London: George Newnes, Ltd., 1931. First edition. Periodical. This May, 1931 of The Strand Magazine (Vol. LXXXI, No. 485) contains the first appearance of Winston Churchill’s essay “Mass Effects in Modern Life”, published prior to its inclusion in Thoughts and Adventures (1932). Here Churchill examines the massive societal shift that occurred in the interwar period. Most interesting to Churchill are the ways in which systems previously controlled by a few men are now splintered into the masses. He writes, “Are not our affairs increasingly being settled by mass processes? Are not modern conditions hostile to the development of outstanding personalities, and to their influence upon events.” This observation, of course, is deeply ironic given the impending rise of Hitler and the essential role Churchill himself would play in the Second World War. There is also a retrospection and perhaps a lingering undertone of bitterness about the First World War.
During the First World War, Churchill remarkably served both in the Cabinet and on the front, nearly losing his political life in the former and his corporeal life in the latter. Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty from 1911 until 1915, but was scapegoated for the Dardanelles tragedy and the slaughter at Gallipoli and forced to resign. By the war's end, he was exonerated and rejoined the Government, initially as Minister of Munitions.
Here Churchill writes, “Now that it is over we look back, and with minute and searching care seek to find its criminals and its heroes… Facts without number, opinions in libraries, clouds of contemporary witnesses, methods of assembling and analyzing evidence never before possessed or used among men, are at our disposal.” Despite his exoneration, the stigma of the Dardanelles lingered and the political exile and near-ruin of his political career presaged his experience in the “wilderness years” of the 1930s in which he found himself at the time of this article’s writing.
This article fills pages 274-85 and is illustrated with drawings. Also featured in this issue is the first appearance of P.G. Wodehouse’s short story “Fate” later included in his 1936 collection Young Men in Spats. This magazine is in very good minus condition, particularly considering the inherent fragility of the format. The covers, which prominently feature Churchill’s name in a red box on the front, are bright, complete, and firmly attached, with only minor wear and soiling and some penciled scribbles on the lower front cover. The spine is complete and fully legible with some soiling overall and tattering at the head and foot. There is a forward lean to the binding. The contents are complete, clean, and bright with no markings or spotting. This article was subsequently included in Thoughts and Adventures at pages 255-66.
Reference: Cohen C350, Woods C166. Item #005037