War Speeches 1940-1945

By Winston S. Churchill
First published in 1946 by Cassell and Company Ltd., London

"I do not underrate the difficult and intricate complications of the task which lies before us;
I know too much about it to cherish vain illusions;
but the morrow of such a victory as we have gained is a splendid moment
both in our small lives and in our great history."

(Speech of 16 August 1945, Churchill's review of the war
and first major speech as Leader of the Opposition)

 

Though this book is generally not well known to collectors, it is in fact the first collected edition of Churchill's war speeches.  It includes 52 speeches spanning 17 June 1940 to 16 August 1945, selected from the first six of Churchill's individual war speeches volumes.  The copyright page lists the individual war speech volumes from which the speeches are derived, and the table of contents specifically credits each speech to its respective individual volume.

As a collected edition, it is of course eclipsed by the more complete and handsomely produced "definitive" three-volume collected edition of Churchill's war speeches issued more than six years later in late 1952.  Nonetheless, this humble paperback remains the first collected edition, and thus beckons to collectors.

The book measures 8.5 x 5.5 inches, bound in pale blue paper wraps with turn-in flaps like a DJ, and with contents printed on cheap pulp paper.

Churchill's bibliographer Ronald Cohen reports a single printing of 20,000 copies published in July 1946.  Despite a fairly large print run, the inherent fragility of the edition means that comparatively few survive.  Worn and significantly flawed copies are not too difficult to find, but collector-worthy examples are elusive.  

A number of translations were issued, including Bulgarian, Danish, Dutch, and Romanian.

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