Updated from 2013…. The Mail on Sunday reported a “discovery.” Churchill used the phrase “we are all in it together” in a London dinner on 28 May 1952. Stop press!?
This, The Mail claimed, shows that Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne was being “Churchillian” when he said years later: “We are all in this together” when talking about the spending cuts. Perhaps he just had a good speechwriter.
Churchill of course wrote his own speeches. This line was uncovered by the historian Andrew Roberts and the Churchill Archives Centre, in a cache of unpublished recordings of speeches found at Chartwell. The phrase was certainly on Churchill’s mind in 1952. But it was hardly his first usage of the famous cliché.
“In it together” in sterner days
Churchill’s The Grand Alliance (1950), records a memo from the Prime Minister to the Lord Privy Seal and Minister of Food, 12 December 1941:
It would be a mistake, in my opinion, to announce these restrictions of rations now. It would savour of panic. Our position has immeasurably improved by the full involvement of the United States. The reserves are good. We are all in it together, and they are eating better meals than we are.
Churchill also used “we are all in it together” publicly in a speech on the House of Commons, 4 November 1952, as recorded in Churchill, Stemming the Tide (1953) and Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill: Road to Victory (1986).
“Let us go forward together”
Togetherness—united purpose and action among free peoples—was Churchill’s theme all his life. A more common riff, used at least fifteen times, as “Let us go forward together.” He applied that line in venues grand and minor—from the House of Commons to a conversation with his poodle Rufus.
In 2017 the Hillsdale College Churchill Project answered a question about the “forward together” line which readers may like to consult.
The first appearance was in a powerful speech at the Manchester Free Trade Hall on 19 March 1910. Churchill’s Liberals were determined to prevent the House of Lords from amending or rejecting bills passed by the Commons. (They succeeded with the Parliament Act of 1911.) Churchill brought the Liberal audience to its feet with his peroration:
One step more, one effort more, and all the prizes you have fought for from dawn to dusk may be gained. In peace or in war victory consists in the last hour and in the last inch. Let us, then, in true comradeship go forward together. Advance with courage, and the cause of the people shall prevail.
Perennial bon mot
His audiences would hear that phrase many times, in peace and war. “Forward together” is redolent of Churchill’s lifetime impulse. He stood for coalition not division, liberty not tyranny, unity among the English-speaking peoples. A favorite oratorical tactic was to suggest that the goals he enunciated were shared by all. He used this combination as frequently as any over more than a half century of public life. It’s a good piece of English—as valid a benchmark for free peoples as it was of old.
“How many times did Churchill say, ‘Let us go forward together’?” A detailed account of the latter phrase in his words and speeches. including to his russet-colored French poodle: “Come, Paprika, let us go forward together.”