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温斯顿·丘吉尔 “他们最光辉的时刻”

2006-07-07 16:49

Winston Churchill “ THEIR FINEST HOUR ” June 18 , 1940

Winston Churchill

“THEIR FINEST HOUR”

June 18,1940

  I spoke the other day of the colossal military disas- ter which occurred when the French High Com- mand failed to withdraw the northern armies fromBelgium at a moment when they knew that the French front was decisively broken at Sedan and onthe Meuse.

  This delay entailed the loss of fifteen or six- teen French divisions and threw out of action thewhole of the British Expeditionary Force.

  Our army were indeed rescued by the BritishNavy from Dunkirk,but only with the loss of alltheir cannon,vehicles and modern equipment.

  This loss inevitably took some weeks to repair,and in the first two of these weeks the Battle ofFrance had been lost.

  Now I put all this aside.I put it on the shelffrom which the historians may select their docu- ments in order to tell their story.We have to thinkof the future and not of the past.

  There are many who wish to hold an inquest upon the conduct of the government and of Parlia- ment during the years which led up to this catas-trophe.They wish to indict those who were re- sponsible for the guidance of our affairs.

  This also would be a foolish and perniciousprocess.There are too many in it.Let each mansearch his conscience and search his speeches,as Ifrequently search mine.Of this I am quite sure,that if we open a quarrel between the past and thepresent we shall find that we have lost the future.

  The military events which have happened inFrance during the last fortnight have not come tome with any sense of surprise; indeed,I indicateda fortnight ago as clearly as I could to the House,that the worst possibilities were open and I made itperfectly clear that whatever happened in France,it would make no difference to the resolve ofBritain and the British Empire to fight on,if neces-sary for years,and if necessary alone.

  We have under arms at the present time in thisisland over 1,250,000 men.Behind these we havethe local defense volunteers,numbering 500,000,only a portion of whom,however,are armed withrifles or other firearms.

  We have incorporated into our defense force amass of weapons and we expect very large addi-tions to these weapons in the near future.Inpreparation,we intend to call up,drill and train,further large numbers at once.

  We also have the Dominion armies here.TheCanadians had actually landed in France,but havenow been safely withdrawn much disappointed andare here with all their artillery and equipment.These very high-class forces from the dominionswill now take part in the defense of their mothercountry.

  Thus,the invasion of Great Britain at thistime would require the transport across the seas ofhostile armies on a very large scale and after theyhad been so transported,they would have to becontinually maintained with all the immense massof munitions and supplies which are required forcontinuous battle,as continuous battle it wouldbe.

  Now here is where we come to the navy.Af- ter all,we have a navy; some people seem to for- get it.We must remind them.For more than thir-ty years I have been concerned in discussions aboutthe possibility of an overseas invasion and I tookthe responsibility on behalf of the Admiralty at thebeginning of the last war of allowing all the regulartroops to be sent out of the country although ourTerritorials had only just been called up and werequite untried.

  It seems to me that as far as sea-borne inva-sion on a great scale is concerned,we are far morecapable of meeting it than we were at many periodsin the last war and during the early months of thiswar before our troops were trained and while theBritish Expeditionary Force was abroad.

  We have also a great system of mine fields,recently reinforced,through which we alone knowthe channel.If the enemy tries to sweep a channelthrough these mine fields,it will be the task of thenavy to destroy these mine-sweepers and any otherforce employed to protect them.There ought to beno difficulty about this,owing to our superiority atsea.

  Some people will ask why it was that theBritish Navy was not able to prevent the movementof a large army from Germany into Norway acrossthe Skagerrak.But conditions in the Channel andin the North Sea are in no way like those whichprevail in the Skagerrak.In the Skagerrak,be- cause of the distance,we could give no air supportto our surface ships and consequently,lying as wedid close to the enemy's main air power in Norwe-gian waters,we were compelled to use only oursubmarines.

  This brings me naturally to the great questionof invasion from the air and the impending strugglebetween the British and German Air Forces.

  It seems quite clear that no invasion on a scalebeyond the capacity of our ground forces to crushspeedily is likely to take place from the air untilour air force has been definitely overpowered.Inthe meantime,there may be raids by parachutetroops and attempted descents by air-borne soldiers.We ought to be able to give those gentrya warm reception,both in the air and if they reachthe ground in any condition to continue their dis- pute.(The great question is,can we break Hitler'sair weapon?)

  Now,of course,it is a very great pity that wehave not got an air force at least equal to that of the most powerful enemy within reach of our shores,but we have a very powerful air force,which has proved itself far superior in quality bothin men and in many types of machines to what wehave met so far in the numerous fierce air battleswhich have been fought.

  There remains the danger of the bombing at- tacks,which will certainly be made very soon uponus by the bomber forces of the enemy.It is quitetrue that these forces are superior in number toours,but we have a very large bombing force alsowhich we shall use to strike at the military targetsin Germany without intermission.

  I do not at all underrate the severity of the or-deal which lies before us,but I believe that ourcountrymen will show themselves capable of stand-ing up to it and carrying on in spite of it at least aswell as any other people in the world.

  It will depend upon themselves,and everyman and woman will have the chance of showingthe finest qualities of their race and of renderingthe highest service to their cause.

  For all of us,whatever our sphere or station,it will be a help to remember the famous lines:He nothing common did,or mean Upon that memorable scene.

  I have thought it right on this occasion to givethe House and the country some indication of thesolid,practical grounds upon which we are basingour invincible resolve to continue the war,and I can assure them that our professional advisers ofthe three services unitedly advise that we should doit,and that there are good and reasonable hopes offinal victory.

  We have fully informed all the self-governingdominions and we have received from all PrimeMinisters messages couched in the most movingterms,in which they endorse our decision and de- clare themselves ready to share our fortunes andpersevere to the end.

  We may now ask ourselves in what way hasour position worsened since the beginning of thewar.It is worsened by the fact that the Germanshave conquered a large part of the coast of the Al- lies in Western Europe,and many small and countrieshave beed overrun by them.This aggravates thepossibility of air attack and adds to our naval pre-occupation,but it in no way diminishes,but on thecontrary definitely increases,the power of ourlong-distance blockade.

  Should military resistance come to an end inFrance—which is not yet,though it will in anycase be greatly diminished—the Germans can con-centrate their forces both military and industrial upon us.But for the reason given to the House thiswill not be easy to apply.

  If invasion becomes more imminent,we havebeen relieved from the task of maintaining a largearmy in France and we have a far larger and moreefficient force here to meet it.

  If Hitler can bring under despotic control theindustries of the countries he has conquered,thiswill add grestly to his already vast armament out-put.On the other hand,this will not happen im-mediately and we are now assured of immense con-tinued and increasing support in munitions of allkinds from the United States,and especially of air-planes and pilots from across the ocean.They willcome from regions beyond the reach of enemybombers.I do not see how any of these factors can oper-ate to our detriment,on balance,before the Win-ter comes,and the Winter will impose a strain up-on the Nazi regime,with half Europe writhing andstarving under its heel,which,for all their ruth-lessness,will run them very hard.

  Therefore in casting up this dread balancesheet and contemplating our dangers with a disillu-sioned eye,I see great reasons for intense exertionand vigilance,but none whatever for panic or de- spair.During the first four months of the last warthe Allies experienced nothing but disaster and dis- appointment,and yet at the end their morale washigher than that of the Germans,who had movedfrom one aggressive triumph to another.

  During that war we repeatedly asked ourselvesthe question,“How are we going to win?”and noone was ever able to answer it with much preci-sion,until at the end,quite suddenly and unex- pectedly,our terrible foe collapsed before us andwe were so glutted with victory that in our folly wecast it away.

  We do not yet know what will happen inFrance or whether the French resistance will beprolonged both in France and in the French Empireoverseas.The French Government will be throw- ing away great opportunities and casting away theirfuture if they do not continue the war in accordancewith their treaty obligations,from which we havenot felt able to release them.

  The House will have read the historic declara-tion in which.at the desire of many Frenchmenand of our own hearts,we have proclaimed ourwillingness to conclude at the darkest hour inFrench history a union of common citizenship intheir struggle.

  However matters may go in France or with theFrench Government,or another French Govern-ment,we in this island and in the British Empirewill never lose our sense of comradeship with theFrench people.

  If we are now called upon to endure what theyhave suffered,we shall emulate their courage,andif final victory rewards our toils they shall sharethe gain—aye,freedom shall be restored to all.We abate nothing of our just demands.Czechs,Poles,Norwegians,Dutch and Belgians,who havejoined their causes with our own,all shall be re- stored.

  What General Weygand called the Battle ofFrance is over.The Battle of Britain is about tobegin.On this battle depends the survival ofChristian civilization.

  Upon it depends our own British life and thelong continuity of our institutions and our empire.The whole fury and might of the enemy must verysoon be turned upon us.Hitler knows he will haveto break us in this island or lose the war.

  If we can stand up to him all Europe may befreed and the life of the world may move forwardinto broad sunlit uplands; but if we fail,the wholeworld,including the United States and all that wehave known and cared for,will sink into the abyssof a new dark age made more sinister and perhapsmore prolonged by the lights of a perverted sci- ence.

  Let us therefore brace ourselves to our dutyand so bear ourselves that if the British Common- wealth and Empire last for a thousand years,menwill still say“This was their finest hour.”

温斯顿·丘吉尔

“他们最光辉的时刻”

1940年6月18日

  前些时我曾经谈到这场非常的军事灾难:法军最高统帅部在获悉法国前线在色当和马斯河一线肯定已经被突破时,没有能及时将北面的部队从比利时撤出。

  这一延误使法军丧失了十五六个师,而且使整个英国远征军完全失去作用。

  我们的陆军诚然被海军从敦刻尔克营救出来,但已经损失了全部的大炮、车辆和其他现代化装备。这些损失不得不花好几个星期去休整。然而休整刚刚开始两个星期,法国就溃败了。

  这一切现在都不必多谈了,不妨束之高阁,待历史学家们去翻档案讲故事吧。我们要思考的是将来而不是过去。

  有不少人希望进行一次调查,查一查在把我们导向这场悲剧的这些年里政府和国会的所作所为。他们希望起诉那些对国务负有领导责任的人。

  这也是一种愚蠢有害的做法。涉及的人太多了。让每个人去扪心自问,去反省一下自己的言论吧,就像我经常反省自己那样。我敢肯定,如果我们在过去和现在之间展开一场争吵,我们日后会发现,我们已经失去了将来。

  过去两个星期里法国发生的军事情况并未使我感到吃惊。其实两星期以前我已经尽可能清楚地向下院说明,最坏的可能性已见端倪。我说得非常明确,无论法国出现什么情况,决不会影响英国和英帝国继续作战,必要时可以长期作战,必要时也可以单独作战。

  眼下,本岛有125万部队处于战备状态。此外还有地方防卫志愿军50万,不过他们之中只有一部分装备有步枪或其他火器。

  我们的国防部队已经集中了大量的武器,不久的将来还有望获得极大量的补充。我们正在准备立即再征集、训练大量兵员。

  我们这里还有各自治领的部队。加拿大部队其实已在法国登陆,他们大失所望,不过现在已经安全地携带全部大炮和装备撤到我们这里。这些从自治领来的高水平的部队将参加保卫他们的母国。

  因此,现在想侵犯大不列颠,敌军就必须极大规模地越海运输部队,而部队运输之后又必须持续供应持久战所必需的大量军火和给养,因为战争必将是持久的。

  现在该谈谈海军了。毕竟我们还有一支海军,有些人似乎忘了,我们必须提醒他们。30多年来我一直关注着关于海上入侵的可能性的讨论。上次大战开始时我曾代表海军部负责运送所有的正规部队出国,虽然那时我们的本土防卫队刚刚征集,尚待考验。

  我觉得,就海上大规模入侵的问题而言,比起上次大战中很多时候以及这次大战中头几个月我们的部队未及训练而英国远征军又在国外的情况来,我们现在对付他们的能力要强得多。

  我们还有一个大面积的水雷区,最近它又得到了加强。只有我们自己知道水雷区的航道。如果敌人试图在水雷区清扫出一条航道,我们海军的任务就是摧毁他们的扫雷舰以及为扫雷舰护航的其他部队。由于我们的海上优势,这一点应该是没有困难的。

  有些人会问,为什么英国海军没能阻止一支大部队从德国越过斯卡格拉克海峡进入挪威?应该说,英吉利海峡及北海的情况和斯卡格拉克海峡普遍存在的情况是完全不同的。在斯卡格拉克海峡,由于距离太远。我们无法为水面舰船提供空中支援,其结果是,为了避开敌军在挪威海面的空军主力,我们只好被迫使用潜艇。

  这就自然而然地引出空中入侵和即将到来的英德空军之间较量的大问题。

  事情似乎很清楚,在我们空军的实力决定性地被压倒之前,规模大到我们的地面部队无力迅速予以粉碎的空中入侵是不大会发生的。但同时降落伞部队的突然袭击或空降兵的试图降落倒是可能的。我们应该能给这些家伙以热情的接待,无论在空中或者在他们落地并继续顽抗的时候。

  眼前,非常遗憾的当然是我们至少还没有一支可以在我国海岸地带与最强大的敌方空军相匹敌的空军,但是我们毕竟还是有一支强大的空军,在人员和多种机型这两方面的质量上远优于他们遭遇的对手,这一点已在迄今为止多次的空中恶战中得到证明。

  此外,还有轰炸的危险。敌人的轰炸机部队肯定很快就会轰炸我们。千真万确,这些轰炸机部队在数量上是超过我们的。不过我们也有一支强大的轰炸机部队,我们将用以不间歇地打击德国的军事目标。

  我丝毫也没有低估我们面临的考验的严峻性,但是我相信我们的同胞们会证明他们能顶得住并且百折不回地坚持下去,至少不输给世界上任何民族。

  一切取决于自己,每一个男人和女人都有机会显示自己民族的优秀品质,为自己的事业作出最大的贡献。

  对我们大家来说,无论什么身份、什么地位,记得这两行有名的诗总是有益的:

  对那令人怀念的事业,他作出了卓越的贡献。

  我想应该在这个场合向下院和全国说明,我们无比坚定的继续作战的决心是有着坚实基础的。我敢向他们保证,我们三军的参谋们一致认为我们应该打下去,我们有充分的、合理的取得最后胜利的希望。

  我们已经把一切告知所有的自治领,我们已经收到各位总理用最感人的言辞表达的信息,他们支持我们的决定,宣布他们已经准备好和我们共命运,并坚持到底。

  现在我们可以自问,战争爆发以来我们的处境是如何每况愈下的?!那是由于德国人征服了西欧协约国的大部分海岸,许多小国被侵占,这就加大了空中攻击的可能性,也增加了对我们海军的牵制。但我们的海军决没有被削弱,相反肯定是加强了我们远距离封锁的能力。

  如果法国的军事抵抗告终——现在还没有,虽然不管怎么说是大大减弱了——德国人就能集中其军事力量和工业能力对付我们。不过按我向下院说过的理由,这决不是轻而易举的。

  即便入侵迫在眉睫,我们也已经从在法国维持庞大部队的重担下摆脱出来,并已经有了强大得多的兵力在本土作战。

  如果希特勒能把占领国的工业专横地控制起来,就将大大加强他原已庞大的军需生产。但这也决不是一朝一夕之功。而我们现在则有把握从美国得到大量持续不断而且越来越多的各种各样武器的支援,特别是飞机和飞行员。他们越洋而来,来自敌人的轰炸机鞭长莫及的地方。

  总起来说,在冬天到来之前,我看不出这些因素能起多少对我们不利的作用。而冬天会给纳粹政权加重负担,半个欧洲在他们的铁蹄下挣扎、挨饿。不管他们何等凶残,这一切都将使他们陷于困境。

  因此在计算这张令人忧虑的资产负债表,并且清醒地反复思考我们的危险时,我认为有千万条理由要竭尽全力和时刻警惕,但绝无丝毫理由惊慌失措,丧失信心。上次大战的头9个月,协约国遭遇的只有灾难和失望,但最后,他们的士气比德国人要高,尽管德国人在侵略中也曾经一再得逞。

  在那次战争中,我们曾一再问自己:“我们将如何赢得胜利?”但始终没有谁能准确地作出答复。直到最后,凶恶的敌人突如其来、出人意料地在我们面前崩溃了。可惜我们被胜利冲昏头脑,以致干了蠢事,又把胜利的果实丢了。

  我们还不知道法国会出现什么情况,法国人的抵抗还能不能在法国和她的海外帝国继续下去。法国政府如果不按照条约的义务继续打下去——我们认为还不能免除他们的这些义务——那么他们必将丧失大好时机,葬送他们的前途。

  下院将会看到一个历史性的声明,按许多法国人和我们自己内心的愿望,我们宣布了愿意在法兰西历史上最黑暗的时刻和他们结成一个在共同斗争中互通国籍的同盟。

  不论法国、法国现政府或者别的法国政府何去何从,我们英国和英帝国永远不会舍弃和法国人民的同志之谊。

  如果现在要我们去承受他们所蒙受过的苦难,我们将会学习他们的勇敢。如果我们的艰辛赢得最后胜利,他们将分享胜利的果实——当然,大家都将重获自由。我们决不降低我们的正义要求,捷克人、波兰人、挪威人、荷兰人、比利时人,凡是把他们的事业和我们的事业融为一体的,都将重获自由。

  魏刚将军所说的法兰西之战已告终结,不列颠之战即将揭幕。基督教文明的生死存亡在此一战。

  我们英国人、我们的制度和我们的帝国的存亡续绝也都在此一战。敌人全部的凶狂和强暴很快就会转向我们。希特勒懂得,必须把我们粉碎在这个岛上,否则他就输了这场战争。

  如果我们能顶得住,全欧洲都将获得解放,全世界的人民就能进入一个阳光普照的辽阔高地。但是,如果我们失败了,全世界,包括美国和所有我们熟悉和关怀的国家,都将堕入一个新的黑暗时代的深渊、一个由某种扭曲了的科学所造成的更加凶险或者可能更加漫长的黑暗时代的深渊。

  那么就让我们振作精神,承担起自己的责任来,让我们干出名堂来——倘若英联邦和英帝国再生存一千年,到那时人们还会说“这是他们最光辉的时刻”。

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