Quotes

Mustard

‘A gentleman does not have a ham sandwich without mustard.’

Dinner with Churchill: Policymaking at the Dinner Table, Cita Stelzer, p 94. 

Captain of Our Souls

“The mood of Britain is wisely and rightly averse from every form of shallow or premature exultation. This is no time for boasts or glowing prophecies, but there is this—a year ago our position looked forlorn, and well nigh desperate, to all eyes but our own. Today we may say aloud before an awe-struck world, ‘We are still masters of our fate. We still are captain of our souls.'”

       —House of Commons, 9 September 1941

Linchpin of the English-Speaking World

“Canada is the linchpin of the English-speaking world. Canada, with those relations of friendly, affectionate intimacy with the United States on the one hand and with her unswerving fidelity to the British Commonwealth and the Motherland on the other, is the link which joins together these great branches of the human family, a link which, spanning the oceans, brings the continents into their true relation and will prevent in future generations any growth of division between the proud and the happy nations of Europe and the great countries which have come into existence in the New World.”

—Mansion House, London, 4 September 1941, at a luncheon in honour of Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada.

Read More >

Did Churchill Coin the Term ‘Iron Curtain’? He used the term 'Iron Curtain' in his famous 1946 speech

Churchill and Truman in Fulton, Missouri 5 March 1946Winston Churchill and Harry Truman arrive in Fulton, Missouri on 5 March 1946

On 5 March 1946, Winston Churchill gave his famous ‘Iron Curtain’ speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. The speech that Churchill called the ‘Sinews of Peace’ later became better known for the famous phrase it contained, ‘iron curtain’.

But did Churchill coin the phrase?

Churchill’s first known use of the phrase was in a letter to President Truman in May of 1945, where he wrote:

‘An iron curtain is drawn down upon their front. We do not know what is going on behind. There seems little doubt that the whole of the region Lubeck-Trieste-Corfu will soon be completely in their hands. [Following American withdrawal] a broad band of many hundreds of miles of Russian-occupied territory will isolate us from Poland.…it would be open to the Russians in a very short time to advance if they chose, to the waters of the North Sea and the Atlantic.’

Read More >

Churchill Quotes: ‘One-Liners’

A list of the best Churchill ‘one-liner’ quotes

Searching the internet will return hundreds of short quotes attributed to Winston Churchill–many of which are incorrect. Here we examine a list of Churchill’s best ‘one-liners’ throughout his life. 

“Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.” —1898

“I object on principle to doing by legislation what properly belongs to

“War never pays its dividends in cash on the money it costs.” —1901

“Those who dealt in guineas were not usually of the impoverished class.” —1903 (The guinea, 21 shillings or £1/1/0, was sometimes featured in snooty adverts promoting high-priced goods in guineas rather than pounds.)

“Direct taxation was a great corrector of extravagance.” —1904

“The nose of the bulldog has been slanted backwards so that he can breathe without letting go.” —1905

Read More >

Churchill Quotes on Champagne

Champagne

‘A single glass of champagne imparts a feeling of exhilaration. The nerves are braced, the imagination is agreeably stirred, the wits become more nimble. A bottle produces a contrary effect. Excess causes a comatose insensibility. So it is with war, and the quality of both is best discovered by sipping. Winston Churchill, 1898, Malakand Field Force.

‘First things first. Get the champagne.’ Winston Churchill, 1931, New York.

‘I could not live without Champagne. In victory I deserve it. In defeat I need it.’ Winston Churchill, 1946
Read More >

The Worst Form of Government

‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’

Winston S Churchill, 11 November 1947
Read More >

Right and Consistent

‘…it is better to be both right and consistent. But if you have to choose—you must choose to be right.’

-Winston S Churchill, 11 October 1952 in a speech to the Conservative Party Conference.
Read More >

Young Liberal

According to Sir Martin Gilbert, on October 28 1951, in an attempt to persuade the Liberals to join his new Government as Prime Minister for the second time, Winston Churchill had invited the Leader of the Liberal Parliamentary Party, Clement Davies, to visit him. Pitblado (his Principal Private Secretary) later recalled how, as the talk progressed, Churchill ‘was politely gloomy’. At one point the conversation turned to the past:

Clem Davies: Do you remember speaking at Bradford in 1909?
Winston: No.
Clemmie: Yes dear, you must.
Winston. Ah yes. That was when I was a young Liberal. I must have made a very truculent speech.
Read More >

The Future of France

Is France finished? Is that long and famous history, adorned by so many manifestations of genius and valour, bearing with it so much that is precious to culture and civilisation, and above all to the liberties of mankind—is all that now to sink for ever into the ocean of the past, or will France rise again and resume her rightful place in the structure of what may one day be again the family of Europe? I declare to you here, on this considerable occasion, even now when misguided or suborned Frenchmen are firing upon their rescuers, I declare to you my faith that France will rise again.

-Winston S Churchill, 10 November 1942, Mansion House, London. 
Read More >

Literature’s Classics

‘I devoured Gibbon. I rode triumphantly through it from end to end and enjoyed it all. I scribbled all my opinions on the margins of the pages, and very soon found myself a vehement partisan of the author against the disparagements of his pompous-pious editor.… From Gibbon I went to Macaulay. I had learnt [as a boy] The Lays of Ancient Rome by heart, and loved them; and of course I knew he had written a history; but I had never read a page of it.…I accepted all Macaulay wrote as gospel, and I was grieved to read his harsh judgments upon the Great Duke of Marlborough. There was no one at hand to tell me that this historian with his captivating style and devastating self-confidence was the prince of literary rogues, who always preferred the tale to the truth, and smirched or glorified great men and garbled documents according as they affected his drama.’

– Winston S Churchill, My Early Life, 1930.
Read More >

New Year’s Toast 1942

Churchill-Toast26th August 1946: Former British prime minister Winston Churchill and his wife Clementine make a toast upon their arrival in Switzerland. (© Photo by Keystone/Getty Images.)‘Here’s to 1942, here’s to a year of toil—a year of struggle and peril, and a long step forward towards victory. May we all come through safe and with honour.’

– Winston S Churchill, 1 January 1942. On a train from Ottawa to Washington, D.C., Churchill made this New Year’s toast to staff and reporters after summoning them to the dining car.
Read More >

Maiden Speech Churchill gave his maiden speech on 18 Feb 1901

‘[Lloyd George had a moderately phrased amendment but] soon became animated and even violent. I constructed in succession sentence after sentence to hook on with after he should sit down.…Then Mr. Bowles whispered “You might say ‘instead of making his violent speech without moving his moderate amendment, he had better have moved his moderate amendment without making his violent speech.’” Manna in the wilderness was not more welcome!.…I was up before I knew it, and reciting Tommy Bowles’s rescuing sentence. It won a general cheer.…Everyone was very kind. The usual restoratives were applied, and I sat in a comfortable coma till I was strong enough to go home.’

– Winston S Churchill, My Early Life, 1930.
Read More >

Language

The greatest tie of all is language.…Words are the only things that last for ever. The most tremendous monuments or prodigies of engineering crumble under the hand of Time. The Pyramids moulder, the bridges rust, the canals fill up, grass covers the railway track; but words spoken two or three thousand years ago remain with us now, not as mere relics of the past, but with all their pristine vital force.

-Winston S Churchill, 15 May 1938, News of the World.
Read More >

Order of the Boot

‘How can I accept the Order of the Garter, when the people of England have just given me the Order of the Boot?’

-Winston S Churchill, September 1945.

Following the July 1945 election, when Churchill and his government were put out of office, King George VI offered him the Order of the Garter, which he declined.
Read More >

Join Now

Join NowPlease join with us to help preserve the memory of Winston Churchill and continue to explore how his life, experiences and leadership are ever-more relevant in today’s chaotic world. BENEFITS >BECOME A MEMBER >

WinstonChurchill.org

The International Churchill Society (ICS), founded in 1968 shortly after Churchill death, is the world’s preeminent member organisation dedicated to preserving the historic legacy of Sir Winston Churchill.

At a time when leadership is challenged at every turn, that legacy looms larger and remains more relevant than ever.