High School Essay Contest 2016-2017
The Churchill Society of New Orleans sponsors a yearly essay contest for high school students in the Metropolitan New Orleans area, for the purpose of encouraging young people to learn more about the great man, and thereby to absorb some of his wisdom, his courage, and his masterful use of the English language.
The deadline for this year’s contest is April 3rd, 2017.
Please address any questions about the contest to firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Enter
Churchill Society of New Orleans
5801 St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70115
Online Entry Form
Essay Topic 2016-17
President Kennedy, when he honored Churchill by making him the first honorary citizen of the United States, said that “He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.” Quoting from Churchill’s speeches, show how his words inspired his countrymen and women to fight on against Nazi Germany despite the fearful situation in 1940.
Your essay should do the following:
1. Set the scene. What was the situation at the time of each of the speeches that you write about?
2. Copy into your essay words from 2 or more Churchill speeches that Churchill made during the first 12 months of his prime ministry, starting May 10, 1940. See below for some quotes that you might want to use. The quoted speech excerpts should less than 1/3rd of your essay. Keep in mind the 1,000-word limit.
3. Explain what Churchill was trying to do in each of the passages you quote.
4. Point out features of Churchill’s style (that is, his choice of words). What was it that made his words so thrilling? You might even point out how unexciting a different choice of words would have been.
Researching and Other Helpful Tips
The following are passages from Churchill speeches. You can quote from any 2 or more of these passages. You can also quote other passages from speeches made during that time that you come across.
From Churchill’s speech in the House of Commons on May 13, 1940:
“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 policy? I can say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is 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.”
From Churchill’s radio broadcast, May 19, 1940:
“After the battle in France abates its force, there will come the battle for our Island—for all that Britain is, and all that Britain means. That will be the struggle. In that supreme emergency we shall not hesitate to take every step, even the most drastic, to call forth from our people the last ounce and the last inch of effort of which they are capable. The interests of property, the hours of labour, are nothing compared with the struggle of life and honor, for right and freedom, to which we have vowed ourselves….Behind the Armies and Fleets of Britain and France gather a group of shattered States and bludgeoned races: the Czechs, the Poles, the Norwegians, the Danes, the Dutch, the Belgians—upon all of whom the long night of barbarism will descend, unbroken even by a star of hope, unless we conquer, as conquer we must; as conquer we shall.”
From Churchill‘s speech in the House of Commons, June 4, 1940:
“Even though large tracts of Europe have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”
From Churchill’s speech in the House of Commons, June 18, 1940:
“The Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization… The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. 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 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’.”
From Churchill’s speech in the House of Commons, August 20, 1940:
“The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
WRITING TIPS FOR A WINNING ESSAY:
1. Be sure of your facts before you write something that is wrong – like the country in which something took place, or the role that Churchill played.
2. Proof read your essay. Reading it out loud will help you to find mistakes – words left out or those that are slightly wrong.
3. Attaching a bibliography to your essay will help the judges understand how you obtained the ideas and information in your essay.
4. Churchill was an author, supporting himself and his family by writing books that sold well. He used short words and short phrases to get his point across clearly. Note how he uses short phrases here to great effect:
“Come then, let us to the task, to the battle, to the toil – each to our part, each to our station. Fill the armies, rule the air, pour out the munitions, strangle the U-boats, sweep the mines, plough the land, build the ships, guard the streets, succor the wounded, uplift the downcast and honor the brave.”
Churchill starts with a short but clear sentence. Then, instead of writing a separate sentence or paragraph about each idea, Churchill put many ideas into one sentence. In your writing, clarity and brevity is always a good idea. The essay you are writing is short, but it could contain a lot if you write carefully and thoughtfully.
5. Try to put forth several points rather than repeating the same one in different ways.
The Society is happy to provide 3 short books about Churchill to any school that wishes to participate and asks for the books.
A member of the Board of the Churchill Society can come and speak to a class if requested.
Biographical material about Churchill is available at the website under the “History” heading. The website essay under the heading “The Indispensable Man” is very relevant to this year’s essay topic. A wealth of additional information about Churchill is available at www.winstonchurchill.org, the website of the national organization for Churchill fans known as The Churchill Centre.
1. Students at any high school located in Louisiana or Mississippi are eligible to participate.
2. The essay should address the Topic given above.
3. Essay should be between 500 and 1000 words, typed double spaced.
4. Essays will be judged on knowledge of Churchill, relevance to the Topic, and good use of the English language.
5. A student’s teacher and parents are encouraged to help with the research and to comment on essay drafts, but the student must produce the paper. We ask that the name of the teacher responsible for the student’s participation be provided on the Entry Form.
6. The deadline for submission of this year’s essay is April 3rd, 2017.
Churchill: A Timeline
1874 Birth occurs at Blenheim Palace, Nov. 30
1888 Pupil at Harrow public school
1895 Commissioned soldier in Fourth Hussars
1899 War correspondent in South Africa; captured and escapes
1900 Elected Minister of Parliament for Oldham
1908 Marries Clementine Hozier at St. Margaret's Church, Westminster.
1910 Home Secretary
1911 First Lord of the Admiralty
1915 On Western Front - World War I
1921 Colonial Secretary
1922 Buys Chartwell
1924 Chancellor of the Exchequer
1939 Returns as First Lord of the Admiralty, World War II declared
1940 Prime Minister
1945 Defeated by Labour in General Election.
1951 Returns as Prime Minister
1955 Resigns as Prime Minister after two strokes
1965 Dies Jan. 24 in London. Hundreds of thousands hold vigil.
1977 Wife, Clementine Churchill, dies. Both buried together at Bladon.
Books By Churchill
My Early Life – An autobiography covering the first twenty-five years of Churchill’s life
The River War – Lord Kitchner’s reconquest of the Sudan in 1898. Published in 1899; (2 vols.) Also published in a one volume abridged edition.
A History of the English Speaking Peoples
Marlborough – a biography of his ancestor, John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, Published in four, six, and two volume editions.
The World Crisis – a six-volume history of the First World War.
The Second World War – six volumes, sometimes reprinted as twelve volumes
Painting as a Pastime – an essay on the joys of painting