Articles and Features

Winston Churchill

Week of May 10, 1998

On May 13, 1940, Winston Churchill said, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat." I wasn't the first profound thing said by this man, and it certainly wasn't the last. In my mind, I group Winston Churchill with Franklin D. Roosevelt. That is semi-logical, considering they were both world leaders at the same time, both fighting on the same side of a war that was raging before I was present on earth. Unfortunately for me, the connection goes deeper with me to the point that they are almost the same man in my mind.

Quick quiz: Who said, "All we have to fear is fear itself."? You're right, it was Roosevelt, but Churchill is everyone's second guess. Enjoy the following quotations from Winston Churchill and learn a little more about this man. Then, all of us will be able to see him as an individual and be able to distinguish him from the other major players of World War II. (Not that I confused him with Hitler or Mussolini, mind you.)

Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

"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."
Speech made to House of Commons on May 13, 1940, three days after becoming Prime Minister.
"Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb."
"Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened."
"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."
Speech in the House of Commons, November 29, 1944
"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm."
"When the eagles are silent, the parrots begin to jabber."
"We shall show mercy, but we shall not ask for it."
Speech in the House of Commons, July 14, 1940
"Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.'"
Speech delivered to the House of Commons on June 18, 1940 following the collapse of France
"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
"A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject."
"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
Speech given at the Lord Mayor's Luncheon, Mansion House, London, November 10, 1942.
"The greatest lesson in life is to know that even fools are right sometimes."
"To build may have to be the slow and laborious task of years. To destroy can be the thoughtless act of a single day."
"We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire...Give us the tools and we will finish the job."
BBC radio broadcast, Feb 9, 1941
"Broadly speaking, the short words are the best, and the old words best of all."
"The power of man has grown in every sphere, except over himself."
"It is no use saying, 'We are doing our best.' You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary."
"There is nothing more exhilarating than to be shot at without result."
"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed."
"History will be kind to me for I intend to write it."
"For myself I am an optimist - it does not seem to be much use being anything else."
Speech at the Lord Mayor's banquet, London, November 9, 1954
"The price of greatness is responsibility."
"It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read books of quotations."
My Early Life - 1930
Featured Books
The following books and tapes are available through
  • Churchill in His Own Voice Audio Cassette - These are not actual recordings of Winston Churchill's speeches (minor disappointment for me here), but rather Churchill's memoirs read by Sir Lawrence Olivier. If I had to choose, I would still choose Churchill himself, but the acclaimed Olivier is good enough for me. Learn about Churchill's life (also includes famous speeches by Hitler, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Truman).
  • The Wit and Wisdom of Winston Churchill Paperback by James C. Humes, Richard Milhous Nixon - You thought I had a lot of quotations on this page, but you were wrong. Here is a book with over 1000 quotations and anecdotes from Winston Churchill. If you liked this week's edition, you love this book.
  • Triumph and Tragedy (The Second World War) Hardcover by Winston Leonard Spencer, Sir, Churchill, Winston S. Churchill - This is volume one of a three volume set chronicling World War II. The historical view of the world in which Churchill lived.
  • Never Give in : The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill Hardcover by Stephen Mansfield, George Grant - A biography of Winston Churchill. Find out the details of his life, because every life has a story. (oops! That's for A&E to tell you.)
For more information about Winston Churchill, try these links:
  • The London School - Winston Churchill - Lots of Info Here. This site contains links to other sites, writings about and by Winston Churchill and a videography (list of videos about and including him).
  • The Rise to Power of Winston Churchill - Historical data for you. This is a very detailed description of pre-World War II Churchill.
  • The Winston Churchill Page - Definitive, but Downloads Slowly. Contains a FAQ (frequently asked questions) file, photos, more links and quotations (called Bon Mots on this page). Ironically, the most complete site is maintained by a group in the United States.
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