Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Sinews of Peace

In July 1945, soon after fighting in Europe ended during World War II, the British held post war elections in which Prime Minister Winston Churchill's party failed to be reelected. Suddenly adrift after years of wartime struggle Churchill was at loose ends. US President Truman invited him to come to America, at his convenience, after the war with Japan ended. On January 9,1946 Sir Winston and his wife set sail for New York, aboard the Queen Elizabeth along with 16,000 returning Canadian soldiers. The Churchill's arrived on January 14 and immediately set off by train for Miami, returning to Washington in March in order to travel (by rail, on US Car No.1 above) with President Truman to Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri.

Truman's aide-de-camp, Major General Harry Vaughan, was a graduate of Westminster College. College president Franc McCluer asked Vaughan to see what President Truman could do to induce Churchill to come to Westminster. President Truman thought the idea of bringing Churchill to Missouri (Truman's native state) was a wonderful idea. On the bottom of Churchill's invitation from Westminster College Truman wrote: "This is a wonderful school in my home state. Hope you can do it. I will introduce you." So it was that two world leaders, Winston Churchill and President Harry Truman, descended onto the little campus of Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. The National Churchill Museum is now located there.

On March 5 Churchill gave his The Sinews of Peace speech better known as as the "Iron Curtain Speech".

...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, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow...


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