Members of the Churchill family, Churchill Fellows, and other prestigious dignitaries from across the globe came together May 3 – 5, 2019, in Fulton, Missouri for a weekend of extraordinary exhibitions and events with the general public. They celebrated the 50th anniversary of America’s National Churchill Museum at Westminster College where Winston Churchill, on the invitation of President Harry Truman, delivered his legendary “Sinews of Peace” (‘Iron Curtain’) speech. The Wall Street Journal recently named the museum one of the ten most intriguing 2019 travel destinations in the world.
"Sinews of Peace"
“The Sinews of Peace” refers to the strength, muscle and that which joins things together – the special relationships that are the way to defeat tyranny and solidify alliances, freedom, democracy and justice.
Churchill was composing these words for his “Gathering Storm” memoirs of World War II, at nearly the same time he was drafting the “Sinews of Peace” (“Iron Curtain) speech. He wrote:
“Those who are prone by temperament and character to seek sharp and clear-cut solutions of difficult and obscure problems, who are ready to fight whenever some challenge comes from a foreign power, have not always been right. On the other hand, those whose inclination is to bow their heads, to seek patiently and faithfully for peaceful compromise, are not always wrong. On the contrary, in the majority of instances they may be right, not only morally but from a practical standpoint. How many wars have been averted by patience and persisting good will! . . . How many wars have been precipitated by firebrands! How many misunderstandings which led to war could have been removed by temporizing! How often have countries fought cruel wars and then after a few years found themselves not only friends but allies!”
LISTEN TO CHURCHILL’S SPEECH – “THE SINEWS OF PEACE” also known as “THE IRON CURTAIN SPEECH”
Program & museum history
On May 4 Edwina Sandys spoke from the site of the “Breakthrough” sculpture that she had created from eight panels of the Berlin Wall. It was installed in 1990 on the grounds of Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, where her grandfather Winston Churchill gave his “Sinews of Peace” speech in 1946. The National Winston Churchill Museum was erected 50 years ago.
National Churchill Museum – history
“St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury is the only structure in North America that was bombed during the Blitz, and sat in ruins until the early 1960s, when Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, acquired the building, and moved it to our campus. The Christopher Wren-designed church was carefully disassembled and all 7,000 stones were shipped across the Atlantic, then railroaded to Fulton. It was reconstructed by skilled craftsmen, replicated much as it stood from 1677 to the bombing on Dec. 29, 1940, at Aldermanbury and Love Lane in Central London. The church was brought to Fulton to commemorate Winston Churchill’s famous “Sinews of Peace”, also known as the “Iron Curtain” speech, given in 1946.” — Tim Riley, Director and Chief Curator of the National Churchill Museum
Churchill the artist
“When He Wasn’t Making History, Winston Churchill Made Paintings” by Casey Lesser, for Artsy
At the age of 40, Sir Winston Churchill found himself at a career low: After the World War I attack he ordered on Gallipoli, Turkey, went horrifically awry, he was demoted from his role as First Lord of the Admiralty in May 1915. He resigned from his government post and became an officer in the army. Deflated of power and consumed with anxiety, he took up an unexpected new hobby: painting.
“Painting came to my rescue in a most trying time,” Churchill would later write in the 1920s, in essays that would become a small book, “Painting as a Pastime” (Read it here)
The hobby became, for the great British statesman, a source of delight and a respite from the stress of his career. He would eventually create over 550 paintings, crediting the practice with helping him to hone his visual acuity, powers of observation, and memory. The pastime would flourish, and perhaps even aid him, as he furthered his career as a world-renowned writer, orator, and political leader. Read the full article at Artsy
“When I get to heaven I mean to spend a considerable portion of my first million years in painting, and so to get to the bottom of the subject.”
“Like a sea-beast fished up from the depths, or a diver too suddenly hoisted, my veins threatened to burst from the fall in pressure. I had great anxiety and no means of relieving it … And then it was that the Muse of Painting came to my rescue — out of charity and out of chivalry … — and said, “Are these toys any good to you? They amuse some people.”
“Churchill, Painting as a Pastime” (1950) by Winston Churchill – Read the book here
Many remedies are suggested for the avoidance of worry and mental overstrain by persons who, over prolonged periods, have to bear exceptional responsibilities and discharge duties upon a very large scale. Some advise exercise, and others, repose. Some counsel travel, and others, retreat. Some praise solitude, and others, gaiety. No doubt all these may play their part according to the individual temperament. But the element which is constant and common in all of them is Change.
Change is the master key. A man can wear out a particular part of his mind by continually using it and tiring it, just in the same way as he can wear out the elbows of his coat. There is, however, this difference between the living cells of the brain and inanimate articles: one cannot mend the frayed elbows of a coat by rubbing the sleeves or shoulders; but the tired parts of the mind can be rested and strengthened, not merely by rest, but by using other parts. It is not enough merely to switch off the lights which play upon the main and ordinary field of interest; a new field of interest must be illuminated. It is no use saying to the tired ‘mental muscles’—if one may coin such an expression—I will give you a good rest,’ ‘I will go for a long walk,’ or ‘I will lie down and think of nothing.’ The mind keeps busy just the same. If it has been weighing and measuring, it goes on weighing and measuring. If it has been worrying, it goes on worrying. It is only when new cells are called into activity, when new stars become the lords of the ascendant, that relief, repose, refreshment are afforded. Continue reading
“Churchill: The Statesman as Artist” edited and introduced by Sir David Cannadine
From the late 1910s to the late 1950s, painting was one of the most successful stratagems that Churchill devised for banishing depression. Book summary here
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1953 was awarded to Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill “for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.”
Winston Churchill, one of the 20th century’s most prominent statesmen, also left behind a large body of writing. His works include an autobiography in which he describes his adventurous years as an officer and war correspondent, a comprehensive biography of his ancestor, the first Duke of Marlborough, and a multivolume work about the First and Second World Wars. The books are characterized by colorful narration but also by objectivity. Winston Churchill’s magnificent and epoch-making speeches during World War II also belong to his most important written works.
Streaming Museum has presented “Breakthrough” by artist Edwina Sandys, Churchill’s granddaughter, in international exhibitions, commemorating the 20th (2009) and 25th (2014) anniversaries of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Read the story here: streamingmuseum.org/breakthrough
On May 4, Edwina Sandys spoke from the site of her “Breakthrough” sculpture created from eight panels of the Berlin Wall. It was installed in 1990 on the grounds of Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, where her grandfather Winston Churchill gave his “Sinews of Peace” speech in 1946. The National Winston Churchill Museum was erected 50 years ago.
Online and film
“Holding ourselves together is America’s great mission”
St. Louis Dispatch 6/16/17
“Just as a body is strong when sinews bind its parts together, so peace is possible when nations bind themselves together in a common cause… He championed the importance of bridging what divides nations and of strengthening the bonds that hold us together.”
“Sinews of peace was a British message for its time. It’s an American message for all time. It’s about how to relate to our allies abroad and also how to live with one another at home.”
John C. Danforth, a former three-term U.S. senator delivered these remarks June 8 in accepting the Winston Churchill Medal for Leadership from The National Churchill Museum and Westminster College in Fulton, Mo.
“Do Walls Change How We Think?”
The New Yorker, 3/28/19
As new security barriers multiply around the world, research is revealing their psychological toll.
“The True Meaning of the Iron Curtain Speech”
by Ambassador Pamela C. Harriman, 1987
“He was also one of the first – perhaps the first non-scientist – to comprehend and describe the dawning wonders and terrors of modern invention. In a 1932 essay Churchill speculated “that new sources of energy, vastly more important than any we yet know, will surely be discovered, and wrote of “wireless telephones and televisions” – and of genetic engineering. He looked to a time, “50 years hence,” when “explosive machinery will be available upon a scale which can annihilate whole nations.” In 1925 he wrote of “guided missiles” and of “electrical rays which could claw down aeroplanes from the sky.”