London: His Majesty's Stationery Office (H.M.S.O.), 1914. First edition, only printing. Pamphlet. This is the first edition, only printing pamphlet publication of Churchill's 10 March 1914 statement to Parliament as First Lord of the Admiralty explaining the navy estimates of 1914-1915. The 17-page pamphlet is bound in paper wraps and measures 12.75 x 8.25 inches (32.39 x 20.96 cm). The pamphlet is bound in a blue card binding with a printed paper label on the front cover. Condition is very good, fully intact with no loss, tears, or previous ownership marks. We note only light soiling to the original wraps and a faint tide mark affecting the fore and upper edges to a depth of no greater than .25 inch (.64 cm).
Churchill’s explanatory statement fills page 3, terminating in his printed signature “WINSTON S. CHURCHILL” and “Admiralty, 10th March 1914.” The balance of the Statement provides additional numerical and narrative detail for the 1914-1915 Navy Estimates. This statement was submitted by Churchill just four and a half months before the First World War and reflects both an international naval arms race and aggressive efforts under Churchill’s Admiralty leadership to put Britain’s Navy on a war footing.
Churchill’s 10 March 1914 statement herein explains increased estimated expenditures, allocated by Churchill in five major categories, including “(1)…a larger number of Officers and Men… (2)… Fuel and Fuel Services… (3)… development of the Air Service… (4)… increased earnings by contractors…” and, the largest single increased expenditure, (5)… for Guns, Torpedoes and Ammunition…” Churchill’s detailed statement candidly acknowledges the naval arms race: “Provision has been made for the number of Officers and Men to be increased during the year by 5,000 to man the ships now under construction, and to enable the new organisation of the Fleet to be completed step by step with the increasing establishments of foreign Powers…”
Churchill’s attention to “the needs of the Air Service” (which are discussed in further detail at pages 11-12) is also of note. As first Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill “sought out the small band of adventurous officers who were the pioneers of naval aviation” and “In 1912 he founded the Royal Naval Air Service – a precursor of the Royal Flying Corps and, later, the Royal Air Force… Because of his efforts, England became the first country to equip a plane with a machine gun and the first to launch an airborne torpedo.” (Manchester, The Last Lion, Vol. I, p.444)
Churchill understood and embraced the military potential of air power and, after the First World War, Churchill would become Secretary of State for Air. This vision of air power as integral to an effective future military force was prescient; decades later in a different world war, Prime Minister Winston Churchill would famously praise British pilots for saving Britain from Nazi invasion: “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” Churchill would play a critical, controversial, and varied role in the impending First World War. First Lord of the Admiralty from 1911 until 1915, after the Dardanelles disaster, Churchill was scapegoated and forced to resign – fourteen months after he submitted this Navy Estimates statement to Parliament. He spent political exile as a lieutenant colonel of a battalion in the trenches. Before war's end, Churchill was exonerated and rejoined the Government, foreshadowing the political isolation and restoration he would experience nearly two decades later leading up to the Second World War.
Just as the Admiralty saw the near-destruction of Churchill’s career and reputation in the First World War, it would eventually see his redemption in the Second World War; after his “wilderness years” of the 1930s, it was to the Admiralty that Churchill first returned to the Government after Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. He ascended to his wartime premiership from the Admiralty eight months later.
Reference: Cohen A42. Item #004919