From World War to Cold War: Churchill, Roosevelt, and the International History of the 1940s

By David Reynolds | Go to book overview

13
Churchill, Roosevelt, and the
Stalin Enigma, 1941–1945

As the Second World War progressed, the Anglo-American couple became part of a m´enage aà trois. But the Soviet Union proved a difficult and unpredictable bedfellow. In a radio broadcast on 1 October 1939, Churchill described Russian foreign policy as 'a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma'. In September 1944, the American diplomat George F. Kennan felt no wiser, writing that 'Russia remains today, more than ever, an enigma for the western world'.1 In the early twenty-first century, such puzzlement may seem surprising. The rise of the superpowers seems inevitable, their ideological enmity axiomatic, and the brutality of Stalinism all too clear. Yet we need to recall the uncertainties about Russia that bedevilled the wartime alliance. At the heart of the enigma was the personality of Stalin himself.

During the Cold War, Roosevelt and Churchill attracted frequent criticism in the West for their handling of Stalin. The Yalta conference, February 1945, became the wartime analogue of Munich, September 1938, as a synonym for appeasement.2 However, the pass had already been sold by early 1945, because a Soviet presence in Eastern Europe was the result not of diplomacy (an AngloAmerican sellout) but of strategy (the delayed second front). The war of attrition that Churchill persuaded Roosevelt to wage in 1942–3 plus the unanticipated delays in taking North Africa and then Italy meant that the land war in Europe was largely decided on the Eastern Front. Between June 1941 and June 1944 (from Barbarossa to D-Day), 93 per cent of the German armed forces' combat losses were inflicted by the Soviets. In cold figures that meant 4.2 million dead,

This chapter was originally presented to a conference on 'Stalin and the Cold War' at Yale
University in September 1999, held under the aegis of the Cold War International History Project.
For a fuller study of British assumptions, published after this essay was written, see Martin
H. Folly, Churchill, Whitehall and the Soviet Union, 1940–45 (London, 2000).

1 Winston S. Churchill, Into Battle (London, 1941), 131; George F. Kennan, memo, 'Russia—
Seven Years Later', Sept. 1944, in FRUS, 1944, iv. 911.

2 On the American side, the classic study is Athan G. Theoharis, The Yalta Myths, 1945–1955:
An Issue in U.S. Politics, 1945–1955
(Columbia, Mo., 1970).

-235-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
From World War to Cold War: Churchill, Roosevelt, and the International History of the 1940s
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 363

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.