10 Downing Street, London: 1943. This wartime letter is a facsimile printing of a handwritten letter by Clementine Churchill, printed on both sides of a piece of 10 Downing Street stationery. The date and name were added in ink by an unknown, likely secretarial, hand. The letter reads in full, “January 1943 | Dear Joyce. I want, from my heart, to | thank you all for the gift you | have sent me for my Red Cross | ‘Aid to Russia’ fund. | From all over the country | similar donations are reaching | me. I feel they are particularly | significant because they show | the continued & intense concern | of the citizens of Great Britain | for the glorious struggle for | freedom of the Russian people, & | for the sufferings so silently & | unflinchingly borne by them for | their national life & ideals. | I send you my heartfelt | thanks for your help. | Yours Sincerely | Clementine S. Churchill”. Condition is very good with some light browning to the wartime paper, which bears the original fold lines from posting.
Lady Clementine Spencer-Churchill nee Hozier (1885-1977) married Winston Churchill in 1908 and, until his death in 1965, “Marriage was her vocation”. (The Times, 13 December 1977). She supplied balance to Churchill at two levels: her more equable nature ensured that she moderated the depth of his depressions, and her good judgment helped to ward off political mistakes." (ODNB) Their marriage appears to have been a truly effective and intimate partnership with her serving “as confidant, advisor and remonstrator.”
Of course, marriage to Winston meant involvement in the affairs of the nation and the world. No small part of Clementine’s public life was spent in humanitarian causes. During the Second World War, she was already president of the YWCA Wartime Fund when Germany invaded Russia in June 1941. Clementine became chair of the Red Cross Aid to Russia Fund and undertook a massive fund-raising effort. The Fund raised nearly £8,000,000 and provided clothing, blankets, medical supplies and other items to the Soviet Red Cross. “To amass such support from a country which was itself struggling with wartime shortages was a considerable achievement.” (winstonchurchill.org)
Winston told Stalin that the money Clementine and her Fund collected, "is a love offering not only of the rich but mainly of the pennies of the poor who have been proud to make their small weekly contributions.” Churchill added “In the friendship of the masses of our peoples, in the comprehension of their governments and in the mutual respect of their armies the future of the world resides." (Gilbert, Vol. VII, p.1267)
At the close of the Second World War, Clementine made a tour of Soviet hospitals which had been helped by her British Red Cross Aid to Russia Fund. For five weeks, from late March to early May 1945, Clementine journeyed throughout the Soviet Union. Clementine was still in Russia on V-E Day; her husband “wrote a speech for her to deliver via broadcast to the Russian people in celebration of the Allied victory: “It is my firm belief that on the friendship and understanding between the British and Russian peoples depends the future of mankind.”" (Gilbert, Vol. VII, p. 1350) Her efforts had been significant and her sentiments were laudably hopeful, but charity and sentiment were not enough to overcome fundamentally different British and Russian conceptions of the nature of postwar rights and freedoms and the intractable conflicts that resulted. Item #004997