Winston Churchills Blood, Toil, Tears And Sweat

Monday, November 8, 2021 9:55:53 AM

Winston Churchills Blood, Toil, Tears And Sweat

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BLOOD, TOIL, TEARS AND SWEAT speech Winston Churchill

In this speech, Churchill had to describe a great military disaster , and warn of a possible invasion attempt by Nazi Germany , without casting doubt on eventual victory. 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". 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.

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. In that speech, he mentioned nothing about the military situation in France and the Low Countries. Expecting that the German offensive would develop along much the same lines as it did in , the lines of communication of the British Expeditionary Force BEF did not run through the "short crossing" Channel ports — Boulogne , Calais , Dunkirk , etc. 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.

The Wehrmacht next moved against the cut-off Allied forces, moving along the seacoast with only small Allied forces to resist them. 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. 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.

The French First Army had most of its units pocketed around Lille. 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. 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. 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.

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 German breakthrough had not been exploited southwards, and the French had improvised a relatively thinly held defensive line along the Aisne and the Somme. The British military evaluation was that this was unlikely to withstand any major attack by the Wehrmacht. In the air, the French were short of fighter planes, and the shortage was worsening due to their many losses in combat. The French military commanders had hence asked for additional British fighter squadrons to be sent into the fight in France.

Politically, there were considerable doubts over the French willingness to continue the war, even in the absence of any further military catastrophes. 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. 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. 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 three squadrons present in France would be kept up to fighting strength, but no further squadrons could be spared for the Battle of France. 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. 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. 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.

He needed to prepare his domestic audience for France's departure from the war without in any way releasing France to do so. 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. 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.

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. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? 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. 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.

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. 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.

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. There was always the chance, and it is that chance which has excited and befooled the imaginations of many Continental tyrants. Many are the tales that are told. 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 must never forget the solid assurances of sea power and those which belong to air power if it can be locally exercised.

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. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty's Government — every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. Personal taste for this kind of history will, obviously, differ. Should history be recounted with more ample reference to other scholars?

Does the personal inform the world-historical as much as Larson suggests? These are questions which ultimately have to be answered by every reader. But, to my taste, this technique was an immense success in shedding new light on this dark, but inspiring era, in human history. As a longtime fan of Eric Larson I eagerly purchased his newest history The Splendid and the Vile the title is based on a remark made by Churchill's private secretary John Colville. Colville was watching the bombs burst on London one night during a Luftwaffe attack. The book examines the first year Winston Spencer Churchill served as prime minister from May 10, to the following May. During that momentous period the British suffered fifty-seven nights of bombing by Goering's vaunted Luftwaffe flying to Britain from their bases in Northern France and Belgium.

In addition to his public role we see and become acquainted with Churchill's family especially his eighteen year old daughter Mary. We also meet his daughters Diana and Sarah who was wed to the entertainer Vic Oliver whom Churchill did not care for. Winston's son Randolph was recently read to the beautiful Pamela but was unfaithful to her. Randolph had a serous drinking problem and served in the 4th Hussars and as a member of the British House of Commons. We even meet Churchill's big cat Nelson named after Lord Nelson. Roosevelt as he fought to get Lend-Lease through the Senate. Americans were isolationistic in belief until the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, catapulting into the war on an active bases as Britain's greatest ally.

Churchill enjoyed good friendships with Lord Beaverbrook his air minister and good advisor Professor Lindemann among many others. This is not dry history! Larson writes like a novelist but his book is backed up by years of research. The reader gets to know the figures in the book and to care for their fates. England was a brave nation as in their finest hour they faced the horrors of the Nazi menace with great courage and determination to never surrender. Anyone who is interested in Churchill, World War II or history in general will profit from this excellent book. This is the kind of book which could well get a young person hooked on history!

Kudos to Erik Larson! I have not started reading the book yet, although I am sure it will be excellent. I notice that the pages were accidentally printed upside down so they aren't facing the same way the text on the binding is! I do not have a problem with turning a book upside down, just wanted to let everyone know this may be an issue! I'm a big fan of Eric Larson and enjoyed most of his books. Lately, he's been slipping. And this one is simply phoned in. It reads like a cut and paste job.

Larson found a bunch of letters and diaries from people around Churchill and interspersed snippets from them among bombing raids. Or so it seems. There is no real narrative. The story seems to be Churchill got handed an impossible job when he became Prime Minister, the Germans were really bad people who kept bombing England, many of those around Churchill seemed to be having a merry time while everyone else got bombed, and Churchill managed to get Roosevelt into the war with the help of the Japanese who bombed Pearl Harbor. Sorry for ruining the plot but that's it. Larson, please get back on your game and give us something like Devil in the White City again. I just received my book by Erik Larson "The Splendid and The Vile" and although I have yet to read this book I found it interesting that once I opened the box, took the book out and opened it - it was upside down!

The book I received - and I cannot image that I will be the only one - was printed upside down. Hard to imagine something like this happening from Crown Publishing but, in the end, it just makes it more interesting! See all reviews. Top reviews from other countries. Reads like a brilliant novel. This is very much the world of upper class English life but wider social comments come through reports from the Mass Observation correspondents. Churchill is introduced as an enigmatic figure divisive and unreliable to many political contemporaries but adored by much of the public who believe he is the only man to lead the country out of the dire straits apparent by May A striking part of the ensuing narrative is how Churchill becomes increasingly respected and even loved by those who work closely with him.

He is described with all his eccentricity and unreasonableness but also his warm humanity. The unremitting pressure on him is all too obvious and although prone to dangerous diversions and an enthusiasm for any form of action his strategic sense is a dominating theme. Right from the beginning he sees Nazism as evil and not a force to negotiate with, he sees the absolute need to win the USA to the cause and he understands the power of image and oratory to stiffen morale and see the country through the dangerous months of the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. The range of his concerns, his work load and amazing energy are quite remarkable. The author manages to bring to life a familiar period of British history with the skill of a novelist and an immediacy to events that take the reader to the heart of the personal and national drama.

At the end this reader, at least, was reminded how fortunate civilisation was to have such a champion as Winston Churchill at its moment of greatest danger. Not sure who this is aimed at. It's well written, as you would expect from a writer of successful crime thrillers but it is a scissors and paste job - all the material in the book has been done before spookily familiar and we read nothing new. It is one of those books which, if the author was not already known, the manuscript would have received a polite rejection slip. If you know nothing about Churchill and WW2 and are about 12 years old, this book is possibly for you.

Otherwise, save your money. Academic rigour and analysis; not on this occasion. A day by day very personal account of a time in history we all know about. We rarely get this type of character development presented in such an up close and personal way in a non fiction book. Well documented and fascinating insights had me pursuing more information on most folks who appeared on these pages. May, Already weakened by failures in Norway, the successful blitzkrieg in Holland and Belgium sounded the death knell for Chamberlain as Prime Minister.

Reluctantly King George VI offered the position to Winston Churchill, a man adored by the public although many of his colleagues thought him too erratic for the role. Larson is brilliant at bringing historical events to life so that it feels as if the reader is there in the room rather than reading a dry recital of historical facts years afterwards. Larson also turns to contemporaneous reports in the newspapers and on radio, to show what people knew and how they felt at the time rather than through the lens of hindsight. What Larson does so well, though, is to bring the lives of the mass of ordinary working people into the story, not simply as a kind of audience for the great and the good, but as real participants in their own fate.

For this, he uses extensively the records of the Mass Observation project, where many volunteer observers kept diaries in which they recorded not just their own lives but their impressions of what was happening in their localities. We see London reeling and terrified after the first air-raids, but the Londoners gradually realising that they were brave enough to take it, and showing the resilience and defiance for which they are remembered.

He shows a kind of euphoria developing, and a good deal of sexual licence on display, due to a growing eat, drink and be merry attitude. Larson takes us to Coventry to see the devastating raid there and its aftermath, and his description of this piece of history I already knew well is so vivid that he reduced me to tears and roused my rage anew at this mindless death and destruction. Back with Churchill, we get to know the people in his smallish inner circle and how they interacted. I suspect his poor entourage regularly wanted to beat him over the head with a brick, especially when he would put on records and start dancing round the dining room at 1 a. Highly recommended. One person found this helpful.

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