105 Greatest Living Authors Present the World's Best Stories, Humor, Drama, Biography, History, Essays, Poetry

By Whit Burnett | Go to book overview
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WINSTON CHURCHILL

Brought back into the Government May 14, 1940 to form the War Cabinet and going to the British people with his first speech offering them nothing but "blood, toil, tears and sweat" in defining his policy to wage war against Germany, Winston Churchill made his second speech in the House on May 28th with the announcement of the Belgian army's withdrawal from the war. On June 4th, he went before the House of Commons with his Dunkirk speech after the British Expeditionary Force had been successfully evacuated from Flanders. (This selection from the "literature of eloquence" was made for this volume by Dr. Houston Peterson, an authority in the field, Mr. Churchill having written the editor he was not in a position to make a choice of his own writings.)


Dunkirk: The Miracle of the Evacuation

Speech delivered in the House of Commons on June 4, 1940, after the British Expeditionary Force had been successfully evacuated from Flanders.

FROM THE MOMENT the French defences at Sedan and on the Meuse were broken at the end of the second week of May, only a rapid retreat to Amiens and the south could have saved the British and French armies who had entered Belgium at the appeal of the Belgian King, but this strategic fact was not immediately realized. The French High Command first thought that they would be able to close the gap and the armies of the north were under their orders. Moreover, retirement then would have involved almost certainly destruction of the fine Belgian army of over 20 divisions and abandonment of the whole of Belgium.

Therefore, when the force and scope of the German penetration were realized and when the new French Generalissimo, General Weygand, assumed command in the place of General Gamelin, an

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