New York: The British Library of Information, 1942. First English-language edition, only printing. Pamphlet. This is a beautifully fine copy of the first English-language edition, only printing of Churchill's May 10, 1942 broadcast address, made on the second anniversary of his becoming wartime Prime Minister. Churchill spoke that night to the British people live from the Cabinet War Room. It was six days later, on a tour of bomber stations, army units, and armaments factories, that Churchill most aptly summed up the overall theme of his broadcast address when he told a Leeds crowd: "We have reached a period in the war when it would be premature to say that we have topped the ridge, but now we see the ridge ahead.”
Churchill’s 10 May broadcast address looks both back to darker times earlier in the war, and to present challenges that herald a better future. By the end of his second year as Prime Minister, the imminent threat to Britain had eased sufficiently that Churchill faced political divisions in the wartime coalition and growing criticism of his war leadership. Addressing this criticism, he had drafted a passage which began, “Everyone feels safer now, and in consequence the weaker brethren become more vocal…”, seeking to diminish his critics and stave off their efforts to reduce his “power of direction and initiative.” Wisely, Churchill deleted this passage at the last moment.
Perhaps as a gentler and more deft assertion of his leadership, Churchill recalled the early days of the war when France had fallen and Britain was alone: “It fell to me in those days to express the sentiments and resolves of the British nation in that supreme crisis of its life… For a whole year after the fall of France we stood alone…” He spoke of his difficult and uncomfortable ally, Russia, complimenting Russia for her tenacity, but attributing her victory to the Russian winter. He spoke against gas warfare, promising that Britain would be prepared to retaliate massively in kind against Germany should Germany resort to poison gas – echoing the deterrence through threat of massive retaliation strategy that would characterize the coming Cold War. He also spoke of Japan, and the promise of combined British and American sea power. Churchill concluded with a bracingly Churchillian attaboy: “…tonight I give you a message of good cheer. You deserve it, and the facts endorse it. But be it good cheer or be it bad cheer will make no difference to us; we shall drive on to the end, and do our duty, win or die…”
This pamphlet is one in a series of Churchill's speeches printed by the British Library of Information in New York. As do most in the series, this example bears a cover design featuring 3 vertical rules along the right side and a royal arms device at the top right. 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)
This twelve-page, wire-stitched pamphlet measures 9 inches tall x 6 inches wide. We find this particular BLOI pamphlet to be scarce, particularly in such condition, which is genuinely fine. The pamphlet remains crisp, clean, and complete. We find no tears, no losses, no previous ownership marks, and virtually no wear or soiling. Both binding staples remain firmly intact and show no corrosion. We note only mild age-toning. The pamphlet is protected in a removable, clear mylar sleeve.
Reference: Cohen A169.2, Woods A88/1. Item #005322