Winston Churchills Iron Curtain Speech

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Churchill believes the Soviet Union "desires the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines." How might those expansionist desires - challenge the Western principle of national political self-determination, a cause it championed during World War 2?

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The speech by Churchill presented the idea that there was an attempt by the Soviet Union to create communism in the governments of Eastern Europe and worldwide. He tries to present his thoughts concerning the possible solution to deal with the threat of conflict by depending on the UN and his belief on their efficiency. He gives new hope and encouragement about the process and differentiates that this new world formation will be established on a solid rock from the beginning and will not be a pretense. He speaks about the reality of tyranny and suggests that those enjoying the fruits of war should fight for it, and stand up uphold the human rights and freedom. This should be done though at a later point since it has been evident in the past that it comes with challenges after the war. He then reminds people about the aftermath of each conflict the expectations after another war.

Churchill's speech acknowledges "Russia's need to be secure on her western borders," but at the same time it raises concerns about Soviet actions in Eastern Europe. Is Churchill being inconsistent? Or does he provide concrete justifications for those concerns?

Churchill, in his speech is right to acknowledge Russias need to be secure on her western borders, but at the same time worry about their actions there. In his speech, one of the weighty matters that he talked about is suffering of the common people brought about by war. He is totally against any possibility of war, hence his reason to champion for the strengthening of the United Nations for the purposes of preventing any possibility of its occurrence. He believes that the Soviet Unions stay at the border and their activities might trigger war with the western countries, due to their determination to expand their power and doctrines. He fears that the union might attempt to provoke the western powers into war and this would not be good for the world. He further justifies his point of view by pointing out the effects of war and what might happen in the event of another war. Therefore, he is not so comfortable with Russias activities on the border with the western countries.

In his speech, Churchill asserts "There is nothing they (the Russians) admire so much as strength, and nothing for which they have less respect for than military weakness." If he isn't advocating a direct military confrontation with the Soviet Union, then what is he saying?

In his view, I think Churchill is not advocating for a direct military confrontation but is just urging the United States and its allies to be alert or cautious. When the Russians are seen to be involved in matters military, it is just possible that they might exploit their perceived rivals weaknesses and cause war. Therefore, this still confirms his proposal that the United Nations be strengthened in order to help bring peace in the world so that the poor do not suffer in the event of war.

Churchill delivered this speech to an American audience, but after reading it one might conclude it could have been given in any western country. Why did he pick the US?

There are various reasons why Churchill chose to deliver his speech in the US and not any other place. Churchill himself is an American and believed that it was good to ensure that his home country is put on alert or to know his mind about world politics. Another reason is that the US is also the world superpower, hence has a direct influence in the world politics. Therefore, delivering his speech to the Americans could have much impact compared to any other place.


Churchill, W. (March 5, 1946). Sinews of Peace, (the Iron Curtain Speech), presented at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.

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