The Iron Curtain

In November 1945, Churchill was invited to give one of a series of annual lectures at Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri. The letter of invitation was annotated by President Truman who offered to introduce Churchill, and therefore guaranteed a high profile event.

From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.
Churchill, 5 March 1946

Churchill’s speech, given on 5 March 1946, was to prove enormously influential. Originally entitled ‘The Sinews of Peace’, it became better known as the ‘Iron Curtain’ speech because of his use of a phrase now in common use. This was Churchill’s first public declaration of the Cold War, in which he warned the western world about the ‘iron curtain’ that was descending over Europe, drawn down by the Russians, and called for greater Anglo-US cooperation, in what he called a ‘special relationship’, in the battle against Soviet expansionism. Click here to see Churchill give this speech in the presence of US President Harry S. Truman.

The speech drew the world’s attention to the threat of a powerful Soviet Union and the potential ‘cold war’ between the East and the West. Although the ‘iron curtain’ phrase had been used before, Churchill gave it common currency and in so doing, increased awareness and influenced world policy. Some Russian historians have even dated the beginning of the Cold War from this speech. Read more about Churchill and his role in the Cold War here.

I do not wish to withdraw or modify a single word.
Churchill, speech at the Waldorf-Astoria, New York, March 1946

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