Iron curtain

A map of the Cold War Europe, with the Iron Curtain shown as a black line.

The Iron Curtain was the divide between democratic countries of Europe and European Communist countries during the Cold War 1945-1991(). They were called Western and Eastern Bloc, respectively. That terminology is often mistakingly used as 'Western Europe' and 'Eastern Europe', having very little to do with geography; using this Cold War Terminology is considered offensive and provocative. 

The Iron curtain was seen as the divide between Communism and Democracy, but most Western European countries were democratic. Spain and Portugal were Dictatorships till the 1970's and Greece was a dictatorship for about a decade round the 1960's and the 1970's but this was generally ignored and it was thought to be free Europe. In Germany the iron curtain actually took solid form as the Berlin Wall dividing Communist East Germany from democratic West Germany. The Iron Curtain was very short-lived, lasting for just over a generation (about 45 years) only.


Happiness map

A map of world happiness. Green is happiest, then blue, then purple, then orange, and red is the least happy.

Even in the early 21st Century European countries that used to be on the Communist side (particularly former USSR) of the Iron Curtain are less happy than countries that have been free and neutral since the 2nd World War (Sweden, Finland).

Note the sharp divide across the Baltic nations.

  1. Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland are all among the happiest countries in the world.
  2. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia are among the least happy nations.

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