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King George VI (1936-1952)
Britain’s Destiny : In a Christmas broadcast in 1940, actor Leslie Howard explained why British sovereignty was worth fighting for.
Britain’s Destiny

From a radio broadcast entitled ‘New Order in Europe’, 23/24 December 1940. Quoted here (slightly abridged) from IMDB. The speech is treated in more detail in ‘Britain Can Take It’, by Tony Aldgate and Jeffrey Richards.

In a radio broadcast just before Christmas in 1940, British actor Leslie Howard spoke movingly of the remarkable and indeed unique character of his country, built on individual liberty and democratic government, and contrasted it with the ‘new European order’.

BRITAIN’S destiny has been to uphold tolerance in religion, thought, speech, and race – the mainspring of democracy. We have still far to travel on the road to true democracy, but only the Germans have made no progress in this direction.

Britain, with her great gifts and strange inconsistencies has helped populate five continents and shown that the white man and the coloured man can live in peace together.

We have also taken the Roman ideal of just administration, the Greek ideal of democracy and freedom of art, and the French tradition of the family unit, along with the Norse courage and loyalty and the Christian faith.

Like all people, we have made some mistakes and have committed some crimes during our history, but we can say that we have built something worthy of our defence. We can look at our record without shame.

From a radio broadcast entitled ‘New Order in Europe’, 23/24 December 1940. Quoted here (slightly abridged) from IMDB. The speech is treated in more detail in ‘Britain Can Take It’, by Tony Aldgate and Jeffrey Richards.

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Picture: Photo by RKO Radio Pictures, via Wikimedia Commons. Licence: Public domain. View original
Leslie Howard with Rosamund John in ‘The First of the Few’ (1942).

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