THE SINEWS OF PEACE
(Cohen A241) (Woods A124)
After the war was over, Randolph Churchill reassumed the editorship of his father’s speeches, which were published over the years in five separate volumes, of which this collection of orations from October 1945 through the end of 1946 is the first. The faithful Desmond Flower at Cassell immediately arranged to publish The Sinews of Peace in Britain, but the Americans took more convincing, and it was almost a year after its UK appearance that Houghton Mifflin agreed to issue an American Edition. For years I owned a First English Edition that Randolph had taken to America in order to sell the project, with editorial notes in his hand (although the American text was unaltered when published).
Sinews of Peace is named for one of two dominant themes in the speeches within, namely the title Churchill gave to his March 1946 address at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, better known as the “Iron Curtain” speech. At Fulton in the presence of President Truman, Churchill had urged a “fraternal association” of the English-speaking peoples to maintain the forms of cooperation, military and political, that they had established in the war, but critics took this to mean he was proposing a formal alliance. “The Fulton speech drew cries of horrified alarm, not only from Communists and their dupes, but from many usually right-minded and sensible politicians and journalists,” writes Randolph in the Introduction. “Re-reading that speech in the light of after-knowledge, many people may wonder what the fuss was all about. They may perhaps conclude that one of the most dangerous and thankless tasks in politics is to tell the truth and to give warning of danger in good time instead of late in the day.”
A year after the First Edition of this book was published, NATO was founded, and America and Britain found themselves in an alliance along the lines Churchill proposed at Fulton, along with Canada and a number of non-English-speaking, democratic states of Europe.
Six months after Fulton Churchill spoke at Zurich University, voicing the second major theme of this volume: European Unity. “I am now going to say something that will astonish you,” he said. “The first step in the recreation of the European family must be a partnership between France and Germany. In this way only can France recover the moral leadership of Europe. There can be no revival of Europe without a spiritually great France and a spiritually great Germany.” Thus it was Churchill, so often first to recognize compelling truths, who first voiced the advice Europe needed to hear. The result in due course was the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Economic Community, and the Council of Europe.
Like Fulton, the truths Churchill uttered at Zurich are now taken for granted.
-Richard M. Langworth
From the Reviews
“The prize for moral leadership should surely go to Mr. Churchill, rather than to any of the official leaders. That is the recognition which fairness demands should be given….Who in this country—and indeed in the world—could more legitimately claim to have displayed these virtues, at Fulton and after, than Mr. Winston Churchill? Who had enough faith in the Western way of life, not merely to proclaim its superior merits, but to propose that something should be done to safeguard it, regardless of the threats and censure such self-protective measures would evoke from the enemies of liberty? Who showed enough originality of mind to break with the traditional conception of the ‘quivering, precarious balance of power’ and to plead for the replacement of ‘such narrow margins offering temptations to a trial of strength’ [quotes from Fulton] by a new and infinitely more stable system of retaining a balance of power in hand? Who had enough vision, imagination and insight to realise as early as the beginning of 1946 that it was practical politics to count on the Americans making such a system possible? Who was not afraid to confront the British public as early as November, 1945, when it was still flushed with the pride of victory, with the extremely unpalatable fact—surely to none more unpalatable than to this proudest of Britons himself—that the leadership in such a novel system would inevitably pass to the Americans?….In short, who has led and who has followed?”
-H. J. Huizinga, a Dutch journalist, in Time and Tide, 1946
Comments and Appraisal
The first and most important collection of Churchill’s postwar speeches, the Sinews assembles the key speeches surrounding the author’s early postwar political themes. The supply has thus far been ample, and copies are available for little. Copies without jackets quickly become dull and faded, and the pulpy paper is inclined to slight yellowing. A fine copy with bright gilt in an unmarked, unchipped dust jacket is fairly uncommon.
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Cohen A241.1 / ICS A124a
Publisher: Cassell and Co. Ltd.: London, 1948
Orange-tan cloth blocked gilt with title, author’s name and CASSELL on spine. 8vo, 260 pages numbered (i)-xii and 9-256. Page (ii) lists twenty-six other works by the author. Dust jackets were printed black, maroon and light green on white paper. Published 19 August 1948 at 16s. ($3.20) in a single impression of 10,000 copies.
Publisher’s presentation copies were bound in full black pebble grain morocco. A minor point of interest: this edition was printed in Luxembourg.
Cohen A241.2 / ICS A124b
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Co.: Boston, 1949
Medium blue cloth blocked dark blue on spine: “Sinews of Peace | [star] | CHURCHILL (reading down) and “H.M.Co.” at the foot (reading across). 8vo, 256 pages numbered (1)-256. The title page and verso are reset and the latter mentions the American publication date. Four preliminary leaves have been eliminated by deleting blank leaves and a half-title before the speeches. Dust jackets are printed black, blue and grey-blue on white paper. Published 1949 at $3.00 in a single impression of 3000 copies.
An altogether more satisfying production than the First Edition, printed on better paper and bound in finer cloth, this issue is never found spotted. In America it remains in good supply, but it commands a higher price elsewhere. A short press run means low prices won’t last, so this edition is best acquired soon.
Swedish: ATT VINNA FREDEN
Published by Skoglund: Stockholm 1949 in both card wrappers and blue cloth with the same dust jacket on either version. Later included in a four-volume set of war and postwar speeches. The Swedes were the only translators of the postwar speech volumes; the world hungered for peace and quiet, and few wanted to hear, or heed, Churchillian oratory.
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