An original wartime press photograph of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill addressing U.S. Naval and Army cadets at Harvard University on 6 September 1943 after receiving an honorary degree and delivering a speech
An original wartime press photograph of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill addressing U.S. Naval and Army cadets at Harvard University on 6 September 1943 after receiving an honorary degree and delivering a speech

An original wartime press photograph of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill addressing U.S. Naval and Army cadets at Harvard University on 6 September 1943 after receiving an honorary degree and delivering a speech

Stockholm: Britiska Legationen, 6 September 1943. Photograph. This original wartime press photograph captures Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill addressing U.S. Navy and Army cadets at Harvard University on 6 September 1943 after receiving an honorary degree and delivering a speech. The gelatin silver print is on heavy glossy photo paper and measures 9 x 7.25 in (22.86 x 18.415 cm). Condition is very good, the image clean, minor wear mostly confined to the extremities. Affixed to the verso is an original typed slip featuring numerical designation for the photo, title, and explanatory caption. The verso also bears some pencil and ink notation and the ink-stamp of "Britiska Legationen" of "Stockholm" who ostensibly held the copyright.

Churchill was present at Harvard that day to receive an honorary degree but with the substantive task of delivering an important speech about Anglo-American cooperation, both of which occurred before he addressed the cadets. Following the first Quebec Conference in August 1943, Churchill spent from 1 to 5 September in Washington D.C. with Roosevelt, where the issues at hand included invasion of the Italian peninsula, which began while Churchill was a White House guest. At 10:00 PM on the evening of 5 September, Churchill left Washington by train for Boston and began to compose his speech, working until 2:30 AM, reaching Boston on the morning of 6 September.

Churchill’s speech struck a familiar tone, seeking to link the greatness of the United States in the world with the necessity of America "being involved in its problems, convulsed by its agonies and inspired by its causes." As ever, Churchill sought to limn, leverage, and perpetuate Anglo-American commonality, stressing the need for close Anglo-American partnership, both during and after the war: "... nothing will work soundly or for long without the united effort of the British and American Peoples... I therefore preach continually the doctrine of the fraternal association of our two peoples, not for any purpose of gaining invidious material advantages... but for the sake of service to mankind and for the honour that comes to those who faithfully serve great causes." Characteristically, Churchill leavened the inevitable gravity of message and circumstances with humor, pleasing the audience with a notional gaffe: "…the infernal combustion engine - I mean the internal combustion engine". What sounded like a slip had actually been rehearsed on the train from Washington. In his delivery, Churchill was said to be "as calm and firm as a rock, and he made the most of every little point."

Despite hasty preparation, this was no casual speech or cavalier moment. This seriousness is reflected in his comments to the Cadets, which this photograph captures him delivering. Following his lengthier speech, in his briefer remarks to the Army and Navy cadets, recorded by Harvard in a contemporary publication, Churchill was typically cheering and inspirational, but there were no jokes and he was also bluntly practical; He explicitly and soberly acknowledged “that the heaviest sacrifices in blood and life” still “lie before the armed forces of Britain and America” and praised the role of their training in enabling them to “get their tasks done with incomparably less loss of life.”

Testifying to the importance Churchill placed on his comments at Harvard, he asked for "a tabular report of the reactions of all important American newspapers to my Harvard statement". Even as Allied troops began what would prove a long, grim fight to liberate Italy, The New York Times opined that Churchill's speech "opened up a vast and hopeful field of discussion. Down the grim corridors of war light begins to show." Churchill was back in Washington by 8:00 AM on the morning of 7 September, remaining with Roosevelt until his departure for the return journey to England on 12 September. (Gilbert, Vol. VI, pp.489-502). Item #005654

Price: $130.00

See all items in Winston Churchill