Featured Document of the Month

MARCH 2017

The Iron Curtain

On 5 March 1946 Winston Churchill delivered a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri entitled the ‘Sinews of Peace’. Following the Second World War, Churchill had lost the general election and was no longer Prime Minister. Yet he was still an influential figure and President Truman himself was instrumental in securing Churchill’s invitation to speak at Fulton.

Despite the wartime alliance between the USSR, the United States and the United Kingdom, Churchill declared in this speech that an ‘iron curtain’ had descended over Europe. He warned of this Russian threat and called for greater Anglo-US cooperation to combat this by referencing again the ‘special relationship’ between the two countries that had become so important during the Second World War.

Although the phrase ‘iron curtain’ had been used before, Churchill’s use in the speech immediately attracted international attention and catapulted the phrase into common currency. It became so influential that some Russian historians have dated the beginning of the Cold War to this speech.

This document is a telegram from Churchill to President Truman in May 1945, expressing his concern over the future strength of the Soviet Union in Europe and what is going on behind the 'iron curtain' of the Soviet Front.

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