The Place to Find All Things Churchill

Finest Hour 107


Finest Hour 107, Summer 2000

Page 48

One of the largest and most impressive of the numerous cigarette cards featuring Churchill is this 2 3/4×5 1/4-inch, turn-of-the-century production by Turf Cigarettes, a branch of Carreras Ltd., London, in their “Famous Escapes” series of 10 cards, of which this is number 1.

Considerable artistic imagination was required, but it could have looked like this as young Winston hopped the eastbound train just outside of Pretoria, where he had jumped his prison wall and strolled away humming a tune and seemingly without a care in the world (more details in Finest Hour 105).

The back of the card states: “His first attempt to escape with his friend, Captain Haldane, failed, but on the next day Mr. Churchill managed to scale the wall alone and to get clear away. He boarded two trains, in the second of which he had to lie buried under some sacks of wool for two-and-one-half days. While hidden there, the train was searched, and eventually he reached Natal in safety.”

AMPERSAND – A Grand Exhibition at Ackermann & Johnson

Finest Hour 107, Summer 2000

Page 47

London, 23 May – 2 June

This spring our good friends at the London art gallery Ackermann & Johnson produced a stunning exhibit of portraiture, “Images of Sir Winston Churchill.” With paintings, drawings, bronzes and ephemera, the gallery showed the work of “many distinguished artists who have captured Churchill’s personality and colourful character over the years. In these works, Churchill appears not only as a great statesman, but also as a person of warmth and vitality.” A selection of Churchill’s own paintings complemented the exhibit, revealing his love of art and an element of his private persona.

Ackermann & Johnson’s association with the Churchills goes back a long way. Generations of the family have crossed the gallery’s threshold, viewing, buying, seeking advice—and some of the younger generation have even worked there. The gallery has taken a generous interest in the work of the Churchill Center and Societies, having allowed Finest Hour to reproduce the 1942 portrait by Adrian Hill (one of the works on display, central on the catalogue cover above), on the cover of our Autumn 1997 number 96. Mr. Peter Johnson has since loaned us another fine portrait for a future cover, and has promised to pursue the possibility of our reproducing two portraits from the House of Commons collection: a 1946 oil by Oswald Birley, and a 1965 oil by Alfred Egerton Cooper, portraying the Lying-in-State at Westminster Hall.
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Churchill’s Greatness (2) – ONE MAN AS AN ISLAND – How Winston Churchill saved the world

Finest Hour 107, Summer 2000

Page 41


January’s controversy over who should have been Time magazine’s “Man of the Century” was reported to have ended in a choice between Albert Einstein and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Disappointingly, the magazine chose Einstein (even all these years after Henry Luce’s death, there seems to be an anti-FDR bias floating around in the Time-Life Building, like Legionnaires’ disease embedded in the air vents). After all, FDR saved the United States from total collapse in 1933, and perhaps only he could have transformed his country into not only “the great arsenal of democracy” that it became but arguably the world’s greatest—and most benevolent—power from 1945 on. Furthermore, had he not possessed the good sense to take Einstein’s famous letter seriously, the atomic bomb might never have been developed or might have been developed first by the enemy.

The truth, however, is that one man, and one man only, was the logical choice for Man of the Century. John Lukacs’s superb new book, Five Days in London—the title refers to the brief period in the spring of 1940, when Winston Churchill had to convince his cabinet to keep fighting against Germany rather than seek a way out of the war—makes clear why. (Reviewed in FH 105, pp. 38-39. Ed.) Not only did Churchill’s checkered political career span more than half of the century (he was first elected to Parliament as a much publicized hero of the Boer War on 1 October 1900, and resigned as prime minister on 5 April 1955) but it can truly be said of him, as of perhaps no other figure of the 20th century, that he saved the Western world. Had Churchill not lived—or had he been killed when, for example, he was struck by a car on Fifth Avenue in 1931 (he was crossing the avenue on foot and had forgotten that Americans drive on the right)—the world would be a radically different and darker place, dominated in some way by a triumphant Nazi Germany, with results that are today, happily, the province of novelists of the “What if?” school.
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Finest Hour 107, Summer 2000

Page 41


On 22 May last I purchased a copy of the abridged one-volume edition of The World Crisis, Macmillan 1941, inscribed “Winston S. Churchill” on Easter 1942, from Andre Nikolai Smith of Southend-on-Sea, Essex. Andre, now aged 86, was a projectionist employed by the Ministry of Information (Mol) during the war. On most weekends from early 1942 to late 1944, he was sent with two colleagues, Messrs. Brownbridge and Hill, to Chequers to show the Prime Minister and his guests (and sometimes staff) feature films and Mol documentaries.

Andre and his colleagues would motor down to Chequers on a Friday afternoon in a car filled with a variety of films, staying in a basement dormitory in the house with other Chequers staff, and return to London on the following Monday morning. Films were shown on two Gaumont BN 35mm projectors. He recalls two Churchill favourites: “How Green is my Valley” and “Stage Door” with Betty Grable.

The films were shown in the Great Library at Chequers (where Andre cannot recall seeing any books!) and he met the PM on two occasions when Churchill went to the projection room and said, “Take this away—I’ve seen it!”
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Finest Hour 107, Summer 2000

Page 38


People often ask my partner, Mark Weber, or me what it costs to own a complete set of Winston Churchill’s books. The answer is: between $1500/£1000 and well over $100,000/£67,000, depending on the varieties, editions and conditions desired. Then, if you can find them, add another $100,000 for first editions of the two rare, probable vanity press productions, Mr. Brodrick’s Army and For Free Trade. You might have to add even more; the last Brodrick sale I know of was in 1999 for $75,000/£50,000. And this is for books not inscribed by our author.

But “Never Despair!” Ten years ago I set out to acquire a full set of Churchill’s books for my Maine cottage for as little as possible, accepting scruffy copies and avoiding only paperbacks. I made color photocopies of dust jackets in my home collection to hide the worn covers. This little group cost $1500/£1000 and is adequate if not comprehensive. Space limited me to abridged one-volume editions of The World Crisis, The Second World War and A History of the English-Speaking Peoples. Cost and space excluded the Complete Speeches (8 vols.) and Collected Essays (4 vols.). Prices for run-of-the-mill copies haven’t changed much since, so I think you could still put such a collection together for roughly the same price.

Avoid Leather

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Churchill in Stamps: The End of the Story

Finest Hour 107, Summer 2000

Page 36

Pages 307-312:
Catalogue numbers are from Gerald Rosen, A Catalogue of British Local Stamps, published 1975.

CHURCHILL in Stamps,” tracing Sir Winston’s life through Churchill and related postage stamps, began sixteen years ago in Finest Hour 43. “The editor has responded to those who’ve asked for more album layouts in FH,” I wrote, “by illustrating his own! The presence of quarterly deadlines will hopefully force me to keep putting together pages.” Well, they did. Installments have appeared in most of the 67 issues since. Finally I have reached the end! We shall try to maintain coverage of philately, the subject that first drew us together, and from which today’s movement grew. I hope you have enjoyed it, and I welcome your own philatelic contributions.

307. The British postal strike of 1971 engendered numerous labels sold to validate mail for private carriers, many of which referred to “Old Victory.” These examples (PM 11-12, EUR 26) are typical, printed blue with red air mail surcharge. (PM 11).

308. Colorful if unconvincing portraits of JFK and WSC on a Manchester strike label, and a Karsh Ottawa photo from 1941 on labels publicizing the 1965 New York Stamp Show.
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Riddles, Mysteries, Enigmas

Finest Hour 107, Summer 2000

Page 35


Q: While browsing Amazon’s UK site I came across a listing for a book by Robert Rhodes James called Churchill: A Study in Triumph, with a Weidenfeld & Nicolson 1998 imprint. Was it published?

A: Alas no. It was going to be his sequel but he died before it was finished.


Q: Who besides Churchill was vested with Honorary American Citizenship?

A: This subject was discussed at length three years ago. Todd Ronnei writes: “My research found multiple sources that agreed there have been five honorary citizenships granted by acts of Congress: Sir Winston Churchill (1963), Raoul Wallenberg (1981), William and Hannah Penn (1984) and Mother Teresa (1996). Other members mentioned Lafayette (but not by Congress), Lech Walesa and Solzhenitsyn.”
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INSIDE THE JOURNALS – Of Overlords and the General Strike

Finest Hour 107, Summer 2000

Page 34

Abstracts by Chris Hanger

“Lords of All They Surveyed? Churchill’s Ministerial Overlords 1951-1953,” by Peter Hennessy and David Welch, Parliamentary Affairs 51(1), January 1998, pp. 62-70

Tony Blair’s appointment of John Prescott as “overlord” (Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions) recalls similar positions created by Winston Churchill during his second premiership. However, each was different in terms of structure, personalities, and politics.

At a mid-1990s seminar, former Cabinet Secretary Lord Armstrong noted that under Churchill “ministers that were being overlorded greatly disliked it…and, on the whole, they were responsible to Parliament [simply as] Cabinet Ministers.” If there is precedent, the Prescott appointment more closely resembles Harold Wilson’s 1968 restructuring of Health and Social Security under Richard Crossman, a decision that Wilson later judged a mistake.

Two prominent men argued against the use of peacetime overlords. One was Churchill’s wartime Overlord, Lord President of the Council and Chancellor of the Exchequer John Anderson. The other was Sir Norman Brook.
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Finest Hour 107, Summer 2000

Page 29


Young Winston was a devoted collector of diminutive military, as we know from his collection on display at Blenheim. We can only imagine what he would make out of latter-day collections built entirely out of miniature Churchills—clad in khaki as well as mufti.

William Manchester describes Winston Spencer Churchill as “adventurer, aristocrat, soldier, statesman.” Add to these: author and politician. But above all, we know Winston Churchill as the wartime prime minister who, at age 66, led England and inspired her allies to victory against the Axis powers.

Referring to himself as “an English-Speaking Union,” Churchill was born to the former Jennie Jerome of New York and Lord Randolph Churchill of Oxford, at Blenheim Palace on 30 November 1874. He died in London on 24 January 1965- In the intervening ninety years he twice served as prime minister of Great Britain and wrote over forty books, winning the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953. His wit was legendary, as witness his description of Clement Attlee, who succeeded him as prime minister (1945-1951): “A modest man, with much to be modest about.” The American broadcaster Edward R. Murrow, whose words were later used by President John Kennedy in making the then-Sir Winston an honorary U.S. citizen, said Churchill “mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.”
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The Best in the World: An Effervescent Production

Finest Hour 107, Summer 2000

Page 28

By Richard M. Langworth

Pol Roger, by Cynthia Parzych and John Turner, with special contributions by Michael Edwards and Bill Gunn. New York: Cynthia Parzych Publishing, 1999, 168 pages illustrated in color and b&w, published at $42. Member price $34

Winston Churchill coined a memorable line when he checked into The Plaza Hotel in New York City in the 1930s and the manager rang his room to see if he required anything special. The story goes that Churchill himself took the call and, pretending to be his valet, replied: “Mr. Churchill is a man of simple tastes; he is quite easily satisfied with the best of everything.”

Cynthia Parzych and John Turner were given free rein in the extensive Pol Roger archives to produce a history of the Champagne of royalty, heads of state, politicians and connoisseurs. Among the many interesting Churchillian nuggets which permeate and enliven this book, we learned that Churchill was a much earlier enthusiast than we realized. It is well known that he was introduced to Madame Odette Pol-Roger by British Ambassador Alfred Duff Cooper after the war and specified a lifetime supply of his favorite vintages. In fact he had become a customer in 1908—the same year he was appointed President of the Board of Trade—and the book reproduces his order for a case of the 1895 vintage, which cost him the princely sum of £4/16/0 or about $24. Yet his friendship with Mme. Odette was renowned. Churchill named one of his race horses “Pol Roger” and pronounced Odette’s home at 44 avenue de Champagne “the world’s most drinkable address.” Though he never visited Churchill wanted to. “Invite me during the vintage,” he wrote, “and I’ll press the grapes with my bare feet.”
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – “As Thick as Thieves…”?

Finest Hour 107, Summer 2000

Page 26

By Barry Gough

Fisher, Churchill and The Dardanelles, by Geoffrey Penn. Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Leo Cooper 1999, 299 pages, published at $36.95. Member price $30.

The immediate objective was Constantinople, Turkey’s capital, garrisoned by the German Army. The more significant intent was to assist the sagging army of Czarist Russia, pinned down on the Eastern Front and expected to collapse under pressure of repeated German and Austro-Hungarian assaults. The year was 1915, by which time the Western Front had been established, with the opposing armies stalemated by lines of trenches.

To the so-called “Westerners” among British policymakers, such as General Sir William Robertson, the only logical course of action, on strategic grounds, was to pour in more armies to the Western Front. To the “Easterners,” among whom Winston Churchill and Lord Kitchener were prominent, the natural course was to capture Constantinople, ship supplies and materiel into the Black Sea, shore up Russian forces and, not least, take the pressure off the Western Front.

It sounded like a satisfactory project, and, not least among the benefits, it might give employment to the Royal Navy which, to that point, had triumphed over the German East Asiatic Squadron in the Battle of the Falkland Islands and was, generally speaking, holding its own in the North Sea. Worth remembering, too, is the impatience of British strategists and statesmen, anxious as they were to end the war as quickly as possible. The war had not ended by the previous Christmas as hoped and expected; Churchill, who by nature was impatient for action and results, stood at the forefront of those anxious to use the Royal Navy to good effect. Thus was born the Dardanelles Expedition.
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Books, Arts & Curiosities – The Greatest Man (and Speech) or the Century

Finest Hour 107, Summer 2000

Page 25

By Elizabeth Edwards Spalding

Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” Speech Fifty Years Later, edited by James W. Muller. University of Missouri Press, 1999, $27.50, member price $23

When ranking the major speeches of the twentieth century—from Woodrow Wilson’s 1917 “peace without victory” address, to Ronald Reagan’s 1982 remarks before the British Parliament—a convincing argument can be made that Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech of 5 March 1946 in Fulton, Missouri, should come first. Unlike Wilson or Reagan, Churchill, although greatly respected for his intrepid statesmanship in the Second World War, was not in office when he made his memorable remarks at Fulton. With the assistance of The Churchill Center, editor James Muller has put together a collection of essays on Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech that describe, analyze and explain Churchill’s best-known, and arguably most important, political statement.

Most academics now tend to dismiss the role of rhetoric in politics and often refer to speeches as merely rhetorical. If such scholars do give public words any weight, they typically see them as declarations that justify actions and policies or politicians themselves. But if rhetoric is understood as the practical art dealing with the way we argue persuasively about human or political affairs, then the connection between rhetoric and politics becomes clear. Statesmen—who are also usually dismissed or devalued as mere leaders by modern academics—use rhetoric to express their regime’s principles and to advance arguments for policies that best reflect and apply those principles. Through constant reference to their first principles, rhetoric and discussion, a self-governing people is able to make the most effective political choices and pursue concomitant policies.

Churchill was not confused about the link between politics and rhetoric. His statesmanship and rhetoric were united in his general understanding and practice of politics. In a nicely crafted preface, Muller presents a volume in which the authors strive to understand Churchill’s own teaching: “At the summit true politics and strategy are one.” Muller describes the care that Churchill took in putting together his speeches and points out, as do others in the book, that the Fulton address reflected nearly a half century of Churchill’s thought and experience.

The prologue is Churchill’s speech as given at Fulton and, despite the impressive credentials of the other contributors, is the strongest selection in the book. The interpreters of the speech go on to ask and answer questions about whether Churchill’s remarks, insights, and policy advice are time bound, timeless, or both.

Most of the chapters were written for a conference held in Fulton to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the speech. Although generally scholarly, the volume is also an American tribute to Churchill, the half-brother from across the Atlantic. Aside from Lady Thatcher, who offers a Churchillian analysis of the post-Cold War world in the epilogue, only one contributor is British and the rest are American. But this is appropriate, one thinks Churchill himself would say, since his purpose at Fulton was to impel the United States to accept its global responsibilities after World War II and meet the challenge of the Cold War. Only by this course, according to Churchill, would the “Sinews of Peace”—from a special relationship between Great Britain and the United States to the establishment of conditions of freedom and democracy in all countries—shield mankind from the “two gaunt marauders, war and tyranny.”

The body of the book is six essays, which can be read as pairs in juxtaposition. In their respective chapters, historians John Ramsden and Paul Rahe give detailed background about the speech, including the role of President Harry Truman and his relationship with Churchill, and examine the various reactions, especially in the United States and Great Britain, to the Fulton address. Political scientists Daniel Mahoney and Spencer Warren each aim to define and plumb Churchill’s philosophy of politics generally and of international politics specifically through a close treatment of the Fulton text and with reference to major philosophical influences on Churchill. And in their essays, political scientists Larry Arnn and Patrick Powers stress Churchill’s political understanding of prudence for his own time and circumstances, and argue for the higher prudence of his statesmanship for all time.

Astute judgments come from all the contributors, but two essays speak well for the whole. Through his textual analysis of the “Iron Curtain” speech, Spencer Warren shows how its themes elucidate Churchill’s general political philosophy of international relations. Although he is too quick to portray Churchill as a practitioner of power politics—on this point, Mahoney’s chapter provides a necessary corrective—Warren underscores how Churchill sought peace through the strength of both political principles and strategic superiority.

Larry Arnn, meanwhile, explores the depth of Churchill’s understanding of America and its bedrock principles, and indicates that the Truman administration’s main policies of containment followed naturally from the call at Fulton. More explicitly than the other writers, Arnn is concerned about the current applicability of Churchill’s counsel and proposals in the “Iron Curtain” speech, and he says that Americans risk both marring their experiment in self-government and misunderstanding their responsibilities in world leadership if they do not learn from Churchill’s message.

There are weaknesses in some of the essays, including excessive dependence on Fraser Harbutt’s The Iron Curtain: Churchill, America, and the Origins of the Cold War in one or two cases and underdevelopment of themes in another. But as a group the authors provide a nearly full analysis of the “Iron Curtain” speech and argue persuasively that the substance and presentation of Churchill’s remarks were essential in 1946 and still have much to teach us over fifty years later.

No other book has appeared on the “Iron Curtain” speech in the wake of its fiftieth anniversary. Many scholars and even some politicians maintain that we are in a post-Cold War world in which Churchill’s words have little or no meaning. The contributors to Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” Speech Fifty Years Later prove them wrong. Winston Churchill was not named person of the twentieth century— Time bestowed that honor on Albert Einstein—but according to Patrick Powers and as implied by his fellow writers, the British statesman deserves to be remembered as the greatest man of a century marked by world wars, Cold War, unparalleled tyrannies, and unmatched freedoms.

Dr. Spalding ( teaches government and politics at George Mason University, and was one of die symposiasts at the second Churchill Center symposium, “Churchill in the Postwar Years,” in 1996.

Books, Arts & Curiosities – Comrade Winston’s Somersaults

Finest Hour 107, Summer 2000

Page 24

By Warren F Kimball

Churchill and the Soviet Union, by David Carlton. Manchester and New York: Manchester University Press, 234 pages. Hardback published at $69.95, member price $58; trade paperback published at $19.95, member price $16.

On 15 September 1919, Winston Churchill penned a caustic warning about the Bolsheviks: “It is a delusion to suppose that all this year we have been fighting the battles of the anti-Bolshevik Russians. On the contrary, they have been fighting ours; and this truth will become painfully apparent from the moment that they are exterminated and the Bolshevik armies are supreme over the whole vast territories of the Russian Empire.”

Twenty-five years later, in the aftermath of the Yalta Conference, Churchill commented: “poor Neville Chamberlain believed he could trust Hitler. He was wrong. But I don’t think I’m wrong about [trusting] Stalin.”

About a year later, on 5 March 1946, Churchill condemned the Soviet Union for dropping “an iron curtain… across the continent,” and for allowing Eastern Europe to be ruled by “police government.” “God has willed,” he declaimed, that the United States, not “some Communist or neo-Fascist state,” should have atomic bombs.
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CHURCHILL ONLINE – Person or the Century: The Roosevelt Debates

Finest Hour 107, Summer 2000

Page 23

It is absurd to suggest that Franklin D. Roosevelt may be second fiddle to WSC. Yes, Churchill was the voice in the wilderness warning against Hitler publicly, but FDR had trie same beliefs privately. FDR was dealing with a multitude of issues during Americas worst domestic crisis since the Civil War. In the isolationist political climate FDR had carefully to prepare the U.S. for mobilization and the eventual war that he knew was to come. FDR’s foresight and leadership not only saved England (Lend-Lease) but eventually would win the war.

I admire Churchill’s oratory but he wasn’t in FDR’s league. In stage presence, he wasn’t even in FDR’s ballpark. Roosevelt set the stage and still sets the agenda for the world we live in today. Remember the photograph of the Big Three. Who was in the center of that triumvirate?

Iistserv Winston Replies…

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Finest Hour 107, Summer 2000

Page 22


Only Churchill carries that absolutely required, criterion: indispensability.

It is just a parlor game, but since it only plays once every hundred years, it is hard to resist. Person of the Century? Time magazine offered Albert Einstein, an interesting and solid choice. Unfortunately, it is wrong. The only possible answer is Winston Churchill.

Why? Because only Churchill carries that absolutely required criterion: indispensability. Without him the world would be unrecognizable—dark, impoverished, tortured.

Without Einstein? Einstein was certainly the best mind of the century. Though a total unknown when he published his 1905 trifecta—three papers on Brownian motion, the photoelectric effect and the special theory of relativity, each of these revolutionized its field. It was probably the single most concentrated display of genius since the invention of the axle. (The wheel was easy, the axle hard.)

Einstein also had a deeply humane and philosophical soul. I would nominate him as most admirable man of the century. But most important? If Einstein hadn’t lived, the ideas he produced might have been delayed. But they would certainly have arisen without him.
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The International Churchill Society (ICS), founded in 1968 shortly after Churchill's death, is the world’s preeminent member organisation dedicated to preserving the historic legacy of Sir Winston Churchill.

At a time when leadership is challenged at every turn, that legacy looms larger and remains more relevant than ever.