CHURCHILL OUT OF HIBERNATION, WEEK 42
IN THE BALANCE was the the third of Churchill’s postwar speech volumes. How that man could talk!
We unpack it next, as we pursue Winston Churchill through his book-length works.
The 58 speeches and broadcasts that In the Balance collects were all delivered by Winston Churchill as Leader of the Opposition, from 1949-1950. Churchill was devastating as an Opposition speechmaker. His calls for magnanimity toward Germany helped foster the Marshall Plan. His dream for a United States of Europe allied against the Soviet Union to deter Soviet aggression led to the creation of NATO. The onset of the Korean War in 1950 seemed to confirm all of his direst predictions for world disorder. Inevitably, British popular opinion began to inch toward returning him to No. 10. As a result, In the Balance arrived in 1951 just as Churchill was about to become Prime Minister for the second time. (In the U.S., a slightly later publication in fact revolved around Churchill’s having just been elected in 1952.)
Among the speeches that comprise In the Balance is one Churchill delivered at a dinner given in his honor by Time magazine publisher Henry W. Luce at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York City on March 25, 1949. In this speech, Churchill shared his view of the Soviets grounded in an acute, almost empathetic sense of their flawed humanity: “These men in the Kremlin . . . how is it . . . that they have deliberately united the free world against them?” he asked. “. . . It is, I am sure because they feared the friendship of the West more than they do its hostility. They can’t afford to allow free and friendly intercourse between . . . those they control and the rest of the world. They daren’t see it develop.
“I remember some words that my father spake when I was an urchin,” Churchill added. ”I remember that he said a man who can’t take a knockdown blow isn’t worth a damn. Well, I’ve always tried to live up to that and on the whole it’s quite a healthy process. …In my view you don’t want to knock a man down except to pick him up in a better frame of mind. That is my view about all these things that happen in the world… And that is a thing to think about.”
We wish you all continued good health and safety, as we gradually pick ourselves up in a better frame of mind.