Although the term “iron curtain” has been used in reference to various periods throughout history, the phrase is most commonly associated with the Cold War.
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The Cold War
The term “Iron Curtain” was first used by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in a speech he gave in Fulton, Missouri on March 5, 1946. In that speech, he said:
“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 . . .”
The Iron Curtain
The Iron Curtain was a term used by Winston Churchill in a speech at Westminster College, in Fulton, Missouri on March 5, 1946. He used it to describe the Soviet Union’s “iron curtain” that had cut off Eastern Europe from the Western world.
In a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, on March 5, 1946, Sir Winston Churchill used the phrase “iron curtain” to describe the Soviet Union’s borders. The “iron curtain” became a symbol of the Cold War and the division of Europe.
Joseph Stalin was the Soviet leader who first spoke of the Iron Curtain, in a speech given in 1946. The Iron Curtain was the name given to the barrier between the Soviet Union and the countries of Western Europe. It was called an “iron curtain” because it was made up of steel and concrete, and it was impossible to see through.
The Berlin Wall
On August 13, 1961, the German Democratic Republic (GDR, or East Germany) began construction of the Berlin Wall. The wall cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany, including East Berlin which was itself surrounded by East Germany. The purpose of the wall was to keep Western “fascists” from entering East Germany and undermining the socialist state.
The wall became a symbol of the Cold War and the division of Europe. At first, people in the West were able to climb over the wall or go around it to visit friends and family in East Berlin. But as tensions increased, the GDR made it harder and harder to cross, until finally it became impossible.
The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 was a major moment in history. It signaled the end of communist rule in Eastern Europe and led to the reunification of Germany.
The Soviet Union
The phrase “iron curtain” was first used by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in a speech he gave while visiting the U.S. on March 5, 1946. He said, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic an iron curtain has descended across the Continent.”
Churchill was referring to the Soviet Union’s policy of isolating itself from the rest of Europe after World War II. The Soviets had set up communist regimes in many of the countries they had liberated from Nazi rule, and they were not allowing these countries to have free elections or to have any contact with the West.
The phrase “iron curtain” quickly became a common way to refer to the Soviet Union’s policy of isolation. It continued to be used even after the Soviet Union and its satellite countries began opening up to the West in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The United States
The term “iron curtain” was first used in the early 1940s by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He used it to describe the physical boundary that divided Europe into two separate and distinct regions: the free West and the communist East. The iron curtain symbolized the division of the world into two antagonistic halves, each with its own political, economic, and social systems.
The Cold War Era
The Cold War was a period of time where the world was divided between two superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union. The Iron Curtain was a term used to describe the division between these two countries. It was first used by Winston Churchill in a speech he gave in 1946.
The End of the Cold War
In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down, the Soviet Union dissolved, and the Cold War came to an end. The fall of the Iron Curtain was a victory for freedom and democracy, and it opened up a new era of cooperation between the East and the West.
But who first spoke of the Iron Curtain? The phrase was actually coined by Winston Churchill in a speech he gave in 1946. In that speech, Churchill warned of the growing divide between the Soviet Union and the rest of Europe. He said that an “iron curtain” had descended across the continent, and that the Soviet Union was cut off from the rest of the world.
Churchill’s warning turned out to be prophetic. The Iron Curtain would divide Europe for decades, until its final fall in 1989.
The Legacy of the Cold War
Although the term “iron curtain” was first used in reference to the Russian Empire in the early 1800s, it gained new meaning during World War II and the Cold War. Used by Winston Churchill in a speech in 1946, the iron curtain referred to the boundary between Soviet-controlled territory and the rest of Europe. It was seen as a symbol of the division between communism and capitalism.
The legacy of the Cold War can still be felt today. The iron curtain became a metaphor for the ideological divide between East and West, and its fall in 1989 signaled the end of communism in Europe. The fall of the Berlin Wall, another symbol of division, marked a new era of cooperation and peace.