Iron Curtain Descends Across Net As Churchill's Speech Goes Online

By David Prudames | 09 March 2005
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Shows a black and white photograph of Winston Churchill delivering a speech in London. He is lit from a bare bulb behind his head and is holding a trademark hat in the air.

Churchill, pictured giving his final address in the 1945 election campaign at Walthamstow Stadium, delivered some of the most famous speeches in British political history. © Imperial War Museum, London.

On March 5 1946, Winston Churchill made yet another of his speeches that has since entered the public consciousness and further etched his image into global political history.

Speaking at Fulton, Missouri, in the USA the great man observed how an 'Iron Curtain' had descended across Europe, heralding the Cold War. Now his words can be heard online on a new website: www.churchillspeeches.com.

The result of a collaboration between learning technology specialist mwr (Mackenzie Ward Research Ltd), networking company Cisco Systems, staff at the Cabinet War Rooms and the Churchill family, the project uses Churchill’s words to compile a fascinating educational resource.

Shows a screenshot of the Churchill Speeches website.

"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the continent." Courtesy mwr.

"The Internet gives us a whole new dimension to explore the Churchill archives," explained Winston Churchill, a grandson of the former prime minister. "We hope that by moving this piece of British heritage online, we will be able to share his vision with a wider audience and explore the relationship of his vision with more contemporary politics."

The site enables visitors to listen to Churchill speaking at Fulton and follows up his famous words with a wealth of historical and political background authored by specialists.

As well as on the Internet, the resource will be available at the Clore Duffield Learning Suite at the Imperial War Museum’s new Churchill Museum. The team behind it are hoping the initiative will be popular with a wide range of users both in the museum and throughout the world.

Shows a screenshot of the Churchill Speeches website.

The site uses photographs, images and information to provide background to Churchill and the political context of his speech. Courtesy mwr.

"One of the key objectives of this project is to illustrate how technologies can be exploited to liberate learning – the new techniques we have developed are relevant to any context where dialogue can be captured and analysed, for example in using oral history or the passages of great playwrights," said Martyn Farrows, chief publications officer at mwr.

"The launch of this landmark online learning resource, based on mwr’s new IDPB (interpreted dialogue player and builder), provides an innovative and flexible mechanism for treating and interpreting any form of dialogue."

A leading innovator in enabling technology-enhanced learning for education, cultural heritage and continuing professional development, mwr worked with museum education staff to map the material against the curriculum.

Shows a screenshot of the Churchill Speeches website.

From the Treaty of Versailles to the Atomic Bomb, the site offers a wealth of information about the world in which Churchill operated. Courtesy mwr.

The new site is intended to provide a complementary resource to both Citizenship and History at Key Stage 3 and History at Key Stage 4 and ‘A’ level.

"The Churchill project illustrates the power of the web in learning and the role it will continue to play in education," commented Nick Penston, public policy manager at Cisco Sytems. "Provided the technology is accessible, reliable and ubiquitous, it will have a lasting impact on education."

To find out more about the project and listen to Churchill’s famous address, visit the newly launched website at www.churchillspeeches.com.

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