Churchill’s Final Warning
Adolf Hitler would have won World War ii if not for one man: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. All of Europe would have been dominated by a homicidal madman. Many historians believe this.
Churchill warned Britain throughout the 1930s, but no one believed him. He was alone. America was committed to isolationism. The media and academia scorned him. Most of Europe quickly surrendered to Hitler.
Churchill was a great man. He delivered one final warning of impending crisis. We ought to listen to him. What changes must we make to avoid this fate?
Churchill’s main political rival was Lord Halifax, who came close to being prime minister. Halifax thought that a man who died in battle wasn’t automatically a hero—a very liberal view. He supported negotiating surrender with Hitler. Churchill refused to turn even slightly in that direction. He declared that he would rather die choking in his own blood than submit to Hitler.
On May 13, 1940, in his first speech to Parliament after being elected prime minister, Churchill said:
I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalog of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.
What a rhetorical masterpiece—powerful, poetic and precise. Churchill couldn’t stop talking about victory even as Britain was on the edge of losing the war! He attacked the problem with “buoyancy and hope.” He simply refused to lose.
His speech was not well received by most in positions of power and influence, but everyone listening knew he wasn’t speaking empty words. He absolutely meant what he said. No one in the chamber, even those in his own party, applauded him when he entered or exited.
I have reread the transcript of this speech many times over the years. I am always moved by its depth.
Churchill had to fight his fear of public speaking, much less the daunting task of leading the nation. We all must overcome fear. God offers the solution in 1 John 4:18: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear ….”
Churchill rejected all attempts to relocate the royal family and the crown jewels to Canada. He threatened Hitler, saying he would rue the day he attacked Britain.
Throughout the 1930s, Churchill tried to convince the leaders of Britain to rearm, but they only wanted to disarm. Somehow, the liberals thought that disarming would appease the tyrant. Instead, Hitler made slaves of most of Europe. It took a miracle at Dunkirk to prevent the Allied forces from being captured and massacred.
Today, it is possible to deploy devastating nuclear weapons in war. The consequences of another worldwide conflict will be far worse. We need to think about the world today and how Churchill’s warning applies to us. Churchill stood alone against a sea of enemies. Where would we be today without him? Would I be allowed to speak God’s message freely if Hitler had imposed tyranny on the Continent and then the world?
Strength to Fight
Wars are not won by evacuations. Churchill was happy to save most of his troops from ruin at Dunkirk, but he knew this wasn’t really a victory.
In a speech on June 4, 1940, Churchill declared his intent to fight Hitler forever, from wherever:
Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous states have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.
Churchill guaranteed continual warfare, even if the mainland was defeated. He was determined to move to other Commonwealth nations and keep fighting from there.
Two weeks later, Churchill said:
Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age …. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization.
Churchill devoured history and was inspired by the lessons of the past. He saved Western civilization.
Churchill’s Final Warning
Winston Churchill said in 1929 (emphasis added):
Mankind has never been in this position before. Without having improved appreciably in virtue or enjoying wiser guidance, it has got into its hands for the first time the tools by which it can unfailingly accomplish its own extermination. That is the point in human destinies to which all the glories and toils of men have at last led them. They would do well to pause and ponder upon their new responsibilities. Death stands at attention, obedient, expectant, ready to serve, ready to shear away the peoples en masse; ready, if called on, to pulverize, without hope of repair, what is left of civilization.
Churchill delivered this warning over a decade before becoming prime minister. I call it his final warning because it’s the one message that applies most of all to our time.
Churchill’s warning fits the Bible description of the end time: “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:21-22). Churchill warned of mass extermination. Can we solve our problems? No. Only our Savior can. We need God’s help in this nuclear Dark Age.
God doesn’t want anyone to suffer. “[W]hy will ye die, O house of Israel?” Our nations are choosing death! Iran is racing toward the bomb and is willing to cause as much worldwide damage as possible to hasten its twisted version of the Messiah. Thankfully, Jesus Christ will stop World War iii in spite of man’s attempts to annihilate himself.