An original press photo portrait of Sir Winston S. Churchill behind a microphone on the day of his 16 October 1938 address to the American People excoriating the Munich Agreement
An original press photo portrait of Sir Winston S. Churchill behind a microphone on the day of his 16 October 1938 address to the American People excoriating the Munich Agreement

An original press photo portrait of Sir Winston S. Churchill behind a microphone on the day of his 16 October 1938 address to the American People excoriating the Munich Agreement

London: Copyright Wide World Photos, 16 October 1938. Photograph. This original press photo captures Winston Churchill on 16 October 1938 behind a microphone on the day of his 16 October 1938 address to the American People excoriating the Munich Agreement. The gelatin silver print on glossy photo paper measures 7.75 x 9.5 in (19.7 x 24.5 cm). Condition is good plus. The paper is crisp and clean, with some wear along the edges, some developing flaws which are most apparent in Churchill’s face, some creasing to the corners, and light scuffing visible only under raking light. The image is crisp and bright with high contrast. This press photo once belonged to The Daily Telegraph’s working archive. The verso bears the copyright stamp of “Wide World Photos”, a received stamp of The Daily Telegraph dated 17 OCT 1938, and a typed caption. The caption is titled “WINSTON CHURCHILL’s BROADCAST TO THE UNITED STATES” and reads, “To-night (Sunday) Mr Winston Churchill is to broadcast to America from London. Great interest is attached to this speech by political circles throughout the world. Wide World Photo shows: An exclusive photograph of Mr Winston Churchill, photographed at his home at Westerham, Kent, on Friday evening.” A date of “16/10/38” is printed. Intriguingly, the printed caption statement terminates “THIS PHOTOGRAPH IF INTRODUCED MUST NOT CARRY THE TEXT THAT IT WAS TAKEN DURING MR CHURCHILL’S BROADCAST TO AMERICA.” On 30 September 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich to announce that he had ceded Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland to Hitler in return for “peace in our time.” After receiving the news, Churchill paused with a friend outside of a restaurant from which echoed the sounds of laughter. Churchill “stopped in the doorway, watching impassively.” Turning away, “he muttered ‘those poor people! They little know what they will have to face.’” (Gilbert, Vol. V, p.990) Churchill had spent half a decade opposing both his party and prevailing public sentiment with his warnings about Nazi Germany. “He was sixty-three years old, and the strain of his five-year campaign… had begun to take its toll.” (Gilbert, Vol. V, p.961) Of the time, Churchill’s biographer, Martin Gilbert, wrote: “…the events of September 1938 filled him with a deep despondency…” (Gilbert, Vol. V, p.1007) On 16 October 1938, NBC broadcast an address by Churchill directly to the American people. It may seem odd that Churchill – merely a Member of Parliament and representative of neither his Party nor his Government – would address the people of the United States. The fact is that Churchill had a voice and audience independent of his Government. Moreover, “As a result of the Munich debate, relations between Churchill and Chamberlain had worsened considerably.” (Gilbert, Vol. V, p.1008) By this time, it was almost as if Churchill was Leader of the Opposition, despite sharing the party of the sitting Prime Minister. Churchill now used his personal platform to appeal directly to the American people with a strikingly blunt assault on the moral and strategic infirmity of the Munich agreement and a clarion call for preparedness. Churchill’s speech was a boldly unequivocal statement of the situation. Churchill frontally assaulted both the moral and strategic infirmity of the Munich agreement. “All the world wishes for peace and security. Have we gained it by the sacrifice of the Czechoslovak Republic… the model democratic State of Central Europe… has been deserted, destroyed, and devoured… Is this the end, or is there more to come?… Can peace, goodwill and confidence be built upon submission to wrong-doing backed by force?” Less than a year later, in September 1939, Churchill returned to the Admiralty. He replaced Chamberlain as Prime Minister in May 1940. America did not formally enter the war until December 1941, but Churchill’s relationship with President Franklin D. Roosevelt and America, with its vital material support, helped Britain to survive the interval. Item #005261

Price: $200.00

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