Winston Churchill “Iron Curtain Speech” 1946

Winston Churchill “Iron Curtain Speech” 1946, Westminster College, Fulton, Missouri. 5 March 1946: In Winston Churchill’s speech, it is the passage about the “Iron Curtain” that immediately attracted international attention. It is said that the speech marked the beginning of the Cold War. Film length 1:35. A licence fee of 3 x 30 seconds is charged to acquire a licence for the complete contribution.


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Winston Churchill “Iron Curtain Speech” 1946

Iron Curtain Speech

The “Iron Curtain” speech, officially entitled “The Sinews of Peace”, was given by Winston Churchill on 5 March 1946 at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, USA. It is one of Churchill’s most famous speeches after the Second World War and is regarded as the birth of the term “Iron Curtain”, which describes the separation between Western Europe and the regions of Eastern Europe controlled by the Soviet Union.
The most important points of the speech:

Iron Curtain: Churchill famously declared that an iron curtain had descended across the continent. This metaphor vividly illustrated the division between the democratic nations of the West and the communist countries under Soviet influence in the East.

Soviet expansion: Churchill expressed concern about the expansionist policies of the Soviet Union and the spread of communism. He warned that the Soviets were endeavouring to increase their power and influence throughout Europe.

Need for unity: Churchill emphasised the importance of unity between Western nations and called for a strong alliance between the United States and Britain. He argued that such an alliance was necessary to maintain peace and security in the face of the Soviet threat.

Peace and security: Churchill argued for a “special relationship” between the United States and Britain to lead the world to peace. He emphasised the need for both countries to stand firm against possible aggression and to support the principles of freedom and democracy.

United Nations: Churchill emphasised the importance of the United Nations as a platform for international cooperation and conflict resolution. He believed that the United Nations could play a crucial role in preventing future wars if it was supported and strengthened by its member states.

Historical context

Post-war Europe: At the time of the speech, Europe was recovering from the devastation of the Second World War. The continent was politically and economically unstable and many countries faced major challenges in rebuilding their societies.

Emerging Cold War: The speech is often seen as one of the opening salvos of the Cold War, emphasising the growing tensions between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union. The ideological conflict between capitalism and communism was becoming ever clearer.

American Influence: Churchill’s speech was aimed at an American audience and sought to persuade Americans to take a more active role in global affairs, particularly in countering Soviet influence.


Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech had a profound impact on international relations. It helped to solidify the image of a divided Europe and emphasised the ideological divide that would define the Cold War era. The speech also emphasised the need for transatlantic cooperation and laid the foundations for later alliances such as NATO.

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