‘Regain our independence financially, economically and morally’

23 October 1951, Home Park Football Ground, Plymouth1

While we demonstrate and argue among ourselves here at home events are moving all over the world. One must not suppose that resistance to lawless outrages contrary to treaty or other obligations by Powers morally and physically not in the first rank raises the issues of a world war. A Third World War could only come if the Soviet Government calculated or miscalculated their chances of an ultimate victory and fell upon us all in ferocious aggression. That is why I am hopeful about the future. If I were a Soviet Commissar in the Kremlin tonight looking at the scene from their point of view I think I should be inclined to have a friendly talk with the leaders of the free world and see if something could not be arranged which enabled us all to live together quietly for another generation. Who can look beyond that? However, I have not yet been chosen as a Soviet Commissar – nor for any other office that I can think of – there or here. But what I cannot understand is how any of the leaders of Soviet Russia or the United States or here in Britain or France or in United Europe or anywhere else, could possibly imagine that their interests could be bettered by having an unlimited series of frightful immeasurable explosions. For another world war would not be like the Crusades or the romantic struggles in former centuries we have read about. It would be nothing less than a massacre of human beings whether in uniform or out of uniform by the hideous forces of perverted science. Science, which now offers us a Golden Age with one hand, offers at the same time with the other hand the doom of all that we have built up inch by inch since the Stone Age.

My faith is in the high progressive destiny of man. I do not believe we are to be flung back into abysmal darkness by those fearsome discoveries which human genius has made. Let us make sure that they are our servants but not our masters. Let us hold fast to the three supreme purposes. The freedom of the individual man in an ordered society; a world organisation to prevent bloody quarrels between nations by the rule of law; and for ourselves who have played so great a part in what I have called ‘our finest hour,’ to keep our own fifty millions alive in a small island at the high level of progressive civilisation which they have attained. Those are the three goals. To reach them we have first to regain our independence financially, economically and morally. If we are to play our part in the greater affairs of the free world, we have to gather around us our Empire and the States of the British Commonwealth, and bind them ever more closely together. We have to give our hand generously, wholeheartedly, to our Allies across the Atlantic Ocean, upon whose strength and wisdom the salvation of the world at this moment may well depend. Joined with them in fraternal association, drawn and held together by our common language and our joint inheritance of literature and custom, we may save ourselves and save the world. . . .

We are now at the final stage in this fateful election. Whatever happens on Thursday, we must all hope that we get a stable, solid Government and get out of this exhausting and distracting electioneering atmosphere, where all the forces of two great party machines have to go on working in every street and in every village week after week, to try to range the British people in opposing ranks. This is indeed a crisis in our island story. Never before in peace-time did we have so much need to judge policy on the merits and act in the true interests of our country, and of its Empire and Commonwealth of Nations. To go on like we have for the last twenty months with a Government struggling to keep its head above water from day to day and thinking of its party chances and of an election at any moment, is to give all that is strong and noble and resurgent in Britain the heaviest load to carry and the hardest battle to win.

Речь на русском языке «Вернуть себе финансовую, экономическую и духовную независимость»


  1. With the General Election under way, Churchill travelled down to Plymouth to support the campaign of his son, Randolph, in Devonport. In spite of the cold weather, a crowd of more than 10,000 turned out to hear the Leader of the Opposition.