Guide Iron Curtain Calls

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I do not believe we should all have slept so soundly had the positions been reversed and if some Communist or neo-Fascist State monopolised for the time being these dread agencies. The fear of them alone might easily have been used to enforce totalitarian systems upon the free democratic world, with consequences appalling to human imagination. God has willed that this shall not be and we have at least a breathing space to set our house in order before this peril has to be encountered: and even then, if no effort is spared, we should still possess So formidable a superiority as to impose effective deterrents upon its employment, or threat of employment, by others.

Ultimately, when the essential brotherhood of man is truly embodied and expressed in a world organisation with all the necessary practical safeguards to make it effective, these powers would naturally be confided to that world organisation. Now I come to the second danger of these two marauders which threatens the cottage, the home, and the ordinary people-namely, tyranny. We cannot be blind to the fact that the liberties enjoyed by individual citizens throughout the British Empire are not valid in a considerable number of countries, some of which are very powerful.

In these States control is enforced upon the common people by various kinds of all-embracing police governments. The power of the State is exercised without restraint, either by dictators or by compact oligarchies operating through a privileged party and a political police. It is not our duty at this time when difficulties are so numerous to interfere forcibly in the internal affairs of countries which we have not conquered in war. But we must never cease to proclaim in fearless tones the great principles of freedom and the rights of man which are the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world and which through Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, trial by jury, and the English common law find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence.

All this means that the people of any country have the right, and should have the power by constitutional action, by free unfettered elections, with secret ballot, to choose or change the character or form of government under which they dwell; that freedom of speech and thought should reign; that courts of justice, independent of the executive, unbiased by any party, should administer laws which have received the broad assent of large majorities or are consecrated by time and custom.


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Here are the title deeds of freedom which should lie in every cottage home. Here is the message of the British and American peoples to mankind. Let us preach what we practise — let us practise what we preach. I have now stated the two great dangers which menace the homes of the people: War and Tyranny. I have not yet spoken of poverty and privation which are in many cases the prevailing anxiety. But if the dangers of war and tyranny are removed, there is no doubt that science and co-operation can bring in the next few years to the world, certainly in the next few decades newly taught in the sharpening school of war, an expansion of material well-being beyond anything that has yet occurred in human experience.

Now, at this sad and breathless moment, we are plunged in the hunger and distress which are the aftermath of our stupendous struggle; but this will pass and may pass quickly, and there is no reason except human folly or sub-human crime which should deny to all the nations the inauguration and enjoyment of an age of plenty.

I have often used words which I learned fifty years ago from a great Irish-American orator, a friend of mine, Mr. Bourke Cockran. The earth is a generous mother; she will provide in plentiful abundance food for all her children if they will but cultivate her soil in justice and in peace. Now, while still pursuing the method of realising our overall strategic concept, I come to the crux of what I have travelled here to Say.

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Neither the sure prevention of war, nor the continuous rise of world organisation will be gained without what I have called the fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples. This is no time for generalities, and I will venture to be precise. Fraternal association requires not only the growing friendship and mutual understanding between our two vast but kindred Systems of society, but the continuance of the intimate relationship between our military advisers, leading to common study of potential dangers, the similarity of weapons and manuals of instructions, and to the interchange of officers and cadets at technical colleges.

It should carry with it the continuance of the present facilities for mutual security by the joint use of all Naval and Air Force bases in the possession of either country all over the world. This would perhaps double the mobility of the American Navy and Air Force. It would greatly expand that of the British Empire Forces and it might well lead, if and as the world calms down, to important financial savings.

Already we use together a large number of islands; more may well be entrusted to our joint care in the near future. This Agreement is more effective than many of those which have often been made under formal alliances. This principle should be extended to all British Commonwealths with full reciprocity. Thus, whatever happens, and thus only, shall we be secure ourselves and able to work together for the high and simple causes that are dear to us and bode no ill to any. Eventually there may come-I feel eventually there will come-the principle of common citizenship, but that we may be content to leave to destiny, whose outstretched arm many of us can already clearly see.

There is however an important question we must ask ourselves. Would a special relationship between the United States and the British Commonwealth be inconsistent with our over-riding loyalties to the World Organisation?

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I reply that, on the contrary, it is probably the only means by which that organisation will achieve its full stature and strength. There are already the special United States relations with Canada which I have just mentioned, and there are the special relations between the United States and the South American Republics. I agree with Mr. Bevin, the Foreign Secretary of Great Britain, that it might well be a fifty years Treaty so far as we are concerned. We aim at nothing but mutual assistance and collaboration. The British have an alliance with Portugal unbroken since , and which produced fruitful results at critical moments in the late war.

None of these clash with the general interest of a world agreement, or a world organisation; on the contrary they help it. I spoke earlier of the Temple of Peace. Workmen from all countries must build that temple. Indeed they must do so or else the temple may not be built, or, being built, it may collapse, and we shall all be proved again unteachable and have to go and try to learn again for a third time in a school of war, incomparably more rigorous than that from which we have just been released. The dark ages may return, the Stone Age may return on the gleaming wings of science, and what might now shower immeasurable material blessings upon mankind, may even bring about its total destruction.

Beware, I say; time may be short. Do not let us take the course of allowing events to drift along until it is too late. If there is to be a fraternal association of the kind I have described, with all the extra strength and security which both our countries can derive from it, let us make sure that that great fact is known to the world, and that it plays its part in steadying and stabilising the foundations of peace.

There is the path of wisdom. Prevention is better than cure.

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A shadow has fallen upon the scenes so lately lighted by the Allied victory. Nobody knows what Soviet Russia and its Communist international organisation intends to do in the immediate future, or what are the limits, if any, to their expansive and proselytising tendencies. I have a strong admiration and regard for the valiant Russian people and for my wartime comrade, Marshal Stalin.

There is deep sympathy and goodwill in Britain-and I doubt not here also-towards the peoples of all the Russias and a resolve to persevere through many differences and rebuffs in establishing lasting friendships. We understand the Russian need to be secure on her western frontiers by the removal of all possibility of German aggression. We welcome Russia to her rightful place among the leading nations of the world.

We welcome her flag upon the seas.

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Above all, we welcome constant, frequent and growing contacts between the Russian people and our own people on both sides of the Atlantic. It is my duty however, for I am sure you would wish me to state the facts as I see them to you, to place before you certain facts about the present position in Europe. From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Col Malev's mumbled response is not translated for me. While the choir flirts with foreign music, the core of their repertoire has changed very little over the years.

In fact, an important part of the choir's work remains performing in the motherland. This year, it will tour the "hero cities", which were on the front line during the Second World War. The five-year-long civil war in Tajikistan ended in , but the country still relies heavily on Russian military support. The heart swells, the foot taps, the mind contemplates the vastness of Russia. When they perform, the choir wears full military uniform, however, when practising, they dress down in colourful knitwear. Talking afterwards to the choir's assembled luminaries, it becomes clear that they are as fond of storytelling as of singing.

Col Malev recalls the choir's modest beginnings in the s, when it consisted of eight singers, one reciter and two dancers.

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Today, as well as the singers and musicians there is a troupe of dancers, both male and female. Women are only allowed to be dancers. The choir is especially proud of the role it played during the Second World War - or the Great Patriotic War, as it is known in Russia. Its founder Alexandrov wrote a song called "Holy War" in response to the German invasion, and it soon became a hit. Col Malev recounts its first public performance.

After the choir finished the song, there was silence and then thunderous applause. The soldiers called for one encore after another. The choir had prepared a full programme but they just sang 'Holy War' over and over again. During the war, the choir travelled the entire front line, performing 1, concerts. In another celebrated anecdote, they sang "Holy War" down phone lines to troops at the front.

These stories, like the songs and the choir itself, were all part of the Soviet regime's propaganda machine. They may or may not be entirely true. But, 60 years on, the members of the Red Army Choir still love to tell them. The choir's longest-serving member, Victor Kadinov, proceeds to tell us about the choir's miraculous effect on its British audience in She had been paralysed from the waist down for 25 years, but after listening to our performance, she was able to stand briefly. At that concert, the choir performed "God Save the Queen". This time, in Trafalgar Square on Saturday, the full ensemble's first performance here since will be a mixture of traditional Russian songs and English-language numbers.

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