East Central Europe and the World: Developments in the Post-Stalin Era

By Karlis Kalnins; Oscar Halecki et al. | Go to book overview

8: BULGARIA

L. A. D. Dellin


BACKGROUND: THE STALIN ERA (1944-1953)

More than fifteen years have elapsed since Soviet troops and a communist-inspired coup d'état decided the fate of Bulgaria, against its people's will, for an indefinite time. The "Bulgarian case" is one of the many examples of the wartime illusions of the Western allies, and particularly of the United States, as to Soviet intentions, and is a consequence of power-political realities in the area at that time. Yet it seems to add to the contrast between the Western confusion and bona fide attitude toward the Soviet ally, on the one hand, and the Soviet determination to grasp any opportunity to achieve premeditated goals, on the other.1

Thus, while the democratic and pro-Western Bulgarian coalition government was desperately seeking an armistice with the Western allies and, on the morning of September 5, 1944, broke off diplomatic relations with and prepared to declare war on Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, whose troops had finally reached the Bulgarian border, retorted with a declaration of war on Bulgaria, disregarded the offer for an immediate armistice and ordered its troops to march in. Not even the Western allies were previously informed about the Soviet action.

This was not a liberation from either foreign or domestic oppression,

____________________
1
The Western approach is illustrated by the secret three-months trial agreement of June 1944, on the basis of which Great Britain, the United States and the USSR allotted temporary spheres of military responsibility in the Balkans and assigned Bulgaria as a "military responsibility" to Moscow, when at that time Bulgaria--alone among the Axis satellites--was not at war with the Soviet Union and, indeed, was preparing to regain its neutrality. It is also transparent from their later solicitation that the Soviet Union should participate in the elaboration of the Bulgarian armistice conditions with the Western allies, when again, the Soviets were not yet a party to the war with Bulgaria. The Soviets used this to delay the conclusion of the armistice until they were ready to intervene. See Michael Padev, Dimitrov Wastes No Bullets ( London, 1948), Chapter VI.

-169-

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East Central Europe and the World: Developments in the Post-Stalin Era
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Previous Volumes in The International Studies Series ii
  • Title Page iv
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • 1: Another Five Years 1
  • Part One Internal Developments And Foreign Relations 19
  • 2: Baltic States 21
  • 3: Poland 45
  • 4: East Germany 64
  • 5: Czechoslovakia 95
  • 7: Rumania 156
  • 8: Bulgaria 169
  • 11: China: A New Power in Europe 264
  • Part Two On the Periphery Of The Soviet Orbit 279
  • 13: Finland 314
  • 14: Austria, 1955-1961 338
  • Part Three The West And East Central Europe 355
  • 15: American and West European Policy Toward East Central Europe Since Stalin 357
  • Index 377
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