The Future of Television
‘The television has come to take its place in the world; as a rather old-fashioned person I have not been one of its principal champions, but I don’t think it needs any champion. I think it can make its own way and I think it’s a wonderful thing indeed to think that every expression on my face at this moment may be viewed by millions of people throughout the United States. I hope that the raw material is as good as the methods of distribution.’
-Sir Winston Churchill, 1952, Press Conference, New York.
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Churchill on Misfortune
Unconditional Surrender of Japan
Japanese Surrender 14 August 1945
Winston Churchill, Harry Truman and Joseph Stalin at the Potsdam Conference the month before the Japanese surrender.
According to Sir Martin Gilbert in his epic Churchill biography here’s how the final days played out.
“On August 8, two days after Hiroshima, the Soviet Union declared war on Japan, and Soviet troops, already massed on the Manchurian frontier, drove southward in a series of fierce and bloody battles. On August 9 a second atom bomb was dropped, this time on Nagasaki. Two Japanese cities had been all but obliterated. ‘It may well be that events will bring the Japanese War to an early close,’ Churchill wrote to Attlee on August 10. ‘Indeed I hope this may be so, for it means an immense lightening of the load we expected to carry.’ That day, Radio Tokyo broadcast an appeal to the Allies to accept the Japanese surrender. ‘We have as yet nothing more than the Tokyo broadcast,’ Attlee wrote to Churchill later that day, ‘but are seeking confirmation. I will let you know as soon as I have news.’ The probability was, Attlee believed, that Japan would formally surrender ‘in the next 48 hours’, and he went on: ‘I feel that the probability of the surrender of our last enemy is so great that I must, at once, offer to you, our leader from the darkest hours through so many anxious days, my congratulations on this crowning result of your work.’ On August 14 the Japanese Government accepted the Allied terms. The Second World War was over.”
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Churchill’s First Impressions of New York
Churchill to Mrs John Leslie
12 November 1895
763 Fifth Avenue
“…So far I think the means of communication in New York have struck me the most. The comfort and convenience of elevated railways—tramways—cable cars & ferries, harmoniously fitted into a perfect system accessible alike to the richest and the poorest—is extraordinary. And when one reflects that such benefits have been secured to the people not by confiscation of the property of the rich or by arbitrary taxation but simply by business enterprise—out of which the promoters themselves have made colossal fortunes, one cannot fail to be impressed with the excellence of the active system. But New York is full of contradictions and contrasts. I paid my fare across Brooklyn Bridge with a paper dollar. I should think the most disreputable ‘coin’ the world has ever seen [He was used to golden sovereigns and half-sovereigns]. I wondered how to reconcile the magnificent system of communication with the abominable currency for a considerable time and at length I have found what may be a solution. The communication of New York is due to private enterprise while the state is responsible for the currency: and hence I come to the conclusion that the first class men of America are in the counting house and the less brilliant ones in the government….”
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Famous Quotes and Stories
Read a selection of Winston Churchill’s most famous quotes
“No One Would Do Such Things”
“So now the Admiralty wireless whispers through the ether to the tall masts of ships, and captains pace their decks absorbed in thought. It is nothing. It is less than nothing. It is too foolish, too fantastic to be thought of in the twentieth century. Or is it fire and murder leaping out of the darkness at our throats, torpedoes ripping the bellies of half-awakened ships, a sunrise on a vanished naval supremacy, and an island well-guarded hitherto, at last defenceless? No, it is nothing. No one would do such things. Civilization has climbed above such perils. The interdependence of nations in trade and traffic, the sense of public law, the Hague Convention, Liberal principles, the Labour Party, high finance, Christian charity, common sense have rendered such nightmares impossible. Are you quite sure? It would be a pity to be wrong. Such a mistake could only be made once—once for all.”
—1923, recalling the possibility of war between France and Germany after the Agadir Crisis of 1911, in The World Crisis, vol. 1, 1911-1914, pp. 48-49.Read Full Quote
Q. I am looking for the brief speech that Churchill made to the graduating class of, I believe, Oxford or Cambridge. Memory serves that the speech was simply “Never give up, Never give up, never give up.” Is this correct?
A. This is one of our most frequent quote requests. The speech was made 29 October 1941 to the boys at Harrow School. ” Never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” The full speech is contained in “The Unrelenting Struggle” (London: Cassell and Boston: Little Brown 1942, and is found on pages 274-76 of the English edition). It may also be found in The Complete Speeches of Winston S. Churchill, edited by Robert Rhodes James (NY: Bowker and London: Chelsea House 1974). Read Full Quote
Quotes Falsely Attributed to Winston Churchill
These fake quotes make for good storytelling, but popular myth has falsely attributed them to Winston Churchill.
Conservative by the Time You’re 35
‘If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain.’
There is no record of anyone hearing Winston Churchill say this. Paul Addison of Edinburgh University made this comment: ‘Surely Churchill can’t have used the words attributed to him. He’d been a Conservative at 15 and a Liberal at 35! And would he have talked so disrespectfully of Clemmie, who is generally thought to have been a lifelong Liberal?’
‘Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.’
This fake quote is very often attributed to Churchill but appears nowhere in the Churchill canon.
Cross of Lorraine
‘The hardest cross I have to bear is the Cross of Lorraine.’
This remark about the intractable Charles de Gaulle was actually made by General Spears, Churchill’s envoy to France.
‘You have enemies? Good. It means that you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.’
According to PolitiFact, the quote attributed to Churchill is a rough paraphrase of Victor Hugo, the French playwright, from an essay he wrote a century before the Nazis were defeated.
Going Through Hell
‘If you’re going through hell, keep going.’
We have yet to see any correct attribution of this quote that frequently appears on the Internet and printed on motivation posters. This fake quote is not a phrase that is contained anywhere in the canon of Winston Churchill’s written or spoken words.
The Maiden Speech
February 18, 1901. House of Commons
After his Oldham victory, Churchill went on an extended lecture tour in Britain, the United States and Canada. He returned on February 10 exhausted, but with the knowledge that he had acquired, through his lecture fees and royalties from his books, nearly £10,000.
Churchill’s maiden speech was made on February 18th immediately after an inflammatory speech by David Lloyd George. “He had a moderately phrased amendment on the Order paper,” Churchill wrote in My Early Life, “but whether he would move it was not certain.” As Lloyd George continued, Churchill related that “a sense of alarm and even despair crept across me. Then Mr. Thomas Gibson-Bowles whispered to me, ‘You might say instead of making his violent speech without moving his moderate amendment, he had better have moved his moderate amendment without making his violent speech.’ Manna in the wilderness was not more welcome. It fell only just in time. “(My Early Life, 364).
In the course of the speech Churchill said. “If I were a Boer. I hope I should be fighting in the field. ” Joseph Chamberlain muttered back, “That’s the way to throw away seats.” The speech was successful; immediately afterwards he met Lloyd George for the first time.
—Sir Robert Rhodes James
Churchill Centre Note: Churchill in his autobiography was too modest. He demonstrated at least twice in this Maiden Speech in response to interruptions—one to his mention of the controversial Sir Alfred Milner, once in regard to Irish nationalism—that he was fast on his feet and able to respond with humor and clear knowledge of the issues.
I understood that the hon. Member to whose speech the House has just listened, had intended to move an Amendment to the Address. The text of the Amendment, which had appeared in the papers, was singularly mild and moderate in tone; but mild and moderate as it was, neither the hon. Member nor his political friends had cared to expose it to criticism or to challenge a division upon it, and, indeed, when we compare the moderation of the Amendment with the very bitter speech which the hon. Member has just delivered, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the moderation of the Amendment was the moderation of the hon. Member’s political friends and leaders, and that the bitterness of his speech is all his own.Read Full Quote
Winston Churchill Quotes
It is arguable whether the human race have been gainers by the march of science beyond the steam engine. Electricity opens a field of infinite conveniences to ever greater numbers, but they may well have to pay dearly for them. But anyhow in my thought I stop short of the internal combustion engine which has made the world so much smaller. Still more must we fear the consequences of entrusting to a human race so little different from their predecessors of the so-called barbarous ages such awful agencies as the atomic bomb. Give me the horse.Scientific Progress
~ Winston Churchill, 10 July 1951, Royal College of Physicians, London
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