“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 the liberation of the old.”
Such are the now famous words of Winston Churchill spoken on June 4, 1940 in a speech to the House of Commons.
Over the past two years I have been exploring Churchill’s life. This has been a natural extension of my fascination with World War II, which is an event, from my perspective, that provides significant insight as to the political and moral structure of the world in which we live. This moderate obsession, as I call it, has led me to consume a number of books on WWII. The most illuminating have been Churchill’s six volume “The Second World War” and “Warlord: A Life of Winston Churchill at War, 1874-1945” by Carlo D’Este. In addition, it has compelled multiple visits to the Cabinet War Rooms in London, 10 Downing Street, continual editing the Churchill Wikipedia page to correct gross factual errors, and a visit to one of Churchill’s childhood homes (I hope to make it Chartwell sooner rather than later). Suffice it to say I am seeking therapy for the stalker like behavior I am displaying towards a deceased man.
What has consistently struck me about Churchill is the sense of destiny, humor, and interesting use of language contained within his speech. In connection with my moderate obsession I have gathered a number of quotations that I have found quite interesting. These are off the beaten path in comparison to some of the more well known Churchill quotations. However, I think each provides an interesting perspective on an individual who had a profound impact upon history. As always the significance of these statements can only be truly appreciated when read in the full context of the situations in which uttered but I am assuming you would prefer me to spare you 35 requisite pages to provide said context and have attempted to provide a brief summary.
“Some people do not lie this ceremonial style. But after all when have to kill a man it costs nothing to be polite.” – The Grand Alliance, writing about the language utilized in the declaration of war on Japan.
“When I finally decided to go in, I went in whole hog, totus porcus.” – Warlord, during testimony to the Dardanelles Commission, totus porcus being faux latin.
“And into that void after a pause strode a maniac of ferocious genius, the repository and expression of the most virulent hatreds that ever corroded the human beast – Corporate Hitler.” – The Gather Storm, description of his primary enemy during WWII.
“The little folk are more active. However, their chirrupings will be stilled before long by the thunder of cannonade.” – Closing the Ring, discussing the media and political chatter surrounding significant decision.
“I look most martial in it like a Cromwellian – I always intend to wear under fire – but chiefly for appearance.” – Warlord, upon receipt of a blue helmet while visiting the French lines in WWI that he did indeed wear.
“We contend that for a nation to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.” – Tom Watson’s Magazine, discussing the soundness of logic of certain fiscal policies.
A tip of the cap to Mr. Churchill.