IN THE BALANCE
Like Europe Unite, the 1949-1950 speeches had political implications, and fortunately, or by timing, the book arrived just as another General Election loomed. In America, Houghton Mifflin expressed little interest until Churchill won that election, publishing in early 1952. “Now that Churchill is once more at the helm of the British Government, [his speeches are] more than ever significant,” they commented. The chief subjects here are the Council of the European Movement, party political broadcasts and addresses, criticism of Labour’s foreign affairs and defense management, and fascinating speeches abroad—at Brussels, Strasbourg, Copenhagen, Boston and New York.
By far the greatest speech in this period, alone worth the price of the book, was one that deserved a much wider circulation in America: “The Twentieth Century—its Promise and its Realization,” delivered at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Mid-Century Conference in March 1949. After a dramatic review of the triumphs and tragedies of 1900 to 1945, Churchill added: “We are now confronted with something quite as wicked but in some ways more formidable than Hitler, because Hitler had only the Herrenvolk pride and anti-Semitic hatred to exploit. He had no fundamental theme. But these thirteen men in the Kremlin have their hierarchy and a church of Communist adepts….They have their anti-God religion and their Communist doctrine of the entire subjugation of the individual to the State.” His prescription to the West was to hold the line, so that one day “Russians everywhere would be received as brothers in the human family.”
He ended with his Fulton theme of fraternal association. “Do not, my friends, I beg of you, underrate the strength of Britain. As I said at Fulton, ‘Do not suppose that half a century from now you will not see 70,000,000 or 80,000,000 of Britons spread about the world and united in defense of our traditions, our way of life, and the world causes which you and we espouse.’ United we stand secure. Let us then move forward together in discharge of our mission and our duty, fearing God and nothing else.”
-Richard M. Langworth
From the Reviews
“Here again is that sonorous roll, that matchless polish, that hammerlike impact and that bird-winged wit, which make him the greatest living orator. To sit with this book for an evening is to share in the making of history.”
-Christian Science Monitor
From the Introduction
The speeches cover a wide range of topics, both domestic and foreign, and, as in previous volumes, provide a running commentary on political events in the age in which we live. The outstanding events of this two-year period were the devaluation of the £ sterling, the General Election of February 1950, the outbreak of the Korean war, the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and the immense rearmament programmes of the United States….While during these two years dangers have grown, the Western Powers have made steady if belated progress along the paths of safety which Mr. Churchill has persistently sign-posted….Though the peace of the world is far from assured there is an increasingly wide acceptance of the view that time may yet be allowed in which perseverance with these policies may achieve the safety of Western Civilization.
-Randolph S. Churchill
Comments and Appraisal
Third of five English postwar speech volumes, this one deals perhaps with duller and more domestic subjects, but is essential for completeness. Considerably scarcer than its predecessors, it has become quite pricey, especially for fine, jacketed copies. Even “very good” copies tend to bring high prices; the only way to get one for less than that, besides a lucky discovery in a general bookshop, would be to settle for a copy without the jacket. The spine gilt on this edition is prone to fading and is often unreadable on unjacketed copies.
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Cohen A255.1 / ICS A130a
Publisher: Cassell and Co. Ltd.: London, 1951
Dark blue cloth blocked gilt with title, author’s name and CASSELL on spine. 8vo, 468 pages numbered (2+) (i)-(x) and 1-456. Page (ii) lists thirty-one other works by the author. Dust jackets printed black, blue and red on white paper. Published 1 October 1951 at 25s. ($3.50) in a single impression of 8200 copies. This was the first postwar speech volume printed in England.
Cohen A255.2 / ICS A130b
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co.: Boston, 1952
Dark tan cloth blocked on spine with brown decorations and in black: “In the | Balance | [brown star] | CHURCHILL and “HOUGHTON | MIFFLIN CO.” (all reading across). Pagination identical to the First Edition, but the title page is completely reset, substituting the U.S. publisher’s name and the date of U.S. publication plus Library of Congress card number on the title page verso. Dust jacket printed red, black and dull yellow on white paper, with an abstract design of repeat British Arms on front face and spine. Published 1952 at $5.00 in a single impression of 2000 copies, using sheets supplied by the English printer.
Churchill’s speeches seemed to be losing their appeal to Americans and Houghton Mifflin again reduced their order, with the result that the American issue is rare today, though not so long ago it sold for very little. Nowadays a fine jacketed copy will cost serious money, and will be worth it. The binding is of good quality and holds up well without the dust jacket; expect to pay a premium for these. Jacket spines fade easily; pay more for an unfaded example.
Blue cloth blocked silver on spine only: WINSTON S. over CHURCHILL and IN THE BALANCE (reading down). 16mo (5 1/4 x 7 5/8″), 466 pages numbered (i)-x and 1-456. Offprinted and very slightly reduced from the English Edition. No publisher’s imprints inside or out. Although it lacks the usual Chinese characters or Taipei imprints, the thin page stock suggests another in a long line of oriental pirate editions.
Swedish: I VAGSKALEN
Published by Skoglund: Stockholm 1952 in cloth and card wrappers. Later included in a four-volume set of war and postwar speeches.
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Click here for a list of terminology, bibliographic information, and other notes.