There are many ways to get a feel for the events of the 20th
Century. One way is through the analysis of primary source documents.
Few documents set the stage for the second half than Winston Churchill’s
1946 speech in Fulton, Missouri. Officially entitled “The Sinews of
Peace”, it came to be known as “The Iron Curtain Speech”, in which
Churchill laid out the challenges for the West in general, and the US
and Britain in particular, regarding what would soon be known as the
Cold War. Your assignment this week is to not just read Churchill’s
speech, but read between the lines to answer the following questions in a
well written 2-3 page document:
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- Churchill believes the Soviet Union “desires the fruits of war and
the indefinite expansion of their power and doctrines.” How might those
expansionist desires challenge the Western principle of national
political self determination, a cause it championed during World War 2?
- Churchill’s speech acknowledges “Russia’s need to be secure on her
western borders,” but at the same time it raises concerns about Soviet
actions in Eastern Europe. Is Churchill being inconsistent? Or does he
provide concrete justifications for those concerns?
- In his speech, Churchill asserts “There is nothing they (the
Russians) admire so much as strength, and nothing for which they have
less respect for than military weakness.” If he isn’t advocating a
direct military confrontation with the Soviet Union, then what is he
- Churchill delivered this speech to an American audience, but after
reading it one might conclude it could have been given in any western
country. Why did he pick the US?