Winston Churchill’s Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat Speech
13 May, 1940, London, United Kingdom
Winston Churchill was the British Prime Minister from 1940-45, a period that almost entirely co-incided with one of the most difficult times in the country’s history – World War Two. As a child, Churchill was rebellious and had a poor academic record in school. In spite of this and a noticeable speech impediment in the form of a lisp, he rose to become a great wartime leader of the modern age as well as the only British Prime Minister to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.
In mid 1940, soon after becoming Prime Minister, Churchill delivered a famous speech to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom to prepare his countrymen for the war.
“On Friday evening last I received His Majesty’s commission to form a new Administration. It is the evident wish and will of Parliament and the nation that this should be conceived on the broadest possible basis and that it should include all parties, both those who supported the late Government and also the parties of the Opposition. I have completed the most important part of this task. A War Cabinet has been formed of five Members, representing, with the Opposition Liberals, the unity of the nation.
I considered it in the public interest to suggest that the House should be summoned to meet today. It must be remembered that we are in the preliminary stage of one of the greatest battles in history. 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 of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the
in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is 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. Let that be realised; no survival for the British Empire, no survival for all that the British Empire has stood for, no survival for the urge and impulse of the ages, that mankind will move forward towards its goal. But I take up my task with buoyancy and hope. I feel sure that our cause will not be suffered to fail among men. At this time I feel entitled to claim the aid of all, and I say, ‘come then, let us go forward together with our united strength.'”
Inspired by Churchill’s leadership, England’s Royal Air Force managed to ward off German air raids in the famous Battle of Britain during the summer and autumn of 1940 and Germany and its allies eventually lost the war. After the war, Churchill served a second term in office in the 1950s and became the first person to be made an honourary citizen of the United States of America. Winston Churchill died soon after suffering a stroke, on the morning of Sunday, 24 January, 1965.
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