Primary Document Analysis: We Shall Fight On The Beaches

Submitted By winchester4077
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Pages: 4

ZN2: Primary Document Analysis

1. Why did you choose the document that you did? In other words, what motivated your choice?

I choose Winston Churchill’s speech “We Shall Fight on the Beaches.” The reason I decided to go with this document is that I am an admirer of Churchill and have read a few books on him. Another reason I wanted to read this speech is that here in the United States, Great Britain’s involvement in the victory over Nazi Germany is often understated or overlooked all together. Most of my friends when questioned on the subject have never heard of the evacuation at Dunkirk or even the about the air battle for Britain that would soon follow.
2. What key historical military (or military-related) event influenced the issuance of the document & why?
The main influences of this document were to shed light on the evacuation at Dunkirk, the impending collapse of the French army and government, and the possibility of a Nazi Invasion. Churchill was telling Parliament and the British people that while not a victory, the operation to withdraw the British Expeditionary Force and what remained of the French army in the area had far exceeded expectations and should be considered an outstanding military achievement. And while the rescue of over 300,000 soldiers was great, they left behind thousands of vehicles, weapons and supplies all of which would have to be replaced. This speech also told just how bad the situation in France was with the collapse of the French government close, the Germans would be setting their sights on the British Isles next.
3. What are TWO key themes/ideas associated with the document?
The two main themes I got out of this document are that Churchill was preparing the British for a long and drawn out war. A war that would take many years and lives and could come to their country, cities, and villages. And telling them that as the German war machine conquers country after country the may be on their own in the fight.
4. Giving some examples, which THREE points, articles, or clauses do you think are the most important and why?
Three main points Churchill tried to drive home are that one the British military while evading destruction on the continent was in dire straits and needed time to rebuild its strength after losing men and badly needed equipment in the field. Two all British people better prepare if need to fight for their very homes if need be since at the time there seemed to be no signs the German military would stop with the conquest of France. And three no matter the cost or the length the British and her allies would come out the victors in the struggle against Nazi Germany even if they had to go it alone.
5. What do you think this document was hoping to achieve? Please be sure to explain your position.
This speech as I stated above was hoping to inform not only the British people but the world on how bad the situation in Europe had become. The British at this point had their backs against a wall. France was weeks away from losing the war and Britain had lost not a great