Quotes Falsely Attributed to Winston Churchill

Conservative by the Time You’re 35

‘If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart.  If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.’

There is no record of anyone hearing Winston Churchill say this. Paul Addison of Edinburgh University made this comment: ‘Surely Churchill can’t have used the words attributed to him. He’d been a Conservative at 15 and a Liberal at 35!  And would he have talked so disrespectfully of Clemmie, who is generally thought to have been a lifelong Liberal?’


‘Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.’

This fake quote is very often attributed to Churchill but appears nowhere in the Churchill canon.

Cross of Lorraine

‘The hardest cross I have to bear is the Cross of Lorraine.’

This remark about the intractable Charles de Gaulle was actually made by General Spears, Churchill’s envoy to France.


‘You have enemies? Good. It means that you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.’

According to PolitiFact, the quote attributed to Churchill is a rough paraphrase of Victor Hugo, the French playwright, from an essay he wrote a century before the Nazis were defeated.

Going Through Hell

‘If you’re going through hell, keep going.’

We have yet to see any correct attribution of this quote that frequently appears on the Internet and printed on motivation posters. This fake quote is not a phrase that is contained anywhere in the canon of Winston Churchill’s written or spoken words.

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The Maiden Speech

February 18, 1901. House of Commons

After his Oldham victory, Churchill went on an extended lecture tour in Britain, the United States and Canada. He returned on February 10 exhausted, but with the knowledge that he had acquired, through his lecture fees and royalties from his books, nearly £10,000.

Churchill’s maiden speech was made on February 18th immediately after an inflammatory speech by David Lloyd George. “He had a moderately phrased amendment on the Order paper,” Churchill wrote in My Early Life, “but whether he would move it was not certain.” As Lloyd George continued, Churchill related that “a sense of alarm and even despair crept across me. Then Mr. Thomas Gibson-Bowles whispered to me, ‘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. It fell only just in time. “(My Early Life, 364).

In the course of the speech Churchill said. “If I were a Boer. I hope I should be fighting in the field. ” Joseph Chamberlain muttered back, “That’s the way to throw away seats.” The speech was successful; immediately afterwards he met Lloyd George for the first time.

—Sir Robert Rhodes James

Churchill Centre Note: Churchill in his autobiography was too modest. He demonstrated at least twice in this Maiden Speech in response to interruptions—one to his mention of the controversial Sir Alfred Milner, once in regard to Irish nationalism—that he was fast on his feet and able to respond with humor and clear knowledge of the issues.

Vanity Fair Cartoon

I understood that the hon. Member to whose speech the House has just listened, had intended to move an Amendment to the Address. The text of the Amendment, which had appeared in the papers, was singularly mild and moderate in tone; but mild and moderate as it was, neither the hon. Member nor his political friends had cared to expose it to criticism or to challenge a division upon it, and, indeed, when we compare the moderation of the Amendment with the very bitter speech which the hon. Member has just delivered, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the moderation of the Amendment was the moderation of the hon. Member’s political friends and leaders, and that the bitterness of his speech is all his own.

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Winston Churchill Quotes


It is arguable whether the human race have been gainers by the march of science beyond the steam engine. Electricity opens a field of infinite conveniences to ever greater numbers, but they may well have to pay dearly for them. But anyhow in my thought I stop short of the internal combustion engine which has made the world so much smaller. Still more must we fear the consequences of entrusting to a human race so little different from their predecessors of the so-called barbarous ages such awful agencies as the atomic bomb. Give me the horse.

Scientific Progress
~ Winston Churchill, 10 July 1951, Royal College of Physicians, London

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