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View Full Version : OT: A question about the 'Iron Curtain'



Skarphol
05-13-2005, 04:43 AM
Hi!

This is not IL-2-related, but as this forum seems to be blessed with a lot of intelligent and well-informed people from Eastern Europe, I'll give it a go.

What was the official reason in Eastern Europe for building the 'Iron Curtain' along the borders to Western Europe? I think most Western Europeans saw it as a fence for keeping the eastern europeans from simply running away to the west, but I guess this was not the official reason in the east? Can anyone share some light?

Skarphol

LuckyBoy1
05-13-2005, 04:50 AM
That would depend on who you ask I get as far as how it will be answered.

Ask someone in the West and they'll say it was so the U.S.S.R. could enslave the people who came under their control after WWII.

Ask the Soviets and they just might point to the dirty little war fought by western powers to defeat the Reds and put the Whites back in power.

The truth probably lies somewhere between those two points of view.

Now, if you are talking about an actual fence like the Berlin wall, well, the East Germans said it was for their own citizens protection against the evil West. Of course, the truth was their population kept bleeding over to the West and they had to do something to keep them in before the whole Country Emptied out into West Germany.

arcadeace
05-13-2005, 05:08 AM
Its a metaphor for an ideological barrier, which served to keep people in and information out within the sphere of Soviet influence and increasing pressure from Moscow.

hotspace
05-13-2005, 05:16 AM
The saying comes from a Winston Churchill Speech back in 1946 from where he was speaking in Fulton, Missouri:

http://www.churchillspeeches.com/

Hot Space

Finkeren
05-13-2005, 05:20 AM
Somewhat OT, but do you know who actually invented the term 'iron curtain'?
No you're wrong. It was NOT Winston Churchill, it was actually one Joseph Göebbels who in a propaganda flyer in 1943 titled 'The year 2000' presented a 'worst case senario' of what would happen if Germany lost the war.
Göebbels predicted that the world would be split in half between the weak capitalist 'West' and the vile, communist, 'untermensch' East. The line btween these two he called 'The Iron Curtain'.
I own an original copy of this flyer that my father gave to me. His father kept it because he wanted to look at it in the year 2000 and make the comparisation, but unfortunately he didn't live that long (he was not a nazi BTW more like the opposite)
The document is in Danish so unfortunately i don't think many people would benefit from me posting it, but it's still a nifty little thing, proving at least one point where my encyclopedia is mistaken. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif

hotspace
05-13-2005, 05:24 AM
But Winston Churchill had better teeth though http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Hot Space

Finkeren
05-13-2005, 05:28 AM
Originally posted by HotSpace:
But Winston Churchill had better teeth though http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Hot Space
Old winnie is not my favourite but compared to Göebbels he's definately the better choise. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/354.gif
BTW: Don't you think they made him a little too prety in 'Der Untergang'?

Skarphol
05-13-2005, 05:45 AM
Thanks, LuckyBoy!

Now, I wasn't really looking for the answer to who invented the term 'Iron Curtain', even though your answers where informative and interresting.

I am more interreseted in how the governements in say Poland, East Germany, Checkoslovakia, Hungary etc explained the fact that they had to build a wall along their border.

'Keeping out the darned foreigners' seems like a lousy reason for building such a wall. Any eastern europeans who remeber the official reason for building it?

Skarphol

Finkeren
05-13-2005, 05:59 AM
Originally posted by Skarphol:
Thanks, LuckyBoy!

Now, I wasn't really looking for the answer to who invented the term 'Iron Curtain', even though your answers where informative and interresting.

I am more interreseted in how the governements in say Poland, East Germany, Checkoslovakia, Hungary etc explained the fact that they had to build a wall along their border.

'Keeping out the darned foreigners' seems like a lousy reason for building such a wall. Any eastern europeans who remeber the official reason for building it?

Skarphol

I was not around at the time som I cen't say for sure, but couldn't it be taht the fact that the Berlin Wall was build overnight, had something to do with the difficulty of finding a reasonable explanation. The Wall was there when they woke up in the morning, it was real and not something you had to argue in favor of.

SeaNorris
05-13-2005, 06:04 AM
Originally posted by HotSpace:
But Winston Churchill had better teeth though http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Hot Space

And he had the most balls http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif

tjaika1910
05-13-2005, 06:08 AM
The iron curtain is from the theatre. Fire safe curtain.

Here is a link that describes Stalins reaction to Churchills speach.

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/cold.war/episodes/02/reflections/

MajorBloodnok
05-13-2005, 06:14 AM
Originally posted by SeaNorris:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by HotSpace:
But Winston Churchill had better teeth though http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Hot Space

And he had the most balls http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif </div></BLOCKQUOTE>None of which were in the Albert Hall http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-very-happy.gif http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/blink.gif

Art-J
05-13-2005, 07:26 AM
Originally posted by Skarphol:
Thanks, LuckyBoy!

Now, I wasn't really looking for the answer to who invented the term 'Iron Curtain', even though your answers where informative and interresting.

I am more interreseted in how the governements in say Poland, East Germany, Checkoslovakia, Hungary etc explained the fact that they had to build a wall along their border.

'Keeping out the darned foreigners' seems like a lousy reason for building such a wall. Any eastern europeans who remeber the official reason for building it?

Skarphol

It might seem a "lousy" reason, but mind You, in the country of ABSURD, each reason is explained by the government as a perfectly serious reason. For example, in the '50s (or late '40s? I might be wrong here), farmers here in Poland had problems with... uhm... how the hell do You call this bug in English? I don't know - google for "Leptinotarsa decemlineata" and You will get the picture http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif. Nasty bug, parasite, causes agricultural damage. Anyway, there were lots of them. Official propaganda used these poor little buggers as a example of "foreign sabotage"! They were teaching people, that these bugs were deliberately dropped in Poland by spies from Western Germany and US http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif. Would You believe that?

If government is serious about showing how "evil" bugs from "the West" are, so imagine how "evil" all western culture and people were described in books and TV these days (especially in the darkest years of regime, '40s and '50s). "We have to protect ourselves form them!" Therefore ---> no possibility of traveling to western countries, unless It's a "one-way" pass for people who are inconvenient for government and had the alternative of leaving the country forever or staying, and being imprisoned http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/51.gif (I think I still have my old passport, which allowed me to travel only between communist countries... Funny souvenir now, but wasn't so funny these days, and I got it when I was a kid, still in the late '80s!).

If You are the head of communist country, You don't want Your people to find out that Your regime is not so perfect really and how the world "outside" actually looks like. You don't want foreigners to come here and tell Your people the truth either. So You make a "curtain" - virtual one (by making travelling all over the Europe illegal) or real one, like the wall in Berlin. There's no need for official and reasonable explanation - just keep saying that we're "right" and the others are "wrong" and they are a military/economic threat for us. This is how it really worked http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif.
And I'm glad that these times are over and I can sit here and chat with You guys.

Cheers - Art.

LuckyBoy1
05-13-2005, 07:43 AM
I don't think they like built an actual wall across all of Europe.

I can tell you that contrary to popular belief, the U.S. at the time was glad to see the Berlin wall go up. Why? Well, it was viewed as a stabilizing force that allowed the Soviets to keep East Germany from having a major brain drain while not having to go to an actual, more conventional type war to save face in the midst of mass desertions by the East German people to the West.

csThor
05-13-2005, 08:01 AM
LuckyBoy - Have you seen what the border between FRG and GDR looked like in the 70s and 80s? If that isn't a "wall" then I don't know http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

@Topic:

Officially it was called "Antifascist Protective Barrier" (Antifaschistischer Schutzwall, the english translation takes away lot of the cynism attached) and should "protect" the "most advanced society on german soil" from the "capitalist ursupators". I for once don't believe there was anyone in the GDR who didn't know that it was more to keep the people from getting out than anything else. Being drafted into the border guards of the NVA was mostly seen as a penalty (because of the shooting order, never made official but it was an open secret) even though only politically "reliable" persons could serve there. The problem was that most folks just kept their real opinions to themselves.

jurinko
05-13-2005, 08:06 AM
I live in former Czechoslovakia, few km from Austrian border. There were complicated barriers, electric fences, barbed wires and watch towers, just as in concentration camp. People living close to the west border had to obtain a special document which allowed them to live there. Official propaganda told they are guarding us against western spies and foreign agents. People were trying, however..

http://img.radio.cz/pictures/c/noviny/hranice_uteky1.jpg


There is such a .. not joke, but sad and real event from those times.. a small girl sitting on fatherâ´s shoulders, looking at the barbed wire asks "daddy, and who lives behind that fence?" and daddy says "we live there, darling"

http://dnvonline.wz.cz/images/fotos/socik02.jpg

JG301_nils
05-14-2005, 07:39 AM
There is such a .. not joke, but sad and real event from those times.. a small girl sitting on fatherâ´s neck looking at the barbed wire asks "daddy, and who lives behind that fence?" and daddy says "we live there, darling"
-----------
Very well said Jurinko, I think that sums it all up nicely.

Friendly_flyer
05-14-2005, 08:51 AM
The beetle (it's not a bug) Leptinotarsa decemlineata is called the Colorado potato beetle, and it used to be a big scare, not only in Poland. It is a nasty agricultural pest. Even here in Norway, there used to be pictures of it posted at airports and border stations, until biologists managed to convince the officials that it's too cold for it to spread here.

So the Colorado beetle was used as part of the rationale for the closed borders? Oh my!

major_setback
05-15-2005, 03:44 AM
[ Finkaren] Somewhat OT, but do you know who actually invented the term 'iron curtain'?
No you're wrong. It was NOT Winston Churchill, it was actually one Joseph Göebbels who in a propaganda flyer in 1943 titled 'The year 2000' presented a 'worst case senario' of what would happen if Germany lost the war.




Originally posted by HotSpace:
But Winston Churchill had better teeth though http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Hot Space

It might well be true that Winnie had better teeth than Goebbels.
However I have it on good authority that General Montgomery's teeth were quite outstanding! ...and that these were nothing compared to Erwin Rommel's choppers, which were truly a sight to behold!!

However, some people claim that Winnies teeth weren't actually his own, and that they had actually, some years earlier, belonged to Joseph Goebbels!!! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_confused.gif


http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/16x16_smiley-wink.gif