Churchill on Leading With Calm During a Crisis

The Winston Churchill statue in Parliament Square, London.

I recently finished reading The Splendid and the Vile, a fantastic novel depicting Winston Churchill’s first year as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. While reading, I was struck by the gravity of the situation Churchill faced immediately upon stepping into office.

Hitler had begun his conquest across Europe conquering Holland and Belgium. France would fall soon afterwards. Throughout his first 12 months as Prime Minister, Germany would bomb the United Kingdom relentlessly, killing tens of thousands and destroying many cities. Leading a nation at any time would be a monumental task. Leading a nation through World War II, with the threat of constant bombing and imminent invasion is hard to fathom.

Throughout it all, across many public addresses, Churchill recognized the importance of maintaining a confident and positive front. It was perhaps one of his greatest traits, presenting a courageous attitude that made other people feel stronger and more hopeful.

He articulated the importance of this specifically in a message to all ministers:

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