Their Finest Hour

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“However matters may go in France or with the French Government or with another French Government, we in this island and in the British Empire will never lose our sense of comradeship with the French people. If we are now called upon to endure what they have suffered we shall emulate their courage, and if final victory rewards our toils they shall share the gains, aye.”

Winston Churchill, June 18, 1940

Their Finest HourAt 3:49 pm on June 18, 1940, Winston Churchill gave a speech to the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom.  He had been Prime Minster of the United Kingdom at the head of an all-party Coalition government for just over a month.  The duration of the speech was 36 minutes.  As was his usual habit, Winston Churchill made revisions up to and in the midst of his delivery.  Britain was in imminent danger.  Yet, his words and thoughts went beyond national concerns to embrace the noble causes of justice, freedom and the rights of small nations.  It will be forever remembered as “This was their finest hour…”

“Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.

Winston Churchill, June 18, 1940

 

10 thoughts on “Their Finest Hour

    • Ah… that is a very good point. If we only knew how to listen, but it seems we chose a harder way.

      “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 honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
      ― Winston Churchill, Never Give In!: The Best of Winston Churchill’s Speeches

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  1. I read recently how potent and noble those words: ” let us brace ourselves to our duties” were, compared with the grandiose rhetoric of Hitler and the Nazis…

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    • Oh, Valerie! Indeed! “Let us brace ourselves…” I get goosebumps, but my heart knows absolute fear when I read these words:

      “Any alliance whose purpose is not the intention to wage war is senseless and useless.”
      Adolf Hitler

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  2. Hello Rebecca, I always find myself split about this man, this speech however was inspired and your right it can be applied to everything including personal achievements and the will to keep going, no matter what!

    Its hard in these days to grapple with terms like the “Commonwealth” , its taken on almost the definition of an empire or Empire building and you are forced into a corner of defence if you even try to talk about what it was.

    The original definition however is in the name and what it was, was just the same as the original definition of the european union, a common market place – a place for trade and shared wealth.

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    • Thank you for adding so much context to this speech. I have a couple of biographies of Winston Churchill lined up so that I can get a better understanding on his thoughts and actions. He was a man of extremes, no doubt. And he had good share of arrogance! 🙂

      “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”
      ― Winston Churchill

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  3. Churchill was such a great and inspiring orator. I firmly believe that he was sent for such a time as that, to make sure that good overcame evil. He really was a ‘one off’. 🙂

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    • I agree – Churchill was the man of the hour. You may be interested to know that Nassir Ghaemi in his book “A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness.” believed that Winston Churchill’s struggle with depression was the reason he saw the dangers clearer than any of his contemporaries. It was an interesting read and provided context for the type of leadership that is required during difficult times. Thank you again for your encouraging comments. 🙂

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  4. The power of words!!! It is good to remember that they can be used for good or bad. Great man–that Winston Churchill!

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    • When I think of the power of words, I recall this quote by C.S. Lewis: “Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”

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