Thursday, March 5, 2015

On March 5, 1946, Winston Churchill delivered his famous "Iron Curtain" speech in Fulton Missouri

On March 5, 1946, Winston Churchill delivered his famous "Iron Curtain" speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo.

Churchill Assails Soviet Policy 
Distinguished Visitors at Westminster College
Calls for Association of U. S., British to Stern Russian Expansion
 'Iron Curtain' Dividing Europe Is Not What We Fought For, Churchill Says at Fulton, Mo.
By Harold B. Hinton
Special to The New York Times
Fulton, Mo., March 5 -A fraternal association between the British Empire and the United States was advocated here today by Winston Churchill to stem "the expansive and proselytizing tendencies" of the Soviet Union.
Introduced by President Truman at Westminster College, 
Great Britain's wartime Prime Minister asserted that a mere balance of power in the world today would be too narrow a margin and would only offer "temptations to a trial of strength."
On the contrary, he added that the English-speaking peoples must maintain an overwhelming preponderance of power on their side until "the highroads of the future will be clear, not only for our time but for a century to come."
Says Curtain Divides Europe
Mr. Churchill painted a dark picture of post-war Europe, on which "an iron curtain has descended across the Continent" from Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic.
Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Sofia and Bucharest are all being subjected to increasing pressure and control from Moscow, he said, adding:
"This is certainly not the liberated Europe we fought to build up. Nor is it, one which contains the essentials of permanent peace."
Even in front of the "iron curtain," he asserted, Italy was hampered in its efforts to return to a normal national existence by "Communist-trained Marshal Tito's claims to former Italian territory," and the re-establishment of a strong France was impeded by fifth columns working "in complete unity and absolute obedience to the directions they receive from the Communist center."
He strongly intimated a parallel between the present position of the Soviet Union with that of Germany in 1935, when, he said, "Germany might have been saved from the awful fate which has overtaken her and we might all have been spared the miseries Hitler let loose upon mankind without a single shot being fired."
But time is running short, he warned, if the world is not "to try to learn again, for a third time, in a school of war incomparably more rigorous than that from which we have just been released."
His words, he continued, were not offered in the belief that war with the Soviet Union was inevitable or imminent. He expressed the view that Russia does not desire war, but cautioned that Moscow does desire the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of its power and policies.
Appeasement Is Opposed
The difficulties of the Western democracies, he said, will not be removed by closing their eyes to them, by waiting to see what happens, or by a policy of appeasement.
Expressing admiration and regard for Marshal Stalin, Mr. Churchill asserted that the English-speaking peoples understood Russia's need to secure her western frontiers against renewed German aggression and welcomed Russia into her rightful place among the leading countries of the world.
From his experience with them, he said that he learned that Russians admired nothing so much as strength, and that they had no respect for military weakness.
Given an overwhelming show of strength on the side of upholding the principles of the United Nations Organization, Mr. Churchill asserted, the Soviet Union would be prepared to come to a settlement of outstanding differences with the Western world.
He suggested that the secret of the atomic bomb be kept in the hands of the United States, Great Britain and Canada, because "it would be imprudent and wrong" to confide it to the UNO, while that organization was "still in its infancy."
He said that no one in the world had slept less well because the atomic secret was in its present custody, but the people of the world would not rest so soundly if that secret were possessed by "some Communist or neo-Fascist State."
He also called for immediate establishment of a UNO air force, to be made up of a number of squadrons from member countries capable of supplying them. These squadrons would be trained and equipped at home, but would be stationed abroad. They would not be required to go into action against their own country, but would otherwise be at the orders of the UNO.
Although he expressed confidence in the ultimate ability of the UNO to preserve the peace of the world, Mr. Churchill said that it must become "a true temple of peace' and not 'merely a cockpit in the Tower of Babel."
Comparing its inception with that of the League of Nations, he regretted that he could not "see or feel the same confidence or even the same hopes in the haggard world at this time."
The fraternal association he advocated between the British Empire and the United States would include interchange of officers and cadets among the military schools of the associates, similarity of weapons and training manuals, common war plans, joint use of all naval and air bases and intimate relationships among high military advisers.
With this potential strength behind them, he said, the English-speaking peoples could reach "now, in 1946, a good understanding on all points with Russia."
The special relationships of the type he urged, Mr. Churchill argued, would be fully consistent with loyalty to the UNO.
He recalled the special relations between the United States and Canada, the United States and the other American republics, and the twenty-year treaty between Great Britain and Russia (he interjected that "I agree with Mr. Bevin [British Foreign Minister] that it might well be a fifty-year treaty") as examples of international cooperation which serve to buttress, not undermine, the peace of the world.
The United States now stands at the pinnacle of world power, Mr. Churchill asserted, and shares with the other English-speaking peoples what he described as the over-all strategic concept of "the safety and welfare, the freedom and progress of all the homes and families of all the men and women in all the lands."
For the United States to ignore or fritter away its "clear and shining" opportunity would be to "bring upon us all the long reproaches of the after-time," he added.
Turning to the Far East, Mr. Churchill called the outlook there "anxious," especially in Manchuria, despite the aspects of the Yalta agreement, to which he was a party.
He defended the agreement on the ground that the war with Germany was then expected to last until the autumn of 1945, with the war against Japan calculated to endure eighteen months after that.
Mr. Churchill gave his listeners the impression that he and President Roosevelt would not have dealt so generously with Marshal Stalin, had they realized that collapse of the Axis was near at hand.
War and tyranny were the twin evils Mr. Churchill saw threatening the world today. He looked for the hunger and distress now afflicting so much of the world to pass fairly quickly, and for "the inauguration and enjoyment of an age of plenty." "Nothing can stand in the way of such an outcome," he said, except "human folly or sub-human crime."
Mr. Churchill described himself as a "private visitor" with no official mission or status of any kind, and as a man whose early private ambitions had been satisfied beyond his wildest dreams. He said that Mr. Truman had granted him full liberty "to give you my true and faithful counsel in these anxious and baffling times." In his introduction, the President said that he and Mr. Churchill both believed in freedom of speech, adding:
"I know he will have something constructive to say."
When Mr. Truman later took the platform to acknowledge the doctorate of laws which Westminster conferred on him, as well as on Mr. Churchill, he told the audience that it was "your moral duty and mine to see that the Charter of the United Nations is implemented as the law of the land and the law of the world."
The President, however, made no direct reference to the "fraternal association" Mr. Churchill suggested.
"We are either headed for complete destruction or are facing the greatest age in history," Mr. Truman said, adding: "It is up to you to decide, and up to me to see that we follow that path toward that great age and not toward destruction. "The release of atomic energy has given us a force which means the happiness and welfare of every human being on earth or the destruction of civilization. "I prefer to think we have the ability, the moral stamina and the energy to see that the great age comes about, not destruction." Churchill Drops Serious Note When it came Mr. Churchill's turn to thank Dr. Franc Lewis McCluer, the faculty and trustees of Westminster College for the honor they conferred on him, he dropped the serious tenor of his earlier address and made the following remarks: "Mr. President, President McCluer, Members of the Faculty: I am not sure that I may say fellow members of the faculty. I am most grateful, and through you to the authorities of the State of Missouri and to the college authorities, for their great kindness in that conferring upon me another of these degrees, which I value so highly and, as I was saying only the other day at Miami, which have a double attraction to me, that they do not require any preliminary examinations. "I value very much this token of good-will which comes from this center of education in the very heart of the United States and in the State which is so dear to the heart of the President of this great country. "I also thank you all here for the great patience, indulgence, kindness and attention to listen to what I had to say, for I am quite sure it will have been right and wise to say at this juncture. I am very glad to have had this opportunity and am grateful to all who have come here and assisted me to discharge my task.
"I am, of course, unswerving in my allegiance to my own king and country, but I can never feel entirely a foreigner in the United States, which is my motherland and where my ancestors, forebears on that side of the family for five generations, have lived.
"I was, however, a little puzzled the other day when one branch of the Sons of the Revolution invited me to become a member, on the grounds that my forebears doubtedly fought in Washington's armies.
"I felt on the whole that I was on both sides then, and therefore I should adopt as far as possible an unbiased attitude. But I may justly tell you how proud is my love for this great and mighty nation and empire of the United States."
This was a gala day in Fulton and Jefferson City, the State Capital, where the President and Mr. Churchill left their train. In both towns the motor cavalcade drove slowly around the principal streets, which were lined with spectators.
Police estimated that the normal population of 8,000 turned out in Fulton and was augmented by some 20,000 visitors who had come from as far distant as St. Louis.
Dr. McCluer entertained the President and Mr. Churchill with the members of their immediate party at luncheon in his home on the campus before the ceremonies.
The President and Mr. Churchill marched into the gymnasium at the end of the long academic procession. Mr. Truman wore the hood indicating the honorary doctorate of laws conferred on him last summer by the University of Kansas City, while Mr. Churchill wore a scarlet hood indicating an Oxford degree.
Mr. Churchill's speech was received with marked applause in the passages where it dealt with the responsibility of this country to see that another World War was avoided, but the proposal for "fraternal association" brought only moderate handclapping.