Winston Churchill: We Shall Fight On The Beaches

1128 words - 5 pages

“We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender,” exclaimed Winston Churchill in a speech in the midst of World War II on June 4, 1940. This is a small passage of the passionate speech he delivered in the United Kingdom, House of Commons in Parliament. Churchill was your typical British speaker. He acquired a stiff upper lip, which enabled him to suppress emotions and refrain from trembling ensuring his powerful delivery. This particular speech was given during a time of a crucial importance. The British Isles were left to fight the Nazi’s singlehandedly due to the ...view middle of the document...

Churchill makes good use of pathos. He uses dismal facts like, “Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail.” This is intended to conjure negative emotions with his audience so they can understand how dire the situation truly was. Yet, immediately after this, he reaffirms to his audience that there is hope at the end by stating what the British people will have to do. He uses the phrase “We shall fight” 7 times and describe no matter the setting, the British will rise and fight against their powerful Nazi foe. He comes to reinforcing British resolve and resilience, not to portray how desperate the situation has become. These fact and emotions become effective in boosting the overall tone of his speech from starting with a negative emotion with an instant sign of relief and a feeling of hope followed by confidence. He ends the “we shall fight” phrases with “we shall never surrender,” to enforce assurance that defeat is not an option.
Churchill was also successful in delivering this speech because of his ethos. Although he wasn’t the most popular amongst the British people, this speech as well as his previous speeches as Prime Minister gave him the credibility that was able to instill confidence from the audience he was speaking to and added persuasiveness to his speeches. Since he was the principal authority in one of the greatest empire in history, being Prime Minister enabled him automatic respect and high regard.
The timing in which the speech was delivered was also essential. As stated before, it was given after the hugely successful Evacuation of Dunkirk, which was also known as Dunkirk Miracle. Prior to the Evacuation of Dunkirk, Churchill was one of the first to realize the enormous threat of Nazi Germany but most of his warning went largely unnoticed. Now that the threat of Nazi aggression was an imminent possibility, it gave him the creditability required for delivery of this speech. He also refused to sign an armistice even during the most miserable of times. This is noteworthy because his predecessor was opposite in this regard and would have continued an appeasement policy with Nazi Germany.
There could...

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