Winston Churchill
World War II Timeline

1939, September 3
– Churchill is reappointed First Lord of the Admiralty at the outbreak of World War II.

winston-churchill-photoChurchill dons a helmet
during an air raid in 1940 .

@ Winston Churchill World War II
1940, May 10 – British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain resigns and Churchill becomes Prime Minister.

- June 18 – Churchill makes his famous “finest hour” speech to the House of Commons.
He later creates the Ministry of Defense and puts newspaper tycoon Lord Beaverbrook in charge of beefing up Britain’s air force.

1941, August – Chruchill meets President Franklin D. Roosevelt for the first time abord a ship in Newfoundland. The leaders sign the Atlantic Charter, a blueprint for world politics after World War II.

1941, December – Churchill suffers a mild heart attack while visiting Roosevelt in the White House.

1943. November 28 to December 1
– Churchill, Roosevelt and Soviet leader Joseph Stalin meet at the Tehran Conference.

The "Big Three" leaders discuss strategies for winning the war. Churchill and Roosevelt also concede that Stalin can keep most of Eastern Poland, which was taken over by the Soviets near the start of the war.

1944, October –
Churchill visits Moscow to meet Stalin and the Soviet leadership. The leaders informally discuss who should have control over what in Europe after the expected fall of Nazi Germany.

1945, February 4 - 11 –
The Yalta Conference. Churchill meets with the other Big Three leaders, Stalin and Roosevelt, to formally draw up the post-war reorganization of Europe.

churchill-roosevelt-stalin-yaltaChurchill (left), with Roosevelt and Stalin at the Yalta Conference.
@ Winston Churchill World War II

-February 13-15 –
British and U.S. bombers attack the German city of Dresden, killing up to 22,000 civilians. Some historians say Churchill bares the ultimate responsibility for the attack.
Churchill orders the creation of “Operation Unthinkable”, an unused plan to attack the Soviet Union shortly after the end of the war against Germany.

-May 8 – Churchill announces the German surrender to the British people.

-July 5 –
Churchill is defeated in a general election and becomes the Leader of the Opposition.

trumanChurchill had good
relations with
President Truman,
when they weren't
playing poker .

@ Winston Churchill
World War II
1946, March 5 – Churchill visits the United States, whips President Harry Truman in a game of poker and makes his famous “Iron Curtain” speech about the impending Cold War with the Soviet Union.

1951, October 25 – Churchill again becomes Prime Minster.

1953, April 23 – Churchill is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

June –
Churchill suffers a severe stroke in his offices at 10 Downing Street.
He retreats to his country home and returns to public life in October.
Churchill receives the Nobel Prize for Literature for his written works, in particular his six-volume The Second World War.

1955 – Churchill retires as Prime Minister and becomes a backbencher.

1956, February – Churchill suffers another minor stroke.

winston-churchill-colorChurchill was the first
honorary U.S. citizen.

@ Winston Churchill
World War II
1963 – Churchill is proclaimed an Honorary Citizen of the United States by President John F. Kennedy, becoming the first person be awarded the honor.

1964 – Churchill leaves politics.

1965, January 15 – Churchill suffers a severe stroke.

January 24 – Churchill dies aged 90. He is given a state funeral at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral.

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Written by C. Anderson, 2010. Last updated 2011.

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References for Winston Churchill World War II Timeline

Churchill: A Life, Martin Gilbert, 1992

World War II Behind Closed Doors, Laurence Rees, 2008

Winston Churchill, a Biographical Companion, Chris Wrigley, 2002.


Photo sources

• Winston Churchill air raid Library of Congress

• Yalta Conference WikiCommons

• Truman

• Churchill honorary citizen

• Churchill honorary citizen

Unless otherwise stated, all photos used on the page Winston Churchill World War II Timeline are, to our knowledge, in the public domain. If you think otherwise, please let us know.