‘We Shall Fight on the Beaches’- A Rhetorical Analysis
I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone.
–Sir Winston Churchill, ‘
We Shall Fight on the Beaches’.
Sir Winston Churchill’s speech, ‘We Shall Fight on the Beaches’ was a wonderful piece of moving rhetoric. The diction that Churchill uses to deliver his message is not so advanced that one cannot understand him easily, but still manages to portray a ...view middle of the document...
However, on 24 May Hitler ordered a surprise halt to the German advance, inadvertently giving the Allies a three-day window of opportunity to prepare an evacuation. The Royal Navy had been moving destroyers and transport ships to the English Channel and together with a flotilla of hundreds of civilian-crewed merchant navy ships, lifeboats, fishing boats, pleasure cruisers and yachts they undertook the rescue of thousands of trapped soldiers as the Luftwaffe strafed the beaches and attacked the ships. In what Churchill described as a ‘miracle of deliverance’, over 300,000 Allied soldiers were evacuated ‘out of the jaws of death and shame’ in Dunkirk and the surrounding beaches between 26 May and 4 June (Abbot).
Thus came about a great celebration. The British Expeditionary Force had been delivered from the hands of the German army, which would surely have annihilated them. The country was in a state of euphoria, so great was the flood of relief that swept through the population.
This situation was perfectly suited to Churchill’s goals, and he knew that he but to inspire his people to rise up and he would effectively win his war. His ultimate goal was to keep fighting until he and his country were destroyed or had achieved victory against their enemies, and this event, the salvation of the British Expeditionary Force through serious German error, an error so great, in fact, that it singlehandedly lost the war for them. Had the B.E.F. been destroyed, Britain would have no fighting force, and would be forced to surrender, effectively ending the war before the United States had the chance to become involved. Playing upon the serious error made by the Nazis, he was prompted to deliver a message of hope and deliverance, but only after a certain amount of woe and hardship, a message that is now entitled "We Shall Fight on the Beaches". It called on the British people to stand up to the tyranny of the Nazi regime, as well as on the American people, as the New World, to come to the rescue of Europe, the Old World.
Churchill was undoubtedly a great orator, gifted at writing and delivering his speeches with power, despite being born with a speech impediment. His life is an example of his spirit, overcoming the difficulties with which he was presented, and making himself stronger as a result of it. Churchill was a more than just a great speaker though; he was a great man and a great leader as well. He took over as Prime Minister of Britain during one of the most trying times ever to come upon the country, and led his country to eventual victory over their adversaries. The analysis of his speech allows one to come closer to understanding the true rhetorical genius of the man known as Churchill. In particular,
We Shall Fight on the Beaches is a great example of his spirit, his diligence, and his unwillingness to give up.
Churchill was no fool however; he knew that the situation was still dire for him and his dear country. The British were vastly...