Churchill on the unity of the ‘English speaking peoples’

Winston Churchill addresses American Naval and Army Cadets at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on 6 September 1943 on the same day as he was presented with an honourary degree by the university.

Winston Churchill addresses American Naval and Army Cadets at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on 6 September 1943 on the same day as he was presented with an honourary degree by the university.

Winston Churchill receives an honorary degree from Harvard University in Massachusetts, USA, 6 Setember 1943.

Winston Churchill receives an honorary degree from Harvard University in Massachusetts, USA, 6 Setember 1943.

In September 1943 Churchill was still in the USA following his arrival on the continent for the Quebec conference.

On 6th Septemebr he was invited to Harvard University to receive an Honorary Degree. He decided it was “an occasion for a public declaration to the world of Anglo-American unity and amity”. The ‘Special Relationship’ between Britain and the United States was probably at its height, only too soon would its preponderance of power bring the USA to the fore in international relations.

Suddenly the war was going well for the Allies. Both Churchill and Roosevelt felt they had to guard against complacency, knowing how much more had yet to be achieved. Churchill addressed the young men at Harvard:

To the youth of America, as to the youth of Britain, I say, “You cannot stop.” There is no halting-place at this point. We have now reached a stage in the journey where there can be no pause. We must go on. It must be world anarchy or world order.

Throughout all this ordeal and struggle which is characteristic of our age you will find in the British Commonwealth and Empire good comrades to whom you are united by other ties besides those of state policy and public need. To a large extent they are the ties of blood and history. Naturally I, a child of both worlds, am conscious of these.

Law, language, literature – these are considerable factors common conceptions of what is right and decent, a marked regard for fair play, especially to the weak and poor, a stern sentiment of impartial justice, and above all the love of personal freedom, or, as Kipling put it, “Leave to live by no man’s leave underneath the law” – these are common conceptions on both sides of the Atlantic among the English-speaking peoples. We hold to these conceptions as strongly as you do.

We do not war primarily with races as such. Tyranny is our foe. Whatever trapping or disguise it wears, whatever language it speaks, be it external or internal, we must for ever be on our guard, ever mobilised, ever vigilant, always ready to spring at its throat.

In all this we march together. Not only do we march and strive shoulder to shoulder at this moment, under the fire of the enemy on the fields of war or in the air, but also in those realms of thought which are consecrated to the rights and the dignity of man.

Meanwhile the unrelenting business of war continued…

Wellington Mark IIIs (BK347 ‘BT-Z’ and DF640 ‘BT-T’ in the foreground) of No. 30 Operational Training Unit, lined up at Hixon, Staffordshire, for a leaflet dropping ("Nickelling") sortie over France.

Wellington Mark IIIs (BK347 ‘BT-Z’ and DF640 ‘BT-T’ in the foreground) of No. 30 Operational Training Unit, lined up at Hixon, Staffordshire, for a leaflet dropping (“Nickelling”) sortie over France.

Churchill AVRE of 79th Armoured Division with fascine in position, Suffolk, 6 September 1943.

Churchill AVRE of 79th Armoured Division with fascine in position, Suffolk, 6 September 1943.

Vertical photographic-reconnaissance aerial showing heavy damage to the Heinrich Lanz AG works in Mannheim, Germany following the raid by aircraft of Bomber Command on the night of 5/6 September 1943. Many buildings in the adjoining Lindenhof district have been gutted by incendiary fires (bottom).

Vertical photographic-reconnaissance aerial showing heavy damage to the Heinrich Lanz AG works in Mannheim, Germany following the raid by aircraft of Bomber Command on the night of 5/6 September 1943. Many buildings in the adjoining Lindenhof district have been gutted by incendiary fires (bottom).

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