The high-speed metal cutting process is analyzed by finite element (FE) method in order to understand the effects of the cutting speed on the thermomechanical responses of workpiece materials. The reliability of numerical simulation is firstly validated by comparing the simulated cutting force with experimental data. Then a series of FE simulations are carried out to reveal the effects of the cutting speed on three key cutting state variables. The cutting force varies with the cutting speed and shows a minimum inflexion at 10 m/s. The maximum temperature in the secondary deformation zone increases gradually with the cutting speed and finally tends to a steady value. The residual stress decreases with the cutting speed as a whole. Thus high speed cutting can improve surface machining precision of product. Besides, it is found that the high residual stress mainly concentrates in the topmost surface layer with a depth of 0.1 mm and sharply decreases to a low level beyond the layer.