Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill / 1874–1965 / England (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland) / Politician, Prime Minister, Historian
WORLD WAR II
Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat
I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government, I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many long months of toil and struggle.
“You ask what is our policy. I will say, it is to wage war with all our might, with all the strength that God can give us, to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime.
“You ask what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs. Victory in spite of all terror. Victory however long and hard the road may be. For without victory there is no survival.Source: Speech, House of Commons, May 13, 1940.
Be Ye Men of Valour
. . . side by side, the British and French peoples have advanced to rescue not only Europe but mankind from the foulest and most soul-destroying tyranny which has ever darkened and stained the pages of history. Behind them—behind us—behind the Armies and Fleets of Britain and France—gather a group of shattered States and bludgeoned races . . . upon all of whom the long night of barbarism will descend, unbroken even by a star of hope, unless we conquer, as conquer we must; as conquer we shall.
Today is Trinity Sunday. Centuries ago words were written to be a call and a spur to the faithful servants of Truth and Justice: “Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar. As the Will of God is in Heaven, even so let it be.” (1 Maccabees 3:58–60)Source: BBC speech to the nation, May 19, 1940.
We shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing-grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender!Source: Speech, House of Commons, June 4, 1940.
Preparing for the Battle of Britain
What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. . . . 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.”Source: Speech, House of Commons, June 18, 1940.
Winning the Battle of Britain
The gratitude of every home in our island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the world war by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.Source: Speech, House of Commons, August 20, 1940.
The Tide Turns
The Germans have received back again that measure of fire and steel which they have so often meted out to others. Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.Source: Speech, Lord Mayor’s Luncheon, Mansion House, London, November 10, 1942.
THE COLD WAR
A shadow has fallen upon the scenes so lately lighted by the Allied victory. Nobody knows what Soviet Russia and its Communist international organization intends to do in the immediate future, or what are the limits, if any, to their expansive and proselytizing tendencies. . . . It is my duty however, for I am sure you would wish me to state the facts as I see them to you, to place before you certain facts about the present position in Europe.
From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. . . .Source: Speech, Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, March 5, 1946.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.Source: doubtful attribution.
Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense.Source: Speech, Harrow School, October 29, 1941.
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.Source: doubtful attribution.
It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link of the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.Source: Speech, House of Commons, February 27, 1945.
If you are going through hell, keep going.Source: doubtful attribution.
I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.Source: Speech, BBC, October 1, 1939.
The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.Source: Speech, Harvard University, September 6, 1943.