Winston Churchill Rhetorical Analysis Essay


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Winston Churchill Rhetorical Analysis Essay

Winston Churchill Rhetorical Essay Introduction

Especially during the 20th century, the world has experienced global wars, economic crises, epidemics, and other incidents that have negatively affected millions' lives. Accordingly, there have existed moments of persuasion by elected leaders to persuade the nations for probable fixations of such historical drawbacks. In this assignment, Winston Churchill's address to the British people during the early stages of World War II (1940) is examined and analyzed in terms of the circumstances, the historical situation, relevant issues, the purpose, and the qualities of the speech that made it memorable. Arguably, Churchill’s speeches were notably useful and effective in combatting against Nazi forces and united both the parliament members and citizens in a common goal; defending the homeland.

Body Paragraphs

One should first understand the background and character of Winston Churchill (1874—1965) before appreciating the intention and passion behind his speech. According to historian Max Hastings, Winston Churchill is considered one of the most notable people in recorded history (11). In this sense, this fact may be due to Churchill's persuasive and effective speeches at the time of great crises or his stalwart determination against the Nazi threat and Hitler during the 1940s. In particular, the persuasive speeches and fighting spirit of Churchill were significantly useful when Britain was on defense, and the victory for the Allies was unthinkable. In other words, one may readily suggest that Churchill's speeches were among the most important weapons of Britain and the Allies during World War II. Accordingly, following his speech on 4 June, Wedgwood said that the speech was “worth a thousand guns, and the speeches of a thousand years” (qtd. in Puputti 1, para. 2). For others, Winston seemed to mobilize the English language and sent it to battle against the Nazi threat and Hitler.

During the Dunkirk deliverance (26 May 1940), the primary mission was to evacuate the British Expeditionary Forces from the Dunkirk beaches with Operation Dynamo. Long before the operation was declared victorious, Churchill had already assured the Ministers of Cabinet's resilience: "Of course, whatever happens at Dunkirk, we shall fight on" (Churchill, Their Finest Hour, 88). Accordingly, Churchill had sent the order for all vessels (including civilians) to participate in the operation, and he describes it all with the following passage:
Everyone who had a boat of any kind, steam or sail, put out for Dunkirk, and the preparations, fortunately, begun a week earlier, were now aided by the brilliant improvisation of volunteers on an amazing scale (qtd. in Puputti 4, para. 4).

Right after the unexpected Dunkirk deliverance, Churchill made the famous speech on 4 June 1940 in the British House of Commons, and the speech was later broadcasted nationwide. At first, the British believed that the war would end long before reaching west Europa (Hastings 19). The then Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, had already lost confidence following the disastrous results when trying to prevent Nazi occupation in Norway with British soldiers (Hastings 19). Upon the demand for his determination and fierceness, Winston Churchill was issued the position of Prime Minister after Chamberlain failed to control the situation after Norway. According to Leo Amery, Churchill was the only man with the fighting spirit and true will against Hitler and Nazi rising (Hastings 27). In this sense, one may highlight the importance of Churchill's responsiveness, determination, and courage for the British people during World War II.

The term rhetoric "refers to the art of using language to influence the thought or action of others" (qtd. in Puputti 5, para. 3). In this sense, one may suggest that Churchill's speech is a masterpiece of rhetoric as it affected and influenced both parliament members and British people. In other words, rhetoric can also be considered a persuasion in which the speaker addresses others to feel, think, act, or believe in accordance with the speaker's will and cause. Accordingly, Churchill believed that Britain should never surrender to Nazi forces. His idea was to persuade the United States to join them against Hitler. According to Connoly, rhetoric unites people through the exchange of language and thought (qtd. in Puputti 5). In this sense, one may readily infer that Churchill united the leaders of the United States and Britain leaders, along with citizens' ideas. Also, in rhetoric, the speakers should convince the audience for the proposed and convenient actions required for the promised consequence. Fortunately, Churchill was also aware of these facts. He stated, “It was also right to lay bare my reasons for confidence” (Their Finest Hour, p. 103). After all, one may suggest that Churchill was able to use rhetoric in his speeches during World War II. Both his country and Allies benefited from his speeches by persuading their nations to combat against Nazi Threat.

Winston Churchill Essay Conclusion

In conclusion, this paper presents an analysis of Winston Churchill's famous speech in the House of Commons in 1940. Right after the unexpected Dunkirk deliverance, Churchill made the famous speech on 4 June 1940 in the British House of Commons. The speech was later broadcasted nationwide. Arguably, Churchill’s speeches were notably useful and effective in combatting against Nazi forces and united both the parliament members and citizens in a common goal; defending the homeland.


Churchill, W. L. Their Finest Hour (pp. 22,52,73,88-89,99,102-103). Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1985.

Hastings, M. Winston Churchill: sotavuodet 1940-1945. (H.Ruuhinen, Trans.) (pp. 11,19,20,22,25-27,29,47). Jyväskylä: Docendo. (Original work published 2009). 2011.

“Puputti, Heidi. “A Rhetorical Analysis of Winston Churchill’s Speech: We Shall Fight on the Beaches.” University of Oulu, 2019, pp. 2–35.,

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