High School Essay Contest
The Churchill Society of New Orleans sponsors a yearly essay contest for high school students in the Metropolitan New Orleans area, for the purpose of encouraging young people to learn more about the great man, and thereby to absorb some of his wisdom, his courage, and his masterful use of the English language.
The deadline for this year’s contest is April 1, 2016.
Please address any questions about the contest to firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Enter
Churchill Society of New Orleans
5801 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70115
Online Entry Form
Essay Topic 2015-16
Winston Churchill’s history of World War II bears the following motto: In War: Resolution. In Defeat: Defiance. In Victory: Magnanimity. In Peace: Goodwill. From Churchill’s life, set out examples of these qualities, in particular Defiance and Magnanimity.
Researching and Other Helpful Tips
Students will find the following helpful:
Elsewhere on this web-site can be found an introduction to Churchill’s life and words, under the heading “WINSTON CHURCHILL – A BRIEF BIOGRAPHY”
Here are some quotes from Churchill that bear on this year’s topic, preceded by background information:
1. In 1899 Churchill resigned from the army. Having written one book about his experiences in British colonial wars abroad (and working on a second), he had no difficulty gaining employment as a war correspondent in South Africa. The Dutch settlers of parts of South Africa resisted being governed by the British, and during the years 1899 to 1902 engaged in a war for independence known as the Boer War. Although no longer in the military, Churchill could not resist becoming an active participant, and as a result was captured by the Boers in late 1899. His dramatic escape made him a celebrity. Upon his return to Britain he was elected to Parliament. In his very first speech, February 18, 1901, he supported a generous policy toward the Boers. Among his remarks were the following:
I hope that the Colonial Secretary will leave nothing undone to bring home to those brave and unhappy men [the Boers] who are fighting in the field that whenever they are prepared to recognize that their small independence must be merged in the larger liberties of the British Empire, there will be a full guarantee for the security of their property and religion, an assurance of equal rights, a promise of representative institutions, and last of all, but not least of all, what the British Army would most readily accord to a brave and enduring foe – all the honors of war… If the Boers remain deaf to the voice of reason, and blind to the hand of friendship, then, while we cannot help admiring their determination and endurance, we can only hope that our own people, in the pursuit of what we feel to be righteous cause, will show determination as strong and endurance as lasting.
2. In his 1930 book, My Early Life, Churchill himself set out three examples of being both determined in battle and generous to the defeated:
I thought we ought to have conquered the Irish and then given them Home Rule, that we ought to have starved out the Germans, and then fled their country; and that after smashing the General Strike, we should have met the grievances of the miners.
3. Churchill’s numerous defiant speeches in 1940, when Britain appeared about to be overwhelmed by Germany are well known. Particularly cogent is this excerpt from his June 4, 1940 speech:
We shall not flag or fail. We shall fight on the seas and oceans we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, 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!
4. After the French surrendered to the Germans in 1940, having failed to put up much of a fight, Churchill did not complain of their failure, instead he said:
There is no use or advantage in wasting strength and time upon hard words and reproaches.
5. Shortly after Germany surrendered in 1945, Churchill visited the ruins of Hitler’s Chancellery in Berlin. A large crowd of Germans there cheered him, and he wrote:
My hate had died with their surrender and I was much moved by their demonstrations, and by their haggard looks and threadbare clothes.
WRITING TIPS FOR A WINNING ESSAY:
1. Be sure of your facts before you write something that is wrong – like the country in which something took place, or the role that Churchill played.
2. Proof read your essay. Reading it out loud will help you to find mistakes – words left out or those that are slightly wrong.
3. Attaching a bibliography to your essay will help the judges understand how you obtained the ideas and information in your essay.
4. Churchill was an author, supporting himself and his family by writing books that sold well. He used short words and short phrases to get his point across clearly. Note how he uses short phrases here to great effect:
“Come then, let us to the task, to the battle, to the toil – each to our part, each to our station. Fill the armies, rule the air, pour out the munitions, strangle the U-boats, sweep the mines, plough the land, build the ships, guard the streets, succor the wounded, uplift the downcast and honor the brave.”
Churchill starts with a short but clear sentence. Then, instead of writing a separate sentence or paragraph about each idea, Churchill put many ideas into one sentence. In your writing, clarity and brevity is always a good idea. The essay you are writing is short, but it could contain a lot if you write carefully and thoughtfully.
5. Try to put forth several points rather than repeating the same one in different ways.
The Society is happy to provide 3 short books about Churchill to any school that wishes to participate and asks for the books.
A member of the Board of the Churchill Society can come and speak to a class if requested.
A wealth of additional information about Churchill is available at www.winstonchurchill.org, the website of the national organization for Churchill fans known as The Churchill Centre.
1. Students at any high school located in Louisiana or Mississippi are eligible to participate.
2. The essay should address the Topic given above.
3. Essay should be between 500 and 1000 words, typed double spaced.
4. Essays will be judged on knowledge of Churchill, relevance to the Topic, and good use of the English language.
5. A student’s teacher and parents are encouraged to help with the research and to comment on essay drafts, but the student must produce the paper. We ask that the name of the teacher responsible for the student’s participation be provided on the Entry Form.
6. The deadline for submission of this year’s essay is April 1, 2016.
Churchill: A Timeline
1874 Birth occurs at Blenheim Palace, Nov. 30
1888 Pupil at Harrow public school
1895 Commissioned soldier in Fourth Hussars
1899 War correspondent in South Africa; captured and escapes
1900 Elected Minister of Parliament for Oldham
1908 Marries Clementine Hozier at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster.
1910 Home Secretary
1911 First Lord of the Admiralty
1915 On Western Front - World War I
1921 Colonial Secretary
1922 Buys Chartwell
1924 Chancellor of the Exchequer
1939 Returns as First Lord of the Admiralty, World War II declared
1940 Prime Minister
1945 Defeated by Labour in General Election.
1951 Returns as Prime Minister
1955 Resigns as Prime Minister after two strokes
1965 Dies Jan. 24 in London. Hundreds of thousands hold vigil.
1977 Wife, Clementine Churchill, dies. Both buried together at Bladon.
Books By Churchill
My Early Life – An autobiography covering the first twenty-five years of Churchill’s life
The River War – Lord Kitchner’s reconquest of the Sudan in 1898. Published in 1899; (2 vols.) Also published in a one volume abridged edition.
A History of the English Speaking Peoples
Marlborough – a biography of his ancestor, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, Published in four, six, and two volume editions.
The World Crisis – a six-volume history of the First World War.
The Second World War – six volumes, sometimes reprinted as twelve volumes
Painting as a Pastime – an essay on the joys of painting