Sir Winston Churchill was a member of the British parliament for more than 60 years, twice prime minister of Great Britain, and the nation's leader through most of World War II. In the military near the turn of the century, he also wrote for British newspapers. Sent to cover the South African War for the Morning Post, he was captured by the Boers in 1899. His daring escape made him an instant celebrity.
Churchill was elected to parliament in 1900 as a Conservative. By 1904 his political sympathies had changed, and he abandoned the Conservatives for the Liberals. When the Liberals came to power the following year, he became under secretary of state for the colonies. In 1910 he was appointed home secretary and the following year, first lord of the Admiralty.
After World War I, and a period during which the Liberals lost power, Churchill was removed from the Admiralty, and he lost his seat in parliament. Over the next years, he gradually moved back into alliance with the Conservatives. He returned to parliament in 1924 and was offered the position of chancellor of the exchequer, which he held for five years. Churchill returned as first lord of the Admiralty in September 1939 and moved up to prime minister in May 1940. He directed Britain's policies during World War II, which included developing strong alliances with the United States and Russia.
With the end of the war, the Conservatives were swept out of office and Churchill with them. He returned to power in 1951, suffered a stroke two years later, and left office in 1955.