Iosif Stalin, Interview on Churchill’s Iron Curtain Speech. March 14, 1946
Towards the middle of March, 1946, a Pravda correspondent requested Stalin to clarify a number of questions connected with Churchill’s speech at Fulton, MO. Below are Stalin’s replies to the correspondent’s questions.
Original Source: Pravda, 14 March 1946.
Q. What is your appraisal of Mr. Churchill’s recent speech in the United States of America?
A. I appraise it as a dangerous act, calculated to sow the seeds of discord among the allied states and to cause difficulty to their collaboration.
Q. May one consider that Mr. Churchill’s speech has caused harm to the cause of peace and security?
A. Certainly. The essence of the affair is that Mr. Churchill now assumes the position of a warmonger. And Mr. Churchill is not alone in this; he has friends not only in England but also in the United States of America.
It should be noted that Mr. Churchill and his friends strikingly recall in this respect Hitler and his friends. Hitler began the task of unleashing war by proclaiming the racial theory, declaring that only people who spoke the German language constituted a full-fledged nation. Mr. Churchill, too, has begun the task of unleashing war with a racial theory, stating that only nations that speak the English language are full-fledged nations that are called upon to rule the destinies of the whole world. The German racial theory led Hitler and his friends to the point where the Germans, as the only full-fledged nation, were supposed to dominate other nations. The English racial theory leads Mr. Churchill and his friends to the conclusion that the English-speaking nations, as the only full-fledged ones, should dominate the rest of the nations of the world.
In essence Mr. Churchill and his friends in England and the USA have presented the non-English-speaking nations with something like an ultimatum: recognize our dominance voluntarily and then all will be in order; in the contrary case, war is inevitable.
But nations have shed their blood in the course of five years of cruel war for the freedom and independence of their countries and not to exchange domination by Hitler for domination by Churchill. It is wholly probable, therefore, that the non-English-speaking nations, which include the great majority of the population of the world, will not agree to accept a new slavery.
Mr. Churchill’s tragedy is that he, as an inveterate Tory, does not understand this simple and obvious truth.
There is no doubt that Mr. Churchill’s posture is the posture of war, an appeal to war with the USSR …
Q. How do you appraise the part of Mr. Churchill’s speech in which he attacks the democratic order in the European states that are our neighbors and in which he criticizes the good-neighborly relations that have been established between these nations and the Soviet Union?
A. This part of Mr. Churchill’s speech is a mixture of elements of slander and elements of crudity and tactlessness.
Mr. Churchill declares that “Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest, Sofia-all these famous cities and the populations of the surrounding region are in the Soviet sphere and all are subjected in this or that form not only to Soviet influence but also to a significant degree to the increasing control of Moscow.” Mr. Churchill characterizes all this as the boundless “expansionist tendencies” of the Soviet Union.
It does not require much effort to show that here Mr. Churchill crudely and impudently slanders both Moscow and the aforementioned states that are neighbors of the USSR.
In the first place, it is completely absurd to speak of exclusive control by the USSR in Vienna and Berlin, where there are Allied Control Councils composed of representatives of four states and where the USSR has only one-quarter of the votes …
In the second place, one must not forget the following circumstances. The Germans launched the invasion of the USSR through Finland, Poland, Rumania, Bulgaria, and Hungary. The Germans were able to launch the invasion through these countries because in these countries there were then governments that were hostile to the USSR. As the result of the German invasion the Soviet Union has lost about seven million persons forever in battle with the Germans and, also thanks to German occupation, in the carrying off of Soviet people into German forced labor. Needless to say, the Soviet Union lost several times more people than England and the United States of America put together. Possibly there is an inclination in some places to consign to oblivion these colossal sacrifices of the Soviet people, which secured the liberation of Europe from the Hitler yoke. But the Soviet Union cannot forget them. It may be asked what can be surprising about the Soviet Union wanting security in the future, about its attempts to see to it that in these countries there are governments that have loyal relations with he Soviet Union? Is it possible, without taking leave of one’s senses, to characterize these peaceful efforts of the Soviet Union as expansionist tendencies of our state? …
Mr. Churchill further declares that “the Communist parties which were very insignificant in all these Eastern states of Europe have gained exclusive power … ”
As is known, England is now governed by a government of one party, the Laborites, by which the other parties are deprived of the right to take part in the government of England. Mr. Churchill calls this authentic democratism. Poland, Rumania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Hungary are governed by a bloc of several parties-from four to six parties-by which the opposition, if it is more or less loyal, secures the right to take part in the government. Mr. Churchill calls this totalitarianism, tyranny, a police-state …
Mr. Churchill wants Poland to be governed by Sosnkowski and Anders, Yugoslavia by Mikhailovich and Pavelich, Rumania by Prince Stirbey and Radescu (all non-Communists; Pavelich was a Croatian Nazi-ed.], Hungary and Austria by some king or other from the house of Habsburg and so on. Mr. Churchill wants to assure us that these gentlemen from the fascist hide-outs can secure “full democratism.” Such is Mr. Churchill’s “democratism.”
Mr. Churchill strays near the truth when he speaks of the growth of the influence of Communist Parties in East Europe. One must note, however, that he is not entirely precise. The influence of the Communist Parties is growing not only in Eastern Europe but in almost all the countries of Europe in which fascism formerly held sway (Italy, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Rumania, Finland) or where there was German or Italian occupation (France, Belgium, Holland, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Greece, the Soviet Union, and so on).
The growth of the influence of the Communist Parties cannot be considered accidental. It is a completely regular phenomenon. The influence of the Communist Parties is growing because in the worst years of fascist domination in Europe the Communists seemed to be trustworthy, brave, self-sacrificing fighters against the fascist regime, for the freedom of the people …
Such are the laws of historical development.
Of course, Mr. Churchill does not like such a development of events, and he frantically sounds the alarm, the call to arms … I do not know if Mr. Churchill and his friends will succeed after the Second World War in organizing a new military campaign against “East Europe.” But if they do succeed, which is unlikely since millions of “simple people” stand on guard in the cause of peace, then one may say with certainty that they will be beaten as they were beaten in the past, twenty-six years ago.
Source: Robert H. McNeal, ed., Lenin. Stalin. Khrushchev. Voices of Bolshevism (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1963), pp. 120-123.