He spoke of Britain’s strength at sea, and in the air—where the RAF had “beat off and beat down the Nazi attack” during the battle of Britain—and of Britain’s larger and better equipped army. He continued to warn of the likelihood of Hitler invading the British Isles—Operation Sealion, as the Germans called it.
Above all, Churchill spoke to Americans.
He told how Wendell Willkie, Franklin D. Roosevelt ‘s opponent in the election of the previous November, had brought to England a letter of introduction from the President. Thinking of Britain and the war raging in Europe, Roosevelt had written out, long-hand, a section of verse from Longfellow:
Humanity with all its fears, With all the hopes of future years, Is hanging breathless on thy fate!
Churchill gave his answer to the President, there and then, over the airwaves, at the same time asking, with typical Churchillian eloquence, for continued American aid: “We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle, nor the long-drawn trials of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.”