Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I reviewed the film The Dig about the initial archaeological dig at Sutton Hoo. Heather reviewed Clanlands, a nonfiction book about the journey of two of the Outlander actors through Scotland. Tina reviewed Cook, Eat, Repeat by Nigella Lawson, enjoying the author’s thoughts on the world in pandemic as well as the recipe for chicken with orzo and lemon.
Today is the 75th anniversary of the Iron Curtain speech that Winston Churchill made at Westminster College, here in Missouri, on March 5, 1946. I really enjoyed this newsreel footage of Fulton, Missouri and the Westminster campus. It includes President Truman’s introduction and parts of the former Prime Minister’s speech.
The speech was actually titled “Sinews of Peace,” but I’m sure I’m not the only one who has never heard that title before. These lines are why we now know it 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 some cases increasing measure of control from Moscow.
After the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, eight sections of it were gifted to Westminster College by Berlin under the direction of the sculptor Edwina Sandys. She arranged the pieces in a sculpture called “Breakthrough.” It is the longest contiguous section of the Berlin Wall in North America.
I remember learning about this speech at least twice in my K-12 education. Once in Junior High for our Missouri History class and a second time in High School for our World History class. If you live outside of Missouri, does this event rank quite as high in your sense of historical importance as it does in mine?