When was the phrase iron curtain coined?
The expression "Iron Curtain" in relation to the cold-war separation between E. and W. Europe was not coined by Winston Churchill in his famous speech in Fulton, Missouri on 5 March 1946. Joseph Goebbels first used it in this sense on 25 February 1945 in a leading article in the German weekly Das Reich, in relation to the results of the Yalta conference. Shortly afterwards, another Nazi Minister, Count Schwerin von Krosigk, said in a radio broadcast on 2 May 1945: "In the streets of still unoccupied Germany, a great stream of desperate and famished people is rolling westwards, pursued by fighter-bombers, in flight from indescribable terror. In the east, the iron curtain behind which, unseen by the eyes of the world, the work of destruction goes on, is moving steadily forward." (reported in The Times of 3 May 1945). Several months before his Fulton speech Churchill had used the phrase in a cable to President Truman on 4 June 1945.
The expression itself was first used by a Russian philosopher, Vasily Rozanov, in 1918 in The Apocalypse of Our Times ("An iron curtain is being lowered, creaking and squeaking, at the end of Russian history"). It was then used by Ethel Snowden two years later in her Through Bolshevist Russia ("We were behind the 'iron curtain' at last!"). Edgar Vincent, Viscount D'Abernon, British Ambassador in Berlin from 1923-1926, was also an early user of the expression (Memoirs, 14 September 1924): "I put forward [in a conversation with Gustav Stresemann, German Foreign Minister] my view of the reciprocal iron curtain or strip of inviolable territory as a protection."