Winston Churchill was, by any standards, one of the greatest lives of the 20th century. During his half-century career as a military and political leader in Great Britain, Churchill endured numerous vicissitudes and controversies, reaching his zenith as Prime Minister during World War II. His steadfastness in the face of Nazi aggression made him a heroic figure, not only in England, but in the United States, where he became the first person to ever be made an honorary citizen. Jeremy Black’s lecture will focus on Churchill as wartime leader and will emphasize the role of the individual and the extent to which the outcome of WWII was far from inevitable. He will also discuss Churchill in light of the complexities of a late imperial figure surviving into the age of the Cold War. An eminent European historian, Professor Black has spoken several times in the Great Lives Series, including highly popular presentations on George III and Napoleon.
Jeremy Black studied at Queens College Cambridge, St. Johns College Oxford, and Merton College at Oxford. He began his teaching career at the University of Durham in 1980 before moving to Exeter University in 1996, where he is the current holder of the Established Chair in History. In addition to his teaching, Professor Black has held a number of important public roles, including that of editor of Archives, the journal of the British Records Association. His prodigious scholarly output encompasses more than 100 publications, mainly on, but not limited to, British and continental European history, with particular emphasis on international relations and military history. He has held numerous teaching positions outside of England, having lectured extensively in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, and Denmark—as well as in the US, where he has taught at the Universities of Maryland, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgetown, and Rutgers, among others. At UMW, he has delivered hugely popular Great Lives lectures on Napoleon, George III, and James Bond.