Winston Churchill become Prime Minister on the 10th of May, 1940,
the very day that Hitler launched his Blitzkrieg offensive
against France and the low countries.
The new Prime Minster had to watch as
the British ExpeditionaryForce was evacuated from the beaches of Dunkirk.
The French sought terms.
And Britain faced thepossibility of direct attack and even invasion.
It fell on Churchill to rally the nation
in the face of this unforeseenand terrible threat.
He did so with a fantastic speech
delivered in Parliament and then broadcast
over the BBC on the 18th of June, 1940.
The way that Churchill worked was
to dictate his speeches.
A duty secretary willbe there to take it down
on a state-of-the-art silent typewriter.
The speech will be set out, first of all, in normal typescript.
And Churchill would then go through making amendments,annotations, and changes,
quite often in his Churchillian red pen. Then,
when the speech was more or less
in its final format, it would be taken away
and retyped, retyped in this format, at this size.
So that it fitted comfortablyinto his hand or pocket,
and set out on the page inthis blank verse format,
which gave him the rhythm, the emphasis,
and the pauses for his great oratory.
And, of course, thepenultimate page of this speech
ends,”The Battle of France is over.
“The Battle of Britain is about to begin.”
But then you come tothis wonderful ending,
where Churchill says,”Upon this battle
“depends the survival ofChristian civilization.”
Building up to this almostShakespearean ending.
“因此 让我们振作精神 克尽职责”
“Let us therefore braceourselves to our duty
“and so bear ourselvesthat if the British Empire “and Commonwealth lasts
for a thousand years,
“men will still say, thiswas their finest hour.”