent member of the Government outside the Cabinet, and when Campbell-Bannerman was succeeded by Herbert Henry Asquith in 1908, it came as little surprise when Churchill was promoted to the Cabinet as President of the Board of Trade. Under the law at the time, a newly appointed Cabinet Minister was obliged to seek re-election at a by-election. Churchill lost his Manchester seat to the Conservative William Joynson-Hicks but was soon elected in another by-election at Dundee constituency. As President of the Board of Trade he pursued radical social reforms in conjunction with David Lloyd George, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer.

In 1910 Churchill was promoted to Home Secretary, where he was to prove somewhat controversial. A famous photograph from the time shows the impetuous Churchill taking personal charge of the January 1911 Sidney Street Siege, peering around a corner to view a gun battle between cornered anarchists and Scots Guards. His role attracted much criticism. The building under siege caught fire. Churchill denied the fire brigade access, forcing the criminals to choose surrender or death. Arthur Balfour asked, "He [Churchill] and a photographer were both risking valuable lives. I understand what the photographer was doing but what was the Right Honourable gentleman doing?"

1910 also saw Churchill preventing the army being used to deal with a dispute at the Cambrian Colliery mine in Tonypandy. Initially Churchill blocked the use of troops fearing a repeat of the 1887 'bloody Sunday' in Trafalgar Square. Nevertheless troops were deployed to protect the mines and to avoid riots when thirteen strikers were tried for minor offences, an action that broke the tradition of not involving the military in civil affairs and led to lingering dislike for Churchill in Wales.

In 1911, Churchill became First Lord of the Admiralty, a post he would hold into World War I. He gave impetus to reform efforts, including development of naval aviation, tanks, and the switch in fuel from coal to oil, a massive engineering task, also reliant on securing Mesopotamia's oil rights, bought circa 1907 through the secret service using the Royal Burmah Oil Company as a front company.

The development of the battle tank was financed from naval research funds via the Landships Committee, and, although a decade later development of the battle tank would be seen as a stroke of genius, at the time it was seen as misappropriation of funds. The tank was deployed too early and in too few numbers, much to Churchill's annoyance. He wanted a fleet of tanks used to surprise the Germans under cover of smoke, and to open a large section of the trenches by crushing barbed wire and creating a breakthrough sector.

In 1915 Churchill was one of the political and military engineers of the disastrous Gallipoli landings on the Dardanelles during World War I. Churchill took much of the blame for the fiasco, and when Prime Minister Asquith formed an all-party coalition government, the Conservatives demanded Churchill's demotion as the price for entry. For several months Churchill served in the sinecure of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, before resigning from the government feeling his energies were not being used. He rejoined the army, though remaining an MP, and served for several months on the Western Front commanding a battalion. During this period his second in command was a young Archibald Sinclair who would later lead the Liberal Party.

Return to power
In December 1916, Asquith resigned as Prime Minister and was replaced by Lloyd George. The time was thought not yet right to risk the Conservatives' wrath by bringing Churchill back into government. However, in July 1917 Churchill was appointed Minister of Munitions. He was the main architect of the Ten Year Rule, but the major preoccupation of his tenure in the War Office was the Allied intervention in the Russian Civil War. Churchill was a staunch advocate of foreign intervention, declaring that Bolshevism must be "strangled in its cradle". He secured from a divided and loosely organised Cabinet intensification and prolongation of the British involvement beyond the wishes of any major group in Parliament or the nation — and in the face of the bitter hostility of Labour. In 1920, after the last British forces had been withdrawn, Churchill was instrumental in having arms sent to the Poles when they invaded Ukraine. He became Secretary of State for the Colonies in 1921 and was a signatory of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, which established the Irish Free State. Churchill always disliked Éamon de Valera, the Sinn Féin leader.

Career between the wars
In 1920, as Secretary for War and Air, Churchill had responsibility for quelling the rebellion of Kurds and Arabs in British-occupied Iraq, which he achieved by authorising the use of poison gas. At the time he wrote, "I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes" - although Churchill's intention was 'to cause disablement of some kind but not death' (from pages 179-181 of Simons, Geoff. "IRAQ: FROM SUMER TO SUDAN". London: St. Martins Press, 1994). This was the first recorded use of poison gas against a civilian population.

In October 1922, Churchill underwent an operation to remove his appendix. Upon his return, he learned that the government had fallen and a General Election was looming. The Liberal Party was now beset by internal division and Churchill's campaign was weak. He lost his seat at Dundee to prohibitionist, Edwin Scrymgeour, quipping that he had lost his ministerial office, his seat and his appendix all at once. Churchill stood for the Liberals again in the 1923 general election, losing in Leicester, but over the next few months he moved towards the Conservative Party in all but name. His first electoral contest as an Independent candidate, fought under the label of "Independent Anti-Socialist," was narrowly lost in a by-election in a London riding -- his third electoral defeat in less than two years. However, he stood for election yet again several months later in the General Election of 1924, again as an Independent candidate, this time under the label of "Constitutionalist" although with Conservative backing, and was finally elected to represent Epping (a statue in his honour in Woodford Green was erected when Woodford Green was part of the Epping constituency). The following year he formally rejoined the Conservative Party, commenting wryly that "Anyone can rat [change parties], but it takes a certain ingenuity to re-rat."

He was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1924 under Stanley Baldwin and oversaw Britain's disastrous return to the Gold Standard, which resulted in deflation, unemployment, and the miners' strike that led to the General Strike of 1926. This decision prompted the economist John Maynard Keynes to write The Economic Consequences of Mr. Churchill, arguing that the return to the gold standard would lead to a world depression. Churchill later regarded this as one of the worst decisions of his life; he was not an economist and that he acted on the advice of the Governor of the Bank of England, Montagu Norman.

During the General Strike of 1926, Churchill was reported to have suggested that machine guns be used on the striking miners. Churchill edited the Government's newspaper, the British Gazette, and during the dispute he argued that "either the country will break the General Strike, or the General Strike will break the country." Furthermore, he controversially claimed that the Fascism of Benito Mussolini had "rendered a service to the whole world," showing, as it had, "a way to combat subversive forces" — that is, he considered the regime to be a bulwark against the perceived threat of Communist revolution. At one point, Churchill went as far as to call Mussolini the "Roman genius ... the greatest lawgiver among men." [1]

The Conservative government was defeated in the 1929 General Election. In the next two years, Churchill became estranged from the Conservative leadership over the issues of protective tariffs and Indian Home Rule, which he bitterly opposed. He denigrated the father of the Indian independence movement, Mahatma Gandhi, as "a half-naked fakir" who "ought to be laid, bound hand and foot, at the gates of Delhi and then trampled on by an enormous elephant with the new viceroy seated on its back". When Ramsay MacDonald formed the National Government in 1931, Churchill was not invited to join the Cabinet. He was now at the lowest point in his career, in a period known as "the wilderness years". He spent much of the next few years concentrating on his writing, including Marlborough: His Life and Times — a biography of his ancestor John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough — and A History of the English Speaking Peoples (which was not published until well after WWII). He became most notable for his outspoken opposition towards the granting of independence to India (see Simon Commission and Government of India Act 1935).

Soon, though, his attention was drawn to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the dangers of Germany's rearmament. For a time he was a lone voice calling on Britain to strengthen itself to counter the belligerence of Germany. [2] Churchill was a fierce critic of Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of Hitler, leading the wing of the Conservative Party that opposed the Munich Agreement which Chamberlain famously declared to mean "peace in our time". [3] He was also an outspoken supporter of King Edward VIII during the Abdication Crisis, leading to some speculation that he might be appointed Prime Minister if the King refused to take Baldwin's advice and consequently the government resigned. However, this did not happen, and Churchill found himself politically isolated and bruised for some time after this.

Role as wartime Prime Minister

Yousuf Karsh portrait of Winston Churchill on cover of Life magazine.At the outbreak of the Second World War Churchill--after a brief offer by Chamberlain to appoint him as a minister without portfolio--was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty and a member of the War Cabinet, just as he was in the first part of the First World War. According to myth, the Navy sent out: "Winston's back!"

In this job he proved to be one of the highest-profile ministers during the so-called "Phony War", when the only noticeable action was at sea. Churchill advocated the pre-emptive occupation of the neutral Norwegian iron-ore port of Narvik and the iron mines in Kiruna, Sweden, early in the War. However, Chamberlain and the rest of the War Cabinet disagreed, and the operation was delayed until the German invasion of Norway, which was successful despite British efforts.

On 10 May 1940, hours before the German invasion of France by a surprising lightning advance through the Low Countries, it became clear that, following failure in Norway and general incompetence, the country had no confidence in Chamberlain's prosecution of the war and so Chamberlain resigned. The commonly accepted version of events states that Lord Halifax turned down the post of Prime Minister because he believed he could not govern effectively as a member of the House of Lords instead of the House of Commons. Although traditionally the Prime Minister does not advise the King on the former's successor, Chamberlain wanted someone who would command the support of all three major parties in the House of Commons. A meeting with the other two party leaders led to the recommendation of Churchill, and as a constitutional monarch, George VI asked Churchill to be Prime Minister and to form an all-party government. Churchill, breaking with tradition, did not send Chamberlain a message expressing regret over his resignation. [4]

Churchill's greatest achievement was that he refused to capitulate when defeat by Germany was a strong possibility and he remained a strong opponent of any negotiations with Germany. Few others in the Cabinet had this degree of resolve. By adopting this policy Churchill maintained Britain as a base from which the Allies could attack Germany, thereby ensuring that the Soviet sphere of influence did not also extend over Western Europe at the end of the war.

In response to previous criticisms that there had been no clear single minister in charge of the prosecution of the war, Churchill created and took the additional position of Minister of Defence. He immediately put his friend and confidant, the industrialist and newspaper baron Lord Beaverbrook, in charge of aircraft production. It was Beaverbrook's astounding business acumen that allowed Britain to quickly gear up aircraft production and engineering that eventually made the difference in the war.

Churchill's speeches were a great inspiration to the embattled British. His first speech as Prime Minister was the famous "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat" speech. He followed that closely with two other equally famous ones, given just before the Battle of Britain. One included the immortal line, "We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender." The other included the equally famous "Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.' " At the height of the Battle of Britain, his bracing survey of the situation included the memorable line "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few", which engendered the enduring nickname "The Few" for the Allied fighter pilots who won it. One of his most memorable war speeches came on 10 November 1942 at the Lord Mayor's Luncheon at Mansion House in London. That day, word had come that American and British troops had surrounded the port of Casablanca in Africa. As most people were saying it was the beginning of the end, Churchill famously said

"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning"

This was not his final involvement with the RAF. Churchill issued orders to raze German cities to the ground using "terror bombing" raids. He encouraged these "impressive acts of terror and wanton destruction" through "other pretexts", which were to depress German morale and "de-house" the German population. [1] Implementation of the plan resulted in the destruction by relentless firebombing of historic German cities such as Cologne, Hamburg and Dresden.

Chiang Kai-shek, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Churchill at the Cairo Conference in 1943His good relationship with Franklin D. Roosevelt secured vital food, oil and munitions via the North Atlantic shipping routes. It was for this reason that Churchill was relieved when Roosevelt was re-elected in 1940. Upon re-election, Roosevelt immediately set about implementing a new method of not only providing military hardware to Britain without the need for monetary payment, but also of providing, free of fiscal charge, much of the shipping that transported the supplies. Put simply, Roosevelt persuaded Congress that repayment for this immensely costly service would take the form of defending the USA; and so Lend-lease was born. Churchill had 12 strategic conferences with Roosevelt which covered the Atlantic Charter, Europe first strategy, the Declaration by the United Nations and other war policies. Churchill initiated the Special Operations Executive (SOE) under Hugh Dalton's Ministry of Economic Warfare, which established, conducted and fostered covert, subversive and partisan operations in occupied territories with notable success; and also the Commandos which established the pattern for most of the world's current Special Forces. The Russians referred to him as the "British Bulldog".

Churchill's health suffered, as shown by a mild heart attack he suffered in December 1941 at the White House and also in December 1943 when he contracted pneumonia.

Churchill was party to treaties that would redraw post-WWII European and Asian boundaries. These were discussed as early as 1943. Proposals for European boundaries and settlements were officially agreed to by Harry S. Truman, Churchill, and Stalin at Potsdam. At the second Quebec Conference in 1944 he drafted and together with U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a toned down version of the original Morgenthau Plan, where they pledged to convert Germany after its unconditional surrender "into a country primarily agricultural and pastoral in its character."[5]

The settlement concerning the borders of Poland, that is, the boundary between Poland and the Soviet Union and between Germany and Poland, was viewed as a betrayal in Poland during the post-war years, as it was established against the views of the Polish government in exile. Churchill was convinced that the only way to alleviate tensions between the two populations was the transfer of people, to match the national borders. As he expounded in the House of Commons in 1944, "Expulsion is the method which, insofar as we have been able to see, will be the most satisfactory and lasting. There will be no mixture of populations to cause endless trouble... A clean sweep will be made. I am not alarmed by these transferences, which are more possible in modern conditions." However the resulting expulsions of Germans was carried out by the Soviet Union in a way which resulted in much hardship and, according to amongst others a 1966 report by the West German Ministry of Refugees and Displaced Persons, the death of over 2,100,000. Churchill opposed the effective annexation of Poland by the Soviet Union and wrote bitterly about it in his books, but he was unable to prevent it at the conferences.

On 9 October 1944, he and Eden were in Moscow, and that night they met Joseph Stalin in the Kremlin, without the Americans. Bargaining went on throughout the night. Churchill wrote on a scrap of paper that Stalin had a 90 percent "interest" in Romania, Britain a 90 percent "interest" in Greece, both Russia and Britain a 50 percent interest in Yugoslavia. When they got to Italy, Stalin ceded that country to Churchill. The crucial questions arose when the Ministers of Foreign Affairs discussed "percentages" in Eastern Europe. Molotov's proposals were that Russia should have a 75 percent interest in Hungary, 75 percent in Bulgaria, and 60 percent in Yugoslavia. This was Stalin's price for ceding Italy and Greece. Eden tried to haggle: Hungary 75/25, Bulgaria 80/20, but Yugoslavia 50/50. After lengthy bargaining they settled on an 80/20 division of interest between Russia and Britain in Bulgaria and Hungary, and a 50/50 division in Yugoslavia. U.S. Ambassador Harriman was informed only after the bargain was struck. This gentleman's agreement was sealed with a handshake.

The most critical study of Churchill is the revisionist work of John Charmley. Charmley sees Neville Chamberlain as having a sound appreciation of the nation's military and diplomatic strengths and weaknesses. Churchill, says Charmley, repeatedly overestimated British strength and forced a commitment to total war and total victory. But that led to national economic exhaustion, and the end of empire, as Britain was eclipsed by the U.S. and the USSR. Furthermore he argues Churchill had a deeply flawed character, exerted poor leadership, schemed and intrigued for war. Charmley believes the best policy in 1940-1942 was a negotiated peace with Germany and appeasement of Japan. [6]. This interpretation does not address the political and moral impracticality of leaving Europe under Nazi domination, nor how Britain could have survived indefinitely in a relationship with such a state.

After World War II
Although the importance of Churchill's role in World War II was undeniable, he had many enemies in his own country. His expressed contempt for a number of popular ideas, in particular public health care and better education for the majority of the population, produced much dissatisfaction amongst the population, particularly those who had fought in the war. Immediately following the close of the war in Europe, Churchill was heavily defeated in the 1945 election by Clement Attlee and the Labour Party. [7] Some historians think that many British voters believed that the man who had led the nation so well in war was not the best man to lead it in peace. Others see the election result as a reaction not against Churchill personally, but against the Conservative Party's record in the 1930s under Baldwin and Chamberlain.

Winston Churchill was an early supporter of the pan-Europeanism that eventually led to the formation of the European Common Market and later the European Union (for which one of the three main buildings of the European Parliament is named in his honour). Churchill was also instrumental in giving France a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (which provided another European power to counterbalance the Soviet Union's permanent seat). Churchill also occasionally made comments supportive of world government. For instance, he once said (see[2]):

Unless some effective world supergovernment for the purpose of preventing war can be set up… the prospects for peace and human progress are dark… If… it is found possible to build a world organization of irresistible force and inviolable authority for the purpose of securing peace, there are no limits to the blessings which all men enjoy and share.

At the beginning of the Cold War, he famously popularised the term "The Iron Curtain", which had been used before by Nazi leaders Hitler and Goebbels. The term entered the public consciousness after a speech given on 5 March 1946 at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, when Churchill, a guest of Harry S. Truman, famously declared:

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere.

Second term
Churchill was restless and bored as leader of the Conservative opposition in the immediate post-war years. After Labour's defeat in the General Election of 1951, Churchill again became Prime Minister. His third government — after the wartime national government and the brief caretaker government of 1945 — would last until his resignation in 1955. During this period he renewed what he called the "special relationship" between Britain and the United States, and engaged himself in the formation of the post-war order.

Churchill with Canadian Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent in 1954His domestic priorities were, however, overshadowed by a series of foreign policy crises, which were partly the result of the continued decline of British military and imperial prestige and power. Being a strong proponent of Britain as an international power, Churchill would often meet such moments with direct action.

The Mau Mau Rebellion
Main article: Mau Mau Uprising
In 1951, grievances against the colonial distribution of land came to a head with the Kenya Africa Union demanding greater representation and land reform. When these demands were rejected, more radical elements came forward, launching the Mau Mau rebellion in 1952. On 17 August 1952 a state of emergency was declared, and British troops were flown to Kenya to deal with the rebellion. As both sides increased the ferocity of their attacks, the country moved to full-scale civil war.

In 1953, the Lari massacre, perpetrated by Mau-Mau insurgents against Kikuyu loyal to the British, changed the political complexion of the rebellion and gave the public-relations advantage to the British. Churchill's strategy was to use a military stick combined with implementing many of the concessions that Attlee's government had blocked in 1951. He ordered an increased military presence and appointed General Sir George Erskine, who would implement Operation Anvil in 1954 that broke the back of the rebellion in the city of Nairobi. Operation Hammer, in turn, was designed to root out rebels in the countryside. Churchill ordered peace talks opened, but these collapsed shortly after his leaving office.

Malayan Emergency
Main article: Malayan Emergency
In Malaya, a rebellion against British rule had been in progress since 1948. Once again, Churchill's government inherited a crisis, and once again Churchill chose to use direct military action against those in rebellion while attempting to build an alliance with those who were not. He stepped up the implementation of a "hearts and minds" campaign and approved the creation of fortified villages, a tactic that would become a recurring part of Western military strategy in Southeast Asia. (See Vietnam War).

The Malayan Emergency was a more direct case of a guerrilla movement, centred in an ethnic group, but backed by the Soviet Union. As such, Britain's policy of direct confrontation and military victory had a great deal more support than in Iran or in Kenya. At the highpoint of the conflict, over 35,500 British troops were stationed in Malaya. As the rebellion lost ground, it began to lose favour with the local population.

While the rebellion was slowly being defeated, it was equally clear that colonial rule from Britain was no longer plausible. In 1953, plans were drawn up for independence for Singapore and the other crown colonies in the region. The first elections were held in 1955, just days before Churchill's own resignation, and in 1957, under Prime Minister Anthony Eden, Malaya became independent.

Family and Personal Life

A young Winston Churchill and fiancée Clementine Hozier shortly before their marriage in 1908.On 12 September 1908 at the socially desirable St. Margaret's, Westminster, Churchill married Clementine Hozier, a woman whom he met at a dinner party that March (he had proposed to actress Ethel Barrymore but was turned down). They had five children: Diana; Randolph; Sarah, who co-starred with Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding; Marigold (1918 - 1921), who died in early childhood; and Mary, who has written a book about her parents. Churchill's son Randolph and his grandsons Nicholas Soames and Winston all followed him into Parliament. The daughters tended to marry politicians and support their careers.

Clementine's mother was Lady Blanche Henrietta Ogilvy, second wife of Sir Henry Montague Hozier and a daughter of the 7th Earl of Airlie. Clementine's paternity, however, is open to debate. Lady Blanche was well known for sharing her favours and was eventually divorced as a result. She maintained that Clementine's father was Capt. William George "Bay" Middleton, a noted horseman. But Clementine's biographer Joan Hardwick has surmised, due to Sir Henry Hozier's reputed sterility, that all Lady Blanche's "Hozier" children were actually fathered by her sister's husband, Algernon Bertram Freeman-Mitford, better known as a grandfather of the infamous Mitford sisters of the 1920s.

When not in London on government business, Churchill usually lived at his beloved Chartwell House in Kent, two miles south of Westerham. He and his wife bought the house in 1922 and lived there until his death in 1965. During his Chartwell stays, he enjoyed writing as well as painting, bricklaying, and admiring the estate's famous black swans.

Like many politicians of his age, Churchill was also a member of several English gentlemen's clubs - the Reform Club and the National Liberal Club whilst he was a Liberal MP, and later the Athenaeum, Boodle's, Bucks, and the Carlton Club when he was a Conservative. Despite his multiple memberships, Churchill was not a habitual clubman; he spent relatively little time in each of these, and preferred to conduct any lunchtime or dinner meetings at the Savoy Grill or the Ritz, or else in the Members' Dining Room of the House of Commons when meeting other MPs.

Churchill's fondness for alcoholic beverages was well-documented. While in India and South Africa, he got in the habit of adding small amounts of whisky to the water he drank in order to prevent disease. He was quoted on the subject as saying that "by dint of careful application I learned to like it." [3] He consumed alcoholic drinks on a near-daily basis for long periods in his life, and frequently imbibed before, after, and during mealtimes. He is not generally considered by historians to have been an alcoholic, however, since his drinking produced few, if any, noticeable negative effects on either his ability to govern or his personal life. The Churchill Centre states that Churchill made a bet with a man with the last name of Rothermere (possibly one of the Viscounts Rothermere) in 1936 that Churchill would be able to successfully abstain from drinking hard liquor for a year; Churchill apparently won the bet. [4]

For much of his life, Churchill battled with depression, (or perhaps a sub-type of manic-depression) which he called his black dog [5].

Last days
Aware that he was slowing down both physically and mentally, Churchill retired as Prime Minister in 1955 and was succeeded by Anthony Eden, who had long been his ambitious protégé. (Three years earlier, Eden had married Churchill's niece, Anne Clarissa Spencer-Churchill, his second marriage.) Churchill spent most of his retirement at Chartwell House in Kent, two miles south of Westerham.

In 1963 U.S. President John F. Kennedy named Churchill the first Honorary Citizen of the United States. Churchill was too ill to attend the White House ceremony, so his son and grandson accepted the award for him.

On 15 January 1965 Churchill suffered another stroke — a severe cerebral thrombosis — that left him gravely ill. He died nine days later, aged 90, on 24 January 1965, 70 years to the day after his father's death.

By decree of the Queen, his body lay in State in Westminster Hall for three days and a state funeral service was held at St Paul's Cathedral. [8] This was the first state funeral for a non-royal family member since 1914, and no one other of its kind has been held since.

As his coffin passed down the Thames on the Havengore, the cranes of London's docklands bowed in salute. The Royal Artillery fired a 19-gun salute (as head of government), and the RAF staged a fly-by of sixteen English Electric Lightning fighters. The state funeral was the largest gathering of dignitaries in Britain as representatives from over 100 countries attended, including French President Charles de Gaulle, Canadian Prime Minister Lester Pearson, Prime Minister of Rhodesia Ian Smith, other heads of state and government, and members of royalty. It also saw the largest assemblage of statesmen in the world until the funeral of Pope John Paul II in 2005.

At Churchill's request, he was buried in the family plot at St Martin Church, Bladon, near Woodstock, not far from his birthplace at Blenheim.

Because the funeral took place on 30 January, people in the United States marked it by paying tribute to his friendship with Roosevelt because it was the anniversary of FDR's birth. The tributes were led byRoosevelt's children.

On 9 February 1965 Churchill's estate was probated at 304,044 pounds sterling (equivalent to about £3.8m in 2004).

One of four specially made sets of false teeth, designed to retain Churchill's distinctive style of speech, which Churchill wore throughout his life is now kept in the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

From 1941 to his death, he was the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, a ceremonial office. In 1941 Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King swore him into the Queen's Privy Council for Canada. Although this allowed him to use the honorific title "The Honourable" and the post-nominal letters "P.C." both of these were trumped by his membership in the Imperial Privy Council which allowed him the use of The Right Honourable.

In 1953 he was awarded two major honours: he was invested as a Knight of the Garter (becoming Sir Winston Churchill, KG) and he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values".

A stroke in June of that year led to him being paralysed down his left side. He retired as Prime Minister on 5 April 1955 because of his health but retained his post as Chancellor of the University of Bristol, and remained a member of parliament until 1964. In 1959 he became Father of the House, the MP with the longest continuous service.

In 1955, after retiring as Prime Minister, Churchill was offered elevation to the peerage in the rank of duke. He considered the offer, and even chose the name "Duke of London". However, he then declined the title after being persuaded by his son Randolph not to accept it, since Randolph wished to pursue a political career in the House of Commons, which would be impossible if he inherited a peerage, since, at that time, there was no procedure for disclaiming a title. Since then, only British royals have been made dukes.

In 1956 Churchill received the Karlspreis (known in English as the Charlemagne Award), an award by the German city of Aachen to those who most contribute to the European idea and European peace.

In 1960, Churchill College, Cambridge was established as the national and Commonwealth memorial to Churchill.

In 1963, he became the first person to become an Honorary Citizen of the United States.

Churchill is the tenth most admired person in the 20th century, according to Gallup.

Eight schools in Canada are named in his honour, one each in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Kingston, St. Catharines, Lethbridge, Calgary, and Ottawa. Churchill Auditorium at the Technion is named after him.

Churchill as historian

Statue of Winston Churchill by Ivor Roberts-Jones in Parliament Square, opposite the Palace of Westminster, central London. Other casts of the same statue are found in Oslo, Norway, Canberra, Australia at the Australian National University, and similar statues in Halifax, Nova Scotia and Toronto, Ontario, Canada.Churchill was a prolific writer throughout his life and, during his periods out of office, attained recognition as a professional writer who was also a Member of Parliament. Despite his aristocratic birth, he inherited little money (his mother spent most of his inheritance) and always needed ready cash to maintain his lavish lifestyle and to compensate for a number of failed investments. Some of his historical works, such as A History of the English Speaking Peoples, were written primarily to raise money.

Churchill was an excellent writer who taught himself the skills of historiography. In his youth he was an avid reader of history but within a narrow range. The major influences on his historical thought, and his prose style, were Clarendon's history of the English Civil War, Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire and Macaulay's History of England. He had little interest in social or economic history; he saw history as essentially political and military, driven by national character as expressed by great men rather than by economic forces or social change.

Churchill was convinced that the British people had a unique greatness and an imperial destiny, and that all British history should be seen as progress towards fulfilling that destiny. This belief inspired his political career as well as his historical writing. He never modified it or showed any interest in other schools of history. Although he employed professional historians as assistants, they had no influence over the content of his works.

Churchill's historical writings fall into three categories. The first is works of family history, the biographies of his father, Life of Lord Randolph Churchill (1906), and of his great ancestor, Marlborough: His Life and Times (four volumes, 1933–38). These are still regarded as fine biographies, but are marred by Churchill's desire to present his subjects in the best possible light. He made only limited use of the available source materials and, in the case of his father, suppressed some material from family archives that reflected badly on Lord Randolph. The Marlborough biography shows to the full Churchill's great talent for military history. Both books have been superseded by more scholarly works but are still highly readable.

The second category is Churchill's autobiographical works, including his early journalistic compilations The Story of the Malakand Field Force (1898), The River War (1899), London to Ladysmith via Pretoria (1900) and Ian Hamilton's March (1900). These latter two were issued in a re-edited form as My Early Life (1930). All these books are colourful and entertaining, and contain some valuable information about Britain's imperial wars in India, Sudan and South Africa, but they are essentially exercises in self-promotion, since Churchill was already a Parliamentary candidate in 1900.

Churchill's reputation as a writer, however, rests on the third category, his three massive multi-volume works of narrative history. These are his histories of the First World War — The World Crisis (six volumes, 1923–31) — and of The Second World War (six volumes, 1948–53), and his History of the English-Speaking Peoples (four volumes, 1956–58, much of which had been written in the 1930s). These are among the longest works of history ever published (The Second World War runs to more than two million words), and earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Churchill's histories of the two world wars are, of course, far from being conventional historical works, since the author was a central participant in both stories and took full advantage of that fact in writing his books. Both are in a sense, therefore, memoirs as well as histories, but Churchill was careful to broaden their scope to include events in which he played no part — the war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, for example. Inevitably, however, Churchill placed Britain, and therefore himself, at the centre of his narrative. Arthur Balfour described The World Crisis as "Winston's brilliant autobiography, disguised as a history of the universe."

As a Cabinet minister for part of the First World War and as Prime Minister for nearly all of the Second, Churchill had unique access to official documents, military plans, official secrets and correspondence between world leaders. After the First War, when there were few rules governing these documents, Churchill simply took many of them with him when he left office and used them freely in his books — as did other wartime politicians such as David Lloyd George. As a result of this, strict rules were put in place preventing Cabinet ministers using official documents for writing history or memoirs once they left office.

The World Crisis was inspired by Lord Esher's attack on Churchill's reputation in his memoirs. It soon broadened out into a general multi-volume history. The volumes are a mix of military history, written with Churchill's usual narrative flair; diplomatic and political history, often written to left Churchill's own actions and policies during the war; portraits of other political and military figures, sometimes written to further political vendettas or settle debts (most notably with Lloyd George); and personal memoir, written in a colourful but highly selective manner. Today these books are not in favour as historical references. As with all Churchill's works, they have little to say about economic or social history, and are coloured by his political views — particularly in regard to the Russian Revolution. But they remain highly readable for their narrative skill and vivid portrayals of people and events.

When he resumed office in 1939, Churchill fully intended writing a history of the war then beginning. He said several times: "I will leave judgements on this matter to history — but I will be one of the historians." To circumvent the rules against the use of official documents, he took the precaution throughout the war of having a weekly summary of correspondence, minutes, memoranda and other documents printed in galleys and headed "Prime Minister's personal minutes". These were then stored at his home for future use. As well, Churchill wrote or dictated a number of letters and memorandums with the specific intention of placing his views on the record for later use as a historian.

This all became a source of great controversy when The Second World War began appearing in 1948. Churchill was not an academic historian, he was a politician, and was in fact Leader of the Opposition, still intending to return to office. By what right, it was asked, did he have access to Cabinet, military and diplomatic records which were denied to other historians?

What was unknown at the time was the fact that Churchill had done a deal with the Attlee Labour government which came to office in 1945. Recognising Churchill's enormous prestige, Attlee agreed to allow him (or rather his research assistants) free access to most documents, provided that (a) no official secrets were revealed, (b) the documents were not used for party political purposes, and (c) the typescript was vetted by the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Norman Brook. Brook took a close interest in the books and rewrote some sections himself to ensure that nothing was said which might harm British interests or embarrass the government. Churchill's history thus became a semi-official one.

Churchill's privileged access to documents and his unrivalled personal knowledge gave him an advantage over all other historians of the Second World War for many years. The books had enormous sales in both Britain and the United States and made Churchill a rich man for the first time. It was not until after his death and the opening of the archives that some of the deficiencies of his work became apparent.

Some of these were inherent in the unique position Churchill occupied as a historian, being both a former Prime Minister and a serving politician. He could not reveal military secrets, such as the work of the code-breakers at Bletchley Park (see Ultra) or the planning of the atomic bomb. He could not discuss wartime disputes with figures such as Dwight Eisenhower, Charles de Gaulle or Tito, since they were still world leaders at the time he was writing. He could not discuss Cabinet disputes with Labour leaders such as Attlee, whose goodwill the project depended on. He could not reflect on the deficiencies of generals such as Archibald Wavell or Claude Auchinleck for fear they might sue him (some, indeed, threatened to do so).

Other deficiencies were of Churchill's own making. Although he described the fighting on the Eastern Front, he had little real interest in it and no access to Soviet or German documents, so his account is a pastiche of secondary sources, largely written by his assistants. The same is true to some extent of the war in the Pacific except for episodes such as the fall of Singapore in which he was involved. His account of the U.S. naval war in the Pacific was so heavily based on other writers that he was accused of plagiarism.

The real focus of Churchill's work is always on the war in Western Europe, the Mediterranean and North Africa, but here his work is based heavily on his own documents, so it greatly exaggerates his own role. He had little access to American documents, and even those he did have, such as his letters from Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower, had to be used with caution for diplomatic reasons. Although he was, of course, a central figure in the war, he was not as central as his books suggest. Although he is usually fair, some personal vendettas are aired — against Stafford Cripps, for example.

The Second World War can still be read with great profit by students of the period, provided it is seen mainly as a memoir by a leading participant rather than as an authoritative history by a detached historian. The war, and particularly the period between 1940 and 1942 when Britain was fighting alone, was the climax of Churchill's career, and his personal account of the inside story of those days is unique and invaluable. But, since the archives have been opened, far more accurate and reliable histories have emerged.

Churchill's History of the English-Speaking Peoples was commissioned and largely written in the 1930s when Churchill badly needed money, but it was put aside when war broke out in 1939, being finally issued after he left office for the last time in 1955. While Churchill's enormous prestige ensured that the books were respectfully received and sold well, they are little read today.


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