How did Winston Churchill coin the term “Iron Curtain” and when?

Winston Churchill is widely known to have coined the term “Iron Curtain”.

In most history texts, you’ll find that he used the term publicly in a speech given at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, in 1946.

Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, however, says the term was in use long before his speech.

“The expression ‘iron curtain’ had been previously applied by others to the Soviet Union or its sphere of influence, e.g., Ethel Snowden, Through Bolshevik Russia (1920); Dr. Goebbels, Das Reich (25 Feb. 1945); and by Churchill himself in a cable to President Truman (4 June 1945).”

Because Churchill’s speech was widely heard, and heard of, people assumed that he actually coined the phrase, however, he didn’t.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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