August 18, 2021

Churchill’s style of speech-making has been copied by many of today’s leaders, echoing his phrasing, rhythm and language. In February 1941, Churchill made a famous speech to the British, but aimed at the Americans (to summon supplies needed for victory in the war) – his ‘Appeal to America’. He varied his tone, rhythm and hesitation. All this was part of his ‘stagecraft’, a trick of oratory to increase emphasis and effect. He used simple, direct language to get a very clear message across.

George W. Bush was to use very similar words and phrasing in 2001, in his State of the Union address after attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11 (11 September 2001). Listen to George Bush’s speech here; the phrase ‘we will not waver, we will not tire’ comes towards the end, at 6.14 mins. For the full text of his address, see the transcription by the White House, here.

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