tv Winston Churchills Iron Curtain Speech CSPAN March 31, 2021 8:01pm-9:02pm EDT
fulton, missouri's westminster college invited winston churchill to speak in march of 1946, not long after the british prime minister who guided britain through world war ii was voted out of office. the townspeople welcomed churchill into president harry truman with a parade and 2700 gathered in the college gym and heard churchill declare an iron curtain has descended across the continent. next we look back over 75 years at one of the cold year's most iconic speeches. timothy riley joins us from fulton, missouri with an excerpt from instant shirttails speech. from stettin in the baltic to trieste in the adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent. behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of central and eastern europe.
warsaw, berlin, prague, vienna, budapest, belgrade, bucharest and sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what i must call the soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to soviet influence but to a very high and, in many 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 their zone of occupied enjoy germany by showing special favors to groups of left-wing german leaders. at the end of the fighting last june, the american and british armies withdrew westwards, in accordance with an earlier
agreement, to a depth at some points of 150 miles upon a front of nearly four hundred 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 cause new serious difficulties in the american and british zones, and will give the defeated germans the power of putting themselves up to auction between the soviets and the western democracies. whatever conclusions may be drawn from these facts -- and facts they are -- this is certainly not the liberated europe we fought to build up. nor is it one which contains the essentials
of permanent peace. on the other hand, ladies and gentlemen, i repulse the idea that a new war is inevitable; still more that it is imminent. it is because i am sure that our fortunes are still in our own hands and that we hold the power to save the future, that i feel the duty to speak out now that i -- speak out now. >> churchill 75 years ago on march 5, 1946, at westminster college in fulton, missouri. timothy riley joins us 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 that we are not only here on "washington journal, " but we are simulcasting on american history tv on c-span3 right now
as well. so timothy, explain to us what winston churchill was doing in fulton, missouri on march 5th, 1946. caused a >> 75 years ago and a day. it is a question we get asked every day at america's 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. the longer answer is a little more complicated. it would take you back really to direct the end of world war ii. there was v. e. day in europe at the morneau and 45 in may. the allies had been victorious 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 in the soviet union. they had won the war in europe. shortly thereafter, there was an
election in britain, a general election. and churchill's party lost the election. so arguably the most recognizable figure in the world, winston churchill, is denied a job. he is no longer prime minister. and he is by all accounts someone taken aback, somewhat depressed. his wife, clementine churchill, famously said to winston, winston, this is a blessing in disguise, to which winston replied, "well, 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 at fulton, missouri, where we are broadcasting from here today. and the president of the college, a gentleman named frank mcclure, said i would like you to come and deliver a
foundation lectureship that is endowed at the college. that letter would have been given to a secretary. churchill would have said, tell them i can't possibly come, thank them. churchill was usually polite in his refusals. but there was a handwritten note on the bottom of the invitation that said, "this is a wonderful school in my home state. if you come, i will introduce you. hope you can do it, harry truman. " when the president signed that postscript in longhand 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 churchill knew where westminster college was when he accepted this, but truman's endorsement of that invitation was really the trick that did it, and churchill then began plans in october and november to travel to the united states. spent several weeks in miami. a very smart man, in january, spent several weeks in miami
relaxing, painting, and crafting the iron curtain speech. the answer is the college asked, but they had a little help from the president of the united states, who appealed to churchill as well. >> about this a little bit, but tell us what winston churchill''s political status was in the u. k. at that time. his party had been voted out of power. does that mean he had no more political influence? the speech was 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 state at fulton, although 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 the president invite the leader of the opposition party to speak. so churchill knew that he was
in the right spot. even though he somewhat downplayed his position and said i am here as a private 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. in the iron curtain speech 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, that at that point, what was the state of the cold war? where were america ad and the soviet union at that point? >> it's complicated because you
have to remember that the soviet union were our allies in world war ii, and that they suffered greatly, millions of losses, of casualties. in the 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 one. it was a necessary alliance in the second world war. in the aftermath, the conference in 1945 with fdr, and the later conference with the big three, there was beginning to be a fracture in the alliance. in the postwar outlook was such that -- who is going to be in control of the eastern european countries, central europe? churchill, for instance, wanted
to very much defend poland and other countries, thinking it should be a sovereign state. i think joseph stalin had other plans. churchill began to see this. after the victory in europe and after the end of the world war, churchill notices that the americans, the british, went home. they sent their troops back to england, sent the troops back to the states. joseph stalin's armies for the most part stayed put, and they did not retreat east back to moscow. this is what churchill called the iron curtain which had descended across the continent. churchill sees this and warns the world that without a proper buttress to counter that soviet looming threat, the next threat could the in fact soviet communism
and expansion of their philosophies into europe. and that was the crux of churchill's message to the soviets here at westminster college in fulton. >> let me remind all of our viewers that we are talking today about winston churchill's iron curtain speech, the 75th anniversary. we are going to open up our phone lines for a conversation about the 75th anniversary of churchill's speech. we are going to open up regional lines. that means that if you are in the eastern or central time zone, want to hear from you at 202-748-8000. if you are in the mountain or pacific time zones, you are 202-7 48-8001. you can always text us at 202-7 hundred 48-8003 -- 202-7 48-8003. and we are always on twitter. remind our viewers, what are
some of the other key events in the early days of the cold war? >> well again, as i mentioned, you really have to start with the end of world war ii, with victory in europe day, which churchill was part of. and of course v. j. day, 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. after that, one of the next major chapters was in fact the iron curtain speech on march 5th, 1946, 75 years ago. after that the marshall plan unfolded as part of the cold war. some of the ideas on how to reconstruct europe after the war came out of the fulton speech, more importantly, in 1946, churchill was emboldened
to make another speech in zurich, where he called for a united states of europe, and set into action many of the things that are outlined in the marshall plan. of course, after the iron curtain speech, many of the things churchill warned about came to pass, and the soviet expansion was real. 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 a blueprint taken from churchill's playbook, and it really did inspire the west to ultimately wage their tactics in the cold cold war for decades to come. >> let's talk about some of the specifics from churchill
speech. i'm going to play for our viewers a piece of this march 5, 1946 speech where churchill is talking about his concerns about the policy of appeasement when it comes to soviet russia. here is that part. >> this is certainly not the liberated europe we fought to build up. nor is it one which contains the essentials of permanent peace. twice, the united states has had to send several millions of their young men across the atlantic to fight the war. but now war can find any nation, wherever it may dwell between dusk and dawn. i do not believe that soviet russia desires war. what they desire 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, is the permanent
prevention of war and the establishment of conditions of freedom and democracy as 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 mere waiting to see what happens, nor will they be removed by a policy of appeasement. >> what was churchill actually point? >> it's very, very telling that a great section of the speech -- the entire speech lasted 50 minutes, in many ways, that section is one of the most important, because churchill is saying quite clearly that he does not think the soviets desire war. he is not suggesting that, but perhaps the fruits of war, and an expansion of their doctrines and power. that is the threat that churchill warned about.
and he said cold war -- 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 a peas. he used the word "appeasement, " which were churchill was a very conscious word choice. churchill knew full well that the policy of appeasement that had been floated prior to the second world war was one that did not work out very well. later in the speech, churchill says that there never was a war, meaning the second world war, that could have been prevented like the last one which so recently ravaged, he said, great areas of europe. and he said, churchill, the second world war could have been prevented without the firing of a single shot, no one listened to churchill in the 1930's. and he says here in fulton that
surely, ladies and gentlemen, we must not let that happen again, we being the west, the united states and britain, as he said. we need to stand firm and not appease the soviet union. he feared if we did than those expanded doctrines of communism would creep westward, and the world would be a far different place. this is churchill's back stop 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. >> good morning. that is a great speech, although you would think that churchill would have certainly known what stalin was going to be up to. as far as stalin being an ally, he was of course allied with germany before he was allied with us. russia and germany invaded poland. russia signed a pact with germany which surprised the world and provided the staging and training ground for german military forces. they were in the process of piloting the versailles treaty. that is how they organized their forces. britain and europe was the only country that had an army left, and it was dwarfed by what we had. it was not that europe resisted russia. america resisted russia on europe's behalf, which is the same thing we are doing now. churchill, why he was not listened to then, he made a lot of mistakes during world war i. he was in charge of the admiralty. the attack in gallipoli was one of the monstrous disasters of
world war i. he was up and down as far as all that was going. at the end of world war ii, he was shocked he was thrown out of office, but britain was on its way to socialism. and when people want to compare america's so-called movement toward socialism to venezuela, i say you are wrong. get britain right after the war up to margaret thatcher. that is the benchmark you want to look at, not this other. i admire churchill's prescience in 1938-1939. i just finished a book on german bankers, "the warbirds. " banking and finance had so much to do with global politics. they were involved with the versailles treaty on both sides, the warburg family. both the jewish bankers. they walked away from the treaty because they knew the germans -- it was just going to lead to another world war. they knew the germans could afford it. and then the nazis used the fact they were even there as proof that the jewish international banking was responsible for germany's
plight, and ultimately used it as an excuse for what began and what they did with the jews. there did not have to be a holocaust. again, i am finishing up the book. the germans would have been happy for the jews to have been ransomed out. 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 could not get them out. the u. k. did some of the same kind of stuff. they could have got them out. the germans would have been very happy. they were stealing all their money before they let them out anyway. they were going to get their wealth. they would not have to get their hands dirty on the rest of it. after kristallnacht in november, 1938, that was over with. >> go ahead and respond timothy. >> there is a lot to unpack there. first of all, your attitudes about churchill and
bolshevism, communism, was correct. churchill certainly knew early on -- was not a fan both of them and communism. the alliance with the soviets during the second world war was a necessary one. it was simply a repositioning and redeployment of forces. there was no way that the allies, including britain, could have done it alone. churchill would president roosevelt -- wooed president roosevelt to send materials through lend lease. the soviets had a better deal lend-lease than britain did. but churchill needed help. he was standing alone in 1939 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 matter of necessity.
churchill was a shrewd politician, and geopolitics was the arena that he loved to play play in and was very effective in. he made that decision out of necessity, really. ultimately, it was the right decision. but he knew, and that is really coming back to the iron curtain speech, that once the war was over, they needed to go back and deal with the soviets. really that's in large measure what the speech is about. it's about standing up to the soviets, but not alone, but forming an anglo-american alliance, a special relationship, as he called it in the speech. only that relationship in the quote you played earlier, the expansion of democracy, liberty, and freedom that the two countries have long shared, that churchill says the magna carta and the bill of rights -- he
says in the iron curtain speech reached their highest manifestation in the declaration of independence. these are the values that the countries together need to face and stand up. that is really what he is looking for in the iron curtain speech. >> so what was his relationship with stalin at that point? we know he had a long-term relationship with president roosevelt. what was his relationship with president truman. >> well, 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 here. he said quite clearly it was warmongering, it was a declaration of war. prior to that, churchill had been somewhat polite to stalin. he dog would send greetings and say he was a great man, maybe stroking his ego a little bit. but stalin knew full well that
churchill was coming after his ideology. the iron curtain speech was more than a warning shot against the soviet union. as far as his relationship with harry truman, that is a fascinating relationship. the two men really did not know one another. when they first met at potsdam, right after the end of the war, churchill goes to potsdam with truman and stalin, not sure what to expect of harry truman. i think he was that he had known roosevelt -- i think he was -- he had known roosevelt very well. truman was a man from the middle west churchill did not know much about. i don't think churchill had high expectations for harry truman until truman started to speak, and then churchill realized truman was the right man for the right job. they really forged the relationship,
in some ways, on the train ride from washington to missouri on march 4, 1946, on the way to the iron curtain speech. the 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, who approved and said, i think this is going to create quite a stir, but i think you are onto something here, truman said to churchill. of course, after the speech, truman distanced himself, uncharacteristically for truman. he said, "i had not seen the speech. " eleanor roosevelt did not approve of the speech. she thought it a threat to the alliance 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 used the speech in many ways as a blueprint for the 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. good morning gentlemen. >> good morning. i have been inspired since january or march about the speech. i never really realized that was given. so far, just been receiving snippets of churchill's speeches he gave. i think he is one of the greatest history people in history, one of the greatest statesmen that ever lived. i hate to say it but possibly we may have been speaking german or japanese or italian if it were not for people like him, you know? i feel like he
does not get enough credit. so thank you, sir, for enlightening me. i'm going to seek further and find out as much as i can about the gentleman. thank you. >> 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 and oratory. he in fact had a vision, and could see a global landscape like few leaders can. it is worth studying. i'm glad we have the chance to talk about him here at america's national churchill museum every day, certainly with milestone anniversaries like the one we are commemorating now. it is a chance for us to look afresh and i knew at these words.
anew at these words. >> the speech was called "the sinews of peace" but has become known as "the iron curtain speech. " where did churchill come up with the term iron curtain? more >> the iron curtain was a 19th-century victorian steel curtain used in the theater. it was a fire safety measure. a fire in the theater, and iron curtain would fire -- would fall across the stage so the fire would not engulf the theater. it was a fire protection measure, really an antique phrase. referring to an iron curtain as a metaphor for soviet expansion, the germans used at first. goebbels used it in world war ii. churchill used it in correspondence with american officials before he used it here in the speech. so it was not a new phrase. so churchill did not coin the phrase iron curtain, necessarily. but he certainly gave it value at the end of the speech here in fulton, and it became really recognized with that. but as you mentioned, churchill's own title for the speech was "sinners of peace. "
we're looking to print the programs and so forth, taking care of details. and we'd like to know what's the sinews of peace. the president of westminster title of your dress would be. curtain -- west mr. college and churchill wrote on i believe valentine's day, asked, what is the title of your speech question mark we replied are looking to promote it, to the college print programs, taking care of details, and we would like to saying, he wasn't know what the title of your address will be. churchill sure. something replied to the college saying like world he was not sure. something like peace. in fact, the programs from the day, the green foundation elector that churchill gave a simply say, winston churchill, world peace. that was the title that was printed. churchill decided on the "world peace. " in fact, the programs from the day, the team seniors of peace, the night before. green foundation lecture, simply say "winston 'world we have, in the peace. " churchill decided on "sinews of peace" the night archive here before. we have in the archive, the mere final here the near-final draft of draft of the the speech with the handwritten speech with the handwritten notes written by churchill's notes that secretary, who was dictating to churchill, right by churchill secretary and dictated to secretary george sturdy who is taking the final
last minute changes and he writes, and starts a new paragraph. paragraph that says, i've decided to title the his secretary, jo sturdee, who was taking speech, the the last minute final changes. she inserts a, the paragraph -- she inserts a new paragraph, "i seniors of peace. intended to title the speech and that the sinews of peace. " sinews is a last-minute are things that bind us rhetorical phrase and together, make us stronger. he churchill knew that the seniors, thinks that bind us is talking about the alliance, together make the anglo-american special a stronger, he's talking about the alliance. relationship. that strength at the anglo americans relationship. that strength would in fact ensure and protect the piece to come. so it=b was quite the opposite f how the speech was in fact public opinion. sun in some ways that churchill was a warmonger, i was not at all but he was suggesting, but he was suggesting military alliance three strength that would preserve the peace. that was really with the message was about. 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 action. the one that was just desolated such great areas of the zone. it could've been presented in -- without the firing of a single shot. and germany might be prosperous and honor today. but no one would listen. one by one, we were all sucked into the awful world. but surely, ladies and gentlemen, i pointed 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 their, the 2700 people gathered in the gymnasium here at the college immediately burst into applause. that sentiment was a really good gauge of public reaction. and he saying, you know, clearly that last time he saw it'll happen, in the 1930s, referring to the lives of hitler not just but -- and in order to prevent the next great eerily, early in the speech he says, there are two main marauders that are threats to civilization. war and tyranny. war was very familiar to everyone because we just ended
world war ii. tyranny was a more abstract notion. thierry any was known because of hitler but churchill saying but the next tyrant could be soviet russia. and he's very clearly saying in that clip that last time no one listen, surely we cannot let that happen again. and winston churchill is uniquely qualified to say those words. perhaps no one else on the planet at the time would have the gravitas. of course, he was right! he was crying allowed to his countryman, as he says in his speech here. and no one would listen. and here he is, on the world stage with the president of the united states at his side saying, this is the next threat. and we cannot let it happen again. those words carried great weight when churchill said them. >> let's go to dennis, who's calling from 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 to the allies establish affront through greece in 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 could be made that that is very true. in fact, and this speech itself, there's a section to which churchill refers to greece. and takes credit for greece as being the birthplace of democracy, has still being
democratic and said that his intercession earlier helped make that so. but there were other countries in other areas another regions that were under threat. so, i think you are right that certainly churchill using his impressions, as the word is often associated with the geopolitical vision was thinking about this long before march 5th, 1946. >> let's talk to carroll who is calling from hollies island, south carolina. carol, good morning. >> good morning gentlemen. so, this question is sort of outside the box. we are seeing that global instability because of the covid epidemic, and also the limit crisis. put yourself in winston churchill shoes, as he was a great believer in world debility.
how do you think, if you were alive today, how would he approach the existential threats of pandemic and the climate crisis? >> you know, that's an excellent question. and it's always there for us to put yourself in winston churchill's shoes. and let alone in his mind. he's no longer with us, -- the world is a different place. so, it really is hard to say would he would sue the crude klobuchar. however, as he said famously, future is noble, but the past can give you hope. love that line from churchill. and, 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 people in the second world war.
and there was a seemingly uncertain on tumble odds. he said that this will be difficult, the dangers and difficulties will be true and will be something we need to overcome. it won't be easy, churchill warned. however, churchill mobilized english language and incentivized battle. 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 that the new iron curtain is, if you will, of today, perhaps the global pandemic and climate change. churchill would be honest. he'd say, we have a problem. churchill was a big believer in science. he was really one of the first great world leaders to have science advisers at his side from before and during the war and afterwards. i think churchill would've
looked to scientists, kept them close at hand and dealing with both climate change and pandemic. he would have been up to the challenge, he would've seen it, he would've told the people the truth and he would've then acted with knowledge by experts, and not try to do it alone. so i think that's in some ways my speculation of how churchill might handle the current climate. >> let's talk to larry, who is calling from minneapolis minnesota. larry, good morning. >> good morning. i'm 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 impeachment is another man's idea of real politics. we played the clip of churchill
saying we must not have appeasement, we must not have appeasement. but britain went to war and world war ii, based on a treaty with poland to guarantee poland's independence. and we all know that 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 then hitler did up until hitler i wanted to be declared. so i guess i take a little -- i guess i would have to disagree that churchill is showing, you know, this strong anti-appeasement stand in 1945.
thank you. >> well, i think it's clear however that churchill knew and we talk a little bit about this earlier, churchill knew of stalin's track record. 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, the human rights atrocities, the philosophical defenses was one that churchill did not in fact i want to participate in. so 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
starched on his believe in 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? >> i don't know if it's anecdotal or not but at the potsdam conference, allegedly winston churchill is there with harry truman and stalin. and this was july of 1945, i believe, and churchill had to go back to britain. he believed -- he'd leave berlin, he'd leave the conference to let go back home and learn of the election results. and stolen is reported to have said to churchill, you know, why are you worried? churchill 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. sondland said to churchill. so there is that.
so i don't think there was a question of interference in the general election of 1945, but there was 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 inform the speech. did they know how historic this beach was going to be? >> there was an advanced copy of the speech, not a complete final draft circulated to the media and yes, so they knew. there were hosts of radio broadcasters. there was no television coverage. the networks at the time, television network was in infancy in 1946 and it was quite a offer that then networks offered to send to the middle of america in rural missouri, here in fulton. camera crews to cover the
speech. in fact, they asked churchill, would you in fact be okay if we televised speech? and churchill was in miami beach and then cuba before the speech in january of 1946 and he responded to the request from westminster college, we have the telegram here in archives saying, i deprecate complicating the occasion with technical experiments, meaning television. and 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 new spread fast about what's had been said in fulton. >> well let's look at another piece of this tape where winston churchill's talking about the importance of the
special relationship between the united states and the united kingdom. here it is. >> nor the continuous rise of world organizations will begin without what i have called the fraternal association of the english speaking people. [applause] this means that special relationships between the british commonwealth and empire and the united states of america. >> that special relationship he brings up, was this a new way of describing the relationship between the united states and the united kingdom? >> that's a great question. certainly the iron curtain speech is the time he used it with greatest currency. he
mentions in passing earlier in the year in 1945, but he really gives that term full weight in the speech here at westminster college. much of the speech about the iron curtain and the looming threat,, it's also about shared values between britain and america and the special relationship, the common language, common values of law, the magna carta, the declaration of independence are altogether and churchill realizes that these two great nations and churchill himself half american. his mother was from brooklyn, jenny jerome. he had a lifelong affinity for the united states and certainly appreciated and knew full well what america and americans did for world war ii. he was really
looking to continue to bolster that relationship, that special relationship, a term we continue to use today. 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 the great britain that left the war. his country was impoverished, it needed funding. power on the world stage. early in the speech, the united states of america is at the pinnacle of world power and with that power comes responsibility. churchill realizes that his own country is not in that position. in many ways he is shopping for a special relationship and alliance 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. he is looking to secure funds to help with the indebtedness of relationship is one we talk about today quite a bit, but it was also a relationship in some ways essential for great britain at the time. we have a new book just published on the subject called "the aspiring history of the special relationship. " it is by one of our churchill fellows. it is9h.z fascinating topic and new look at the speech in speech in the history of that relationship. >> let's talk to ned who is calling from ketchum, idaho. good morning. i was just >>
wondering if you could comment on our current relationship with britain, where biden throughout the bust in the oval office, the statue they gave us. that's our closest ally and we are trying to pivot to our new alliance with australia, new zealand, and canada. biden is still trying to keep us in this nato thing. what do you think? >> it's a great question. as always, every new administration, every new leader in britain or here in the united states there is a new chapter written about the special relationship. and were writing in the 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 fourth in and out of the office, i happen to know their is a bust of winston churchill in the white house in the private residence. it has been there since 1965. there is no threat that just because a statue is moved around in the white house that the special relationship will fail. that is 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 to the 75th anniversary. we also heard from the state department. there is a renewed look at working together to fight some of the next looming threats, and one of the things they both mentioned separately was climate change as being the new iron curtain or threat. i think that alliance and the
special relationship between the two countries will have to be one that we are working together to solve as we have done for so long for the great global problems. i think there is great hope for the special relationship. i don't think it is under threat. i think we will be writing a new chapter in the months and years ahead. >> let's see if we can squeeze more and more color. let's talk to douglas calling from laramie, wyoming. douglas, good morning. >> good morning the reasons and causes of winston churchill having been voted out of office and was no longer seem as desirable for the office of prime minister? >> that's an excellent question. i think if i understand it, why was churchill voted out of office? he was an extremely
effective war leader. in many ways, he stood election at a time when britain was a war weary nation. he had won the war. i don't think the british people had anything against him as a person, s but as a leader to deal with the issues he hadn't had to deal with in earnest almost his entire time as prime minister, outside of protecting the homeland and dealing with the war effort. the rebuilding was believed by the brits was best left for someone else. and frankly churchill did not campaign well in 1945. he was tired. he made some comments about his opposition and referring to if he won there would be a gestapo state. that is not a good slogan if you are trying to run for office, particularly if you are winston churchill and he
suffered a great deal. between the british desire to take a direction to deal with the internal domestic issues that the nation had to face and churchill frankly is -- churchill's frankly tired campaign was a choice that the british made to go in a different direction and that was when clement atlee became prime minister. they served together in the war, so he was not unknown to winston churchill. later on churchill is asked of all the labour prime ministers, who was your favorite, and he said atlee. he
knew that churchill was coming to fulton to make the speech. and ultimately winston churchill is vindicated in large measure because of the rejuvenation he has in the iron curtain speech in zurich. by 1951, in the general election, his party wins and he is prime minister for a second time and is now again at the helm as the cold war is waging. he lost in 1945. in some ways it permits him to say things like he said as a private citizen, if you will, though still the leader of the opposition in fulton here at westminster college and rehabilitates his career as he did so many times during his long life and when he stood for election of his party in 1951, he is back at the helm. if there is anything about winston churchill is that you can knock
churchill that we can admimre is that you can knock him down but he will always get back up. his perseverance and resolve his extraordinary throughout his long. life >> let's see if looking at one more quick question in. let's talk to the anthony who is calling from green town, pennsylvania. can you get a quick question in? >> just a question on his attitude toward china and chang kai-shek. i understand george marshall didn't like chang kai-shek. i don't know if churchill did. if they had prevented the communists taken over china then, it would be a different world right now. thank you very much for your top. >> that is really good point. china is in the news and people
are talking about the great wall and the iron curtain. i can look to a speech and lead you through a whole program but i will simply say that churchill himself avoided the subject in the speech here. he mentioned china in the iron curtain speech. it is almost a throw away line. there are very few such lines in the speech. he acknowledges china's existence and says you americans know china well. i need not talk too much about it be very interesting to see if churchill had a little more space and had maybe 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, but it is a question well worth asking and perhaps we can find time on another program to explore it more in depth. china and its
world influence today is something churchill would be talking about if he were alive today. >> congress has recognized your museum as americans tribute to winston churchill. what is your mission there at the museum? >> well it really is too preserve history and to lift up history. winston churchill himself gives great advice to young people to study history. here, we live with history. part of the museum has a 17th century church that was bound bombed in the blitz in london relocated to fulton in the 1960's stone by stone as a tribute to churchill. we have a piece of
the berlin wall, a concrete manifestation of the iron curtain. president reagan dedicated it in 1990. it is a wall sculpture now who is churchill's granddaughter. we have a monument to history. history continues to happen here. world leaders continue to come to westminster college and the museum. we had mikael gorbachev, president reagan, margaret thatcher, these great world leaders and the museum plays a great role in. that westminster college platform is for world leaders to make speeches is extraordinary and it is a ripple effect from what happened here on this campus 75 years ago. we are still living with it. history is not old. we live with it and see it and continue to be influenced by it today. >> talk a little bit about the stature you were just mentioning, the breakthrough
statue. tell us why it is? they're >> well edwina saenz, who was was churchill's granddaughter and a world renowned artist wanted to relocate eight sections of the berlin wall from berlin to fulton as a sculpture. she did something interesting. she carved through the abstract male and female figures so you can break through between communism and freedom. she titled it "the sculpture of breakthrough. " she is an artist and has a remarkable work on the campus outside the museum. it is an extraordinary! on the story -- exclaimation. point some people are saying is not a question mark not an exclamation point.
>> this has been an absolutely great conversation. timothy we really appreciate you coming on and talking with us about the history of the iron curtain speech and your churchill museum. what can people expect to see from the museum coming how can people expect up in to see from the museum the future? coming up in the future? really really quickly. >> join us online right now. quickly if you miss the. >> join us online right now. if you missed the virtual programming from the 75th virtual programming commemoration yesterday, we from our 75th commemoration yesterday, we've of archive six hours of archived six hours footage. of footage, we've had world we have had world leaders leaders, diplomats, diplomats, churchill family family members commenting. if you want more, go to our youtube channel members commenting. go to our youtube channel and you will at the see much more about this really churchill museum. and you'll see much more about this rich really rich and important important topic. >> topic. >> what's the what is the website we website we can go can go to? to? >> >> national national churchill museum .org churchill museum. .org. we like to thank >> we would like to everybody joining us thank on washington journal everyone who has and american joined us history even this on "washington journal and on american history tv for this
conversation. we would like to conversation this morning. we would like thank timothy riley for being on with us this morning. he is the director and chief curator of america's national churchill museum. timothy thank you for being with us this. morning >> thank you very much. whether they not used human to their vantage. the gerald are four -- and the gerald are ford museum cohosted event. watch thursday, beginning at 8 pm eastern. and enjoy american every weekend on c-span 3.