The Sinews of Peace

By Winston S. Churchill
First published in 1948 by Cassell and Company Ltd., London

"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic,
an iron curtain has descended across the Continent....
I repulse the idea that a new war is inevitable;
still more that it is imminent...
If we adhere faithfully to the Charter of the United Nations
and walk forward in sedate and sober strength seeking no one's land or treasure,
seeking to lay no arbitrary control upon the thoughts of men...
the high-roads of the future will be clear, not only for us but for all,
not only for our time, but for a century to come."

(Speech of 5 March 1946 at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri)


This is the first of Churchill's five postwar speech volumes.  The Sinews of Peace contains 29 speeches spanning October 1945 through the end of 1946. These include the famous "Iron Curtain" speech given at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri on 5 March 1946, where Churchill coined the phrase that described the division between the Soviet Union's sphere of influence and the West.  This speech incisively framed the Cold War that would dominate the second half of the Twentieth Century.  Then-President Harry S. Truman traveled to Fulton in order to personally introduce Churchill.

Of equal note is Churchill's famous speech of 19 September 1946 at Zurich University promoting a United Europe.  It was this speech that lent bold impetus to formation of what would eventually become the European Union, with Churchill an early, ardent, and vital advocate of pan-European integration.

Even though they come at the waning of Churchill's remarkable career and life, the five postwar speeches volumes remain worthy of both readers and collectors, marrying a singularly experienced voice to exceptional times.

By the time Churchill's first postwar speeches volume was published, his oratorical prowess was unrivaled in public life.  Churchill had a remarkable full half century of vigorous public speaking to his credit.  His mastery of words was further bolstered by having already published 34 volumes of book-length works.  Before his final volume of postwar speeches was published, he would be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, both for his books and "for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values" (The Nobel Prize in Literature, 1953).

The political experience that underpinned Churchill's postwar oratory was likewise unrivaled.  Member of Parliament for nearly half a century, he had already passed through two world wars in positions of high authority, heading the British government for five years during the Second World War.  He would serve as Prime Minister for the second and final time between 1951 and 1955, making six consecutive decades during which Churchill had served in the British Cabinet.

The times in which Churchill made these speeches were no less formidable than the skills and experience he brought to bear.  Churchill's five post-WWII speech volumes span the period from Demobilization in late 1945, when Churchill was Leader of the Opposition, through his second Premiership, into a time when Churchill passes "into a living national memorial" of the time he has lived and the Nation, Empire, and free world he has served. The events encompassed by these years are in many ways no less dramatic than those of the war years - the unraveling of the British Empire, the post-war recovery, the onset of the Cold War, Soviet acquisition of the atomic bomb, development of the hydrogen bomb, both Cold and proxy war between the Western and communist powers, and the beginning of the space age.  

Churchill's son, Randolph, had served as compiler for Churchill's final pre-WWII and first WWII speech volumes, Arms and the Covenant and Into Battle.  During Randolph's wartime service, the balance of Churchill's other six war speech volumes were compiled by Charles Eade, Editor of the Sunday Dispatch.  By 1948 Randolph was able to resume his previous responsibility, serving as Editor for all five of Churchill's postwar speeches volumes.  

These postwar speeches volumes are much scarcer than Churchill’s War Speeches volumes; each of these five books had only a single printing.  The final volume, The Unwritten Alliance, is the last book of Churchill's speeches published in his lifetime, and was issued only in Britain with no U.S. edition.

The five British first editions of the postwar speeches are uniform in height and were issued in striking black dust jackets with a border along the top and bottom of the jacket featuring a repeating white oak leaf design.  The background color for the oak leaf border and the spine and front cover print color vary with each volume.  The dust jacket rear faces and flaps are white, printed black.  The bindings are bound in a simple, uniform style, but vary in cloth color.

The British first edition of The Sinews of Peace is bound in orange cloth stamped gilt on the spine.  The dust jacket features a dark red background for the oak leaf border and is printed in light blue-green and black.  Collectors may wish to note that the edition has a pagination error in the transition from roman numerals in the prelims to Arabic in the main text.  Publication was 19 August 1948, with a single printing of 10,000 copies.

The U.S. first edition was printed from British first edition plates, but is considerably different, bound in medium blue cloth with dark blue spine print.  The dust jacket is printed black, blue, and gray on white paper, with a blue background on the spine and front face.  The pagination error of the British first edition was corrected in the U.S. first edition.  The attractive blue covers and dust jacket of this edition proved predictably susceptible to fading. Consequently copies are most often found in flawed condition.

The U.S. editions of Churchill's postwar speeches were produced in far fewer numbers than the British editions - in this case just 3,000 copies for the U.S. edition as opposed to 10,000 copies for the British edition.

A full set of U.S. postwar speeches comprises only four volumes, as the fifth and final volume, The Unwritten Alliance, had no U.S. edition.  Like their British counterparts, the four U.S. first editions are uniform in height with varying binding colors.  Unlike their British counterparts, there is not a consistent binding design, with decorative elements to the binding spines of the final three volumes not present on the first volume, The Sinews of Peace.  The U.S. edition dust jackets also vary considerably.  The first two volumes - The Sinews of Peace and Europe Unite - have the same dust jacket design, differentiated only by background color.  The final two U.S. dust jackets - those for In the Balance and Stemming the Tide - each have a unique design.

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