TIMELINES: Winston Churchill Coined What Cold War Phrase in a Speech in Missouri, March 5, 1946?

March 5, 2012 Updated: September 29, 2015

Monday, Mar. 5, 2012


March 5, 1946, then British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivers a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., in which he utters his famous words, “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent.” Sharing the stage with American President Harry S. Truman, Churchill’s speech is considered a critical moment preceding the Cold War that soon unfolds. In Churchill’s landmark speech, he cautions the world against the dangers of appeasing the expansionism of the communist Soviet Union, saying “nothing which they admire so much as strength, and there is nothing for which they have less respect than for military weakness.”


Today, The National Churchill Museum is located on the Westminster College campus in Fulton, Mo. Founded 23 years after Churchill’s famous speech, the museum is dedicated to honoring the life and legacy of one of the one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. Many world leaders have been guest speakers over the years, including Presidents Reagan, Ford, and Bush; British P.M. Margaret Thatcher; post-Communist Polish President Lech Walesa; and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev who, “fittingly, gave a speech announcing the end of the Cold War and marking the fall of what Churchill had named, “The Iron Curtain,” according to the museum’s website. Photo Caption(s) & Photo Location(s)