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Bulletin #45 – Mar 2012

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A Point of View: Winston Churchill and the Birth of the Special Relationship

Winston Churchill coined the phrase “special relationship” on a lecture tour of American universities – and his words still resonate today, says historian David Cannadine.

Churchill in Fulton March 1946
BBC NEWS MAGAZINE, 9 March 2012—In a few days’ time, David Cameron will be journeying to Washington to visit Barack Obama, and according to a White House Statement, his visit will “highlight the fundamental importance of the US-UK special relationship and the depth of friendship between the American people and the people of the United Kingdom”.

Perhaps it will, and I hope it does, but it’s also likely to give rise to at least two challenging questions. Is America’s relationship with Britain as special as it used to be? And is it genuinely more special than with any other country?

These matters have been much on my mind of late, because I’ve recently returned from lecturing at Westminster College, in Fulton, Missouri, where in March 1946, Winston Churchill gave one of his most significant post-war speeches in which he launched the phrase “special relationship” into popular currency.

Churchill was merely a private citizen, having been turned out of 10 Downing Street at the general election in the previous summer, but he was introduced by the American President Harry S Truman, and during the course of his speech, he offered a new and in many ways alarming view of the post-war world.

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, Churchill insisted, an Iron Curtain had descended across Europe, dividing the continent between a free and democratic west and a totalitarian and Communist east. The Iron Curtain was the first phrase his Fulton speech made famous, and the second was indeed the “special relationship” which he believed existed between Great Britain and the United States.

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One Man’s Drive Drew Churchill to Missouri

How was it that Winston Churchill came to give is historic “Iron Curtain” speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri?

By Brian Burnes

THE KANSAS CITY STAR, 7 March 2012—The president of Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., which then had approximately 300 students, already had displayed a gift for persuading big fish to come to his small pond: New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia had lectured there, as had FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.
churchill at fulton 1946Winston Churchill in Fulton
But when McCluer asked his wife, Ida Belle, what she thought of inviting arguably the most recognizable face in world politics — British prime minister Winston Churchill — her first thought was to think him sarcastic.

“But I replied that we could dream,” she added.

As described in “Our Supreme Task: How Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech Defined the Cold War Alliance,” a sequence of fortuitous events, set in motion by McCluer, resulted in Churchill’s improbable appearance.

McCluer, writes Olathe author Philip White, wrote a five-paragraph invitation on Westminster stationery and brought it to Washington, where an old Westminster classmate, Harry Vaughan, served as Harry Truman’s military aide.

Vaughan found a five-minute window in Truman’s schedule and brought McCluer into the Oval Office.

Learn more about the “Iron Curtain” speech, including a video clip here

Truman read the letter and said “That might work. Wait a minute.” Truman then inscribed a personal note, saying he would introduce Churchill at Westminster.

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Winston Churchill’s ‘Wilderness’ Apartment for Rent in Westminster

Estate agents Knight Frank have brought to market the former home of Sir Winston from 1930-1939 in his so-called Wilderness Years.

PRWEB UK, 8 March 2012—Knight Frank have brought to market the former home of Sir Winston Churchill from 1930-1939 in his so-called Wilderness Years.

The historic apartment, located on the fifth and sixth floor, overlooking Westminster Cathedral was home to Churchill when he learnt Edward VIII intended to marry Wallace Simpson and where he read the draft of the King’s proposed wireless broadcast detailing his impending abdication. When Churchill left the apartment in 1939 he left as First Lord of the Admiralty and to his desk at the War Cabinet. The rest, as they say, is history.

The property to let in Westminster, SW1 is currently available unfurnished, for rent at £2,250 per week through Knight Frank Belgravia lettings.

The apartment is close to the transport links of Victoria with Underground Station (District, Circle and Victoria lines), main line railway including Gatwick Express. It is also located close to all the amenities of Westminster and Victoria.

The flat benefits from a large entrance hall, three interconnecting reception rooms perfect for entertaining on a large scale and has recently been refurbished to a high standard.

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A Missed Opportunity at The College of William and Mary

The estate of Churchill’s literary agent still in limbo.

By Frank Shatz

THE VIRGINIA GAZETTE, February 2012—In Wendy Reves’s last will it was stipulated that part of her multi-million dollar estate be used to create a permanent home for Churchill studies in the United States.
Emery-and-Wendy-RevesEmery and Wendy Reves
In acknowledgement of her generosity, Celia Sandys, Winston Churchill’s granddaughter, sent a letter by Laurence Geller, Chairman of the Churchill Centre, to be read at Wendy’s memorial service in 2007, at the historic Wren Chapel on the campus of William & Mary College in Virginia.

“Wendy and Emery’s generous hospitality to my grandfather at LaPausa gave him so much pleasure toward the end of his life,” she wrote.

Indeed, it was the place where Churchill, as a guest, spent months at a time, for many years. Wendy’s often expressed her wish was to make certain that the legacy of the leadership of the great British statesman would be preserved in America through an endowed Churchill Library and a Center for Churchill scholarship. Thus, she designated part of her estate, for this purpose.

Alas, a protracted court battle over the validity of her will, a court case still pending, prevented the creation of such a center, which was contemplated to be established at the College of William & Mary.

Instead, according to a recent news release, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Laurence Geller, Chairman of The Churchill Centre, and Steven Knapp, President of George Washington University. They have agreed on the creation of a Churchill Library and Center on the campus of The George Washington University.

In a statement, Geller noted, “Undertaking this project with The George Washington University represent a milestone in the development of the Churchill Centre and of Churchill scholarship in America. The unique place that Winston Churchill holds in modern history as an icon of leadership and the respect his memory is accorded thorough the United States has long demanded the creation of a permanent home for Churchill studies, exhibitions and programs”

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“Meetings in Marrakech” Catalogue Now Available

Leighton House art exhibition catalog available for purchase online.

A fully illustrated catalogue is now available for the “Meetings in Marrakech” exhibit of paintings by Winston Churchill and Hassan El Glaoui currently at the Leighton House museum in London. The exhibit runs until March 31 and was featured in the January issue of Chartwell Bulletin.

The catalogue, published by Skira Editore, includes beautiful color illustrations of works by both artists as well as an essay by Celia Sandys entitled “The Loveliest Spot in the Whole World.” Also featured are additional essays by Maurice Droun (“Hassan El Glaoui, the Painter of Morocco”) and by El Glaoui’s daughter and catalogue editor Touria entitled “L’Enfance de l’Art” as well as a detailed biography of the Moroccan artist. The exhibit and catalogue highlight the artistic recognition accorded both men and the long relationship between their two families.

The catalogue is available in the U.K. and Europe* on Amazon UK and the publisher’s website

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What Did Churchill Really Think About Ireland?

100 years ago in Belfast Churchill was attacked by a loyalist mob trying to stop him promoting Home Rule, but his vision was of an Ireland loyal to Britain.

THE IRISH TIMES, Wednesday, 8 February 2012—Winston Churchill made his first public appearance in Ireland in 1878. In 1877 Disraeli had sent his family into a form of internal exile – the Duke of Marlborough was appointed viceroy in Dublin Castle and his son Randolph decided to act as his aide. Randolph’s wife Jenny – proud mother of cherubic Winston – painted his portrait and placed it on public display at a Dublin exhibition, to the joy of the local press.
Eamon de Valera meeting Winston Churchill
He also learned his first political lesson. His nanny warned him against the dangers posed by the Fenians, reasonable advice as in 1882 republican assassins murdered Lord Frederick Cavendish, the incoming chief secretary, in the nearby Phoenix Park.

Churchill’s relationship to Ireland is encapsulated for many by a few famous phrases – his celebrated reference to the integrity of the quarrel of the dreary steeples in Fermanagh and Tyrone, and his sharp critique of de Valera and neutrality in the fight against Hitler. But what did Churchill really think about Ireland?

Churchill’s conversion from Conservatism to Liberalism owed everything to domestic social pressures in Britain and nothing to the Irish question. At the moment of conversion in April 1904 he signalled to the Liberals of northwest Manchester that he was not impressed by the great Gladstonian theme of Home Rule: “I remain of the opinion that a separate parliament for Ireland would be dangerous and impractical.”

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Keep Calm and Carry On, The Real Story

Discovered in a bookshop in England in the 1990’s, the image becomes iconic of the 20th century.
The words are not Winston Churchill’s but the famous World War II poster “Keep Calm and Carry On” is now indelibly associated with his spirit and his leadership of the British people.

Ironically, the poster itself was never issued during the War and was only “discovered” just over ten years ago in a bookshop in the northeast of England. Since then the image and phrase have been reproduced, lionized and parodied around the world.

The shop where the poster came to light, Barter Books in Alnwick, Northumberland, recently posted this video on YouTube describing the its history. Meanwhile a collection of the originals has just turned up on the Antiques Roadshow TV series, as reported by the Daily Mail last month.

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Churchill and “The Pod”

The Internet swarms with rumors (untrue) about Winston Churchill’s pressurized pod.

By Chris H. Sterling for Finest Hour

In January 2012 a website ( reported that “Churchill Used in-Flight Pod to Light up, Stay Alive“. Alas there is much less to this story than the fascinating headline implies.

Of the many technologies developed during World War II, few were as well-intentioned as a strange device designed to allow Winston Churchill to fly in comfort at high altitudes. Churchill’s doctor, Lord Moran, was concerned that if the Prime Minister flew above about 8000 feet, the lack of oxygen would be bad for his heart. Aircraft pressurization—something we take for granted today—was in its very early stages then. None of the aircraft in which Churchill flew before 1945 was pressurized—thus they generally flew below 8000 feet, save for momentary ventures higher to avoid mountains.1

Flying higher was not only be safer but more comfortable: there is less turbulence above, say, 20,000 feet. As much to the point, anti-aircraft guns of the period began to lose value as airplane altitudes increased. Thus the wizards at the Institute of Aviation Medicine (part of the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough, west of London) sought a means of allowing the Prime Minister to fly at greater altitude.

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March 5, 1946 | Winston Churchill Warns of Soviet “Iron Curtain”

Remembering the anniversary of one of Churchill’s most famous post-war speeches. 

By The Learning Network

THE NEW YORK TIMES, 5 March 2012—On March 5, 1946, Winston Churchill delivered his famous “Iron Curtain” speech, officially titled “Sinews of Peace,” at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. After being introduced by President Harry Truman, Churchill, the former prime minister of Britain and now the opposition leader, warned of the threat posed by the Soviet Union, a World War II ally of Britain and the United States.Winston S. Churchill

The New York Times reported that “Mr. Churchill painted a dark picture of post-war Europe, on which ‘an iron curtain has descended across the Continent’ from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic.”

“He strongly intimated a parallel between the present position of the Soviet Union with that of Germany in 1935,” wrote The Times. “His words, he continued, were not offered in the belief that war with the Soviet Union was inevitable or imminent. He expressed the view that Russia does not desire war, but cautioned that Moscow does desire the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of its power and policies.”

Churchill called on the United States to form a “fraternal association” with Britain. He said that the United States stood at the “pinnacle of world power” and must take responsibility to ensure peace in the world.

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Sir Martin Gilbert Named 2012 Laureate by Int’l Dan David Prize Foundation

Tel Aviv University based foundation awards Sir Martin $1 million Dan David Prize.

By Ben Hartman

THE JERUSALEM POST, 29 February 2012—The foundation will award the $1 million Dan David Prizes during a ceremony at Tel Aviv University on June 10.

The winners in the biography/ history section include Stanford University Prof. Robert Conquest, a British historian who is an expert in Soviet history, and University of Oxford Prof. Martin Gilbert, an expert in Jewish history. William Kentridge of South Africa won for his artwork. In addition, biologists David Botstein, J. Craig Venter and Eric Lander won for their genome research.

The Tel Aviv University-based foundation hands out the awards each year in three different time frames – past, present, and future. The laureates split the winnings in each category and donate 10 percent of their prize towards 20 doctoral and postdoctoral scholarships.

The Dan David Foundation said that Conquest won for his work on Soviet policy of the 1930s that “exposed the horrors of the famine that resulted from the policy of collectivization.”

Gilbert received the prize for his six-volume biography of Sir Winston Churchill, which was “one of the most remarkable feats of biography to be published in modern times,” according to the foundation.

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From the Finest Hour Archives: The Art of Churchill’s Correspondence with Stalin


Allen Packwood Addresses The Chartwell Branch in the United Kindom

The Churchill Centre UK and Churchill Archives Centre Executive Director gives a talk a Churchill’s beloved country home in Kent.

Aspects of Churchill: Chartwell Chapter of TCC
23 Feb 2012

By Allen Packwood
Clementine and Winston Churchill at Ascot
The title of my talk is Aspects of Churchill. There are, as you all know, many aspects and facets to this amazing man. So on the one hand this should be an easy talk to give, there is so much material on which to draw, but on the other hand I am faced with an almost impossible task, there is just so much material on which to draw!

There is one aspect that I must mention here while recognising that I am the least well qualified person to talk about it, and that is Chartwell itself. Coming to talk about Winston Churchill at Chartwell feels like walking into the lion’s den. I certainly do not need to tell this group that this is a very special place, shaped by him and loved by him, and imbued with his character and personality. If the ghost of Churchill was going to appear anywhere and engage us in the sort of conversation that Churchill imagined having with his father Lord Randolph in his essay “The Dream”, then I am sure it would be in the painting studio or study here. Because there is no doubt that this place was more than just a family home, – it was a canvas, a refuge, a work in progress, and a place to think and write. All of this is captured in Mary Soames’s memoir. Philippa, Alice and the team here do an incredible job in keeping that spirit alive, while simultaneously catering for thousands of visitors, and it is a privilege for the Churchill Archives centre to hold some of the Chartwell manuscripts on loan from the National Trust, and a joy to work with the staff on exhibitions here in the UK and abroad.

I am not going to presume to tell this group about Chartwell, but many of the aspects that I am going to talk about are facets of his character that you can see illustrated in this house.

So how am I to approach this huge subject in the few minutes allowed to me? Well, what I am going to try and do is to use Churchill’s own documents and writings to illuminate some aspects of his character: aspects that I feel are important to a fuller understanding of the man.

Let us start at the beginning. In the Archives Centre we have the file of his school reports from St George’s School in Ascot, the preparatory boarding school that he attended between 1882 and 1884, and between the ages of seven and nine. They make for interesting reading. Take this from his report for the period from 1st March to April 9th 1884; “Conduct has been exceedingly bad. He is not to be trusted to do any one thing” and the Headmaster’s remark that he is, “Very bad – is a constant trouble to everybody and is always in some scrape or other. He cannot be trusted to behave himself anywhere.”

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Northern California’s Glow Worm – Spring 2012

Chartwell Branch News – March 2012

Historian Warren Kimball Lecutres at the Washington History Seminar (Video or Audio)

Churchill Centre academic advisor Warren Kimball at the National History and Wilson Center’s on Churchill and Roosevelt.

Warren Kimball edited Churchill & Roosevelt: The Complete Correspondence, published by Princeton University Press in 1984. In his presentation to the January 30 edition of the Washington History Seminar, he reflected on the problems he faced in compiling letters and other communications, on research in the pre-computer age, and on his thoughts about the two men and their policies when he was working on the book. How have his interpretations and perspectives shifted—or not? What is the ultimate value of such correspondence? He gave his present assessment of Roosevelt and Churchill, and inquired into what have become in some quarters unpopular concepts of “leadership” and “great men in history.” 

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