Today in History: Winston Churchill Resigns (1955)

Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill. The Guardian

Winston Churchill may be one of the most quoted individuals of all time. Churchill was one of the most important figures of the twentieth century, no matter which way you look at it. On April 5, 1955, Churchill resigned from the office of Prime Minister for the last time. He had served once before (1940-1945), but was reappointed to the role of PM in 1951.

Churchill, known for his impassioned and well-reasoned speeches, was out of politics briefly before World War II broke out. During that time he warned the British Government repeatedly about the danger of Nazi Germany, urging Parliament to rearm the British military.

Once he was elected back into office as the First Lord of the Admiralty, and appointed to the office of Prime Minister, he led Britain against the Nazi forces. The UK was mostly in the fight alone until the United States joined the war effort officially in 1941.

There was a faction of the British political establishment that wanted to negotiate with Germany. It was Churchill’s passionate arguments that led the way to Britain standing against the Nazi force, even as the French quickly fell to the German Blitzkrieg.

Daily Express

Throughout his political career, Winston Churchill served with both the Conservative and Liberal parties. During World War II, he was a member of the Conservative party, however between 1904 and 1924 he was a member of the Liberal Party. He left the Conservative party in 1904 due to disagreements with party leaders, mainly over trade tariffs. Churchill was a huge supporter of free trade. In 1924 he rejoined the Conservative Party, saying “anyone can rat, but it takes a certain ingenuity to re-rat.”

Winston Churchill was a decorated military man, having served in three different conflicts, including World War I. He served in many different offices in the British government over his career as well outside of Prime Minister, including Chancellor of the Exchequer (1924–29), where he led Britain back to the Gold Standard (which didn’t work all that well, contributing to the already world-wide economic depression that was going on at the time).

In 1953, he was knighted by the Queen, and was awarded the Nobel Prize. After resigning as PM on April 5, 1955, Churchill stayed in Parliament until 1964. He died on January 24, 1965 at the age of 90.

Advertisement