Iron Curtain Essay

Submitted By jen47
Words: 901
Pages: 4

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In March of 1946 Winston Churchill used the term iron curtain to refer to the barrier that divided Europe after world war two into two separate parts, East and West Europe. He gave his message to US President Harry Truman and his class mates at Westminster College in Fulton, Mo. that addressed the European situation which said that the iron curtain which had been a line drawn by the Soviet Union upon the front, along with seven other countries that practiced communism, that the Soviets had taken power. After the war the Soviets refused to leave their key position in Europe that they had captured during the war or retreat from those countries after the war. The iron curtain was actually a fence that stretched for thousands of kilometers separating Western and Eastern countries but it was strongest in Germany, the Berlin Wall would later become the symbol of the Iron Curtain and division of Germany. The Iron Curtain was heavily guarded in sections where only people with clearance could enter these areas, where on the other hand other areas had just plain chain link fence. The Iron Curtain separated the allied or democratic countries on the East from the Soviet Union controlled countries or communist countries on the West from 1945 until the end of 1991 which symbolized the end of the cold war.
When WW2 ended the Soviet Union had attacked Hitler from the West and the British and Americans had hit Hitler from the East. After the war Stalin did not retreat back to the Soviet Union but stayed in Western Germany which is why there was concern among the allies that Stalin, the Soviet Union’s Leader would continue to move west to become another dictator similar to Hitler. The Eastern countries stopped this by keeping troops in West Germany and preventing further advancement of Stalin and communism and this was called containment. The US and Western European Allies wanted free and fair elections to be held in countries liberated from the
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Nazi’s rule, Stalin agreed to the elections but had his own plans of imposing communism by having only a communist party on the ballot in those countries liberated by the Soviet army so these countries could protect Russia from future invasions. Truman called Stalin “dynamite” after the Yalta Conference, February of 1945, a meeting the two had which made Truman realized that Stalin had his own agenda to follow and Stalin wanted control of Europe and access to warm water ports which were two straits, Dardanelles and Bosporus, these straits separated Asian Turkey from European Turkey. These two straits also gave passageway from the Mediterranean Sea to the Aegean Sea through the Dardanelles strait to the Marmar Sea then through the Bosporus Strait to the Black Sea.
Truman went to the aid of Greece and Turkey when Britain could no longer provide aid to them as well as military personnel to protect them from a communist takeover of the country. By this time the League of Nations or UN (founded in 1946) and NATO (founded in 1948) had been formed to promote peace and gather world leaders to work out their differences to prevent future world wars, nuclear wars and promote peace. In the beginning though not every nation joined that took time and even today only democratic nations are members of NATO which means the Soviet Union and U.S.S.R. were not members. The countries under the Soviet control and communist countries have a similar group under the Warsaw Pact that promotes peace and it had remained that way until the people of Poland started crying out for freedoms of fair labor practices, speech, and religion