JULY 30, 1945
HYDE PARK, Sunday—The sweep of the British Labor party in Great Britain seems to have come as a great surprise to some of my friends, and yet, months ago, I heard discussion of the trend in Great Britain toward the new ideas which are represented more fully today by the British Labor party than by the Conservative and Liberal parties. Anyone knowing many young people has had a sense for some time that if this did not happen in this election because of the affection and respect which everyone felt for the former Prime Minister, Mr. Churchill, it would happen very shortly after the war came to an end.
Some people seem to expect very radical changes under the new Prime Minister, but I doubt this will happen. In the first place, responsibility always brings caution in its wake, and Great Britain is facing serious times. They are going to require an ability to face new situations in new ways, and the people hope the Labor party can do this. There have been many murmurs among the rank and file of people in Great Britain as to the handling of the Greek situation and the possible attitude of the government toward the Fascist government of Spain.
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The defeat of Mr. Churchill's party is not in any way a defeat for Mr. Churchill as an individual. He was reelected to Parliament. But even if he had not been, his place in the hearts of the people of Great Britain is safe for all time. No one in the British empire—nor in the United States, for that matter—who heard his brave words after Dunkirk will ever feel anything but the deepest respect and gratitude and affection for Churchill, the man and the war leader.
I am sure that in many ways he is tired, like the other men who carried the great burdens of the past few years, and he will be glad to lay those burdens down. But no citizen of Great Britain, no citizen of the United States, will really want to stop working in the public service until the war is finally over, and I know that Mr. Churchill will give of his best until that day comes.
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The reorganization for peace is probably going to bring many situations which none of us of the older generation would really want to meet, since we know that it is the young people who have to live and work under whatever new conditions are created. Long ago Mr. Churchill told me, and I am sure it was not a confidence, that he only wanted to stay in office until the war was won and the men were home and he knew that they had decent houses in which to live. I am sure that he will be able to work to achieve the final part of his desire, just as he has achieved the winning of the war.
To his successor, Prime Minister Attlee, everyone in this country who realizes what responsibilities rest upon his shoulders will wish courage, wisdom and the support of the people whom he serves.