London: Britain`s wartime Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill altered his speeches a number of times before he finally addressed Parliament during World War II in
order to lift the morale of the nation.
With German troops poised to cross the English Channel to add Britain to their list of conquests, Churchill spoke of it as our "finest hour" in 1940.
Corrections in red or blue ink in Churchill`s handwriting show how the wartime Premier was changing words and even adding entire paragraphs until moments before he addressed Parliament. Each alteration set a more optimistic tone, the `Daily Mail` reported.
Among the hundreds of changes in the draft speech is one on the threat from the Luftwaffe. The original told of the risk of "grievous damage". The final draft dropped this phrase and talked up the power of the Royal Air Force.
Churchill also changed a line about UK`s coastal defences, adding that naval mine fields had been "recently largely reinforced". But his mastery of political rhetoric is shown by the fact that the most famous part of the speech, the very end, remained unchanged.
But his mastery of political rhetoric is shown by the fact that the most famous part of the speech, the very end, remained unchanged.
It read: "Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say
`This was their finest hour`."
Churchill gave his speech to MPs on the afternoon of June 18, 1940, and later read it live over the radio. France had asked for an armistice two days earlier, leaving Britain
to fight on alone in Europe.