I am tired and sick of war. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. 44. As a newly appointed Prime Minister, Churchill’s first month in office was defined by the Dunkirk evacuation. The most important bit rarely gets quoted... Usually, when the recording is played today, it gets cut … The peroration is perhaps the best known part of the speech, and is widely held to be one of the finest oratorical moments of the war and of Churchill's career. [11][12] They made a great impression on Vita Sackville-West: Even repeated by the announcer, it sent shivers (not of fear) down my spine. This quote was a war cry. "We shall fight on the beaches" is a common title given to a speech delivered by the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom on 4 June 1940. I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity. In his subsequent speech of 18 June, immediately after the French had sued for peace, Churchill said: The military events which have happened during the past fortnight have not come to me with any sense of surprise. In this speech, Churchill had to describe a great military disaster, and warn of a possible invasion attempt by the Nazis, without casting doubt on eventual victory. Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield. Older men declare war. 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 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 … Winston Churchill took over as Prime Minister on 10 May 1940, eight months after the outbreak of World War II in Europe. There was always the chance, and it is that chance which has excited and befooled the imaginations of many Continental tyrants. It was meant to inspire the people of England with hope, while also concealing a teensy little bit of reality. We were all alone for a whole year. 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. It is said that immediately after giving the speech, Churchill muttered to a colleague, "And we’ll fight them with the butt ends of broken beer bottles because that's bloody well all we've got! We were the first, in this ancient island, to draw the sword against tyranny. ", This page was last edited on 18 December 2020, at 23:41. Winston Churchill - War Quotes 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. Turning once again, and this time more generally, to the question of invasion, I would observe that there has never been a period in all these long centuries of which we boast when an absolute guarantee against invasion, still less against serious raids, could have been given to our people. “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 … Politically, there were considerable doubts over the French willingness to continue the war, even in the absence of any further military catastrophes. We Shall Fight on the Beaches. That is our policy. Events developed dramatically over the five-week period, and although broadly similar in themes, each speech addressed a different military and diplomatic context. 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. Winston Churchill, We shall fight on the beaches June 4, 1940, House of Commons From the moment that the French defenses at Sedan and on the Meuse were broken at the end of the second week of May, only a rapid retreat to Amiens and the south could have saved the British and French Armies who had Winston Churchill Quotes 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. [8] Chips Channon, a Conservative MP, wrote in his diary "he was eloquent and oratorical and used magnificent English; several Labour members cried". [2], The Wehrmacht next moved against the cut-off Allied forces, moving along the seacoast with only small Allied forces to resist them. We shall defend our island whatever the cost may be; we shall fight on beaches, landing grounds, in fields, in streets and on the hills. In peace, sons bury their fathers. All wars are civil wars, because all men are brothers. "We shall not flag or fail. Unlike his subsequent This was their finest hour speech, Churchill's 4 June speech in the House of Commons was not repeated by him as a live radio broadcast that evening. This was the second of three major speeches given around the period of the Battle of France; the others are the "Blood, toil, tears and sweat" speech of 13 May and the "This was their finest hour" speech of 18 June. of any class. In one of his most famous passages, Churchill expresses his complete defiance and instills it in the British people. The British military evaluation was that this was unlikely to withstand any major attack by the Wehrmacht. We also have a transcript of Winston Churchill’s Blood Sweat and Tears speech. ", "Myth Shattering: An Actor Did Not Give Churchill's Speeches", "Myths - An actor read Churchill's wartime speeches over the wireless", The Churchill Centre: We Shall Fight on the Beaches, Transcription and MP3 recording of the speech, Hansard transcription and ensuing exchanges, Never was so much owed by so many to so few, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=We_shall_fight_on_the_beaches&oldid=995051646, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Maguire, Lori. Fight Them on the Beaches 4 June 1940 Churchill’s ‘We shall fight on the beaches’ speech on 4 June 1940 is a eulogy to the British war effort that has been immortalised in popular memory of the Second World War. It is only those who have neither fired a shot nor heard the shrieks and groans of the wounded who cry aloud for blood, for vengeance, for desolation. There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter. You ask, what is our policy? We shall go on to the end. 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. By 20 May, Wehrmacht armoured divisions had reached the coast of the English Channel, splitting the BEF and the French First Army from the main French forces. 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 … That would possibly lead to a French government that would not only drop out of the war, but also become hostile to the United Kingdom. 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 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 the liberation of the old. 45. It uses the technique of repetition to very good effect. I think that no idea is so outlandish that it should not be considered and viewed with a searching, but at the same time, I hope, with a steady eye. “We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be; we shall … 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 … We Shall Fight on the Beaches June 4, 1940 From the moment that the French defenses at Sedan and on the Meuse were broken at the end of the second week of May, only a rapid retreat to Amiens The strength of “We Will Fight On the Beaches” lies within Churchill’s cadence, tone, and repetition. In war, fathers bury their sons. Politicians start wars. We shall fight in France and on the seas and oceans; we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air. 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 … ... we shall not flag or fail. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. 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. Also know, why was we shall fight on the beaches written? Sir, I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once more able to defend our island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. He had done so as the head of a multiparty coalition government, which had replaced the previous government (led by Neville Chamberlain) as a result of dissatisfaction with the conduct of the war, demonstrated by the Norway debate on the Allied evacuation of Southern Norway.[1]. It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it. We shall go on to the end. -- Speech, 1940. In the air, the French were short of fighter planes, and the shortage was worsening due to their many losses in combat. But it is the youth that must fight and die. [9] A Labour MP, Josiah Wedgwood, friend and admirer of Churchill since the Dardanelles campaign, wrote to him, "My dear Winston. Winston Churchill "'We Shall Fight': A Rhetorical Analysis of Churchill's Famous Speech. The British War Cabinet discussed this issue at meetings on 3 June and on the morning of 4 June, but it decided to take the advice of the Royal Air Force and the Secretary of State for Air, Sir Archibald Sinclair, that the British priority must be to prepare its own defences. The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. I have only to add that nothing which may happen in this battle can in any way relieve us of our duty to defend the world cause to which we have vowed ourselves; nor should it destroy our confidence in our power to make our way, as on former occasions in our history, through disaster and through grief to the ultimate defeat of our enemies. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with 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." He needed to prepare his domestic audience for France's departure from the war without in any way releasing France to do so. On 13 May, the Wehrmacht's attack through the Ardennes had reached the Meuse River at Sedan and then crossed it, breaking through the defences of the French Army. Speaking Articles, Speeches , Famous Speeches, History. We Shall Fight on the Beaches - Churchill Quote Poster Winston Churchill's famous "We Shall Fight on the Beaches" speech as text over a picture of him. BrainyQuote has been providing inspirational quotes since 2001 to our worldwide community. 46. “Never surrender opportunity for security.” – Branch Rickey. 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. War does not determine who is right - only who is left. Churchill had made a brief statement to the Commons on 28 May reporting the Belgian capitulation, and concluding: Meanwhile, the House should prepare itself for hard and heavy tidings. You can no more win a war than you can win an earthquake. He also had to prepare his domestic audience for France's falling out of the war without in any way releasing France to do so, and wished to reiterate a policy and an aim unchanged – despite the intervening events – from his speech of 13 May, in which he had declared the goal of "victory, however long and hard the road may be". "[7] Nonetheless, Churchill impressed his listeners and the speech was immediately recognised to be historic. "We shall fight on the beaches" is a common title given to a speech delivered by the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom on 4 June 1940. I think that one of the reasons why one is stirred by his Elizabethan phrases is that one feels the whole massive backing of power and resolve behind them, like a great fortress: they are never words for words' sake. Despite relief that the bulk of the BEF had made it back to Britain, Mass-Observation reported civilian morale in many areas as zero, one observer claiming that everyone looked suicidal. This poster does not actually contain a photo of Churchill, the quote is actually forming the shape so that from even a small distance it is easily recognizable as the face of Winston Churchill. “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.” – Winston Churchill. I will 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 dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. Churchill had argued in favour of sending the fighter squadrons to France because he considered that that move would be vital to sustain French public morale, and also to give no excuse for the collapse of the French Army. The three squadrons present in France would be kept up to fighting strength, but no further squadrons could be spared for the Battle of France.[4]. Expecting that the German offensive would develop along much the same lines as it did in 1914, the lines of communication of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) did not run through the "short crossing" Channel ports – Boulogne, Calais, Dunkirk, etc. 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. War is hell. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. Win ston Churchill’s speech ‘we shall fight them on the beaches’ is one of the defining speeches during the second world war. The French First Army had most of its units pocketed around Lille. "[14], No audio record was made at the time of the original speech; Churchill only produced an audio recording in 1949, by repeating his previous oration. – but rather through Dieppe and Le Havre. Despite this, many people after the war misremembered that they had heard Churchill speaking on the radio in 1940 when all there had been were BBC news reports that quoted his words. From this pocket the bulk of the BEF and a considerable number of French troops had been evacuated in Operation Dynamo, but these troops had left behind virtually all of their heavy equipment (transport, tanks, artillery and ammunition). Those of its units evacuated from Dunkirk were relanded in France, but saw no further action; they were still being reorganised in Brittany at the fall of France.[3]. You ask, what is our aim? That was worth 1,000 guns and the speeches of 1,000 years".[10]. Events developed dramatically over the five-week period, and although broadly simi… Prime Minister Churchill knew this and understood the necessity for a rise in morale. He had promised a further statement of the military situation on 4 June, and indeed the major part of the speech is an account of military events – so far as they affected the BEF – since the German breakthrough at Sedan. The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war. This was the second of three major speeches given around the period of the Battle of France; the others are the "Blood, toil, tears and sweat" speech of 13 May and the "This was their finest hour" speech of 18 June. We shall go on to the end. The German breakthrough had not been exploited southwards, and the French had improvised a relatively thinly held defensive line along the Aisne and the Somme. In his speech, otherwise known as the "We Shall Fight on the Beaches" speech, Churchill gave us this call to arms: "We shall never surrender." [13], The next year American journalist H. R. Knickerbocker wrote that its words "deserve to be memorized by us all", observing that "With Churchill's picture these words are placarded in homes and offices throughout the British Empire. Churchill had spoken to the House of Commons as Prime Minister for the first time on 13 May, to announce the formation of the new administration: 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.". Coincidentally, the German Wehrmacht offensive in the Low Countries and France had begun on 10 May with the invasion of the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. That is the resolve of His Majesty's Government – every man of them. 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. We are assured that novel methods will be adopted, and when we see the originality of malice, the ingenuity of aggression, which our enemy displays, we may certainly prepare ourselves for every kind of novel stratagem and every kind of brutal and treacherous manœuvre. Indeed, I indicated a fortnight ago as clearly as I could to the House that the worst possibilities were open, and I made it perfectly clear then that whatever happened in France would make no difference to the resolve of Britain and the British Empire to fight on, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. Only half the population expected Britain to fight on, and the feelings of thousands were summed up as: This is not our war – this is a war of the high-up people who use long words and have different feelings.[5][6]. In that speech, he mentioned nothing about the military situation in France and the Low Countries. Its glory is all moonshine. We shall go on to the end. 14. In the speech, “We Shall Fight on the Beaches”, Winston Churchill addressed the House of Commons on June 14, 1940, to brief them on the current state of the war. After the capitulation of Belgium on 28 May, a gap had also appeared on the eastern flank of the Allied forces, which had been forced to retreat into a small pocket around the seaport of Dunkirk. Therefore, when talking about the future course and conduct of the war in this speech, Churchill had to describe a great military disaster, and warn of a possible German invasion attempt, without casting doubt on eventual victory. When I'm thinking about my own actions and the measures I'm taking in my own life, and also about the actions and measures taken by others, I recall: 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. Rather, as with his earlier Blood, toil, tears and sweat speech, extracts were read by the newsreader on that evening's BBC news broadcast. In the days of Napoleon, of which I was speaking just now, the same wind which would have carried his transports across the Channel might have driven away the blockading fleet. Finally, he needed to reiterate a policy and an aim unchanged – despite the intervening events – from his speech of 13 May, in which he had said: We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. The military don't start wars. The French military commanders had hence asked for additional British fighter squadrons to be sent into the fight in France. Overstatements are. This is one of three speeches Churchill gave at this time.