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Churchill Archive

The Jennie Churchill Fund

The new fund, named for Sir Winston Churchill’s great-granddaughter, is now available to support projects by researchers and students.

Allen Packwood, the Director of the Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College, Cambridge, announced the creation of a new fund to support broader public access to the Churchill Papers and related vast collections at the Archives Centre at Cambridge University.

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Conditions of Armistice with Austria-Hungary Featured document from the Churchill Archives

“Conditions of armistice with Austria-Hungary”: Paper discussed by the Supreme War Council at Versailles, France setting out the terms of an armistice with Austria-Hungary.

100 years ago, on 11th November 1918, the Great War came to an end. The final German armistice agreement followed the surrender of Bulgaria (29th September), the Ottoman Empire (30th October) and finally as shown in this month’s featured document, the Austro-Hungarian Empire. (3rd November). The military power of Austria-Hungary was very closely tied to Imperial Germany during the First World War. The competency of the military strength of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was severely compromised by factors such as the inadequacy of the Austrian high command and the significant geographical spread of its composite parts which were made up of many different nationalities. This led to the interpretation by many that Germany was fettered with the shortcomings of the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s military strength.

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Folger Library – Churchill’s Shakespeare By Laurence Geller CBE

The Folger Library in Washington, D.C. recently opened a new exhibit, ‘Churchill’s Shakespeare.’ The following are the remarks from the opening by International Churchill Society Chairman Laurence Geller CBE.


I would like to thank Folger’s Shakespeare’s Library for inviting Jennie Churchill and me to participate in this evening’s event.

On behalf of all of us at the ICS, let me thank Folger’s Michael Witmore and Georgianna Ziegler for making this wonderful exhibition and event possible.

It is an honor to share this platform with Mathew Barzun whose passion for education added to his so well performed day job made him amongst the best US Ambassadors to the Court of James in modern times.

I would also like to thank the Churchill Archive’s Centre Director, the astonishingly versatile Allen Packwood not only for his involvement in this exhibition, for his participation, energy, humor and always unfettered passion and enthusiasm for all things Churchill.

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Jennie Churchill Opens the ‘Churchill’s Shakespeare’ Exhibit By Jennie Churchill

Opening remarks by Jennie Churchill for the ‘Churchill’s Shakespeare’ exhibit at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.


My great grandfather first visited the United States in 1895, just before his twentieth birthday.

At that time, he did not like your press or your currency but he did love your hospitality.

It was on his first visit  to Washington, D.C. in 1900 that he met the first on many Presidents of the `United States

That President was William McKinley.

He was to be the first of very many with whom, Winston met and developed relationships

Famously, Churchill is rightly credited with developing the modern special relationship between our two countries.

Given that he was himself the product of an Anglo-American special relationship this was not only a strategic necessity but a natural evolution.

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Political Cartoons on Appeasement Churchill Archive Featured Documents

Appeasement

CHAR 2/355/40 and CHAR 2/355/42

80 years ago this month, in the early hours of 30 September 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed the Munich Pact. The agreement between the U.K., France, Italy and Germany allowed Germany to annex a portion of Czechoslovakia known as the Sudetenland. This settlement has become one of the most well-known examples of the dangers of appeasement, a strategy that involves giving concessions to an aggressor nation in order to avoid conflict.

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Telegram from Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig to Churchill Featured Document from the Churchill Archives

Telegram from Field-Marshal Sir Douglas Haig [later Lord Haig] to WSC thanking him for his congratulations [on the success of the offensive near Amiens] and praising his work as Minister of Munitions

Find the complete document here.

In his letter of 9 August 1918, 100 years ago this month, Douglas Haig wrote a thank you note to Winston Churchill for his congratulations on the successful battle of Amiens and for his efforts as Minister of Munitions in supplying the mechanical warfare, trench mortars, tanks, and airplanes which were instrumental in achieving victory. Churchill had a good working relationship with Haig and had supported him during his reverses on the Western Front in March and April 1918. Haig’s offensives at the Battles of Somme and Passchendaele had resulted in large numbers of casualties and perpetuated his portrayal as a ‘butcher and bungler’ in popular opinion. In fact, Prime Minister Lloyd George and the War Cabinet had been keen to remove Haig as Commander-in-Chief of the British Expeditionary Forces, and it was thanks to his success at Amiens in August that he managed to secure his position.

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Notes for Churchill’s Speech to the Royal College of Physicians Featured Document from the Churchill Archives

Speech notes for WSC’s speech (2 March, Royal College of Physicians, London) on advances in medicine and science and the importance of a National Health Service.

Find the original document here.

5 July 1948, 70 years ago this month, saw the beginning of the implementation of the National Health Service (NHS). The health minister, Aneurin “Nye” Bevan, marked the occasion by visiting what is now known as Trafford General Hospital in Manchester, the first official NHS hospital. The guiding principle of the NHS was that it was to be free at point of need.

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Telegram from Eden to Churchill Featured document from the Churchill Archive

Telegram from Anthony Eden to Winston Churchill informing him of the results of a discussion with President Roosevelt regarding post war Europe

Find the original document here.

This telegram sent by Antony Eden, the British Foreign Secretary, to Churchill in March 1943 recounts Eden’s discussion with President Roosevelt during a visit to Washington, D.C. Days later, Churchill made a key broadcast speech in which he laid out his ‘Four Years’ Plan’ for Britain and Europe after the war. Although the war was ongoing, Churchill began to look forward to victory and proposed his ideas for how to restore ‘the true greatness of Europe’. One such idea was to establish a Council of Europe – an international organisation to uphold human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe – which was eventually founded in 1949.

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Featured Document: The Dambusters Raid

The Dambusters Raid

CHAR 20/138B/225

Find the original document here.

75 years ago on the night of 16 May, a dangerous task was undertaken by the Royal Air Force 617 squadron to destroy the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe dams in the Ruhr Valley. These dams were thought to be a significant resource in German war production efforts and were also understood to be highly fortified and invulnerable structures. The mission, codenamed ‘Operation Chastise’, became widely known as the Dambusters raid. The extraordinary feat was featured on front page news around the world, making the ‘Dambusters’ instant celebrities.

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Featured Document: Letter from Princess Elizabeth to WSC

Letter from Princess Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II) to WSC to thank him for the birthday gift of his “Life of Marlborough”, commenting that she had spent a very busy [18th] birthday “amongst relatives and a great many Grenadiers, which made it a very happy day…”

Find the original document here.

On 24th April 1944, Princess Elizabeth wrote a warm letter of thanks to Winston Churchill, who had given her his Marlborough: His Life and Times as a birthday present. Churchill had known Elizabeth from an early age – at two years of age, he described her as “a character [with] an air of authority and reflectiveness astonishing in an infant” – and they remained close from Churchill’s return to Downing Street in 1951 to his death in 1965. When Elizabeth became Queen in 1952, the 77-year-old statesman was her first prime minister – and, reputedly, her favourite. They enjoyed their weekly meetings, laughed a lot, and bonded over their shared interest in horses and racing. Indeed, the meetings grew from 30 minutes to two hours. Churchill had great respect for the monarchy, and he was very fond of Elizabeth. When he had a stroke soon after her coronation, Elizabeth invited the Churchills to join her to watch the St Leger and go by royal train to Balmoral, where Churchill enjoyed himself enormously and progressively recovered. When he died, Elizabeth broke royal protocol to arrive before the coffin and before the Churchill family and leave after both of them as a touching sign of respect.

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Fight Them on the Beaches 4 June 1940

Churchill’s ‘We shall fight on the beaches’ speech on 4 June 1940 is a eulogy to the British war effort that has been immortalised in popular memory of the Second World War. As a newly appointed Prime Minister, Churchill’s first month in office was defined by the Dunkirk evacuation. Over 300,000 Allied soldiers were evacuated in a sensational rescue mission. The success was down to a combination of German errors and the brilliant execution of the evacuation plan. However, the fact remained that, with France now fallen, Britain had become an attractive target for German invasion.

In this speech, Churchill’s aim was to counter the jubilant public reaction provoked by the evacuation from Dunkirk, and bring the discussion back to reality. As Churchill famously warns in the speech, “We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations.”

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Votes for Women! Women finally granted the right to vote in the UK

The Representation of the People Act

February 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, which granted the right to vote for women of property over the age of 30. Despite women’s suffrage being debated in the public sphere as early as the mid-nineteenth century, the formalised suffragette movement did not begin in earnest until 1903 when the Women’s Social and Political Union came into being.

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WinstonChurchill.org

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.