Iron Curtain: From Stage to Cold War

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OUP Oxford, Oct 29, 2009 - History - 540 pages
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'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.
 

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Contents

Introduction Paths Cross on the Jaroslaw Dabrowski
PARTICarrying On in Missouri
1Bullets Big Day
2In the Name of the Common People
3Prophecy and Hindsight
PARTIIFrom Drury Lane to the Theatre of the West 19141918
4First Call
5Dividing Europes Horizon
17Steeled Minds and the God that Failed
PARTVISuccession and Afterlife
18Sliding Back to Churchill
19After the Crossing
Gone with the Berlin Wall?
Appendix IBachs Christmas Music in England and in Germany by Vernon Lee
Appendix IIThe Refreshment Room at Narva by Charles Roden Buxton
Notes

6The Belgian Variation
7In Defence of Otherness
PARTIIIWrapping Red Russia 19171920
8First Delegation
9Not Just a Frontier
10Relocating the Allied Blockade
11FactFinding with Limousines
PART IVThe Broken International 19211927
12The View from Locarno
13Snapshots from a Land of Contrasts
14Comrade Bukharins Version
PART VStalins Ring of Trust 19271939
15No End to the Potemkin Complex
16Friends against Famine
CHAPTER 11 FACTFINDING WITH LIMOUSINES
CHAPTER 12 THE VIEW FROM LOCARNO
CHAPTER 13 SNAPSHOTS FROM A LAND OF CONTRASTS
CHAPTER 14 COMRADE BUKHARINS VERSION
CHAPTER 15 NO END TO THE POTEMKIN COMPLEX
CHAPTER 16 FRIENDS AGAINST FAMINE
CHAPTER 17 STEELED MINDS AND THE GOD THAT FAILED
CHAPTER 18 SLIDING BACK TO CHURCHILL
CHAPTER 19 AFTER THE CROSSING
GONE WITH THE BERLIN WALL?
Photographic Credits
Index
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Patrick Wright is a writer with an interest in the cultural dimensions of modern life. He is the author of a number of highly acclaimed best-selling history books, including The Village that Died for England (1995) and Tank: the Progress of a Monstrous War Machine (2000), described by Simon Schama as 'a tour de force.' He has written for many magazines and newspapers, including the London Review of Books, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Independent, and the Observer, and has made numerous documentaries on cultural themes for both BBC Radio 3 and 4. His television work includes The River, a four-part BBC2 series on the Thames. He is also a Professor at the Institute for Cultural Analysis at Nottingham Trent University, and a fellow of the London Consortium.

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