ONWARDS TO VICTORY
(Cohen A194) (Woods A101)
The fourth war speech volume takes a decidedly more upbeat tone than its predecessor as the fortunes of war turn in favor of the Allies and Churchill begins to envision victory. The Casablanca meeting and “unconditional surrender” policy, which Roosevelt enunciated and Churchill supported despite private misgivings; the end of Mussolini; the Russian victory at Stalingrad and the Red Army’s vast new offensive along the thousand-mile front; and the great air offensive against the German homeland all gave much to rejoice over. In the East, the war against Japan was progressing, with New Guinea and the Solomons on the way to liberation; General Wavell, sacked by Churchill from the North Africa command, was leading his forces from India into Burma. There was also the final rout of Rommel in North Africa, and Onwards to Victory contains that priceless exchange between Churchill and General Alexander (pages 24-25, first edition):
Churchill (August 1942): “1. Your prime and main duty will be to take or destroy at the earliest opportunity the German-Italian army commanded by Field Marshal Rommel, together with all its supplies and establishments in Egypt and Libya. 2. You will discharge or cause to be discharged, such other duties as Page 1 of 14 Onwards to Victory pertain to your Command without prejudice to the task described in paragraph 1, which must be considered paramount in His Majesty’s interests.”
Alexander (September 1943): “Sir, The Orders you gave me on August 15, 1942, have been fulfilled. His Majesty’s enemies, together with their impedimenta, have been completely eliminated from Egypt, Cyrenaica, Libya and Tripolitania. I now await your further instructions.”
For this writer, the greatest speech in Onwards to Victory is that clarion call for Anglo-American brotherhood issued by Churchill at Harvard on September 6th, 1943: “Twice in my lifetime the long arm of destiny has reached across the oceans and involved the entire life and manhood of the United States in a deadly struggle….To the youth of America, as to the youth of all the Britains, I say ‘You cannot stop.’ There is no halting-place at this point. We have now reached a stage in the journey where there can be no pause. We must go on. It must be world anarchy or world order….All these are great possibilities, and I say: ‘Let us go into this together. Let us have another Boston Tea Party about it’….If we are together nothing is impossible. If we are divided all will fail.” How remarkable it is today, with all the dragons slain, that his words remain as sound a guide as ever.
This book follows the layout of previous speech volumes, with a chronology of events inserted periodically to keep the speeches, broadcasts, and messages in context.
-Richard M. Langworth
From the Reviews
“Assuming supreme responsibility four years ago when so little seemed left, how could Churchill save so much? What are the driving motives behind his virile, straightforward and never boastful speeches?
“Above all, Churchill is the heir to that great tradition, which began with Burke, of the British Empire, with its far-flung responsibilities. Only by its world bases would the empire stop world-conquering tyrants, and in peace protect that world by exercise of laws of progress and moderation. Churchill holds that the empire’s disintegration would open the floodgates to disaster as immeasurable as the dissolution of our Union would have caused in North America. The strategy of peace does not demand a breakingdown, but an even wider and more flexible integration.
“Churchill became the leader in the crisis without indulging in wishful thinking or holding out alluring promises. From the front bench of the House he called England back to her early inspiration, to human liberty and duty. He spoke to Englishmen as to a free and mature people, not enchanting them with brave new worlds, but filling their hearts with a sense of stern responsibility and historical greatness. In the common sense, the humanity, and the fortitude of his words lives the tradition which made the House of Commons the example of civil liberty everywhere.”
-Hans Kohn, The New York Times Book Review, 23 July 1944
Uniformly bound with the earlier Cassell war speech volumes, this one marks the turning of what Churchill called the “Hinge of Fate” and the bright prospects of final victory.
Like earlier speech volumes, Onwards to Victory is easy to find in scruffy condition, but much scarcer as a fine first in a jacket. Paper stock in Britain was of even poorer quality by 1944, and most copies spot easily, especially on the page edges.
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Cohen A194.1 / ICS A101a
Publisher: Cassell and Company Ltd., London, 1944
Light blue cloth blocked gilt with title, author’s name (with titles C.H., M.P.) and CASSELL on spine. 8vo, 288 pages numbered (i) -x and 1-278, with frontispiece (Winston, Mary and Clementine, June 1943) and five internal photographs on two coated paper leaves inserted between pages 118-19 and 182-83. Published 29 June 1944 at 12s. 6d. ($2.50).
Impressions and Quantities
Three impressions (incorrectly termed “Editions” in the volumes): 1944, 1945, 1946, according to the books themselves. Woods records four impressions through 1947, 15,000 of the first and 12,500 reprints; but his dates are not confirmed by the volumes.
Identifying first editions: title page verso contains the line, “First Published .. 1944” with no reprints indicated, and the code “F.544” (printed in May).
Publisher’s presentation copies were bound in black pebble grain morocco.
Jackets are printed black and orange fading into dark blue on white paper. True first impression jackets advertise Into Battle (“Tenth Edition”), The Unrelenting Struggle and The End of the Beginning on the front flap; the BBC (THE VOICE OF BRITAIN) on the back flap, and notes about this volume on the back face. The second impression jacket advertises the “Eleventh Edition” of Into Battle.
Cohen A194.2 / ICS A101b
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1944
Red cloth blocked gilt and black. Title and author’s name separated by thick rule blocked gilt on black inside thin gilt frame on top board and spine. Also on spine are wavy lines top and bottom and publisher’s name, all gilt. 8vo, 370 pages numbered (i) -(xii) and (1)-(358). Published 13 July 1944 at $3.50.
Impressions and Quantities
One impression of 9000 copies.
Jackets are printed black and red on white stock with a silhouetted photograph of Churchill walking in a topcoat. All jackets contain a book blurb on the front and back flap and praise of the author on the back face.
Uniformly bound with the earlier Little Brown war speeches, this edition was reset but the contents were not altered; there is no frontispiece or internal illustrations.
Increasingly uncommon, the American Edition commands premium prices in fine jacketed condition.
Cohen A194.3 / ICS A101c
Publisher: McClelland and Stewart Ltd., Toronto, 1944
An offprint from the Little, Brown American Edition, the Canadian Issue differs only in detail: the McClelland and Stewart name in place of Little, Brown on the spine and title page, no price on the jacket flap, and McCLELLAND | and STEWART printed black on a white panel on the jacket spine. One impression was published.
Cohen A194.4 / ICS A101d
Publisher: Cassell and Company Ltd., Melbourne, 1944
Bound in light blue cloth blocked navy on spine with more words than the English Edition: title, and publisher’s name plus “Speeches | by the | Right Hon. WINSTON S. | CHURCHILL, [comma but no titles; these were added later—see “Variants”]. Although wholly set and printed in Australia by Wilke & Co. of Melbourne, it follows the pagination of the English Edition and contains the same frontispiece and internal photographs. However, the frontispiece appears facing the half title, the photograph facing the first free endpaper; and the internal illustrations are between pages 118-19 and 134-35. Published at A 12s. 6d.
Again this volume is produced in the image of the English; dust jacket colours are similar but a bit lighter and the flaps advertise four non-Churchill books. There was a single impression; its title page verso contains the line “First Australian Edition, 1944”. (Do not be misled by later impressions listed on dust jackets of later Australian titles; these jackets were offprinted or copied from British jackets.)
The binding described above also comes in medium green and dark blue cloth, both blocked black. A second state binding (or perhaps a binding by other binders) do contain the titles “C.H., M.P.” which were omitted from the first Page 7 of 14 ONWARDS TO VICTORY bindings. These have been noted in the standard light blue cloth, as well as medium green, brick red and orange.
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