First Speech To The House Of Commons Quotes

"I Have Nothing To Offer But Blood, Toil, Tears, And Sweat"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: On May 10, 1940, Holland and Belgium were invaded by Germany. Upon appeal from King Leopold of Belgium the British Army moved north to Belgium. Neville Chamberlain resigned the office of Prime Minister, and Winston Churchill was asked by King George VI to form a new government. He gave a speech to the House of Commons on May 13, 1940, that was to rally the British to the war effort. His was by no means an easy task. The United States was not yet in the war and was at that time making every effort to stay out. The ordeal that lay before the British was formidable, but it was Churchill who was responsible for distinguishing between the impossible and the difficult. In the speech, he makes clear his desire for unity of government, and he asks also for unity of purpose. He says the aim is victory at all costs, "victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory there is no survival."

. . . . I hope that any of my friends and colleagues, or former colleagues, who are affected by the political reconstruction, will make all allowance for lack of ceremony with which it has been necessary to act. I would say to the House, as I said to those who have joined this Government: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat."