A Four Years' Plan for Britain, Broadcast of 21 March 1943. Winston S. Churchill.
A Four Years' Plan for Britain, Broadcast of 21 March 1943
A Four Years' Plan for Britain, Broadcast of 21 March 1943

A Four Years' Plan for Britain, Broadcast of 21 March 1943

London: The Times Publishing Company, Limited, 1943. The Times edition, only printing. Pamphlet. This wartime pamphlet edition published by The Times is the first standalone publication of Winston Churchill’s wartime broadcast of 21 March 1943 from Chequers, the Prime Minister’s country home. Composed of 8 pages, wire-stitched, in self-wrappers, this is a collector-worthy copy of a perishable wartime publication. The wrappers are complete and crisp, with no losses or tears, and remain firmly attached. The single binding staple shows no rust. Two rust spots on the front cover near the spine appear to have transferred from a different pamphlet stored with this one. Some isolated spots mark the covers, which are otherwise exceptionally clean with light wrinkling to the lower spine.

On the night Churchill gave his address, Montgomery’s North Africa offensive, codenamed ‘Pugilist’, would began at 10:00 PM. The offensive was vital – the Allies’ total victory in Tunisia in the coming months not only removed Nazi Germany from North Africa, but also cleared the way for invasion of Sicily and opened a route to supply Stalin. Nonetheless, Churchill’s speech also focused on domestic concerns, both echoing his own progressive roots as a young Liberal, and anticipating the public hunger for reform and unrest with wartime privations that would cost Churchill the premiership in July 1945.

Churchill gave his “earnest advice” to concentrate “even more zealously upon the war effort and if possible…” but he also spoke of the post-war world and plans for a fairer society in the aftermath of victory. "Churchill’s vision of the post-war world was wide-ranging… ‘We must,’ he said ‘establish on broad and solid foundations a National Health Service.’ There would also have to be ‘national compulsory insurance for all classes for all purposes from the cradle to the grave.’ Educational opportunities would have to be extended and prolonged and ‘fair competition’ so extended that Britain would need to draw her leaders ‘from every type of school and wearing every kind of tie’. Tradition, he said, may play its part, ‘but broader systems must now rule’.” (Gilbert, VII, p.367-68)

Always able to cast his vision in historical context, even in the midst of struggle to win the Second World War Churchill reminded his listeners of the failures of victory in the aftermath of the First World War: “If State enterprise and free enterprise were both made to serve the national interests, ‘and pull the national wagon side by side’, then there would be no need ‘to run into that horrible, devastating slump or into that squalid epoch of bickering and confusion which now mocked and squandered the hard-won victory we gained a quarter of a century ago’.” Having reminded his listeners what they were fighting for, Churchill returned to the fight at hand, concluding: “I have just received a message from General Montgomery that the Eighth Army are on the move” and “Let us wish them God speed in their struggle and let us bend all our efforts to the war and the ever more vigorous prosecution of our supreme task.”

This first stand-alone publication of Churchill’s 21 March 1943 address was reprinted from The Times of Monday, 22 March 1943. The broadcast address was first published in periodical form in The Listener of 25 March 1943 and subsequently collected in Onwards to Victory at pp. 33-45 under the title ‘A Four Years’ Plan’, and later still in His Complete Speeches, Vol. VII, pp. 6755-65, titled ‘Postwar Planning’.

Reference: Cohen A180.1. Item #006425

Price: $280.00

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