Thursday, 7 July 2011

London - The Defiant City

On this anniversary of the horrific London bombings of 7/7 2005 I post, in tribute, some inspirational passages from the speeches made by Sir Winston Churchill during the height of the Blitz, when London was a blaze and much of the city in ruins. We defeated that foe but we must now stand firm against our current enemies, whose methods are different but whose aim is the same. Churchill's words are as applicable today as they were 70 years ago:  "London Can Take It!"

Sir Winston Churchill on London:

"London is so is like a pre-historic monster into whose armoured hide showers of arrows may be shot in vain." (During the Blitz)

"We shall defend every village, every town and every city. The vast mass of London itself, fought street by street, could easily devour an entire hostile army; and we would rather see London laid in ruins and ashes than that it should be tamely and abjectly enslaved." 14 July 1940

" 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... Little does he know the spirit of the British nation, or the tough fibre of the Londoners, whose forbears played a leading part in the establishment of Parliamentary institutions and 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. He has lighted a fire which will burn with a steady and consuming flame until the last vestiges of Nazi tyranny have been burnt out of Europe, and until the Old World—and the New—can join hands to rebuild the temples of man’s freedom and man’s honour, upon foundations which will not soon or easily be overthrown.
"This is a time for everyone to stand together, and hold firm, as they are doing ... All the world that is still free marvels at the composure and fortitude with which the citizens of London are facing and surmounting the great ordeal to which they are subjected, the end of which or the severity of which cannot yet be foreseen.
"Our fighting Forces ...  know that they have behind them a people who will not flinch or weary of the struggle—hard and protracted though it will be; but that we shall rather draw from the heart of suffering itself the means of inspiration and survival, and of a victory won not only for ourselves but for all; a victory on not only for our own time, but for the long and better days that are to come." 11 September 1940

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