75th Anniversary of the Beginning of the Second World War
“Poland was attacked by Germany at dawn on September 1 [1939.]” So wrote Churchill in the first volume of his war memoirs The Gathering Storm. “The Prime Minister asked me to visit him in the afternoon at Downing Street,” Churchill continued, and “invited me to become a member of the War Cabinet.” Two days later Churchill met Prime Minister Chamberlain again, and was asked to become First Lord of the Admiralty.
“Nothing had been said about when I should formally receive my office,” Churchill recalled, “but the opening hours of war may be vital with navies. I therefore sent word to the Admiralty that I would take charge forthwith and arrive at 6 o’clock. On this the Board were kind enough to signal the Fleet, ‘Winston is back.’ So it was that I came again to the room I had quitted in pain and sorrow almost exactly a quarter of a century before.”
“Once again defense of the rights of a weak State, outraged and invaded by unprovoked agression, forced us to draw the sword. Once again we must fight for life and honour against all the might and fury of the valiant, disciplined, and ruthless German race. Once again! So be it.”
This moment was memorably dramatized in the outstanding 2002 BBC-HBO production of The Gathering Storm featuring Albert Finney as Churchill. To watch the video clip, please CLICK HERE.
To learn more about Winston Churchill, please visit www.winstonchurchill.org.