In the Shadow of Russia: Eastern Europe in the Postwar World

By Nicholas Halasz | Go to book overview

CHAPTER EIGHT
The Cold War Years

1.

In the spring of 1947 "the Government of the Soviet Union gave rein to a passion for imposing discipline and enforcing uniformity which had been the congenital strength and weakness of the Muscovite power whose traditions the Soviet Union inherited." Thus Arnold Toynbee described the immediate effect on the Soviet empire of the split between the Soviet Union and the Western world.

The "inherited passion" also included the claims of tsarist Russia for the Straits of the Black Sea. The century-long tsarist campaign to this end eventually liberated the peoples of the Balkan peninsula from Turkish yoke, but the huge shadow of the liberator made their freedom uneasy and problematic until the Revolution of 1917 undermined Russian power.

However, the Soviet government in 1940 claimed the inheritance. Molotov informed the German Ambassador in Moscow that the Russians needed the Black Sea Straits for the protection of the oil wells of Batum and Baku. In March, 1945, Moscow sent a note to Turkey demanding a military base at the Dardanelles. In support of its claims the Kremlin referred simply to "the changed situation" which implied that the Soviet Union remained the only real military power in that part of the world.

At the same time, only the presence of forty thousand British soldiers kept the government in power in Greece, opposed by leftists, supplied with arms from Jugoslavia,

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In the Shadow of Russia: Eastern Europe in the Postwar World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Part I - The Seven States 1
  • Chapter One - Poland 3
  • Chapter Two - Rumania 54
  • Chapter Three - Bulgaria 90
  • Chapter Four - Jugoslavia 110
  • Chapter Five - Albania 143
  • Chapter Six - Hungary 150
  • Chapter Seven - Czecho-Slovakia 190
  • Part II - Eastern Europe in the Cold War 231
  • Chapter Eight - The Cold War Years 233
  • Chapter Nine - The Ice Breaks 317
  • A Note on Sources 379
  • Index 381
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