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.
Communism has never come to power in a country that was not disrupted by war or corruption, or both.
~ John F. Kennedy (wiki) (1917-1963) (speech to NATO, 3 July 1963)
No government power can be abused long. Mankind will not bear it ... There is a remedy in human nature against tyranny, that will keep us safe under any form of government.
March 5th is the anniversary of Winston Churchill's epoch-making "iron curtain" speech in 1946, at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri - the most famous acknowledgement of the existence of a "Cold War" (wiki) between Russia and the West, which put an end to the alliance that defeated the Nazis in World War II. The Cold War, which would often became quite hot in places like Korea and Vietnam - and damn near led to a nuclear exchange during the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 - continued for 45 years until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Sadly, however, the freedoms regained by the nations of eastern Europe seem now to be threatened by growing authoritarianism, and under Vladimir Putin, a new Cold War may already upon us.
Churchill's "iron curtain" phrase had many antecedents, described fully in a relevant Wikipedia article.
Churchill himself used the phrase a year before in a telegram to U.S. President Harry S. Truman, but perhaps most startling was its earliest appearance in the present context in an article by Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels (wiki) (1897-1945) in the Nazi newspaper Das Reich on 23 February 1945:
"Should the German people lay down their arms, the Soviets ... would occupy all eastern and southeastern Europe, together with the greater part of the Reich. Over all this territory, which with the Soviet Union included, would be of enormous extent, an iron curtain [ein eiserner Vorhang] would at once descend."
Churchill on governmental redistribution.
Before there was Laffer: Churchill on the fiscal cliff..
And this: 25 years later, deer on the Czech/German border still avoid the Iron Curtain.
The text above is adapted from Ed's Quotation of the Day, only available via email - leave your email address in the comments if you'd like to be added to his list. Ed is the author of Hunters and Killers: Volume 1: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1776 to 1943 and Hunters and Killers: Volume 2: Anti-Submarine Warfare from 1943.