The Death of the Soviet Union, 20 Years Later
Speaking to an audience in Fulton, Missouri, Winston Churchill looked almost too serious for the moment. It was March 5, 1946, six months since Soviet Russia helped secure the Allied victory in the Second World War. Yet here was Churchill, ready to pour cold water on the American public’s postwar exaltation. He brought his left hand to his heart. “From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic,” he began, raising his hand in the air and bringing it down in a swift chopping motion, “an iron curtain has descended across the continent.” The Cold War was upon us.
Four decades later in Moscow, in the fall of 1988, Mikhail Gorbachev was preparing for an upcoming address to the United Nations General Assembly. “In general,” he told his advisers, “this speech should be anti-Fulton—a Fulton in reverse.” Churchill had introduced the intellectual contours of the Cold War. Gorbachev went to the United Nations to announce his nation’s unilateral withdrawal from it.
About the Author
Seth Mandel is assistant editor of Commentary.