More “Quotations” Churchill Never Said

by Richard M. Langworth on 19 June 2009

A web­site named “IL Con­ser­v­a­tive” posted in June 2009 eight Churchill “quo­ta­tions,” six of which he never said. These quo­ta­tions are all over the Inter­net, none of them attrib­uted, and just seem to mul­ti­ply and get passed on, like the com­mon cold.

The pur­pose of my “Red Her­rings” appen­dix of eighty incor­rect quo­ta­tions in Churchill by Him­self is to coun­ter­act the raft of mis­in­for­ma­tion con­veyed, largely through the web, but it’s like the Dutch boy stick­ing his hand in the dyke.

Any­way, and for the record, all of these are NOT CHURCHILL (and I will not dig­nify them with quotemarks):

1. A pes­simist sees the dif­fi­culty in every oppor­tu­nity; an opti­mist sees the oppor­tu­nity in every difficulty.

2. A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

3. How­ever beau­ti­ful the strat­egy, you should occa­sion­ally look at the results.

4. If you’re going through hell, keep going.

5. Suc­cess is not final, fail­ure is not fatal: it is the courage to con­tinue that counts.

6. A pris­oner of war is a man who tries to kill you and fails, and then asks you not to kill him. (This one is close, but no cigar. What Churchill did say—House of Com­mons, 1 July 1952—was:  “What is a pris­oner of war? He is a man who has tried to kill you and, hav­ing failed to kill you, asks you not to kill him.”)

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