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In March 1946, in a publicized speech in Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, USA, Winston Churchill stated that an ‘Iron Curtain’ had descended across the European continent. It was a non-physical boundary indicating the rivalry between the Allied Powers, mainly the US, the UK, and France, and the Soviet Union, which began after the Second World War.
See the fact file below for more information on the Iron Curtain or alternatively, you can download our 21-page Iron Curtain worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- The tension and mistrust between the United States and the Soviet Union began to show during the Yalta Conferences (4 -11 February 1945) and the Potsdam Conference (17 July and 2 August 1945).
- The US and the UK promoted and sought different ideologies in discussing the fate of European countries destroyed during the Second World War as well as the former Nazi-occupied states.
- The US wanted to grant independence to the countries. Furthermore, they wanted to strengthen the economy of West Germany as it could be beneficial in the development of Europe. They wanted to accomplish this using democracy and capitalism as defining factors.
- On the other hand, the Soviet Union wanted the Eastern European countries to serve as buffer states and use Germany’s resources as war reparations to prevent it from becoming a strong threat. They wanted to pursue this by promoting the ideals of communism.
- Though the term was already used during the 19th century, it was popularized on 5 March 1946 by Winston Churchill, then Prime Minister of the UK, when he delivered a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri entitled “Sinews of Peace”. In his speech, he coined the term ‘Iron Curtain’ in describing the division in Europe as the Eastern states were dominated by the Soviet Union. As excerpted from the 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.”
DURING THE COLD WAR
- During the Cold War, the ‘Iron Curtain’ symbolized the attempts by the Soviet Union to block itself and its satellite states against the West. One effort was signified in the German Blockade.
- The eastern side of the curtain was the satellite states of the Soviet Union, the Eastern Bloc who formed the Cominform (Communist Information Bureau) then, later on, would form the Warsaw Pact (1955).
- On the western side of the curtain, the states influenced were the members of the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) formed in 1949 while some were neutral states.
- With the establishment of these alliances, the metaphorical ‘Iron Curtain’ was physicalized in the form of fences, minefields, and walls marking the territories of each side, such as the Berlin Wall.
- In 1961, the Berlin Wall was constructed as a barrier between East and West Germany. This was in line with the establishment of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in East Germany on 13 August 1961. The barrier had guard towers and a wide-open area beyond the wall known as the ‘death strip’ guarded by armored vehicles. Around 100,000 people attempted to cross the ‘Wall’ with around 5,000 people being successful and 200 killed. It remained in place until its demolition in 1990, signaling the end of the Cold War.
- By 1989, the boundary between the eastern and western Europe ceased to exist as the former Soviet Satellite States began to modify their political ideologies.
Iron Curtain Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Iron Curtain across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Iron Curtain worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Iron Curtain. In March 1946, in a publicized speech in Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, USA, Winston Churchill stated that an ‘Iron Curtain’ had descended across the European continent. It was a non-physical boundary indicating the rivalry between the Allied Powers, mainly the US, the UK, and France, and the Soviet Union, which began after the Second World War.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Iron Curtain Facts
- Iron Curtain on the Map
- Find the Word
- Fact or Bluff
- Complete the Information
- Winston Churchill
- The Sinews of Peace
- Today’s Headline: Iron Curtain
- Comic Strip
- Iron Curtain as a Symbol
- In a Nutshell
Link/cite this page
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Link will appear as Iron Curtain Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, September 18, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.