tv Origins of the Cold War in Central Europe CSPAN December 31, 2016 8:31am-9:56am EST
but it was clear during 1960 seven, -- 1967, the president would continue to devote all of his energy to the strengthening of his people. the great society had enjoyed a magnificent beginning, but there was still a long road ahead before a summit would be reached. programs may have to undergo change, goals may need to be reshaped, but in this time of transition, the country would continue to move ahead in a constant direction upwards. ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> next, we visit the national world war ii museum in new orleans for a program from a conference titled "1946 -- year zero: triumph and tragedy." alexandra richie and conrad crane talk about the origins of
the cold where. professor richie spoke about joseph stalin and the reasons behind soviet expansion, while professor crane examined the western response to a leader who had been an ally during world war ii. >> welcome to the 9:25 session entitled "the iron curtain: , defense and western response." ocalan so now, we have been for grounding detailed behavior of various individuals and groups. what we need to do, i think, and it is a good time to do in our conference, is talk about the deep background. the big issues at stake. the context in which actors and decision-makers were carrying out their activities. and so, we have to be an extremely dignified speakers and colleagues of mine on the podium today at our table. they smile, because they know who they are. alexandra richie, the first on my immediate right, is a professor at the collegium civtas in warsaw, poland.
she has written widely and lectured all over the world. her two books i have read are fantastic. metropolis: a history of berlin," i cannot recommend highly enough. and a book on the warsaw uprising. perhaps even better, impossible for me to believe when it came out. alex is a member of the museum's presidential advisory board, dispensing good advice to the museum for a while. we are extremely lucky to have her. alex's right, conrad crane, spent 26 years in active military service. i included nine years of hard duty as professor of history at the united states military academy. i say it with a smile, having done it as a visiting professor one year. i do not know if you know this -- faculty at the united states military academy put themselves on a list to open the building at 6:00 a.m., which is something, if you tried at an academic institution, would start a riot.
he is currently chief of historical services for the u.s. army heritage and education center in carlisle, pennsylvania. in 2016.sh two books "american airpower strategy in world war ii," and "cassandra in oz." i told him not to publish anymore in 2016. i think he is done for now. alexandra will speak about eastern europe followed by conrad crane on the western response to the soviet union. take it away. prof. crane: now for something completely different. >> was i wrong? there are going a different order? prof. crane: no, we have basically scrapped the structure. so -- [laughter] prof. crane: let me give you some background. alex and i have been working on this presentation for about a year. so far in this conference, there
has been a lot of condemnation in compromises made in the cold war. we aim to tell you how it all started. structure will do is your program and instead offer you a series of alternating presentations, examining the actions and reactions that started the cold war. so basically, fasten your seatbelts. you are about to get information overload. prof. richie: i hope quite not that bad. i am supposed to be presenting stalin. con's first idea was i would have a big fuzzy hat with a red star in the middle. i tried my best with this uniform style, because this is the type of thing stalin liked to wear. i don't think i have done quite a good job of that. but when i put it on this morning, i thought about a story that molotov, foreign minister molotov, recounted in his memoirs when he was sitting with stalin at his dachau and one of the politburo.
one of the waiters bumped into stalin and got cranberry sauce all over his cocky uniform, and the room froze. absolutely froze. because everybody in the room was petrified of stalin. they were so frightened. they did not know it, because of this incident, one of them might end up being shot in the back of the head the next morning. as someone said dealing with , stalin was like mishandling a detonator. you only do it once in your life. there was no chance to correct it. [laughter] we are looking at the beginning of the cold war and how it affected central europe, and also how it had invocations for the rest of the world, something that conrad -- implications for the rest of the world, something his book had more. in order to understand what happened in central europe at the end of the war, one has to know a little bit about stalin and how he thought. we all know he had been very important in the bolshevik revolution of course, one of lenin's right hand man. in fact, he started his bolshevik career by being a bank
robber, getting money for the early bolshevik cause. he rose up quickly in lenin's eyes, and when lenin.com he took over. but just before lenin died, he apparently said he did not want stalin to succeed, because he was too cruel. that coming from lenin, that was , quite something. stalin did take over. he bumped off anyone around him who he thought might vie for power. and he determined to create the soviet union into an industrialized powerhouse, which means forced industrialization. which for example, with the , ukrainians that meant around 5 million people were killed. it was very brutal. but he did manage to drag the soviet union into an industrial age. the great terror, between 1937 and 1938, 622,080 people were executed. stalin used to love to go to the ballet.
he loved "swan lake," for example. anyway, he loved that. he loved going to the opera. after the opera was over, he would go to his office & death lawrence. we now have documents where he would say "i want more people from this region" or wherever it was. 1500 people were being executed russia every day. for stalin, however, the end always justified the means. but what did he really want? this is important for when we are looking at what he does at the end of the war. because he did turn into a very effective wartime leader. many russians,y and by the end of the war, he was a very powerful leader in the world and felt very strong. but the key to understanding what he did in central europe is -- allrstand that he was right, a murderer, yes, he was paranoid, and a lot of other things.
but above all, he was a died-in-the-wall marxist leninist. he believed what he did was a leader was important to the inevitable victory of communism. it did not matter what happened, the capitalist system was going to collapse. the capitalists would always fight one another. and in the end, communism would always triumph. recently released documents show also stalin thought there would be a third world war after the second, not between the soviet union and the west but between great britain and the united states. he also believed, deeply believed, that if they were given the choice right after the war, the people of central europe would actually choose communism. something that seems strange to us now, but he actually believed this. if we understand these believes that were deeply held by this man, it goes a ways towards explaining his often contradictory behavior in europe at the end of the war. and jumping ahead of little bit, hundred injury like sending the red army into germany, where an estimated 2 million women were
raped, where soviets simply to go away reparations and so on. local populations hated this. yet on the other hand, stalin expected them to vote the communists into power. so how did the cold war start to unfold in central europe? it was clear from the beginning that stalin meant to get what he could out of this war. it was not just a military war for him. it was a political one, an ideological one, an economic one, and it was also about territories. at the argument of defense. that he wanted to create a buffer zone defending russia from future attacks. he said poland had always been the jumping off point for napoleon or hitler's, and he needed this country for his defense. of course there is an element of , truth to this. the soviet union did feel vulnerable, it did feel it needed to protect itself. but on the other hand, it was
also clear he was after a land grab and wanted to get what he could. for example, on the 10th of december, in when the germans 1941, are still at the gates of moscow, anthony eden, sir frank roberts, and a small british delegation go to see him in moscow. i talked to frank roberts before he died about this meeting, and he said it was uncanny that stalin, only a couple months into his war was already saying, "i want theing, baltic states and i want a big chunk of poland when the war is over." so he clearly intended to use the war to expand his territory. and they were very many hands already during the war about what stalin thought about the west and how he would behave to the west at the end of the war. what was most clear was in poland. poland was a huge source of conflict for the allies during the war.
and, as we know, the second world war had started because of hitler's invasion of poland on the first of september 1939. but it was also started on the 17th of september when stalin invaded poland. and stalin was an extremely brutal as an occupier. molotov said when poland capitulated, poland seized to exist. the poles never forgot this. 1939deeply resented the occupation and partition. and of course, the nazi occupation was brutal, as we all know, but the soviet occupation also saw that 30,000 people theuted with a bullet to back of the net, including the 14,000 or so polish officers, who were murdered. and there is still evidence of these crimes that pops up in poland occasionally. quite recently, a grave was found in the woods in poland with about 600 bodies. they were discovered to have
soviet pistol shots in the back of the necks. but when it was discovered in 1933 by the germans, far from apologizing for it, stalin blamed the germans and used it to break off relations with the germane government in exile. that staling again was not averse to lying if he had to. hewitt immediately to churchill in london, saying, "i had nothing to do with these monstrous crimes." of course, i have seen this memo with stalin's big check mark sort of saying, yes, he is going to execute these officers. by 1944, the war had turned very much in stalin's favor. and when the red army reentered polish territory, the polish home arnie decided to help the nazi's fight against them. some cities, the soldiers helped the soviets take these cities. and the front-line soldiers got along extremely well.
there was a lot of drinking a vodka and dancing around and so on. but then the kgb arrived and the soviets started to arrest the polish home or meet people. there were other hints of stalin's behavior. an american example was the treatment of americans at the airbases. there were three american airbases in ukraine. in poltava, about 1300 men. the americans at first had been treated very well, but as the war progressed and we got into sort of june, july, august 1944, all of a sudden, harassment by soviets to americans became very intense. in fact, the acadia general general william ritchie, on the base at the time, started complaining about soviet behavior. particularly after the germans attacked poltava.
he complained about the fact that the soviets had not allowed the americans to protect their own airbase, and the only thing the soviets had provided was a feeling she got on the back of trucks -- was a few machine guns on the back of trucks, which did not allay the attack at all. on the first of august, stalin refused to come to the aid of the polish during the uprising and did not allow the british or american's refuel planes behind enemy lines. political ambitions of stalin were also becoming clear. during the war, stalin had nurtured communists from hungary, poland, all over central europe. as stalin got these territories, he parachuted them into these respective countries to start communist governments there. you know, for example, and i am keeping with poland because i will talk about other countries in central europe later, in poland, he set up a polish
puppet communist regime, and he made some sort of noise to the allies that some of the government people in the polish government in exile could join the regime. in an act of perfidy, he invited 16 of these people to come and supposedly have talks about the idea of joining the government. so on the 20 of march, 16 of them flew to warsaw to have talks about the new government. stalin got them on a plane to moscow, where they were arrested, imprisoned, tortured, and put through show trials, which were orchestrated by stalin himself. ofare talking the top the home army in exile in london. the commander in chief of the home army. he was given 10 years and died in soviet prison. the deputy minister of the polish government in exile ended up in stalin prison eight years after his show trial also died , in prison. these sort of massive waves of arrest happened as the red army
moved into poland between july 1944 and august 1945. about 100,000 home army people and others soviets thought might be against their regime were arrested. i am including people like stanislov stalinksy, who were arrested, in the raf, he went back to poland and was executed. i also include people at my father-in-law. his crime had in what -- he had been in our streets. he had been in auschwitz and for this, he was given seven years in stalinist prison. and there were many others like him. these versions to the west that stalin perhaps was not going to be the nice guy he was shown in western propaganda. prof. crane: conrad: speaking of western propaganda, would you please put up the time slides? stalin was time's man of the year. i will read part of the excerpt.
1939 will be remembered, in europe particularly, where men turned over first to turn their attention exclusively to politics. joseph stalin dramatically oneched the power balance august night. it was when he signed a pact with hitler's. it made stalin the man of 1939. history may not like him but history cannot forget him. his life is many examples of unprincipled grabbing of power. stalin's photograph became the icon of the new state. whose religion was communism. you can see that 1939 image of stalin. looks kind of like a character from a bad "game of thrones" episode. [laughter] prof. crane: i mean, the west knows what he is like pay the other image, though, stalin is also the time's man of the year in 1942. let me read you the excerpt from that. in his office within the dark tower kremlin -- you can hum bit 1812 overture -- in his office within the dark-towered kremlin, joseph stalin worked at
his desk 16 to 18 hours a day. before him, he had a huge globe that showed the territories he himself would defend. this time, again, he defended it, and mostly by willpower. there were new streaks of gray in his hair, and you etchings of fatigue on his granite face, but there is no break in his hold on russia, and there was long-neglected recognition of his abilities by nations outside soviet borders. is this the same guy? you know, you have the dilemma of, how do you deal with -- before world war ii, communism is feared more than fascism. now, all of a sudden, this country is now your ally. how do you deal with it? the decision was, we're going to base this on shared value. and not enemy is my enemy. so there is a massive information campaign to turn joe stalin into ronald reagan. what you end up with is -- how many people have seen the movie
"shrek"? k," whichvie "shre involves a princess who becomes an ogre. bottom line, like a villain in a bad "shrek" movie, harry truman's problem is how to turn the prince back into an ogre in people's minds. because between 1939 and 1942, he turned the ogre into a prince. turning that information around was one of the great things that sparks the cold war. there was many things that show stalin was not the kind soul he was being depicted as an time magazine. the chief of the imperial general staff wrote in his memoirs, stalin has got an unpleasantly cold, craggy dead face. whenever i look at him i can , imagine him turning people over to their doom without even turning a hair. at the same time, in the tehran stalinnce, when there is
and fdr, roosevelt, he writes this memoirs. during this meeting and subsequent ones which we had was stalin i appreciated the fact he had a military brain of the highest caliber. never once did he make any strategic error nor did he ever fail to appreciate all the implications of the situation with a quick, unerring eye. in this respect he stood out , when compared with his two colleagues. roosevelt never made any great pretense of being a strategist. and left marshall to talk for him. winston churchill, on the other hand, was erratic. far too impulsive and inclined to favor quite unsuitable plans without giving them the luminary deep thought they required. we were reaching a dangerous point where stalin's shrewdness, assisted by american shortsightedness, might lead us anywhere. that was 1943 in tehran. and part of churchill's flighty miss -- in october 1944, to moscow, sits down with stalin, takes out a
piece of paper, and scribbles down how they should divide the world of, especially focused on the balkans. romania would be 90% russian influence 10% the west. ,greece, 90% british influence, 10% russian. and he hands stalin this piece of paper. and stalin is generally going to go by that piece of paper. when the greek civil war goes on, stalin does not support the greek civil war, he goes away. he does violate it in most of central europe, and that is because as mentioned yesterday, , because the americans and british arranged a separate surrender of italy. and stalin says if you guys are going to go back to italy because you conquered italy, i am going to do the same in central europe with the countries i conquered there. so he did his own surrenders and arrangements in central europe, just like we did in italy. to mention some of the things the conference provided.
the also conference in 1945, that is when the decision was made that germany would be split into four separate zones. the nazi war criminals would be hunted down. reparations. soviet union gets heavy reparations. germany might be divided into six nations, that would be figured out later. roosevelt got the big thing he wanted, stalin committed to join the united nations. and also agreed to enter the fight against japan within 90 days after the surrender of germany. at the potsdam conference in july and august 1945, they made all kinds of agreements to shift germany's eastern border to what was called the orderly and humane expulsions of the german populations remaining. from poland, czechoslovakia, and hungary. alexandra will talk about the impact of those mass expulsions on europe. 10% of the capacity of the western zones, necessary for german peace economy, would be transferred to the soviet union within two years.
massive reparation. it basically ended recognition for the polish government in exile. in many ways, poland is basically sold down the river in pottsdam. as i am young captain, i was given the opportunity to interview general omar bradley. we were not allowed to ask any question beyond 1945. but being the guy i was, i went up to general bradley, and i said, general bradley, when did you realize you were about to enter a cold war with the soviet union? he sat back in his wheelchair with his wife next to him, and is much abused aide on the other side, and he said, you know, i knew we were in trouble when my soviet counterpart wanted to trade his mule for my jeep. [laughter] speaking about the conferences, a really would have been quite a shock, both to churchill and to roosevelt, who both kind of competed with one another for the favors of
stalin, if they realized how much he actually despised and hated them both. despite the uncle joe's stuff, and now, particularly since the opening of the archives in 1991, we have seen not just from soviet archives but also visitors like yugoslav, poland, visitors to stalin, we have what they document with stalin talking about the wartime leaders and some of it is vile. ,he absolutely has no respect for them. he rants about both of them, calling them weak, pathetic, nothing more than capitalist bandits. he said of roosevelt, he only believes in dollars, nothing else. his hatred of the west with partly rooted in history. the fact that the americans and british had, in churchill's words, tried to strangle the bolshevik baby at birth. there was a point in 1913 when american troops held a quarter of the chance iberian railway. trans-siberian
railway. but stalin saw the wartime conferences a kind of competition which he wanted to win. keep pet for them very carefully. for example when he was going to , meet roosevelt in tehran, he practiced in front of a mirror as if he were an actor. he was very worried about how he looked. he wanted to make sure his boots were polished. he kept checking his appearance. he also decided that he was not going to laugh at any of roosevelt's jokes. he made this conscious decision to sit there with sort of a cheshire cat grin on his face. throughout the whole conference, which put fdr off, who was a jovial person. he carefully manipulated the conversation in a kind of my army is bigger than your army kind of thing. for example, in one of the conversations together, he quite deliberately gave a talk about how the fighting was going on the eastern front. he very clearly says he has 330 divisions against the enemy's 260. and then he turns to churchill and says tell me, how many , divisions are going to be
involved in overlord? in which time churchill said 16 british divisions and 19 u.s. divisions. and stalin sort of sat back and said, i have 330 on the front. -- the eastern front. he also, for sample, had roosevelt's private conversations bugged in tehran. which shows a lack of respect. he spent many hours of the day reading through the transcripts of private conversations. he told a group of visiting yugoslav communists in 1944, do not be full by my cordial relationship with churchill or roosevelt, they are just capitalist pickpockets. and after yalta, when again he had but the rooms, he told another group of visitors, our alliance with the capitalist came about only because they also had a stake in preventing hitler's domination, but in the future, we will be against this first faction of capitalists, too. his ideological
convictions really had not changed much from the 1930's. and stalin did not understand the west at all. he simply did not understand things like the atlantic charter. that the west was at war to try to bring democratic values and the united nations, to bring a different vision of the post world war into fruition. he did not believe it at all. he had a totally different vision of the post-war world. tehran,nto, -- and yalta, and potsdam gives vision to this. four political and bilateral politicalfor and ideological reasons he felt , he needed to acquire space and he needed to maintain absolute control and no country, especially not germany, would ever be able to the kind of turnaround in the future. so he began with his inroads into central europe. each country followed a similar but not identical pattern , because stalin really was still trying to keep up the
appearance of reelections, coalition, and so on. he did not want to provoke the west into reacting. but as i mentioned earlier, in each of these countries he had , hand-picked communist leaders who had lived in moscow during the war. many of them who survived the terror -- many of them were not -- were dropped into their respective countries. in poland, i mentioned the government was set up in 1944. in keeping with this idea that free elections would be successful for the communists, inheld a referendum in 1946 june. and things seem to go quite well for the communist. this was a referendum about whether or not the polish border should be changed and what people thought about land reform and so on. and the communists got very good results in the 1980's. but after 1990 one, when the party archives were opened, it was discovered that this was a complete lie, and that 72% of the vote had gone against the referendum.
so in other words, stalin quite quickly realized he was not going to get stalin quite quickly started to realize he was not going to get the popular vote after also he did not make this mistake in the actual polish election of 1947. that of allowing free elections he arrested members of the opposition. he used the security apparatus to intimidate people at the polls, and of course the polish communists won. people who had brought in from the government were taken away in the boot of the american ambassador's car because he was in such fear for his life. the people's party took control. stolen statues popped up everywhere. -- stalin statues popped up everywhere. bulgaria, by 1946 had become a people's party republic.
part of the soviet's spehere of influence. there followed very vicious purges. nobody was safe. artists, writers were arrested on trumped up charges. post-1989 figures show that as many as 180,000 people were executed after 1945. a similar pattern in romania. a left-wing coalition was elected but of course communists held all of the key ministerial posts and other parties were quickly eliminated, for example the national peasants party was eliminated because they don't have talks with some american representatives. show trials were held. rigged election elections were held in 1946 and the communists won 70% of the vote. the terror evidence emerged that soviet labor camps and other terrible places and prisons which specialized in physical
and psychological torture into the secret police developed and they were only really part of the fall of -- in 1939. stalin decided to go more slowly in hungary. he brought in someone who is one of the central figures in moscow. again, he told them they could go more slowly and hungary. he said they didn't want to alarm the western allies because he was already getting -- because what he was doing and poland. the party won 57% of the vote and the communists only 17%. perkozy was put in power anyway and resorted to what he called
salami tactics which was slowly slicing off the opposition and getting rid of them slowly but surely so at the end the communist dominated. secret police was put into place to arrest anybody who looked as if they might challenge the status quo. the same thing happened in albania. yugoslavia was different. one other thing stalin did, particularly in the run-up to pottsdam, was to push these government's german minority out as quickly and brutally as possible. people had just a few hours to pack up and go and the reason this is important was because all of these people were added to the destitute masses of germany and other countries and europe. the economies were in dire straits. desperate people all over the place.
this was causing a huge crisis in central and western europe. for example on his way to pottsdam, truman was supposed to meet with solomon stalin was late so truman decided to visit elsewhere and he said it was dirty, smelly, old man, old women, young women pulling carts. he called it a world tragedy. stalin did not care about these people but truman and marshall and other people started to care very much. conrad: there were signs as soon as the war ended that the soviets would be a problem. the dilemma for harry truman was how to get the american public to recognize that.
as soon as the war ended, soviets put a lot of pressure on iran and turkey. in iran they wanted oil, and turkey day wanted access to be able to get to the black sea and the mediterranean. a lot of pressure on those averments. one of the great diplomatic messages, what happens is the u.s. sends a sharp protest they want to do something else. the turkish ambassador to the united states died said the united states offered we would send the body of the ambassador back to turkey and the casket shows up on the deck of the battleship missouri. very subtle diplomatic message there. and, again, we have the bomb, they do not. the soviets withdraw the pressure on iran and turkey. in february 1946 the messages sent to do an evaluation of soviet behavior and he sends a very famous document, what is called the long telegram. an 8000 word telegram.
some excerpts, in summary, we have a political force believing with the u.s., there could be no further modus operandi that the internal society be disrupted. traditional life destroyed. if soviet power is to be secure, the political force has complete power of disposition of her energies of the world's greatest people. the resources of the world's richest territory. one along by deep currents of russian nationalism. an elaborate influence over countries. apparatus of amazing versatility managed by people whose experience and skill and underground methods are presumably without parallel in history. finally, it is inaccessible to
consideration of reality and reaction. he closes with a number of recommendations. he says, you have to contain expansionist tendency and he's as much develops and depends on the vigor of our own. this feeds only on diseased tissue. this telegram is going to influence u.s. policy considerably and ensuing years and becomes a foundation for our containment policy. it is a tough topic to sell. in march 1946, winston churchill made his famous speech in missouri. i do not have his tones, i cannot do a churchill but i will read the key excerpt. an iron curtain has descended across the continent. behind the line lie all of the capitals in central and eastern europe. belgrade, bucharest. all of these famous cities and the populations around them why
in the soviet sphere and are subject in one form or another not only to save it influence but to a high increasing measure of control from moscow. everybody talks about how great that speech was, how famous, but no one mentions it was a massive disaster at the time. churchill wrapped in there a lot of pleas for a special american-british relationship. it was met with protests. don't be a ninny, winny. even the nationalists accused the british leader of being unable to free his thinking from the flags of empire. so he makes this iron curtain speech which truman helps craft as a child -- trial balloon. after that, they said we have to back off from this. the american public is not ready for these approaches yet.
in february, 1947, i came to comscore says we can no longer maintain our mediterranean commitments to people like greece and turkey. we do not have the money. so then truman will feel he has to march into the gap with the truman doctrine. supporting free peoples resisting attempt by armed minorities or outside pressure. a bold statement. again, the public is not quite ready to get behind this. it is going to require the creation of a red scare. restore the image of the ogre. the soviet bugaboo. you talk about joseph mccarthy and the espionage seminar. one of the reasons we play up all these russian spy trials is to prove to the american people about the soviet threat.
joseph mccollum -- joseph mccarthy is the creation of harry truman. the result of the red scare created to get the american public to support the truman doctrine and in june 1947, the marshall plan. remember about this diseased tissue? we have to save europe, one of the greatest actions. not completely altruistic, we have our reasons as well but in 1947 we submit the marshall plan. 4% of american gnp for four years to europe. think of the immense investment. our total foreign aid right now is less than 1% of gnp. so we give 4% of our gnp to europe for reconstruction. it fears about france and italy also.
in november 1947, the first aid is sent to france and italy because we are afraid their governments will fall prey to come in is massive strikes. coming as parties have great strength. we basically commit ourselves to a massive aid to france and italy to try to save their governments from collapse. i remember i gave a -- i was involved in -- in developing the army's plan to reconstruct iraq in 2002-2003, the one that was fully endorsed by secretary rumsfeld and other people. i gave a briefing on history of occupation to general garner and his staff who were going over to iraq. with the organization for reconstruction and humanitarian affairs interact. the first group to try to reconstruct it. i mentioned the fact that the marshall plan was 4% of our gnp for four years and i can see all of general garner's staff had to sit back with their eyes rolled back in their heads because they are basically getting nothing. the degree of commitment in 1947 was in europe.
then i will kind of force out some things alexander will talk more about. there are also plans to rebuild europe. restored germany. the plans begin to reunify the french-british, and areas. the first thing you do is try to unify currency. in june 1948 the decision is made to extend the reform to berlin. alex: it is definitely true that before the marshall plan, stalin thought the misery would lead to collapse, from which the soviets would benefit. he put puppet governments in place across eastern and central europe and he also sent communists to italy and france. as for the churchill speech,
stalin called it the declaration of war, the missouri speech. when the truman doctrine was published, stalin immediately accuse the united states of aiding fascist" fascist in greece and fascist in turkey." but the marshall plan, when it was first announced, stalin did not know how to react. the speech at harvard was slightly ambiguous. it did not outline policy quite yet. so stalin to molotov was cautiously optimistic, underlining the sentence, our policy is not against any country or doctrine but against poverty, hunger, and chaos. he thought at that point may be the soviets could turn this into this into their advantage and even get some reconstruction credits from the soviet union desperately needed. so of course britain and the
french foreign secretaries meet in paris on the 27th of june 1946 to discuss this and then fight -- they invite the soviet union to come. stalin sent a delegation of 100 people under molotov and the specific instructions were to find out how much the united states was prepared to give and find out if the americans were going to plan any interference as stalin put it, in the internal affairs of the recipients. by the second day of the conference, molotov had heard enough and walked out. he accused the americans of wanting to split europe into two and he took off. stalin firmly believe that the west wanted to use the plan to reintegrate his newly-one central european states into the capitalist economic system of the west with all of the political ramifications that implied. for the west, the marshall plan was seen as a defensive plan to stave off economic ruin and western europe and for stalin
and became nothing less than a blatant attempt to divert soviet interest in the region. the soviet ambassador called it an attempt to roll back soviet influence in europe and should be regarded as the first stage of a coordinated plan to create an anti-soviet alliance and europe. this attitude would have profound repercussions for countries who wanted to join the land. poland was one and czechoslovakia was another. i have not mentioned czechoslovakia yet because it was an unusual case. the one government stalin had allowed to return in total from soviet in london back to prague. the communists popularity in czechoslovakia was writing high-end.
they never quite forgave the west for allowing hitler's to take czechoslovakia. for the three elections, the communists got 38% of the vote and built a coalition government. czechoslovakia wanted to join the marshall plan badly. they sent word to the united states that they were interested but this was absolutely too much for stalin. he ordered them to fly to moscow, where they got an extreme dressing down. "if you go to paris," stalin said, "it will shows you want to cooperate in action aimed at isolating the soviet union. it will be a break the end success for the western powers. so the czechoslovakian's had no choice but to return home.
one said he had gone is an independent foreign minister for czechoslovakia and returned home as a mere lackey of the soviet union. he was convinced the united states wanted to create a hostile environment -- stalin was -- and he did not take part in talks anymore because he thought it might lead the soviet union open to american exploitation and he decided to switch track and consolidate his power and eastern central europe instead and he began with the creation of a new coordinating center for the european communist party called the communist forum. this was done to resist the marshall plan and consolidate soviet control in his fear of influence.
so on september 22, 1947, representatives of nine communist countries met in poland to create this organization. the secretary of the central committee declared that thanks to the united states, europe has been divided. since the pottsdam conference, the americans have shownm their inability to take seriously -- the imperialist used the marshall plan to him or western european alliance dominating right washington which will serve as a jumping off point for attacking the soviet union. the marshall plan proves the western powers are aggressive and hostile to the ussr and
allies, hence negotiations with the united states are futile. this was the beginning of the cold war proper. a massive political clamp in eastern europe. gone were the nice coalition governments and attempts at reelections. stamped out. a foreign minister mysteriously fell out of his window, we now have evidence he was murdered and many others were arrested and killed as well. terror swept over central europe between 1948 and 1956. in czechoslovakia alone, over 100,000 people were arrested, imprisoned, tortured, electrocuted. concentration camps were opened up in czechoslovakia and around 12,000 people were sent a year to work in the uranium mines. stalin stopped any pretense of holding elections and the countries were firmly behind the iron curtain where they would remain until the collapse of communism. the allies had to decide what they were going to do with germany. given stalin's behavior, they now started to turn away any thought of compromise that
stalin thought was going out the window at this point in time. they decided to create -- the london conference held between the british, french, and americans to discuss the future of germany and the soviet union was excluded from the conference. in january 1948, stalin banned all western literature from being passed around in the soviet zone. an april, 1948, stalin tried his first attempt at -- he did not bar but he tried to harass people moving in and out of the western zone. people had to go through soviet territory to get to part of the western territory. the west decided to create a new currency which the next day
leads to stalin's complete blockade. conrad: on another case of stalin were acting truman responded to the blockade without consulting anybody. the commander of the u.s. was one of my favorite people of all time, general curtis lemay. remember last time we talked about curtis lemay he was dropping firebombs on japanese children. today he is dropping chocolate candy on german children. lemay turns into a machine to get a lot of airmen from out in europe. they are flying supplies into berlin, airlift. 2000 fights -- flights and
eventually they exceed the supply level by air going by rail to berlin. it was, you know, the operation has gone down in history. but for the airmen, it was called the lemay feeding company. typical of his workaround tendencies, it was a typical example of gathering resources, consolidating agencies and working around the sovereignty and rules of belgium and france. that is just the way he operated. it was a massive success. some other things happened, too. in the middle of the airflow, truman -- airlift, truman deployed atomic bombs. the first deployment outside the united states of american atomic
at tax. attacks. this helps inspire in april 1949 the creation of the north american treaty organization. canada, iceland, norway, portugal, france, the netherlands. everybody understands the core of nato has got to be a re-armed germany. if you're going to re-armed germany, there are some hard choices to make. they are going to be the core of the anti-communist coalition in europe. you have got to have a strong germany. you have got to have commitment from the germans. getting the war prisoners out of jail. remember, pieper becomes a poor salesman. but they do make deals to get the germans on board to rearm against the soviet threat. you have also, i mean, it is not just in germany make deals. you know, who is going to be most afraid of a rearmed germany? obviously, france. how to get france on board?
we have to agree to give them massive support in indochina. so the reason we get involved in vietnam is because we want germany to be rearmed to fight against the soviets. so there are worldwide ripples of this shift now from -- you know, now everybody recognizes who the ogre is. everybody recognizes that is the major threat. so we end up, you know, we are going to make the best of a series of bad choices of what it will take to deal with that threat. initially in europe, it eventually in asia. that concludes our formal remarks. hopefully you are not too overwhelmed. everybody is still awake, that is good. we will now open up for questions from the audience about this tumultuous time. >> we will do the first question in the center.
>> i would enjoy discussing these things with you for the rest of the day but i will have to limit myself to one question with kind of related parts. we have heard a lot of things in this conference and one of the things was this idea of retooling public opinion from stalin, to papa joe, uncle joe, to the enemy. why is munich associated in our mind with appeasement? and how long did it take the u.s. press to convince the country that germans were no longer the enemy?
alex: in terms of the appeasement question, the situation was quite different. and, i mean, despite all of the problems we know of, the situation that was facing czechoslovakia when faced with the attacks by himmler was on a different scale. the trouble was we had this sort of positive feeling about uncle joe. the soviet union was doing the heavy lifting when it came to winning the war. the trouble was the western allies and britain in particular did not have any other options to churchill's deal with the devil. they had to take stalin on board otherwise they would not be able to defeat the worst of the enemies which was hitler's. the red army had already swept through half of these territories. the soviets had horrific losses and it was not the time to say
sort of we are not going to do any deals anymore, let's change course. that was not possible at that point. about germany not being the enemy, that does change surprisingly rapidly because of the cold war. all of a sudden you have the main enemy not hitler's. stalin and the cold war becomes the focus of everybody's attention by 1949, 1950, it is clear the germans have to be on our side to have a stable europe. you have to involve germany and some way or another. the public opinion switches along with germany's new role in this scheme of things. conrad: there is an element of appeasement. that argument does persist for
decades in some schools. it is interesting, part of the reason there's a shift is because we do such a good job of emasculating their military. we do a good job advertising that. it is about a 10-year process to add germany back into the fault. -- fold. the germans do a great pr job, a kinder, gentler germany, that sort of thing. it is interesting we almost do too good of a job. i had a conversation with a young captain who served in the northern part of afghanistan. they were not overly capable. he said, you know there's german guys are so incompetent. why can't i get some of those ss
guys i read about? i had a long talk with him about some of the baggage. we would have been more successful with demilitarize demilitarizing the germans than we thought we would ever be. >> what extent do you feel this is all inevitable given the fact that communism in particularly joe stalin had a single-minded purpose that existed from the beginning long before world war ii. to what extent was there even any choice even the forces we were working with? alex: i am one of those people that believes the cold war was inevitable simply because of the
things stalin believed. as i said, during the war it was expedient to be an hour i have stalin into the red army but once the postwar order was being set up it was obvious that stalin stood for totally different things and there was no room for compromise in his worldview. he stood for things we could not find acceptable. nobody was going to go to war to get back poland or a czechoslovakia or hungary, as we
saw later on in the 1950's. but there was a sense of revulsion that stalin was doing the things he was doing and central europe and i really do believe if you look at stalin's way he believed in the beginning, his outlook was that communism was going to come to dominate the world and this is a system that would dominate sooner or later even though stalin did not think it would happen in his lifetime. hitler's was he had to conquer in his lifetime because he thought he was the only person capable. stalin believed in forces even if he was not they won a place this would inevitably be the system we would live under it eventually. so with that worldview, i do not think it would have been possible to compromise. >> i understand harry truman and franklin roosevelt did not talk much during the last years of roosevelt's life and my question is, how do you assess the leadership truman provided in the postwar era assuming he was
confronted with somebody difficult issues? conrad: one of the best ways to look at fdr versus truman was that for franklin delano roosevelt, the existential threat he faced, he was willing to cut a certain amount of deals with the soviet union because they are not on the top of his priority list. harry truman comes in, he does not know about the atomic bomb, he has to be informed about that. he was not a big player in roosevelt's decision making. he was doing a lot of traveling. for harry truman, who comes in as the, you know, a month before the germans surrender and for him, even though he carries out the pottsdam agreements to get the germans out of the war, for him it is going to be different.
you know, he's hard-nosed. you have to understand his background and how he looks at life. he does, i mean, and you will, you know, you know, you will see what he does in korea and other places he is -- he is willing to confront -- he is not afraid of the soviets. it helps we have the bomb and they don't. you know, it really helps if we have the bomb and he does not. we are looking at defense policies as of the bomb and some are maybe realistic but to understand truman you have to understand his perspective is different than fdr's. alex: a brief comment, i have always been amazed by how quickly truman picks up and runs with all of these in enormous tasks he is all of a sudden facing. i was baffled that he was given
so little information before he took office. i mean, fdr was sick. truman was really kept in the dark in terms of foreign-policy issue so i have always been amazed by how quickly he stepped up to the plate. >> one of the earlier questions, how long did it take the american media to shift from this embrace of the soviets to a more lucid understanding about how evil he was and how aggressive. i can recall that when it appeared that greece and turkey were going to go communist, the then-chairman of the foreign senate relations committee was a
republican. and when there was some consternation about truman's overtures to get help to prevent this, to prevent the turkey and greece from going communist, that vandenberg made the statement "we're trying to avoid partisanship." he said partisanship should end at the water's edge meaning there should be bipartisan support for the initiative. i think it was successful. so my question is how long did it take for that to be dissipated? because i can tell you that 25, 30 years later, there was tremendous partisanship in
opposition to some of reagan's efforts to strengthen the free world coalition against the soviets. conrad: one of the, when you try to study the development, one of the basic things is the persistence of containment. you really have 1947 as a key year. the threats from greece and turkey, the truman doctrine, the revelations of the big spy reading in canada, the rosenbergs, there is more and more awareness about the threat of the soviet so you have really got -- you -- you -- there is a containment. focus on europe, focus on asia. the national security council of 1968 -- which is incorporated after korea, about 1951 that will dominate our policy.
even in the reagan era there is still a consensus about containing the soviet union. it is on the methodology. there is also, there are signs of dissolution of the soviet union. it kind of reduces some of the impetus. arguably, you know, the containment grand strategy is a bipartisan policy arguably from about the late 1940's until the wall goes down.
a consistent bipartisan approach to foreign policy which is pretty amazing considering the state we find each other in today. that would be my take on it. alex: a slightly, slightly different point but interesting to see the popular responses in europe over those decades and perceptions of the soviet union. there was a very strong movement in large parts of europe in the 1980's a reassessment of the cold war, the americans were put into the light of being much more the aggressors that if stalin hadn't been so bad, you know, there is a lot of talk about disarmament and how the united states handled it. so that very sort of the important reaction against reagan as well when he was trying to kind of ring in some of the policies to the soviet union so it was not just a question of the united states but the way the war was perceived in europe was very different and in fact you know there was a lot of opposition to americans policy and europe in
those 1970's, 1980's times. conrad: there is a backlash after vietnam and a lot of it is a generational split. someone said, the problem is the atomic bomb and for the world war ii generation, the atomic bomb ends world war ii. the upcoming young generation, the atomic bomb started the cold war. so part of it is perspective as the world war ii generation fades the commitment to the cold war lessons as well. so i can understand the motivation for the less thing and the united states was for this commitment to some of the cold war policies. >> given stalin's desire to have the baltic states in part of his time, why do you suppose he did not extend that to finland because they fought a war with
finland and finland was able to withstand the baltic war into the soviet like before. how is it they stayed that time and did not include finland? alex: there is one answer, the winter war. the finns were incredible. it was a little-known conflict but the finns inflicted heavy, heavy damage. one of the reasons that adolf hitler thought it would be easy
because the finns, little finland, this sent a very strong signal to stalin that finland was different. the baltic states were very weak. small, easy to take. stalin made all sorts of historical reasons as to why the baltic states had to be soviet. which were spurious, not true. he could not get away with that argument. plucky little finland, it is a little-known fact about that during the war. >> this was the first time i have heard the suggestion that our involvement in the far east, particularly in vietnam, arose out of the effort to maintain france.
and so, would you say a little more about that? it is fascinating. conrad: no, again, the french were very reluctant to rearm germany and so we had to offer them all kinds of incentives. of course, de gaulle an interesting relationship, you know? the french said, we're kind of with you but we are not. they withdraw the military commissions for nato. they are in and out. it is a rough relationship. in order to get them to sign up for germany we have to commit to more support for them. we sent massive logistics to indochina. a lot of support. another great story if we had more time to talk about how we narrowly avoid going in in 1954. we sent a delegation in washington and the chairman of joint chiefs is ready to send the air force and there is a number of reasons that gets stopped. a lot of logistics are coming
from us and again, it is a sense of worldwide communism. when the north koreans attacked across the 38th parallel in june 1950, when president truman holds his meeting, the first thing they talk about is how do we take out all of the soviet airbases in the far east? where did they send their first reinforcements gretchen meyer to europe. they see this is a diversion because the role attack is coming in europe. there is this monolithic view of things that we somehow have to maintain everywhere but there is a curious relationship between us and the french. they play us like a fine instrument to get the aid but that is one of the things we give them in order to allow the rearmament of germany.
>> if fdr was very big when he attended the conference, his blood pressure was 280 over 160 which is twice the normal. he was having a small stroke. congestive heart failure. and my question is this. was see even in a condition to understand what was taking place? alex: yes. he was very ill but he did not have any dementia or serious memory loss or failure.
he was still competent. he was very ill, very tired. it is difficult to know what effect that condition would have on the decisions made. i doubt if any decision he made in mielke would be -- in mialta would be very different. i don't know if outcome would be any different. conrad: everybody understood fdr, he kept very competent staff advisors. i agree with alexandra, that was not really the political strategic conversation favoring stalin. as alan brooks said, he was a master strategist and that showed at the last couple conferences. >> along with the yalta issue, i
had read that one of the reasons fdr had to capitulate stalin's requests, a loose term there, was because we still had not tested the atomic weapon and we might need them to help defeat japan. could you speak to that? conrad: fdr wants the soviet union to be in the u.n., not wanting to scare them away. fdr has the idea that the five policemen are going to police the world, keep order. he knows the soviet union has to be part of that order so he is willing to sacrifice poland in order to get the soviet union and the u.n. and that is one of
the reasons why churchill's iron curtain speech is so decried because he seems to be going against the u.n. which is a major effort. if there was a bomb, even if we had one in new mexico work that does not mean we will have another work. the bomb is much overplayed. we do not know what is going to bring the japanese to surrender. you need all of those different blows. at the same time we are testing the bomb we still want to get the -- in the war on japan. this vision the a-bomb will be this hammer used against the soviet union, fdr especially still expects the soviet union to be our ally in the future. stalin tries to get 19 seats in the u.n.. he wants a seat for every soviet
republic. eventually he gets three of them. that is part of the compromise. but fdr has long-term goals for this role we talked about yesterday. alexandra: if we're talking about yeltsin, and the fdr agreement for the fight against japan and the bomb really becomes an issue at pottsdam, but not quite yet malta. >> we are going to extend the session by 45 minutes have a full explanation. thanks a lot. >> i would go to somebody in an audience. was a goodas truman guy and roosevelt wanted him. he was respected senator. but again, he was not part of
the inner circle. he was brought in for certain political advantages and he had a lot of friction with fdr staff because he was not part of that inner circle. basically, i am not as overly expert on the machinations of the democratic in 1944 but i know there are political considerations that brought this guy to be on the ticket with fdr. >> given that vladimir putin can be viewed almost as like stalin, and he has restored some kind of pride in the soviet union, my question is how a stalin viewed by soviet citizens and presidents today? alex: another 45 minute extension please. conrad: that will be covered in this afternoon's session, how it is remembered and the former
soviet. if you do not mind, please ask that if it's not addressed , bob elected its one of the final question subcontracts rated around. and the very back, left corner. the last questions so we can get in spread around. >> first and foremost, i think the decision was not made by fdr to take truman. remember henry wallace was the vice president and a lot of southerners did not like his civil rights' position and were fearful of his pro-soviet viewpoint. from what i read, fdr basically told the convention, you choose who you want. he do not want to truman i believe. it have to do with civil rights. my question is, when disk dominant -- when it did stalin become trotsky? in 1940, when stalin basically put an ice pick in the back of
trotsky's head, how much of stalin's so-called global vision was overblown perhaps? i mean, even chairman mao in the chinese found him a little too much concerned about russia and less about the world. if you could answer that question for me. alex: he believed in these great forces that inevitably this would happen. there is a very interesting moment in the 1920 war when lenin tried to bring the bolshevik revolution to germany by going through poland and bringing the revolution and the red army was stopped at the of warsaw. after this defeat, lenin goes back to russia that says we will
think about the international conventions later. stalin was deeply humiliated. lenin to mountby an attack which he did not do in the right time or place and lenin dressed him down enormously for this failure. stalin never forgot this. they're all kinds of theories result by how much did this defeat in poland and the dressing down by lenin affect that part of the world? but nevertheless, it marks the when lenin decides we're going point to go back and deal with the soviet union. at that stalin did whatever point, lenin told him to do but there is no doubt that stalin still believed in and harbored and wanted worldwide revolution but it was pragmatic enough. he was a tactician, he was very clever and smart enough to realize if things were not going
his way, he was not going to, you know, deliberately started to world war ii try and push it. he thought inevitably the course of the world would be such that capitalism would crumble and communism would win. as i said before, did not necessarily have to be in his lifetime. >> thank you all very much. [applause] announcer: you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook. >> this weekend on the presidency, and author discusses president george washington's three-month trip to watch the states intended to unify the country and promote the constitution. here is a preview. at thege washington was
third of three major trips he took to visit the 13 states during his first term as president. it was nearly 1900 miles and took nearly 3.5 months. the capital was in philadelphia. and washington held of this trip to the last because he knew it was the most challenging and one other reason was that north carolina, my home state, was a little reluctant to join the union. and north carolina, we have long been the ones not to commit to anything. did not really want to commit to the settlers in. they wanted to be off to themselves. we had the shadow of virginia and south carolina surrounded us area those states used to poke fun of us. we were slow to move. we were not a united states and north carolina. join the union.
we signed the constitution in 1789. cleared to come down south to see all of the southern states. it would be virginia, the carolinas and georgia. announcer: watch of the presidency" on sunday here on american history tv only of c-span3. announcer: each week, american history tv's american artifacts visits museums and historic places. on every day of the year except december 25, thousands of tourists take a short boat ride from either lower manhattan or new jersey to visit the statue of liberty and ellis island. up next, american history tv visited the national historic landmark to learn the story