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On 13 May 1940, Winston Churchill stood before the House of Commons to explain that he had accepted the King’s invitation to form a Government when only days previously it had been generally believed that the Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax would be Neville Chamberlain’s successor. Chamberlain’s position as Prime Minister had become increasingly precarious after the German invasion of Denmark and Norway at the beginning of the month, leading to much Parliamentary criticism of his leadership in the Norway Debate on 7-8 May. As First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill himself was responsible for the British operations in Scandinavia, however Chamberlain took responsibility for the naval debacle and resigned. Churchill's inaugural speech as wartime leader exhibited many of the galvanising characteristics of his rhetoric as he spoke of offering nothing but 'Blood, Toil, Sweat and Tears' and of 'Victory at all costs, Victory in spite of all terror, Victory however long and hard the road may be'.
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