The steel Curtain was at first an ideological and then a physics separation that communist eastern Europe native the West native the 1940s after people War II.

You are watching: To what does the term iron curtain refer?

- The name -

The ax "iron curtain" to be popularised after the was used by former British element minister Winston Churchill in a landmark speech at Westminster university in Fulton, the unified States, in march 1946.

"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an stole curtain has actually descended across the continent," asserted Churchill, then leader of the the contrary Conservatives.

His comments were seen as an opening salvo in the Cold War, which protest the Soviet Union and the West for much more than 4 decades.

The term had actually been coined earlier. Russian writer Vasily Rozanov, in his 1918 book "The Apocalypse of our Time", created "an steel curtain is gift lowered, creaking and also squeaking, in ~ the finish of Russian history."

- A physics frontier -

The ideological obstacle between Soviet-controlled eastern Europe and also the West gradually came to be a physics one spanning thousands of kilometres (miles).

To prevent their citizens from fleeing to the West, the Soviet-dominated east countries began erecting various develops of barriers using barbed wire, ditches and concrete walls.

The separations were controlled through alarms, watchtowers, mines and soldiers.

Socialist Hungary placed up the first section in 1949, building a 260-kilometre (160-mile) barbed cable fence follow me its border through Austria.

- Berlin wall surface -

The Berlin wall surface was the most famed section the the iron Curtain and became that symbol.

In 1952 Soviet-satellite eastern Germany constructed a 10-metre-wide (39-feet) barbed wire buffer follow me the whole length that its border with West Germany.

However people were still able come cross over in the split city that Berlin, with around three million fleeing the eastern via this route between 1952 and also 1961.

To avoid this vital loss that manpower, east Germany in 1961 began constructing a wall within the city.

Made of reinforced concrete and also wire mesh, the Berlin wall stretched because that 155 kilometres. It had a heavily controlled no-man"s land on the eastern side.

- escape attempts -

Eastern european citizens were only permitted to visit the West under strict conditions and also those that tried to cross over without permission did therefore at great risk.

About 600-700 people died trying come escape eastern Germany, at least 136 in ~ the Berlin Wall, follow to historians.

Around 5,000 people made the out, however, frequently using fix up means.

One man crossed via a wire cable shooting by bow and also arrow indigenous the roof that a building to a family member on the various other side.

Others escaped through swimming across Berlin"s spree River, via tunnels, or by warm air balloon.

- stole curtain crumbles -

The very first crack in the steel Curtain showed up in might 1989 as soon as Hungary determined to start opening that border v Austria.

On august 19 the frontier was to be symbolically opened up for a few hours for a Pan-European Picnic.

More 보다 600 east Germans holidaying in Hungary at the moment took benefit and fled to the West. It to be the first massive exodus due to the fact that the 1961 construction of the Berlin Wall.

Soon after that Eastern Europe"s communist regimes began to tumble.

East Germans started to demonstrate, and also on November 9 the regimen unexpectedly granted castle the ideal to take trip to the West freely.

Thousands flocked come the wall, and disoriented border guards opened the checkpoints. With the night euphoric Berliners celebrated, perched on the wall.

Then they provided pickaxes to knock out chunks.

See more: What Is The Capital City Of Greece ? What Is The Capital City Of Greece

Within two years the Soviet Union had imploded, the steel Curtain falling through it.