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tv   Winston Churchills Iron Curtain Speech  CSPAN  April 1, 2021 4:09pm-5:10pm EDT

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winston churchill to speak in 1946, not long after he was voted out of office. townspeople welcomed him with a parade. 2,700 of them gathered in the college gym and heard churchill declare an iron curtain has descended across the continent. next we look back 75 years at one of the cold wars most iconic speeches. first an excerpt from mr. churchill's speech. >> in the baltic, to the adriatic, an iron curtain has descended upon all the eastern block countries.
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warsaw, berlin, prague, vienna, budapest, all these famous cities and the population around them lie in what i must call the soviet still. and all our efforts, in one form or another, not related to soviet influence but to a very high, and in some cases, increasing measure of control from moscow. an attempt is being made by the russians in berlin to build up a quasi-communist party in occupied germany by showing special attention to groups of west wing german leaders. at the end of the fighting last june, the american and british armies withdrew westward in accordance with an earlier agreement to a depth at some points of 150 miles upon a front
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of nearly 400 miles in order to allow our russian allies to occupy this vast expanse of territory which the western democracies had conquered. if now the soviet government tries by separate action to build up a pro-communist germany in their areas, this will certainly cause new difficulties in the americas and british zones, and will put them up between the soviets and the western democracy. whatever conclusion may be drawn from these facts, and facts they are, this is certainly not the liberated europe we thought to build up. nor is it run which contains the essentials of permanent peace. on the other hand, ladies and gentlemen, i repulse the idea that a new war is inevitable.
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still more that it is imminent. i'm sure that our cautions are still in our hands, in our own hands, and that we hold the power to save the future to speak out now. >> that was winston churchill 75 years ago on march 5, 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. thank you for having me on. >> i want to remind our viewers we're not only here on "washington journal" but we're simulcasting on c-span3 right now as well. timothy, explain to us what winston churchill was doing in fulton, missouri on march 5th, 1946.
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>> 75 years ago and a day. it's a question we get asked every day here at american national churchill museum. why in the world would winston churchill visit westminster college in central missouri in the heart of america? i guess the simple answer is the college asked him to come, but the longer answer is a little more complicated. we have to take you back, really, to the end of world war ii. there was v.e. day in europe in may of 1945. the allies had been victorious in world war ii in europe. things were looking good for churchill, for harry truman, and, of course, the other of the big three in the alliance, joseph stalin. they had won the war in europe. shortly after there was a general election in britain and churchill's party lost the
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election. so arguably the most recognizable figure in the world in winston churchill is without a job. he is no longer prime minister. he is by all accounts somewhat taken aback, despondent, somewhat depressed. his wife clementine famously said to winston, winston, this is a blessing in disguise, to which he replied, it's very effectively disguised. churchill was not in the greatest of spirits after the election loss, but it was really on the heels of that loss that he received an invitation from westminster college here in fulton, missouri where we're broadcasting from here today. the president of the college, a gentleman named frank mcclure, said we would like you to come to deliver the finley green lecture at the college. i'm convinced this letter would have been given to a secretary. churchill would have told them, i can't possibly come, but thank
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them. churchill was polite in his refusals. but there was a handwritten note at the bottom of the invitation letter. this is a wonderful school in my home state. if you can come, i'll introduce you. hope you can do it. harry truman. when the president signed that in postscript at the bottom of the letter, churchill immediately took notice and knew he would be back on the world stage if he had president truman next to him on a platform. i'm not sure if churchill knew where westminster college was when he accepted this, but truman's endorsement of that invitation was really the trick that did it. churchill then began plans in october and november to travel the united states, spend several weeks in miami. he was a very smart man. in january of '46 spent several weeks in miami relaxing, painting and crafting the iron curtain speech. so the answer is the college
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asked, but they had a little bit of help from the president of the united states who appealed to churchill as well. >> so we talked about this just a little bit, but tell us what winston churchill's political style was in the u.k. 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 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 man who was the leader of the opposition party in britain next to the president of the united states. 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 said, i'm here as a private
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citizen, 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 "sinews of peace" was his calling card to have a world stage, a platform, ironically in a very small town in the middle of missouri in the heartland of america. so churchill knew what he was doing when he was saying those words. >> as you said, it became known as the iron curtain speech. but at that point, what was the state of the cold war?
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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. the millions of lawsuits, of casualties on the soviet side. and in a general sense, the americans, and to a degree, winston churchill appreciated the russian people, certainly, for the sacrifice that they made. without the soviets, the war would not have been won. it was a necessary alliance in the second world war. but in the aftermath, it really began at the yalta conference in 1975 with fdr when he was still alive, and maybe earlier at the tehran conference with the big three. there was beginning to be a fracture in the alliance, and the post-war outlook was such that who is going to be in control of the eastern european countries, central europe? churchill, for instance, very much wanted to defend poland and other countries thinking it should be a sovereign state. i think joseph stalin had other plans.
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churchill began to see this. after the victory and the end of the world war, churchill noticed 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. they did not retreat east back to moscow, and this is what churchill called the iron curtain, which had descended across the continent. churchill sees this and warns 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 an expansion of their philosophies into europe. and that was the crux of churchill's message to the soviets here at westminster college in fulton.
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>> let me 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 regionalwise. that means if you are in the eastern or central time zones, we want to hear from you at 202-748-4000. if you are in the mountain or pacific time zones, your number will be 202-748-8001. keep in mind you can always text us at 202-748-8003, and we're always reading on social media, on twitter, at so, timothy, remind our viewers what were some of the other key
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events in the early days of the cold war? >> 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, vj day, the victory over japan in august of 1945. churchill was no longer prime minister by that time, and, of course, harry truman had a big decision to make with the atomic bombs at hiroshima and nagasaki. but after that, one of the major chapters was, in fact, the iron curtain speech on march 5, 1946, 75 years ago. you'll see the marshal plan that unfolded. how to reconstruct came out of that speech, and churchill had another famous speech in zurich where he called for a united states of europe and sent into
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action many of the things that are outlined in the marshal plan. after the iron curtain speech, many of the things winston churchill warned about came to pass, and the west responded very much following churchill's playbook with the berlin airlift, after the berlin blockade. the truman plan came in to be, which was what came from winston's playbook. it ultimately did end the wage in the cold war for decades to come. >> let's talk about some of the specifics from churchill's speech.
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i'm going to play for viewers a piece of his march 5, 1946 speech, where churchill is talking about his concerns and a policy of appeasement when it comes to soviet russia. here is that part. >> this is certainly not deliverable europe which we hoped to open up. nor is it claimed with essentials to government peace. twice the united states has had to send several men across the atlantic to find the war. now war can find any nation wherever it may dwell, between dusk and dawn. i do not believe that soviet russia desires war. they desire the fruits of war. what we have to consider here today, while time remains is the prevention of war and the establishment of conditions of freedom and democracy, as
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rapidly as possible in all countries. our difficulties and dangers will not be removed by closing our eyes to them. they will not be removed by waiting to see what happens. nor will they removed by the policy of appeasement. >> what was churchill actually asking the u.s. to do at that point? >> 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 the most important. churchill is saying quite clearly 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
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churchill warns about. he said in order to do something about it, the west, namely the anglo-american relationship, britain and the united states, need to work together and take this head on, not appease. he used the word appeasement, which for churchill, was a very conscious word choice. churchill knew full well that the policy of appeasement that had floated prior to the second world war was one that did not work out very well. later he said there was never a war, meaning the second world war, that had reached like that one. churchill said 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. he says here, in fulton, that truly, ladies and gentlemen, we must not let that happen again. and so we, being the west, the united states and britain, need
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to not appease the russians, because if we did, the doctrine of communism would 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 speech at westminster college. let's start with david who is calling from denison, texas. david, good morning. >> caller: good morning. that's a great speech, although you would think that churchill certainly would have known what stalin was up to. also, even though stalin was an ally, he was allied with germany before he was allied with us. russia and germany invaded
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poland and russia had their pact with germany which surprised the world and russia provided the training grounds for military forces. that's how they got to organize their forces. none of this should have been a surprise. britain and europe was the only country that had an army left. and it was dwarfed by what we had. it wasn't that europe resisted russia, america resisted russia which we're doing right now. churchill made a lot of mistakes during world war i. he was in charge of the admiralty. one of the biggest disasters of world war i. he was up and down as far as all that was going. and by world war ii, he was shocked he was thrown out of office, but britain was on its way to socialism.
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when people want to compare america's so-called movement towards socialism to venezuela, i say you are wrong. look at britain right after the war. look at margaret thatcher. that's the threshold, not this other. i admire churchill's prescience. i just finished a book in which jewish bankers walked away from the treaty. they knew the germans -- it was just going to lead to another world war. they knew the germans couldn't afford it, and then the nazis used the fact that the jewish banking was part of germany's plight and used this as proof that the international banking
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was responsible for germany's plight. one last thing if i can please get it in. there didn't have to be a holocaust. i'm finishing up the award-winning book by rod chernow. the germans would have been happy for the jews to be ransomed out. the united states refused to lessen its limit of letting jews into the country of 25,000. uk did the same kind of stuff. they could have gotten them out. they were stealing all their money before they let them out, anyway, so they would have gotten their wealth, they wouldn't have had to get their hand dirty on the rest of it. in november of 1938, that was over with. >> go ahead and respond, timothy. >> there's a lot to unpack there. first of all, your attitude about churchill and his belief of bolshevism was correct. churchill certainly knew, and early on was not a fan of
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boshevism and cocommunism. there was no way the allies, certainly britain, could have done it alone. churchill wooed president roosevelt to send materials to then lease -- the soviets also got a better deal through a land lease than britain did. churchill knew that, but he needed help. he was standing alone in 1930 and 1940 as germany was swallowing up pieces of europe. all of europe, for that matter. when it became necessary to form an alliance with the soviets, he did so by a matter of necessity. churchill was a shrewd politician and geopolitics is the area he loved to play in and was very effective in. he made that decision out of
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necessity, really, and ultimately it was the right decision. but he knew 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 really, that's in large measure what the speech is about. it's about standing up to the soviets but not alone. forming an anglo-american alliance or a special relationship, as he called it, in this speech. only that relationship and the quote you played earlier, the expansion of democracy, liberty and freedom, that the two countries have long shared that churchill says in the magna carta and the bill of rights, he said that they reached the highest point of the declaration of independence.
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these are the values the country needs to stand up and face. that's really what he's looking for in the iron curtain speech. >> what was his relationship with stalin at that point? we know he had a long relationship with president roosevelt. what was his relationship with president truman? >> by the time of the iron curtain speech, his relationship with stalin was -- this was really the last straw. stalin was livid at the speech in fulton. he said quite clearly it was war-mongering, it was a declaration of war. prior to that, churchill had been somewhat polite to stalin. he would send greetings and say he was a great man, kind of maybe stroking his ego a little bit, but stalin knew full well that churchill was coming after his idealogy. and the iron curtain speech was
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the -- more than a warning shot to the soviet union. as far as his relationship with harry truman, that was a fascinating relationship. the two men really didn't know each other. when they first met at potsdam right after -- at the end of the war, churchill, of course, goes to potsdam with truman and stalin, not sure what to expect of harry truman. i think he had known roosevelt very well, but truman was this new person from the middle west that 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
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4, 1946 on the way to the iron curtain speech. they were on an overnight train. there was a little bit of poker diplomacy. the two men played cards and churchill shared early drafts of the iron curtain speech with harry truman. he said, i think this will create quite a stir, but you're on to something here. after the speech, truman distanced himself and said, i hadn't seen this speech in advance. eleanor roosevelt was livid after the speech. she didn't approve of the speech. she thought it was a threat to the alliance that her husband and churchill had started. so truman somewhat distanced himself immediately after the speech. but in the end, truman had great affection for churchill's words, and again, used the speech in many ways as a blueprint for the
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truman doctrine plan that was the united states' recipe for waging the cold war. >> let's talk to clarence who is calling from east lansing, michigan. clarence, good morning. >> caller: good morning, gentlemen. >> good morning. >> caller: i've been inspired while hearing more about the speech that i never realized was given. so far i've just been receiving snippets of churchill's speeches that he gave. i think he was one of the great people from history, one of the great statesmen. i hate to say it but we might be speaking german or japanese if it wasn't for him. i feel like he doesn't get enough credit. thank you, sir, for enlightening me, and i'm going to seek further to find out as much as i can about the gentleman. thank you.
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>> well, thank you for calling in. i think churchill's words resonate today. not only the iron curtain speech but a lot of his great speeches as an orator. he was in fact -- had a vision and could see a global landscape like few leaders can. so it's worth studying and i'm glad we have the chance to talk about him here at the national churchill museum every day, but certainly with milestone anniversaries like the one we're commemorating now. it's a chance for us to look afresh and anew at these words. >> like you said earlier, the speech was called "the sinews of peace" but came to be known as the iron curtain speech. where did churchill come up with the term iron curtain? >> iron curtain was used in the theater.
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if there was a fire in the theater, an iron curtain came across the stage so the fire didn't engulf the entire theater. it was a fire protection measure. it was really an antique phrase. referring to the iron curtain as a metaphor for soviet expansion, the germans used it first in world war ii. churchill used it in correspondence with american officials before he used it here in the speech. it wasn't a new phrase, but -- churchill didn't coin the phrase "iron curtain" necessarily, but he certainly gave the currency value in the speech here in fulton. it became really recognized with that. as you mentioned, churchill's own title for the speech was sinews of speech.
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the president of the college wrote to churchill -- in fact he wrote to churchill on february 14th, i believe on valentine's day, he asked him, what will the title of your address will be? churchill replied he wasn't sure. it simply says "winston churchill, world peace." that was in the program. churchill decided on "the sinews of peace" the night before. we have in the archive here the near final draft of the speech with the handwritten notes that churchill -- written by churchill's secretary. she was making the final last-minute changes and inserts a new paragraph, talking about
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titling the speech "the sinews of peace." that is a last-minute rhetorical phrase. he's talking about the alliance. that strength would, in fact, ensure and protect the peace to come. so it was quite the opposite of how the speech was, in fact -- public opinion said in some ways that churchill was a warmonger. that wasn't at all what he was suggesting, but he was suggesting an alliance of peace, and that is really what the speech was about. >> we will remind everyone we're 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 cspan3 this morning.
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i want to bring to you another bit of that speech from winston churchill in 1946 where churchill is making connections to 1946 and the years that preceded world war ii. >> it could have been prevented without the firing of a single shot and germany might be powerful, prosperous and honored today, but no one would listen. one by one we were all sucked into the awful war. surely, ladies and 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
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ii? >> that clip is a great part of the speech, not only for winston's words but the public reaction. if you hear on the clip, the 2,700 people gathered in the gymnasium here at westminster college immediately burst into applause. that sentiment was a really good gauge of public reaction. he's saying, clearly, last time he saw it all happen in the 1930s, referring to the rise of hitler and naziism. that in order to prevent the next great tyranny -- early in the speech he said there are two main marauders that was a threat to civilization -- war and tyranny. war was very familiar to everyone. tyranny was a more abstract notion. tyranny was known because of hitler, but churchill was saying the next tyrant could be soviet russia.
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he's very clearly saying in that clip that last time no one would listen. surely we cannot let that happen again. and winston churchill is uniquely qualified to say those words. perhaps no one on the planet the entire time would have the gravitas. he was right. he was crying aloud to his countrymen, as he said in his speech here, and no one would listen last time. here he is, on the world stage with the president of the united states at his side saying this is the 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 is calling from norwich, connecticut. dennis, good morning. >> caller: good morning. thank you for taking my call. everybody knows that churchill had a great geopolitical vision.
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is it possible he actually saw the iron curtain maybe two or three years before when he recommended that the allies establish 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 be made that that is very true. in fact, in the iron curtain speech itself, there is a section where churchill refers to greece and takes credit for greece as being the birthplace of democracy, as still being democratic and said his intercession earlier helped make that so. but there were other countries in other areas in other regions
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that were under threat. so i think you're right, churchill using his prescience, was thinking about this long before march 5th, 1946. >> let's talk to carol who is calling from hawley's island, south carolina. carol, good morning. >> caller: good morning, gentlemen. this question is sort of outside the box. we are all facing global instability because of the covid epidemic and also the climate crisis. putting yourself into winston churchill's shoes as he was a great believer in world
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stability, if he were alive today how would he approach the existential threats of pandemic and the climate crisis? thank you. >> that's an excellent question. it's always dangerous to put yourself in winston churchill's shoes, let alone in his mind. he is no longer with us, and the world is a different place. so, really, it's hard to say what he would do or say in the current climate. however, i think, as he said famously, the future is unknowable but the past can give you hope. i love that line from churchill. if you look at the past, we can be hopeful that churchill might have, first of all, told us like it was. churchill was very frank with the british people in the second world war. there was seemingly unsurmountable odds. he said this will be difficult. the dangers in difficulties will be true and will be something we
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need to overcome. it won't be easy, churchill warned. however, churchill mobilized the english language and sent it into battle, as edward r. murrah said, and he gave the people hope. 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 would say, we ever a problem. 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
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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. that's my speculation how churchill might handle the current climate. >> let's talk to larry who is calling from minneapolis, minnesota. larry, good morning. >> caller: good morning. mr. riley, thank you very much for being a guest today. it's a very interesting topic. my question relates to, you know, one man's idea of appeasement is another man's idea of real politics. we played the clip of churchill saying we must not have appeasement again, we must not have appeasement. but britain went to world war ii to guarantee poland's
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independence. we all know that was basically quickly forgotten because it wasn't thought to be realistic once we got to 1945. and the soviet union actually occupied far more of eastern europe than hitler did up until hitler going into poland and war being declared. so i guess i take a little -- i guess i would have to disagree that churchill is showing this strong anti-appeasement stand in 1945. thank you. >> it's clear, however,
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churchill knew -- we talked a little about this earlier, that churchill knew of stalin's track record, you know, and he knew that stalin ultimately was not someone he wanted to be friendly with. he had to be so during world war ii, and it was a good thing in the end for the allies. however, you know, the human rights atrocities, the philosophical differences was one that churchill did not, in fact, want to participate in. i think he did see it as a threat and doing nothing, as he says quite clearly in the iron curtain speech, was not an option. so i think churchill was quite staunch in his belief on that front. >> one of our social media followers wants to know if you know whether churchill blamed the soviet union's influence for his election defeat.
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>> i don't know if it's anecdotal or not, but at the potsdam conference, allegedly churchill is there with harry truman and stalin. this was july of 1945, i believe, and churchill had to go back to britain. he had to leave berlin. he had to leave the german conference to go back home and learn of the election results. stalin reportedly said to churchill, why are you worried? churchill was a little worried but he thought he would win the election. stalin reportedly said, i've never lost an election, stalin said to churchill. there was that note. i don't think there was russian interference in the general election in 1945, but there was
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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 for this speech? did they know how historic this speech was going to be? >> there was an advance copy of the speech, not a complete final draft circulated to the media, and yes, so they knew. there were hosts and hosts of radio broadcasters. there was no television coverage. the networks at the time -- network television was in its infancy in 1946. it was quite an offer that the networks offered to send to the middle of america in missouri, here in fulton, camera crews to cover this speech. in fact, they asked churchill would you, in fact, be okay if we televised the speech.
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churchill was in miami beach and cuba before the speech in january of 1946. he responded to the request from westminster college -- we have the telegram in our archives. saying i don't want to complicate the experience with technology, meaning television. it was a new thing. the speech was not televised because churchill didn't want it to be. it was covered on the radio. there was major coverage. the news spread fast about what had been said in fulton. >> let's look at another piece of this tape where winston churchill is talking about the importance of the special relationship between the united states and the united kingdom. here it is. >> neither the prevention of war, nor the continuous rise of
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world organization will 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 uk? >> you know, that's a great question. certainly the iron curtain speech is the time he used it with greatest currency. he mentioned it in passing earlier in the year in 1945, but, you know, he really gives that term full weight in the
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speech here at westminster college. much of the speech -- as much as it's about the iron curtain and the soviet threat, it's also about shared values between britain and america and the special relationship, the common language, common values of law, the british common law and the declaration of independence, all being together in the same boat. churchill realizes these two great nations -- churchill himself was half american. his mother was from brooklyn, jenny jerome. he had a life long affinity for the united states. certainly appreciated and knew full well what america and americans did for world war ii. he's really looking to continue to bolster that relationship, that special relationship. a term we continue to use today.
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the term is one that churchill also knew that was something they needed at that time. the great britain that entered the war was not britain that ended the war. his country was impoverished, needed funding. america's power on the world stage -- early in the speech churchill says it's a solemn moment for democracy. the united states of america is at the pinnacle of world power and with that power comes responsibility. churchill realizes his own country is not in that position. in many ways he's shopping for the special relationship and alliance to benefit britain. 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
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his government. he's looking to secure funds to help with the indebtedness of his own country from the united states. the special relationship was one that we talk about today quite a bit. it was also a relationship in some ways of necessity for great britain at the time. little plug here. we have a new book the museum published called "the inspiring history of the special relationship." pick it up if you're interested in learning more. fascinating new topics and new looks at the speech and the history of that relationship. >> let's talk to ned who is calling from idaho. ned, good morning. >> caller: hi, how are you doing, guys? yeah. i was just wondering if you can maybe comment on our current relationship with britain where biden threw out the bust in the
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oval office of churchill, you know, the statue they gave us after 9/11. that's our closest ally. we're trying to pivot right now to our new alliance with australia, new zealand and canada. you know, biden is still trying to keep us in this nato thing. what do you think? >> it's a great question. it seems, as always, with every new administration, every new leader either in britain or the united states, there's a new chapter written about the special relationship. we're writing a new chapter today. as far as the bust in the oval office is concerned, i think that the statue that was on loan from the british embassy after 9/11 has gone back and forth.
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there's a bust of winston churchill in the white house, in the private residence. it's another casting of the same. it's been there since 1965. i think there's no threat that just because a statue is moved around in the white house that the special relationship will fail. that's one thing i know for certain. i also know that we heard from the ambassador to the united states, the british ambassador yesterday, during our commemoration and we also heard from the state department. there's a renewed look at working together tonight some of the next looming threats. one of the things they both mentioned separately was climate change as being, if you will, the new iron curtain or new threat. i think that the alliance and the special relationship between the two countries will have to
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be one that working together to solve, as we have done for so long, some of the great global problems. i think 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 if we can squeeze one more caller in. let's talk to douglas in wyoming. douglas, good morning. >> caller: good morning. what did timothy riley say about the causes of churchill being voted out of office, that he was no longer seen as desirable for the office of prime minister? >> that's an interesting question. why was churchill voted out of office? he was an extremely effective war leader. in many ways, this was -- he stood election at a time when
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britain was a war-weary nation. he had won the war. i think the british people had nothing against winston churchill as a person, but as a leader to deal with domestic issues, which he hadn't had to deal with in earnest almost his entire time as prime minister, other than the fact of protecting the home land and dealing with the war effort. the rebuilding it was believed by the brits was best left to someone else. frankly churchill did not campaign well in 1945. he was tired. he made some comments about his opposition, referring to if he won there would be a gestapo state. that's not a good slogan if you're running for office, particularly if you're winston churchill. churchill suffered a great deal. between the british desire to
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take a new direction to deal with the internal domestic issues the nation had to face, and churchill's somewhat tired campaign, it was a choice that the british made to go in a different direction and that's when hadley became prime minister. churchill and hadley knew one another and hadley served with churchill in the cabinet during the war. churchill was asked of all the labor prime ministers who is, in fact, your most favorite. he cites hadley. so they remained cordial of course. hadley knew that churchill was coming to fulton in the united states to make this speech. ultimately winston churchill is vindicated in large measure because of rejuvenation in his
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political career in the iron curtain speech in zurich. by 1951 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 as the cold war is waging. so he lost in 1945. 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. he rehabilitates his career as he did so many times during his young life. when he stood for election in 1951, he's back at the helm. if there's anything about winston churchill that we can admire, you can knock him down, but he'll always get back up.
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his perseverance and resolve is extraordinary, extraordinary throughout his long 90-year life. >> one more quick question and quick answer. let's talk to anthony calling from greentown, pennsylvania. anthony, can you get a quick question in? >> caller: good morning, everyone. just a question on his attitude towards china. i was wondering if you could share some insight on that. i understand george marshal didn't like chang hi shek. thank you for your intel. >> that's a good point. china is certainly in the news today and people are talking about the great wall and the iron ccurtain. we could do a whole program on
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this topic. in the time we have remaining, i'll say that churchill himself somewhat avoided the subject in the speech here. he mentioned china in the iron curtain speech. it's almost a throw-away line. he says you americans know china well. i need not talk too much about it here and he moves on. it would be very interesting to see and to think if churchill had a little more space and maybe had a 55-minute speech as opposed to the 50-minute speech he gave to comment on china. he doesn't take on china in the iron curtain speech at all. it's a question well worth asking and perhaps we can find time on another program to explore it more in-depth. as you say and suggest, china and its world -- it's influence
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today is something that churchill would be talking about if he were 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 preserve history and to lift up history. winston churchill himself, his greatest advice to young people, was study history. study history. history lies all the secrets to statecraft. we live with history as a 17th century church that was bombed in the blitz in london. relocated here to fulton in the 1960s stone by stone as a permanent memorial to churchill. we have a piece of the berlin wall here. when it came down, president reagan dedicated it in 1990, one year after the breach of the
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wall. it's a sculpture now made by churchill's grand daughter. we have great leaders and warriors who helped end the war and followed in churchill's footsteps. the westminster college platform for world leaders to make remarks and speeches is extraordinary. it's a ripple effect from what happened 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 continued to be influenced by it today. >> talk a little bit about the statue, the breakthrough statue. why is it there? >> winston churchill's grand daughter, a very gifted artist,
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saw the berlin wall fall on television and had a notion to relocate eight sections of the berlin wall from berlin to fulton as a sculpture. she carved through these abstract male and female fixtures through the wall so you can break through communism and freedom. she entitled it "breakthrough." churchill's grand daughter, the artist, has this great work on the campus outside the museum. it's an exclamation point on the story. some are saying is that a question mark, not an exclamation point. it's an interesting comment on whether or not the cold war is over. >> this has been an absolutely great conversation. timothy, we appreciate you coming on here and talking with
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us about the history of the iron curtain speech and your churchill museum there. one of the -- what can people expect to see from the museum coming up in the future quickly. >> join us online right now. if you missed the virtual programming from our 75th commemoration yesterday, we archived six hours of footage. we had diplomats, churchill family members commentating. go to our youtube channel and you'll see much more on this topic. >> what's the website? >> >> we would like to thank everyone who joined us for this conversation. we would like to thank timothy riley for being with us this morning. he's the director and chief curator of americans national
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churchill museum. timothy, thank you so much for being with us this morning. >> thank you very much. weeknights we're featuring american history tv programs on c-span3. today h.w. brands talks about humor in the white house. from george washington to donald trump, he considers how funny our chief executives have been, or not and whether they used humor to their advantage. the gerard r. ford presidential library and museum co-hosted the event. tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern. british prime minister winston churchill delivered his iron curtain speech on march 5, 1946. to mark the 75th anniversary the


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