Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech

Three Points

1) Churchill identifies the US as being at the pinnacle of its world power. With this power comes a sense of duty and responsibility for the future of the world.

2) Churchill sees Russia as posing a threat to the relative peace of the world that follows World War II. He believes that Russia doesn’t necessarily want a war, but they desire expansion of their power and the “fruits of war”. He sees Russia as having the potential to repeat events similar to those that Germany sought in World War II.

3) Furthermore, Churchill thinks that European nations must unite. Also, the English-speaking world has the ability to ensure a sense of worldwide security and peace.

Two Questions:

1) Is this the speech that started the Cold War?

2) Is Churchill correct in thinking that the US was at the height of its power? Has the US ever been stronger than it was at this time?

Observation:

The passive-aggressive approach which Churchill takes may have not been the best choice. As we can see from Stalin’s response, Russia took great offense. Stalin lashed back by comparing Churchill to Hitler, making the case that Churchill believed that English speaking races were superior. The manner in which Churchill addressed the US only served as to aggravate tensions that were present before, during, and after World War II.

3 thoughts on “Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech

  1. I think it is interesting to note that when Churchill calls Europe to unite, he is therefore excluding Russia from being European. Russia sits on a very fine line between being European or Eastern. Even Russia itself sometimes has difficulties determining what it is.

  2. I don’t think this speech started the Cold War. A series of heated exchanges between the “East” and the “West” led to the Cold War. Personally, I was quite surprised as to how strongly this speech angered Stalin. Although it clearly opposes communism, I never would have thought that Stalin would respond by comparing Churchill to Hitler.

  3. I think this speech was not the only thing that started the Cold War but it was very influential and was a part of it. It strengthened anti-communisim sentiments and essentially declared the Soviet Union a threat to freedom and peace and an enemy of the west, which created feelings that would begin other movements to start the war.

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