by Cynthia Chung
This past Nov. 9th marked the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is a pivotal point in modern history, since it also marked the fall of the Iron Curtain. As is well known the Iron Curtain speech was made by then Prime Minister of Britain, Winston Churchill, on March 5th, 1946 at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. Ironically, the speech was named “Sinews of Peace”. In this speech on the subject of “peace”, Churchill announced to the world that the Soviet Union, less than one year after WWII had ended and the war against fascism had been won, with the instrumental backing by the Soviets, that suddenly the Soviets and anything considered under Soviet influence was to be cut out of the West and labelled both an enemy of the state and a threat to freedom and democracy. There was no reason given.
This threatening message was not only meant for the Soviets, but was also directed to the Americans and in between the lines Churchill stated “Things are going to be very different from now on. Your dead president cannot protect you any longer.” Some may be surprised to hear such an aside comment, more likened to the outer ruminations of Shakespeare’s Iago. Such confusion will be addressed shortly.
It is no secret that Churchill disliked Stalin, but this went further than an incompatibility in personalities. Churchill considered it below himself and Britain to ‘discuss’ or ‘negotiate’ with any non-Anglo Saxon country, especially not a country in Asia, Africa and South America. These were considered as either subject people or people that needed to be subjugated. In 1937 Churchill stated to the Palestine Royal Commission:
“I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.”
Some ‘loyal’ subjects of Britain maintain that Churchill was an honorable man. After all Churchill was voted as the greatest Briton ever in 2002 with the London Independent going so far as to say he was “crowned”. These subjects of Churchill will deny the accusation that Churchill was a racist, but in the same breath will acknowledge that Churchill did believe in racial hierarchies and eugenics. There is apparently a difference between the two according to Churchill lovers. When Labour candidate Benjamin Whittingham tweeted that Churchill was “a racist and white supremacist” after it was announced that Churchill would feature on the new £5 note, the comments were labelled as “ignorant” and “incredibly insulting” by Churchill’s grandson Sir Nicholas Soames and the tweet was subsequently deleted with the Labour Party releasing a response that the comment did not represent the view of the Party. Apparently, thinking your race is superior to others and that this in turn justifies your subjugation and slaughter of said races, in addition to also believing that said races should be sterilised (which Churchill also unapologetically advocated)…is not racist.
But the problem goes much further. There is no limit to how far one can decide to carry such a vision of imposing the will of a superior race onto what is considered to be an inferior race. Where does the line start where we begin to recognise another’s peoples or country’s right to sovereignty? And how far is one willing to disregard the other’s sovereignty? Well the answer, in accordance with Churchill, is there is no line. It isn’t even so simple as a question of being ‘white’ vs ‘non-white’, as history clearly testifies in the cases of the Irish and the Scottish people who suffered systemic genocides under British rule.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was undeniably a stabilising force of diplomacy between West vs East tension during WWII. Roosevelt was of the view that the “Big Four”, consisting of the US, Britain, Soviet Union and China, should all have an equal seat at the table for discussing a post-WW II world. The plan under Roosevelt was that these nations, under the principles of the Atlantic Charter, were to be responsible for the formation of a United Nations, which would oversee the banishment of colonialism world-wide and would bring the power of technological advancement to all nations in its place. Roosevelt was of the view that all nations should be supported in their development in order to ensure lasting peace and avoid another world war, something that obviously clashed with the outlook of the British Empire who had only known a complete reliance on colonialism for the past centuries.
Elliott Roosevelt, who had reached the rank of Brigadier General during the war and was a trusted aid to his father, published a book titled “As He Saw It” in 1946, which is the most thorough documentation of FDR’s anti-colonial post-war vision. Elliott was privy to many high security meetings, including conversations his father, Franklin D. Roosevelt, had in his home with Churchill. Notably in one part of the book Elliott recounts a discussion that occurred on August 10, 1941 on colonial issues:
“Of course,” [FDR] remarked, with a sly sort of assurance, “of course, after the war, one of the preconditions of any lasting peace will have to be the greatest possible freedom of trade.”
Churchill shifted in his armchair. “The British Empire trade agreements,” he began heavily, “are–”
Father [FDR] broke in. “Yes. Those Empire trade agreements are a case in point. It’s because of them that the people of India and Africa, of all the colonial Near East and Far East, are still as backward as they are.”
Churchill’s neck reddened and he crouched forward. “Mr. President, England does not propose for a moment to lose its favored position among the British Dominions. The trade that has made England great shall continue, and under conditions prescribed by England’s ministers.”
“You see,” said Father [FDR] slowly, “it is along in here somewhere that there is likely to be some disagreement between you, Winston, and me.
“I am firmly of the belief that if we are to arrive at a stable peace it must involve the development of backward countries. Backward peoples. How can this be done? It can’t be done, obviously, by eighteenth-century methods. Now-”
“Who’s talking eighteenth-century methods?” [Churchill]
“Whichever of your ministers recommends a policy which takes wealth in raw materials out of a colonial country, but which returns nothing to the people of that country in consideration. Twentieth-century methods involve bringing industry to these colonies. Twentieth-century methods include increasing the wealth of a people by increasing their standard of living, by educating them, by bringing them sanitation-by making sure that they get a return for the raw wealth of their community.”
The Death of FDR and the Ushering in of a Cold War Era
Upon the death of FDR on April 12, 1945 and the end of WWII on Sept 2, 1945, Churchill immediately dropped any significant meeting or discussion with Stalin. Churchill outright refused to meet with Chiang Kai-shek in public even when FDR was alive, and thus all communication between the “Big Four” was over. And after less than one year had passed since the victory against fascism that threatened the world, towards which the Soviet Union and China had contributed vitally to and suffered the greatest from, Churchill would announce the fall of the Iron Curtain, creating an over half a century long divide between east and west.
The passing of FDR left the ‘joint declaration’ that was made between FDR and Churchill expressed in The Atlantic Charter to turn to ash, as Churchill made no further attempt to honor it. The United Nations would be formed, but not under the principle that Roosevelt envisioned, which would be a balance between East and West by the “Big Four”. Instead the United Nations became American and Western European centric, allowing for a divide as seen under the Iron Curtain, the very opposite of what FDR had envisioned.
As President Roosevelt was laid into the ground, the British and Dutch were allowed to re-enter Africa, Indo-China, Indonesia and other colonies on the brink of their independence, only to be re-colonised.
The new de-facto President Truman, who replaced Henry Wallace as FDR’s Vice President in 1944, had no problems doing what Churchill instructed him to. Japan was the first country in history to be attacked by an atomic bomb, even as that nation was entering terms of surrender. It would be launched and approved by Truman, not only once but twice in Hiroshima and Nagasaki only 3 days apart, on August 6th and 9th of 1945. Major re-arrangements under Truman occurred, including the dismantling of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), American Foreign Intelligence at the time, no later than 18 days after WWII was officially over and was later replaced by a more Anglophile CIA two years later (expunged from all FDR loyalists who were largely targeted as Commie sympathizers). The US would have no officially recognised foreign intelligence for two years while this shifting of internal chess pieces occurred in the shadows.
Under Truman, the United States entered a nuclear stand-off with the Soviet Union which would divide the world for the next 40 years.
The next move addresses the side comment I made earlier of Churchill threatening the American people that “their dead president could protect them no longer”. Within a year of the Iron Curtain speech, as part of the Red Scare, President Truman in 1947 would sign an executive order to screen federal employees for association with organisations deemed very generally as “totalitarian, fascist, communist or subversive”. This was a direct violation of what FDR had originally implemented as the Four Freedoms, which were 1) Freedom of Speech 2) Freedom of worship 3) Freedom from want 4) Freedom from fear for all people.
Under the executive order, undermining the power and authority of the state included anyone who dared question the actions of the state. It should not go unnoticed that in situations like these semantics and double speak are rampant and often what is labelled “fascist” activity is the basic right of free speech and those that label it “fascist” are the perpetrators of the accused crime.
The Red Scare was a terror unleashed on the American people, to the point that they are still recovering from its effects today. No one was free to express their thoughts or opinions on a subject without the concern that a co-worker, a neighbour, your child’s teacher, your partner, even your own daughter or son could report you to the authorities for holding or expressing questionable or subversive thoughts. A country that not that long ago prided itself as the ‘Land of Liberty’ had quickly fallen under the rule of the same form of tyranny they had fought against in WWII.
How was it possible that despite the war of fascism being victorious, fascism had nonetheless entered the United States and had taken over numerous government institutions including the state and federal judicial courts?
It is because the door was opened for them.
They were welcomed into the United States, not by the people, but by the camp around Truman under the instructions of Churchill. This is why the OSS had to be dismantled first. This was meant to be a cleanse of any American patriot that was in accord with Roosevelt and Wallace’s vision of the “Century of the Common Man”, which clearly expressed that inequality, slavery and poverty were over and that the aim of any nation would be aligned with all nations, consisting of the mutual respect for sovereignty but also the necessary economic uplifting of the poor.
The Final Chapter
Although this is a terribly tragic tale, the final chapter has yet to be written and this story of tragedy can still be turned into an inspiring story of a victorious courage in defiance of tyranny.
We are in the final chapter of this period of history, which is not defined by isolated events that occurred in the past, but rather what actively governs our present and future choices and outcomes. The West needs to wake up to what was implemented as foreign policy on the world after WWII and recognise it for what it was, as a sponsorship of fascism.
The reason fascism was still able to enter the US despite the defeat of Hitler was because Hitler was never the kernel of this vision. It is now out in the open, that Hitler was funded by several Western banks, including the Bank of International Settlements and the Bank of England. This is really nothing surprising. Fascism is another side of the face of colonialism. Colonialism is a tool to subjugate nations that have not yet found their independence, fascism is the tool used to subjugate nations who have already found their independence. The goal is the same; to have them all conform, in one form or another, to one body of central control. This is also nothing surprising. This has been the vision under the British Empire since its inception, and yes Britain continues to look at world policy through this lens, this is what continues to dictate the fallacious “rules” of geopolitics today.
The intended policies by Franklin D. Roosevelt for the post war world are still waiting to be implemented today.
So what can we the people do about this? We can wake up to the fact that this has occurred and recognise that the mainstream presentation of world dichotomy today is just continuing this sickly narrative. That Russia and China are not some monstrous race and that we should weigh what is currently being offered as an olive branch with great and serious reflection. That is namely the Eurasian Economic Union and the New Silk Road which also applies immensely to the US.
Let us not continue to remain shackled in despair and inaction but rather realise that there is a great opportunity still for the Century of the Common Man.
This article was originally published on Strategic Culture Foundation