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Churchills bevrijdingsrede op VE-Day

uit de "Mancnhester Guardian", 9 mei 1945

In Whitehall, London, an RAF officer and two members of the Women's Royal Air Force and a civilian celebrate on VE Day 1945

In Whitehall, London, an RAF officer and two members of the Women's Royal Air Force and a civilian celebrate on VE Day 1945. Photograph: Keystone

Buckingham Palace and Whitehall were the centres of the great V.E.-Day demonstrations here to-day. The Royal Family made several appearances on the balcony of the Palace and on one occasion were accompanied by Mr. Churchill.

The two Princesses, escorted by Guards officers, left the Palace after nightfall to mingle with the great crowds outside. The Prime Minister twice appeared on the balcony of the Ministry of health, and addressed a large crowd in Whitehall. On his second appearance, made just after 10 30 p.m. when the Houses of Parliament were floodlit, he conducted the singing of "Land of Hope and Glory."

Then, after referring to the celebrations, he said: "We must begin the task of re-building our hearths and homes and do our utmost to make this country a land in which all have a chance and in which all have a duty, and there we must turn ourselves to fulfil our duty to our own countrymen, to our gallant allies the United States, who were so foully and treacherously attacked by Japan. We will go hand in hand with them, and even if it is a hard struggle we shall not be the ones who will fail."

"This is not the victory of a party or of any class or large section in the country; it is a victory of the great British nation as a whole.

"We were the first to draw the sword against tyranny. After a while we were left alone against the most tremendous military power that has been seen. We were all alone for a whole year.

"There we stood alone. did anybody want to give in?"

The crowd roared back a terrific "No."

"Were we downhearted?" asked the Premier.

"No," came back the answer.

Mr. Churchill: "The lights went out---." There was a great burst of laughter at this, because the floodlighting of the balcony from which he was speaking had been turned off shortly before his appearance.

"And the bombs came down. But every man, woman, and child had no thought of quitting the struggle.

"London can take it. So we came back after long months from the jaws of death, out of the mouth of hell, while all the world wondered.

"I say that in the long years to come not only the people of this island but of the world, wherever the bird of freedom chirps in human hearts, will look back to what we have done and they will say 'Do not despair. Do not yield to violence and tyranny, march straight forward and die-if need be-unconquered.'

"Now we have emerged from one deadly struggle-a terrible foe has been cast on the ground and awaits our judgment and our mercy. But there is another foe who occupies large portions of the British Empire, a foe stained with cruelty and greed-the Japanese. They would give us much worse than that," added the Premier.

Mr. Churchill then gave the "V" sign again. The crowd burst into "For he's a jolly good fellow" and, wearing his black soft hat, the Prime Minister left the balcony. About a quarter to eleven the King and Queen and the Princess once more came out on to the balcony, where they stayed about ten minutes, waving to the crowd in response to deafening cheers. The crowd was as large as ever for this, their sixth appearance.

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