It was his first speech to the nation as Prime Minister, and came nine days after his appointment, in the second year of World War II.
The speech concludes with a quotation from the Apocrypha, which supplies the phrase by which the speech became known:
Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar. As the Will of God is in Heaven, even so let it be. (1 Maccabees 3:58–60)
Samples of the speech are featured in Dutchsymphonic metal band Within Temptation's song "Our Solemn Hour". The phrase a solemn hour is also included in the actual speech's beginning. An altered speech is used in the "Black Symphony" album where the Germans were replaced by the enemy. Samples of the speech also featured in Jay Electronica's song "Call of Duty" featuring Mobb Deep.