How might Churchill's Iron Curtain speech have increased tension between the superpowers?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In March of 1946, when Churchill gave this speech, the Cold War was not yet in full swing.  The US and the USSR were suspicious of one another, but not yet to the point of open conflict.  Churchill’s speech pushed both sides towards conflict.  It did so by comparing the threat of communism to the threat posed by Hitler.

In this speech, Churchill says that appeasing the Soviets would be like appeasing Hitler.  By saying this, he encouraged the US to take a hard line against communism.  By saying it, he also encouraged the Soviets to feel that the West was strongly opposed to them.  Less than a year after they were allies, Churchill is comparing them to the common enemy that they had just faced.  This would clearly have caused the Soviets to have less trust for the West.

In this way, Churchill’s speech gave each side more reason to mistrust the other.


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