By ANDREW ROBERTS
Late in 1945, Winston Churchill had the splendid and characteristically generous idea of commemorating his 1940-45 Coalition Government—which had only broken up six months previously—by striking a large bronze medallion. In early 1946 he presented one to every member of that government, as well as to others. In all, there were 136 of these magnificent, four-inch diameter objects, each weighing 8.7 ounces. They were cast at Churchill’s own expense by the foremost manufacturer of such things, Spink & Son, a company founded in 1666.
By JACOB R. WEAVER
As the postwar world began to take shape, Churchill, as in the 1930s, predicted danger ahead. Initially, his cries fell on deaf ears. Out of power, he watched as the United States’ and his country’s foreign policy drifted towards what he perceived as another disaster—communism’s ascendancy. Then a letter arrived from President Harry Truman, inviting him to speak at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri in March 1946. It was an opportunity for Churchill to shape history once again. Though what came to be known as his “Iron Curtain Speech” received mixed reactions at the time, today, scholars recognize that it laid the foundation of public opinion needed for the West to pursue a vigorous challenge to Soviet hegemony.