Today in History: Winston Churchill

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Churchill on the campus grounds of Westminster College with President Harry Truman March 5, 1946.

Churchill on the campus grounds of Westminster College with President Harry Truman March 5, 1946.

On March 5, 1946, Winston Churchill delivered a speech, 'Sinews of Peace', at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. In it, he uttered the famous metaphor, 'the iron curtain', that resonated for decades and has recently been resurrected to discuss the current economic crisis in Europe.

'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 some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow..."

"Whatever conclusions may be drawn from these facts -- and facts they are -- this is certainly not the Liberated Europe we fought to build up. Nor is it one which contains the essentials of permanent peace..."

"What is needed is a settlement, and the longer this is delayed, the more difficult it will be and the greater our dangers will become."

"From what I have seen of our Russian friends and allies during the war, I am convinced that there is nothing they admire so much as strength, and there is nothing for which they have less respect than for weakness, especially military weakness..."

Thanks to WNYC Archivist Andy Lanset


"Sinews of Peace" video

"Sinews of Peace" text

"Churchill and the Great Republic", Library of Congress


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