In January 1911, Churchill showed his tougher side when he made a controversial visit to a police siege in London, with two robbers holed up in a building. Churchill's degree of participation is still in some dispute: Some accounts have him going to the scene only to see for himself what was going on; others state that he allegedly gave directions to police on how to best storm the building. What is known is that the house caught fire during the siege and Churchill prevented the fire brigade from extinguishing the flames, stating that he thought it better to "let the house burn down," rather than risk lives rescuing the occupants. The bodies of the two robbers were found inside the charred ruins.
Just as Churchill predicted, the road to victory in World War II was long and difficult: France fell to the Nazis in June 1940. In July, German fighter planes began three months of devastating air raids on Britain herself. Though the future looked grim, Churchill did all he could to keep British spirits high. He gave stirring speeches in Parliament and on the radio. He persuaded . President Franklin Roosevelt to provide war supplies–ammunition, guns, tanks, planes–to the Allies, a program known as Lend-Lease, before the Americans even entered the war.