An original wartime press photograph of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill donating to the Air Raid Distress Fund on 19 August 1941, the day after his return to London from his first wartime conference with President Franklin Roosevelt, during which the two men drafted and signed the Atlantic Charter
An original wartime press photograph of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill donating to the Air Raid Distress Fund on 19 August 1941, the day after his return to London from his first wartime conference with President Franklin Roosevelt, during which the two men drafted and signed the Atlantic Charter

An original wartime press photograph of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill donating to the Air Raid Distress Fund on 19 August 1941, the day after his return to London from his first wartime conference with President Franklin Roosevelt, during which the two men drafted and signed the Atlantic Charter

London: Associated Press Photo, 19 August 1941. Photograph. This original press photograph captures Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill on 19 August 1941 donating to the Air Raid Distress Fund as the charity representative pins a flag to his lapel. Churchill had just returned from his first wartime conference with President Franklin Roosevelt, during which they drafted and signed the Atlantic Charter. This is an original copy of a charming image used by Sir Martin Gilbert in his Official Biography of Churchill (Vol. VI, following p.988). The gelatin silver print on heavy matte photo paper measures 9.5 x 7.5 in (24.1 x 19 x cm). Condition is very good. The paper is crisp, clean, and free of scratches with only very minor edge wear, slightly bumped corners, and a crease to the lower left corner. The verso bears the copyright stamp of “Associated Press Photo” (covered by the caption slip), a received stamp dated “19 AUG 1941”, and a typed caption. The typed caption is titled “CHURCHILL ARRIVES AT DOWNING STREET AND BUYS A FLAG”. The caption reads “MR. WINSTON CHURCHILL, JUST ARRIVED AT DOWNING STREET AFTER HIS HISTORIC MEETING WITH PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT, SEEN BUYING A FLAG FOR THE LORD MAYOR’S AIR RAID DISTRESS FUND THIS MORNING, AUGUST 19, BEHIND IS A P.C., GIVING THE SALUTE.” Depending on perspective, this image can be seen either as a sharp contrast to the greater events that were consuming Churchill’s attention or a poignantly grounding reminder of the war’s human scale and human costs. In August 1941, British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill braved the Battle of the Atlantic to voyage by warship to Placentia Bay, Newfoundland, where he secretly met with U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. From the 9th to the 12th they conferred, setting constructive goals for the post-war world, even as the struggle against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan was still very much undecided and the U.S. had yet to formally enter the war. The eight principles to which they agreed became known as the Atlantic Charter. “That it had little legal validity did not detract from its value… Coming from the two great democratic leaders of the day… the Atlantic Charter created a profound impression on the embattled Allies. It came as a message of hope to the occupied countries, and it held out the promise of a world organization based on the enduring verities of international morality.” (United Nations) In addition to encapsulating the Allies’ postwar aspirations and catalyzing formation of the United Nations, the Atlantic Charter testified to the remarkable personal relationship between FDR and Churchill. Churchill arrived back in London on the 18th after a brief stop in Iceland. On 19 August, the day this photograph was taken, Churchill lunched with the King who recorded that “W. was very taken by [Roosevelt].” Though the Prime Minister was optimistic about the effects of his talk with the President, he was frustrated by the lack of immediate aid. Even after Newfoundland, to Churchill’s frustration, America had still “made no commitments and was no nearer to war than before the ship board meeting.” (Gilbert, VI, p.1176) Late in the night on the same day that this image was captured, Churchill’s private secretary, Jock Colville, found his Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street “nodding his head gloomily” (at the prospect that Germany might destroy Russia before the U.S. entered the war) and saying that the situation was “very grim”. (Gilbert, Vol. VI, p. 1171) Not until December 1941 did the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor prompt U.S. entry into the war, ending Britain’s solitary stand. Churchill’s words famously steadied his people. But Churchill’s tangible symbols of support, including his physical presence in his nation’s bomb-damaged neighborhoods, docks, and factories, as well as moments like the purchase of this Air Raid Distress Fund flag, were also vital to the courage and resolve he helped inspire in his countrymen. Item #005255

Price: $300.00

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