I did not myself agree with many things that were done, but I have a very Strong impression in my mind of that situation, and I find it painful to contrast it with that which prevails now. In those days there were high hopes and unbounded confidence that the wars were over, and that the League of Nations would become all-powerful. I do not see or feel that same confidence or even the same hopes in the haggard world at the present time. A shadow has fallen upon the scenes so lately lighted by the Allied victory. Nobody knows what Soviet Russia and its Communist international organisation intends to do in the immediate future, or what are the limits, if any, to their expansive and proselytising tendencies. I have a strong admiration and regard for the valiant Russian people and for my wartime comrade, Marshal Stalin.
Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in the Soviet sphere and are all 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. But in places where communism threatened to expand, American aid might prevent a takeover. To avoid antagonizing the Soviet Union, Marshall announced that the purpose of sending aid to Western Europe was completely humanitarian, and even offered aid to the communist states in the east. However, as economic conditions contrasted sharply, East Germans began to migrate to the West rapidly and by 1961, they fled in droves of 2500 per day. In order to retain the population, the Soviet ordered for the overnight building of the Berlin wall on August 13, 1961. Concurrently, massive kidnapping across borders also propelled both parties to heighten border control.
For one, the Iron Curtain physically separated people from one another, often within their own countries. Churchill described it to be clear that a primary purpose of his talk was to argue for an even closer “special relationship” between the United States and Great Britain—the great powers of the “English-speaking world”—in organizing and policing the postwar world. The Soviet Union did continue eosfitness com to exert its influence over Eastern Europe and extend the “iron curtain.” In March 1947, just over a year after Churchill’s speech, President Truman issued the Truman Doctrine, which pledged U.S. support to countries in danger of falling into Communist hands. Just so, when Winston Churchill said an iron curtain has descended across the continent of Europe in 1946 what did he mean?
Meanwhile, hundreds of Albanian citizens gathered around foreign embassies to seek political asylum and flee the country. The legislation transformed Hungary from a People’s Republic into the Republic, guaranteed human and civil rights, and created an institutional structure that ensured separation of powers among the judicial, legislative, and executive branches of government. In November 1989, following mass protests in East Germany and the relaxing of border restrictions in Czechoslovakia, tens of thousands of East Berliners flooded checkpoints along the Berlin Wall, crossing into West Berlin. Following a period of economic and political stagnation under Brezhnev and his immediate successors, the Soviet Union decreased its intervention in Eastern Bloc politics.
During 1989 and 1990, the Berlin Wall came down, borders opened, and free elections ousted Communist regimes everywhere in eastern Europe. In late 1991 the Soviet Union itself dissolved into its component republics. With stunning speed, the Iron Curtain was lifted and the Cold War came to an end.
This means a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States. This is no time for generalities, and I will venture to be precise. It should carry with it the continuance of the present facilities for mutual security by the joint use of all Naval and Air Force bases in the possession of either country all over the world.
Interestingly, at the time of Churchill’s speech, this physical barrier was largely porous, rather than ‘iron’. Their willingness to engage in cross-border activities signified that the two communities were not that divided yet. From a fiscal meltdown to rationing to British troops at war in Asia, ceaseless opposition became the rule of the day. Churchill devoted as much energy as possible in his second period as prime minister to cementing ties between the United States and Britain in response to the Soviet Union’s rise as a superpower. Churchill is best remembered for successfully leading Britain through World War Two. He was famous for his inspiring speeches, and for his refusal to give in, even when things were going badly.