Why is America so fearless at war

Speech by Winston Churchill in Fulton / USA, March 5, 1946

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Speech by Winston Churchill in Fulton / USA, March 5, 1946

[...] We cannot ignore the fact that the freedoms enjoyed by citizens throughout the British Empire do not exist in many countries, some of which are very powerful. In these countries the citizen is placed under all kinds of control, to an extent that runs counter to the principles of democracy. The power of the state is exercised without restrictions, be it through dictators or through certain political parties and political police organizations. Today, when there are so many difficulties, it is not our duty to intervene by force in the internal affairs of countries that we did not defeat in the war, but we must never stop fearlessly adhering to the great principles of freedom and human rights who are the common heritage of the English-speaking world.

A shadow has fallen on the earth, which has only recently been brightly lit by the Allied victory. Nobody knows what Soviet Russia and the communist international organization intend to do in the near future, or what limits, if any, are set to their expansionist and conversion tendencies. I have great respect and admiration for the brave Russian people and my wartime comrade, Marshal Stalin. Great Britain - and certainly America too - feels sympathy and benevolence for the peoples of Russia, and it is determined, in spite of all differences and setbacks, to work tirelessly to establish a lasting friendship with Russia. We understand that Russia must secure its borders in the west against a possible new German attack.

An "iron curtain" has drawn across the continent from Stettin on the Baltic Sea down to Trieste on the Adriatic Sea. Behind that line are all the capitals of the old states of Central and Eastern Europe: Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia. All of those famous cities are in the Soviet sphere, and all of them are not only exposed in one form or another to Soviet influence, but are also increasingly subject to Moscow control.

Only Athens, with its immortal glory, is free and can determine its future for itself after elections carried out under British, American and French supervision. The Russian-ruled Polish government has been encouraged to interfere illegally and on a tremendous scale in German affairs and to order mass expulsions of millions of Germans in a way previously unknown. The communist parties, which have hitherto been very small in all of these Eastern European states, have been raised everywhere, they have attained disproportionately high levels of power and are now trying to usurp totalitarian control everywhere. In almost every case there is a police government, and so far, with the exception of Czechoslovakia, democracy has not yet been introduced. Turkey and Iran are both deeply concerned about the demands being made of them and the pressure the Moscow government is putting on them.

In Berlin the Russians attempted to raise the Communist Party in their zone by giving special advantages to the leaders of the German left. When fighting ceased last June, the American and British armies, under an earlier agreement, withdrew to the west, in some places on a 650 km wide front to 250 km, to prevent the Russians from occupying this vast front from the western ones To enable democracies of conquered territory. If the Soviet government now tries, through unauthorized actions, to raise a communist Germany in these areas, then this will result in serious difficulties in the British and American zones and enable the defeated Germans to offer themselves to the Russians or the Western democracies. Whatever the conclusions that can be drawn from these facts, one thing is certain, it is certainly not the liberated Europe that we have fought to build. It is not a Europe that contains the essential elements of lasting peace.

I don't think Soviet Russia wants war. What it wants is the fruits of war and the unlimited expansion of its power and the spread of its doctrine. But what we must consider today, while there is still time, are the means of permanently preventing war and creating freedom and democracy in all countries. Judging from what I saw with our Russian friends and allies during the war, they admire nothing more than strength and power, and nothing they despise so much as military weakness. Because of this, the old doctrine of the balance of powers is unhealthy. We cannot afford to be content with a slight superiority in power because that way we run the risk of tempting another power to try the test of strength. If the Western powers stand together in strict adherence to the San Francisco Constitution, then their influence in promoting the San Francisco principles will be immense and no one will be tempted to molest them. If, however, the Western powers become divided and fall apart or fluctuate in the performance of their duties and if all these decisive years pass unused, then the catastrophe will most likely overtake us.

Source: J├╝rgen Weber (ed.), 30 Years of the Federal Republic of Germany, Vol. II: Decision year 1948, Munich 1979, p. 34f.

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