Less than a year after the end of World War II, the great wartime leader of Britain, Winston Churchill, delivered this speech in which he first coined the term "iron curtain" to describe the ominous postwar boundary in Europe between self-governing nations of the West and those in Eastern Europe which had recently come under the powerful grip of Soviet Russia.
During the war against Hitler, Russian troops had advanced far beyond their own borders into Europe, smashing Nazi Germany from the east while the Americans, British, Canadians and other allies attacked Hitler from the west. After the war, the Russians gave no indication they intended to withdraw and instead began installing puppet governments throughout Eastern Europe.
In this speech, Churchill begins by acknowledging America's newfound power in the world, and then offers a blunt assessment of the threat of Communism from Russia. Churchill gave the speech at Westminster College, in Fulton, Missouri, after receiving an honorary degree and was introduced by Missourian, President Harry Truman, who attended the event out of pure admiration for Churchill.