Stalin's Drive to the West, 1938-1945: The Origins of the Cold War

Stalin's Drive to the West, 1938-1945: The Origins of the Cold War

Stalin's Drive to the West, 1938-1945: The Origins of the Cold War

Stalin's Drive to the West, 1938-1945: The Origins of the Cold War


Exploiting new findings from former East Bloc archives and from long-ignored Western sources, this book presents a wholly new picture of the coming of World War II, Allied wartime diplomacy, and the origins of the Cold War. The author reveals that the story - widely believed by historians and Western wartime leaders alike - that Stalin's purposes in European diplomacy from 1938 on were mainly defensive is a fantasy. Indeed, this is one of the longest enduring products of Stalin's propaganda, of long-term political control of archival materials, and of the gullibility of Western observers.

The author argues that Stalin had concocted a plan for bringing about a general European war well before Hitler launched his expansionist program for the Third Reich. Stalin expected that Hitler's war, when it came, would lead to the internal collapse of the warring nations, and that military revolts and proletarian revolutions like those of World War I would break out in the capitalist countries. This scenario foresaw the embattled proletarians calling for the assistance of the Red Army, which would sweep across Europe.

The book further shows that the wartime disputes between Stalin and his Western allies originated over the postwar redisposition of the territories Stalin had gained from his pact with Hitler. The situation was complicated by the incautious, unrestricted commitment of support to the Soviet Union first by Churchill and then by Roosevelt, and wartime circumstances provided cover to obscure these diplomatic failures. The early origins of the Cold War described in this book differ dramatically from the usual accounts that see a sudden and surprising upwelling of Cold War antagonisms late in the War or early in the postwar period.


Pravda and Le Journal de Moscou, the latter in 1938 the international voice of the Soviet foreign ministry, in mid-February of that year reported one of Joseph Stalin's rare public statements linking foreign and domestic policy, couched in the form of a response to an inquiring letter by one of his Soviet concitoyens. the fact that Stalin gave this public testimony tells us that the Soviet leader wanted to tell the world outside his nation something. But what? For the interpretations of his remarks afterward supplied by vitally interested observers. and government analysts in other European capitals could not have been more varied.

The Times of London reported that Stalin was saying, on the one hand, that the subversive clique in Moscow most recently tried and executed as enemies of the people had opposed the "victory of socialism in one country." Yet he had, on the other hand, noted that the "victory of socialism in our country is not final." He then went on to suggest actions by the proletarians of other countries to help make the revolution more secure in the Soviet Union, and to propose that Soviet workers should assist the workers abroad. British diplomats in Moscow and in the Northern Office of the Foreign Office, and elsewhere, reporting and commenting on Stalin's state-

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