Thursday, June 4, 2009

This Day In History 1940: Winston Churchill

June 4, 1940: Winston Churchill delivers his famous "We shall never surrender" speech. Click here to listen to the full twelve-minute speech or download an MP3; the famous part starts at roughly ten minutes. It still gives me chills almost 70 years later:
Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

According to Wikipedia (fascinating if accurate):
In the most famous passage, beginning "We shall fight on the beaches..." and ending "...we shall never surrender", the assertions consist entirely of Germanic words descending from Old English, while the only French-derived word is the thing rejected: "surrender".

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