Famous Quotes – Cold War

MBtE - NGJoin our mailing list and claim a FREE copy of Rupert Colley’s novel, My Brother the Enemy.

“We have to get tough with the Russians. They don’t know how to behave. They are like bulls in a china shop. They are only 25 years old. We are over 100 and the British are centuries older.  We have got to teach them how to behave.”
Harry Truman, April 1945″From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.”
Winston Churchill, March 5, 1946

“The seeds of totalitarian regimes are nurtured by misery and want.”
Harry S. Truman, March 3, 1947 (ahead of the Marshall Plan).

“People of this world, look upon this city and see that you should not and cannot abandon this city and this people.”
Ernst Reuter, Mayor of West Berlin during the Berlin blockade, September 9, 1948

“The reason why we find ourselves in a position of impotency is not because the enemy has sent men to invade our shores, but rather because of the traitorous actions of those who have had all the benefits that the wealthiest nation on earth has had to offer – the finest homes, the finest college educations, and the finest jobs in Government we can give.”
Joseph McCarthy, February 9, 1950.

“In the simplest of terms, what we are doing in Korea is this: We are trying to prevent a third world war.”
Harry S. Truman, April 16, 1951

“He suddenly opened his eyes and looked at everyone in the room. It was a terrible gaze, mad or maybe furious and full of fear of death… Then something incomprehensible and frightening happened. … He suddenly lifted his left hand as though he were pointing to something above and bringing down a curse on us all. … The next moment, after a final effort, the spirit wrenched itself free of the flesh.”
Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana Alliluyeva, recounting her father’s death on March 3, 1953.

“Senator; you’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”
Joseph Welch, US Army Attorney, to Joseph McCarthy, June 9, 1954.

“If you don’t like us, don’t accept our invitations and don’t invite us to come to see you. Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will bury you.”
Nikita Khrushchev, November 18, 1956

“America has been in existence for 150 years and this is the level she has reached. We have existed not quite 42 years and in another seven years we will be on the same level as America. When we catch you up, in passing you by, we will wave to you.”
Nikita Khrushchev, July 24, 1959

“The Earth is blue… how wonderful. It is amazing”
Yuri Gagarin, April 12, 1961 (during his space flight)

“Nobody intends to put up a wall!”
Walter Ulbricht, Leader of the GDR, June 15, 1961 – 2 months before the Berlin Wall was erected.

“A wall is a hell of a lot better than a war.”
John F. Kennedy, August 1961 (on the construction of the Berlin Wall)

“Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.”
John F. Kennedy, September 25, 1961

“I am a Marxist-Leninist and I will be one until the last day of my life.”
Fidel Castro, December 2, 1961

“A man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on. Ideas have endurance without death.”
John F. Kennedy, December 14, 1962.

“Berlin is the testicles of the West, every time I want the West to scream, I squeeze on Berlin.”
Nikita Khrushchev, 1962.

“Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free. When all are free, then we can look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one and this country and this great Continent of Europe in a peaceful and hopeful globe. When that day finally comes, as it will, the people of West Berlin can take sober satisfaction in the fact that they were in the front lines for almost two decades. All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words Ich bin ein Berliner.”
John F. Kennedy, June 26, 1963.

“There are many people in the world who really don’t understand, or say they don’t, what is the great issue between the free world and the Communist world. Let them come to Berlin. There are some who say that communism is the wave of the future. Let them come to Berlin. And there are some who say in Europe and elsewhere we can work with the Communists. Let them come to Berlin. And there are even a few who say that it is true that communism is an evil system, but it permits us to make economic progress. Lass’ sie nach Berlin kommen. Let them come to Berlin.”
John F. Kennedy, June 26, 1963.

“[Communism] has never come to power in a country that was not disrupted by war or internal corruption or both.”
John F. Kennedy, July 1963

“The survivors (of a nuclear war) would envy the dead.”
Nikita Khrushchev, July 20, 1963

“In free society art is not a weapon…Artists are not engineers of the soul.”
John F. Kennedy, October 26, 1963

“If you (the USA) start throwing hedgehogs under me, I shall throw a couple of porcupines under you.”
Nikita Khrushchev, November 7, 1963.

“We are not going to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.”
Lyndon B. Johnson, October 21, 1964 on US involvement in the Vietnam War.

“Capitalism is using its money; we socialists throw it away.”
Fidel Castro, November 8, 1964

“You have opened a new chapter in the relations of the American and Chinese people… I am confident that this beginning of our friendship will certainly meet with majority support of our two peoples.”
Chou En-lai, Chinese premier, April 14, 1971 on the US ping-pong team’s visit to China.

“There can be no whitewash at the White House.”
Richard Nixon, April 30, 1973

“No words can describe the depths of my regret and pain at the anguish my mistakes over Watergate have caused the nation and the presidency – a nation I so deeply love and an institution I so greatly respect.”
Richard Nixon, September 8, 1974.

“When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.”
Richard Nixon, May 19, 1977

“Under Lenin the Soviet Union was like a religious revival, under Stalin like a prison, under Khrushchev like a circus, and under Brezhnev like the U.S. Post Office.”
Jimmy Carter, November 7, 1977

“This is the moment of your defeat; you have just put in the last nails in the coffin of communism.”
Lech Walesa, December 13, 1981

“Regimes planted by bayonets do not take root.”
Ronald Reagan, June 8, 1982

“I like Mr Gorbachev, we can do business together.”
Margaret Thatcher commenting on the new Soviet leader, December 17, 1984.

“Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”
Ronald Reagan, June 12, 1987

“The threat of a world war is no more.”
Mikhail Gorbachevfarewell speech signifying the end of the USSR and the Cold War, December 1991.

“By the grace of God, America won the cold war.”
George Bush, Snr., January 28, 1992

Read about the Cold War in The Cold War: History In An Hour by Rupert Colley, published by Harper Press and available in digital formats and audio.

If you would like to suggest a quote, please contact us.

 

The Berlin Blockade and Berlin Airlift – a summary

24 June 1948 saw the start of the Berlin Blockade, which, as a direct consequence, led to the Berlin Airlift. But what were these two events that were so pivotal in the early post-war years of the Cold War?

Misery and want

“The seeds of totalitarian regimes,” said US president, Harry S. Truman, a year earlier in March 1947, “are nurtured by misery and want.” In other words, communism appealed to those suffering from hardship. Remove the hardship; you remove the appeal of communism.

Known as the Truman Doctrine, the President believed that communism had to be contained, and that America could not, as it did after the First World War, turn its back on Europe – isolationism was no longer an option. Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, which brought America into the war, was proof that physical distance was no longer a guarantee of safety. In the post-war era a stable Europe and the future of the ‘free world’ was a necessity.

The Marshall Plan

Continue reading

The East German Uprising – a summary

The East German Uprising, 16-17 June 1953. Stalin had died three months before, and a new post-Stalinist era beckoned for those trapped behind the Iron Curtain. But if the workers of East Germany thought that Stalin’s death meant change, they were soon disabused as the East German premier, Walter Ulbricht, strove to increase industrial output.

Walter Ulbricht’s plan

East Germany’s economy was stagnating and Ulbricht (pictured), a Stalinist to the core, proposed a range of measures to pump-up the economy – increase taxes, increase prices and increase production by 10% – but with no corresponding increase in wages. If the new quotas were not met, workers were told, wages would be cut by a third. The Kremlin viewed these proposals with concern, advising Ulbricht to tone down the measures and slow down the intense pace of industrialisation that the East German leader insisted was necessary.

For the workers of the German Democratic Republic this was a lose-lose scenario.

Citizens of post-war Eastern Europe did as their governments ordered, any protest was silent, whispered in dark corners. But these measures were too much; Ulbricht had gone too far.

Continue reading

Interview with Roger Moorhouse, author of Berlin At War

History In An Hour interviews Roger Moorhouse, author of recently published and critically acclaimed Berlin At War: Life And Death In Hitler’s Capital, 1939-45.

First of all, a bit about Roger from his website,http://rogermoorhouse.com: “A fluent German speaker, Moorhouse is a specialist in modern German History, particularly Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. In this capacity, he is a regular contributor to the BBC History Magazine and History Today, a book reviewer for the Independent on Sunday, and is an occasional commentator on television and radio.”

History In An Hour interviews Roger Moorhouse, author of recently published and critically acclaimed Berlin At War: Life And Death In Hitler’s Capital, 1939-45.

First of all, a bit about Roger from his website, http://rogermoorhouse.com: “A fluent German speaker, Moorhouse is a specialist in modern German History, particularly Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. In this capacity, he is a regular contributor to the BBC History Magazine and History Today, a book reviewer for the Independent on Sunday, and is an occasional commentator on television and radio.”

Roger, your latest book, Berlin at War, gives us an idea of what it was like to be an ordinary Berliner during the war.   

Continue reading