(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)
In September 1943, American high school and college students knew that on the Russian front, Soviet and German soldiers their age were being killed, wounded or taken prisoners of war by the hundreds of thousands.
The students also knew that in the South Pacific, Americans they might soon join were fighting and dying side-by-side with Australian and other Allies against suicidal Japanese resistance.
Many of the students read the casualty lists the War Department released each day. Often they recognized names of friends they thought had been serving in Italy or with a bomber command or on a sub somewhere in the Atlantic. But the lists didn’t say much about where or with what units the dead, wounded and missing had been serving. The students understood .
Like everyone else, they didn’t want to read anything in the newspapers that might help the enemy. It was before such students and to America’s youth that Churchill spoke at Harvard University on September 6, 1943:
"To the youth of America, as to the youth of all the Britains, I say, 'You cannot stop. It must be world anarchy or world order.'In 1943 British and American “common conceptions of what is right and decent” were under attack from without.
You will find in the British Commonwealth good comrades to whom you are united by other ties besides those of State policy and public need. Law, language, literature...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. These are common conceptions on both sides of the ocean among the English-Speaking Peoples."
Today, they're under attack from within as well as without. ________________________________________________________
The quote is referenced in many Churchill biographies.It can also be found in
The Churchill Centre's Finest Hour. (Winter, 2000-2001) Go here and scroll down.