Winston Churchill is famous for his diplomatic talent and inspiring speeches. In 1946, he delivered one of his most well-known speeches, “The Sinews of Peace.” In this address, Churchill outlined the most important steps to be taken by Western countries to prevent new wars from happening. This speech is often regarded as the start of the Cold War (Stone & Kuznick, 2014). This paper includes a brief analysis of Churchill’s address to American students and its major messages.
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One of the challenges the Western world faced, according to Churchill, was the expansionist longing of the Soviet Union (“The sinews of peace,” n.d.). Britain and the USA, as well as many other European countries, shared democratic values and the right to self-determination that could be applied to individuals and entire countries. Totalitarian rule that was a pillar of Communism contradicted these values. Moreover, it was associated with the militaristic ambitions of Germany in the two World Wars. In simple terms, Churchill pointed at the threat of a new conflict with the new totalitarian regime that had revealed its hostility to democratic principles in many ways before.
In his speech, Churchill addressed the background and possible outcomes of Soviet expansion that was on its way. The former Prime Minister acknowledged the need of the Soviet Union to make sure that its Western borders are safe (“The sinews of peace,” n.d.). At the same time, Churchill consistently justified his concerns about hazardous ways their war ally used. He emphasized that the USSR was supporting Communist regimes that were under their complete control.
On the one hand, it meant that many nations were deprived of their right to self-determination as it was vivid that only insignificant parts of the countries truly believed in Communism. On the other hand, the creation of such a Communist bloc posed a definite threat as the Soviet Union obtained access to these nations’ resources, which could lead to its military empowerment. Churchill argued that such empowerment of Germany that was partially due to other countries’ silent permission was one of the causes of the wars humanity had never seen.
Although Churchill stressed that he did not want any military confrontation with the Soviet Union, he added that economic and military empowerment of the countries of the west was pivotal. The speaker noted that Stalin showed his attitude towards democracy and its values, as well as ways to achieve his goals. Churchill mentioned Stalin’s admiration with strength several times. The need to be prepared for everything is one of the leitmotifs of the speech under analysis.
It is also noteworthy that the place where the speech was delivered was not chosen randomly. All the major points Churchill highlighted could resonate in every western country. However, the British politician chose the USA as the platform for the beginning of a larger debate. This choice is justified as the USA had been one of the most valued allies of Britain in the 20th century. This country had considerable resources that could define the success of the confrontation with the Communist bloc that was about to emerge. This was also a signal to Stalin who had to acknowledge the position of some of the potent countries at that time.
In conclusion, Churchill outlined some of the major challenges of the post-war world in his famous speech. He stressed the need to unite in the face of a new threat, the Soviet Union’s expansionism. The speaker emphasized that Western countries had to collaborate to be strong and able to resist if necessary. This speech is often regarded as one of the forerunners of the Cold War. However, it can also be seen as one of the instruments that ensured peace in the region.
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The sinews of peace (‘Iron Curtain Speech’). (n.d.). Web.
Stone, O., & Kuznick, P. (2014). The concise untold history of the United States. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.