Winston Churchill Speech with a Purpose

In this virtual field trip, we will be exploring the Battle of Britain and The Blitz in order to give you the wider picture as we study the speeches of Winston Churchill during World War II.

You will be acting as reporters who are walking through the streets of London and the halls of Parliament while listening to Prime Minister Churchill address the nation over the radio. On this journey you will watch the skies of Britain and hide in the tunnels of the Tube. Take note of what you witness and experience! At the end of your tour, you will be asked to deliver a news report that answers the question: "How are Prime Minister Churchill's words affecting the nation?"

In 1940, Britain stood as the last major European power to stand against Nazi Germany. Hitler began a series of air raids against the island in order to prepare for an invasion by sea. Winston Churchill stood before the British Parliament to announce the arrival of these attacks in his famous speech-------------"Their Finest Hour"

Listen to the Prime Minister's speech by jumping to 24:45 in the video below

The Battle of Britain lasted from July to September of 1940.

Read this eyewitness account of an air battle by an RAF pilot

Watch this scene from The Battle of Britain (1969) to see what a battle was like

After this campaign, Hitler turned his attention to the city of London. This next campaign became known as The Blitz

Explore London before the Blitz

See what London was like before the Blitz here

Take a virtual tour of modern London here

By August of 1940, England's air forces were on the brink of destruction. The Royal Air Force had lost over 700 planes and even more pilots in two months of fighting. Winston Churchill addressed Parliament on August 20 to honor those who had defended Britain and to prepare the nation for the coming Blitz.

The Blitz was an extensive series of bombing raids on the city of London that lasted from September 7. 1940 to May 10, 1941.

Walk through the streets after a night of bombing

Listen to personal testimonies of survivors

Watch this scene from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005). Remember our discussions about C.S. Lewis and his writings.

The photo in the background is of St. Paul's Cathedral which miraculously survived the bombings.

What Hitler had not realized was the steadfast and resolute nature of the British people. Despite the fierce storm they endured, the British did not waver. Many of Churchill's speeches address this quality in his listeners. How do you think his words contributed to the morale of the nation?
Winston Churchill encouraging Londoners

One of the main methods of survival during the Blitz was taking sanctuary in the Underground subways of London known as "the Tube"

Take a virtual tour of life in "the Tube" during a bombing raid here

Read about personal experiences in "the Tube" here

Take a virtual tour of the Aldwych station here

The Blitz lasted until May of 1941 in which the ultimate test of the British people came to an end as Hitler realized that his air campaigns were proving futile in the face of British resolve. Extensive losses and the opening of the Russian front forced Nazi Germany to turn their focus elsewhere thus preserving what remained of London and allowing Britain to continue the war with a greater purpose.

Now you will be visiting the halls of the British Parliament where Churchill delivered his speeches.

Winston Churchill views the House of Lords after it was destroyed by German bombs

Take this virtual tour of Parliament here.

The House of Commons was destroyed during the 1941 Blitz

See Parliament's two houses: The House of Commons and The House of Lords

Despite its destruction during the Blitz, Westminster Palace continued to be a beacon of hope for the British nation and the world as Churchill continued to speak and incite hope in the face of ruin.

Now that your tour of London and the Blitz is complete, you will create a news report with the information that you have gathered. Remember, the essential question that your report must answer is: "How are Prime Minister Churchill's words affecting the nation?" Your news report can take several forms:

You can write a newspaper article of 300-350 words

You can act out a TV or Radio news segment lasting 3-4 minutes

You can deliver a 2-3 minute speech that reflects the rhetoric and meaning of Churchill

The Rubric for this assignment can be found here

CONCLUSION

You have explored the world of the Blitz and WWII London, and have examined the speeches and rhetoric of Winston Churchill. Take this knowledge and apply it to the modern day to see how words have the power to destroy and to heal and to change our world.

Credits:

Created with images by David Holt London - "London January 6 2014 034 Winston Churchill" • Steve Slater (used to be Wildlife Encounters) - "Battle of Britain flypast to the sea arty" • Elsie esq. - "The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at Shoreham 34" • Trondheim byarkiv - "Fra Kreml - Den Røde Plass og Vasilijkatedralen (1935)" • davejdoe - "The Tubes" • ** Maurice ** - "The British Parliament and Big Ben"

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