Winston Churchill Quotes

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) was a British statesman and Conservative politician. Churchill was Prime Minister from 1940 to 1945 and from 1951 to 1955. He is known as one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century.

Churchill was a Nobel Prize winner (for literature) and the first Honorary Citizen of the U.S.

During his first mandate (from 1940 to 1945), Churchill had an extremely important role in victory over Nazism. In 1945, the Conservative Party lost the elections, and Churchill became the Opposition leader. He had another mandate from 1951 to 1955, after which he retired. Churchill is considered one of the most important persons in European history.

Winston Churchill Quotes

If you have ten thousand regulations you destroy all respect for the law.

— Winston Churchill

You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.

— Winston Churchill

For my own part I have always felt that a politician is to be judged by the animosities which he excites among his opponents. I have always set myself not merely to relish but to deserve thoroughly their censure.

— Winston Churchill, Institute of Journalists Dinner, London (17 November, 1906)

There is no such thing as a good tax.

— Winston Churchill

When you have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite.

— Winston Churchill, The Second World War, Volume III : The Grand Alliance (1950)

You see these dictators on their pedestals, surrounded by the bayonets of their soldiers and the truncheons of their police. On all sides they are guarded by masses of armed men, cannons, aeroplanes, fortifications, and the like – they boast and vaunt themselves before the world, yet in their hearts there is unspoken fear. They are afraid of words and thoughts; words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home – all the more powerful because forbidden – terrify them. A little mouse of thought appears in the room, and even the mightiest potentates are thrown into panic. They make frantic efforts to bar our thoughts and words; they are afraid of the workings of the human mind. Cannons, airplanes, they can manufacture in large quantities; but how are they to quell the natural promptings of human nature, which after all these centuries of trial and progress has inherited a whole armoury of potent and indestructible knowledge?

— Winston Churchill, 16 October, 1938

The price of greatness is responsibility.

— Winston Churchill

The power of the Executive to cast a man in prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government.

— Winston Churchill, 21 November, 1942

If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.

— Winston Churchill

To jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war.

— Winston Churchill, 26 June, 1954

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

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

It is a socialist idea that making profits is a vice. I consider the real vice is making losses.

— Winston Churchill

Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried.

— Winston Churchill, Speech in the House of Commons (11 November, 1947)

Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy.

— Winston Churchill, Speech at the Scottish Unionist Conference (28 May, 1948)

To improve is to change, so to be perfect is to have changed often.

— Winston Churchill

There are those non-God religions, Nazism and Communism. We are urged from the Continent and from different quarters that we must choose which side we are on. I repudiate both, and will have nothing to do with either. As a matter of fact, they are like two peas. Tweedledum and Tweedledee were violently contrasted compared with them.

— Winston Churchill, Speech in Leeds, 25 January 1937

It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations.

— Winston Churchill, My Early Life: A Roving Commission (1930)

The salvation of the common people of every race and of every land from war or servitude must be established on solid foundations and must be guarded by the readiness of all men and women to die rather than submit to tyranny.

— Winston Churchill, Speech at Zurich University (19 September, 1946)

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

— Winston Churchill

All the greatest things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: Freedom; Justice; Honour; Duty; Mercy; Hope.

— Winston Churchill, United Europe Meeting, Albert Hall, London (14 May, 1947)

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

— Winston Churchill

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

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

— Winston Churchill

It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.

— Winston Churchill

I decline utterly to be impartial as between the fire brigade and the fire.

— Winston Churchill, Speech in the House of Commons (7 July, 1926)

War is mainly a catalogue of blunders.

— Winston Churchill, The Second World War, Volume III : The Grand Alliance (1950)

What is the use of living, if it be not to strive for noble causes and to make this muddled world a better place for those who will live in it after we are gone?

— Winston Churchill, Speech at Kinnaird Hall, Dundee, Scotland (10 October, 1908)

The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery.

— Winston Churchill, Speech in the House of Commons (22 October, 1945)

Personally I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.

— Winston Churchill

Truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may distort it, but there it is.

— Winston Churchill, Speech in the House of Commons (17 May, 1916)

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realise that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events. Antiquated War Offices, weak, incompetent, or arrogant Commanders, untrustworthy allies, hostile neutrals, malignant Fortune, ugly surprises, awful miscalculations – all take their seats at the Council Board on the morrow of a declaration of war. Always remember, however sure you are that you could easily win, that there would not be a war if the other man did not think he also had a chance.

— Winston Churchill, My Early Life: A Roving Commission (1930)

Will the shutting out of foreign goods increase the total amount of wealth in this country? Can foreign nations grow rich at our expense by selling us goods under cost price? Can a people tax themselves into prosperity? Can a man stand in a bucket and lift himself up by the handle?

— Winston Churchill, Speech at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, England (1904)

The farther backward you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.

— Winston Churchill

If you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.

— Winston Churchill, The Second World War, Volume I : The Gathering Storm (1948)

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

— Winston Churchill

In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Good Will.

— Winston Churchill, The Second World War, Volume I : The Gathering Storm (1948)

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. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.

— Winston Churchill, Speech given at Harrow School, Harrow, England, (29 October, 1941)