If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”
Churchill had shown signs of fragile health as early as 1941, while visiting the White House. At that time, he suffered a mild heart attack and, in 1943, he had a similar attack while battling a bout of pneumonia. In June 1953, at age 78, he suffered from a series of strokes at his office. The news was kept from the public and Parliament, with the official announcement stating that he had suffered from exhaustion. He recuperated at home, and returned to his work as prime minister in October. However, it was apparent even to him that he was physically and mentally slowing down. Churchill retired as prime minister in 1955. He remained a member of Parliament until the general election of 1964, when he did not seek re-election.
From 1943 onwards Churchill spent more time managing the uneasy Allied coalition of Soviet Union, US and the UK. Churchill was involved in many aspects of the war, taking an interest in all areas, especially the build up to the D-Day landings in Normandy. Churchill also participated in conferences with Stalin and Roosevelt which helped shape the war and post-war settlement. With American money, Churchill played a role in avoiding the mistakes of the First World War as the Allies sought to avoid a harsh settlement and rebuild occupied Europe.