Daily Mail | August 20, 2013 | Martin Robinson

Winston Churchill's powerful speeches have long been credited with helping to win the war, but one leading academic says there is 'little evidence' his oratory inspired the British to beat Nazi Germany.

Professor Richard Toye also claims that the Second World War leader's 'finest hour' radio address, one of his most famous, lacked impact 'because many people thought that he was drunk'.

The University of Exeter academic claims in a new book that Churchill was not a decisive influence on the nation's willingness to fight on against Hitler when Britain was almost on its knees in 1940.

His research also found that when Singapore fell to the Japanese in 1942, one Londoner said his rallying speech was 'f****** bull****' and a 'f****** cover-up'.

Churchill's legendary oratory, which included unforgettable phrases like 'we shall fight on the beaches' and 'never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few', had moved many to join up and fight the Nazis.

But Professor Toye denies the traditional view that Churchill was universally loved and said his speeches had led to criticism and controversy.

'Churchill's first speeches as prime minister in the dark days of 1940 were by no means universally acclaimed,' he said.

'Many people thought that he was drunk during his famous "finest hour" broadcast and there is little evidence that they made a decisive difference to the British people's will to fight on.

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“Leave the past to history especially as I propose to write that history myself.”

Winston S. Churchill