Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech

315 words / 1 ½ minute read

“It is my duty, however, for I am sure you would wish me to state the facts as I see them to you, to place before you certain facts about the present position in Europe.

“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.”

In the immediate aftermath of the war, Churchill contemplated with alarm a Europe divided between East and West, by what he called an “Iron Curtain”.  The dominance of the Soviet Union and of Communism in Eastern Europe was his overriding concern in the international sphere.  He expressed his fears, and also his hopes, when he spoke, at the request of President Harry S. Truman, at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri, on 5 March 1946.  He gave the speech the title “The Sinews of Peace”.

From Martin’s introduction to parts of the speech in Churchill, The Power of Words.

From his own speech at Westminster College in April, 1981, Sir Martin said:

In Churchill’s mind, Bolshevism was an evil system, totally destructive of all the freedoms and all the human values in which he believed.  Already, by 1917, an enemy of tyranny for more than 20 years, for him Bolshevism was the supreme tyranny, crushing all of the liberties he prized.

It was the tyrannical aspect of Lenin’s regime that most roused Churchill’s fury.  Writing in January 1920 he declared:  “A Tyrant is one who allows the fancies of his mind to count for more in deciding action than the needs, feelings, hopes, lives and physical well-being of the people over whom he has obtained control.  A tyrant is one who wrecks the lives of millions for the satisfaction of his own conceptions.  So far as possible in this world no man should have such power, whether under an imperialist, republican, militarist, socialist or soviet form of Government.”

Read Sir Martin’s complete 1981 speech at Westminster College Click here

Read: The Atlas of Russian History 

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