‘An Iron Curtain Has Descended Upon the Continent’

Dave in Texas
Ace of Spades HQ

Churchill’s speech at Westminster College, this day, in 1946.

There were many fond references to hopes of the United Nations, sprinkled with fops about an”international armed force” based on Anglo-American dominance. There were references to our recent war cooperation with “my wartime comrade” Uncle Joe.

But as a minister without portfolio, he called it like he saw it, and he laid out the future of the Cold War.

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 and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in some cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow. Athens alone — Greece with its immortal glories — is free to decide its future at an election under British, American and French observation. The Russian-dominated Polish Government has been encouraged to make enormous and wrongful inroads upon Germany, and mass expulsions of millions of Germans on a scale grievous and undreamed-of are now taking place. The Communist parties, which were very small in all these Eastern States of Europe, have been raised to pre-eminence and power far beyond their numbers and are seeking everywhere to obtain totalitarian control. Police governments are prevailing in nearly every case, and so far, except in Czechoslovakia, there is no true democracy.

He just couldn’t see far enough past that, to our present dilemma.

Not bad though. Who could have, back then?

There’s a video of clips from the speech posted at Ace of Spades.


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