New York: The British Library of Information, 1940. First edition, only printing. Pamphlet. This is the first edition, only printing of Churchill's December 23, 1940 address to the Italian People. The end of 1940 found Britain having escaped the imminent threat of invasion, but nonetheless beleaguered and pinning many hopes on the United States, which was still months away from approving the Lend Lease Act and nearly a year from formally entering the war. "With his thoughts focused on the many dangers in the Aegean and Mediterranean, Churchill broadcast on the evening of December 23 to the Italian People." (Gilbert, Volume VI, p.960).
Churchill spoke from the Central War Room, assuring the Italian People of Britain's historic friendship with Italy and placing the blame for the conflict on Mussolini. "That he is a great man I do not deny, but that after eighteen years of unbridled power he has led your country to the horrid verge of ruin can be denied by none." Churchill read his exchange of letters with Mussolini from the previous May when he had appealed to the Italian leader not to pit Britain and Italy against one another. "Any one can see who it was that wanted peace and who it was that meant to have war." Churchill cast Mussolini as having sided with the Nazis to the detriment of his own people and concluded: "One man, and one man only, has led you; and there I leave this unfolding story until the day comes - as come it will - when the Italian nation will once more take a hand in shaping its own fortunes."
This pamphlet is one in a series of Churchill's speeches printed by the British Library of Information in New York. The British Library of Information published twenty-nine editions of statements, speeches, and broadcast addresses by Prime Minister Winston Churchill, beginning with his first speech as Prime Minister of May 13, 1940 and ending with the broadcast address of November 29, 1942. These editions were often issued within two or three days of delivery and "reveal the political determination of the British government to bring the inspiration and steadfastness of the Prime Minister and the British nation to an American nation not yet engaged in the war. Indeed, twenty-two of the BLOI speech pamphlets were published before Pearl Harbor." (Cohen, Volume I, p.513, A120)
As do most in the series, this edition bears a cover design featuring three vertical rules along the right side and a coat of arms at the top right. The eight page, wire-stitched pamphlet in self-wraps measures nine by six inches. Condition is near-fine. The paper is bright, clean, and crisp showing virtually no wear. The only flaw is a small .25 inch roughly circular blemish at the upper right edge of the front cover. The pamphlet is protected in a removable, archival mylar sleeve.
Reference: Cohen A137.1, Woods A63. Item #000462