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How Did Winston Churchill Avoid Alcohol Restrictions During Prohibition?

Winston Churchill ingeniously sidestepped Prohibition's grip by obtaining a doctor's prescription for alcohol, citing its "medicinal" necessity. His charismatic defiance highlights the era's complexities and the lengths individuals went to preserve their liberties. Curious about how this impacted his political maneuvers? Dive deeper into Churchill's intriguing relationship with Prohibition in our full article. What will you discover?

Winston Churchill famously told Parliament in 1940 that he had nothing to offer but "blood, toil, tears, and sweat," but had he been an American president, he might have tossed in alcohol, as well.

While visiting the United States for a lecture tour during the dry days of Prohibition, Churchill managed to acquire a doctor's note giving him the right to drink an unlimited amount of booze. Ostensibly, the liquor was meant to ease the pain of his injury from being struck by a car in December 1931 in New York City.

During Winston Churchill’s 1932 U.S. visit, he got a doctor’s note allowing him to drink alcohol, despite Prohibition restrictions.
During Winston Churchill’s 1932 U.S. visit, he got a doctor’s note allowing him to drink alcohol, despite Prohibition restrictions.

Churchill wasn't alone, of course, as it was widely known that alcohol could be obtained by anyone with a prescription for it. But Churchill was particularly imaginative in his determination to imbibe, having once gone to a speakeasy as a "social investigator" and claiming a religious right to drink while meeting with a Muslim king.

Whether Winston Churchill actually enjoyed alcohol as much as he seemed has been debated over the years, with some arguing that he used it more as a prop to bolster a particular image.

What else about Winston?

  • Winston Churchill became a war hero after escaping from his captors during the Boer War in southern Africa in 1899.

  • In 1953, Churchill became one of the few nonfiction writers to earn a Nobel Prize in Literature.

  • Churchill loved to paint, and by the time of his death in 1965 had crafted more than 550 works of art.

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    • During Winston Churchill’s 1932 U.S. visit, he got a doctor’s note allowing him to drink alcohol, despite Prohibition restrictions.
      By: rosannaarconrad
      During Winston Churchill’s 1932 U.S. visit, he got a doctor’s note allowing him to drink alcohol, despite Prohibition restrictions.