Winston Churchill must rank pretty high when it comes to political comebacks.
After being a young political rising star in the early 1900s, Churchill was appointed First Lord of the Admiralty in time for World War 1.
After the disastrous Gallipoli campaign, he resigned and joined the army for a couple of years before returning to politics. His political star continued to rise culminating in his appointment as Chancellor of the Exchequer in the late 1920s.
When the Conservative Party was defeated in 1929 Churchill was relegated to the Back Bench when he held no important portfolio and appeared to be intentionally isolated by Conservative Party leader Stanley Baldwin.
This period of his life is known as the ‘wilderness years’ during which Churchill spoke out often and loudly against the rise of Fascism in Europe and was widely condemned for it (Fascist Germany was seen as a useful bulwark against Soviet Russia). He was seen as being an anachronism of the past with no political future.
However, as Europe inched towards war it because clear that Churchill had been right all along and by 1939, with the Conservatives back in power.
Churchill was invited once again to serve as First Lord. This appointment wouldn’t last long however as Prime Minister Chamberlain lost the support of the House in 1940 following a series of strategic errors.
There was only one candidate who was seen as having had the experience needed to lead Britain during the worst crisis of its history – so Churchill was appointed Prime Minister – solidifying an amazing comeback.
But wait! There’s more.
Churchill lost the 1945 General Election but stayed on as Conservative Party leader through the next five years until he was finally elected Prime Minister again in 1951. In this position, he would serve honorably until his retirement in 1955.
By the time of his death at the age of 90 in 1965, he was acknowledged as perhaps Britain’s Greatest Ever Prime Minister and a towering figure who stood astride some of the 20th Century’s most historic events.