On this day in 1946, Winston Churchill delivered a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri entitled, "The Sinews of Peace." The landmark oratory, best known as his "Iron Curtain Speech," helped to define the emerging Cold War alliance in the West.
Churchill was among the first to understand that the perils of the Second World War just past were now giving way to perhaps even greater perils ahead. "From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an Iron Curtain has descended across the Continent,” he asserted, “allowing police governments to rule Eastern Europe."
My own father, then a student at Westminster and a veteran of the war, was present for the speech and had the opportunity to meet the former Prime Minister as well as President Truman. The speech that day made an indelible mark on him, and as a consequence, on our family legacy--thus, my own life-long interest in Churchill.
A new book by Philip White, Our Supreme Task (Public Affairs Books), details the pivotal role the speech had in reshaping the West's understanding of the world and the looming threat of the totalitarian regimes of the Communist and Islamic East.