Over the last year, the word Brexit crept into vocabularies and conversations. On Friday morning, Brexit became a reality, as people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union 43 years after joining the common market.

The United Kingdom Electoral Commission announced that the "leave" camp had won, with 51.9% of votes. In all, 72% UK residents participated in the referendum.

Even as a disappointed UK Prime Minister David Cameron announced his resignation in response to the decision, debates have raged on what former Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s position would have been on leaving EU.

Churchill was a strong proponent of a “United States of Europe.”

The idea of European integration also found the support of several world leaders of the time, as seen in this video by British Pathe – a resource of archival footage – of a 1948 summit at Hague. The video shows more than 700 delegates, representing 20 European nations, assembled at Hague, Netherlands. The broadcaster describes the meeting as one that was "not sponsored by any one government, yet willed by every nation".

At the meeting, the Churchill, who was between terms, said in an impassioned plea: "Europe can only be united by the heartfelt wish and the vehement expression of the great majority of all the people in all the parties in all the freedom-loving countries no matter where they dwell or how they vote.

“We cannot aim at anything less than the union of Europe as a whole," he added. "And we look forward with confidence to the day when that union will be achieved."

The decision to exit EU marks a turning point for the country.

What could perhaps mirror the significance of this event is the withdrawal of the last of the British Empire’s troops from India in 1948 – a moment that has been captured by this video.


And while we'll never know what Churchill would have felt about Brexit, here's an old speech of his that has been edited to make it sound like he said it before Thursday's referendum.