Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” at 65

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It was 65 years ago, March 5, 1946, when Winston Churchill delivered his “Iron Curtain” speech in Fulton, Missouri. It was a speech that rocked the world and changed history.

By then, Churchill was no longer British prime minister. He and his conservatives had been replaced by Clement Attlee and the Labour Party, which busily nationalized everything under the sun, from car companies to healthcare, pursued Keynesian economic policies with reckless abandon, exploded the public sector, and piled debts that buried Britain for a generation. Churchill was out, and Britain’s giant lunge leftward was in, enabled by an electorate that voted for “change.”

Churchill and his work, however, were hardly finished. He had been called upon to save Western civilization at the start of the decade, when Hitler’s Germany was at the gates. Now, he saw new vandals, equally dangerous, already inside the gates, and colored red. Stalin was their dictator.

Worse, the West, complacent and tired of war, had no clue of the threat; it could not see the wolf at the door. The former prime minister travelled to America to issue a wake-up call to the free world.

So, at little Westminster College, on March 5, 1946, at the invitation of President Harry Truman, Churchill cut loose:

Nobody knows what Soviet Russia and its Communist international organization intends to do in the immediate future, or what are the limits, if any, to their expansive and proselytizing tendencies….

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of central and eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest, Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in the Soviet sphere and all are subject, in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and increasing measure of control from Moscow.

Churchill conceded these were tough words to hear on the “morrow of a great victory” over Nazism, one where Stalin’s Russia had been an ally. Nonetheless, we could not be blind to reality, and simply wish away the dangers.

Of course, Churchill was exactly right, as anyone paying attention should have noticed. A month earlier, Stalin had delivered his Bolshoi Theater speech, which followed blatant Soviet violations of the Yalta agreement signed a year earlier. Moscow was installing puppet governments and refusing promises of free elections throughout Eastern Europe, all the while committing countless war crimes, especially in eastern Germany, where Red Army soldiers committed two million rapes.

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  • Anthony

    Very enlightening article. I never knew that such was the case. How could so many people in power fail to see the obvious?

  • Chezwick_Mac

    The challenges of history often bring forth great men. Where is OUR Churchill now?

    • jlkopp

      We have a Churchill. The real question is are we listening and if we are hearing the warning are we acting upon it.

      • StephenD

        I'll bet you Dollars to Donuts…none of this is taught in our schools.

  • tim heekin

    to those not familiar with Alexander Yakovlev mentioned in this post, Yakovlev was appointed by Gorbachov (sp) to ascertain the number of people Stalin was responsible for killing. Yakovlev was a lifelong Communist and knew where to look to find this diabolical information within the Soviet archives and secret documents. His estimates are some 50 million above Robert Conquest's figures the heretofore gold standard on Russian slaughter. This is not to denigrate the great Robert Conquest in any way he simply didn't have the access, etc. that Yakovlev had. The "Black Book of Communism" uses Conquest's (and others) figures when arriving at their 100 million figure. Using Yalovlev figures the incomprehensible100 million would be raised to the incomprehensible 150 million. Yes, Islam has slaughtered 270 million human beings but it has taken them 1400 years to do this.

    • tagalog

      A mere 193,000 a year.

    • no RINO

      Just like Che and Castro.

  • tagalog

    It's true that great crises call for great leaders, and that great leaders sometimes come forth to bring civilization back from the brink of disaster. Unfortunately, history is full of examples where great crises did not generate great leaders, and civilization fell into darkness, sometimes for centuries. One example: the fall of the Roman Empire and the Roman Republic before that.

  • USMCSniper

    To rge informed, it's no surprise that Obama wouldn't want Churchill watching over his shoulder. After all, it was Churchill who, in 1952, ordered a crackdown on the Mau Mau rebellion against British colonial rule in Kenya, Obama's ancestral homeland. Obama's grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, was labeled a subversive during the uprising and spent months in detention as a Mau Mau – read terrorist. Almost all Mau Mau attacks were against "soft" targets: isolated White farms and weakly defended Black communities with machetes.

  • ThePittsburghSteeler

    Excellent article; John F. Kennedy was influenced by Churchill, and his foreign policy showed it. Would that we had someone like Churchill in the WH today.

    The Pittsburgh Steeler

  • waterwillows

    These are the times that can strengthen or break a man. It is not unlike when Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage.
    We now see the pottage for what it really is. Shall we also sell our birthright of freedom for a mess of pottage?
    I think not! Now is the time to stand up and speak. To come forth and fight if necessary.
    We shall never, ever sell. It is ours to keep.

  • Supreme_Galooty

    Of course, Churchill was much reviled at the same time as he was much admired, and sorely needed. In those days, sensible folks, having not yet been subjected to the long track record of insane degeneracy foisted on us by the left, still considered them to be actual human beings. Now that we know better, we still tolerate them in our midst. And for the life of me, I cannot understand the paucity of reason, the feebleness of character, the flaccidness of resolve, the very impotence of those who cherish Liberty, as they wallow in apathy before the intellectual poverty of the left.

  • avidyananda

    I can't help but think that this speech is another reason that Obama returned the Churchill bust to England.

    • Denise

      That's exactly what I was thinking!

      • avidyananda

        I've just finished Cashill's book, Deconstructing Obama, a very convincing book in its core arguments. It is a great shamefor the people of this country, especially for the media, and for the entertainers and academics that put this fraud and mediocre talent into the White House. The question is: Will the US survive his time in office? Avidyananda

  • kblink45

    There is something Santorum said in his last victory speech that resonates with the subject of this article. Churchill was not perfect, but he was proud of his nation, and for all the right reasons. He understood better than anyone the vagaries of history.

    Santorum is proud of America and proud of Americans. I don't see that with Newt, in particular, as he joined the environmentalist bandwaggon, which, let's face it, views American industry as publice enemy #1.

    While I wouldn't put any statesman besides dear Ronald Reagan in the league of Churchill, it is worth noting what a courageous, articulate and proud citizen of a free nation can accomplish, even against the darkest tides.