Send language into battle

Nancy Duarte’s TEDx talk motivated me to look back to another renowned speaker – Winston Churchill, a man who, said John F Kennedy, “mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.” Consider the following from Churchill’s “finest hour” speech:

If we can stand up to him [Hitler], 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.

Sunlit uplands . . . the abyss of a new Dark Age. Two possible outcomes of “how it could be”. Masterful. In this speech “form and content have become a distinction without a difference”, says Stephen Bungay. King, Churchill . . . Though they be gods, we mortals can yet improve our ability to persuade and affect change by doing our best to study and emulate their methods.

Kevin Kearney

For more insight, read Stephen Bungay’s penetrating essay on the Churchill Centre and Museum website.

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