Speaking at Harvard in the Churchill Style
by Barry Singer
On September 5, 1943, while staying with FDR at the White House, Winston Churchill took a train from Washington to Boston. On the following day, he delivered his one and only speech at Harvard University, after receiving an honorary degree.
“The PM, in Oxford doctor’s cap and gown quite looked like a genial Henry VIII,”
wrote Churchill’s Private Secretrary, John Martin, in a letter home.
Churchill delivered two speeches at Harvard on September 6; the Commencement Address in Sanders Theatre, followed by a brief shout out in Harvard Yard to a crowd of Military and Naval forces then training at the University. The theme of both talks: The price of greatness is responsibility. One could not rise to be “in many ways the leading community in the civilized world,” Churchill said, “without being involved in its problems, convulsed by its agonies and inspired by its causes…”
To the youth of America, he had a simple message: “You cannot stop.
There is no halting place at the point we have now reached in our journey. It must be world anarchy or world order.
“If we are together,” Churchill concluded at Harvard, “nothing is impossible. If we are divided all will fail. I therefore preach continually the doctrine of the fraternal association of our two peoples, not for any purpose of gaining invidious material advantages, not for territorial aggrandisement or the vain pomp of earthly domination, but for the sake of service to mankind and for the honor that comes to those who faithfully serve great causes.”
Thank you to Ning Lu and all of her Harvard Club colleagues for the marvelous evening that the club hosted on Wednesday, June 13, for CHURCHILL STYLE. The turnout of nearly 150 Harvardites was extremely gratifying and their avid, erudite questions would have kept Winston Churchill himself entertained until late into the night, in the very best Churchill style.