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The Cold War: Domestic and Foreign Concerns

Stalin's Interview on Churchill

Primary source: "Stalin's Reply to Churchill," interview, 1946.
Caption: In his critique of Churchill's "Iron Curtain" speech, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin (1879-1953) rebutted the Prime Minister's characterizations of Russian policies in Europe and accused him of proselytizing for war.

Q. How do you assess the last speech of Mr. Churchill which was made in the United States? . . . Can one consider that the speech of Mr. Churchill is damaging to the cause of peace and security?

A. [Stalin says] Undoubtedly, yes. In substance, 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 . . . .

In substance, Mr. Churchill and his friends in England and the United States present nations not speaking the English language with something like an ultimatum: "Recognize our lordship voluntarily and then all will be well. In the contrary case, war is inevitable." . . .  There is no doubt that the setup of Mr. Churchill is a setup for war, a call to war with the Soviet Union . . . .

Q. How do you assess that part of Mr. Churchill's speech in which he attacks the democratic regime of the European countries which are our neighbors and in which he criticizes the good neighborly relations established between these countries and the Soviet Union?

A. [Stalin says] . . . Mr. Churchill maintains that Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations of those areas, are within the Soviet sphere and are all subjected to Soviet influence and to the increasing control of Moscow . . . . To begin with, it is quite absurd to speak of the exclusive control of the USSR in Vienna and Berlin, where there are Allied control councils with representatives of four states, where the USSR has only one-fourth of the voices.

Secondly, one cannot forget the following fact: the Germans carried out an invasion of the USSR through Finland, Poland, Rumania, Bulgaria and Hungary. The Germans were able to carry out the invasion through these countries by reason of the fact that these countries had governments inimical to the Soviet Union.

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 labor camps, about seven million people. In other words, the Soviet Union has lost in men several times more than Britain and the United States together.

"Stalin's Reply to Churchill," (interview with Pravda), New York Times, 14 March 1946, p. 4.

Copyright 1946 by the New York Times Co. Reprinted by permission.

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