Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” at 65


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The former prime minister spoke the truth.

Naturally, Stalin responded by blasting Churchill: “To all intents and purposes, Mr. Churchill now takes his stand among the warmongers.”

Churchill expected Stalin’s reaction. He also would not have been surprised to learn that members of Communist Party USA had gathered at Fourth Avenue in New York to prepare a P.R. strategy to smear his plans to launch “a new world war.” The international communist movement wasted little time.

Yet, Churchill was taken aback by the response of many progressive Americans. Eleanor Roosevelt was furious. She accused the courageous prime minister of “desecrating the ideals for which my husband gave his life.” She took a personal swipe: “Perhaps it’s just as well,” she publicly sneered at Churchill, “that he [FDR] is not alive today to see how you have turned against his principles.”

President Truman was stunned by the outrage among the liberal/progressive left. He had read the speech ahead of time, and seemed fine with it. Nonetheless, once confronted by angry reporters, Truman distanced himself from the former prime minister. According to historian James Humes, Churchill was so troubled by Truman’s disappointment that he did not recover until he found a friendly smile (and a drink) at the Gettysburg home of World War II pal Dwight Eisenhower.

Journalist David Brinkley, who covered the speech, recalled that his fellow press people were appalled; they thought Churchill had lost his mind.

Of course, we know the rest of the story.

In the next few years, the Soviets blockaded Berlin, sponsored a coup in Czechoslovakia, and swallowed up Eastern Europe. According to the seminal work by Harvard University Press, The Black Book of Communism, at least 100 million people were killed by communist governments—a conservative figure that, even then, is double the combined deaths of World War I and II. Soviet authorities like Alexander Yakovlev maintain that Stalin alone was responsible for 60-70 million deaths.

It took the rest of the world a while to awaken to Churchill’s reality. When it did, it recognized the prime minister as a political prophet. But on March 5, 1946, Winston Churchill was a voice in the wilderness.

— Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values. His books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and the newly released “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”

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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.