From Stage to Cold War
The story of the most powerful political metaphor of the twentieth century, shattering the conventional assumption that it was coined by Churchill in the 1940s and charting its long and influential history prior to the onset of the Cold War.
'From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent...' With these words Winston Churchill famously warned the world in a now legendary speech given in Fulton, Missouri, on March 5, 1946. Launched as an evocative metaphor, the 'Iron Curtain' quickly became a brutal reality in the Cold War between Capitalist West and Communist East. Not surprisingly, for many years, people on both sides of the division have assumed that the story of the Iron Curtain began with Churchill's 1946 speech. In this fascinating investigation, Patrick Wright shows that this was decidedly not the case. Starting with its original use to describe an anti-fire device fitted into theatres, Iron Curtain tells the story of how the term evolved into such a powerful metaphor and the myriad ways in which it shaped the world for decades before the onset of the Cold War.; Along the way, it offers fascinating perspectives on a rich array of historical characters and developments, from the lofty aspirations and disappointed fate of early twentieth century internationalists, through the topsy-turvy experiences of the first travellers to Soviet Russia, to the theatricalization of modern politics and international relations. And, as Wright poignantly suggests, the term captures a particular way of thinking about the world that long pre-dates the Cold War - and did not disappear with the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Introduction: Paths Cross on the Jaroslaw Dabrowski; PART I: CARRYING ON IN MISSOURI; 1. Bullet's big day; 2. In the name of the common people; 3. Prophecy and hindsight; PART II: FROM DRURY LANE TO THE THEATRE OF THE WEST (1914-1918); 4. First call; 5. Dividing Europe's horizon; 6. The Belgian variation; 7. In defence of otherness; PART III: WRAPPING RED RUSSIA (1917-20); 8. First delegation; 9. Not just a frontier; 10. Relocating the Allied blockade; 11. Fact-finding with limousines; PART IV: THE BROKEN INTERNATIONAL (1921-1927); 12. The view from Locarno; 13. Snapshots from a land of contrasts; 14. Comrade Bukharin's version; PART V: STALIN'S RING OF TRUST (1927-1939); 15. No end to the Potemkin complex; 16. Friends against famine; 17. Steeled minds and the God that failed; PART VI: SUCCESSION AND AFTERLIFE; 18. Sliding back to Churchill; 19. After the crossing; Afterword: Gone with the Berlin Wall?; Acknowledgements; Appendix 1: 'Bach's Christmas Music in England and in Germany', by Vernon Lee; Appendix 2: 'The Refreshment Room at Narva', by Charles Roden Buxton; Notes; Index