Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill is still widely recognized as one of the most influential statesmen and writers of all time. Now, his writings are about to be held in an even higher regard, as Churchill’s papers have been made part of the very prestigious UNESCO International Memory of the World Register.
The UNESCO International Memory of the World Register represents a list of influential writings that are preserved and documented for historic purposes. It’s similar to the UNESCO World Heritage, except it’s for documents instead of landmarks.
Other writings that are a part of the UNESCO International Memory of the World Register include The Diary of Anne Frank, the Gutenberg Bible, the Bayeux Tapestry, the Phoenician alphabet and a British Caribbean register of slaves.
The Churchill papers represent one of 47 new entrants to the register. Archive officials have stated that the entire collection features more than one million documents. The archive is held at Cambridge University.
The director of the archive Allen Packwood says that one highlight of the Churchill papers is a draft of Churchill’s legendary “This Was Their Finest Hour” speech. Churchill presented the speech in front of the British House of Commons in 1940. It highlighted the moral importance of eliminating Nazi influence from Europe, and it prepared England for the grueling road it would have to travel down during World War II. Packwood says that today the speech “looks like poetry”.
Churchill was just as much respected as a writer as he was a world leader. In 1953, Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. His Nobel Prize described “his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values”.
More impressively, Churchill was said to have worked tediously hard on his speeches. It took Churchill about an hour to write just a single minute of any given speech.