Iron Curtain Speech by Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill described the Russian expansionist notions as a challenge to the established western principles in his 1946 speech on the iron curtain. Western values are founded on individual development, free enterprise, and private property ownership. While privately held organizations handle the delivery of healthcare and education, press freedom is generally unrestricted by tight government control. Russia, on the other hand, had a totalitarian government and was founded on communism. There was no entrepreneurial freedom, and prosperity was shared equally. Property was owned by the state. Europe was split in two after World War II, and this separation was known as the iron curtain. (Churchill, 1946). To the east of the curtain, Soviet Union had dominated nations and led to the loss of freedom, increased control from Moscow and creation of police states. Given that the West considers itself to be a champion of a free world, Churchill saw the expansion of Soviet Union as a real threat to the idea of nation's self-determination. He saw the need for aggressive measures to ensure democratic governments that they fought so hard to establish remained in unchanged. The expansion of Soviet Union would therefore erode western ideas and result to communism in western nations

The iron curtain speech provided justification of Churchill's concerns about Russia desire to be secure on her western borders and Soviets actions in Eastern Europe. The speech acknowledged concerns about the potential for Russia to spread communism in areas beyond Eastern Europe, such as France, Turkey, Persia, Italy, and China (Churchill, 1946). Churchill saw communism as a real threat to western societies given that Soviets was building and supporting communism ideologies in surrounding countries. He believed that Russian actions in Eastern Europe were meant to influence elections and overthrow governments so as to install leaders who supported communism ideas. These concerns were supported by the evidence of USSR members working in western borders in each country to help bring communism. These people included communist party members who were ready to execute Stalin's commands and spies working with orders from Moscow.

By stating that Russia admires strength and military might, Churchill advocated for direct military confrontation with the Soviet Union. He further said that there is nothing which the Russians have less admiration for than military weakness. After the speech, it was decided that the Soviet Union was focused on communism expansion and only an armed opposition could halt their movement. Churchill proposed the coordination of American military and joint use of naval and air force bases to demonstrate military might capable of stopping communism expansion. He warned that only a military alliance of English-speaking nations could overcome the challenges brought by soviet expansion and prevent a possible world war three. Speaking beside President Harry Truman, his speech urged military action to prevent a return to dark ages characterized by the lack of freedom and dictatorship.

There is a good reason that Churchill delivered the speech to American audience at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. After World War two, Russia and USA later emerged as superpowers. Both nations enjoyed strong economies, powerful military and international political influence. Churchill admitted that the USA at the time stood at the pinnacle of world power (Churchill, 1946). Due to the losses occurred during the two world wars, no other western nation had the economic and military might to challenge Soviet expansion besides the United States. Also, US shared a lot of political ideologies and economic principals such as capitalism with Britain. Given that US and Britain were allies during world war two, Churchill saw the US as the best country to deliver the speech knowing well that it had the best military might and resources to help top Soviet expansion.


Churchill, Winston. (1946). The History Guide. Lectures on 20th century Europe. Retrieved from

Deadline is approaching?

Wait no more. Let us write you an essay from scratch

Receive Paper In 3 Hours
Calculate the Price
275 words
First order 15%
Total Price:
$38.07 $38.07
Calculating ellipsis
Hire an expert
This discount is valid only for orders of new customer and with the total more than 25$
This sample could have been used by your fellow student... Get your own unique essay on any topic and submit it by the deadline.

Find Out the Cost of Your Paper

Get Price