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Winston Churchill’s July 4 Message to America

Allies in War, in Peace Friends.

12:30 AM, Jul 4, 2010 • By JOSEPH LOCONTE
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As Churchill described the attack against Britain’s former ally, the House listened quietly, stunned and enthralled. Churchill was overcome with emotion. So were members of Parliament: They burst into cheers, relieved not only that French warships would not be used against Great Britain, but that they had a prime minister who would not allow their island nation to perish without a fight. The country overwhelmingly supported the decision.

Churchill’s daring action sent shock waves throughout the American foreign policy establishment, particularly among the appeasers in the White House and State Department. Liberal delusions about the limited nature of the Nazi threat, the wisdom of isolationism, and the impotence of British democracy were beginning to unravel. Two months later, Roosevelt sent Churchill the warships.

“The action we have already taken should be, in itself, sufficient to dispose once and for all of the lies and rumours which have been so industriously spread by German propaganda and through Fifth Column activities that we have the slightest intention of entering into negotiations in any form and through any channel with the German and Italian governments,” Churchill told the House. “We shall, on the contrary, prosecute the war with the utmost vigour by all the means that are open to us until the righteous purposes for which we entered upon it have been fulfilled.”

Thanks in part to Churchill’s Independence Day speech, America would join Britain’s “righteous purposes” in defending freedom against the immoral monstrosity of fascism. There are, of course, new monstrosities and barbarisms in our own day, new threats to human dignity and decency. Alas, there is also a new fraternity of defeatists eager to accommodate them. Churchill’s speech is a bracing challenge to both English-speaking nations to resist the siren song of appeasement and renew their commitment to democratic freedom—and to one another.

Joseph Loconte is a lecturer in politics at the King’s College in New York City and a frequent contributor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD. His most recent book is The End of Illusions: Religious Leaders Confront Hitler’s Gathering Storm.

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