January 1, 1970

In the summer of 1940, with German U-boats patrolling the seas and German bombers marshalling on the coast of France, Britain faced its first serious threat of invasion since 1805.

Many found it difficult to see how Britain could avoid being defeated. Victory seemed impossible. But Churchill was passionately opposed to negotiating with Hitler. The War Cabinet did consider a compromise peace – or at least the offer of mediation, by Italy, between Germany and the allies – but Churchill argued strongly against this. He was convinced that Hitler would renege on any promises or agreement, just as he had done back in 1938.

Churchill’s public presence was morale-boosting. Toting a tommy gun or wielding his cigar, his manner and bull-dog-like determination encouraged the people of Britain to ‘dare and endure’.

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