What Winston Churchill said on September 11–sixty-six years ago.

Like just about everyone in New York City, I’ve been thinking a lot about the events of five years ago.

For me, tied in my mind to the day of September 11, 2001, was a day a month later, in October. I was in the middle of my research on Winston Churchill, for my book Forty Ways to Look at Winston Churchill.

As I was reading some of Churchill’s speeches, I saw that on September 11, 1940, Churchill gave a broadcast about the “Blitz,” the brutal nightly bombing of London.Wsc

One of the most striking things about New York City in the period after the attack on the World Trade Center was that, despite the shock and devastation, there was a tremendous mood of morale and determination.

Churchill’s words seemed to have been written for our own circumstances.

These cruel, wanton, indiscriminate bombings of London are, of course, a part of Hitler’s invasion plans. He hopes, by killing large numbers of civilians, and women and children, that he will terrorise and cow the people of this mighty imperial city, and make them a burden and anxiety to the Government…Little does he know the spirit of the British nation, or the tough fibre of the Londoners…who have been bred to value freedom far above their lives. This wicked man, the repository and embodiment of many forms of soul-destroying hatred, this monstrous product of former wrongs and shame, has now resolved to try to break our famous Island race by a process of indiscriminate slaughter and destruction. What he has done is to kindle a fire in British hearts, here and all over the world, which will glow long after all traces of the conflagration he has caused in London have been removed.

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  • Good old Winnie. He was right about the spirit of the British people. He was also excellent at sustaining that spirit.

    • purpleswan

      You are toatally right

  • Churchill was indeed The Man. Thanks for sharing that quote, Gretchen. Churchill was not about appeasing terror and neither should we be. Appeasing and negotiating with terrorist groups is like doing the same with a tantrum-throwing toddler. All it does is teach them that their tactics work, so they just do more of the same. ~Monica

  • Chester

    Let’s not let the myth replace the historical facts. Churchill had no problem appeasing Italy or Japan. Gave great speeches, not a great man.

  • Breffny

    The resolve of the British people during the Blitz was and is inspiring. Great find, Gretchen.

  • bharat

    Churchill deliberately killed approximately FOUR million Indians by stealing their grain at gunpoint for his warfronts and for personal wealth by hoarding it as Europe’s fields were still non functional. Please read Churchill’s Secret War. Or Late Victorian Holocausts. Or how UK laws, seen in Jane Austen novels, stopped Indian women’s traditional equal inheritance directly leading to their disempowerment. Millions of Indians died protecting one lot of Europeans from attacking another in wars. India was forced into this by UK and Churchill. Of course they were paid far less than similar English soldiers.