Did Winston Churchill Really Say That? – Answers

Winston Churchill

Jaw set with steely determination, Churchill became the face of unconquerable Britain.
(Library of Congress)

1. Did Churchill actually say, “If you’re going through hell, keep going”?

“Probably not,” says Quote Investigator, a blog which records the investigatory work of Garson O’Toole. ” This adage is difficult to trace because of the malleability of its expression.” QI traced the quote to a 1990 article profiling self-help author Douglas Bloch in The Oregonian Portland newspaper: “If You’re Going Through Hell, Don’t Stop.” Many iterations of the quote have appeared since.

2. Is “If you’re not a liberal when you’re 25, you have no heart.  If you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 35, you have no brain” a Churchill quote?

“There is no record of anyone hearing Churchill say this,” says The Churchill Centre. Furthermore, British author and historian Paul Addison of Edinburgh University says: “Surely Churchill can’t have used the words attributed to him. He’d been a Conservative at 15 and a Liberal at 35!  And would he have talked so disrespectfully of Clemmie, who is generally thought to have been a lifelong Liberal?”

3. Did Churchill inspire a Johnny Cash album by uttering the sentence “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat”?

Yep. Churchill’s first speech as Prime Minister on May 13, 1940, included the quote. The phrase “blood, sweat, and tears” — that later became a Cash album title and the name of a rock group — showed up in Churchill’s 1939 article “Can Franco Restore Unity and Strength to Spain?” This one’s true!

4. Wasn’t it Churchill who said, “With integrity, nothing else counts. Without integrity, nothing else counts”?

Sorry. This one looks like to be a 404 error, according to The Churchill Centre. A search for the phrase in Churchill historian Richard Langworth’s digital archive of Churchill’s 15 million published words, plus 35 million words about him by colleagues, biographers, and historians, produced no hits. “This includes all of his published books, articles, speeches and letters.”

5. When did the prime minister say, “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts”?

Never, according to Langworth’s Churchill by Himself: The Definitive Collection of Quotations. To find out what the famous politician did say about success, check out Langworth’s blog.

Read more about Winston Churchill in Jeff Nilsson’s World War II blog post, “Never Give In.”