A wartime press photograph from The Associated Press German Picture Service of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill during the Battle of Britain in 1940, a cigar in hand and wearing a steel helmet for protection during air raids, his trademark bowler on the table in the foreground
A wartime press photograph from The Associated Press German Picture Service of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill during the Battle of Britain in 1940, a cigar in hand and wearing a steel helmet for protection during air raids, his trademark bowler on the table in the foreground

A wartime press photograph from The Associated Press German Picture Service of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill during the Battle of Britain in 1940, a cigar in hand and wearing a steel helmet for protection during air raids, his trademark bowler on the table in the foreground

Berlin: Associated Press, 1940. Photograph. This wartime press photograph of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill (1874-1965) belonged to the Associated Press German Picture Service, an American news agency on German soil that symbolized the imperfect struggle to maintain free press operations in Nazi Germany. The photo measures 5.125 x 7.25 inches (13 x 18.5 cm). Condition is very good, the glossy photo surface clean and bright with no tears or folds and light scratches visible only under raking light. A typed German caption on the verso, translated, reads "Our picture shows the English Prime Minister Winston Churchill in a rest after the inspection of the military aircraft of the city of Ramsgate, which were thrown into ruins by the German aircraft". A pink ink stamp reads “The Associated Press | Berlin SW 68, Zimmerstrasse 68 | Telef. 17 0124-0125” along with four further lines in German which translate to “Publication may only be made with the permission and appointment of Associated Press A. P. Photos along with the delivery of voucher copies”. Churchill is seated, cigar in hand, his cane and trademark bowler hat on the foreground table, his head crowned instead with a steel helmet. Allegedly, the city's mayor forced him to discard the cigar, eliciting the response, “There goes another good one.” While we have seen this image attributed to 6 September, 1940, we know that on 28 August 1940 Churchill, concerned by the effect of intensified German air raids on the British population, made “a visit to the South-East coast defences at Dover and Ramsgate”. Churchill returned to Downing Street “much affected” by the plight of those whose homes were damaged or destroyed. He promptly directed the Chancellor of the Exchequer to compensate “those whose houses had been destroyed or badly damaged.” “The casualty figures from air bombardment for the week… were higher than any previous week: a total of 296 killed and 565 seriously injured." (Gilbert, Vol. VI, pp. 760-764) When Churchill became Prime Minister on 10 May, 1940, the war for Britain was not so much a struggle for victory as a struggle to survive. Churchill’s first six months in office saw, among other near-calamities, the Battle of the Atlantic, the fall of France, evacuation at Dunkirk, and the Battle of Britain. Hitler intended the Battle of Britain as the preparatory effort to gain air superiority prior to an invasion of England. The question was not yet settled when this photograph was taken. The Associated Press (AP) established AP’s German photo service as a subsidiary in 1931. After 1933, the Nazis quickly brought the AP German photo service under the supervision of the Propaganda Ministry. Compromises were inevitable, including re-writing of AP captions and firing of Jewish AP employees in Germany. Nonetheless, “The AP made the difficult decision to comply because it believed it was critical for AP to remain in Germany and gather news and photos during this crucial period”. Berlin-based American AP reporters and German photographers covered the first part of the Second World War from 1939-1941 from the German side of the battle lines. When the U.S. entered the war in December 1941, AP’s American staff members in Germany were arrested and interned for five months, while the AP German picture service was seized by the Nazi government and put under control of a Waffen SS photographer, Helmut Laux. Nonetheless, AP still wanted to make images of Nazi-controlled areas of Europe available to the American public, so with approval from the U.S. Government a deal was brokered. Through a third party in neutral Portugal and Switzerland Bureau Laux and AP exchanged photos. Of course the captions for AP images that appeared in German publication were rewritten by Nazi propagandists, but the German photos obtained by AP in exchange helped AP to cover the war as comprehensively as possible and thereby give the U.S. public “a much fuller picture of the war than could have been obtained otherwise”. (AP). Item #004850

Price: $175.00

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