Winston Churchill Quotes

Home / Statesman / Winston Churchill Quotes
The Right Honourable
Sir Winston Churchill
KG OM CH TD DL FRS RA

Churchill, December 1941
(photograph by Yousuf Karsh)
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
In office
26 October 1951 â€“ 6 April 1955
Monarch

George VI
Elizabeth II

Deputy Anthony Eden
Preceded by Clement Attlee
Succeeded by Anthony Eden
In office
10 May 1940 â€“ 26 July 1945
Monarch George VI
Deputy Clement Attlee
Preceded by Neville Chamberlain
Succeeded by Clement Attlee
Leader of the Opposition
In office
26 July 1945 â€“ 26 October 1951
Monarch George VI
Prime Minister Clement Attlee
Preceded by Clement Attlee
Succeeded by Clement Attlee
Leader of the Conservative Party
In office
9 November 1940 â€“ 6 April 1955
Preceded by Neville Chamberlain
Succeeded by Anthony Eden
Minister of Defence
In office
28 October 1951 â€“ 1 March 1952
Preceded by Manny Shinwell
Succeeded by Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis
In office
10 May 1940 â€“ 26 July 1945
Preceded by Ernle Chatfield, 1st Baron Chatfield (Coordination of Defence)
Succeeded by Clement Attlee
First Lord of the Admiralty
In office
3 September 1939 â€“ 11 May 1940
Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain
Preceded by James Stanhope, 7th Earl Stanhope
Succeeded by A. V. Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Hillsborough
In office
24 October 1911 â€“ 25 May 1915
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
Preceded by Reginald McKenna
Succeeded by Arthur Balfour
Chancellor of the Exchequer
In office
6 November 1924 â€“ 4 June 1929
Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin
Preceded by Philip Snowden
Succeeded by Philip Snowden
Secretary of State for the Colonies
In office
13 February 1921 â€“ 19 October 1922
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner
Succeeded by Victor Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire
Secretary of State for Air
In office
10 January 1919 â€“ 13 February 1921
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by William Weir, 1st Viscount Weir
Succeeded by Freddie Guest
Secretary of State for War
In office
10 January 1919 â€“ 13 February 1921
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by Alfred Milner, 1st Viscount Milner
Succeeded by Laming Worthington-Evans
Minister of Munitions
In office
17 July 1917 â€“ 10 January 1919
Prime Minister David Lloyd George
Preceded by Christopher Addison
Succeeded by Andrew Weir, 1st Baron Inverforth
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
In office
25 May 1915 â€“ 25 November 1915
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
Preceded by Edwin Montagu
Succeeded by Herbert Samuel
Home Secretary
In office
19 February 1910 â€“ 24 October 1911
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
Preceded by Herbert Gladstone
Succeeded by Reginald McKenna
President of the Board of Trade
In office
12 April 1908 â€“ 14 February 1910
Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
Preceded by David Lloyd George
Succeeded by Sydney Buxton
Member of Parliament
for Woodford
In office
5 July 1945 â€“ 15 October 1964
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by Constituency abolished
Member of Parliament
for Epping
In office
29 October 1924 â€“ 5 July 1945
Preceded by Leonard Lyle
Succeeded by Leah Manning
Member of Parliament
for Dundee
In office
24 April 1908 â€“ 15 November 1922
Preceded by Edmund Robertson
Succeeded by Edwin Scrymgeour
Member of Parliament
for Manchester North West
In office
8 February 1906 â€“ 24 April 1908
Preceded by William Houldsworth
Succeeded by William Joynson-Hicks
Member of Parliament
for Oldham
In office
24 October 1900 â€“ 12 January 1906
Preceded by Walter Runciman
Succeeded by John Bright
Personal details
Born Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill
(1874-11-30)30 November 1874
Woodstock, Oxfordshire, UK
Died 24 January 1965(1965-01-24) (aged 90)
Kensington, Co. London, UK
Resting place St Martin’s Church, Bladon
Political party

Conservative (Before 1904; 1924–1964)
Liberal (1904–1924)

Spouse(s) Clementine Hozier (m. 1908)
Children

Diana
Randolph
Sarah
Marigold
Mary

Parents

Randolph Churchill
Jennie Jerome

Alma mater Royal Military College, Sandhurst
Religion Anglicanism[1]
Military service
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch

British Army
Territorial Army

Years of service

1895–1900
1916–1918

Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Battles/wars

Mahdist War
Second Boer War
World War I

We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out.
Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed.
Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.
Winston Churchill
In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my words, and I must confess that I have always found it a wholesome diet.
Winston Churchill
Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.
Winston Churchill
I have never developed indigestion from eating my words.
Kites rise highest against the wind - not with it.
The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.
Winston Churchill
It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.
Winston Churchill
When the war of the giants is over the wars of the pygmies will begin.
To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day.
Winston Churchill
We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us.
Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others.
Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat.
Winston Churchill
No crime is so great as daring to excel.
The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.
From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.
Winston Churchill
I like a man who grins when he fights.
Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.
Winston Churchill
I was only the servant of my country and had I, at any moment, failed to express her unflinching resolve to fight and conquer, I should at once have been rightly cast aside.
Winston Churchill
I always seem to get inspiration and renewed vitality by contact with this great novel land of yours which sticks up out of the Atlantic.
Winston Churchill
I am easily satisfied with the very best.
My rule of life prescribed as an absolutely sacred rite smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol before, after and if need be during all meals and in the intervals between them.
Winston Churchill
My wife and I tried two or three times in the last 40 years to have breakfast together, but it was so disagreeable we had to stop.
Winston Churchill
We have always found the Irish a bit odd. They refuse to be English.
I cannot pretend to be impartial about the colours. I rejoice with the brilliant ones, and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.
Winston Churchill
I am never going to have anything more to do with politics or politicians. When this war is over I shall confine myself entirely to writing and painting.
Winston Churchill
There is no such thing as public opinion. There is only published opinion.
My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me.
Winston Churchill
He has all of the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.
Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.
Winston Churchill
I am an optimist. It does not seem too much use being anything else.
An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.
In war, you can only be killed once, but in politics, many times.
Politics is almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times.
Winston Churchill
When I am abroad, I always make it a rule never to criticize or attack the government of my own country. I make up for lost time when I come home.
Winston Churchill
These are not dark days: these are great days – the greatest days our country has ever lived.
Winston Churchill
This is no time for ease and comfort. It is time to dare and endure.
You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.
Winston Churchill
To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.
War is mainly a catalogue of blunders.
A prisoner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him.
Winston Churchill
The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill
Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse.
Winston Churchill
We shall draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival.
Winston Churchill
Perhaps it is better to be irresponsible and right, than to be responsible and wrong.
Winston Churchill
It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see.
Winston Churchill
To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.
Baldwin thought Europe was a bore, and Chamberlain thought it was only a greater Birmingham.
Winston Churchill
Great and good are seldom the same man.
‘No comment’ is a splendid expression. I am using it again and again.
Winston Churchill
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.
Winston Churchill
If you go on with this nuclear arms race, all you are going to do is make the rubble bounce.
Winston Churchill
When you have to kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite.
Mr. Attlee is a very modest man. Indeed he has a lot to be modest about.
You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.
Winston Churchill
The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you can see.
True genius resides in the capacity for evaluation of uncertain, hazardous, and conflicting information.
Winston Churchill
Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room.
Winston Churchill
Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all.
Winston Churchill
History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.
The price of greatness is responsibility.
The great defense against the air menace is to attack the enemy’s aircraft as near as possible to their point of departure.
Winston Churchill
I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.
Winston Churchill
In those days he was wiser than he is now; he used to frequently take my advice.
Winston Churchill
If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.
We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.
Winston Churchill
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Winston Churchill
I always avoid prophesying beforehand, because it is a much better policy to prophesy after the event has already taken place.
Winston Churchill
The first quality that is needed is audacity.
History is written by the victors.
There are a terrible lot of lies going about the world, and the worst of it is that half of them are true.
Winston Churchill
Do not let spacious plans for a new world divert your energies from saving what is left of the old.
Winston Churchill
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.
Winston Churchill
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.
Winston Churchill
If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.
Winston Churchill
Difficulties mastered are opportunities won.
Politics is not a game. It is an earnest business.
A state of society where men may not speak their minds cannot long endure.
Study history, study history. In history lies all the secrets of statecraft.
Winston Churchill
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
Winston Churchill
It is a fine game to play – the game of politics – and it is well worth waiting for a good hand before really plunging.
Winston Churchill
In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.
Winston Churchill
Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.
Winston Churchill
Play the game for more than you can afford to lose… only then will you learn the game.
Winston Churchill
Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon.
Winston Churchill
We shall show mercy, but we shall not ask for it.
There are two things that are more difficult than making an after-dinner speech: climbing a wall which is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you.
Winston Churchill
If you're going through hell, keep going.
Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.
Winston Churchill
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
Winston Churchill
The short words are best, and the old words are the best of all.
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.
Winston Churchill
I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.
Winston Churchill
All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.
Winston Churchill
When you are winning a war almost everything that happens can be claimed to be right and wise.
Winston Churchill
If the human race wishes to have a prolonged and indefinite period of material prosperity, they have only got to behave in a peaceful and helpful way toward one another.
Winston Churchill
India is a geographical term. It is no more a united nation than the Equator.
Winston Churchill
Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
Never give in – never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.
Winston Churchill
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.
Winston Churchill
The power of an air force is terrific when there is nothing to oppose it.
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.
Winston Churchill
We do not covet anything from any nation except their respect.
I have been brought up and trained to have the utmost contempt for people who get drunk.
Winston Churchill
One ought never to turn one’s back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!
Winston Churchill
One does not leave a convivial party before closing time.
The problems of victory are more agreeable than those of defeat, but they are no less difficult.
Winston Churchill
It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.
The reserve of modern assertions is sometimes pushed to extremes, in which the fear of being contradicted leads the writer to strip himself of almost all sense and meaning.
Winston Churchill
Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
Winston Churchill
Never, never, never give up.
Although personally I am quite content with existing explosives, I feel we must not stand in the path of improvement.
Winston Churchill
Sure I am of this, that you have only to endure to conquer.
Meeting Franklin Roosevelt was like opening your first bottle of champagne; knowing him was like drinking it.
Winston Churchill
We occasionally stumble over the truth but most of us pick ourselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.
Winston Churchill
The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.
Winston Churchill
The power of man has grown in every sphere, except over himself.
We are stripped bare by the curse of plenty.
Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong.
I'm just preparing my impromptu remarks.
 Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.
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.
Winston Churchill
Too often the strong, silent man is silent only because he does not know what to say, and is reputed strong only because he has remained silent.
Winston Churchill
I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me.
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.
Winston Churchill
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.
Winston Churchill
Eating words has never given me indigestion.
We are asking the nations of Europe between whom rivers of blood have flowed to forget the feuds of a thousand years.
Winston Churchill
Want of foresight, unwillingness to act when action would be simple and effective, lack of clear thinking, confusion of counsel until the emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong – these are the features which constitute the endless repetition of history.
Winston Churchill
A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.
Winston Churchill
Really I feel less keen about the Army every day. I think the Church would suit me better.
Winston Churchill
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.
Winston Churchill
It is a fine thing to be honest, but it is also very important to be right.
Winston Churchill
Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.
War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can’t smile, grin. If you can’t grin, keep out of the way till you can.
Winston Churchill
Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities… because it is the quality which guarantees all others.
Winston Churchill
This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.
Winston Churchill
Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.
In war as in life, it is often necessary when some cherished scheme has failed, to take up the best alternative open, and if so, it is folly not to work for it with all your might.
Winston Churchill
If we open a quarrel between past and present, we shall find that we have lost the future.
Winston Churchill
Politics is the ability to foretell what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month and next year. And to have the ability afterwards to explain why it didn’t happen.
Winston Churchill
We are all worms. But I believe that I am a glow-worm.
Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all.
It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.
Winston Churchill
Politics are very much like war. We may even have to use poison gas at times.
Winston Churchill
Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.
I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.
Winston Churchill
What kind of people do they think we are? Is it possible they do not realize that we shall never cease to persevere against them until they have been taught a lesson which they and the world will never forget?
Winston Churchill
Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.
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.
Winston Churchill
No part of the education of a politician is more indispensable than the fighting of elections.
Winston Churchill
Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.
Winston Churchill
I am always ready to learn although I do not always like being taught.
I never worry about action, but only inaction.
We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
It is more agreeable to have the power to give than to receive.
The British nation is unique in this respect. They are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst.
Winston Churchill
Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.
I am certainly not one of those who need to be prodded. In fact, if anything, I am the prod.
Winston Churchill
Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a person or keep him in prison because he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilization.
Winston Churchill
If the Almighty were to rebuild the world and asked me for advice, I would have English Channels round every country. And the atmosphere would be such that anything which attempted to fly would be set on fire.
Winston Churchill
I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.
Battles are won by slaughter and maneuver. The greater the general, the more he contributes in maneuver, the less he demands in slaughter.
Winston Churchill
It is no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.
Winston Churchill
No idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered with a searching but at the same time a steady eye.
Winston Churchill
If it weren’t for painting, I wouldn’t live; I couldn’t bear the extra strain of things.
Winston Churchill
A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Winston Churchill