Speaker: Winston Churchill
Location: House of Commons
Date: 18 June 1940
By 18th June 1940, France had fallen to Hitler. In a packed House of Commons, Winston Churchill the country's newly appointed coalition Prime Minister spoke to the Nation. The Battle of France was over; the Battle of Britain was about to commence. Here, you can listen to his words.
What General Weygand called the "Battle of France" is over. I expect that the battle of Britain is about to begin. 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. 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, and all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more prolonged, by the lights of a perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty and so bear ourselves that if the British Commonwealth and Empire lasts for a thousand years men will still say, "This was their finest hour."