George W. Bush's War on Terror Speech

This study guide will help you analyze George W. Bush’s "War on Terror" speech. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on summary, analysis, topic, speaker, audience, language, modes of persuasion, circumstances, and intention.

Presentation of the speech

Title: The War on Terror speech
Speaker: George W. Bush
Where: the US Congress
When: 20th of September, 2001, following the 9/11 terrorist attacks

George W. Bush (b. 1946) is a Republican politician who served as the 43rd President of the US between 2001 and 2009. The 9/11 terrorist attacks took place during his first term in office, involving several suicide-attacks on US targets such as the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The speech was delivered 11 days after the attack to the US Congress.

You can watch the speech here.


Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 


Antithesis refers to creating opposition between people, situations, ideas with the purpose of keeping the audience focused and of highlighting the element that the speaker supports.

First, you should note that most of the speech is constructed on the opposition between “The civilized world”  and terrorists. This is particularly noticeable when the speaker opposes democracy to the authoritarian leadership inside terrorist groups: “They hate what they see right here in this chamber: a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed.” 

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George W. Bush's War on Terror Speech

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