The A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post 26 posts, one for each letter of the English alphabet, in April. Most of us choose to make these posts on a particular theme. My theme for 2023 is 1943 Washington D.C., the setting of the novel that I’m writing. Visit daily in April for a new post on my topic.
U is for U.S. Congress
Of course, there’s a U.S. Congress every year, but I want to write about one of the most dramatic events for the U.S. Congress in 1943. On May 19, Prime Minister Winston Churchill addressed a joint session in the Capitol.
Churchill was in Washington D.C. for what we now commonly call the Trident Conference. “Trident” was the codename. Obviously, Washingtonians didn’t call it that in 1943. The Washington Post called it a “war council” in their reporting on May 12, with a lot of speculation but limited concrete facts about the purpose and the people involved.
Much of the article delights in conveying that recent news reports in Berlin posited that Churchill and Roosevelt were about to meet in Cairo. That report was almost instantly refuted by Churchill’s surprise arrival in Washington.
The conference went from May 12 to May 25, 1943 with near daily meetings between President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill and their staffs.
Among other things, this conference was when the decision was made to invade Normandy in May 1944. For a plan made a year in advance, that’s pretty good that D-Day was only late by a week. As Dwight D. Eisenhower, the commander of the Normandy invasion, said in 1957, “plans are worthless, but planning is everything.”
The highlight of Churchill’s speech on May 19 was the UK commitment to the war in the Pacific. In imagery that seems horrific to the modern ear, but was greeted with tumultuous applause in the Capitol, Churchill promises to lay Japanese cities in ashes. The speech was optimistic in its conviction that the Allied nations would win the war, but cautioned against hope for a quick resolution. “How and when cannot be foreseen, still less foretold.”
Here are the excerpts from Winston Churchill’s speech that British Pathé chose for its newsreel:
By William V Nessly Post,Staff Writer. (1943, May 12). Roosevelt meets prime minister; military, naval aides in party: The war today council of war churchill here for war talks with roosevelt. The Washington Post (1923-1954) Retrieved from https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/roosevelt-meets-prime-minister-military-naval/docview/151634702/se-2