«Let us go boldly forward»

21 June 1955, The Guildhall, London1

It has been my lot to live as a grown-up person through more than half of the most violent century in human record. I remember well the scene which spread before us at the close of the Victorian era. The vast majority of the nation looked with confidence upon our island as the centre of a vast empire spreading all over the world, as its leader in commerce, manufacture, and invention, as the model of orthodox finance and fiscal policy, as the author of Parliamentary government and all guarded by the unchallengeable power of a navy which only cost about £20 millions a year. Little did we realise how mighty was the world which was growing up around us, or how terrible and gigantic were the struggles into which all its people were to be plunged. Now we look out upon a different prospect. All the values and proportions are changed. We have emerged on the victorious side from two world wars in which scores of millions have perished. They were wars which in their scope and scale seemed far to surpass our resources, and at times to threaten us with doom.

But now I leave the past, and I leave the present. It is to the future that we must turn our gaze. I confess that, like Disraeli, I am on the side of the optimists. I do not believe that humanity is going to destroy itself. I have for some time thought it would be a good thing if the leaders of the great nations talked freely to one another without too much of the formality of diplomacy. I am very glad that this is now going to happen. We must not count upon complete and immediate success. Whatever is the outcome, we must persevere in the maintenance of peace through strength. A period of relaxation of tension may well be all that is now within our grasp. But such a phase would not be sterile. On the contrary it would give the time for science to show the magnitude of her blessings rather than of her terrors; and this again may lead us into a more genial climate of opinion and resolve. Let us go boldly forward and play our part in all this.

Речь на русском языке «Смело вперед!»


  1. Following Churchill’s resignation, Sir Anthony Eden became Prime Minister and, at the General Election of 26 May, the Conservatives secured a majority of more than 50 seats. The City of London had commissioned a statue of Churchill by Oscar Nemon and had invited him to unveil it.