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The 20th Centuries Greatest Orators - Sir Winston Churchill

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posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 10:22 AM
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If a man wishes to become a great orator, he must first become a student of the great orators who have come before him. He must immerse himself in their texts, listening for the turns of phrases and textual symmetries, the pauses and crescendos, the metaphors and melodies that have enabled the greatest speeches to stand the test of time.

These speeches lifted hearts in dark times, gave hope in despair, refined the characters of men, inspired brave feats, gave courage to the weary, honored the dead, and changed the course of history.

I challenge you to attempt a program of study in which you read the entirety of one of these great speeches each and every day.

Great oratory has three components: style, substance, and impact.

Style: A great speech must be masterfully constructed. The best orators are masters of both the written and spoken word, and use words to create texts that are beautiful to both hear and read.

Substance: A speech may be flowery and charismatically presented, and yet lack any true substance at all. Great oratory must center on a worthy theme; it must appeal to and inspire the audience’s finest values and ideals.

Impact: Great oratory always seeks to persuade the audience of some fact or idea. The very best speeches change hearts and minds and seem as revelatory several decades or centuries removed as when they were first given.

So, who else could i start with (as a brit) than Winston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill, one of the greatest orators of the 20th century, was interestingly enough, like Demosthenes and other great orators before him, born with a speech impediment which he worked on until it no longer hindered him. One would never guess this from hearing Churchill’s strong and reassuring voice, a voice that would buoy up Britain during some of her darkest hours.

“We Shall Fight on the Beaches”
June 4, 1940; House of Commons, London

During the Battle of France, Allied Forces became cut off from troops south of the German penetration and perilously trapped at the Dunkirk bridgehead. On May 26, a wholesale evacuation of these troops, dubbed “Operation Dynamo,” began. The evacuation was an amazing effort-the RAF kept the Luftwaffe at bay while thousands of ships, from military destroyers to small fishing boats, were used to ferry 338,000 French and British troops to safety, far more than anyone had thought possible. On June 4, Churchill spoke before the House of Commons, giving a report which celebrated the “miraculous deliverance” at Dunkirk, while also seeking to temper a too rosy of view of what was on the whole a “colossal military disaster.”

Excerpt:

"I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone. At any rate, that is what we are going to try to do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Government-every man of them. That is the will of Parliament and the nation. The British Empire and the French Republic, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death their native soil, aiding each other like good comrades to the utmost of their strength. Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and even if, which I do not for a moment believe, this Island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old."

Full Speech

“Their Finest Hour”
June 18, 1940; House of Commons, London

On May 10, 1940, the Germans began their invasion of France. On June 14 Paris fell. In a matter of days, France would surrender and England would stand as Europe’s lone bulwark against the twin evils of Fascism and Nazism. At this critical moment, Churchill gave his third and final speech during the Battle of France, once again imparting words meant to bring hope in this dark hour.

Excerpt:

"What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’"

Full Speech

“Blood, Sweat, and Tears”
May 13, 1940; House of Commons, London

Winston Churchill’s first speech to the House of Commons as Britain’s new Prime Minister got off to an auspicious start. His welcome to that assembly was quite tepid, while outgoing PM Neville Chamberlain was enthusiastically applauded (the world did not yet know just how disastrous his appeasement policies would prove and did not trust Churchill). But Churchill’s first speech, the first of three powerful oratories he gave during the Battle of France, would prove that England was in more than capable hands. A seemingly unstoppable Hitler was advancing rapidly across Europe, and Churchill wasted no time in calling his people to arms. While TR had actually been the first to utter the phrase, “blood, sweat and tears,” it was Churchill’s use of these words that would leave an inedible and inspiring impression upon the world’s mind.

Excerpt:

"I say to the House as I said to ministers 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 kind. We have before us many, many months of struggle and suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air. War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us, and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs – Victory in spite of all terrors – Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival."

Full Speech

Continued...


[edit on 05/08/2009 by LiveForever8]




posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 10:26 AM
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"Iron Curtain"
March 5, 1946

Less than a year after the end of the World War II, the great wartime leader of Britain, Winston Churchill, delivered this speech coining the term "iron curtain" to describe the line in Europe between self-governing nations of the West and those in Eastern Europe under Soviet Communist control.
Churchill gave the speech at Westminster College, in Fulton, Missouri, after receiving an honorary degree and was introduced by Missourian, President Harry Truman.

Excerpt:

"The United States stands at this time at the pinnacle of world power. It is a solemn moment for the American democracy. For with this primacy in power is also joined an awe-inspiring accountability to the future. As you look around you, you must feel not only the sense of duty done, but also you must feel anxiety lest you fall below the level of achievement. Opportunity is here now, clear and shining, for both our countries. To reject it or ignore it or fritter it away will bring upon us all the long reproaches of the aftertime.

It is necessary that constancy of mind, persistency of purpose, and the grand simplicity of decision shall rule and guide the conduct of the English-speaking peoples in peace as they did in war. We must, and I believe we shall, prove ourselves equal to this severe requirement.

I have a strong admiration and regard for the valiant Russian people and for my wartime comrade, Marshal Stalin. There is deep sympathy and goodwill in Britain -- and I doubt not here also -- toward the peoples of all the Russias and a resolve to persevere through many differences and rebuffs in establishing lasting friendships.

It is my duty, however, to place before you certain facts about the present position in Europe.

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe."


Full Speech

















en.wikipedia.org...

www.nationalcenter.org...

artofmanliness.com...

www.historyplace.com...

www.historyplace.com...

Once Churchill was speaking in Parliament and was slightly muddled and incoherent in his speech. A rather unattractive lady MP on the opposite benches declared to Churchill: 'Sir, you are drunk!'. To which he replied 'Madame that may be true, but in the morning I shall be sober whereas you will still be ugly'.


Sir Winston Churchill is the focus of this first thread chronicling the 20th Centuries Greatest Orators.

There will be more to follow.

Peace.


[edit on 05/08/2009 by LiveForever8]

[edit on 05/08/2009 by LiveForever8]



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 10:30 AM
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reply to post by LiveForever8
 


I agree and don't. A good orator uses Aristotle's 5 Canons efficiently so. Bill Clinton (aka "Slick Willie") is the most gifted orator of the 20th Century, in my opinion. No one, and I mean no one, could back him down.



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 10:34 AM
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reply to post by pluckynoonez
 


I would disagree...

Winston is near the top. Like it or not, agree or disagree with his political affiliation Ronald Reagan had the gift. So did Kennedy.

Slick Willie was good. But not the best of the last century.


[edit on 15-9-2009 by SLAYER69]



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 10:44 AM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


Ronald Reagan made famous "well..." and you are saying he is more apt than Slick Willie? Please. If it came to a debate between the two Slick Willie would mop the floor with him. Remember when a team of lawyers grilled Slick Willie about Monica? and tried to catch him in a lie and Slick Willie was like, paraphrasing, "refer to what I said to what I said to what I said...." A team of lawyers couldn't bring him down. The man is a rhetorical genius. There is no one on this planet, not even Churchill (RIP) that could talk Slick Willie into corner. Slick Willie pwns everyone.

[edit on 15-9-2009 by pluckynoonez]



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 10:48 AM
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what about Martin Luther King's " I have a dream" that speech never fails to send shivers down my back.



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 10:50 AM
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reply to post by pluckynoonez
 


There is more to being a great orator than arguement and persuasion.

Five Canons of Rhetoric

Invention: Finding ways to persuade.
Arrangement: Putting together the structure of a coherent argument.
Style: Presenting the argument to stir the emotions.
Memory: Speaking without having to prepare or memorize a speech.
Delivery: Making effective use of voice, gesture, etc.

Its about many different styles and many different situations.
Inspiration.
Wisdom.

Going from those definitions, Adolf Hitler would surely be the best, wouldn't he?

Anyway, ill get to him sooner or later......



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 10:51 AM
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reply to post by woodwardjnr
 


It is indeed brilliant.

But this thread is focusing on Winston Churchill, as i said, it is the first of many more to come.

Thanks.



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 10:52 AM
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reply to post by pluckynoonez
 


OK sooo...

Let me get this straight we are speaking about being the 20th Centuries greatest orator and you're using his impeachment hearings as an example of that?

I'm setting politics aside.

If all that you remember is "Well" from Reagan then that's fair, that's your opinion you have a right to that. I still disagree.



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 10:52 AM
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Originally posted by woodwardjnr
what about Martin Luther King's " I have a dream" that speech never fails to send shivers down my back.


True, which reminds me. I share Dr. King's philosophy for pacifism, but I think Malcolm X was a more impressive speaker, more direct and sharp and awe-inspiring. My favorite here, "I'm a field negro"....




posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 10:53 AM
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reply to post by pluckynoonez
 


I'll never forget his brilliant retort" That depends on what the meaning of "is" is. "
That's not exact but I think he got a lot of slack if you ask me.

Ronald Reagan was an actor before entering politics and I think that training suits the position .
Most everything they say is scripted and written by much more talented people Than themselves.
I think most would agree.
I think that oratory skills are important but what it comes down to is action .
Taken at the right time for the right reasons and in the right measure



[edit on 9/15/2009 by MagnumOverDrive]



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 10:56 AM
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reply to post by LiveForever8
 


Hitler wouldn't be the best because there is also ethos, pathos, and logos to consider. Hitler was paltry in two of three of those qualities. As is Alex Jones and Bill O'Reilly.



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 10:57 AM
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Hmm as distasteful as he was.. I think Adolf Hitler has to make the list.

An evil man with mad oratory skills is a dangerous thing.



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 10:58 AM
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reply to post by MagnumOverDrive
 


I don't think this threads about politics. I know it's going to be hard for some to separate the two. The topic is "The 20th Centuries Greatest Orators" Not political affiliations, stances or world views.



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 11:01 AM
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reply to post by pluckynoonez
 


I would have to disagree with that.

Ethos (Credibility), or ethical appeal, means convincing by the character of the author. We tend to believe people whom we respect. One of the central problems of argumentation is to project an impression to the reader that you are someone worth listening to, in other words making yourself as author into an authority on the subject of the paper, as well as someone who is likable and worthy of respect.

Pathos (Emotional) means persuading by appealing to the reader's emotions. We can look at texts ranging from classic essays to contemporary advertisements to see how pathos, emotional appeals, are used to persuade. Language choice affects the audience's emotional response, and emotional appeal can effectively be used to enhance an argument.

Logos (Logical) means persuading by the use of reasoning. This will be the most important technique we will study, and Aristotle's favorite. We'll look at deductive and inductive reasoning, and discuss what makes an effective, persuasive reason to back up your claims. Giving reasons is the heart of argumentation, and cannot be emphasized enough. We'll study the types of support you can use to substantiate your thesis, and look at some of the common logical fallacies, in order to avoid them in your writing.

Logos is where Hitler would fall short.
But in a country like Germany (at the time) it doesn't take much to make a huge impact.



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 11:02 AM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


"Speech without action is like foreplay without climax"



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 11:03 AM
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Originally posted by LiveForever8

Logos (Logical) means persuading by the use of reasoning.

Logos is where Hitler would fall short.
But in a country like Germany (at the time) it doesn't take much to make a huge impact.


I'm glad you made that last statement.

Reasoning to whom? At the time they ate it up. It seemed reasonable to them at the time.



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 12:41 PM
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Well, I think Churchill was definitely the man for his time, but I'm not sure he could have cut much mustard, even @his best, during the 80s for instance. His famous speeches were pretty low on argumentation & high on appealing to emotion & "common sense", ie propaganda/prejudice. Not that I'm advocating anything he spoke against, just offering critique on the speeches. Also, I think his style really didn't take much effort, other than learning to overcome his speech impediment. Once he could speak publicly, the rest needed little thought. Calm & resolute in the face of danger? Its well documented that he drank a lot of alcohol constantly. I'd also suggest that his social background provided him with an unconscious demeanor that we are almost trained to perceive as "kingly" & thus trust. Would any of this have survived "Spitting Image"? I dont think so...

[edit on 15/9/09 by Bunken Drum]



posted on Sep, 15 2009 @ 01:23 PM
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If I remember correctly, one of Churchill's most well known speeches to the people, over the radio was actually given by a impersonator.

Churchill was on a ship head to Casablanca I believe for a meeting with Roosevelt and General de Gaulle.

So does being a great orator mean you can be successfully impersonated?



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