Churchill addresses the U.S.A.

The moment before a Blenheim bomber from No 21. Squadron crashes into the sea, having clipped its wing on the mast of the ship it was attacking, 16th June 1941. Low level attacks on shipping were a high priority at this time but exceptionally hazardous.

In a radio broadcast to the United States on the 16th June, Churchill took the opportunity to make a direct appeal to the American public. He had just been awarded an honorary degree by Rochester University. The audience was given the full treatment of Churchillian rhetoric:

And now, in this time of world storm, when I have been called upon by King and Parliament and with the support of all parties in the State to bear the chief responsibility in Great Britain, and when I have had the supreme honour of speaking for the British nation in its most deadly danger and in its finest hour, it has given me comfort and inspiration to feel that I think as you do, that our hands are joined across the oceans, and that our pulses throb and beat as one. Indeed I will make so bold as to say that here at least, in my mother’s birth city of Rochester, I hold a latchkey to American hearts.

Strong tides of emotion, fierce surges of passion, sweep the broad expanses of the Union in this year of fate. In that prodigious travail there arc many elemental forces, there is much heart-searching and self-questioning; some pangs, some sorrow, some conflict of voices, but no fear. The world is witnessing the birth throes of a sublime resolve. I shall presume to confess to you that I have no doubts what that resolve will be.

The destiny of mankind is not decided by material computation. When great causes are on the move in the world, stirring all men’s souls, drawing them from their firesides, casting aside comfort, wealth and the pursuit of happiness in response to impulses at once awe-striking and irresistible, we learn that we are spirits, not animals, and that something is going on in space and time, and beyond space and time, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.

Churchill speaking at another event in 1941:

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