“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya Angelou, Poet
When France fell to Germany in 1940, the people of the United Kingdom feared the worst for their own country. Analysts in Washington predicted that the United Kingdom may only survive two weeks. And in the United Kingdom itself, many feared an inevitable and irresistible invasion.
After all, the relatively small British Expeditionary Force that was the core of its army had been defeated and then retreated leaving all its heavy equipment on the beaches of Dunkirk. And the much larger French armies had fallen rapidly before the German military’s Blitzkrieg tactics, which had proven unstoppable wherever they had been employed.
However, Prime Minister Winston Churchill did not look to the recent past or his nation’s relative weakness before its formidable foe for his real world view. He looked to Britain’s potential to resist using all its natural defences, plus the nation’s still capable navy and air force.
In speeches that demonised Hitler as a monster, he also demonstrated confidence that the island nation could be defended whatever the cost.
He even promised victory if they “never, never, never” gave in. And history records that what at the time must have at first seemed unreasonable to many, did come to pass. Churchill galvanised his people to action, and action led to effective resistance and even victories until Russia and the USA joined the war.