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Churchill's Post-El Alamein Speech Among Rare Documents In New WWII Book

'The War on Paper' explores the Second World War through 20 rare documents which changed the course of the conflict.

An annotated speech written by Winston Churchill after the Allied victory at El Alamein in 1942 is among the rare papers featured in a new book on the Second World War.

'The War on Paper' explores the conflict through 20 documents which changed the course of the war.

Among them, Adolf Hitler’s signed directive ordering the invasion of Poland in 1939 and a never-before-published sketch used to aid the escape from the beaches of Dunkirk.

Published by the Imperial War Museums (IWM), the book also features more than 50 images, extracts from letters and diaries, maps and posters.

Each chapter offers readers a glimpse into some of the papers held within IWM’s Second World War archives.

DO NOT USE Winston Churchill makes a radio address 1942 CREDIT IWM H20446
Winston Churchill makes a radio address from his desk at 10 Downing Street in June 1942 (Picture: © IWM H 20446).

There is also the hastily scribbled "diagrammatic lay out of embarkation" by Captain Ken Theobald of the 5th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment, which was used by the British Expeditionary Force to flee from Dunkirk in 1940.

The drawing is one of five pull-out replica documents in the book.

Home Front papers in the book include an "If the Invader Comes" leaflet and Air Raid Precautions, while Kindertransport identity papers and the Governor of Singapore's final broadcast are also featured.

The book is also published to coincide with the 80th anniversary of the Anglo-German Declaration – signed in September 1938 with the aim of promoting peace between Britain and Nazi Germany.

DO NOT USE The Anglo-German Declaration 1938 CREDIT IWM Documents 4998
Signed by British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and German Chancellor Adolf Hitler in 1938, the Anglo-German Declaration was symbolic of both countries' desire not to go to war (Picture: © IWM Documents.4998).

There are also photographs of Chamberlain holding the declaration aloft to the cheering crowd who greeted him at Heston Airport on 30 September 1938, and of the occupation of Warsaw, Poland.

Anthony Richards, IWM’s head of documents & sound and author of 'The War on Paper', said: “It has been my privilege to have worked with the IWM documents collection for over two decades, and in that time it has never ceased to impress and at times surprise me with its depth of coverage and insight into how the war was fought and experienced.

"The story behind certain documents can be fascinating, and I hope that readers will find the examples included in 'The War on Paper' to be both interesting and thought-provoking, as they portray the events of the war in a most immediate, direct way.”