Churchill opposes Nazi tyranny with all his heart, mind,
GOING THROUGH HELL
1939 - 1965
In 1939, Nazi Germany invades Poland. Britain and France, which had promised to protect the Poles, declare war against Germany. Britain sends the British Expeditionary Force to help protect France against a possible German offensive. Churchill has become First Sea Lord, and under his command the Royal Navy blockades German shipping, protects British shipping, and transports the BEF.
In 1940 the Nazi Germans invade France, the Netherlands, and Belgium. An avalanche of fire and steel rolls over innocent citizens. Facing invasion the Brits form a coalition government, and in desperation turn to Churchill. The Conservatives do not want to serve under him, but Labour insists they will serve under no other man, and Churchill becomes Prime Minister.
Sixty-six years old, he addresses Parliament.
"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."
Meanwhile in Europe, the British Expeditionary Force and French units, under relentless attack by the German Army and Air Force, are falling back toward Dunkirk and the sea.
For five days in May the war hangs in the balance. Britian's army is the BEF. If they are lost, the war is lost. The Nazis are poised to conquer Europe.
Britain's government is divided. Only Churchill, and the Brits and French on the ground, are determined to resist.
Courageous allied rearguards desperately hold out, fighting to prevent the Nazi Germans from taking vital bridgeheads. Among them are thousands of Frenchmen who struggle gallantly to cover the evacuation of their British and French comrades. Meanwhile, high above, the Royal Air Force, trying to protect the troops below, fights the Luftwaffe at long odds, hour after hour, day after day.
Meanwhile, across the Channel, "From the streams and estuaries of Kent and Dover, a strange fleet appeared: trawlers and tugs, scows and fishing sloops, lifeboats and pleasure craft, smacks and coasters; the island ferry Gracie Fields; Tom Sopwith's America Cup challenger Endeavour; even the London fire brigade's fire-float Massey Shaw - all of them manned by civilian volunteers. . ." They sail across the Channel to Dunkirk, and under the deadly fire of the German Air Force rescue their exhausted, bleeding sons. (Quotation from William Manchester's biography of Winston Churchill)
In a military episode without parallel, they save almost the entire British Expeditionary Force and 26,000 French soldiers. On June 4, 1940, Churchill tells his fellow citizens:
"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. We shall go on to the end. 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."
On June 14, 1940 he tells them why:
"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 now. 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."
A week later free Europe surrenders to Nazi Germany. Over the summer, the Nazis turn their prodigious military energies to the invasion of Britain.
Churchill's omnivorous curiosity has kept him abreast of key scientific and industrial developments. Knowledgeable about people, he has placed Lord Beaverbrook, an industrialist and newspaper publisher, in charge of aircraft production. Beaverbrook's superb business sense shifts the Brits into high gear in a race against time to produce the aircraft crucial to defending Britain.
In a story bright with heroism, and built on unstinting personal sacrifice and teamwork, the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy, and the people of Britain defeat the Nazis in the Battle of Britain.
They have responded as Churchill asked them to respond on October 29, 1941, in a speech at Harrow School:
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 honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
Churchill makes one of his boldest strategic decisions. He sends the British Army to the Middle East to challenge Hitler's Italian ally, Mussolini. The Brits win victories against Mussolini during 1940-41, disrupting and delaying the Nazi invasion of the Balkans and Russia. Ingenious, energetic, inspiring, and courageous, Churchill is instrumental in leading the Brits to victory alongside the United States. The U.S. enters the war as an ally in December, 1941. After Hitler declares war on the Soviet Union, the Russians become allies as well.
With Churchill's brave and unflagging leadership and the unstinting sacrifice of many Brits and their allies, Nazi Germany, Italy, and Japan are defeated. On May 8, 1945, VE Day is celebrated around the world.
Most people hope that a peaceful future is now assured, but Churchill realises that the Soviet Union, which has oppressed and murdered millions of its own people in the 1920s and 1930s, has cruel and tyrannical ambitions for the people of Eastern Europe.
On March 6, 1946, at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, he warns that an "Iron Curtain" is falling across Europe. Generations of people will be lost – Czechs, Poles, Hungarians, Romanians, Bulgarians, Yugoslavs, Estonians, Lithuanians, Latvians, and Ukrainians. Responding to his warning, the United States and Britain will hold the line at Western Europe, and prevent the Soviet Union from suffocating all of Europe. As Ronald Reagan suggests at the Westminster College Cold War Memorial in 1990:
In the exhausted aftermath of World War II, few were prepared to listen to warnings of fresh danger. But Churchill was undaunted. Once before his had been a voice crying out in the wilderness against the suicidal dogmas of appeasement. Once before he had sounded an alarm against those deluded souls who thought they could go on feeding the crocodile with bits and pieces of other countries and somehow avoid his jaws themselves. His warnings had been ignored by a world more in love with temporary ease than long-term security. Yet time has proven him tragically correct. His Fulton speech was a fire bell in the night, a Paul Revere warning that tyranny was once more on the march.
Churchill's histories of the First World War — The World Crisis (six volumes, 1923–31) — and The Second World War (six volumes, 2 million words 1948–53) earn him the Nobel Prize for Literature. From The Gathering Storm to Their Finest Hour , from Closing the Ring to The Grand Alliance and The Hinge of Fate, Churchill's history of World War II is extraordinary, and, though not intended as such, a brilliant rebuttal to revisionist historians. He forthrightly describes his mistakes. His four-volume History of the English Speaking Peoples, published in 1956, is called "one of the wisest, most exciting works of history ever written".
For UK or US orders. (The UK book is one of the 4 volumes. The US version is Christopher Lee's abridgement.)
Churchill serves as Prime Minister for a second time in the postwar period, and remains a member of Parliament and leader of the Conservative Party until he is over eighty years old. He once wrote, "Over me beat the invisible wings." More prosaically he joked, "We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glow-worm."
When you contribute to this website,
THE STORY of
Love of freedom inspires
"After he had spoken to them in the summer of 1940 as no one has ever before or since, they conceived a new idea of themselves which their own prowess and the admiration of the world has since established as a heroic image in the history of mankind." Isaiah Berlin
“Death and sorrow will be the companions of our journey, hardship our garment, constancy and valour our only shield.”
Lukacs describes the five days and the one man that prevented the Nazi domination of Europe.
For UK orders:
For US orders:
Churchill's six remarkable volumes about World War II can be purchased individually.
For UK orders:
For US orders:
"If you are going through hell, keep going."Winston Churchill
The TELEGRAPH'S Heroes portrays men and women of uncommon courage, daring and wit. Many of them fought bravely in World War II.
For UK orders
For US orders
Martin Gilbert 's wide-ranging biography is available in one or eight volumes.
For UK orders:
For US orders:
Never, never, never, never, give in.
To read or hear Churchill speeches, visit the Churchill Society
You may also be interested in
This wonderful book describes Britain's gifts to the world. Adults will refresh their understanding of profound events in British history, and young people will find inspiration. Warning: This book defies aggressive secularism and unthinking multiculturalism. Written by the co-editors of this website, Share the Inheritance is beautifully illustrated with 125 colour images and a timeline. Available at Amazon UK and at Amazon USA.