Stalin on Churchill’s ‘Iron Curtain’ speech (1946)

In March 1946 Soviet leader Joseph Stalin responded to Winston Churchill‘s ‘Iron Curtain’ speech, through the pages of the communist newspaper Pravda:

“Mr Churchill now stands in the position of a firebrand of war. And Mr Churchill is not alone here. He has friends not only in England but also in the United States of America. In this respect, one is reminded remarkably of Hitler and his friends. Hitler began to set war loose by announcing his racial theory, declaring that only people speaking the German language represent a fully valuable nation.

Mr Churchill begins to set war loose, also by a racial theory, maintaining that only nations speaking the English language are fully valuable nations, called upon to decide the destinies of the entire world. The German racial theory brought Hitler and his friends to the conclusion that the Germans, as the only fully valuable nation, must rule over other nations. The English racial theory brings Mr Churchill and his friends to the conclusion that nations speaking the English language, being the only fully valuable nations, should rule over the remaining nations of the world…

As a result of the German invasion, the Soviet Union has irrevocably lost in battles with the Germans, and also during the German occupation and through the expulsion of Soviet citizens to German slave labour camps, about 7,000,000 people. In other words, the Soviet Union has lost in men several times more than Britain and the United States together. It may be that some quarters are trying to push into oblivion these sacrifices of the Soviet people which ensured the liberation of Europe from the Hitlerite yoke. But the Soviet Union cannot forget them.

One must therefore ask what can be surprising in the fact that the Soviet Union, in a desire to ensure its security for the future, tries to achieve that these countries should have governments whose relations to the Soviet Union are loyal? How can one, without having lost one’s reason, qualify these peaceful aspirations of the Soviet Union as “expansionist tendencies” of our Government? …

Mr Churchill wanders around the truth when he speaks of the growth of the influence of the communist parties in Eastern Europe… The growth of the influence of communism cannot be considered accidental. It is a normal function. The influence of the communists grew because, during the hard years of the mastery of fascism in Europe, communists slowed themselves to be reliable, daring and self-sacrificing fighters against fascist regimes for the liberty of peoples.

Mr Churchill sometimes recalls in his speeches the common people from small houses, patting them on the shoulder in a lordly manner and pretending to be their friend. But these people are not so simple-minded as it might appear at first sight. Common people, too, have their opinions and their own politics. And they know how to stand up for themselves. It is they, millions of these common people, who voted Mr Churchill and his party out in England, giving their votes to the Labor party…”