In The Iron Lady (2011) starring Meryl Streep, what does her character Margaret Thatcher mean when she says:

We will stand on principle. Or we will not stand at all.

This was the scene where she was talking to several officers, discussing regaining the Falklands.

What is the principle here in this situation?

1 Answer 1



  1. a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning. "the basic principles of Christianity"

    synonyms: truth, proposition, concept, idea, theory, assumption, fundamental, essential, ground rule

    "elementary principles"

  2. a fundamental source or basis of something.

    "the first principle of all things was water"

What she's saying there is that policy has to be based on what they believe in or it's not going to work.

What she meant by it was that invading a Sovereign state required a scaled response. You can't let that type of aggression go unchallenged, or others might see it as a weakness and act similarly.

  • What is HER main principle in this situation? Do you know sir? I guess that is what I am asking, apologies, it was ambiguous.
    – cmp
    Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 14:56
  • 1
    @cmp - See my updated answer. Commented Dec 23, 2016 at 15:01

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