So many vital speeches, here’s a couple. After being a political and national pariah – the Wilderness Years – for trying to warn the world and the liberal/socialist British governments for several years about the dangers of Hitler, the need to monitor his illegal military buildup, and the need to build up their own defenses, Winston Churchill finally came into power as Prime Minister on May 10, 1940 after Britain and France declared war on Hitler when his aggression could no longer be ignored as he invaded their treaty ally Poland. May 10, 1940 was a memorable day for another reason, it’s the day Hitler invaded France and the lowlands of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
That former PM Neville Chamberlain had been duped by Hitler was bad, that former PM Stanley Baldwin had ignored Churchill’s warnings to build up their national defenses and worse, to cut their defenses was horrendous. To his dying day, Churchill blamed Baldwin more for the plight of Britain than he did Chamberlain. Britain, which depended on imported food, oil, and other resources, was surrounded and attacked by air and water, and Hitler was preparing to invade the little island in Operation Sea Lion when he got distracted by the desire to invade the remaining Eastern European nations and Russia, and the realization that the Luftwaffe had not brought Britain to its knees and chose to punish Goring by delaying the invasion and letting their air force recover. France and the others quickly fell and from May 1940 till late June 1941, no one was fighting the mighty and professional Nazi military of submarines, air force, army,and navy except Britain. Britain wouldn’t have lasted a day without Churchill, without his indomitable will, his leadership skills, his previous government experience, his military experience both in fighting and administration – including Secretary of the Navy – and his vision.
Keep in mind that until Hitler invaded Russia in June 1941,Stalin and Russia provided great assistance to Hitler, providing resources from August 1939 [invasion of Poland, in which Russia invaded Poland from the east and Germany from the west, dividing it in half] until June 1941, resources directly used against Britain. When Hitler invaded Russia and Staling looked to Britain- there was no one else fighting Hitler – for assistance, some Brits were against helping Stalin but Churchill – who unlike the naïve FDR never trusted Stalin or Communism – saw that he would have to accept Stalin as an ally. Churchill was a visionary and a romantic but he was a realist when needed.
In truth, Russia had given assistance to Germany even in the 1920’s and accelerated that aid when Hitler gained power, even sneaking airplane parts and pilots into southwestern Russia to test Nazi military planes and train Nazi pilots. Russia also shared tank technology with Germany, all to help Germany violate of the Versailles Treaty.