Dale Hart l STL Beacon l September 17, 2013


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.

There are few people in the world who’d fail to recognize these timeless words, but perhaps fewer realize their local significance. Speaking on March 5, 1946, British statesman Winston Churchill delivered that iconic “Iron Curtain” speech no more than two hours away -- at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo.

To ensure the survival of his legacy, the National Churchill Museum at Westminster College has expanded its educational outreach, introducing a comprehensive website and several other programs for instructing future generations.

“Churchill lived such a long life and embodies a breadth of life experience,” said Rob Havers, the museum's executive director, in an interview with the Beacon. “His legacy is a way to indicate to St. Louisans that Churchill, global statesman, visited here; we should be proud of that.”

Churchill visited Fulton, in President Harry S Truman’s home state, to deliver his "Sinews of Peace” talk. Foreseeing an inevitable engulfment of Eastern Europe under the Soviet Union's hammer and sickle, Churchill referred to the division of Europe as an "Iron Curtain" and called for a “fraternal association of English-speaking peoples” to prevent a permanent conflict from flaring.

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“Leave the past to history especially as I propose to write that history myself.”

Winston S. Churchill