The Destruction of People's Democracy
The Cold War did not break out from one day to the next. The Great Alliance, formed by mutual interests to defeat Germany, changed in character after the victory, due to contrasting vital interests in the postwar world. At the wartime conferences, Churchill and Roosevelt accepted the preponderant security needs of a Soviet-friendly cordon sanitaire, but not the outright Sovietization of East-Central Europe. By 1947, as we have seen, the westernoriented coalition partners were decimated and forced into a desperate retreat, but in Czechoslovakia, they could still fight back. The Polish government was still headed by a Social Democrat and held fast to a non-Soviet road. In Hungary, the prime minister, as well as the president of the Republic, came from the Smallholder Party, and in the election, at the end of August, the Communist/Socialist left bloc achieved only 40 percent of the vote.
In Western Europe, however, the situation took a much more alarming turn for the United States. The Communists participated in the governments of France and Italy and gained significant influence. In France, they became the strongest party, and in Italy,