March 5, 2019, was the 73rd anniversary of Winston Churchill’s speech in Fulton, Missouri. He called the speech “Sinews of Peace,” but it is better known as the speech in which Churchill first used the phrase “Iron Curtain” to describe events in Eastern Europe after World War II.
“From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent. Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe. Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow.”
Some historians mark the beginning of the Cold War from this speech, in which a respected world leader (though without portfolio at the moment) first spelled out the enormous stakes at issue, and also pointed out that Russian, communist totalitarian governments were replacing more democratic governments in nations only recently freed from the spectre of Nazi rule, in World War II.
In June 2012, son James and I stopped off in Fulton, on the way back from James’s graduation from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin. We were treated royally by the people at the Churchill Centre, and got a chance to spend time in a first rate museum. More people should make Fulton a destination, or pause in their summer travels, for the sake of the kids.
Below the fold is the speech in its entirety, from the transcript at the Churchill Centre. Read the rest of this entry »