On March 5th, 1946, former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill would address an audience at Westminster College, Missouri, accompanied by President Harry S. Truman. The speech was a landmark moment in the early stages of the Cold War. Churchill lauded the relationship between the UK and USA, and warned against Soviet expansionism, speaking of the descent of an ‘iron curtain’ over Europe.
On this day in 1953, Soviet troops crushed an uprising by workers in East Berlin. As of June 16th, construction workers had been demonstrating for fair pay and working hours, and would be joined by thousands more dissidents over the next 24 hours. A crowd of some 50,000 striking workers made their way through the streets of East Berlin toward various parliamentary buildings. Soviet commanders, declaring martial law, oversaw military action against the crowd as the Red Army shot perhaps 100 civilians, killing many. Numerous East German citizens would subsequently migrate West. By the time of the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961, approximately 20% of the population of the DDR had emigrated.