Quotes from book
The Second World War

The Second World War

The Second World War is a history of the period from the end of the First World War to July 1945, written by Winston Churchill. Churchill labelled the "moral of the work" as follows: "In War: Resolution, In Defeat: Defiance, In Victory: Magnanimity, In Peace: Goodwill".Churchill wrote the book, with a team of assistants, using both his own notes and privileged access to official documents while still working as a politician; the text was vetted by the Cabinet Secretary. Churchill was largely fair in his treatment, but wrote the history from his personal point of view. He was unable to reveal all the facts, as some, such as the use of Ultra electronic intelligence, had to remain secret. From a historical point of view the book is therefore an incomplete memoir by a leading participant in the direction of the war.


Winston S. Churchill photo

„I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

BBC broadcast (“The Russian Enigma”), London, October 1, 1939 ( partial text http://www.churchill-society-london.org.uk/RusnEnig.html, transcript of the "First Month of War" speech https://ww2memories.wordpress.com/2011/09/24/churchills-ww2-speech-to-the-nation-october-1939/).
The Second World War (1939–1945)
Context: I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma: but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.

Winston S. Churchill photo

„I believe we shall make them rue the day they try to invade our island. No such discussion can be permitted.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Minute (1 June 1940) in response to the Foreign Office's suggestion that preparations should be made for the evacuation of the Royal Family and the British Government to "some part of the Overseas Empire", quoted in Martin Gilbert, Finest Hour: Winston S. Churchill, 1939–1941 (London: Heinemann, 1983), p. 449
The Second World War (1939–1945)

Winston S. Churchill photo

„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; for without victory, there is no survival.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Speech in the House of Commons, after taking office as Prime Minister (13 May 1940) This has often been misquoted in the form: "I have nothing to offer but blood, sweat and tears ..."
The Official Report, House of Commons (5th Series), 13 May 1940, vol. 360, c. 1502. Audio records of the speech do spare out the "It is" before the in the beginning of the "Victory"-Part.
The Second World War (1939–1945)
Context: 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; for without victory, there is no survival.
Context: 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.' 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; for without victory, there is no survival.

Winston S. Churchill photo

„Everyone is in favour of free speech. Hardly a day passes without its being extolled, but some people's idea of it is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

"The Coalmining Situation", Speech to the House of Commons (October 13, 1943)
The Second World War (1939–1945)
Source: Google books link https://books.google.com/books?id=hc8pAAAAQBAJ&pg=PT373&lpg=PT373&dq=%22if+anyone+says+anything+back+that+is+an+outrage%22&source=bl&ots=vQG7eKCVNO&sig=FgGJGUVc7MSNY3-hyQrYpC8tiOY&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CFEQ6AEwDWoVChMI-J-rpoiWyQIVF9tjCh2cLAel#v=onepage&q=%22if%20anyone%20says%20anything%20back%20that%20is%20an%20outrage%22&f=false

Winston S. Churchill photo

„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.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Speech given at Harrow School, Harrow, England, October 29, 1941. Quoted in Churchill by Himself (2008), ed. Langworth, PublicAffairs, 2008, p. 23
The Second World War (1939–1945)
Source: Never Give In!: The Best of Winston Churchill's Speeches
Context: 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 S. Churchill photo

„It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Speech in the House of Commons, February 27, 1945 "Crimea Conference" http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1945/feb/27/crimea-conference#column_1294; in The Second World War, Volume VI: Triumph and Tragedy (1954), Chapter XXIII – Yalta: Finale.
The Second World War (1939–1945)

Winston S. Churchill photo

„A love for tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Speech in the House of Commons, November 29, 1944 "Debate on the Address" http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1944/nov/29/debate-on-the-address#column_31.
The Second World War (1939–1945)
Context: A love of tradition has never weakened a nation, indeed it has strengthened nations in their hour of peril; but the new view must come, the world must roll forward … Let us have no fear of the future.

Winston S. Churchill photo

„If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

To his personal secretary John Colville the evening before Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union. As quoted by Andrew Nagorski in The Greatest Battle (2007), Simon & Schuster, pp. 150–151 ISBN 0743281101
The Second World War (1939–1945)
Variant: If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.

Winston S. Churchill photo

„We shape our buildings, and afterwards our buildings shape us.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Speech to the House of Commons (October 28, 1943), on plans for the rebuilding of the Chamber (destroyed by an enemy bomb May 10, 1941), in Never Give In! : The best of Winston Churchill’s Speeches (2003), Hyperion, p. 358 ISBN 1401300561
The Second World War (1939–1945)

Winston S. Churchill photo

„Of this I am quite sure, that if we open a quarrel between the past and the present, we shall find that we have lost the future.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Speech in the House of Commons, June 18, 1940 "War Situation" http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1940/jun/18/war-situation#column_52.
The Second World War (1939–1945)

Winston S. Churchill photo

„The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Speech at Harvard University, September 6, 1943 ( full text https://www.winstonchurchill.org/resources/speeches/1941-1945-war-leader/the-price-of-greatness-is-responsibility, audio https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESiuSi8Qp9U).
The Second World War (1939–1945)

Winston S. Churchill photo

„The price of greatness is responsibility.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

In the House of Commons, February 28, 1906 speech South African native races http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1906/feb/28/south-african-native-races#S4V0152P0_19060228_HOC_307
The Second World War (1939–1945)
Variant: Where there is great power there is great responsibility
Context: I submit respectfully to the House as a general principle that our responsibility in this matter is directly proportionate to our power. Where there is great power there is great responsibility, where there is less power there is less responsibility, and where there is no power there can, I think, be no responsibility.

Winston S. Churchill photo

„The maxim ‘Nothing avails but perfection’ may be spelt shorter: ‘Paralysis.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Minute [brief note] to General Ismay, December 6, 1942, on proposed improvements to landing-craft.
In The Second World War, Volume IV : The Hinge of Fate (1951), Appendix C.
The Second World War (1939–1945)

Winston S. Churchill photo

„We are waiting for the long-promised invasion. So are the fishes.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Radio broadcast, London, Dieu Protège La France [God protect France], October 21, 1940 ( partial text http://www.churchill-society-london.org.uk/LaFrance.html).
The Second World War (1939–1945)

Winston S. Churchill photo

„Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Speech in the House of Commons, also known as "The Few", made on 20 August 1940. However Churchill first made his comment, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few" to General Hastings Ismay as they got into their car to leave RAF Uxbridge on 16 August 1940 after monitoring the battle from the Operations Room.
The Second World War (1939–1945)
Context: The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. All hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day; but we must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month, our bomber squadrons travel far into Germany, find their targets in the darkness by the highest navigational skill, aim their attacks, often under the heaviest fire, often with serious loss, with deliberate careful discrimination, and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the technical and war-making structure of the Nazi power.

Winston S. Churchill photo

„When I look back on all these worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

The Second World War, Volume II : Their Finest Hour (1949) Chapter 8 (September Tensions).
Post-war years (1945–1955)

Winston S. Churchill photo

„We have not journeyed all this way across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Speech before Joint Session of the Canadian Parliament, Ottawa (December 30, 1941)
The Yale Book of Quotations, ed. Fred R. Shapiro, Yale University Press (2006), p. 153 ISBN 0300107986
The Second World War (1939–1945)

Winston S. Churchill photo

„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 S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Speech in the House of Commons, June 18, 1940 "War Situation" http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1940/jun/18/war-situation#column_60.
The Second World War (1939–1945)
Source: Never Give In!: The Best of Winston Churchill's Speeches
Context: 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 now. 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, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. 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 S. Churchill photo

„The British nation is unique in this respect: they are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

Speech in the House of Commons, June 10, 1941 "Defence of Crete" http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1941/jun/10/defence-of-crete#column_152, in The Churchill War Papers : 1941 (1993), Churchill/Gilbert, Norton, p. 785
The Second World War (1939–1945)
Context: I must point out … that the British nation is unique in this respect. They are the only people who like to be told how bad things are, who like to be told the worst, and like to be told that they are very likely to get much worse in the future and must prepare themselves for further reverses.

Winston S. Churchill photo

„One day President Roosevelt told me that he was asking publicly for suggestions about what the war should be called. I said at once 'The Unnecessary War.“

—  Winston S. Churchill, book The Second World War

The Second World War, Volume I : The Gathering Storm (1948).
Post-war years (1945–1955)

Similar authors

Winston S. Churchill photo
Winston S. Churchill602
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1874 - 1965
Golda Meir photo
Golda Meir37
former prime minister of Israel
Indíra Gándhí photo
Indíra Gándhí35
Indian politician and Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin photo
Vladimir Putin106
President of Russia, former Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher photo
Margaret Thatcher348
British stateswoman and politician
Jawaharlal Nehru photo
Jawaharlal Nehru110
Indian lawyer, statesman, and writer, first Prime Minister …
Benito Mussolini photo
Benito Mussolini122
Duce and President of the Council of Ministers of Italy. Le…
John Maynard Keynes photo
John Maynard Keynes121
British economist
Amartya Sen photo
Amartya Sen29
Indian economist
Fidel Castro photo
Fidel Castro77
former First Secretary of the Communist Party and President…
Similar authors
Winston S. Churchill photo
Winston S. Churchill602
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1874 - 1965
Golda Meir photo
Golda Meir37
former prime minister of Israel
Indíra Gándhí photo
Indíra Gándhí35
Indian politician and Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin photo
Vladimir Putin106
President of Russia, former Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher photo
Margaret Thatcher348
British stateswoman and politician