Fifty Years of Communism: Theory and Practice, 1917-1967

By G. F. Hudson | Go to book overview
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XIV
COMMUNISM AND THE COLD WAR

SEVEN and a half years elapsed between the unconditional surrender of Japan, which terminated the Second World War in August, 1945, and the death of StalininMarch, 1953. During those years, for the world at large, Stalin was Communism and Communism was Stalin—even though a crack appeared in the "monolithic" edifice when Communist Yugoslavia defied Stalin's authority from 1947 onwards. The Soviet Union, after having suffered enormous human losses during the war and having come near to collapse in the bitter campaigns of I94I and 1942, had emerged from the struggle as the strongest single power in Europe and Asia and the strongest power in the world but for the United States. The only effective curb on the exercise of Stalin's authority in Europe and Asia was one which would be imposed by the United States, and whether they would try to impose such a curb depended on US presidential policy and the climate of US public opinion. During the war Roosevelt, with his faith in Stalin's good intentions as a would-be maker of a peaceful and democratic world, took no steps to place obstacles in the path of Soviet expansion, and US opinion was swayed by enthusiasm and admiration for Russia as an effective fighting ally—a mood secured for the time being against doubts and suspicions by a war-time censorship which suppressed all news adverse to Stalin's image. But this state of affairs began to change soon after Roosevelt's death. His successor was a man of a different mental outlook—more of a realist in politics and less disposed to take seriously the kind of meaningless verbiage which had

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