Animosity between World Leaders

Winston Churchill is one of the most famous British politicians of all time. He was born into an upper class family, and served in the British military when he was young. He rose through the ranks of British government after returning from the military and became Prime Minister of Britain following Neville Chamberlain’s resignation in 1940. As an active political member, Churchill warned against the rising powers of Nazi Germany and argued against appeasement. In his “Iron Curtain Speech” he says that “Last time I saw it all coming and I cried aloud to my own fellow countrymen and to the world, but no one paid any attention” ((Churchill, Winston. “Iron Curtain Speech”. 5 March 1946.)). He is strongly anti-communist and uses the comparison of communism to Nazi Germany to convey his message about the iron curtain being cast down upon Eastern Europe.

However, he uses his speech to call upon the English-speaking world to enforce the United Nations agreement and prevent the Soviet Union from expanding their sphere. Stalin critiques this in his Reply to Churchill, where he accuses Churchill of following the same lines as Hitler and creating a system of racial determination to establish who should rule the world ((Stalin, Joseph. Reply to Churchill. 1946.)). Both Churchill and Stalin compare the other to Hitler, indicating a huge amount of animosity between them even though they were on the same side of World War II. What do you think sparked this animosity so quickly after the end of the war? Would there have been a way to avoid this, or was communism just the next enemy to take on after fascism was defeated?

Churchill’s “Iron Curtain”

Interesting Points:

1) Churchill emphasizes that it is the West’s task to ensure the prevention of another world war.

2) He calls upon a variety of organizations, including the legal offices, the United Nations, and each of the powers to prepare and assemble the proper tools and plans for what is to come. Churchill notes that he had previously wished for the same actions to take place following the first world war.

3) It was Churchill’s phrase, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent” that made people realize that things were going to change between the democratic West and the Communist East.


1) From where do you think Churchill’s premonitions derived from and why?

2) Why would many people refer to Churchill’s speech as the beginning of the Cold War?


I thought it was interesting that Churchill titled his speech “The Sinews of Peace.” A sinew is something that is a part of a structure to give it strength. I find it ironic that Churchill named his speech after something that is uniting peace when it actually tacitly started a war.


Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech and Stalin’s Response

Main Points:
1. Churchill acknowledged that the Soviet Union did not want war, they wanted “the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines.” It is important to note that neither the west nor the Soviet Union wanted another war. It would preposterous to think that any state involved so heavily in World War II would actively seek war with a superpower less than a year after the conclusion of the war in Europe. It is very easy to see how a state would want to assert its power and influence in Europe so soon after the end of the war however, which is exactly what started the Cold War.
2. Churchill also mentioned the balance of power in his speech. He recalled how no one wanted to match or check Germany’s military buildup and fascism in the early 1930’s, and how World War II might have easily been avoided if Germany had been kept in check instead of being allowed to gain strength and momentum. Churchill said that the balance of power could easily be maintained in such a way that it would keep the Soviet Union in check if “the population of the English-speaking Commonwealth be added to that of the United States, with all that such cooperation implies in the air, on the sea, all over the globe, and in science and in industry, and in moral force, there will be no quivering, precarious balance of power to offer its temptation to ambition or adventure.”
3. In his response to Churchill, Stalin compared the west to Hitler and his racial theory, possibly confusing Churchill’s mention of the English-speaking Commonwealth with a declaration of English speakers as a dominant race. Churchill also compared the Soviet Union to Hitler’s Germany in his speech when he mentioned the balance of power. Stalin also conflated Churchill’s emphasis on freedom and democracy with a desire to take over Europe as Hitler did. Churchill clearly emphasized these principles in his speech as the ultimate goal in Europe, not domination by English speakers.

1. How could Stalin accuse Churchill of being a collaborator with fascism, when Stalin backed the signing of the Nazi-Soviet Pact in 1939? Did that not make Stalin a collaborator with fascism?
2. How true are Churchill’s claims that he rose the alarm about Hitler’s Germany gaining power and why did no one listen to him?

It is interesting that Stalin would point the finger at the west and compare their ideology to Hitler’s racial theory when he was guilty of killing millions of his own people and facilitating Hitler’s early success with the Nazi-Soviet Pact.

Winston Churchill and “The Iron Curtain”

3 Points

1 – The U.S. is at its peak of power and now has a great responsibility to determine the future. One must feel a strong sense of duty and it is necessary to have constancy of mind, persistency, and the simplicity of decision making in determining the future of the English-speaking population.

2 – The fact about the current situation in Europe is that an “iron curtain” has fallen across the continent and the cities behind it are under the Soviet influence and control of Moscow. The safety of our world lies in the future unification of Europe.

3 – Communism presents a threat and challenge to the Christian civilization, however, the idea of another war is repulsing and the the English speaking people have the power to save the future. What the Soviets want are the positive outcomes of winning a war and expansion of their power, control and beliefs.

2 Questions

1 – Do you think Churchill makes a valid point when he says about WWII: “there was never a war in history easier to prevent by timely action than the one which has just desolated such great areas of the globe”?

2 – How does Stalin respond to Churchill’s speech and who does he compare him and his “English racial theory” to?

1 Observation

During the time that Churchill spoke of the dangers of the Soviet power and the iron curtain, many people in the west still viewed the Soviet Union as an ally coming out of WWII.