February 19, 2015

Finest Hour 162, Spring 2014

Page 52

“We cannot undo the past, but we are bound to pass it in review in order to draw from it such lessons as may be applicable to the future.…”
—WSC, House of Commons, 16 April 1936

“The Four Pillars of The Churchill Centre are Publications, Education, Research and Media.”
—Laurence Geller, Chairman, 2007

The Churchill Centre was founded out of the old International Churchill Society at Boston on 26 October 1995 “to inspire leadership, statesmanship, vision and courage through the thoughts, words, works and deeds of Winston Spencer Churchill.” An endowment campaign was begun, through which members known as “Churchill Centre Associates” raised an investment endowment of over $1.3 million. We promised that they would forever be honored by this publication, and their names still appear on the inside front cover. Approaching our 20th anniversary, it seems appropriate to recall the Centre’s many accomplishments since that time and some of the people who have made them possible.

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1. Publications: “Books in Association”

While the Centre has produced over twenty specialized publications, it was early recognized that it should not compete with commercial publishers, but instead provide the talent or material by which books not otherwise publishable might appear. All were volunteers: contributors came for expenses only and while the book editor might have received a modest honorarium, book earnings contributed to the Centre’s further endeavors. We are unalterably proud of the four books that resulted, which are still available at Amazon, Bookfinder.com, or the Centre (in the case of Curt Zoller’s book, page 54).

Churchill as Peacemaker, James W. Muller, editor. New York & Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997, 344 pp., later published in paperback. Zoller A604.

Contents: Paul Addison, “The Search for Peace in Ireland.” Kirk Emmert, “The Peaceful Purposes of Empire.” Douglas J. Feith, “Palestine and Zionism, 1904-1922.” Martin Gilbert, “From Yalta to Bermuda and Beyond: In Search of Peace with the Soviet Union.” James W. Muller, Introduction and “The Aftermath of the Great War.” Patrick J.C. Powers, “Peaceful Thoughts and Warring Adventures.” Paul A. Rahe, “‘The River War’: Nature’s Provision, Man’s Desire to Prevail, and Prospects for Peace.” Robert Rhodes James, “The Enigma.” Burridge S. Spies, “Peace and Two Wars: South Africa, 1896-1914.” Manfred Weidhorn, “A Contrarian Approach to Peace.”

This book collects presentations at The Churchill Centre’s First Churchill Symposium, held in conjunction with the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

To understand the many under-reported episodes where Winston Churchill played the role of peacemaker, we examined his actions: How did Churchill further peace from the Boer War to the Cold War? What were his approaches during the Second World War, when he was finally a principal peacemaker, rather than a lesser player or an observer? Not everyone agreed, and the controversies continue—which is all to the good.

Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” Speech: Fifty Years Later, James W. Muller, editor. Columbia: Univ. of Missouri Press, 1999, 180 pp. Zoller A630.

Contents: Larry P. Arnn, “True Politics and Strategy.” Winston S. Churchill, “The Sinews of Peace” (Fulton, 1946). Daniel J. Mahoney, “Moral Principle and Realistic Judgment.” James W. Muller, Preface. Patrick J.C. Powers, “Rhetorical Statesmanship.” Paul A. Rahe, “The Beginning of the Cold War.” John Ramsden, “Mr. Churchill Goes to Fulton.” The Rt Hon The Baroness Thatcher, “Epilogue: New Threats for Old.” Spencer Warren, “The Philosophy of International Politics.”

This book resulted from a colloquium at Fulton on the 50th Anniversary of Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech, which forms the first part. At the end is a fifty-year perspective by Lady Thatcher, presented during the anniversary celebrations in March 1996. In the middle are papers by historians analyzing aspects of the original Fulton speech.

Basking, as we were then, in post-Cold War euphoria, Thatcher seemed almost retrograde when she warned against the revival of a strident Russian foreign policy, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of “rogue states” which she called the “single most awesome threat of modern times.” And here we are in 2014, facing those very threats. But as our Fulton scholars noted, journalists and the public didn’t recognize the significance of Churchill’s speech until much later, also.

Churchill and the Great Republic, edited by Daun van Ee.Washington: Library of Congress & D. Giles Ltd, London, 2004, 96 pp., softbound.

Contents: James H. Lillington, Library of Congress, Foreword. Martin Gilbert, Introduction. Allen Packwood, “From Buffalo Bill to the Atomic Bomb: Impressions of America from the Churchill Papers.” Daun van Ee, “‘Incandescent Quality’: Churchill Materials from the Library of Congress.”

From February through June 2004, the Library of Congress, the Churchill Archives Centre and The Churchill Centre presented a major exhibition emphasizing Sir Winston’s lifelong links with the United States, through generous support of John W. Kluge and the Annenberg Foundation. Exhibits ranged from a 1706 letter by John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough, to the Order of Service for Sir Winston’s funeral in 1965. The first such display in the United States, it was rich in newly uncovered Churchill letters and documents.

This book was financed by The Churchill Centre, which played a vital supporting role by working with the Library to organize an opening reception including Lady Soames, Celia Sandys and Winston Churchill. The book illustrates the connections between Churchill and America through examples from the exhibit. Finally, the Centre was responsible for organizing and sponsoring two academic symposia: “Churchill and Three Presidents,” with Piers Brendon and Warren Kimball (Roosevelt);  David Reynolds and Arnold Offner (Truman); and Klaus Larres and John Ramsden (Eisenhower). The symposiarch was James. W. Muller. A second symposium, in June, was “Churchill’s View of America.”

The Great Republic exhibit drew on a wide array of materials including documents, letters, photographs, prints, maps, audio-visual aids, and three-dimensional artifacts. Audio-visual kiosks featured key Churchill speeches, such as his 1941 address to Congress and his March 1946 “Iron Curtain” speech at Fulton, Missouri, and the influences of his thought on people today, as in the aftermath of 11 September 2001. An accompanying online exhibition averaged three million viewers per month. Two teacher institutes provided educators with the opportunity to learn about and develop strategies to teach about Churchill’s life and times, and a documentary film was offered by the Library of Congress.

This tremendous accomplishment was an example of how The Churchill Centre brought scholars and expertise into major collaboration with the Library of Congress and Churchill Archives Centre in a multi-media educational experience on every level of access. It remains one of the Centre’s proudest accomplishments.

Annotated Bibliography of Works about Sir Winston S. Churchill, by Curt Zoller.Armonk: M.E. Sharpe, 2004, 410 pp., $50 ppd. from The Churchill Centre (address on page 2).

Contents: works about and substantially about Churchill, articles about him, reviews of Churchill’s books, dissertations and theses, indexed by author and title.

The work of a lifetime by Curt Zoller, this book was a mere dream until The Churchill Centre persuaded M.E. Sharpe to publish it by guaranteeing a minimum order. Our effort paid off, because nowhere else can you find such a compilation.

Zoller listed some 684 works in his most important Section A (books about WSC). The most fun are the annotations, often pungent, based on Finest Hour book reviews. In a book of Churchill speeches said to “reveal a man completely self-absorbed and egotistically uninterested in the opinions of anyone else” we noted that it included famous Churchill speeches about Lloyd George, Chamberlain and Roosevelt. Another book was “a compendium of vitriol that is hard to beat for twisted facts and out-of context quotes…recommended for the library that must have everything.”

If you want a reference to everything about Churchill published through 2004, and crisp opinions as to its worth, this book is for you. Copies cost $65 and up on Amazon and Bookfinder.com, but The Centre’s office in Illinois still has a few copies left at $50 postpaid.

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