Excerpts from "the first rough draft of history" as reported in
The Washington Post on this date in the 20th century.
Weeks after the United States entered World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill traveled to Washington to shore up what he called "the Grand Alliance" with Britain's former colony. Addressing Congress with the same stirring eloquence that he used to inspire his own countrymen, Churchill expressed his faith "that in the days to come the British and American peoples will ... walk together side by side in majesty, in justice, and in peace." Two excerpts from The Post of Dec. 27, 1941:
Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain yesterday roused Congress with the resolute pledge of Allied democracies to carry a successful war to the Axis by 1943.
In a 35-minute hot flood of eloquence, Churchill presented "proof" that with equal weapons the Allies can and will "beat the life out of the Nazis" and teach Japan a lesson she will never forget.
In a year, or 18 months, he said, American and British industry can produce results in war power "beyond anything that has been seen or foreseen" in the dictator states.
His voice that had risen in fury at times and in resolute determination closed on an almost whispered note of faith in powers above government and men. ...
"He must have a blind soul," he said, "who cannot see that some great purpose and design is being worked out here below of which we have the honor to be the faithful servants."
By Robert De Vore
Post Staff Writer
With two fingers of his right hand, Winston Churchill flashed to the United States Congress yesterday a wordless message more meaningful than 35 minutes of brilliant oratory.
The fingers shaped the letter "V," which all the world knows means victory.
The Prime Minister was leaving the Senate chamber when he delivered his punchline postscript to eloquence.
Members of House and Senate, the Cabinet, the Supreme Court and the galleries were on their feet, clapping and cheering. They had witnessed a magnificent drama. Now they wanted an encore.
Churchill gave them one. He turned, smiled and then held aloft the brave symbol captive peoples of Europe have engraved on history.
The effect was instantaneous, electric. The cheers swelled into a roar. Usually restrained Harlan Fiske Stone, Chief Justice of the United States, raised his arm in a return salute, as did Representative Baldwin (Republican), of New York, and fingers spread in the victory sign were raised in scores of places throughout the chamber.
It was a sudden and surprising climax to a historic speech that members of Congress received with such esteem as to give it rank with Edmund Burke's defense of the American Colonies.
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