The famous phrase Blood, toil, tears and sweat
originally used by Theodore
in an address to the Naval War College on June 2,
1897, following his appointment as Assistant Secretary of the
the phrase became well known after a speech given by Sir Winston Churchill to the House of
Commons of the Parliament of the United
Kingdom on 13 May, 1940.
Churchill, a keen soldier, was likely to
have read works by Theodore
, who was a widely published military historian; it is
also possible he read the speech after being appointed First Lord of the Admiralty
position similar to Roosevelt's. It was Churchill's first speech to
the House after taking over as Prime Minister of the
in the first year of World War II
, having replaced Neville Chamberlain
on 10 May
It was the first of three speeches which he gave during the period
of the Battle of France
speech (and the two others, the "We shall fight on the beaches"
speech of 4 June and the "This was their finest hour"
speech of 18 June) was a great inspiration
to the embattled United
Kingdom as it entered what was probably the most dangerous
period of the entire war.
We are in the preliminary stage of one of the greatest
battles in history.
That we are in action at many points — in Norway and in
Holland —, that we have to be prepared in the
That the air battle is continuous, and that many
preparations have to be made here at home.
I would say to the House as I said to those who have
joined this government: I have nothing to offer but blood,
toil, tears and sweat.
We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous
We have before us many, many long months of struggle
and of suffering.
You ask, what is our aim?
I can answer in one word: 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.
(Text transcription as originally read by Churchill)
- John Lukacs, Five Days in London: May 1940 (Yale
University, New Haven, 2001) is a good look at the political
situation in the British government when Churchill made this