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In 1946, Westminster College, a small liberal arts college in Fulton, Missouri, invited former British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill, who was planning a trip to the United States after his party's defeat in 1945, to deliver a speech on campus. Churchill accepted the invitation, largely because President Harry S. Truman would be in attendance and would introduce him.
For one day, Westminster College--a small college in the American heartland--became "the center of the world." On March 5, 1946, Churchill delivered "The Sinews of Peace" in the presence of President Truman and 2,800 others in the Westminster College Gymnasium.
Considered one of Churchill's most important speeches, "Sinews of Peace" described for the first time the "iron curtain" that had descended across Europe. Despite initial negative reactions from politicians on both sides of the Atlantic, the speech later proved definitive for Allied foreign policy. It was the first public indication of a change in the policy of the West toward the Soviet Union, preparing the way for the Truman Doctrine, or so-called containment policy of March 1947, and later for N.A.T.O.