Three days after becoming Prime Minister, Winston Spencer Churchill (1874-1965) told the Commons: “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat,” but he promised “victory, however long and hard the road may be.” This speech was the first of many that inspired the country. After Dunkirk, with invasion seemingly inevitable, Churchill vowed: “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.” And at the height of the Battle of Britain he paid his immortal tribute to the RAF: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” The British loved that unmistakable voice coming from their wireless sets, with its growling inflections and snarled references to “the Narzies”. And they loved, too, his two-fingered V-for-victory sign, the no-nonsense siren suit, the massive cigars and the bulldog look. Churchill surrounded himself with able men, but men who would bend to his will. He made himself Minister of Defence, and thereby became effective warlord, and a ruthless “hirer and firer” of generals and admirals. His judgments were seldom wrong, and brought to the fore such architects of victory as Montgomery, Cunningham and Alexander. In his conduct of the war he sometimes gambled outrageously and made a few costly mistakes, such as the attempt to capture the Dodecanese islands in 1943. However, he knew the need to keep on the offensive, and once said “Safety first is ruin in war”. He saw the importance of defeating the Germans in North Africa, and weakened Britain's defensive forces by sending reinforcements there, a gamble that paid off handsomely. When the Soviet Union and USA entered the war, Churchill developed a strange love-hate relationship with Stalin, who he admired but did not trust. But he struck up a warm friendship with Roosevelt. It was a friendship which survived Roosevelt's taunt that “Churchill has a hundred ideas a day, and only four of them are any good” (to which Churchill replied that the remark came ill from a man who never had any ideas at all). When D-Day came, Churchill wanted to sail with the invasion fleet, but the King dissuaded him. However, as the Germans retreated he made many visits to the front, a constant worry for those responsible for his safety. When the war in Europe ended, Winston enjoyed the accolades he so richly deserved. Addressing a large crowd in Whitehall he announced: “This is your victory.” The crowd responded: “No, it is yours.” But two months later he was defeated at the polls. The British, who had adored him as their war leader, just did not see him as the man to win the peace.