5th of March
The Cold War began 70 years ago
Churchill's performance at Fulton College of Westminster remains a defining event in recent history. From this speech, according to Ronald Reagan, the US president who unleashed the "Star Wars", was born not only the modern West, but the entire world today.
By the spring of 1946, the crisis between social systems reached its highest intensity. Stalin claimed leadership in the post-war world, constantly emphasizing that as the main victor over fascism and the most victimized from it, the USSR has the right of the first hand in resolving all issues, especially in Europe and Asia. He made reasonable territorial claims to neighboring countries, demanded from Turkey the Kars region and a military base in the straits, created a pro-Soviet state in Iranian Azerbaijan, and counted on expanding his sphere of influence.
At the same time, among the broad popular masses of Western countries, including the United States, among the liberal and socialist-minded elites, there was still confidence that the friendly, allied relations with the USSR that had developed during the war years would remain. The world froze in admiration for the feat of the Russian soldier who hoisted the Victory Banner over the Reichstag. The claims of the USSR were viewed by many as concern for their own safety, as well as legal compensation for the suffering and sacrifices suffered by the Soviet people during the war.
Churchill, a skillful orator and lover of metaphors, described the role and influence of the USSR in the post-war world order in the following way: “A shadow has fallen on the picture of the world, so recently illuminated by the victory of the Allies. Nobody knows what Soviet Russia and its international communist organization intend to do in the near future and what are the limits, if any, to their expansionist and reversed tendencies. " And further: “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended on the continent. On the other side of the curtain are all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe - Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest, Sofia. All these famous cities and the population in their districts fell within the limits of what I call the Soviet sphere, all of them, in one form or another, are subject not only to Soviet influence, but also to the significant and ever-increasing control of Moscow."
Churchill, who was originally an enemy of Russia, stepping on the throat of his principles "only in the face of a common mortal threat from Nazism," now that the danger had passed, treated these tendencies with great displeasure. It is no coincidence that after Fulton, Stalin did not fail to recall the role of the British Prime Minister in relation to the USSR before and during the war with Germany: “Churchill and the imperialists did not open a second front for a long time, wishing to bleed us out as much as possible,” thereby letting the world community understand that alas, allusions to the Soviet Union as the main enemy of the "English-speaking community" are not new.
As for Churchill, he understood that Great Britain, which five years ago was the main European power, is no longer such. The countries of Western Europe, ravaged by the war and under strong communist influence, will not be able to effectively resist the expansion of the USSR. Only the United States, which suffered the least from Nazism and had a monopoly on atomic weapons, could stop the Soviet Union. The Fulton speech was distinctly provocative, designed to probe and stir up public opinion.
In it, Churchill for the first time endowed the English-speaking ethnos with the exclusive right to show other peoples the paths they should follow under the leadership of the hegemonic nation: “The only instrument capable of preventing war and resisting tyranny at this historical moment is the“fraternal association of English-speaking peoples”. This means a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and the United States of America."
Recalling the end of the First World War, Churchill noted that in those days there were confidence and high hopes that the time of war had passed forever. But now he feels neither confidence nor hope. However, he rejects the idea that a new war is inevitable: “I do not believe that Soviet Russia is hungry for war. She longs for the fruits of war and the unlimited expansion of her power and ideology. From what I saw during the war in our Russian friends and comrades-in-arms, I conclude that they admire nothing more than strength, and they respect nothing less than weakness, especially military weakness. Therefore, the old doctrine of the balance of power is now unfounded."
Interestingly, the former (and future) prime minister used the words "Britain" and "Great Britain" only once. But the "British Commonwealth", "Empire", "English-speaking peoples" - six times, and "kindred" - as many as eight, which emphasized: we are talking about the interests of the entire English-speaking world.
Stalin put the Fulton orator on a par with Hitler: “Mr. Churchill also begins the cause of unleashing the war with racial theory, claiming that only the nations that speak English are full-fledged, called upon to decide the fate of the whole world. German racial theory led Hitler and his friends to the conclusion that the Germans, as the only fully-fledged nation, should dominate others. The English racial theory leads Mr. Churchill and his friends to the conclusion that the nations that speak the English language, as the only full-fledged ones, should rule over the rest of the nations of the world."
Eyewitnesses of Churchill's speech remembered that American President Truman, who was in the hall of the college, was very pale at the end of the speech.
The Fulton speech was a declaration of the Cold War, but at the same time an acknowledgment of Britain's powerlessness to influence the course of world events.