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The Famous Wartime Speeches of Winston Churchill

Listen to the key Passages of his Famous Wartime Speeches


Blood, Toil, Tears & Sweat – 13 May 1940

Just three days after becoming leader, Churchill delivers his first speech to Parliament as Prime Minister. He tells MPs that he is forming a coalition government to wage war against Germany.  He leaves them with no illusions that the fight is going to be tough.

Choking in his Own Blood upon the Ground – 28th May 1940

Over a fortnight after becoming Prime Minister, with the evacuation of Dunkirk in progress, politicians were still debating whether Britain should continued in the war of make terms with Germany as proposed by the Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax.. At a Cabinet meeting on the 28th May, Churchill decides it is time to make the decision and delivers arguably his most forthright speech of which there is no audio recording.  His words were written down afterwards by Hugh Dalton, a newly appointed member of the government. Of all Churchills speeches, this is probably the most dramatic and the most powerful:

“I have thought carefully in these last days whether it was part of my duty to consider entering into negotiations with That Man [Hitler]. But it was idle to think that, if we tried to make peace now, we should get better terms than if we fought it out. The Germans would demand our – that would be called disarmament – our naval bases, and much else. We should become a slave state, though a British Government which would be Hitler’s puppet would be set up – under Mosley or some such person. And where should we be at the end of all that?

On the other side we have immense reserves and advantages. And I am convinced that every one of you would rise up and tear me down from my place if I were for one moment to contemplate parley or surrender.

If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.”

We Shall Fight Them on the Beaches – 4th June 1940

There is general national relief that the British Expeditionary Force has been safely evacuated from Dunkirk.  In this speech he inspires the British people to stand firm against Hitler.

Their Finest Hour – 18th June 1940

Probably Churchill’s finest speech.  France has just capitulated and Churchill tells the British of the dire situation that now faces them as the only democracy left in arms against Germany and he predicts the coming Battle of Britain.

The Few – 20th August 1940

This speech to Parliament, which was afterwards broadcast, was made at the height of the Battle of Britain, the result of which is still hanging in the balance. Churchill gives this stirring tribute to the pilots fighting the battle.

The British & American people shall walk together side by side in majesty, in justice and in peace – 26th December 1941

Churchill’s speech to a joint session of US Congress shortly after Pearl Harbour unifying Britain and America to a common cause.

The End of the Beginning – 9th November 1942

Following victory at the 2nd Battle of El Alamein Churchill dampens speculation that this might be the beginning of the end of the war. Rather, he says, it is perhaps the end of the beginning.

The Iron Curtain – 5th March 1946

Now, no longer Prime Minister, Churchill makes a speech in Missouri, USA where he condemns the post-war actions of the Soviet Union and coins the phrase “Iron Curtain” in one of the most famous speeches of the Cold War.