The onset of WWI in August 1914 thrust Churchill into the limelight again, but this time at centre stage in an international crisis. For a ‘man of action’, this was the place to be. Eager to emulate the deeds of his ancestor, the Duke of Marlborough, Churchill felt anticipation and excitement – and the promise of glories to come – as the prospect of war became unavoidable. As First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill issued the order to the Navy to act – to ‘commence hostilities’.
‘I’m finished … I’m done. What I want above all things is to take some active part in beating the Germans … I’d go out to the Front at once.’Churchill to Violet Asquith, in Champion Redoubtable: The Diaries and Letters of Violet Bonham Carter, 1914–1945 (ed. Pottle)
WWI was to be a time of great personal challenge for Churchill; it was to demand personal bravery and resilience in the face of both physical danger and intense mental battles. He did indeed ‘put his head into the lion’s mouth’.
Get the Churchill Bulletin delivered to your inbox once a month.