Winston Churchill was one of the most important politicians of the 20th century and remains a polarizing figure to this day. While his achievements as a statesman are well-documented, his serious attitude toward UFOs — including a giant coverup of a sighting — is less known by the public (via BBC). The UK government considered UFOs a legitimate threat throughout the 1950s, with intelligence agencies collecting weekly reports of UFO sightings, some of which Churchill became involved in.
Officials even called a wartime meeting with Churchill about a UFO sighting reported by Royal Air Force pilots. Even though UFO strictly refers to unidentified flying objects, and it was entirely plausible that the sighting was simply an unrecognized enemy aircraft, Churchill was concerned about a mass panic. In fact, he was so concerned about the repercussions if this UFO sighting was made public that he ordered the incident to be kept a secret for at least 50 years. This sighting, along with hundreds of others made in the UK over the decades since, was revealed in a 5,000-page report declassified to the public back in 2010.
Something Churchill feared more than public panic
It wasn’t just mass panic that was on the Prime Minister’s mind when covering up the UFO sighting. According to BBC, Winston Churchill was also a believer in life out among the stars, as evidenced by an unpublished essay written during the beginning of World War II and updated in the 1950s. The essay was handed to a museum in the ’80s but was forgotten about until its rediscovery in 2017.
The 11-page essay saw Churchill quote famous astronomers like Copernicus as he put forth his arguments for extraterrestrial life. The vast size and scope of the universe and presence of liquid water on other planets made the chances that Earth is the only planet to support life slim, said the Prime Minister. Churchill’s respect for the sciences was well-known, being the first PM to appoint a scientific advisor, and he even had some theories that were later proven true, like the existence of planets orbiting other stars, or humans eventually traveling to the Moon. It’s not surprising that he would later consider the presence of UFOs a serious threat — not just the possibility that they’re enemy aircraft, but invaders from the stars.
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