May 13

This Day in History

World War II

May 13, 1940:

Churchill announces: "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat."

On this day in 1940, as Winston Churchill takes the helm as Great Britain's new prime minister, he assures Parliament that his new policy will consist of nothing less than "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 catalogue of human crime."

Emphasizing that Britain's aim was simply "victory, victory at all costs, victory in spite of terror, victory however long and hard the road may be." That very evening, Churchill was informed that Britain would need 60 fighter squadrons to defend British soil against German attack. It had 39.

Within a couple of weeks, the conservative, anti-Socialist Churchill, in an effort to make his rally cry of victory a reality, proceeded to place all "persons, their services, and their property at the disposal of the Crown," thereby granting the government the most all-encompassing emergency powers in modern British history.

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