Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt Divide Europe

Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt Divide Europe

Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt Divide Europe

Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt Divide Europe

Synopsis

The division of Europe between East and West, born during World War II, not only denied independence to more than 100 million East Europeans, but upset the balance of global power, putting Stalin in a position to threaten Western Europe and planting the seeds of the Cold War and the arms race. Nadeau probes the questions and facts surrounding the division of Europe and offers new insight into how it might have been prevented. Looking beyond the conventional assumption that Stalin simply took over Eastern Europe in the postwar years, the book shows how the Soviet leader was unrestrained by any prior Allied agreements.

Excerpt

The tidal wave of independence that has swept through Eastern Europe is a watershed event in our generation. Swirling rapidly across six nations, it has revealed the depth of the popular frustration that had churned beneath the surface. Clearly the floodgates had been opened by one pivotal fact -- the withdrawal of Soviet military support from the six puppet regimes.

As we examine this astonishing spectacle, a question naturally arises: How and why was Europe divided between East and West in the first place? The purpose of this book is to answer that question.

The issue involves even more than the oppression of two generations of 100 million East Europeans. Occurring in the course of World War II, the division put Joseph Stalin in a position to threaten Western Europe and thereby upset the global balance of power that emerged from the war. More than any other factor, this spawned the Cold War and the arms race that gripped the world in fear for nearly half a century. Could it have been prevented?

The conventional approach to this question has assumed that Stalin took over Eastern Europe in the postwar years 1945-1948. But this should have been a foregone conclusion once he had gained power there through Red Army occupation, unrestrained by prior Allied agreements with teeth.

How this occurred in the years 1941-1945, how Churchill and Eden hoped to block Stalin with diplomatic bargaining and military preemption, how Roosevelt failed to understand Stalin's intentions and repeatedly failed to support the British with U.S. strength -- all this is the tragic story that unfolds in these pages. It is not a story of American wrongdoing but of American innocence. The very idealism that made Roosevelt a surpassing global leader in winning the war also kept him, at least in Europe, from winning the peace.

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