Winston Churchill – the man who gave the roar to the lion

Winston Churchill was the great wartime leader of Britain in WWII. Here are some extracts from his inspiring speeches.


Speech at Manchester Free Trade Hall, 27 January 1940.

Come then: Let us to the task, to the battle, to the toil – each to our part , each to our station. Fill the armies, rule the air, pour out the munitions, strangle the U boats, sweep the mines, plough the land, build the ships, guard the street, succour the wounded, uplift the downcast, and honour the brave. Let us go forward together in all parts of the Empire, in all parts of the Island. There is not a week, nor a day, nor an hour to lose.


Speech in the House of Commons three days after Chamberlain resigned and Churchill accepted the office of Prime Minister, 13 May 1940.

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, many long months of struggle and suffering.

You ask “What is our policy?” I will say it is to wage war by sea, land and in the air with all our might, and with the strength that God can give us: to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.

You ask “What is our aim?” I can answer in one word – VICTORY! Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all the terror, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.


Speech to Parliament, 4 June 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: and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and liberation of the old.


Broadcast, 17 June 1940.

The news from France is very bad and I grieve for the gallant French people who have fallen into this terrible misfortune. Nothing will alter our feelings towards them or our faith that the genius of France will rise again. What has happened in France makes no difference to our actions and our purposes. We have become the sole champions now in arms to defend the world cause. We shall do our best to be worth of this high honour. We shall defend our island home and with the British Empire we shall fight on, unconquerable, until the curse of Hitler is lifted from the brows of mankind. We are sure that in the end all will come right.


Broadcast, 18 June 1940.

Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. 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 with still say “This was their finest hour.”


Broadcast, 14 July 1940.

Here in this strong City of Refuge (London) which enshrines the title-deeds of human progress and is of deep consequence to Christian civilisation we await undismayed the impending assault. Perhaps it will come tonight. Perhaps it will come next week. Perhaps it will never come. We must show ourselves equally capable of meeting a sudden violent shock or, what is perhaps the harder test, a protracted vigil. But be the ordeal sharp or long or both, we shall seek no terms, we shall tolerate no parley. We may show mercy – we shall ask for none.


Speech in the House of Commons , 20 August 1940.

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 the 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. All hearts go out to the fighter pilots whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day: but we must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month, our bomber squadrons travel far into Germany, find their targets in the darkness by the highest navigational skill, aim their attacks, often under the heaviest fire, often with serious loss, with deliberate careful discrimination, and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the technical and war making structure of the Nazi power. On no part does the weight of the war fall more heavily than on the daylight bombers who will play an invaluable part in the case of invasion and whose unflinching zeal it has been necessary in the meantime on numerous occasions to restrain.


London City Council Luncheon, 14 July 1941.

If the lull is to end, if the storm is to renew itself, London will be ready, London will not flinch! You, Hitler, do your worst and we will do our best.


Ottawa, 30 December 1941.

Look at the Londoners, the Cockneys, look at what they have to stand up to! Grim and gay with their “We can take it!” and their wartime mood of “What is good enough for anybody is good enough for us.”


Speech to the men of the Eighth Army, Tripoli, 3 February 1943.

Let me assure you, soldiers and airmen, that your fellow countrymen regard your joint work with admiration and gratitude, and that after the war when a man is asked what he did it will be quite sufficient for him to say “I marched and fought with the Desert Army.” And when history is written and all the facts are known, your feats will gleam and glow and will be a source of song and story long after we who are gathered here have passed away.


Speech to the Desert Rats, Berlin, 21 July 1945.

I am unable to speak without emotion…. dear Desert Rats… you were the first to begin… may your glory ever shine. May your laurels never fade. May the memory of this glorious pilgrimage which you have made from Alamein to the Baltic and Berlin never die. A march – as far as my reading of history leads me to believe – unsurpassed in the whole story of war. May fathers long tell their children the tale. May you feel that through following your great ancestors you have accomplished something which has done good to the whole world, which has raised the honour of your country and of which every man has the right to feel proud.


May 8th and 9th 1945

God bless you all. This is your victory! It is the victory of the cause of freedom in every land. In all our long history we have never seen a greater day than this.

My dear friends. I hope you have had two happy days. Happy days are what we worked for, but happy days are not easily worked for. You have never flinched or wavered. Your soldiers are everywhere in the field, your airmen in the skies – and never forget our grand Navy. They dared and they did all those feats of adventure and audacity which have even enabled brave men to wrest a victory from obstinate and bestial circumstances.

You never let the men at the front down. No one ever asked for peace because London was suffering. London, like a great rhinoceros, a great hippopotamus, saying “Let them do their worst, London can take it.” London can take anything.

My heart goes out to the Cockneys. Any visitors we may happen to have here today…. echo what I say when I say “Good Old London!” I return my hearty thanks to you for never having failed in the long monotonous days and in the long nights black as hell.

God bless you all. May you long remain citizens of a great and splendid city. May you long remain at the heart of the British Empire.


At a presentation to mark his 80th birthday on 30 November 1954 he said

I have never accepted what many people have kindly said – namely that I inspired the nation. Their will was resolute and remorseless and it proved unconquerable. It fell to me to express it and if I found the right word you must remember that I have always earned my living by my pen… It was the nation and the race dwelling all round the globe that had the lion’s heart. I had the luck to be called upon to give it the roar.


Sir Winston Churchill died aged 90 on 24 January 1965. By decree of the Queen, his body lay in state in Westminster Hall for three days. During this time a total of 321,360 people filed past the catafalque, and I was, proudly and tearfully, one of them. A state funeral service was held at St Paul’s Cathedral on 30 January 1965. It was the largest state funeral ever held in the world up to that time. It was televised and 350 million people in Europe watched the broadcast.

These extracts were taken from a small booklet “The Right Honourable Sir Winston Churchill KG, OM, CH, MP. A pictorial memorial of the great patriot and extracts from his immortal speeches”, Pitkin Pictorials, Ltd, London, no date. Further details came from     and