We Are No Longer Alone
WE NOW SHALL SURELY OVERCOME THE ENEMY
By WINSTON CHURCHILL, Prime Minister of Great Britain
Delivered to the Pilgrims, at the dinner tendered to the new United States Ambassador, John G. Winant, London, March 18, 1941
Vital Speeches of the Day, Vol. VII, pp. 357-358.
WE meet here today under the strong impression and the impact of the historic declaration on Saturday last by the President of the United States. And where could there be a more fitting opportunity than at this gathering of The Pilgrims to greet the new Ambassador for me to express on behalf of the British nation and empire the sense of encouragement and of fortification in our resolve which has come to us from across the ocean by those stirring, august and fateful Presidential words.
You have come here, Mr. Winant, to a community which has been tried and proved before mankind and history, and tried and proved to a degree on a scale and under conditions which have not previously been known to human experience.
We are here a free society governed through a Parliament which rests upon universal suffrage and upon the public opinion of the whole nation.
We are being subjected to daily attacks which if not effectively resisted and repelled would soon prove mortal.
We have to call our whole people—men, women and children alike—to stand up with fortitude and composure to the fire of the enemy and accept increasing privations while making increasing effort. Nothing like this has been seen before.
We have our faults and our social system has its faults, but we hope that, with God's help, we shall be able to prove for all time, or at any rate for a long time, that a State or Commonwealth of nations founded upon long-enjoyed freedom and steadily evolved democracy processes, amid the sharpest shocks, the faculty of survival in high and honorable and, indeed, glorious debate.
At such a moment and in such an ordeal, the words and acts of the President and people of the United States come to us like a draught of life and they tell us by an ocean-borne trumpet call that we are no longer alone.
We know that other hearts in millions and in scores of millions beat with ours, that their voices proclaim the cause for which we strive. Other strong hands wield hammers and shape weapons we need, other keen and gleaming eyes are fixed in hard conviction upon tyrannies that must and will be destroyed.
We welcome you here, Mr. Winant, at a moment when the great battle in which your government and nation are deeply interested is developing its full scope and severity.
The battle of the Atlantic must be won in decisive manner. It must be won beyond all doubt if the declared policies of the government and people of the United States are not to be forcibly frustrated.
Not only German U-boats but German battle cruisers have crossed to the American side of the Atlantic and have already sunk some of our independently routed ships not sailing in convoy. They have sunk ships as far west as the 42nd meridian of longitude.
Over here, upon the approaches to our island, an intense, unrelenting struggle is being waged to bring in an endless stream of munitions and food, without which our war efforts here and in the Middle East—for that shall not be relaxed—cannot be maintained.
Our losses have risen for the time being and we are applying our fullest strength and resources and all the skill and science we can command in order to meet this potentially mortal challenge.
Not only, I must remind you, does our shipping suffer by attacks of the enemy, but also the fertility of its importing power is reduced by many of the precautions and measures which we must take to master and dominate the attacks which are made upon us. But our strength is growing every week.
American destroyers which reached us in the Autumn and Winter are increasingly coming into action. Our own flotillas are growing in number. Our air power over the island and over the seas is growing fast.
We are striking back with increasing effect. Only yesterday I received news of the certain destruction of three German U-boats. Not since October 13, 1939, have I been cheered by such delectable tidings of a triple event.
(On October 14, 1939, the Admiralty announced that three U-boats were sunk the previous day. Some of the crews were rescued.)
It is my rule, as you know, not to conceal the gravity of our dangers from our people, and therefore I have the right to be relieved when I also proclaim our confidence that we shall overcome them.
But any one can see how bitter is the need of Hitler and his gang to cut the sea roads between Great Britain and the United States, and, having divided these mighty powers, to destroy them one by one.
We must regard this battle of the Atlantic as one of the most momentous ever fought in all the annals of war.
Therefore, Mr. Winant, you come to us at a grand turning point in the world's history.
We rejoice to have you with us in these days of storm and trial because we have a friend and a faithful comrade who "report us and our cause aright."
But none who has met you can doubt that you hold and embody in a strong and intense degree the convictions and
ideals which, in the name of American democracy, President Roosevelt has proclaimed. In the last few months we have had a succession of eminent American citizens visiting these storm-beaten shores and finding them unconquered and unconquerable.
Mr. Hopkins, Mr. Willkie, Colonel Donovan and now today we have Mr. Harriman and yourself. I have dwelt with all these men in mind and spirit, and there is one thing I have discerned in them all.
They would be ready to give their lives, nay, would be proud to give their lives, rather than the good cause be trampled down and the darkness of barbarism again engulf mankind.
You, Mr. Ambassador, share our purpose. You'll share our interests. You shall share our secrets.
And the day will come when the British Empire and the United States will share together the solemn but splendid duties which are the crown of victory.