FULTON, MO, February 15, 2021 – George Will, author and Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist, will lead a distinguished line-up of historians, authors, and other notables on Friday, March 5, in virtual ceremonies to commemorate the 75th anniversary of a speech that rocked a war-weary world and ushered in a Cold War by Western Allies against the former Soviet Union.
Besides Will’s keynote, the ceremonies will include an expert panel discussion, video salutes, and the debut of an intriguing documentary and a virtual exhibit from America’s National Churchill Museum at Westminster College, where former British Prime Minister Sir Winston S. Churchill, accompanied by President Harry S. Truman, gave his now-famous “Sinews of Peace” address on March 5, 1946.
The day’s commemoration activities about Churchill and his speech — often called the “Iron Curtain” speech — will be streamed live online and offered free to the public. But registration on the Museum’s website (www.nationalchurchillmuseum.org) is required.
The ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. CDT with a live discussion between two grandchildren of Churchill and Truman, artist sculptor Edwina Sandys, of New York City, and author and actor Clifton Truman Daniel, of Chicago. Their discussion will be live-streamed from the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, MO, and will focus on the Churchill-Truman legacy.
At 11 a.m. CDT, Churchill Fellow Dr. Monroe E. Trout, of Appleton, WI, a longtime supporter of the Museum and its educational mission, will be awarded the Winston Churchill Medal for Leadership, the highest honor awarded by America’s National Churchill Museum.
A range of informative videos and live commentary will take place throughout the day featuring Churchill biographer Andrew Roberts, author Catherine Katz, U.S. Army Gen. (Ret.) David Petraeus, MTV Network International Founder William “Bill” Roedy, Churchill’s great-grandson Randolph Churchill, and University of Cambridge’s Churchill Archives Centre Director Allen Packwood.
At Noon CDT, Will is set to deliver the prestigious Enid and R. Crosby Kemper Lecture. The author of 13 books and a contributor to MSNBC, he will deliver a speech titled “Churchillian Realism.”
Will’s lecture and other activities will concentrate on Churchill and his prescient speech as well as why he came to Fulton 75 years ago. Churchill bravely led Great Britain through World War II and became one of the most famous political leaders worldwide.
In late 1945, he had been invited to speak in the unlikeliest of places, Westminster College in the small Midwestern town of Fulton, by College President Franc L. McCluer and President Truman, who accompanied him by train from Washington, DC, to Fulton.
Churchill’s hour-long speech before wide-eyed students, townspeople, and invited guests in the College’s gymnasium warned that Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin was expanding his Communist grip throughout Eastern and Central Europe. Churchill’s speech — just six months after WWII had ended — alarmed much of the war-weary Western world, which felt an underlying threat from the Soviet Union.
Churchill’s speech reverberated around the globe and ushered in the Cold War, a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States and the country’s respective allies (1947-1991).
The next 44 years would be characterized by political hostilities, threats, propaganda, and other measures short of open warfare between both sides.
The Cold War gave rise to trade embargoes, the construction of the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the “space race,” the nuclear arms race, veiled threats of a third world war, and other geo-political events. The Cold War lasted through nine U.S. Presidential administrations (Truman to G.W. Bush), 11 British Prime Ministers (Attlee to Major), and six Soviet Premiers (Stalin to Gorbachev). As a result, it played a major role in forming American and British foreign policy.
From 2 p.m.-3 p.m. CDT, “Conversations: Churchill Today” a panel discussion about the legacy of the “Sinews of Peace” including discussion about national and international security, the of the special relationship in today’s world with historian Andrew Roberts, Sandra L. and Monroe E. Trout Director and Chief Curator Timothy Riley, and R. Crosby Kemper III, Director of the Institute for Museums and Library Services
At 3 p.m.-3:30 p.m., the Museum will premiere “Franta and Winston,” a documentary by Steve Stinson of Roanoke, VA, and America’s National Churchill Museum. The film will focus on the Museum’s iconic sculpture of Churchill by František “Franta” Bělský, a Czech-British sculptor (1921-2000).
At 3:30 p.m. CDT, Riley and Westminster students will debut Sinews of Peace: The Power of Prose, a virtual exhibition examining Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech, with his edits and last-minute additions.
The commemoration activities will conclude with ceremonies at 10 a.m. CDT, Saturday, March 6, when the Museum’s Board of Governors inducts eight distinguished individuals into the Society of Churchill Fellows, an honorary association of key supporters of the Museum, the only one in North America fully dedicated to commemorating the life and times of Sir Winston Churchill. They are:
Other Churchill Fellows include Margaret Thatcher; Winston Churchill II; U.S. Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson; J.C. Penney; Walter Cronkite; Harry Guggenheim; Douglas Fairbanks Jr.; The Hon. Edwina Sandys; The Hon. Emma Soames; Andrew Roberts; Gen. (USA Ret.) David H. Petraeus; Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer; Sen. John Danforth; Lord Watson of Richmond; Richard J. Mahoney; Sandra and Dr. Monroe Trout; R. Crosby Kemper III; Jon Meacham; Sir David Cannadine; David Rubenstein; and, former Secretary of State Dr. Madeleine Albright.
About Westminster College: Founded in 1851, Westminster College in Fulton, MO, is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the only National Liberal Arts College in Missouri. Its graduates rank in the top 15 percent for graduate earnings, and the College boasts a 98 percent placement rate. Westminster also is a Forbes Best Value College. It focuses on educating and inspiring students to find the power in their purpose to become the world leaders of tomorrow. To find out more about Westminster, please visit our website (https://www.wcmo.edu/).
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