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The 10 Most Devastating Burns Ever Delivered By Winston Churchill

Updated September 23, 2021 36.3k votes 6k voters 124.6k views10 items

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Winston Churchill carried Britain through World War II. He inspired the public with his oratorical skills, and he took his political enemies down a peg with razor-sharp wit. Churchill used language to his advantage, relying on one-liners to accomplish previously unimagined feats.

Although the former prime minister is known for his famous quotes, he has used the power of speech to burn quite a few innocent bystanders. In fact, Churchill seemed to poke fun at his peers indiscriminately. Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt wasn't spared. Perhaps, Britain's mouthpiece just verbally sparred with people to keep his wits sharp, though. Churchill was known to poke fun at himself on occasion. 

  • 5

    He Had Nothing To Hide When FDR Walked In And Found Him Naked

    Photo: US Government Photographer / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Winston Churchill sometimes shocked people with his informality. He even startled President Franklin D. Roosevelt a time or two. FDR stopped by Churchill's room while the prime minister was visiting the White House. Churchill was completely naked, however, giving dictation while having a bath. President Roosevelt wanted to leave and avoid any awkwardness, but Churchill quipped, "You see, Mr. President, I have nothing to hide from you."

    The president's secretary, Grace Tully, later found FDR laughing about the sight of the prime minister "pink and white all over."

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  • 6

    He Suggested That Even God Couldn't Handle His Personality

    Photo: British Government / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Winston Churchill was no stranger to contentious times, and while he served the Crown, his ego grew to match his enormous workload. Churchill did not shy away from the larger-than-life persona he was known for, either. In fact, he seemed quite proud of his big personality.

    A reporter once asked the prime minister if he was afraid of death. Churchill responded, "I am ready to meet my maker. Whether my maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter."

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  • 7

    He Called Another Prime Minister A Sheep In Sheep's Clothing

    Winston Churchill had little respect for his rival, Prime Minister Clement Attlee. The two men were often thrown together in order to find solutions for the war, though, so contact was unavoidable. Churchill referred to Attlee as "a sheep in sheep's clothing" and "a modest man with much to be modest about."

    Churchill even devoted a rather harsh one-liner to his rival, remarking, "An empty taxi arrived at 10 Downing Street, and when the door was opened, Attlee got out."

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  • 8

    He Declared That Charles De Gaulle Ought To Be Burned Like Joan Of Arc

    Photo: British Government / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Winston Churchill did not have much love for French General Charles de Gaulle. The two leaders frequently had clashing opinions. Churchill once spoke of de Gaulle, saying, "He thinks he's Joan of Arc, but I can't get my bloody bishops to burn him."

    The French leader managed to get in his own jibe, stating, "When I am right, I get angry. Churchill gets angry when he is wrong. We are angry at each other much of the time."

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