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The "Iron Curtain"

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Between 1945-1948 the Soviets under Stalin consolidated their power in Eastern Europe. Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary became part of the "Soviet Bloc" – or "satellite system." Within the communist parties of these countries there were purges to remove national communists - one in four were removed. Yugoslavia under Tito was an exception to Soviet control. It practiced "national communism" and was able to remain independent largely due to western economic aid.

As early as 1946, Winston Churchill saw what was happening. “An Iron Curtain has descended upon Europe.” See the text of Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" Speech. Churchill's creation of the phrase "iron curtain" almost immediately was taken up by the international press and was given wide circulation. The speech was very influential - some historians even date the cold war from the date of this speech. It had a dramatic effect on public opinion in The United States and Western Europe.

Push to hear an excerpt from Winston Churchill's famous "Iron Curtain" speech

 

Part of M.A.D: The Cold War exhibit

The Cold War

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