The Place to Find All Things Churchill


The Lead up to VE Day

With the net tightening around Germany, on 4 February 1945 the Allied Leaders, Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt, met in Yalta, on the Black Sea coast of the Crimea, to clarify their plans for the final offensive, the occupation policy for Germany and the establishment of the United Nations and its Security Council.

A month later, in March 1945, the Germans were in retreat. The Allies were on the west bank of the Rhine, the traditional border of Germany that no foreign army had crossed in 140 years (since Napoleon in 1805). On 22-24 March, the Allies crossed the Rhine and entered enemy territory. On 30 April, Adolf Hitler committed suicide during the Battle of Berlin.

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The Iron Curtain

In November 1945, Churchill was invited to give one of a series of annual lectures at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri. The letter of invitation was annotated by President Truman who offered to introduce Churchill, and therefore guaranteed a high profile event.

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.
Churchill, 5 March 1946

Churchill’s speech, given on 5 March 1946, was to prove enormously influential. Originally entitled ‘The Sinews of Peace’, it became better known as the ‘Iron Curtain’ speech because of his use of a phrase now in common use. This was Churchill’s first public declaration of the Cold War, in which he warned the western world about the ‘iron curtain’ that was descending over Europe, drawn down by the Russians, and called for greater Anglo-US cooperation, in what he called a ‘special relationship’, in the battle against Soviet expansionism. Click here to see Churchill give this speech in the presence of US President Harry S. Truman.

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The Battle of Britain The Royal Air Force battles the German Luftwaffe

On 18 June, Churchill warned the British people that the ‘battle of France’ was over and the ‘battle of Britain’ was about to begin. His words were proved right. As early summer gave way to July and August, the threat of invasion loomed over Britain.

If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies, choking in his own blood upon the ground.
Churchill, as quoted in Hugh Dalton’s Second World War Diary, entry for 28 May 1940

Churchill, seeing that control of the skies was vital, put businessman Lord Beaverbrook in charge of Aircraft Production (as Minister) and encouraged British scientists to improve radar defences and counter German technology. In August, the Royal Air Force managed to inflict heavy casualties on the German Luftwaffe and, in September, the German pilots transferred their attention from the coastal airfields and those in south-west England to London, allowing the fighter bases respite from attack but putting British people in the city at much greater risk. In early September a massive series of raids involving nearly four hundred German bombers and more than six hundred fighters targeted docks in London’s East End almost continuously, day and night.

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THE FULTON REPORT – From the National Churchill Museum A Note, or Two Notes, to Pamela Plowden

Finest Hour 175, Winter 2017

Page 38

A Note, or Two Notes, to Pamela Plowden

Following the tragic death of their two-year-old daughter Marigold in 1921, Winston and Clementine Churchill received numerous letters of sympathy. One letter of condolence arrived from Pamela Plowden (see p. 15), to whom Winston had proposed marriage in 1899. She refused him, instead marrying Victor, Earl of Lytton, thereby herself becoming the Countess of Lytton.

Upon receipt of the letter from Pamela, Churchill replied to his first great love with this hand-written note:

Thank you so much my dear for yr kind letter. It is indeed sad & cruel to lose our beautiful baby. We had high hopes of her as she showed so much character as well as the charm of early morning. One must hope that there will be fruition elsewhere, & that it is really true that ‘whom the Gods love well die young’.
Yours affectionately

At the National Churchill Museum, Director and Chief Curator Timothy Riley recently discovered a previously unknown second note, which was still inside the original envelope. The handwritten message—instructions for a telegram—is from Clementine Churchill. It reads:

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Books, Arts, & Curiosities – Double Indemnity

Finest Hour 174, Autumn 2016

Page 43

Alan Watson, Churchill’s Legacy: Two Speeches to Save the World, Bloomsbury, 2016, 204 pages, $25/£16.99. 978–1408880210

Review by Peter Clarke

Peter Clarke’s new book, The Locomotive of War: Money, Empire, Power and Guilt, will be published in February by Bloomsbury in London and New York.

fulton speech Churchill’s LegacyWinston Churchill, like many old men, very much enjoyed the sound of his own voice. Unlike most of them, he still had some important things to say at seventy-one, his age in 1946 when he delivered two famous speeches: one in February at Fulton, Missouri, and the other in Zurich, Switzerland, in September of the same year. He had recently been voted out of power in Britain but was probably the most famous person in the world at the time and was now free to accept invitations to countries less afflicted than Britain by postwar privations. The Fulton speech was titled “The Sinews of Peace” but is often hailed as recognizing the beginning of a cold war that was to polarize the world for most of the next half-century. It is remembered in particular for its graphic comment on the state of Europe: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.” The Zurich speech projected a more optimistic view, but one equally striking, in saying that “we must re-create the European family in a regional structure called, it may be, the United States of Europe.”

One of our debts to Alan Watson in producing this slim but fascinating book is that he gives us the full text of both speeches in an easily accessible form. Each of them has been selectively quoted in the course of the last seventy years and, at the very least, it is good to read them for ourselves and see what all the fuss was about. Churchill’s secretary, accompanying him to Fulton to type out last-minute amendments, wrote home to her parents after the speech’s delivery: “it hasn’t half kicked up a shindig here” (83). True enough, Churchill was taken by many Americans to be stirring up trouble with the Soviet Union; and

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Riddles, Mysteries, Enigmas – “Let Europe Arise!”

Finest Hour 173, Summer 2016

Page 50

Seventy years ago at Zurich University Winston Churchill delivered one of his most important post-war speeches (see pages 7, 31, and 41). Although given the somber title “The Tragedy of Europe,” Churchill’s remarks set out a plan for rebuilding the war-torn continent. Proposing “a kind of United States of Europe,” Churchill acknowledged that he might “astonish” his audience when he insisted, “The first step in the re-creation of the European family must be a partnership between France and Germany.” He ended his remarks with the exhortation, “And therefore I say to you, let Europe arise!” Or did he?

The short answer is yes. The speech was recorded, and the closing statement can be clearly heard ( The university placed two commemorative plaques to mark the occasion, one in English and one in German, each including the famous final phrase. Yet the published versions of Churchill’s speech do not include it at all.

The speech first appeared in the 1948 collection The Sinews of Peace, edited by Randolph Churchill and published in the UK by Cassell. The last line, however, is missing. Nor can it be found in other editions, including the Complete Speeches edited by Robert Rhodes James published in 1974. To find any written record of the remark in the Churchill papers, one must go to the source. And there lies a mystery as well.
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The Scaffolding of Rhetoric

The Scaffolding of Rhetoric was written by Churchill in November 1897.

Winston Churchill studied the art of speech making from a very early age. This article was never formally published during Churchill’s lifetime, though some of the ideas in it were incorporated in Savrola, Churchill’s only novel. Written in 1897 when he was just 23, it provides Churchill’s formula for crafting a powerful and impactful speech. His advice today that is as sound as ever. It is republished here by kind permission of the Churchill Literary Estate and Winston S. Churchill MP.

By Winston S Churchill

Of all the talents bestowed upon men, none is so precious as the gift of oratory. He who enjoys it wields a power more durable than that of a great king. He is an independent force in the world. Abandoned by his party, betrayed by his friends, stripped of his offices, whoever can command this power is still formidable. Many have watched its effects. A meeting of grave citizens, protected by all the cynicism of these prosaic days, is unable to resist its influence. From unresponsive silence they advance to grudging approval and thence to complete agreement with the speaker. The cheers become louder and more frequent; the enthusiasm momentarily increases; until they are convulsed by emotions they are unable to control and shaken by passions of which they have resigned the direction.

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Churchill: A Study in Oratory

Seven Lessons in Speechmaking From One of the Greatest Orators of All Time

By Thomas Montalbo, DTM
Finest Hour 69

He wasn’t a natural orator, not at all. His voice was raspy. A stammer and a lisp often marred many of his speeches. Nor was his appearance attractive. A snub nose and a jutting lower lip made him look like a bulldog. Short and fat, he was also stoop-shouldered.

Yet this man—Sir Winston Churchill—became probably the greatest orator of our time and won the Nobel Prize for his writings and “brilliant oratory.” How did he do it? And what lessons can all Toastmasters learn from him to help them make better speeches?

In school, Winston Churchill was a backward student. But he wasn’t stupid. He later explained, “Where my reason, imagination or interest were not engaged, I would not or I could not learn.” But the English language fascinated him. He was the best in his class.

Macaulay and Gibbon, two of England’s most famous historians, dazzled him with their styles of writing. The impact these authors made on his mind stayed with him for life, as his speeches show. Because their styles were markedly different and yet both charmed him, he believed this showed, as he put it, “What a fine language English is. . .”

His English teacher once said, “I do not believe that I have ever seen in a boy of 14 such a veneration for the English language.” Churchill called the English sentence “a noble thing” and said, “The only thing I would whip boys for is not knowing English. I would whip them hard for that.” Lord Moran, his physician and intimate friend, wrote:

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Boris Johnson Presents to Sold Out Conference

Watch Boris Johnson’s ‘Churchill Factor’ Presentation at the 32nd International Churchill Conference in Oxfordshire

The Hon Boris Johnson MP and Mayor of London, was introduced to the speeches of Sir Winston Churchill from a very early age. He recalls his father reciting Churchill’s speeches and used this as inspiration to write his recent book on Sir Winston Churchill. He identified what made Churchill great as the ‘Churchill Factor’.

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Boris Johnson Presents to Annual Churchill Conference

Watch Boris Johnson’s ‘Churchill Factor’ Presentation at the 32nd International Churchill Conference

The Hon Boris Johnson MP and Mayor of London, was introduced to the speeches of Sir Winston Churchill from a very early age. He recalls his father reciting Churchill’s speeches and used this as inspiration to write his recent book on Sir Winston Churchill. He identified what made Churchill great as the ‘Churchill Factor’.

VE Day The end of WWII

Victory in Europe (VE) Day, on 8 May 1945, officially celebrated the end of the WWII in Europe.

Following Hitler’s suicide on 30 April 1945, Admiral Dönitz, who’d been President of the Third Reich for only a week, authorised General Jodl to sign the unconditional surrender of German forces to the Allies on 7 May 1945, in the presence of senior officers from Britain, America, Soviet Russia and France. (The Soviets insisted on a second ceremony in Berlin on 8 May, which is why Russia still celebrates VE Day on 9 May).

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University of Leiden, 10 May 1946

Finest Hour 161, Winter 2013-14

Page 36


The decision to make me a Doctor of Laws is deeply valued by me. The Rector has explained how rarely this distinction is given, and especially in cases like mine. It has to be proved that the recipient, by his moral qualities, his attitude, and character has influenced the course of history in a favourable sense.

I felt this might be a rather difficult task for the promoter to prove, but the promoter’s reasoning with his logic and deduction seems to be very good. As he proceeded my natural modesty was undermined, and I will confess to this august assembly that I allowed myself to be convinced by him. [Laughter.]
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Churchill’s 1950 Newsreel Outtakes

Humorous behind the scenes footage of Churchill in January 1950 preparing a newsreel for the upcoming British General Election

In this election Churchill’s efforts came to naught as the Labour Party returned with a narrow majority of only six seats. But Labour had lost 78 seats while the Conservatives had gained 85 seats, thereby laying a foundation for another election in the near future, one Churchill privately predicted would come within the year. “One more heave before the year is out,” he wrote to a friend. But the heave was not to come until October, 1951.

City of London Honours Churchill

A statue of Churchill was unveiled on 27 June 1955

In 1955 the Lord Mayor of London unveiled a status of Sir Winston Churchill in the Guildhall in London. Rarely is a statue dedicated during the lifetime of a person being honoured. Some of the most iconic statues and busts of Churchill, including this one, were created by the prolific artist Oscar Nemon.

Winston Churchill Resigns as Prime Minister

Churchill resigns on the 4th of April 1955

Winston Churchill became Prime Minster for the first time during the Second World War and in 1950 he was asked by the King to form a government for the second time. In April in 1955 he resigned for the final time as Prime Minister.

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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.