King George VI – 1942 King’s Speech

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Below is the text of the speech made by King George VI in the House of Lords on 11 November 1942.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

In this fourth year of war My Peoples look forward with unshakable courage. They are determined to fight on to complete victory, with no thought of parley. Whatever the future may hold, I know that they will respond wholeheartedly to every new demand made upon them.

I look with gratitude and pride upon the great and ever-growing war effort of my loyal subjects throughout the Empire. Their comradeship and unity in war will be an inspiration and source of power in the years to come.

In the last few days Providence has blessed our arms and those of our American Allies. The brilliant victory in the Western Desert and the great operation forestalling the attack of our enemies upon the French territories in Northern Africa, are notable steps towards final victory.

My Forces by sea, land and air continue to meet with courage and devotion the calls which the extension of the war has made upon their resources. Aided by the powerful support of the Armed Forces of My Allies and sustained by the growing output of our munition factories, they are now bringing an increasing weight of attack against the enemy.

The declaration of the United Nations endorsing the principles of the Atlantic Charter provides a foundation on which international society can be rebuilt after the war. As a first step My Government have entered into consultation with the Governments of the United Nations in preparation for the urgent needs which will arise when the victims of oppression regain their freedom. When the time comes, these tasks will, I am confident, be faced with the same spirit of comradeship and resolution as has been shown in the war.

My Government desire to do their utmost to raise the standards and to improve the conditions of My Peoples in the Colonies, who are playing their full part in the united war effort.

Members of the House of Commons,

You will be asked to make further financial provision for the conduct of the war and for the other necessary services.

My Lords and Members of the House of Commons,

My Government’s first concern must be to seek and secure the means of achieving complete and speedy victory; and they will put before you such proposals for emergency legislation as may be necessary for the effective prosecution of the war or for meeting conditions arising out of the war. You will be asked to pass legislation with respect to war damage suffered by public utility undertakings.

A start has, however, been made in working out the measures which will be necessary when peace comes. My Government have already received and are examining Reports upon compensation and betterment in respect of public control of the use of land and upon land utilization in rural areas. Renewed consideration will be given to the position of old age and widowed pensioners and further measures will be laid before you.

Conversations are taking place between My Ministers and others concerned with the provision and conduct of education in England and Wales with a view to reaching an understanding upon the improvements necessary. My Ministers hope that these discussions will result in such a wide measure of agreement being reached that further progress can be made with plans for the better education of My people. The system of education in Scotland is also under review.

My Ministers will continue to take all measures open to them to promote the health and well-being of My people in war-time by securing the better care of young children, by the prevention of disease, by the treatment of the sick and by the alleviation wherever possible of the housing difficulties consequent upon the war.

Our enemies yet remain powerful and we can look forward to no easy task. All our fortitude and all our determination will be needed to win through to victory. But I know that nothing will shake your purpose or cause your steps to falter on the way.

I pray that the Almighty may give His blessing to your counsels.