Analytical essay on the book "Finest Hour." Highlighting Churhill's role in the Battle of Britain.

Essay by 10000ninjasUniversity, Bachelor'sB, April 2009

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Churchill: “The Force of Resistance”The Battle of Britain marked the end of Germany’s consecutive victories during World War II. The Germans failed in their task to demoralize the British population with a relentless bombing campaign on British cities. Great Britain’s victory sent the message to Hitler and the rest of the world that Great Britain would not roll over when facing the worst the Nazi’s had to offer. In Finest Hour, authors Tim Clayton and Phil Craig give support to the idea that British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, was the heart of the British population’s audacity during this devastating time.

Durring the first months of 1940 there was very little reason for Britain to unite with enthusiasm for an all out war with Germany. Germany already had control over much of Europe, America was giving very little aid and France was likely to be soon over run by German tanks.

The reality was that Britain would soon be completely alone, facing an enemy that had easily taken a large part of the European continent.

On May 28, 1940, Belgium surrendered to Germany. Churchill’s long held suspicion that Hitler would stop at nothing, short of force, to dominate all of Europe was now an undeniable truth. Even so, there were some influential members of Britain’s War Cabinet, such as Lord Halifax, that still clung to the hope of negotiation with Hitler. Churchill stood strong at his point that any negotiation for peace with Hitler would not be honored. He felt that peace terms would inevitably lead to German control over Britain. 1The authors show the moment for political consolidation for armed resistance against Germany came with Churchill’s first address to his wider cabinet. “Churchill managed to touch all of the most important figures in British politics with a firsthand sense of his own determination.” Churchill spoke of American intervention into the war after seeing a strong British defense. Above all, he completely dismissed the idea of any sort of peace with Germany which would inevitably place Great Britain under German dictatorship. The Cabinet responded with overwhelming enthusiasm to Churchill.2“Churchill placed morale at the heart of his policymaking.” 3 Churchill’s speeches often renewed the spirits of the British people. His determination to boost resolve of the people gave the British a profound sense of purpose. Churchill gave a powerful speech to a demoralized population on June 4, 1940. Churchill’s skill was not in making light of a hard situation but in inspiring British people to work to overcome the odds. The authors give Churchill credit for boosting British resolve in a speech when he expounded on the battle of Dunkirk. They described him as painting a picture of the war as “thrilling.” He gave excitement and courage to the people by portraying the war as a heroic enterprise. 4The authors mentioned several first hand impressions Churchill made on British subjects during the war. This gives solid evidence that supports Churchill’s importance to the British people. WAAFs are depicted listening and cheering to a radio broadcast of a speech by Churchill. The book gives an account of 2 WAAFs who had boyfriends in the RAF. They were inspired by Churchill’s heroic description of the pilots. Marian Holmes was quoted when she remarked how Churchill made her feel like the British could win in spite of the odds stacked against them. He told her not to send her valuable paintings to Canada and recommended she put them in cellars and caves because he was sure of victory. 5 Jack Colville, who served Churchill during the war, is also referenced to give credit to the claim that Churchill, “saved them all.” 6 These examples given by the authors give good support for Churchill as a constant source of inspiration for the British people.

Clayton and Craig provide adequate support to show Winston Churchill “was the force of resistance” during the Battle of Britain. 7 Finest Hour portrays him as an unwavering force that carried an entire nation to victory.

Citations1.Tim Clayton and Phil Craig, Finest Hour, (New York: Simon and Schuster, Inc.), 1: 103-1072.Clayton, Finest Hour, 2: 106-1073.Clayton, Finest Hour, 3: 234.Clayton, Finest Hour, 4: 128-1295.Clayton, Finest Hour, 5: 126 and 1306.Clayton, Finest Hour, 6: 3007.Clayton, Finest Hour, 7: 107