“Cometh the hour, cometh the man”
When so many European countries, including the Netherlands, were invaded by Hitler’s Germany in 1939, Great Britain resisted the Nazi threat. Winston Churchill was the charismatic British leader who inspired his nation to hold out against German forces, alone for two years.
Churchill’s great achievement was to hold out against the powerful German forces so that when the USA and Russia entered the war, victory could be achieved by the Allied forces in 1945.
It was said of Churchill: ‘Cometh the hour, cometh the man’. A great leader was needed at a time of desperate danger for the free world and Churchill was the man who inspired the fight-back against fascism.
Test your knowledge
Can you answer these questions about Winston Churchill?
To find the answers to the questions, scroll to the bottom of this web page.
1. Here’s a language question to start with: what do you think the name ‘Churchill’ means?
2. Which of the words below can be connected to Winston Churchill?
BREXIT – World War I – World War II – USA – United Kingdom – President – Prime Minister
It might surprise you to know that Winston Churchill had a tattoo: this was very unusual for a political leader so many years ago. He had a ship’s anchor tattooed on his forearm.
3. Look up information about Winston Churchill on the internet.
Write down at least three actions Churchill is held responsible for. Next to each one, state whether it is considered a positive or a negative action.
4. On the poster, you see a quote from Winston Churchill. It says: “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.”
What do you think Churchill meant when he said this? Does this quote make you think Winston Churchill just added positive things to history?
5. Knowing more about Winston Churchill now, can you think of a quote that would better summarise the actions he was responsible for in his life?
“We Shall fight on the Beaches”
Churchill was famous for his speeches, which were described as electrifying. One of his most famous speeches, known as “We Shall fight on the Beaches”, contained the following text:
“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. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. 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, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.”
Unfortunately, no video of the speech exists. However, you can hear him giving the full speech below.
If you want to know more about Winston Churchill, the film ‘The Darkest Hour’ might be an interesting introduction for you. Watch the trailer below.
- Churchill means ‘church hill’, so: ‘church on a hill’. It does not mean: ‘church ill’, as in becoming ill from going to church.
- The following words can be connected to Winston Churchill:
- World War I
- World War II
- United Kingdom
- Prime Minister
- Student’s own answer, for example:
- Creating an alliance against Nazi Germany – positive
- Fighting Nazi Germany – positive
- Dresden bombings – negative, or at least controversial
- Student’s own answer. The word ‘kind’ probably makes you think, it was Winston Churchill’s intention to add just good things. On the other hand: If you write your own history, you can influence the content, so put yourself in a positive light.
- Student’s own answer, for example:
I have done good things and bad things. My intentions were always good. Let history judge me.