The following struck a chord with me when I read it earlier today. Excerpted from http://www.powerlineblog.com 5 June 2010:
Even Churchill had his doubts about the outcome of the Battle of Britain. While he was driving home from Buckingham Palace on May 10, 1940, after having received the King’s appointment as prime minister, Churchill said to an aide: “I hope that it is not too late. I am very much afraid that it is. We can only do our best.”
In the decisive Cabinet meeting of May 28, Churchill addressed members of the government who were considerably less resolute than he was:
“I have thought carefully in these last days whether it was part of my duty to consider entering into negotiations with That Man (Hitler)…. And I am convinced that every one of you would rise up and tear me down from my place if I were for one moment to contemplate parley or surrender.
If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.” (emphasis added)
The effect on his colleagues was electrifying.
Commenting on this episode in Churchill on Leadership, Steven Hayward writes: “[F]rom time to time, and especially in a crisis, the genuine leader must simply exert his personal force and summon up his willfulness.”