Iron Curtain

Harry S Truman

Definition and Summary of the Iron Curtain
Summary and Definition: The term 'Iron Curtain' is a related to the Cold War and the guarded border between the countries of the Soviet bloc, the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union, and the rest of Europe. The idea of the 'Iron Curtain' was made famous in a speech by the former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, on March 5, 1946 at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, in which he condemned the Soviet Union’s policies in Europe. Churchill's speech was seen by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin as “war mongering” and it heralded the beginning of the Cold War against the Soviet Union. The term 'Iron Curtain' describes the "impenetrable barrier" or border between the states that became members of the
Warsaw Pact (in Eastern Europe), and those that were not (then called The West).

Iron Curtain
Harry S Truman was the 33rd American President who served in office from April 12, 1945 to January 20, 1953. One of the important events during his presidency was the Iron Curtain.


Map showing the Iron Curtain border

Map showing the Iron Curtain border

Iron Curtain Facts: Fast Fact Sheet
Fast, fun facts and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about the Iron Curtain.

What was the Iron Curtain? The Iron Curtain is a phrase used to describe  the "impenetrable barrier" between the Soviet Bloc in the East and the countries of the West.

What does the Iron Curtain refer to? The Iron Curtain refers to the sphere of influence that the Soviet Union had among eight communist states of Central and Eastern Europe during the Cold War.

What countries were behind the Iron Curtain? The Communist countries behind the Iron Curtain were the Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Albania

Who first spoke of the Iron Curtain? The term 'Iron Curtain' was made popular in a speech by Winston Churchill but the term itself dates back to 1819 and was used by U.S. diplomat Allen W. Dulles at a meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations on December 3, 1945. 

Iron Curtain Facts for kids
The following fact sheet contains interesting information, history and facts on Iron Curtain for kids.

Iron Curtain Facts for kids

Iron Curtain Facts - 1: The term "Iron Curtain" was used to describe the boundary that separated the free democratic countries of the West with the communist dominated countries of the East, as shown in the map. The boundary existed from 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1991.

Iron Curtain Facts - 2: The Eastern Bloc was another name given to the countries of eastern and central Europe which were under Soviet domination from the end of WW2 until the collapse of the Soviet communist system in 1991.

Iron Curtain Facts - 3: The Iron Curtain descended between the East and the West due to agreements that were made by the United States, Great Britain and Russia in the Percentages Agreement, the Yalta Conference and the Potsdam Conference - many of these agreements were subsequently broken by Russia.

Iron Curtain Facts - 4: The Percentages Agreement was made between Joseph Stalin and Winston Churchill during the Fourth Moscow Conference on October 1944, about how to divide various European countries into spheres of influence. Under the Percentages Agreement the UK and USSR agreed to divide Europe into spheres of influence, with one country having "predominance" in one sphere, and the other country would have "predominance" in another sphere.

Iron Curtain Facts - 5: The Yalta Conference (February 4, 1945 - February 11, 1945) was a meeting between Winston Churchill, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin to discuss the end of WW2 and plan the occupation of Nazi Germany, the defeat of Japan and the ensuing peace in the postwar world. Within weeks of meeting at Yalta the Soviets had broken many of the agreements.

Iron Curtain Facts - 6: The Potsdam Conference (July 17, 1945 to 2 August 2, 1945) followed shortly after the Yalta Conference but in a matter of just a few weeks significant changes had occurred.

Iron Curtain Facts - 7: President Franklin D. Roosevelt had died on April 12, 1945 and Vice-President Harry Truman had assumed the presidency.  Winston Churchill lost the election and was replaced by Clement Atlee as the British Prime Minister

Iron Curtain Facts - 8: The political situation had radically changed since the Yalta Conference at which time the Americans believed they needed the Soviets to help in the war against Japan. The strongly anti-communist Harry Truman was highly suspicious of Stalin and  adopted a hard line against the Russians.

Iron Curtain Facts - 9: President Truman informed Stalin at the Potsdam Conference that the US had successfully tested the Atomic Bomb.

Iron Curtain Facts - 10: Truman forced Stalin to back down on his demands for heavy war reparations from Germany. Stalin was furious and refused to uphold the Declaration of Liberated Europe which agreed to free elections in the countries of eastern Europe.


Iron Curtain Facts for kids

Facts about the Iron Curtain Facts for kids
The following fact sheet continues with interesting information, history and facts on Iron Curtain for kids.

Iron Curtain Facts for kids

Iron Curtain Facts - 11: The goodwill and relationships quickly deteriorated between the once Allied nations and Soviet-American wartime cooperation degenerated into what would become the Cold War

Iron Curtain Facts - 12: The Iron Curtain was set to descend separating the Communist countries of Eastern Europe under the influence of Russia from the democratic countries of the West.

Iron Curtain Facts - 13: Twenty million Russians had died during WW2 and Joseph  Stalin was determined that Russia would never be invaded again. To safeguard Russia his plan was to establish a 'buffer zone' of friendly, Communist states around Russia.

Iron Curtain Facts - 14: Russian military forces, the Red Army, drove the German Nazis back and Russia occupied large areas of Eastern Europe that had once been claimed by Nazi Germany. There was therefore a huge presence of the Soviet Army in Eastern Europe.

Iron Curtain Facts - 15: In the countries "liberated" by the Soviet Red Army, communist-dominated governments took power. Although these countries were not ostensibly under direct Russian control they had to remain Communist and follow policies approved by the Soviets.

Iron Curtain Facts - 16: The Communist countries established behind the Iron Curtain were the Soviet Union, East Germany (1945), Bulgaria (1945), Czechoslovakia (1948), Hungary (1947), Poland (1947), Romania (1947) and Albania (1945).

Iron Curtain Facts - 17: The Communist countries behind the Iron Curtain came to be referred to as the 'Satellite Nations'.

Iron Curtain Facts - 18: Although Yugoslavia was Communist politically it was not considered to be behind the Iron Curtain. The president of Yugoslavia, Josip Tito, was able to maintain access with the west while leading a communist country

Iron Curtain Facts - 19: As Winston Churchill watched the Iron Curtain descend between the East and the West he was invited by President Truman to make a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. He gave the famous "Sinews of Peace" speech on March 5, 1946 at in which he described the descent of the Iron Curtain and condemned the Soviet Union’s policies in Europe. An excepts from the speech is as follows:

Iron Curtain Speech by Winston Churchill

Iron Curtain Facts - 20: The policies in the Soviet Union prevented contact of the free world with the Iron Curtain countries, the 'Satellite Nations', and their people.

Iron Curtain Facts - 21: The Communists behind the Iron Curtain controlled the army and set up a secret police force. Opponents of Communism were beaten and many were arrested and executed.

Iron Curtain Facts - 22: After WW2 the country of Germany was divided into two separate countries - East Germany and West Germany. East Germany became a communist country under the control of the Soviet Union. West Germany was a democratic country and allied with Great Britain, France, and the United States.

Iron Curtain Facts - 23: Hundreds of thousands of people defected from the East to the West and defection was easier in the Berlin because it was controlled by all four major powers. On August 12, 1961 the Soviets and the East German leaders ordered the building of the Berlin Wall to prevent people from leaving. The Berlin Wall stood for 28 years until October 3, 1990 when Germany was officially reunified into a single country.

Iron Curtain Facts - 24: The Iron Curtain was lifted due to the collapse of communism. The Soviet Union fell in 1991 ending the Cold War.

Iron Curtain Facts for kids

Iron Curtain for kids - President Harry Truman Video
The article on the Iron Curtain provides detailed facts and a summary of one of the important events during his presidential term in office. The following Harry Truman video will give you additional important facts and dates about the political events experienced by the 33rd American President whose presidency spanned from April 12, 1945 to January 20, 1953.

Iron Curtain for kids

● Interesting Facts about Iron Curtain for kids and schools
● Summary and Definition of the Iron Curtain in US history
● Iron Curtain Facts with important dates, leaders and key events
● Iron Curtain Facts with important dates and key events
● Fast, fun, interesting facts about rise and fall of the Iron Curtain
● Foreign & Domestic policy of President Truman
● Iron Curtain facts, history and information for schools, homework, kids and children

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