“If you will not fight…when you can easily win…”
I remember a quip: “When will we fight. When we have no hope.” Can you help me identify the source?
Those words do not track among Churchill’s 15 million published words.. You may be thinking of:
…if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.
Churchill was writing about the belated British guarantee to Poland in early 1939, after Hitler had absorbed the rump of Czechoslovakia, which he had promised to respect six months earlier at Munich. See Churchill, The Second World War, vol. 1, The Gathering Storm (London: Cassell, 1948, 272).