King's College London
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From Empire to Nationhood

Iron curtain

Yalta ConferenceYalta ConferenceThe Yalta Conference in February 1945 and the end of the Second World War in Europe in May focused attention on the vexed question of Poland's frontiers and the Soviet relationship with recently liberated Eastern European nations.

Would they now be free to exercise democratic self-government or become mere satellites of the USSR?

Ismay to ChurchillIsmay to ChurchillThese concerns crystallized in a telegram from Churchill to President Truman on 12 May 1945 that warned against a premature withdrawal of British and American armies that would leave much of Europe at the mercy of the Soviet Union.

Churchill next highlighted the danger of European partition in a speech in March 1946 to an audience at Fulton, Missouri, in which he famously declared that an 'Iron Curtain' had now descended 'from Stettin, in the Baltic, to Trieste in the Adriatic'.

He further called for a strengthening of the 'Special Relationship' between Britain and its Empire and the United States, to guarantee mutual security in the face of this threat.

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