June 18, 1940

Churchill gave many speeches for which he became famous, but his ‘Finest Hour’ speech stands alone as one of his most memorable and inspiring.

Several weeks prior, the French and British had been evacuated from the coast of France at Dunkirk. The day before, on 17 June, the French had signed an armistice with the Germans, thereby effectively surrendering.

Churchill addressed the House of Commons on 18 June in a confident tone. He said that, ‘What General Weygand called the “Battle of France” is over. I expect that the battle of Britain is about to begin’. Churchill concluded his speech with his now celebrated final point, ‘Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duty and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth lasts for a thousand years men will still say, “This was their finest hour”’.

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