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Little Hallingbury


Task 1

Task 1


This is a very famous speech delivered by Sir Winston Churchill, Prime Minister during the Second World War.

Please be familiar with the speech, by reading it a few times and considering what it might mean, before moving on to Task 2.


The most famous part of the speech is given below. There is also a bit of background information to explain why Churchill gave this speech.


We Shall Fight Them On The Beaches

Sir Winston Churchill, 4th June, 1940


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 even 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.

When was this speech delivered?


In May 1940, many of the Allied forces* had been trapped by the German army on the coast of France. They were in great danger of being destroyed after disastrous losses.


Against all odds, most of the soldiers trapped there were rescued. In an evacuation called 'Operation Dynamo', many ships, including small boats, crossed the English Channel to rescue the trapped soldiers.


The Air Force, which was not highly-thought-of at the time, also played an important role and would go on to be essential to Britain's victory in the war.


People at home were feeling very low. They were very worried about the war and many did not think Britain could win. They thought it would be invaded. Churchill believed the country would have to fight to the end to survive. He wanted to encourage people to believe that the country should keep fighting. He wanted to boost confidence in the air force. He wanted to encourage America (the 'New World') and the British Empire ('our Empire beyond the sea') to join in the fight. He also wanted to reassure America that, if it did join in the war, Britain would keep supporting it, even if defeated.


*The Allied forces included the British Expeditionary Force and the French and Belgian armies.

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