India (Government Policy): Speech by the Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Churchill, O.M., C.H., M.P. in the House of Commons, Thursday, 6th March, 1947. Winston S. Churchill.
India (Government Policy): Speech by the Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Churchill, O.M., C.H., M.P. in the House of Commons, Thursday, 6th March, 1947
India (Government Policy): Speech by the Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Churchill, O.M., C.H., M.P. in the House of Commons, Thursday, 6th March, 1947
India (Government Policy): Speech by the Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Churchill, O.M., C.H., M.P. in the House of Commons, Thursday, 6th March, 1947
India (Government Policy): Speech by the Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Churchill, O.M., C.H., M.P. in the House of Commons, Thursday, 6th March, 1947

India (Government Policy): Speech by the Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Churchill, O.M., C.H., M.P. in the House of Commons, Thursday, 6th March, 1947

London: His Majesty's Stationary Office (H.M.S.O.), 1947. First edition, only printing. Wraps. In February 1947, Prime Minister Clement Attlee’s Labour Government announced that British India would be granted full self-government by June 1948, ultimately resulting in both Indian independence and partition into the states of India and Pakistan. Here is the first edition, only printing of Winston Churchill’s 6 March 1947 House of Commons speech opposing Attlee’s proposal. This edition, printed by His Majesty’s Stationery Office, is unknown to and unrecorded by Churchill’s bibliographers. This is the only copy we have offered. The speech is a wire-stitched pamphlet in self-wraps, eight pages in length. Condition approaches very good given the perishability of the format. The pamphlet is complete with no loss or tears and both original binding staples firmly intact, despite some corrosion, with minor rust stains to the adjacent paper. The pamphlet shows a horizontal center crease, as well as a lower right corner crease, upper left corner crease, and a hint of spotting to the bottom right corner. The pamphlet is nonetheless clean, with no previous ownership marks and no appreciable soiling, and is now protected within a removable, clear, archival sleeve. Indian independence was in some ways as fraught, complex, and deeply personal for Churchill as it was for the people of India. Churchill spent formative time as a young 19th century cavalry officer fighting on the northwest Indian frontier, about which he would write his first published book. He certainly did not adopt an early progressive attitude toward relinquishing control over the crown jewel of Britain’s colonial empire. In fact, he notably broke with his Conservative Party leadership in the 1930s over the question of Indian autonomy. Ironically, it was as leader of that same Conservative Party in March 1947 that Churchill opposed the Indian Independence proposal of a Labor Government. Churchill’s speech of 6 March 1947 is as detailed, historically contextualized, and compellingly argued – and ultimately futile – as his India speeches of the early 1930s. At the core of Churchill’s speech is a systematic and detailed articulation of “differences of principle and mistakes of administration due to Government action.” Churchill specifies three major “departures” from recent British policy, namely 1. Elimination of the state of Dominion status en route to Indian independence, 2. British “total abandonment of all responsibility for carrying out its pledges to minorities and the Depressed Classes” and 3. No agreement between “the principal Indian communities, namely, in fact, the Muslims and the Hindus.” In addition, Churchill articulates a “formidable list of practical mistakes”. First is “the attempt to formulate a Constitution and press it upon the Indians, instead of leaving to the Indians, as had been promised, the duty of framing their own proposals.” Second is “the summoning of a so-called Constituent Assembly… which had no claim… to express the opinion of the great masses of the Indians.” Third was “the dismissal of the eminent Indians composing the Viceroy’s Council, and the handing over of the government of India to Mr. Nehru.” It is instructive to remember that many of Churchill's dire warnings about Indian independence proved prophetic. Churchill long warned that too swift a British withdrawal from India would lead to bloody civil war and sectarian strife between Hindus and Muslims, Hindu domination, and destabilizing political balkanization of the subcontinent. All these predictions came to pass and, to a considerable extent, persist today. Nonetheless, there is no question that relinquishing India was more than simply a matter of policy: “It is with deep grief I watch the clattering down of the British Empire, with all its glories and all the services it has rendered to mankind… at least, let us not add – by shameful flight, by a premature, hurried scuttle – at least let us not add, to the pangs of sorrow so many of us feel, the taint and smear of shame.”. Item #005843

Price: $400.00

See all items by