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tv   Winston Churchills Iron Curtain Speech  CSPAN  March 6, 2021 8:00pm-9:01pm EST

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american history tv is on social media follow us at c-spanhistory. bolton missouri's westminster college invited winston churchill to speak in march 1946. not long after the british prime minister who guided england through world war ii was voted out of office townspeople welcomed churchill and president harry truman with the parade and 2700 of them gathered in the college gym and heard churchill declare an iron curtain has descended across the continent next. we'd look back 75 years at one of the cold wars most iconic speeches with timothy riley of america's national churchill museum. he joined us from fulton, missouri first in excerpt from mr. churchill's speech.
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that in in the baltic to trieste in the adriatic. an iron curtain has descended across the continent. behind that line thy all the capitals of the ancient states of central and eastern europe. warsaw berlin broad vienna budapest belgrade bucharest and sofia to all these payments as it is and population around them lie. in russia, i must call the soviet. and all our subjects in one form or another not only to soviet influence. but to a very high and in some cases increasing measure of control from from moscow. and attempted being made by the russians in berlin to build up a quasi. party in their throne of
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occupied, germany by showing special data to groups of left-wing german leader. at the end of the fighting last june the american and british armies withdrew westward in accordance with an earlier agreement to adapt at some points of 150 miles upon the front of nearly 409 in order to allow our russian allies to occupy this vast expansive territory, which the western democracies had conquered. if now the soviet union government tries by separate action. to build up a pro germany in their areas. this will cause new serious difficulties in the american and british zones. and will give the defeated germans the power of putting themselves up to walk. between the soviet and the western democracy whatever
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conclusions may be drawn from these facts. in fact, they are. this is certainly not the liberated europe. we thought to build up. nor is it one which contains the essentials of permanent? peace? all the other hand they didn't gentleman. i repulsed the idea. that a new war is inhibited still more that it is imminent. it is because i am sure that our fortunes are still in our hands. in our own hands and that we hold the power to save the future that i feel the duty to speak out now. that was winston churchill 75 years ago on march 5th 1946 at westminster college in fulton, missouri. timothy. riley joins us now from america's national churchill museum at westminster college. timothy. good morning. good morning.
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thank you for having me on and i want to remind our viewers that we are not only here on washington journal, but we're also simulcasting on american history tv on c-span 3 right now as well. so timothy explain to us what winston churchill was doing in fulton, missouri on march 5th 1946. 75 years ago in a day. it's a question. we get asked every day here at america's national church of museum. why in the world would winston churchill visit westminster college in central, missouri in the heart of america, and i guess the simple answer is the college asked him to come but the longer answers a little more complicated. we have to take take you back really to the end of world war ii. there was ve day in europe in may of 1945. the allies had been victorious in world war ii in europe things
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were looking good for churchill for harry truman. and of course the other of the big three and this in in the alliance of stalin in the soviet union, they had won the war in europe shortly thereafter. there was an election in britain in general election and churchill's party lost the election so suddenly arguably most recognizable figure in the world in winston churchill is without a job. he's no longer prime minister and he is by all accounts. someone taken aback despondent depressed his wife clementine churchill famously said to winston, you know winston. this is a blessing in disguise to which winston replied. well, it's very effectively disguised. and so, you know churchill was not in the greatest of spirits after the election loss, but it was really in on the heels of that loss that he received and invitation from westminster
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college here in fulton, missouri where we're broadcasting from here today. and the president of the college gentleman named frank mcclure said i would like you to come and deliver the john findlay green foundation lecturer a lecture ship that had been endowed at the college and i'm convinced this letter would have been given to a secretary churchill would have said tell them i can't possibly come but but thank them churchill was usually polite in his refusals, but there was a handwritten note on the bottom of the invitation letter that said this is a wonderful school in my home state if you come i'll introduce you. hope you can do it. harry truman and when the president you signed that that postscript and long hand at the bottom of the letter churchill immediately took notice and knew that he would be back on the world stage if he had president truman next to him on a platform. i'm not sure churchill knew where westminster college was when he accepted this but
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truman's endorsement of that invitation was really the trick that did it and and churchill then began plans in october to to travel the united states. it's been several weeks in miami. i was very smart man in january of 46 spent several weeks in miami relaxing painting and crafting the iron curtain speech. so, you know, the answer is is the college asked they had a little bit of help from the president of the united states who appealed to churchill as well. so we've talked about this just a little bit, but tell us what winston churchill's political status was in the uk at that time. like you said his party had been voted out of power. does that mean he had no more political influence. this speech was just his opinion only. he said as much from the platform here at fulton. he said what do you see is what you get. he said that famously from the stage at fulton though. he was very clever. he knew that what you saw was a
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man who was the leader of the opposition party and in britain next to the president of the united states? you know seldom does that happen when you see, you know, the president invite the leader of the opposition party to speak. so churchill knew he was in the right spot and even though he somewhat downplayed his position and and said i'm here as a private citizen, you know the world knew and certainly churchill himself knew his stature and his power of observation for geopolitics. the truth is churchill had more to say and the iron curtain speech, which he entitled sinus of peace was his his his calling card to to have a world stage a platform ironically in a very small town in the middle of missouri in the heartland of america. but so churchill knew what he was doing when was saying those words. well, as you said it became
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known as the iron curtain speech, but at that point, what was the state of the cold war where were america and the soviet union at that point? you know, it's complicated. because you have to remember that the soviet union were our allies in world war ii and that they suffered greatly, you know, the millions of losses of casualties on the soviet side and in general sense the americans and two degree winston churchill appreciated the russian people certainly for the sacrifice that they made without the soviets. the war not would not have been one and it was a necessary alliance in in the second world war but in the aftermath it really began at the alta conference in 1945 with fdr when he was still alive and maybe even earlier at the teran conference with the big three
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there was a beginning to be a fracture in the alliance and the post war outlook was such that you know who's going to be, you know in control of the eastern european countries. europe, you know churchill for instance wanted to very much defend poland and other countries thinking that it should be a sovereign state. i think joseph stalin had other plans and you know churchill began to see this and after the the victory in europe and after the end of the world war i churchill notices that the americans the british went home. they sent their troops back to england. they sent their troops back to the states joseph stalin's armies for the most part stayed put and they did not retreat east back to moscow and this is what churchill called the iron curtain which is descended across the continent and churchill sees this and warns
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the world that you know without a proper buttress to counter that soviet looming threat the next threat could be in fact soviet communism and expansion of philosophies into europe and that was the crux of churchill's message to the soviets here at westminster college in fulton. liberty remind all of our viewers that we are talking today about winston churchill's iron curtain speech the 75th anniversary. we're going to open up our phone lines for a conversation about the 75th anniversary of churchill's speech. we're going to open up regional lines. that means that if you are in the eastern or central time zones, we want to hear from you at 202-748-8000 if you are in the mountain or pacific time zones your numbers going to be 202 748 8001. keep in mind.
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you can always text us at 202748-8003 and we're always reading on social media on twitter at c-span wj and on facebook at slash c-span. so timothy reminds our viewers what were some of the other key events in the early days of the cold war? well again, as i mentioned you have to really start with the end of world war ii with victory in europe day, which churchill was a part of then of course vijay day that the victory over japan in august of 1945. churchill was no longer prime minister by that time and of course harry truman had the big decision to make with the atomic bombs at hiroshima and nagasaki, you know, but after that one of the next major chapters was in fact the iron curtain speech on march 5th, 1946 75 years ago
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after that you'll see, you know, the marshall plan that that unfolded as part of the cold war. that was a really some of the ideas and how to reconstruct europe after the war came out of the fulton speech, but also more importantly in 1946 churchill was in bold to make another speech in zurich famous speech in zurich where he called for a united states of europe. and certain into action many of the things that are outlined in the marshall plan and of course after the iron curtain speech many of the things that churchill warned about came to pass and the soviet expansion was was real and the west responded very much following churchill's playbook with the berlin airlift after the berlin rock blockade the truman plan came in to be which was a blueprint taken from churchill's playbook, and it really did
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inform and inspire the west to to ultimately wage, you know, they're they're tactics in the war for decades to come. let's talk about some of the specifics from churchill's speech. so i'm going to play for our viewers a piece of his march 5th. 1946 speech where churchill is talking about his concerns about an a policy a policy of appeasement when it comes to soviet here's that part this is certainly not deliberated europe. we fought to build up. nor is it one which contains the essentials of permanent? peace? twice the united states and had to send several millions of its young men across the atlantic to find the war. but now walk and find any nation wherever it may dwell. between dusk and dawn i do not
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believe that soviet russia desires war. what they did not is the fruits of war and the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines. but what we have to consider here today while time remains it's a permanent prevention of war. and the establishment of conditions of freedom and democracy and rapidly as possible in all countries. our difficulties and dangerous will not be removed. outing our eyes to them they will not be removed by mia waiting to see what happens. nor will they be removed by a policy of appease? what was churchill actually asking the us to do at that point? you know, it's very very telling that's a great section of the speech the entire speech lasted 50 minutes, but in many ways that section is one of the most important because churchill is saying quite clearly, you know
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that he does not think the soviets desire war. he's not suggesting that but perhaps the fruits of war and an expansion of their doctrines and powers. that is the threat that that churchill warns about and he said in order to do something about it the west namely the angle of american relationship britain in the united states need to work together and and take this on the head on not a pease uses the word appeasement. which for churchill was a very very conscious word choice, you know churchill new full. well that the policy of appeasement that had been floated prior to the first second world war. one that did not work out very well later in the speech churchill says that you know, there would never was a war meaning the second world war that could have been prevented like the last one that had so
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recently as he said ravaged such great areas of europe and he said churchill the the second world war could have been prevented without the firing of a single shot, but no one would listen to churchill in the 1930s and he says here in fulton that surely ladies and gentlemen, we must not let that happen again. and so we we being the west the united states and britain as he said need to stand firm and not appease the soviets because he feared if he did then those expanded doctrines of communism would creep creep westward and the world would be a far different place. so this is churchill's backstop against potential soviet expansion. let's let some of our viewers join in on this conversation about the 75th anniversary of winston churchill's iron curtain
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speech at westminster college. let's start with david who's calling from denison, texas, david. good morning. good morning. that's a great speech although you would think that churchill would have certainly known what stalin was gonna be up to also as far as stalin being an ally he was of course allied with germany before he was allied with us, us, russia and germany invaded poland. and russia, of course had its not aggression packed with with germany which surprised the world and russia provided the staging and the training grounds for german military forces when they were they were in the process of violating the varicide treaty. that's how they got to organize their forces. so none of this should have been a surprise as far as the i mean britain in europe was the only country that had an army left of course, and it was dwarfed by what we had. so wasn't that europe resisted russia america resisted russia on europe's behalf, which is the same thing we're doing now.
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churchill why he wasn't listened to then. he made a lot of mistakes the world war. i was the he was in charge of the admiralty the attack in the dardanelles up to gallipoli was one of the monstrous disasters of world war. i was kind of up and down in as far as all that was going and at the end of world war ii he was shocked that he was thrown out of office. but britain was on its way to socialism and when people compare it wanted to compare america's so-called movement towards socialism to venezuela. i say you are wrong. look at britain right after the war up to margaret thatcher. that's the benchmark you want to look at not this other. so i admire churchill's prescience in 1938-39. in fact, i'm reading just finished a book on german bankers the warburg which the bank the banking and finance has so much to do with or politics. they were involved in the very side treaty of from both sides the warburg family both up both the both jewish bankers. they walked away from the treaty
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because they knew that it was they new the german. it was just going to lead to another world war. they new the germans couldn't afford it and then the nazi use the fact that they were even there as proof that the jewish bank international banking was part was responsible for germany's flight and what ultimately they used as an excuse for what they did the jews and one last thing if if i can please get it in. there didn't have to be a holocaust. again, i'm finishing up the warburg book by ron chernow. the germans would have been happy for the for the for the jews to have been ransomed out and there were plans to get them out the united states refused to raise its limit on letting jews into this country above 25,000. they couldn't get them out. you caded some of the same kind of stuff. they could have got them out. the germans would have been very happy. they were still in there all their money before they let him out anyway, so they were gonna get their wealth. they wouldn't have to get their hands dirty on the rest of it
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and after after crystal knock in november 1938 that was over with but go ahead and respond timothy. well, you know, there's a lot to unpack there the first of all, you know, your attitude about churchill and and and and and bolshevism and communism is correct, you know churchill certainly knew and early on was not a fan of bolshevism and communism the alliance with the soviets during this second world war. i was a necessary one. it was simply a repositioning and redeployment of forces there was there was no way that the allies certainly britain could not have done it alone, you know churchill wound president roosevelt to to send materials through land lease the soviets actually got a better deal through land o'lakes and britain did and you know churchill new that but he needed help. i mean he was standing alone in
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1939 in 1940. as germany was was swallowing up pieces of europe and all of europe for that. matter and when it became necessary to form an alliance with the soviets he did so by a matter of necessity it was you know, churchill was a shrewd politician and geo geopolitics was you know, the arena that he loved to play in and was very effective and he made that decision with with out of necessity really and ultimately was it was the right decision, but he knew and and that's really coming back to the iron curtain speech that once the war was over they needed to go back and deal with the soviets and and really that's in large measure what what the speech is about and it's about standing up to the soviets but not alone but forming an angle american alliance or a special
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relationship. he called it in this speech only that relationship and and and the quote played earlier the expansion of democracy liberty and freedom that the two countries have long shared that churchill says, you know in the magna carta and the bill of rights and he says in the iron curtain speech that reached their highest manifestation in the declaration of them independence. these are the values that the countries together need to face and stand up and that's really what he's looking for in the iron curtain speech. so what was his relationship with stalin at that point and we know that he had a long-term relationship where president roosevelt. what was his relationship with president truman? well the by the time of the iron curtain speech his relationship with stalin was this was really the last straw, you know, stalin was living at the speech in fulton here. he said quite clearly it was
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warmongering. it was a declaration of war prior to that churchill had been somewhat polite to to stalin he would send greetings and say he was a great man kind of maybe stroking his eagle a little bit, but stalin knew full. well that that churchill was was coming after his ideology and iron curtain speech was was the warning and more than a warning shot to soviet union as far as his relationship with harry truman, you know, that's a very fascinating relationship the two men really didn't know one another when they first met at potsdam right after at the end of the war, you know church of course goes to potsdam with truman and stalin not sure what to expect of harry truman. i think you know, he was he had known roosevelt very well, but truman was this this new person
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from the middle west the churchill didn't know as much about i don't think churchill had high expectations for harry truman until truman started to speak and then churchill realized that truman was the right man for the right job, but they really forged their relationship in some ways on the train ride from washington to missouri on march 4th, 1946 on the way to the iron curtain speech, you know, they were an overnight train. there was a little bit of poker diplomacy the two men played cards and shared churchill shared early drafts of the iron curtain speech with harry truman. who approved and said you know, i think this is going to create quite a stir but i think you're on to something here. truman said to churchill of course after the speech truman distance himself and said, you know uncharactive question and characteristically for truman. he said i hadn't seen the speech in advance. you know, eleanor roosevelt was was livid after the speech. she did not approve of the
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speech. she thought it was a threat to the alliance that her husband and and churchill had started so truman some what distance himself immediately after the speech but in the end truman had great affection for churchill's words and and again use the speech in many ways as a blueprint for the truman doctrine plan that that was the united states recipe for waging a cold war. let's talk to clarence who's calling from east lansing, michigan clarence. good morning. yes, good morning. gentlemen. good morning, you know. yes, i've been inspired just about hearing your more about the speech that i never really realized. that was given, you know, so far just been receiving just snippets of a churchill speeches that he gave. i think it's one of the greatest
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history, you know people in history one of the greatest stations that ever lived in i hate to say it, but possibly we may have been speaking german or japanese. so italian now, it's a wonderful people like him, you know. i feel like he doesn't get enough credit. and so thank you, sir for enlightening me and i'm going to you know, seek further to find out as much as i can about the gentleman. thank you. well, thank you for calling in. i think you know we churchill's words resonate today. not only the iron curtain speech but a lot of his his great speeches in order he was in fact had had a vision and could see a global landscape like few leaders can so it's it's worth worth studying and i'm glad we're we're we're we have the chance to talk about him here at the america's national churchill museum every day, but certainly with milestone anniversaries like the one where commemorating now it's a chance for us to look a fresh and new at these words.
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like you said earlier, the speech was called the sun news of peace. but it's been come known as the iron curtain speech. where did churchill come up with the term iron curtain? well iron curtain was really the in iron curtain was a 19th century victorian era steel curtain used in the theater. you know, it was a fire safety measure, you know, there was a fire in the theater and iron curtain would fall across the stage that the fire wouldn't engulf the entire theater. it was a fire protection measure. so it was really an antique phrase but in referring to an iron curtain as really a metaphor for soviet expansion the germans use it first globals used it in in world war ii and churchill used it in correspondence with american officials in before he used it here in the speech so it wasn't a new phrase, but it was so
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certainly coin the phrase iron curtain necessarily, but he certainly gave the currency value in the speech here in fulton and it became really recognized with that but as you mentioned churchill's own title for the speech was sinews of peace interestingly enough frank mcclure the president of westminster college wrote to winston churchill in february 14th. i believe valentine's day asking winston, you know, what will the title of your speech be? you know, we're looking to promote it. we're looking to print the programs and so forth taking care of details and we'd like to know what the title of your address will be in churchill replied to the college saying, you know, he wasn't sure something like world peace. in fact the programs from the day the green foundation lecture that churchill gave simply say, winston churchill. world peace that was the title that was printed in the program churchill decided on the term sinews of peace the night before
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we have in the archives here the near final draft of the speech with the handwritten notes that churchill written by churchill's secretary. he was dictating to his secretary joe sturdy who was taking the final last-minute changes and she writes inserts a new paragraph the paragraph that says, you know i have decided to entitle this speech the sinews of peace. and you know, that is a last-minute rhetorical phrase and churchill knew that the sinew seniors are things that bind us together make us stronger. he's talking about the alliance the anglo-american the special relationship that strength would in fact ensure and protect the peace to come. so it was quite the opposite of how the speech was was in fact, public opinion said in some ways that churchill was a warmonger. it was not at all what he was what he was suggesting but he
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was suggesting military alliance through strength that would preserve ultimately the peace. that was really what the message of which speech was about. we want to remind everyone that we are talking about the 75th anniversary of winston churchill's iron curtain speech and that we're broadcasting both on washington journal and on american history tv on c-span 3 this morning and i want to bring to you another bit of that speech from winston churchill from march 5th. 1946. we're winston churchill is making connections between 1946 and the years that preceded world war ii. here's that part of the speech. you'll never want a war in history. he had to prevent a timely action. than the one which are just desolated such great areas of the government. it could have been prevented. in my belief without the firing of single shot and german y
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prospers an honored today. but no one would listen one by one we were all sucked into the aw. world war ii they didn't gentlemen i put it to you surely we must not let that happen again. now, why did winston churchill want to make these connections to the 1930s and the years leading up to world war ii? you know that clip is a great part of the speech not only for winston's words, but the public reaction if you hear there on the clip the 2700 people gathered in the gymnasium here at westminster college immediately burst into applause. that sentiment was was a really good gauge of public reaction and he's saying, you know clearly that last time he saw it all happening in 1930s referring to the rise of hitler and nazism. and that you know in order to
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prevent the next great tyranny, you know early in the speech. he says there are two main marauders that are a threat to civilization war and tyranny war was very familiar to everyone because we had just ended world war two tyranny was a more abstract notion. tyranny was known because of hitler but churchill is saying that the next tyrant could be soviet russia and you know, he's very clearly saying in that clip that last time no one will listen surely. we cannot have let that happen again and winston churchill is uniquely qualified to say those words. perhaps no one else on the planet. the time would have the gravit to us because of course he was right. he was crying allowed to his countryman as he says in the speech here and no one would listen last time and here he is on the world stage with president of the united states to decide saying this is the
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next threat and you know, we cannot let it happen again. those words carried great weight when churchill said them. let's go to dennis who's calling from norwich, connecticut, dennis. good morning. good morning. thanks for taking my call. everyone agrees that churchill had a great geopolitical vision. is it possible that he actually foresaw the iron curtain years before maybe two or three years before when he recommended that the allies established a front through greece and eastern europe to actually block the soviet army from overtaking eastern europe. as i recall the allies rejected that front. is that true? thanks, i think an argument can
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be made that that that isn't very true. in fact in this by iron curtain speech itself, you know, there's a section where churchill refers to greece and takes credit for greece as being you know the birthplace of democracy as still being democratic. and and said that his his intercession earlier helped make that so but there were other countries and other areas and other regions that were under threat. so i think i think you're right that, you know, certainly churchill using his his his impressions as the word is often associated with his his geopolitical vision was was thinking about this long before march 5th 1946. let's talk to carol who's calling from paul. lee's island, south carol. good morning. good morning gentleman. so this question is sort of outside the box. we are facing global instability
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because of the covid-19 epidemic and also the climate crisis. putting yourself into winston churchill's shoes as he was a great believer in world stability and a visionary. how do you think if he were alive today? how would he approach the existential threats of pandemic and the climate crisis? thank you. you know, that's an excellent question and it's always dangerous to put yourself in winston churchill's shoes and let alone in his mind. he is his no longer with us. he can't say in the world is a different place. so you really is hard to say what he would do or say in the current climate. however, i think is is he said famously the future is a noble but the past can give you hope
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love that line from churchill and you know, it's if you look at the past we can we can we can be hopeful that churchill might have first of all told us like it was a churchill was was very frank with the british people in the second world war. there was an seemingly unsurmountable odds. he said that this will be difficult the dangers and difficulties will be will be true and will be something we need to overcome. it won't be easy churchill warned. however, you know churchill mobilized the english language and sent it into battle as edward r murrow said and he gave the people hope, you know through his words. he was honest. he laid it out and i think in terms of the current challenges the new iron curtains if you will of today, perhaps the global pandemic and climate change churchill would be honest and he'd say we have a problem
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churchill was a big believer in science. he was really one of the first great world leaders to have science advisors at his side before and during the war and afterwards. i think churchill would have looked to scientists kept them close at hand in dealing with both climate change and the pandemic certainly he would have been up to the challenge. he would have seen it. he would have told the people the truth and he would have then acted with knowledge by experts and not try to do it alone. so i think that's in some ways my speculation how churchill might handle the current climate. let's talk to larry who's calling from minneapolis, minnesota larry. good morning. good morning, my mr. riley. thank you very much for being a guest today. it's a very very interesting topic.
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my question relates to you know, one man's idea of appeasement is another, you know, man's idea of real politique. you know, we played the clip of churchill, you know saying we must not have a peacement again. we must not have a peacement but britain went to war and world war ii based on a treaty with poland to guarantee poland independence, and we all know that that was you know, basically quickly forgot. yeah because it wasn't thought to be realistic once we got to 1945 and the soviet union actually occupied far more of eastern europe. that you know then hitler did up until hitler going into poland and were being declared. so i guess i take a little uh, i
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i guess i would have to disagree that. i'm churchill is showing you know this strong antietam at stand in 1945. thank you. good. well, i you know, i think it's clear. however that you know churchill knew and we talked a little bit about this earlier that churchill knew of stalin's record track record, you know, and he knew that stalin ultimately was not someone he wanted to be friendly with, you know, he had to be so during world war ii and you know, it was a good thing in the in the end for the for the allies. however, you know, the the human rights atrocities the the philosophical differences was one that churchill did not in fact want to participate in so
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yeah, i think he did see it as a threat and and doing nothing as he says quite clearly in the iron curtain speech was not an option. so i think you know churchill was was quite staunch in his belief on that front. one of our social media followers wants to know. if you know whether churchill blame the soviet union's influence for his election defeat. it no, i don't know if it's anecdotal or not. but at the potsdam conference allegedly winston churchill is there with with harry truman and stalin and this was july of 1945, i believe and and churchill had to go back to britain. he believe berlin he to leave the german conference to go back home to learn of the election results and stalin is reported to have said to churchill.
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you know, why are you worried? you know turtle was a little worried, but he thought he would win the election and stalin is reported to have said, you know, i've never lost an election style and said to churchill so, you know, there's that there's that note so i don't think there was russian interference in in the general election. 1945 but there was a perhaps a humorous exchange before churchill went home to learn. in fact, he had lost the election. on that day of the speech was the international and national media in fulton to for this speech that they know what how historic this speech was going to be. there was an advanced copy of the speech not a complete final draft circulated to the media. and and yes, so they knew there were a hosts and hosts of radio broadcasters. there was no television coverage though the networks at the time, you know, the television network
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television was in its infancy in 1946, and it was quite a quite an offer that the networks offered to send to the middle of america in rural, missouri here in fulton camera crews to cover cover this speech. in fact, they asked churchill would you in fact the okay if we televise the speech and in churchill was in in miami beach and then cuba before the speech in january of 1946, and he responded to the to the request from westminster college and we have the telegram in our archives, you know. saying i i deprecate complicating the occasion with technical experiments meaning television. it was a new thing and so the speech was not televised because churchill didn't want it to be televised, but it certainly was covered on the radio. there were major networks and major coverage and it was the
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news spread fast about what had been said in fulton. well, let's look at another piece of this tape where of the tapewear winston churchill is talking about the importance of the special relationship between the united states and the united kingdom. here it is. night of the shore prevention of war nor the continuous rise of world organization. we'll be gained without what i have called the fraternal association of the english speaking people. this means a special relationship between the british commonwealth and empire. and the united states of america that special relationship he brings up. there. was this a new way of describing the relationship between the united states and the united kingdom.
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you know it that's a great question and certainly the the iron curtain speech the seniors of peace speech if you will is is the is the time he used it with greatest currency. he mentioned it and passing earlier in the year in 1945, but you know, he really gives that term full weight in the speech here at westminster college and he much of the speech as much as it's about the iron curtain in this and looming of the soviet threat. it's also about a shared value set between britain and america and you know the special relationship the common language come and values of law churchill sites the magna carta british common law the declaration of independence as all being together in the same boat and and churchill realizes that these two great nations churchill himself of course was was american his mother was from
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brooklyn jenny jerome so he had a lifelong affinity for the united states and certainly appreciated and no new full. well, what what the what america and america ends did for world war ii and he's really looking to continue to bolster that relationship that special relationship a term. we continue to use today. the the term is one that churchill also knew that was something they needed at that time, you know the great britain that entered the war was not britain that ended the war. his country was was impoverished needed funding american's power on the world stage, you know early in the speech churchill says, this is a solemn moment for democracy the united states of america is at the pinnacle of world power. and with that power comes responsibility tr.
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realizes that his own country is not in that position. so in many ways he's shopping for the special relationship and that alliance and to to benefit britain certainly behind the scenes in his visit. to the united states before the iron curtain speech churchill is trying to broker a deal to secure funding from the united states as opposition leader for his government, you know, he's looking to to to secure funds to help with the indebtedness of his own country from the united states. so the special relationship was one that we talk about today quite a bit, but it was also a relationship in some ways of necessity for great britain at the time. i'm into a little plug here. we have a new book that the museum just published on the subject. it's called the inspiring history of the special relationship pick it up if you're interested in learning more. it's by nancy carver one of our churchill fellows fascinating new topic and new look at the speech.
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and and the history of that relationship. let's talk to ned who's calling from ketchum, idaho, ned. good morning. how are you doing guys? yeah, i was just wondering if you can maybe comment on our current relationship with britain where biden throughout the best on the overall office the churchills, you know. the statue that they gave us after 9/11 um, that's our courses ally. we're actually trying to pivot right now. to our new five guys alliance with australia, new zealand in canada. you know, i in bed and still trying to keep this in this nato thing where we're just yeah, i mean, what do you think? you know, it's a great question. it seems as always with every new administration every new leader either in britain or here
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in the united states. there's a new chapter that's written about the special relationship and we're writing a new chapter today as far as the bust in the oval office is concerned. you know, i think that you know, the the the statue that was on loan from the british embassy after 9/11 has gone back and forth in and out of the office. there is i happen to know a bust of winston churchill in the white house. it's up in the private residence. it's actually another casting of the same copy. it's been there since 1965. i think there's no no. no threat that just because the statue is moved around in the white house that the special relationship would fail. that's that's one thing i know for certain and i also know that you know, we heard from the ambassador. the united states the british ambassador yesterday during our commemoration of the 75th. we also heard from the state department and there is a a
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renewed look at working together to fight some of the next looming threats one of the one of the things they both mentioned separately was climate change as being if you will the new iron curtain or new threat, and i think that the alliance in the special relationship between the two countries will have to be one that working together to solve as we have done for so long some of the the great global global problems. so i think there's there's great. hope for this special relationship. i don't think it's under threat. i think we will be writing a new chapter in the months and years ahead. let's see, we can squeeze one more collar in let's talk to douglas who's calling from laramie wyoming douglas. good morning. good morning. what can timothy riley say about the reasons and causes of winston churchills having been
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voted out of office while he no longer seen as desirable for the opposite prime minister? that's an excellent question. and i think if i understand it, you know, why was churchill voted out of office? you know, he was an extremely effective war leader and in many ways the this was he stood election at a time when britain was a war weary nation. he had won the war. i think the british people had nothing against winston churchill period as a person but as a as a leader to deal with domestic issues, which he hadn't had to deal with in earnest almost his entire time is prime minister other than the fact of you know, protecting the homeland and dealing with the war effort the rebuilding it was believed by the brits was was best let for someone else and so frankly churchill did not
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campaign. well in 1945, he was tired. he made some comments about his opposition and that late referring to you know, if he had win there would be a gestapo state that's not a really good slogan if you're trying to run for office particularly if you're winston churchill and churchill suffered a great deal so, you know between the british desire to take a new direction to deal with the internal the messick issues that the nation had to face and churchill's frankly some what campaign. it was it was it was a choice that the british made to to go in a different direction and that's when clement adley became became prime minister, of course churchill and natalie knew one another and had respect for one another atlee had served with churchill in the cabinet during the war. so he was not unknown to winston churchill. in fact later on churchill is asked, you know of all the labor
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prime ministers who is who is in fact your most favorite he cites hadley so they remained cordial of course adding new that churchill was coming to fulton and the united states to make this speech and you know ultimately, winston churchill. is vindicated in large measure because of the rejuvenation he has in his political career again in the iron curtain speech in zurich and in 1951, you know in the general election his party wins, and he's prime minister for a second time in 1951 to 55 and is now again at the helm, you know as the cold war is is waging so he lost in 1940 five. he he in some ways it permits him to say things like he said as a private citizen if you will though, he's still the leader of the opposition in fulton here at
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westminster college and and rehabilitate his his career as he did so many times during his long life and and when he stood for election, he's party in 1950 one. he's back at be back at the helm if there's anything about winston churchill that we can admire is you can you down, but he'll always get back up his perseverance and resolve is is extraordinary extraordinary throughout his long 90 year life. let's see if we can get one more quick question and quick answer in let's talk to anthony who's calling from greentown, pennsylvania anthony. can you get a quick question in for us? yeah. sorry. yeah booster ali. good morning. everyone. just a question on his attitude towards china and chiang kai sheck. i was wondering if you just have inside on that. i understand george washington marshall. i didn't like change. hi shack. i'm not sure winston churchill did i don't think he did but if
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they would have prevented the communists taking over china back then we've been a different world right now, but thank you very much for your parents. i'll take it offline. you know that that's a really good point that you know, china is is certainly in the news today and and people are talking about the great wall in the iron curtain. i can look to the speech, you know, we could do a whole program on this topic but in the time we have remaining i'll simply say that you know churchill himself some of avoided the subject in the speech here. he mentions china in the iron curtain speech. it's almost a throwaway line. they're very few such lines in the iron curtain speech, but he acknowledges china's existence and he says essentially you americans know china. well, i need not talk too much about it here and he moves on he moves on so it would be very interesting to see and to think if churchill had a little more space and maybe had a 55-minute
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speech as opposed to the 50-minute speech he gave to comment on china so he doesn't he doesn't take on china in the iron curtain speech. but it's a question well worth asking and perhaps we can we can find time on another program to explore it more depth because i think as you say and suggest, you know, the china and its world it's it's influence. today is something that churchill would be talking about. i suspect if alive today. congress has recognized your museum as america's permanent tribute to winston churchill. what's your mission there at the churchill museum? well, it really is to to preserve history and to lift up history, you know, winston churchill himself his greatest advice to young people was study history study history in history, like all the secrets to statecraft and here we live with history part of the museum as a
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17th century christopher wren church that was bombed in the blitz in london relocated here to fulton in the 1960s stone by stone as a permanent memorial in tribute to churchill. we have a piece of the berlin wall here the concrete manifestation of the iron curtain when it came down president reagan dedicated it in 1990 one year after the breach of the wall. that is a sculpture now by edwina sands who happens to be churchill's granddaughter. so we've got these monuments to history history continues to happen here world leaders continue to come to westminster college and and the museum we've had mikhail gorbachev president re margaret thatcher these great leaders in cold warriors if you will who helped end the war have followed in churchill's footsteps and the museum plays a great role in that the westminster college platform for world leaders to make remarks and speeches is quite extraordinary and it really is a ripple effect from what happened
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here on this campus 75 years ago. we're still living with it history is not old we live with it and see it and continue to be influenced by today. talk a little bit about that statue. you were just mentioning the breakthrough statue talk a little bit about it and tell us why it's there. well, you know edwina sands, who is winston churchill's granddaughter a very gifted internationally known artistic. saw the berlin wall fall on television like many of us did and had a notion to relocate eight sections of the berlin wall from berlin to fulton as a as a as a sculpture, but she did something interesting she carved through these these abstract male and female figures through the wall so you can break through the formidable barrier between communism and freedom. she entitled the sculpture breakthrough. so the once the iron curtain was breached in churchill's granddaughters an artist has this remarkable work on the
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campus outside the museum. it really is an extraordinary exclamation point on the story though. some are saying these days. is that a question mark not an exclamation point interesting comment on and whether or not the cold is in fact over. well, this has been a absolutely great conversation timothy. we really appreciate you coming on here and and talking with us about the history of the iron curtained speech and your churchill museum there one of the questions what what can people expect to see from the museum coming up in the future really quickly? well, you know join us online right now if you missed the virtual programming from our 75th camera admiration yesterday, we've archived six hours of footage we've had. world leaders diplomats churchill family members commenting and if you want more go to our youtube channel for america's national churchill museum, and you'll see you'll see much more about this really
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rich and important topic and what's the website we can go to national churchill well, we'd like to thank everyone who's joined us both here on washington journal and on american history tv tv for this conversation this morning we would like to thank timothy riley for being on with us this morning he is the director and chief curator of americans national churchill museum timothy. thank you so much for being with us this morning. thank you very much. it was 75 years ago in march 1946 that former british prime minister winston churchill deliberate his iron curtain speech at westminster college in fulton, missouri. next former british prime minister margaret thatcher marked the 50th anniversary of the speech in a lecture at the college in 1996. she discussed how the world changed in 50 years and about the collapse of the soviet union in 1991.


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