Iron Curtain (1945-1947)  20569


  • 00:00:00 Fulton, Missouri. 1946 visit of Winston Churchill, “From Stetin in the Baltic …” Clark Clifford: speech not well-received; too tough, President criticised by some. Now one fo the great speeches ever made.
  • 00:01:40 Opening titles
  • 00:02:20 USA forces returning home, for second time for a war far beyond its shores. 300k not returning. Others returned to a country of increased prosperity. 15% unemployment before war. Stagnant economy. War production put money into economy, for both men and women (“Rosie the riveter”). Emerged from war with almost full employment. Automobile production.
  • 00:05:00 Soviet troops returning. Lucky ones who found their sons or husbands at station. 27m soldier and civilians did not live to see this day. Gordeyeva: flowers / whatever they could find for returning people, kissing anyone. 70k villages destroyed. Stalin’s pre-war achievements, factories and appartment blocks of 5-year plans, wrecked. Impossible to describe suffering.
  • 00:07:30 Russian female soldier in front of Brandenburg Gate with semaphore flags.
  • 00:08:00 Berlin. Survivors expected massacre but largely left. Stalin ordered them to be fed. Mass rape.
  • 00:09:45 Beria and Molotov in Berlin. Division into sectors. Allies wanting compensation/reparations. Germany population forced to help Russians seize assets; craftsmen and scientists kidnapped and taken to USSR. Central Europe reverting to dark ages. Lawless. Nomads. Turn of Germans to be the victims.
  • 00:11:30 Map: Eastern Poland annexed by USSR. Eastern Germany given to Poland in exchange. Expulsion of Germans. Monika Taubitz on being thrown out of her house. “Today it’s called ethnic cleansing, then it was called population transfer, and the British helped to move the Germans out.”
  • 00:13:30 Celebrations in Trafalgar Square. King George and Queen Elizabeth in carriage. Clement Attlee. Ernest Bevin: trade unionist who mistrusted Communists. Had backed Churchill’s intervention in Greek Civil War. Threat to Britain’s oil route from Middle East through Mediterranean. Greek Communists didn’t know that Stalin had told Britain he had no interest in Communist Greece.
  • 00:15:45 Map of “Pro-Soviet Coalition Governments” but Communists made sure police and security in their hands. Yalta had given USSR control of Eastern Europe. Kidnappings / disappearances of people not suitable.
  • 00:17:25 Gradual strategy for Berlin. Germans understood that Brown was becoming Red; similar methods of forcing people to do things against their will. Leonhard: his comparison was with USSR 1935-45; 46-47 in Germany was wonderful – much less terror than previous decade in USSR.
  • 00:19:10 Red Army biggest on earth. Eisenhower visit to Russia to pay respects to superpower. Stalin feared encirclement. Feared disloyalty of those who had been taken prisoner by the Germans and seen a glimpse of the West; arrested, with USA aware of this.
  • 00:20:50 Clearing of ruins in Warsaw. Working with Russians to rebuild. Some loathed new Moscow-linked government, others lived with it.
  • 00:21:50 Poland’s new puppet leaders taken to the Bolshoi Opera in Moscow. USSR promises to defend Poland against German attempts to win back lost territories. Terror of Stalin.
  • 00:23:00 Yerofeyev story about someone spilling some red wine on Stalin’s jacket.
  • 00:25:00 Stalin speech at Bolshoi Theatre, February 9 1946. “To his exhausted people he promised no rewards, but only more effort, more 5-year plans … Then, in cloudy words, he warned that capitalism and imperialism made future wars inevitable. Did this mean a war between the Soviet Union and the West? Abroad, alarm bells rang.” Different perspectives on whether this was a declaration of World War III, or the continuation of Stalin’s former ideas on Capitalism v Communism.
  • 00:27:00 George Kennan’s telegram from US Embassy to USA; the same group of people who had tried to deal with Hitler … “An 8000 word prophecy that the Soviet Union was in the mood to expand … and must be contained.” Martha Mautner on being on night duty in the code room.
  • 00:29:15 Churchill arrives in USA as Truman’s guest. Getting to know each other: “Winston” or “Harry”? “If you can’t call me Winston, I can’t call you Harry.” Truman aware of content of Churchill’s speech. Truman introduction “He’s a great Englishman, but he’s half-American.”
  • 00:30:50 “From Stetin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic …”
  • 00:32:00 Map: Turkey – Dardanelles and Bosphorus, Suez Canal. Determined to keep Turkey free of Soviet interference. USS Missouri used to deliver body of Turkish ambassador in Washington to Istanbul.
  • 00:33:00 Map: Iran. Hostile to Russia for centuries. Soviet and British troops had occupied Iran for oil during the war. Old Shah, thought to be pro-German, had been replaced by his son. Was agreement that British and Soviet troops would both pull out after the war. Stalin wanted to stay.
  • 00:34:20 Iran as first crisis for Security Council of the UN. Walkout by Gramiko and Russians. “The Security Council has stood its ground.” Truman suspected USSR aim at world domination. Assistants asked to draw up list of Soviet transgressions of agreements:.Clifford-Elsey report: Soviet Union constitutes menace which must be prepared for.
  • 00:37:00 USA still has nuclear monopoly. July 1946 Bikini Atoll explosions.
  • 00:37:20 Paris conference of foreign ministers. Molotov determined to maintain joint Allied control of Germany. Secretary of State James F. Byrnes wanted Germany to pay no more reparations. “Molotov nicknamed ‘Mr No’, but if he had been ‘Mr Yes’, Stalin would not have kept him on”. Wartime alliance begins finally to break up.
  • 00:38:50 James F. Byrnes Stuttgart Speech, end of America’s appeasement of Russia: “It is not in the interests of the German people, or of world peace, that Germany should become a pawn or a partner in the military struggle for power between the East and the West”. Galbraith on writing speech “Not thinking in anti-Soviet terms”. Byrnes “Return the government of Germany to the people of Germany. The American people want to help the German people to win their way back to an honourable place among the free and peace-loving nations of the world.”
  • 00:40:00 Allies had approved Poland’s annexation of German Eastern provinces to Oder and Nisa rivers. Byrnes now suggests new frontier unfair to Germany. Jeruzelski: “Shocking statement … One of most important things that strengthened our ties with the Soviet Union.”
  • 00:41:00 Movietone Newsreel of Moscow; shop windows showing fashions well beyond means of ordinary people. Zlobina: “It was a very hard time … Give me, give me, but I had nothing to give him.”
  • 00:41:40 On farms: 1947 famine.
  • 00:42:20 Hunger and disease in Germany: fear that poverty would drive Germans towards Communism. Poppek: scavenging trips and begging. USA General Lucius Clay “There is no choice between being a Communist on 1500 calories a day and a believer in democracy on 1000.” Aid to Germany costing UK over $1m per day, but many Germans died that winter for lack of food and fuel.
  • 00:43:40 Britain weak with fierce winter of 1946-47 bringing industry to standstill. Economy seizing up. Coal running out, electricity failures, tighter rationing. No bread rationing during war, but pouring bread into Germany to prevent mass starvation there.
  • 00:44:40 British could no longer afford heavy commitments in Mediterranean and told USA it wanted to pull out of economic and military aid to Greece and Turkey. USA needed to act quickly. Truman: USA would contain advance of Communism anywhere in the globe; official declaration of the Cold War.


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    [cast] => Array
            [0] => Kenneth Branagh*narrator**Clark Clifford*Special Counsel to President Truman**Al Aronson*returning veteran**John Kenneth Galbraith*Economist, US State Department**Valentina Gordeyeva*Briansk Resident**Victoria Zlobina*Moscow Resident**Elfriede von Assel*Berlin Resident**Konstantin Koval*Soviet Military Administration Berlin**Monika Taubitz*German Expellee**Sir Frank Roberts*British Embassy Moscow|George Elsey*Aide to President Truman**Robert Tucker*US Embassy Moscow**Wolfgang Leonhard*East Berlin Communist**Lord Annan*British Military Intelligence**Martha Mautner*US Embassy Moscow**Lev Kopelev*Red Army Officer - Political Prisoner**General Wojciech Jaruzelski*Polish Army**Vladimir Yerofeyev*Soviet Foreign Ministry**Paul Nitze*US State Department**George Kennan*US Embassy Moscow**Robert Tucker*US Embassy Moscow**Elfriede Graffier Poppek*Dortmund Resident


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