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Here you’ll find interesting bits of history from all periods and countries that occurred on a particular day.

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June 18th 1940: Churchill’s ‘Finest Hour’ speech

On this day in 1940, the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill gave his famous 'Finest Hour' speech in the House of Commons. The speech came at the end of the Battle of France during World War Two, after France had fallen to the forces of Nazi Germany. In this speech, Churchill called for Britain to prepare for its role in defending the world from the Nazis; he called for people to make this ‘Darkest Hour’, after the fall of a key ally, into a ‘Finest Hour’. After making the speech to the Commons, Churchill recorded it to be broadcast to the British people over the radio.

"the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin…Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, 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. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’

1 month ago
327 notes

March 5th 1946: ‘Iron Curtain’ speech

On this day in 1946, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made his famous ‘Iron Curtain’ speech at Westminster College, Missouri. The term had been used prior to 1946, but this was the most public use of it. In the ‘Sinews of Peace’ address, Churchill used the term ‘iron curtain’ to reference a Soviet dominated Eastern Europe. At the time, the West still saw the Soviet Union as an ally after the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War Two, but Churchill’s speech heralded the onset of the Cold War tensions between the capitalist West and communist Russia. As the Cold War took hold, the phrase became popular as a reference to repressive Communist domination of Europe which hid Soviet actions and set a clear divide in Europe.

"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the continent”
4 months ago
172 notes

April 20th 1968: ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech

On this day in 1968, British politician Enoch Powell made his controversial ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech at a Conservative Association meeting in Birmingham. Powell was the Conservative MP for Wolverhampton South West. The speech was vehemently anti-immigration with its ideas that immigrants were ‘ruining’ Britain and many refused to integrate, thus fostering racial and religious tensions and leading to violence. The speech was very controversial, with some supporting his comments as ‘brave’ and many condemning it as racist. It led to Powell’s dismissal from the Shadow Cabinet by Conservative leader Edward Heath.

“As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see ‘the River Tiber foaming with much blood.’”

1 year ago
22 notes

March 23rd 1775: Henry’s ‘Give me Liberty’ speech

On this day in 1775, Patrick Henry made his famous “Give me Liberty, or give me Death!” speech in Richmond, Virginia. Henry was a skilled orator who championed the independence movement in colonial Virginia and went on to become a Founding Father of the United States. His speech convinced the Virginia House of Burgesses to send Virginian troops to fight the Revolutionary War.

"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

1 year ago
170 notes
August 28th 1963: ‘I have a dream’ speech

On this day in 1963 during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous speech. He called for an end to racial discrimination and a new era of equality, true to the ideals of America’s founding documents. He delivered the speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of over 200,000 supporters of civil rights. The speech was a key moment of the Civil Rights Movement, and is widely considered one of the most famous and influential speeches of all time.

"I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!"

August 28th 1963: ‘I have a dream’ speech

On this day in 1963 during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous speech. He called for an end to racial discrimination and a new era of equality, true to the ideals of America’s founding documents. He delivered the speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd of over 200,000 supporters of civil rights. The speech was a key moment of the Civil Rights Movement, and is widely considered one of the most famous and influential speeches of all time.

"I have a dream, that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!"

1 year ago
606 notes

June 16th 1858: Lincoln’s ‘House Divided’ speech
On this day in 1858 in Springfield Illinois, Abraham Lincoln gave his famous speech after receiving the Republican nomination for an Illinois Senate seat. Lincoln then fought, unsuccessfully, against Stephen A Douglas for the Senate seat. The speech focused on the dangers posed by slavery to the union of America and is one of future President Lincoln’s best known speeches.

“A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved - I do not expect the house to fall - but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other”

June 16th 1858: Lincoln’s ‘House Divided’ speech

On this day in 1858 in Springfield Illinois, Abraham Lincoln gave his famous speech after receiving the Republican nomination for an Illinois Senate seat. Lincoln then fought, unsuccessfully, against Stephen A Douglas for the Senate seat. The speech focused on the dangers posed by slavery to the union of America and is one of future President Lincoln’s best known speeches.

A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved - I do not expect the house to fall - but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other”

2 years ago
39 notes

April 20th 1968: Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech

On this day in 1968, British politician Enoch Powell made his controversial ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech at a Conservative Association meeting in Birmingham. Powell was the Conservative MP for Wolverhampton South West. The speech was vehemently anti-immigration with its ideas that immigrants were ‘ruining’ Britain and many refused to integrate, thus fostering racial and religious tensions and leading to violence. Powell argued for greater restrictions on immigration. The speech was very controversial, with some supporting his comments as ‘brave’ and many condemning it as racist. It led to Powell’s dismissal from the Shadow Cabinet by Conservative leader Edward Heath but his message has since been adopted by far-right groups.
The speech gained its infamous name from its reference to Virgil’s Aeneid:

"As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood.’”

2 years ago
7 notes

June 16th 1858: Lincoln’s ‘House Divided’ speech

On this day in 1858 in Springfield Illinois, Abraham Lincoln gave his famous ‘House Divided’ speech after receiving the Republican nomination for an Illinois Senate seat. The House Divided speech focused on the dangers posed by slavery to the Union and is one of future President Lincoln’s best known speeches. Lincoln then fought, unsuccessfully, against incumbent Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas for the seat. Douglas was a prominent politician, famed for his role in authoring the controversial Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. The campaign, especially the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, rescued Lincoln from obscurity and set him on the path that would lead him to the White House in 1861. The election of a firmly anti-slavery candidate whose only support came from the North prompted the secession of the Southern states and the young nation soon descended into civil war.

A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved - I do not expect the house to fall - but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other”

1 month ago
107 notes

August 28th 1963: March on Washington

On this day in 1963, 50 years ago today, the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom took place. The march was a key moment of the Civil Rights Movement and a triumph for the nonviolence philosophy which underpinned the movement. The March is best remembered for Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. Other speakers included chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee John Lewis and veteran civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph. When politicians in Washington heard about the march many, including President John F. Kennedy, feared that there would be violence and rioting. The peaceful gathering of over 250,000 supporters of civil rights, with many whites in attendance as well as African-Americans, spurred America into action. In 1964 Congress passed the landmark Civil Rights Act and in 1965 the Voting Rights Act.

"I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal’…
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”

50 years ago today

11 months ago
4,132 notes

April 3rd 1968: King’s last speech

On this day in 1968 the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. made his last speech. The speech is now referred to as the ‘I’ve Been to the Mountaintop’ speech, and was given at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee supporting the Memphis Sanitation Strike. King was assassinated the next day at his Memphis hotel.

"Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land."
- From King’s speech the day before his assassination

1 year ago
193 notes

November 19th 1863: Gettysburg Address

On this day in 1863 during the American Civil War the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, delivered his famous Gettysburg Address. He made the speech at the dedication ceremony for the military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, site of the major battle between the Union and Confederacy that July. The speech is one of the most famous in American history, despite being only around two minutes long. In this brief time, Lincoln discussed the egalitarian ideas of the Declaration of Independence, praised the efforts of Union soldiers and extolled the virtues of American democracy.

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."
- Opening lines of the speech

1 year ago
412 notes

June 26th 1963: JFK’s Berlin speech

On this day in 1963 during the Cold War, US President John F. Kennedy addressed hundreds of thousands of people in West Berlin. He expressed US support of West Berlin following the building of the Berlin Wall by the Soviet-controlled East Germany. His appearance was greatly welcomed and gave the people of West Berlin a morale boost. Kennedy’s powerful rhetoric and delivery led many to call it one of his best speeches.

"All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words 'Ich bin ein Berliner!’”

2 years ago
80 notes
13th May 1940: Churchill’s “blood, toil, tears and sweat” speechOn this day in 1940 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made his famous speech in the House of Commons. The speech was his first to the Commons since becoming Prime Minister on 10th May. He gave the speech during the Battle of France of the Second World War and it provided a great morale boost in the United Kingdom.

“I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs - Victory in spite of all terror - Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival”

13th May 1940: Churchill’s “blood, toil, tears and sweat” speech

On this day in 1940 British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made his famous speech in the House of Commons. The speech was his first to the Commons since becoming Prime Minister on 10th May. He gave the speech during the Battle of France of the Second World War and it provided a great morale boost in the United Kingdom.

I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat. We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering.

You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: Victory. Victory at all costs - Victory in spite of all terror - Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival

2 years ago
67 notes

March 5th 1946: Churchill makes his ‘Iron Curtain’ speech

On this day in 1946, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill made his famous ‘Iron Curtain’ speech at Westminster College, Missouri. Churchill had previously used the term, but this was the most public use of it. In the ‘Sinews of Peace’ address, Churchill used the term ‘iron curtain’ to reference a Soviet dominated Eastern Europe. At the time, the West still saw the Soviet Union as an ally after the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War Two, but Churchill’s speech heralded the onset of the Cold War tensions between the capitalist West and communist Russia. As the Cold War took hold, the phrase became popular as a reference to repressive Communist domination of Europe which hid Soviet actions and set a clear divide in Europe.

"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the continent"

2 years ago
9 notes