The Eve of Action "Greatest Allied Operation" in the Spring: A Verbatim Report of Mr. Churchill's Speech Delivered on 22nd Feb., 1944 to the British House of Commons. Winston S. Churchill.
The Eve of Action "Greatest Allied Operation" in the Spring: A Verbatim Report of Mr. Churchill's Speech Delivered on 22nd Feb., 1944 to the British House of Commons
The Eve of Action "Greatest Allied Operation" in the Spring: A Verbatim Report of Mr. Churchill's Speech Delivered on 22nd Feb., 1944 to the British House of Commons
The Eve of Action "Greatest Allied Operation" in the Spring: A Verbatim Report of Mr. Churchill's Speech Delivered on 22nd Feb., 1944 to the British House of Commons
The Eve of Action "Greatest Allied Operation" in the Spring: A Verbatim Report of Mr. Churchill's Speech Delivered on 22nd Feb., 1944 to the British House of Commons

The Eve of Action "Greatest Allied Operation" in the Spring: A Verbatim Report of Mr. Churchill's Speech Delivered on 22nd Feb., 1944 to the British House of Commons

Belfast: Printed by W. and G. Baird, Ltd. for The Belfast Telegraph, 1944. Belfast Telegraph Edition, only printing. Wraps. This is the only printing of the Belfast Telegraph edition of Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill's 22 February 1944 speech to Parliament. This pamphlet is not only quite scarce, but also unusually striking and substantial for a wartime pamphlet, bound in deep red, wire-stitched wraps, measuring 9.625 x 7.375 inches (24.45 x 18.73 cm) and 19 pages in length. The front cover features both a title ("THE EVE OF ACTION") and subtitle "Greatest Allied Operation in the Spring". Printed in the center of the cover in five lines is: "A VERBATIM REPORT OF MR. CHURCHILL'S SPEECH DELIVERED ON 22nd FEB., 1944, TO THE BRITISH HOUSE OF COMMONS". At the foot of the cover printed in four lines in italics is an excerpt from the speech: "This is no time for sorrow or rejoicing. It is a time for preparation, effort and resolve... The task is heavy, the toll is long and the trials will be severe." The pamphlet opens with a brief and interesting contextual introduction terminating in a paginated division of the speech into seven chapter headings "In order to make reference easier..." A full-page photo of Churchill in suit and pith helmet serves as frontispiece, preceding the full text of the speech, which fills pages 3-19. The image of Churchill is captioned with Lord Cromer's quote about "Democracy, in spite of all its uncertainty and unreliability" being capable of rising to the occasion and placing "at the helm the man most fitted to steer the ship of State." The speech text is printed not only with the aforementioned chapter divisions, but also subject headings every few paragraphs. Condition of the pamphlet approaches very good given the age and inherent fragility. The crimson wraps are complete and attached, both original binding staples showing surface corrosion but nonetheless firm. We note some triangular creasing at the lower front corner, lesser creasing at the upper front corner and very light overall scuffing and soiling. The color remains vivid except for an irregular .375 inch (.95 cm) vertical strip on the rear cover beside the spine. The contents remain quite respectable, with no previous owner marks, a small spot of color bleed on the first page from the adjacent front cover, and modest spotting primarily confined to the page edges with occasional intrusion into the blank inner margins. Churchill’s speech of 22 February 1944 was “a survey of the war for the House of Commons, his first major speech on the war in five months… Churchill spoke for nearly an hour and twenty minutes…” (Gilbert, VII, p.689) Just three and a half months after this speech, the largest amphibious assault in history would see the Allies land at Normandy. There was much discussion of Anglo-American air offensives and their importance as “the foundation upon which our plans for overseas invasion stand.” Churchill noted “…air power was the weapon which both the marauding States selected as their main tool of conquest… there is a strange, stern justice in the long swing of events.” Churchill spoke of the British Government’s decision to support Tito in Yugoslavia, of the battle in Italy, and of border concessions in Poland to appease the Soviets. The war was still far from over, but it was clear that the desperate and existential threats of the early war years had given way to a different sort of pressure – that of maintaining effort and unity with victory on the horizon. To the point, it is interesting to note that the phrase “unconditional surrender” had been criticized for harsh overtones, prompting Churchill to explain that “Unconditional surrender means that the victors have a free hand. It does not mean that they are entitled to behave in a barbarous manner, nor that they wish to blot out Germany from among the nations of Europe. If we are bound, we are bound by our own consciences to civilisation. We are not to be bound to the Germans as a result of a bargain struck.” Bibliographic reference: Cohen A191.2, Woods A98. Item #005677

Price: $400.00

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