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i. Winston Churchill was born on November 30, 1874, in Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, to wealthy and aristocratic parents. Despite his mediocre academic performance, he developed a keen interest in militarism at a young age (Severance, 1996).
ii. In 1895, Winston joined the Royal Cavalry. He served in the military as a soldier and a part-time journalist, allowing him to fly to places such as Cuba, Egypt, Afghanistan, and South Africa.
iii. Winston was elected as an Oldham Conservative MP in 1900, but he defected to the Liberal Party in 1904. (Paterson, 2006). He spent the next ten years climbing the Liberal government ranks.
iv. In 1900, Winston was elected as Oldham Conservative MP, after which he defected to Liberal Party in the year 1904 (Paterson, 2006). He spent the next ten years climbing the Liberal government ranks.
v. By the time of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign which he created, he was the First Lord of the Admiralty or the civil head of the Royal Navy. Due to the creation of the disastrous campaign, he received intensive criticism for the error, prompting him to resign from the position he held (Severance, 1996). After resigning, he travelled to the Western Front in order to be part of the fight.
vi. Churchill later crossed the floor from the Liberals to the Conservative Party during the interwar years. In the Conservative Party, Churchill served as the Exchequer Chancellor from 1924 when he decided to opt for Britain and re-join the Gold Standard (Perry, 2010).
vii. In 1929, Sir Churchill was defeated in the Tory electoral thus lost his seat. Therefore, he spent much of the next one decade (actually 11 years) out of office where he was involved in full time writing and making of speeches.
viii. Churchill single-handedly opposed Indian Independence and warned against the Appeasement of Nazi Germany, which came to pass in 1930 when the Second World War broke. It was in 1940 when Neville Chamberlain resigned that Churchill was chosen to take up the Prime Minister position for the established all-party coalition government.
ix. Churchill was an influential statesman, orator, writer, and a leader who enabled Britain attain victory in the Second World War. Sir Churchill served twice as a Conservative Prime Minister i.e. from 1940 to 1995, but after which the Labor leader Clement Attlee defeated him in the 1945 general election, and later served as the PM from 1951 to 1955.
x. Whenever Churchill was not in government or in the political arena, he concentrated on writing and public speaking. However, his oration usually addressed not only social but most importantly, political matters. For instance, in his 1946 USA speech, the instinctive American supporter famously declared that there was “an iron curtain that had descended across the Continent” as he warned of the increasing danger from the emerging Soviet Russia that was considered strong (Perry, 2010).
A. Sir Churchill’s Leadership Traits
i. Churchill’s rough beginnings at Sandhurst as well as deployment to different navy and army operations overseas prepared him to be a successful politician and also one of the most influential wartime leaders in global history.
ii. He portrayed numerous traits and behaviors of a charismatic and transformational leader. Winston Churchill cared about people, a significant trait that any leader should possess. As England’s Admiralty First Lord (from 1911 to 1915), he visited more naval facilities and ships than any other First Lord who preceded him (Paterson, 2006). Besides, between 1911 and the start of the First World War, Churchill made frequent visits to over fifty ships and also many other shipyard sites and harbors.
iii. Another leadership trait portrayed by Sir Churchill was being open, honest, and promoting direct communication (Baldoni, 2003).
iv. According to Churchill, it was a mistake to decline from stating the true facts or saying the way things are to the public. Therefore, he ensured that he communicated to the public and his juniors whenever there were criticisms. For instance, there was intensified criticism regarding the poor progress of the war in the year 1942, and Churchill addressed this issue by demanding a formal vote of confidence in the House of Commons to fasten the issue.
v. Churchill was open and honest to address issues (Baldoni, 2003), i.e. the problem of sluggish war by stating that since things had gone bad, and there was an anticipation of worse things, it was prudent to conduct a vote of confidence. The result was that he won by a vote of 464 to 1. Besides, Churchill liked to deliver bad news in person rather than sending his juniors.
vi. Churchill not only delivered war news to the House of Commons but also to the Allies, for instance, he made the decision to personally take the bad news to Stalin that a second front against the Germans in France would not be implemented in 1943 as he had promised him.
vii. Churchill was also stayed focused and prepared despite the high levels of stress in his position. He utilized the strategy of never being in a hurry in order to effectively deal with stress and stay focused amid most critical and trying situations.
viii. Nonetheless, many people consider leadership as dependent on situation, i.e. Churchill was a great leader during war but not in times of peace (Adair, 1998).
Adair, J. E. (1998). Leadership skills. London: Institute of Personnel and Development.
Baldoni, J. (2003). Great communication secrets of great leaders. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Paterson, M. (2006). Winston Churchill : personal accounts of the great leader at war 1895-1945. Cincinnati, Ohio: David & Charles.
Perry, J. (2010). Winston Churchill. Nashville, Tenn: Thomas Nelson.
Severance, J. B. (1996). Winston Churchill : soldier, statesman, artist. New York, NY: Clarion Books.
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