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Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat: The Dire Warning: Churchill's First Speech as Prime Minister

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Overview

""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.'"" "On May 13th, 1940, Winston Churchill stood before the House of Commons to deliver his first speech as Prime Minister. Three days earlier Germany had invaded Holland, Belgium and France. Meeting only with feeble resistance, Hitler's armies were sweeping westward. Neville Chamberlain had been pressed to resign, and Churchill succeeded him." "When Churchill rose to address the House of Commons on May 13th he
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Overview

""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.'"" "On May 13th, 1940, Winston Churchill stood before the House of Commons to deliver his first speech as Prime Minister. Three days earlier Germany had invaded Holland, Belgium and France. Meeting only with feeble resistance, Hitler's armies were sweeping westward. Neville Chamberlain had been pressed to resign, and Churchill succeeded him." "When Churchill rose to address the House of Commons on May 13th he had little support from the Conservative Party. "I have never believed in him," wrote one MP. Another described Churchill as a "disaster." Most of his own Conservative Party had applauded not Churchill but Chamberlain when the latter entered the hall. Churchill's speech received no overwhelming applause. It was not broadcast to the nation that night." "In Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat, the eminent historian and master storyteller John Lukacs describes and discusses this extraordinary and - at the time - little appreciated speech. Churchill's rhetoric, he argues, emanated from his vision of history which defined his leadership throughout the war. For Churchill recognized, far earlier than most, the power of Adolph Hitler, and the strength of the German military. "I hope it is not too late," Churchill had confided to his bodyguard on May 10th. "I am very much afraid that it is," He added: "We can only do our best."" Churchill made no promises in his speech. He knew he had none to make. And yet he would and did rally England. For Churchill - and Churchill alone - understood what was at stake: the fate not only of his nation, but ofcivilization itself.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

In this brief essay, historian Lukacs (Winston Churchill) examines a single sentence from one of Winston Churchill's most memorable speeches and his first as prime minister during World War II. In the process, Lukacs evokes the temper of a time when the fate of humankind hung in the balance. Churchill made this moving speech on May 13, 1940. The German mechanized legions were pushing through France, and England's "Darkest Hour" was beginning. Lukacs stresses that this speech, with its famous words, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat," was given to the assembled Parliament and heard only by Churchill's colleagues there. Yet it captured the grim resolve that resonated throughout Great Britain, and when Churchill's words were reported, the British knew they were in a fight to the death-and that Churchill was the man to lead them. Lukacs is an unabashed Churchill admirer, but he is also a highly regarded historian whose work on the early phases of World War II is prolific and influential. This work may be a paean to Churchill, but it is also a perceptive analysis of a seminal moment in world history. Although there are many books on Churchill's speeches, e.g., Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat: Winston Churchill's Famous Speeches, edited by David Cannadine, this concise essay should be in every Churchill collection.
—Jim Doyle

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781602834422
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/13/2008
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: 5 CDs, 2 hrs 55 min
  • Pages: 3
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

John Lukacs is the author of over twenty books on topics in European history, including Five Days in London: May 1940, The Hitler of History, and The Last European War. Currently Professor of History Emeritus at Chestnut Hill College, he has also taught at Columbia University, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, and the University of Budapest. He lives in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    no contradiction accepted

    mr likacs . try here to rebuke davis reynols but . .. not everyone think that churchill did not have doubts in 1940 about eventual victory

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