Winston Churchill
"The Sinews of Peace"
                   A speech by Winston Churchill at Westminster College.

  1.                    President McCluer, ladies and gentlemen, and last, but certainly
                       not least, the President of the United States of America:
  2.                    I am very glad indeed to come to Westminster College this
                       afternoon, and I am complimented that you should give me a
                       degree from an institution whose reputation has been so solidly
                       established. The name "Westminster" somehow or other seems
                       familiar to me. I feel as if I have heard of it before. Indeed now
                       that I come to think of it, it was at Westminster that I received a
                       very large part of my education in politics, dialectic, rhetoric, and
                       one or two other things. In fact we have both been educated at the
                       same, or similar, or, at any rate, kindred establishments.
  3.                    It is also an honor, ladies and gentlemen, perhaps almost unique,
                       for a private visitor to be introduced to an academic audience by
                       the President of the United States. Amid his heavy burdens, duties,
                       and responsibilities, unsought but not recoiled from, the President
                       has traveled a thousand miles to dignify and magnify our meeting
                       here to-day and to give me an opportunity of addressing this
                       kindred nation, as well as my own countrymen across the ocean,
                       and perhaps some other countries too. The President has told you
                       that it is his wish, as I am sure it is yours, that I should have full
                       liberty to give my true and faithful counsel in these anxious and
                       baffling times. I shall certainly avail myself of this freedom, and feel
                       the more right to do so because any private ambitions I may have
                       cherished in my younger days have been satisfied beyond my
                       wildest dreams. Let me however make it clear that I have no
                       official mission or status of any kind, and that I speak only for
                       myself. There is nothing here but what you see.
  4.                    I can therefore allow my mind, with the experience of a lifetime, to
                       play over the problems which beset us on the morrow of our
                       absolute victory in arms, and to try to make sure with what
                       strength I have that what has gained with so much sacrifice and
                       suffering shall be preserved for the future glory and safety of
  5.                    Ladies and gentlemen, the United States stands at this time at the
                       pinnacle of world power. It is a solemn moment for the American
                       Democracy. For with primacy in power is also joined an
                       awe-inspiring accountability to the future. If you look around you,
                       you must feel not only the sense of duty done but also you must
                       feel anxiety lest you fall below the level of achievement.
                       Opportunity is here and now, clear and shining for both our
                       countries. To reject it or ignore it or fritter it away will bring upon
                       us all the long reproaches of the after-time. It is necessary that the
                       constancy of mind, persistency of purpose, and the grand
                       simplicity of decision shall rule and guide the conduct of the
                       English-speaking peoples in peace as they did in war. We must,
                       and I believe we shall, prove ourselves equal to this severe
  6.                    President McCluer, when American military men approach some
                       serious situation they are wont to write at the head of their
                       directive the words "over-all strategic concept". There is wisdom
                       in this, as it leads to clarity of thought. What then is the over-all
                       strategic concept which we should inscribe to-day? It is nothing
                       less than the safety and welfare, the freedom and progress, of all
                       the homes and families of all the men and women in all the lands.
                       And here I speak particularly of the myriad cottage or apartment
                       homes where the wage-earner strives amid the accidents and
                       difficulties of life to guard his wife and children from privation and
                       bring the family up the fear of the Lord, or upon ethical
                       conceptions which often play their potent part.
  7.                    To give security to these countless homes, they must be shielded
                       form two gaunt marauders, war and tyranny. We al know the
                       frightful disturbance in which the ordinary family is plunged when
                       the curse of war swoops down upon the bread-winner and those
                       for whom he works and contrives. The awful ruin of Europe, with
                       all its vanished glories, and of large parts of Asia glares us in the
                       eyes. When the designs of wicked men or the aggressive urge of
                       mighty States dissolve over large areas the frame of civilized
                       society, humble folk are confronted with difficulties with which
                       they cannot cope. For them is all distorted, all is broken, all is even
                       ground to pulp.
  8.                    When I stand here this quiet afternoon I shudder to visualize what
                       is actually happening to millions now and what is going to happen
                       in this period when famine stalks the earth. None can compute
                       what has been called "the unestimated sum of human pain". Our
                       supreme task and duty is to guard the homes of the common
                       people from the horrors and miseries of another war. We are all
                       agreed on that.
  9.                    Our American military colleagues, after having proclaimed their
                       "over-all strategic concept" and computed available resources,
                       always proceed to the next step--namely, the method. Here again
                       there is widespread agreement. A world organization has already
                       been erected for the prime purpose of preventing war. UNO, the
                       successor of the League of Nations, with the decisive addition of
                       the United States and all that that means, is already at work. We
                       must make sure that its work is fruitful, that it is a reality and not a
                       sham, that it is a force for action, and not merely a frothing of
                       words, that it is a true temple of peace in which the shields of
                       many nations can some day be hung up, and not merely a cockpit
                       in a Tower of Babel. Before we cast away the solid assurances of
                       national armaments for self-preservation we must be certain that
                       our temple is built, not upon shifting sands or quagmires, but upon
                       a rock. Anyone can see with his eyes open that our path will be
                       difficult and also long, but if we persevere together as we did in the
                       two world wars--though not, alas, in the interval between them--I
                       cannot doubt that we shall achieve our common purpose in the
  10.                    I have, however, a definite and practical proposal to make for
                       action. Courts and magistrates may be set up but they cannot
                       function without sheriffs and constables. The United Nations
                       Organization must immediately begin to be equipped with an
                       international armed force. In such a matter we can only go step by
                       step, but we must begin now. I propose that each of the Powers
                       and States should be invited to dedicate a certain number of air
                       squadrons to the service of the world organization. These
                       squadrons would be trained and prepared in their own countries,
                       but would move around in rotation from one country to another.
                       They would wear the uniforms of their own countries but with
                       different badges. They would not be required to act against their
                       own nation, but in other respects they would be directed by the
                       world organization. This might be started on a modest scale and it
                       would grow as confidence grew. I wished to see this done after
                       the first world war, and I devoutly trust that it may be done
  11.                    It would nevertheless, ladies and gentlemen, be wrong and
                       imprudent to entrust the secret knowledge or experience of the
                       atomic bomb, which the United States, great Britain, and Canada
                       now share, to the world organization, while still in its infancy. It
                       would be criminal madness to cast it adrift in this still agitated and
                       un-united world. No one country has slept less well in their beds
                       because this knowledge and the method and the raw materials to
                       apply it, are present largely retained in American hands. I do not
                       believe we should all have slept so soundly had the positions been
                       reversed and some Communist or neo-Facist State monopolized
                       for the time being these dread agencies. The fear of them alone
                       might easily have been used to enforce totalitarian systems upon
                       the free democratic world, with consequences appalling to human
                       imagination. God has willed that this shall not be and we have at
                       least a breathing space to set our world house in order before this
                       peril has to be encountered: and even then, if no effort is spared,
                       we should still possess so formidable a superiority as to impose
                       effective deterrents upon its employment, or threat of employment,
                       by others. Ultimately, when the essential brotherhood of man is
                       truly embodied and expressed in a world organization with all the
                       necessary practical safeguards to make it effective, these powers
                       would naturally be confided to that world organizations.
  12.                    Now I come to the second of the two marauders, to the second
                       danger which threatens the cottage homes, and the ordinary
                       people -- namely, tyranny. We cannot be blind to the fact that the
                       liberties enjoyed by individual citizens throughout the United States
                       and throughout the British Empire are not valid in a considerable
                       number of countries, some of which are very powerful. In these
                       States control is enforced upon the common people by various
                       kinds of all-embracing police governments to a degree which is
                       overwhelming and contrary to every principle of democracy. The
                       power of the State is exercised without restraint, either by
                       dictators or by compact oligarchies operating through a privileged
                       party and a political police. It is not our duty at this time when
                       difficulties are so numerous to interfere forcibly in the internal
                       affairs of countries which we have not conquered in war. but we
                       must never cease to proclaim in fearless tones the great principles
                       of freedom and the rights of man which are the joint inheritance of
                       the English-speaking world and which through Magna Carta, the
                       Bill of rights, the Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and the English
                       common law find their most famous expression in the American
                       Declaration of Independence.
  13.                    All this means that the people of any country have the right, and
                       should have the power by constitutional action, by free unfettered
                       elections, with secret ballot, to choose or change the character or
                       form of government under which they dwell; that freedom of
                       speech and thought should reign; that courts of justice,
                       independent of the executive, unbiased by any party, should
                       administer laws which have received the broad assent of large
                       majorities or are consecrated by time and custom. Here are the
                       title deeds of freedom which should lie in every cottage home.
                       Here is the message of the British and American peoples to
                       mankind. Let us preach what we practice -- let us practice what
                       we preach.
  14.                    Though I have now stated the two great dangers which menace
                       the home of the people, War and Tyranny, I have not yet spoken
                       of poverty and privation which are in many cases the prevailing
                       anxiety. But if the dangers of war and tyranny are removed, there
                       is no doubt that science and cooperation can bring in the next few
                       years, certainly in the next few decades, to the world, newly taught
                       in the sharpening school of war, an expansion of material
                       well-being beyond anything that has yet occurred in human
  15.                    Now, at this sad and breathless moment, we are plunged in the
                       hunger and distress which are the aftermath of our stupendous
                       struggle; but this will pass and may pass quickly, and there is no
                       reason except human folly or sub-human crime which should deny
                       to all the nations the inauguration and enjoyment of an age of
                       plenty. I have often used words which I learn fifty years ago from
                       a great Irish-American orator, a friend of mine, Mr. Bourke
                       Cockran, "There is enough for all. The earth is a generous mother;
                       she will provide in plentiful abundance food for all her children if
                       they will but cultivate her soil in justice and peace." So far I feel
                       that we are in full agreement.
  16.                    Now, while still pursing the method--the method of realizing our
                       over-all strategic concept, I come to the crux of what I have
                       traveled here to say. Neither the sure prevention of war, nor the
                       continuous rise of world organization will be gained without what I
                       have called the fraternal association of the English-speaking
                       peoples. This means a special relationship between the British
                       Commonwealth and Empire and the United States of America.
                       Ladies and gentlemen, this is no time for generality, and I will
                       venture to the precise. Fraternal association requires not only the
                       growing friendship and mutual understanding between our two vast
                       but kindred systems of society, but the continuance of the intimate
                       relations between our military advisers, leading to common study
                       of potential dangers, the similarity of weapons and manuals of
                       instructions, and to the interchange of officers and cadets at
                       technical colleges. It should carry with it the continuance of the
                       present facilities for mutual security by the joint use of all Naval
                       and Air Force bases in the possession of either country all over the
                       world. This would perhaps double the mobility of the American
                       Navy and Air Force. It would greatly expand that of the British
                       Empire forces and it might well lead, if and as the world calms
                       down, to important financial savings. Already we use together a
                       large number of islands; more may well be entrusted to our joint
                       care in the near future.
  17.                    the United States has already a Permanent Defense Agreement
                       with the Dominion of Canada, which is so devotedly attached to
                       the British Commonwealth and the Empire. This Agreement is
                       more effective than many of those which have been made under
                       formal alliances. This principle should be extended to all the British
                       Commonwealths with full reciprocity. Thus, whatever happens,
                       and thus only, shall we be secure ourselves and able to works
                       together for the high and simple causes that are dear to us and
                       bode no ill to any. Eventually there may come -- I feel eventually
                       there will come -- the principle of common citizenship, but that we
                       may be content to leave to destiny, whose outstretched arm many
                       of us can already clearly see.
  18.                    There is however an important question we must ask ourselves.
                       Would a special relationship between the United States and the
                       British Commonwealth be inconsistent with our over-riding
                       loyalties to the World Organization? I reply that, on the contrary, it
                       is probably the only means by which that organization will achieve
                       its full stature and strength. There are already the special United
                       States relations with Canada that I have just mentioned, and there
                       are the relations between the United States and the South
                       American Republics. We British have also our twenty years Treaty
                       of Collaboration and Mutual Assistance with Soviet Russia. I
                       agree with Mr. Bevin, the Foreign Secretary of Great Britain, that
                       it might well be a fifty years treaty so far as we are concerned. We
                       aim at nothing but mutual assistance and collaboration with Russia.
                       The British have an alliance with Portugal unbroken since the year
                       1384, and which produced fruitful results at a critical moment in
                       the recent war. None of these clash with the general interest of a
                       world agreement, or a world organization; on the contrary, they
                       help it. "In my father's house are many mansions." Special
                       associations between members of the United Nations which have
                       no aggressive point against any other country, which harbor no
                       design incompatible with the Charter of the United Nations, far
                       from being harmful, are beneficial and, as I believe, indispensable.
  19.                    I spoke earlier, ladies and gentlemen, of the Temple of Peace.
                       Workmen from all countries must build that temple. If two of the
                       workmen know each other particularly well and are old friends, if
                       their families are intermingled, if they have "faith in each other's
                       purpose, hope in each other's future and charity towards each
                       other's shortcomings"--to quote some good words I read here the
                       other day--why cannot they work together at the common task as
                       friends and partners? Why can they not share their tools and thus
                       increase each other's working powers? Indeed they must do so or
                       else the temple may not be built, or, being built, it may collapse,
                       and we should all be proved again unteachable and have to go and
                       try to learn again for a third time in a school of war incomparably
                       more rigorous than that from which we have just been released.
                       The dark ages may return, the Stone Age may return on the
                       gleaming wings of science, and what might now shower
                       immeasurable material blessings upon mankind, may even bring
                       about its total destruction. Beware, I say; time may be short. Do
                       not let us take the course of allowing events to drift along until it is
                       too late. If there is to be a fraternal association of the kind of I
                       have described, with all the strength and security which both our
                       countries can derive from it, let us make sure that that great fact is
                       known to the world, and that it plays its part in steadying and
                       stabilizing the foundations of peace. There is the path of wisdom.
                       Prevention is better than the cure.
  20.                    A shadow has fallen upon the scenes so lately light by the Allied
                       victory. Nobody knows what Soviet Russia and its Communist
                       international organization intends to do in the immediate future, or
                       what are the limits, if any, to their expansive and proselytizing
                       tendencies. I have a strong admiration and regard for the valiant
                       Russian people and for my wartime comrade, Marshall Stalin.
                       There is deep sympathy and goodwill in Britain -- and I doubt not
                       here also -- towards the peoples of all the Russias and a resolve to
                       persevere through many differences and rebuffs in establishing
                       lasting friendships. We understand the Russian need to be secure
                       on her western frontiers by the removal of all possibility of German
                       aggression. We welcome Russia to her rightful place among the
                       leading nations of the world. We welcome her flag upon the seas.
                       Above all, we welcome, or should welcome, constant, frequent
                       and growing contacts between the Russian people and our own
                       people on both sides of the Atlantic. It is my duty however, for I
                       am sure you would wish me to state the facts as I see them to you.
                       It is my duty to place before you certain facts about the present
                       position in Europe.
  21.                    From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain
                       has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the
                       capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe.
                       Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest
                       and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them
                       lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one
                       form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high
                       and, in some cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.
                       Athens alone -- Greece with its immortal glories -- is free to
                       decide its future at an election under British, American and French
                       observation. The Russian-dominated Polish Government has been
                       encouraged to make enormous and wrongful inroads upon
                       Germany, and mass expulsions of millions of Germans on a scale
                       grievous and undreamed-of are now taking place. The Communist
                       parties, which were very small in all these Eastern States of
                       Europe, have been raised to pre-eminence and power far beyond
                       their numbers and are seeking everywhere to obtain totalitarian
                       control. Police governments are prevailing in nearly every case,
                       and so far, except in Czechoslovakia, there is no true democracy.
  22.                    Turkey and Persia are both profoundly alarmed and disturbed at
                       the claims which are being made upon them and at the pressure
                       being exerted by the Moscow Government. An attempt is being
                       made by the Russians in Berlin to build up a quasi-Communist
                       party in their zone of occupied Germany by showing special favors
                       to groups of left-wing German leaders. At the end of the fighting
                       last June, the American and British Armies withdrew westward, in
                       accordance with an earlier agreement, to a depth at some points of
                       150 miles upon a front of nearly four hundred miles, in order to
                       allow our Russian allies to occupy this vast expanse of territory
                       which the Western Democracies had conquered.
  23.                    If no the Soviet Government tries, by separate action , to build up
                       a pro-Communist Germany in their areas, this will cause new
                       serious difficulties in the American and British zones, and will give
                       the defeated Germans the power of putting themselves up to
                       auction between the Soviets and the Western Democracies.
                       Whatever conclusions may be drawn from these facts -- and facts
                       they are -- this is certainly not the Liberated Europe we fought to
                       build up. Nor is it one which contains the essentials of permanent
  24.                    The safety of the world, ladies and gentlemen, requires a new unity
                       in Europe, from which no nation should be permanently outcast. It
                       is from the quarrels of the strong parent races in Europe that the
                       world wars we have witnessed, or which occurred in former times,
                       have sprung. Twice in our own lifetime we have seen the United
                       States, against their wished and their traditions, against arguments,
                       the force of which it is impossible not to comprehend, twice we
                       have seen them drawn by irresistible forces, into these wars in time
                       to secure the victory of the good cause, but only after frightful
                       slaughter and devastation have occurred. Twice the United State
                       has had to send several millions of its young men across the
                       Atlantic to find the war; but now war can find any nation,
                       wherever it may dwell between dusk and dawn. Surely we should
                       work with conscious purpose for a grand pacification of Europe,
                       within the structure of the United Nations and in accordance with
                       our Charter. That I feel opens a course of policy of very great
  25.                    In front of the iron curtain which lies across Europe are other
                       causes for anxiety. In Italy the Communist Party is seriously
                       hampered by having to support the Communist-trained Marshal
                       Tito's claims to former Italian territory at the head of the Adriatic.
                       Nevertheless the future of Italy hangs in the balance. Again one
                       cannot imagine a regenerated Europe without a strong France. All
                       my public life I never last faith in her destiny, even in the darkest
                       hours. I will not lose faith now. However, in a great number of
                       countries, far from the Russian frontiers and throughout the world,
                       Communist fifth columns are established and work in complete
                       unity and absolute obedience to the directions they receive from
                       the Communist center. Except in the British Commonwealth and in
                       the United States where Communism is in its infancy, the
                       Communist parties or fifth columns constitute a growing challenge
                       and peril to Christian civilization. These are somber facts for
                       anyone to have recite on the morrow a victory gained by so much
                       splendid comradeship in arms and in the cause of freedom and
                       democracy; but we should be most unwise not to face them
                       squarely while time remains.
  26.                    The outlook is also anxious in the Far East and especially in
                       Manchuria. The Agreement which was made at Yalta, to which I
                       was a party, was extremely favorable to Soviet Russia, but it was
                       made at a time when no one could say that the German war might
                       no extend all through the summer and autumn of 1945 and when
                       the Japanese war was expected by the best judges to last for a
                       further 18 months from the end of the German war. In this country
                       you all so well-informed about the Far East, and such devoted
                       friends of China, that I do not need to expatiate on the situation
  27.                    I have, however, felt bound to portray the shadow which, alike in
                       the west and in the east, falls upon the world. I was a minister at
                       the time of the Versailles treaty and a close friend of Mr.
                       Lloyd-George, who was the head of the British delegation at
                       Versailles. I did not myself agree with many things that were done,
                       but I have a very strong impression in my mind of that situation,
                       and I find it painful to contrast it with that which prevails now. In
                       those days there were high hopes and unbounded confidence that
                       the wars were over and that the League of Nations would become
                       all-powerful. I do not see or feel that same confidence or event he
                       same hopes in the haggard world at the present time.
  28.                    On the other hand, ladies and gentlemen, I repulse the idea that a
                       new war is inevitable; still more that it is imminent. It is because I
                       am sure that our fortunes are still in our own hands and that we
                       hold the power to save the future, that I feel the duty to speak out
                       now that I have the occasion and the opportunity to do so. I do
                       not believe that Soviet Russia desires war. What they desire is the
                       fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and
                       doctrines. But what we have to consider here today while time
                       remains, is the permanent prevention of war and the establishment
                       of conditions of freedom and democracy as rapidly as possible in
                       all countries. Our difficulties and dangers will not be removed by
                       closing our eyes to them. They will not be removed by mere
                       waiting to see what happens; nor will they be removed by a policy
                       of appeasement. What is needed is a settlement, and the longer
                       this is delayed, the more difficult it will be and the greater our
                       dangers will become.
  29.                    From what I have seen of our Russian friends and Allies during the
                       war, I am convinced that there is nothing for which they have less
                       respect than for weakness, especially military weakness. For that
                       reason the old doctrine of a balance of power is unsound. We
                       cannot afford, if we can help it, to work on narrow margins,
                       offering temptations to a trial of strength. If the Western
                       Democracies stand together in strict adherence to the principles
                       will be immense and no one is likely to molest them. If however
                       they become divided of falter in their duty and if these
                       all-important years are allowed to slip away then indeed
                       catastrophe may overwhelm us all.
  30.                    Last time I saw it all coming and I cried aloud to my own
                       fellow-countrymen and to the world, but no one paid any
                       attention. Up till the year 1933 or even 1935, Germany might have
                       been saved from the awful fate which has overtaken here and we
                       might all have been spared the miseries Hitler let loose upon
                       mankind. there never was a war in history easier to prevent by
                       timely action than the one which has just desolated such great
                       areas of the globe. It could have been prevented in my belief
                       without the firing of a single shot, and Germany might be powerful,
                       prosperous and honored today; but no one would listen and one
                       by one we were all sucked into the awful whirlpool. We surely,
                       ladies and gentlemen, I put it to you, surely, we must not let it
                       happen again. This can only be achieved by reaching now, in
                       1946, by reaching a good understanding on all points with Russia
                       under the general authority of the United Nations Organization and
                       by the maintenance of that good understanding through many
                       peaceful years, by the whole strength of the English-speaking
                       world and all its connections. There is the solution which I
                       respectfully offer to you in this Address to which I have given the
                       title, "The Sinews of Peace".
  31.                    Let no man underrate the abiding power of the British Empire and
                       Commonwealth. Because you see the 46 millions in our island
                       harassed about their food supply, of which they only grow one
                       half, even in war-time, or because we have difficulty in restarting
                       our industries and export trade after six years of passionate war
                       effort, do not suppose we shall not come through these dark years
                       of privation as we have come through the glorious years of agony.
                       Do not suppose that half a century from now you will not see 70
                       or 80 millions of Britons spread about the world united in defense
                       of our traditions, and our way of life, and of the world causes
                       which you and we espouse. If the population of the
                       English-speaking Commonwealths be added to that of the United
                       States with all that such co-operation implies in the air, on the sea,
                       all over the globe and in science and in industry, and in moral
                       force, there will be no quivering, precarious balance of power to
                       offer its temptation to ambition or adventure. On the contrary there
                       will be an overwhelming assurance of security. 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; if all
                       British moral and material forces and convictions are joined with
                       your own in fraternal association, the highroads of the future will
                       be clear, not only for our time, but for a century to come.