On 50th Anniversary of Churchill's Death, 13 Unforgettable Quotes

Haaretz remembers the late 'British Bulldog' with a selection of some of his most iconic – and sardonic – utterances.


Fifty years ago today, Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill – two-time Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, historian, writer and Nobel Prize in Literature Laureate – passed away, aged 90, in his London home.

As Britain's prime minister during much of World War II, Churchill rallied his people behind the banner of democracy and dogged resistance to Nazism's rampage across Europe. His rousing speeches and radio addresses are credited with lifting a besieged Britain's spirits. The 'British Bulldog,' as he was known, ultimately led his nation to victory – and is roundly regarded as one of the twentieth century's most memorable figures. Here are 13 of his unforgettable quotes: 

On war and peace:

1. "If Hitler invaded hell I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons."

2. "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."

3. "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."

4. "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."

5. "In war, you can only be killed once, but in politics, many times."

On democracy:

6. "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."

7. "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

8. "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent."

On Jews:

9. "Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and the most remarkable race which has appeared in the world.” 

On himself:

10. "History will be kind to me for I intend to write it."

And finally, on his beloved vices:

11. "I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me."

12. "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."

13. "I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly."

U.K.Prime Minister Winston Churchill tries a Tommy Gun during a visit to north-east England, Aug. 1, 1940. (AP/British Official Photo)

Marines lead the funeral march escorting Winston Churchill's coffin, London, Jan. 30, 1965. (AFP)