Sir Winston Churchill’s Revealing Speech about the Effigies of Gog and Magog at Lord Mayor’s Banquet at The Guildhall, London in 1951

From: The Times, November 10, 1951

The Light (Pakistan), 15th February 1991 Issue (Vol. 68, No. 2, p. 7)

“I cannot help feeling the import of these thoughts in this war-scarred hall. Its battered monuments remind us of other struggles against the continental tyrants of the past, in generations before the supreme ordeal of 1940 we all endured and won together.

I am so glad my Lord Mayor, that you have decided to replace the effigies of Gog and Magog. It was to me a painful blow when they were burnt to ashes by Hitler’s bombs. They will look fine in the gallery up there. Indeed, I think they are not only ancient but up to date.

It seems to me that they represent none too badly the present state of world politics. World politics, like the History of Gog and Magog, are very confused and much disputed. Still, I think, there is room for both Gog and Magog.

On the one side is Gog, and on the other Magog. But be careful, my Lord Mayor, when you put them back to keep them from colliding with each other, for if that happens, both Gog and Magog would be smashed to atoms and we would all have to begin all over again — and begin from the bottom of the pit.

Whatever are the differences between Gog and Magog, at any rate, they are made out of the same materials. Let me tell you what the materials are: Cast masses of warm-hearted human beings wanting to do their best for their country and their neighbour and longing to build their homes and bring up their children in peace, freedom, and the hope of better times for the young when they grow up.

That is all they ask of their rulers and governors and guides. That is the dear wish in the hearts of all the peoples of mankind. How easy it ought to be, grant them this humble, modest desire.

But then there came along all these tribes of nationalists, ideologists, revolutionaries, class warfare experts, and the imperialists, with nasty regimenta­tion of academic doctrinaires, striving night and day to work them all up against one another so that homes, instead of being built, are bombed; and the bread-winner is killed, and the broken housewife left to pick the surviving children, maimed and scorched, out of the ashes.

There is the structure; that is the composition which Gog and Magog have in common, and there is the fate which both will suffer if you, my Lord Mayor, and others concerned in our City affairs and some who deal with world affairs, do not act with ordinary common-sense and keep Gog and Magog from falling upon one another.

Somehow or other these ideas about Gog and Magog seem to have some suggestive relationship to the discussions which are taking place in Paris at the present time. But we must not let our thought be complicated by our imagery. So here I leave Gog and Magog, hoping I may have the chance to see them both in their places as you promise.

What is the world scene as presented to us today? Mighty forces, armed with fearful weapons, are baying at each other across a gulf which, I have the feeling tonight, neither wishes and both fear to cross, but into which they may tumble and drag each other to their common ruin.

On the one side stand all the armies and air forces of Soviet Russia and all their Communist satellites, agents, and devotees in so many countries. On the other are what are called “the Western democ­racies” with their far superior resources, at present only partly organised, gather themselves together around the United States with its possession of the mastery of the atomic bomb.

Now, there is no doubt on which side we stand, Britain and the Commonwealth and Empire, still centring upon our island, are woven by ever-growing ties of strength and comprehension of common need and self-preservation to the great republic across the Atlantic Ocean. The sacrifices and exertions which the United States is making to deter, and if possible prevent Communist aggression from making further inroads upon the free world are the main foundation of peace.” (The Times, November 10, 1951).