Below is the transcript of the commencement address, “Never Give In” delivered by Winston Churchill at Harrow School on October 29, 1941.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Winston Churchill – Address To Harrow School
Winston Churchill – TRANSCRIPT
Almost a year has passed since I came down here at your Head Master’s kind invitation, in order to cheer myself and cheer the hearts of a few of my friends, by singing some of our own songs. The 10 months that have passed have seen very terrible catastrophic events in the world — ups and downs, misfortunes — but can anyone sitting here this afternoon, this October afternoon, not feel deeply thankful for what has happened in the time that has passed, and for the very great improvement in the position of our country and of our home?
Why, when I was here last time we were quite alone, desperately alone, and we had been so for five or six months. We were poorly armed. We are not poorly armed today; but then we were very poorly armed. We had the unmeasured menace of the enemy and their air attack still beating upon us, and you yourselves had had experience of this attack; and I expect you are beginning to feel impatient that there has been this long lull with nothing particular turning up.
You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are; yet without imagination not much can be done. Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination. But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period — I am addressing myself to the School — surely from this period of ten months this is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never –in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. We stood all alone a year ago, and to many countries it seemed that our account was closed, we were finished. All this tradition of ours, our School history, our songs, this part of the history of our country, all were gone and finished and liquidated.