1945 and All That: Churchill, those Speeches, the War and the People, and ‘The Roar of The Lion’

RGS History

If there is one thing we all know, then it Is surely this. A nation stood alone on the verge of invasion. These words, listened to on the wireless in every hearth, home, workplace, barrack room in the land, united and inspired a nation.

Except, it’s not true.

In the first place, this speech, like most of Churchill’s finest, was never broadcast. Like ‘Blood, sweat and tears’ it was, in fact, given to the House of Commons. That Churchill’s great speeches electrified and even inspired the House in 1940 is well-attested, if not universally acknowledged. However, Churchill hated broadcasting, and had to be persuaded (often at some length) to do so. This was his first actual wartime broadcast, May 19th, 1940.

Many of what we think of as Churchill’s great broadcasts were, in fact, re-recordings made, for posterity, after the war. One of his most famous, made to the House…

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