Churchill was the pastmaster of twentieth-century political oratory and has set the standards that subsequent politicians have often sought to emulate. Soon after his election George W. Bush let it be known that he had placed a bust of Churchill in the White House Oval Office. His post-September 11th speeches adopted Churchill’s rhetorical style and in early 2004 Bush claimed in a speech that Churchill was not just ‘the rallying voice of the Second World War’ but also ‘a prophet of the Cold War’.1 It is significant that the politician who attached great personal importance to oratory in the classical sense was also the one who had the greatest opportunity to employ it for that most vital of political objectives: national survival. Churchill has been able to set the benchmark for political speaking in the modern period precisely because he fundamentally believed in the power of the spoken word to win over hearts and minds; as he said in 1954 ‘To jaw-jaw is better than to war-war’.
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