tv Origins of the Cold War in Central Europe CSPAN December 31, 2016 12:00am-1:23am EST
c-span will have live coverage of all the day's events and ceremonies. watch live on c-span and c-span.org, and listen live on the free c-span radio app. sate provider. coming up on c-span3, programs about the impact of world war ii on the u.s. and the world. next, examining the origins of the cold war. then u.s. democracy and international relations. later, a look at the legacy of the cold war. now from the world war ii museum in new orleans, a discussion on the origins of the cold war. historian alexandra richie looks at josef stalin and reasons behind expansion while professor conrad crane examines the western response to a leader who had been an ally during the war. this is an hour and 20 minutes.
>> welcome to the 9:25 session entitled the iron curtain, dissent and western response. up till now, we've been foregrounding you might say detailed behavior of various individuals and groups. what we need to do, and it's a good time to do this in our conference now is to talk about the deep background. the big issues that were at stake. the context in which actors and decisionmakers were carrying out their activities. and so we have two extremely dignified speakers and colleagues of mine on the podium today. alexandra richie first on my immediate right is a professor at the collegium civitas in warsaw, poland. she's lectured all over the world. her two books are absolutely fantastic. the two i've read.
"a history of berlin." and "warsaw 1944 -- hitler, himler and the warsaw uprising" is perhaps even better which was impossible for me to believe when it came out. alex is a member of the museum's presidential council's advisory board dispensing good advice to the museum now for a while. and we're extremely lucky to have her. now to alex's right, conrad crane spent 26 years in active military service. that included nine years of hard duty as a professor of history at the united states military academy. i say that with a smile having done it as a visiting professor one year. faculty at the united states military academy put themselves on a list to open the building at 6:00 a.m. in the morning, which is something if you tried in a civilian academic institution would start a riot. he is currently the chief of historical services for the u.s. army heritage and education center in carlisle,
pennsylvania. he published two books in 2016. "american air power and strategy in world war ii." and "cassandra in oz." i've asked conrad not to publish any more books in 2016. i think he's done. leave some room for the rest of us. with that alexandra richie will speak first followed by conrad with drawing a line in the sand, the western response to the soviet union. >> now for something completely different. >> was i wrong? did i go in the wrong order? >> we've basically scrapped the structure. so let me give you some background. so far in this conference, alex and i have been working on this for about a year, this presentation. so far in this conference there's been a lot of condemnation about compromises made as a result of the cold war. our aim is to describe how it all started.
we want to provide you with a change of pace so what we're going to do is depart from the structure in your program and instead offer a series of alternating presentations empcising the attitudes, actions and reactions that created the cold war. fasten your seat belts and you're about to get information overload. >> i hope not quite that bad. i'm supposed to be representing stalin. con's original idea was to have a hat with a big star and i tried the best with this uniform style thing because this is the kind of thing stalin liked to wear. but when i was putting it on this morning i thought about a story that former minister molotov recounted in his memoirs where he was sit with stalin with about eight other people from the politburo. and somebody bumped into one of the waiters serving stalin and got cranberry sauce all over his cocky uniform.
and it froze because everybody in the room was petrified of stalin. they were so frozen. they didn't know if because of this incident one of them might be shot in the back of the head the next morning. and deal with stalin was like mishandling a detonator. you'd only do it once in your life. there was no chance to correct it. we're looking at the beginning of the cold war and how it affected central europe and had implications for the rest of the world. something con will look at more. in order to understand what happened in central europe at the end of the warks one has to know a little about stalin and how he thought. he'd been very important in the bolshev bolshevik. he started off being a bank robber and murder. working for lenin getting money for the early bolshevik cause. he rose up quickly and when
lenin died, he took over. just before lenin died he says apparently he didn't want to stalin to succeed him because he was too cruel. that coming from lenin was quite something. stalin did take over. he bumped off anybody else around him who he thought might vie for power. and he determined to create the soviet union into an industrialized powerhouse which meant forced industrialization and forced collectivization which for the ukrainians meant around 5 million were killed. it was very brutal but he managed to grab the soviet union into a sort of industrial age. the great terror 8 millions as well between 1937 and '38, 682,000 people were executed. stalin used to love to go to the ballet. he loved "swan lake" which somehow doesn't join up to me. he loved "swan lake" and loved going to the opera.
he'd go to his office and sign death warrants. he would write, i want more people from this region or whatever it was. between 37 and 38, 1,500 people were being executed in russia every day. for stalin, however, the ends always justified the means. but what did he really want? this is important for looking at what he does at the end of the war because he did turn into a very effective wartime leader. adored by many russians. by the end of the war, the everywhere powerful leader in the world and felt very strong. but the key to understanding what he did in central europe is to understand that he was all right. a murderer, yes he was paranoid and all sorts of other things in the woo lenin leninist. he believed in the forces of history. he as an individual leader wasn't as important. that didn't matter what happened
that the capitalist system was going to collapse. that capitalists were always going to fight one another and that in the end, communism would triumph. recently released documents show also that stalin believed there was going to 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 that the peoples of central europe would choose communism. something that seems very strange to us now but he really believed this. so if we understand these beliefs that were deeply held by this man it goes some way to explaining his often contradictory behavior in central europe at the end of the war. contra dict i contradetect, for example, sending the red army through where 2 million women were raped, the soviets simply took away reparations and so on and the local populations were hated
this. and yet on the other hand, stalin expected them to vote the communists into power. how did the cold war start to unfold in central europe? it was clear from the very beginning that stalin meant to get what he could out of this war. this was not just a military war. it was a political one, an ideological one, economic one and also about a territory. and at the conferences, for example, stalin always used 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 and needed to get this for his defense. of course, there's an element of truth to this. the soviet union did feel vulnerable and needed to protect itself. on the other hand it's also clear he was after a land grab and wanted to get what he could. for example, on the 10th of december, 1941.
1941 when the germans are still at the gates of moscow effectively. anthony eden and sir frank roberts and a small british delegation go to see him in moscow. i talked to sir frank roberts about this meeting. he said it was uncanny that stalin, only a couple months into his war, was already saying in this meet, i want the baltic states and poland. a big chunk of poland when the war is over. so he clearly intended to use the war to expand his territory. and there were very many hints already during the war about how stalin -- what stalin thought of the west and how he was going to behave toward the west at the end of the war. one of the places it 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 started because of the hitler's invasion of poland on the first of september
1939. it was also startod the 17th of september when stalin invaded poland. and stalin was extremely brutal occupier of poland. and molotov said when poland capitulated, poland has ceased to exist. and the poles never forgot this. they deeply resented the 1939 occupation and partition and the nazi occupation was brutal as we all know. but the soefts occupation also saw 130,000 or so people being deported to the gulas vegas. about 30,000 people were executed with a bullet to the back of the net, including the 14,000 or so polish officers murdered. and still evidence of these crimes that pops up in poland occasionally. quite recently a grave found in the woods in poland with about 600 bodies discovered to have soviet pistol shots to the back of the neck. when the murder was discovered
far from apologizing for it, stalin blamed the germans and used it as an excuse to break off relations with the polish government and exile in london. incidentally demonstrating once again that stalin was not averse to lying. he wrote immediately to churchill and roosevelt and said i have nothing to do with these monstrous crimes. i've seen the document, this memo with stalin's big checkmark. sort of saying, yes, he's going to execute these officers. by 1944, the war had turned very much in stalin's favor. and when the red army re-entered polish territory, the polish home army decided to help the red army to fight against the nazis. in cities, the soldiers helped the soviets take these cities. and the front line soldiers got along extremely well. a lot of drinking of vodka and dancing around and so on. then the soviets started to
arrest the polish home army people. there were other hints as well as to stalin's behavior. for example, an american example was the treatment of the americans at the air bases. there were three american air bases in ukraine. with about -- about 1,300 men. and the americans had at first been treated very well. but as the war progressed and we got into sort of june, july, august 1944, all of a sudden, the harassment by the soviets to the americans became very intense, and, in fact, brigadier general william ritchie on the base at the time started complaining about soviet behavior after the germans attacked the base destroying a number of planes. he complained of the fact the soviets have not allowed the americans to protect their own air base. the only thing the soviets provides was a few machine guns
on the back of trucks which did nothing to allay that attack. infamously on the 1st of august, stalin refused to come to the aid of the poles during the warsaw uprising but didn't allow the british or the americans to refuel planes behind enemy lines. political ambitions of stalin were also becoming very clear well before may 1945. during the war, stalin had nurtured communists from hungary, from poland, from all over central europe. and as stalin got these territories, he parachuted them into these respective countries to start -- to start communist governments there. and for example, i'm just keep with poland because i'll talk about some other countries a little later. in poland set up the pkwn, a puppet polish regime. he made some noises that some of the government people in the polish government in exile in london could join this regime.
an active -- he invited 16 of these people to come and supposedly have talks to -- as to the idea of joining the government. so on the 28th 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. and we're talking the top of the home army who had been in exile in london. the commander in chief of the home army given ten years and died in soviet prison. a doctor who was the deputy minister of the polish government and exile. ended up in stalinist prison. also died in prison. and this massive wave of arrests happened as the red army moved in. about 100,000 home army people and others who the soviets thought might be against their
regime were arrested. and i'm including people like slasinsky who was arrested. he was in the raf. he had gone back to poland and was executed. and people like my father-in-law whose crime had been he'd been in auschwitz. when released, he started the aid for the counsel of aid to jews. afterwards he fought in the warsaw uprising. for this, he was given seven years in stalinist prison. there were many others like him. so these were hints to the west that stalin wasn't perhaps going to be the nice guy that he was depicted in western propaganda. >> okay. speaking of western propaganda, would you put up the time slide, too, please? i want to read. josef stalin is "time's" man of the year in 1939. 1939 will be remembered in europe particularly as a year in which men turned or were forced to turn their attention almost exclusively to politics.
josef stalin switched the power balance one august night when he signed the pact with hitler. made stalin the man of 1939. history may not like him but history cannot forget him. stalin's life reveals numerous examples of cynical opportunism and unprincipled grabbing of power. it became theu conof the new state whose religion is communism. you can see that 1939 image of stalin. looks like a kaurk from a bad "game of thrones" episode. the west knows what he's look. the other image is the 19 -- the man -- he is also "time's" man of the year in 1942. in his office within the dark towered kremlin in his office within the dark towered kremlin, josef stalin workedas his desk 16 to 18 hours a day. he kept a globe in front of him showing the course of campaigns. he defended heroically in the
civil wars of 1917 to 1920. this time he again defended it and mostly by willpower. new streaks of gray in his hair and etching of fatigue on his granite face but no break in his hold on russia and none long neglected of his responsibilities outside the soviet borders. is this the same guy? you have the dilemma of how do you deal with -- before world war ii, communism is fired much more than fascism. now he is -- this country is now your ally. how do you deal with it? the decision was, we're going to base this on shared values and not enemy is my enemy. so there's a massive information campaign that turned joe stalin into ronald reagan. and what you end up with is -- how many people have seen the movie "shrek." it involves the princess who becomes an ogre and bottom line
is, like a villain in a bad "shrek" movie, harry truman's problem for the rest of his term as president of the united states is how to turn the prince back into an ogre in people's minds. from 1939 to 1942 we turned the ogre into a prince. and the turning that information around is going to be one of the great things that sparks the cold war. there were many that understood that stalin was not the kind soul he's being depicted in "time" magazine. lord allen, the chief of the imemperial staff wrote that stalin has an unpleasant cold crafty dead face. i can imagine him sending people off to their doom without turning a hair. at the same time, at the tehran conference when allenbrook deals with stalin, fdr and roosevelt he writes this in his memoirs. during this meeting and all the subsequent ones with stalin, i
grew to appreciate he had a military brain at the highest caliber. not once did he make any strategic error nor ever fail to appreciate all the implications of a situation with a quick and unering eye. he stood out when compared with his two colleagues. roosevelt left marshall or leahy to talk to him. churchill was far more erratic, far too impulsive and favored unsuitable plans without giving them the deep thought they required. we were reaching a very dangerous point where stalin's shrewdness assisted by american shortsidedness might lead us anywhere. that's 1943 at tehran. and part of churchill's flightiness -- church nil 1944 in october, churchill flies to october. sits down with stalin. takes out a piece of paper and scribbles on it how they should divide the world up, especially focusod the balkans. he puts the -- romania is going
to be 90% russian influence and 10% the west. greece, 90%. british influence 10%, russian. yugoslavia, 50/50. hungary 50/50. russian 25%. and hands stalin this piece of paper. stalin is generally going to go by that piece of paper when the civil war goes on. stalin does not support the greek civil war. he stays away. he does violate it in the -- most of central europe and part of that is because as was mentioned yesterday because the americans and british arrange a separate surrender of italy. if you are going to do that to italy because you conquered italy, i'm going to do the same thing in central europe. so he did his own surrenders and arrangements in central europe just like we did in italy. some of the things the conferences provide. the conference in february '45, that's where the germany is going to be split in four
separate zones. the nazi warm crim gnarls goiin going to be hunted down. reparations. germany may be divided in six nations. that would be figured out later. roosevelt got the big thing he wanted. stalin committed to join the united nations and agreed to enter the fight against japan within 90 days after the surrender of germany. at the potsdam congress in july and august '45, they made all kind of agreements to shift germany's eastern porder for the orderly and expulsions of the german populations remaining beyond the eastern borders from czechoslovakia and hungary. and alex is going to talk about the impact of those mass expansions on europe. unnecessary for the german peace economy, we're going to be transferred to the soviet union within two years. a massive reparation. basically ended recognition for the exile, the polish government exile and many ways, poland is
basically sold down the river at potsdam. a young upstart captain at ft. bliss, tex ai was given the opportunity to interview general omar bradley. we were not allowed to ask any question beyond 1945. of course, being the guy i was, i figured a way around it. i said, general bradley, when did you realize we were about to enter a cold war with the soviet union? and he sat back in his wheelchair with his wife next to him and he said, you know, i knew we were in trouble when my counterpart in the soviet army wanted to trade his mule for my jeep. >> speaking about the conferences, it really would have been quite a shock both to churchill and roosevelt who both competed with one another for the favors of stalin if they'd realized how much he actually despised and hated them both. despite all the uncle joe stuff
and since the opening of archives in 1991, we see not just from the soviet archives but visitors like yugoslav, poleush and other visitors to stalin, we have what they document -- with stalin talking about the wartime leaders. and some of it is vile. absolutely has no respect for them. rants about both of them, calling them weak, calling them pathetic. nothing more than capitalist bandits. of roosevelt, he only believes in dollars, nothing else. his hatred of the west was partly rooted in history. the fact that the americans and the british had in churchill's words trying to strangle the bolshevik baby at birth. the american troops held about a quarter of the transsiberian railway. but stalin saw the war time conference as a competition which he wanted to win. and he prepared for them very carefully which i found
fascinating. when he was going to meet roosevelt in tehran, he practiced in front of the mirrors. 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 this chessire cat look on his face. it put fdr off. he was a jovial person. he also carefully manipulated the conversation and the my army is bigger than your army kind of thing. so, for example, in one of the conversations together, he quite deliberately gives a talk about how the fighting is going on the eastern front. he very clearly says he's got 330 divisions against the enemy's 260 and then turns to churchill and says how many divisions are going to be involved in overlord at which time he says 16 british divisions and 19 u.s. divisions.
and stalin sat back and went -- i've got 330 on the eastern front. he also, for example, had roosevelt's private conversations bugged in tehran. he insisted that roosevelt stay at the soviet mission. which shows a certain lack of respect. he would spend quite many hours every day reading through these transcripts of private conversations. he told a group of visiting yugoslav communists in march 1944, don't be fooled by you cordial relationship with roosevelt or with churchill. they are just capitalist pick-pockets. and after he bugged all the rooms he told another group of visitors, our alliance with the kac capitalists came about only because they had a stake in preventing hitler's domination. but in the future, we'll be against this first faction of capitalists, too. in short his ideological convictions hadn't changed much from the 1930s. and stalin didn't understand the west at all. he simply didn't understand things like the atlantic
charter. that the west was at war to try and bring democratic values and bring united nations -- bring a different vision of the postwar world to fruition. he didn't believe it at all. he had a totally different vision, the postwar world. and tehran, and potsdam give hints of this. and for security and for political and ideological aims, he felt he needed to acquire space. and that he needed to maintain absolute control in that space. and no country, especially not germany, was ever going to be able to have the chance to turn around and attack the soviet union in the future. and so he begins his inroads into central europe. each of the countries followed a similar but not identical pattern because stalin really was still trying to keep up appearances of free elections, coalition governments and so on. he didn't want to provoke the west into reacting.
but as i mentioned earlier, in each of these countries, hand-picked communist leaders who lived in moscow during the war. those who survived the terror, many did not, were dropped into their respective countries. so in poland, for example, the government was set up and already in 1944. and in keep with this idea that free elections would be successful for the communists, he held a referendum in 1946 in june. things seemed to go well for the communists. this was 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 '80s. but after 1991 when the party archives were opened it was discovered that this was a complete lie and that 73% of the vote had gone against the referendum. stalin quite quickly started to realize that he was not going to get the popular vote after all. he didn't make this mistake in
the actual polish election of 1947. instead of allowing a free election he arrested 142 membermembers of the opposition. he used the security apparatus to intimidate people at the polls. and, of course, the polish communists won. people who had been brought in from the london government had to be taken away in the boot of the american ambassador's car so -- because he was in such fear for his life. and the people's party took control and stat uues of stalin popped up everywhere. and this was repeated throughout the region. i don't have time to go through each of the countries but just very briefly, bulgaria, again by 1946, had become a single people's party republic. part of the soviet sphere of influence and followed very vicious purges in which no one was safe.
they were arrestod trumped up charges. in the end, bulgaria had about 100 concentration karchls. about 180,000 people were executed there after 1945. similar pattern in romania. a left wing coalition elected but communists held all the key ministerial posts. and other parties were quickly eliminated. for example, the national pezzants party was eliminated because they dare to have talks with american representatives who came to the country and show trials were held. rigged elections held in 1946 and the communists won 70% of the vote. and again, a system of terror emerged. soviet labor camps and terrible places like prisons which specialized in physical and psychological torture. and then the secret police developed. they were only really acrushed
with the fall of chu chess cue. hungary was a different case. stalin tried to go more slowly in hungary. he brought in racosi, one of these little stalins from moscow. and again, he told racosi, we can go a little more slowly in hungary. we don't want to alarm the western allies. he was already getting criticism for his behavior in romania and bulgaria. elections took place on the 15th of november. and to stalin's surprise, the small holder's party won 57% of the vote. the communists only 17%. well, racosi was put in power anyway and resorted to what he called salami tactics which is slightly slicing off the opposition parties and getting rid of them until in the end the communists dominated and the secret police was put into police to arrest anybody who
looked as if they might challenge the status quo. and the same sort of thing happened in albania, yugoslavia was a slightly different case. we don't have time to go into. but i wanted to mention one other thing stalin did particularly in the run-up to potsdam which was to push these governments, poland, hungary and romania to push their german minority out as quickly and brutally as possible. just sometimes people living in places like former east prussia had just a few hours to pack up and go. and the reason this is important is because all of these people were added to the destitute masses of germany and other countries in europe. the economies were in dire straits. destitute, bedraggled people all over the place. this was causing a huge crisis in central and western europe. for example, on his way to potsdam, truman was supposed to meet with stalin but stalin was
late. truman decided instead to visit berlin. he said it was ruined. it was dirty, smelly forelorne people. old men, old women, young women from tots to teens carrying packs, pulling carts. he called it a world tragedy. stalin didn't care about these people but truman and marshall and other americans started to care very much. >> there were quick signs as soon as the war ended the soviets were going to be a problem. but the dilemma i'm going to talk about for harry truman is how to get the american public to realize it. immediately, as soon as the war ended, the soviets put a lot of pressure on iran and turkey. they wanted iranian oil. in turkey, they wanted access through the bosphorus. and so they had a lot of pressure on those governments. in one of the great diplomatic messages ever sent that i know
of, what happens is the u.s. sent some sharp protest but they want to do something else. what happens is the turkish ambassador to the united states dies. so the united states offers that we will -- says we will 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 the soviet and again, we have the bomb, they don't. basically, the soviets will withdraw their pressure on iran and turkey. in february '46, a message is sent to the charged affairs and kennon to do an evaluation of soviet behavior. he sends a famous document called the long telegram. 8,000-word telegram. but some excerpts from that telegram, in summary, we have
here a political force committed fanatically to the belief with the u.s. there could be no modus avendi. oir society be disrupted, traditional way of life be destroyed. the international authority of our state be broken if soviet power is to be secure. this political force has complete power of disposition over one of the world's greatest peoples and is born along by deep and powerful currents of russian nationalism. it has -- an apparatus of amazing flexibility managed by people whose experience and skill in underground methods are presumably without parallel in history. finally, it is seemingly inaccessible to considerations of reality and its basic reactions. and he closes with a number of recommendations. you have to contain expansionist tendencies. he also says much depends on the
health and vigor of our own society. communism is like a malignant parasite which feeds only on diseased tissue. this telegram is to influence u.s. policy considerably in the ensuing years and becomes a foundation for our containment policies. but it's a tough topic to sell. in march of 1946, winston churchill visits the united states and will make his famous speech in fulton, missouri. i don't haveso his tones. i will read the key excerpt everybody knows from his speech. from the baltic to the adriatic an iron curtain has descended along the continent. warsaw, berlin, prague, i haven abaaoud pest, buk rest and sofia. all these famous cities and the populations around them line the sphere and all are subject in one form not only to soviet influence but to a very high and
increasing measure of control from moscow. everybody talks about how great that speech was, how famous it was but what nobody mentions, it was a massive disaster at the time. churchill also wrapped in there a lot of please for special american/british relationship to save the british empire. it was met with protests, winnie, winnie, go away. united nations is here to stay away. don't be a ninny for imperialist -- >> they said it was -- accused the british leader of being unable to free his thinking from the roll of the drums and flutter of the flag of empire. he makes this iron curtain speech which actually truman helps craft as a trial balloon for his anti-communist initiatives and after the speech, he says we've got to back off from this. the american public is not ready for these -- our approaches yet. in february -- in february 1947, the united kingdom comes forward
and says we can no longer maintain our mediterranean commitments to people like greece and turkey. we just don't have the money. then truman will feel he has to march into the gap with the truman doctrine. i believe it must be the policy of the united states to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subrogation by armed minorities or outside pressure. a very bold statement. and the public is not quite ready to get behind this yet. what this is going to require is a creation of a red scare. you have to restore the image of the ogre. the soviet bugaboo. i know you talked about joseph mccarthy in the espionage seminar. one of the reasons we play up all these russian spy trials and russian spies we catch is to prove the american people about the russian threat. the soviet threat. joseph mccarthy is a creation of josef stalin and harry truman.
he's the result of this red sphere that's created to get the american public to support the truman doctrine and in june 1947, the marshall plan. remember about this diseased tissue? we've got to save europe. one of the greatest act actions of -- it's not completely altruistic. we have our interests as well. but june 1947 we commit the marshall plan. 4% of american gmp for four years to europe. think of the immense investment in that. our total foreign aid budget right now is less than 1% of our gmp. for four years, 4% of our gmp to european reconstruction. also great fears about what's going on in france and italy. in november of '47, we were afraid the french and italian governments are going to fall to communism. there's massive strikes, riots. the communist parties have great strength. we commit ourselves to a massive
aid to france and italy to try to save their governments from collapsing. i gave a -- i was involved in developing the army's plan to reconstruct iraq in 2002-2003. the one completely ignored by secretary rumsfeld n other people. i remember giving a briefing on the history of occupations to the general jay garner and his staff going over to iraq with a coalition provisional authority. with the organization for reconstruction and humanitarian affairs in iraq. the first group to try to reconstruct it. and i mentioned the fact that the marshall plan was 4% of our gmp for four years. and i can see that all the general garner's staff sit back with their eyes rolled back in their head because they're basically getting nothing. an example of the degree of commitment in 1947, rebuilding europe. and then i'll kind of foreshadow some things that alexandra will
talk more about. there's also plans to -- again, part of rebuilding europe is going to have to be restoring germany. so the plans begin to reunify the french, british and american occupation zones. the first thing is a currency reform to create a unified economic sector. in june 1948 the decision is made to extend those reforms to berlin. >> it's absolutely true that before the marshal plan stalin really thought the chaos and misery in europe was going to lead to collapse from which the soviets would benefit. and as i said, he put puppet governments in place across central and eastern europe but also sent communists to italy and to france. as for the churchill speech, stalin called it a declaration of war. when the truman doctrine was published, stalin immediately accused the united states of aiding fascists and, quote,
fascists in greece and fascists in turkey. but the marshal plan when it was first announced, stalin didn't know how to react to it because the first speech at harvard was slightly ambiguous. it wasn't really -- didn't outline a policy quite yet. and so foreign minister molotov was cautiously optimistic underlining the sentence, our policy is directed not against any country or doctrine but against hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos. he clearly viewed the plan at anti-soviet but thought at that point that maybe the soviets could turn this into their advantage and perhaps get some reconstruction credits from the united states which the soviet union desperately needed. of course issue britain and -- british and french foreign secretaries meet in paris on the 27th of june 1946 to discuss this and invite the soviet union to come.
stalin sent a delegation of 100 people under molotov and his specific instructions from stalin were to find out how much money the united states was prepared to give and to find out if the americans were going to plan any interference as stalin put it. interference in the internal affairs of the recipients. by the second day of the conference, molotov heard enough and just walked out. he accused the americans of wanting to split europe into two and he took off. stalin now firmly believed the west wanted to use this plan to reintegrate his newly won central and eastern european states into the capitalist economic system of the west with all of the political ramifications that that implied. for the west, the marshall plan was seen as primarily defensive measure to stave off economic ruin in western europe. but for stalin, it became nothing less than a blatant attempt to subvert soviet interests in the region.
the soefviet ambassador in washington called it an attempt to roll back soviet influence in europe. it should be regarded as the first stage of a coordinated plan to create an anti-soviet alliance in europe. and, of course, this attitude would have profound implications for those countries of central europe that wanted to join the marshall plan. poland was one and czechoslovakia was another. i haven't mentioned czechoslovakia yet because it was a slightly unusual case. it was the one government that stalin allowed to return in total from exile in london back to prague. under president benish. and the communist sort of popularity in czechoslovakia at the time was riding quite high. the czechs never forgave the west for allowing hitler to take czechoslovakia in march 1939. and so in the first free elections which were held in czechoslovakia, the communists got 38% of the vote. they built a coalition
government. but czechoslovakia wanted to join the marshall plan very badly. they thought they could maneuver between east and west. and they sent word to the united states they were interested in joining. but, of course, this was absolutely too much for stalin. instead of allowing them to go he ordered the foreign minister to fly to moscow where they got an extreme dressing down. if you go to paris, stalin said, it will show you want to cooperate in an action aimed at isolating the soefts univiet un. it will be a break in the front of the slav states and success for the western powers. the czechs with that sort of thing had no choice but to return home. mazerik said he'd gone to moscow as a minister of czechoslovakia and returned home as a mere lackey of the soviet union. his rejection of the stalin plan was a huge shift in his ground strategy. before stalin seems to have
retained some hopes there might have been possible cooperation with the west on some issues. germany, for example. but now he was convinced the united states wanted to create a hostile environment and he would not compromise in any way or talk to the west anymore because it might leave the soviet union open to exploitation. instead, he decided to switch tracks and to consolidate his power in east and central europe instead. with this, he began with the creation of a new coordinating center for the european communist parties called the common form. this was specifically done to resist the marshall plan and also to consolidate soviet control over the countries in his sphere of influence. so on the 22nd of september, 1947, representatives of nine central european communist countries meet in poland to create this organization.
the secretary of the cpsu, central committee, declared that thanks to the united states, europe has now been divided into two camps. since the potsdam conference, the anglo american imperialists have demonstrated their unwillingness to take into account the legitimate interest of the soviet union and other democratic countries. the american imperialists hope to use the marshall plan to hammer together a western european alliance dominated by washington which will serve as a jumping off point for attacking the soviet union. the marshall plan proves that the western powers are inherently aggressive and hostile to the ussr and allies. hence negotiations with the west are futile. this really was the beginning of the cold war proper. one outcome in central europe was a massive political clamp down in eastern europe. gone were are the nice coalition governments or attempts at free elections or anything like this. these were simply stamped out. foreign minister mazerik
mysteriously fell out of his window. we now have evidence he was murdered and many others were arrested and killed as well. and terror swept over central europe between 1948 and '56 in czechoslovakia alone, over 100,000 people were arrested, imprisoned, tortured, executed. 422 concentration camps were opened up in czechoslovakia, and around 12,000 people a year were sent for example to work in the uranium mines. so stalin dropped any pretense of holding free elections and the countries of central/eastern europe were firmly behind the iron curtain where they'd remain until the collapse of communism. now the allies had to decide what to do with germany. and given stalin's behavior, they now started to turn away any -- again, any thought of compromise with stalin was really going out the window at this point. in january 1947, the british and
americans decided to create bizonia out of their two chunks of germany. december 1947, the london conference was held between the british, french and americans to discuss the future of germany and the soviet union was excluded from this conference. in january 1948, stalin banned all western literature from being read, passed around in the soviet zone. in april 1948 already, stalin tried his first attempt at -- he didn't bar, but he tried to harass people who were moving in and out of the western zone because one has to remember that to get to the western part of berle on, one had to go through soviet territory. and on the 23 rd of june as con mentioned, the west decided to create a new currency which the next day leads to stalin's blockade -- complete blockade of the transportation routes into west berlin.
>> the -- in other case of truman reacting very quickly, truman responded to the blockade with an immediate airlift without really consulting anybody. he sent orders and was lucky that the commander of the u.s. air force in europe u.s. air fo is one of my favorite people of all time, general curtis le may. and last time we talked about him he was dropping fire bombs on japanese children and today he is dropping chocolate candy on german children. but it is an amazing effort. le may turns the air force into this machine to get massive -- but not just american airman, also a lot of allied airmen throughout europe but they are flying supplies into berlin, 324 day airlift, over 200,000 flights, up to 9,000 tons of supplies per day going into -- eventually they exceed the supply level by air that was going in by rail into berlin.
it was -- the operation has gone down in history as airlift but for his airmen it was called the le may feed company. typical of his problem solving ability and his kind of work-around tendencies, it was a typical example of ability to gather and manage massive resources an coordinate allied agencies and work completely around the sovereignty of the rules of belgium and france. that is just the other way he operated. but it is a massive success. and it -- now some other things happen at the time, too. as -- also in the middle of airlift, truman deployed atomic bombs to britain. so we have the first deployment outside of the united states of american atomic capacity. and acourse this also helps inspire an april 1949 the creation of the north atlantic treaty organization and sucks
out italy, portugal, [ inaudible ]. but everybody understands that the core of nato has got to be a rearmed germany. and this ties into a lot of the discussions we had yesterday. if you are going to rearm german, there are very hard choices you have to make. they are going to be the core of the anti-communist coalition in europe. you have got to have a strong germany and commitment from all of the germans, hence some of the agreements to -- that some of the war prisoners out of jail. they don't stick the guys back in the government. piper becomes a purse salesman but they do make deals to get the germans on board to rearm against the soviet threat. you've also -- it is not just in germany, you make deals. who is most afraid of a rearmed germany? obviously france. how do you get france on board? in order to get france to rearm germany, we have to agree to give them massive support in indo china.
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 -- this shift now from now everybody recognized who the ogre is and everybody recognized that is the major threat and so we end up with -- we're going to make the best of a series of bad choices of what it is going to take to deal with that threat. initially in europe and eventually in asia. so with that, that concludes our formal remarks. hopefully you are not too overwhelmed or -- everybody seems awake. that is agood thing. we'll open it up for questions from the audience about this very tumultuous time. >> we'll do the first question in the center. >> i would actually enjoy
discussing these things with you for the rest of the day, but i'll have to limit myself to one question with kind of two related parts. we've heard a lot of things during this conference and one of the things that we mentioned was the idea of retooling public opinion from joe stalin, uncle poppa joe to the enemy. and related to that is two questions. first is simple, why is munich associated in our mind with the appeasement but not yalta, and the second is how long did it take the u.s. press to convince the country that germans were no longer the enemy? >> well, in terms of the appeasement question with ulta, the situation was quite different. and despite all of the problems
with the ulta that we know, the situation that was facing czechoslovakia when faced with at tack by hitler was on a different scale. the trouble with the alta, was we had the positive feelings about uncle joe. but it was also true that the soviet union was doing the heavy lifting when it came to winning the war. the point was, and the trouble was, that the western allies and britain in particular didn't have any other options but to -- as churchill called it, sup with the devil. they had to take stalin on board otherwise you couldn't defeat the worst of the enemies, which was hitler. so at yaltaa, you had a situation where the red army had already swelt through half of the territories. the soviets had horrific losses. and it wasn't really the time to sort of say, hum, we're not going to do any deals with you any more. let's just change course.
it wasn't possible at that point. and as for the presepgs about -- perception about germany not being the enemy, that does change rapidly, but for the cold war. all of a sudden, the enemy is not germany and stalin and the cold war becomes the focus of everybody's attention by 1949 and 1950, it is quite clear that the germans have to be on side in order to get a stable prosperous europe and you have to involve germany and that public opinion switches along with germanys new role and western germanys new role in the whole scheme of things. >> a point on yaltaa, there is an element of appeasement, on the right, yalta is a symbol of american appeasement of communism so that argument does persist for decades in some schools.
it is interesting, part of the reason that there is a shift in appearance about the germans is because we do such a good job of emass kuehl ating their army. it is no longer the [ inaudible ]. it is about a ten-year process though bring germany back into the fold. there is a lot of work done and the germans do a great p.r. job, we are a kindler and gentler germany and that sort of thing. you have germany becoming the bashing of the economy in europe more and more. it is interesting though, we almost do too good of a job. i had a conversation with a young captain who had got back from afghanistan where he had served in the northern part of afghanistan where w some units -- with some units that were sent there and they weren't overly capable and he said those german guys are really incompetent, why couldn't i get some of the ss guys i read about. i don't want to talk about some of the baggage that comes along
with that. but we have been more successful at demilitaryizing the germans than i ever thought we would be. >> we have a question. >> we have a question up this way. >> to what extent do you feel this as all inevitable, given the fact that communism and particularly joe stalin had a single-minded purpose that persisted from the beginning, long before world war ii, to what extent was there even any choice given the forces that we were working with? >> i'm one of those people who believes that the cold war was inevitable, because simply the way stalin was and the things he believed in. as i said, during the war, it
was expedient to be an ally of stalin and the red army but once the post war order was being set up, it was obvious that stalib just stood for completely different things. it was no room for compromise in his world view. and he stood for things that we simply couldn't find acceptable. nobody was going to go to war to get back pole and or czechoslovakia or hungary as we saw in the '50s and so on and there was a sense of revulsion he was doing what he was doing in central europe. and do believe if you look at stalin's belief from the very beginning, his whole out look on life was that communism was going to come to dominate the world and this was a system that would triumph over capitalism sooner or later. interestingly enough, he didn't think it would happen in his lifetime and hitler felt he to win the war and conquer the war
in his lifetime because he was the only person competent enough to do so. and even if this wasn't in place, this would be the system that we would live under eventually. with that world view, i don't think it would have been possible to compromise with him. >> next question to your left. >> i understand that harry truman and frankly roosevelt did not talk much during the last years of roosevelt's life and my question is really how do you assess the leadership that truman provided in the post-war era considering that he was confronted with so many difficult issues? >> i think one of the best ways to look at fdr versus truman is that for franklin roosevelt, the big threats were the germans an the japanese. that was -- that was the threat
he faced. and so he cuts -- he's willing to cut a certain amount of deals with the soviet union because they are not -- they are not on top of his priority list. harry truman comes in, didn't know about the atomic bomb, had to be informed about that and he wasn't a big player in roosevelt's decision-making. of course, roosevelt is very sick at this time. he is doing a lot of traveling. he is not the fdr that had been so dynamic in the early days of the war so there is a reason that truman comes in uninformed but harry truman comes in a month before the german's surrender and the potsdam and the japanese are collapsing and even though he carries the potsdam with the agreements to get the russians into the war, for him, the main threat is the soviet union. it really -- and so his perspective in life is very, very different.
so he's hard-nosed. you have to understand his world war ii background in the military and the way he looks at life. he does -- i mean, and you will -- and you'll see if you see what he does in korea and other places, he's willing to confront and he's not afraid of the soviets. it helps that we have the bomb and they don't. i mean, it really helps that we have the bomb and they don't. and he's trying to make decisions based on that and defense policy based on the bomb that may have been somewhat unrealistic. but i think if you don't understand truman, you have to understand that his perspective on the world is different that fdr because the soviet union does loom larger on the threat scope than it does for fdr. >> and just a brief comment. i've always been amazed by how quickly truman picks up and runs with what -- with this enormous task he is all of a sudden facing and i'm slightly baffled by the fact he was given so little information before he took office. fdr was sick.
there was a chance he wouldn't be around and truman was kept in the dark in terms of the -- the foreign policy issues. and so i've always been amazed at how quickly he stepped up to the plate. >> we have a couple of questions here in the center. >> one of the earlier questions was how long does it take the american media to shift from this embrace of the soviets of stalin to a more lucid understanding of 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 german of the senate foreign relations committee was arthur vandenberg, a republican, and when there was some
consternation about truman's overtures to get help to prevent this, to prevent the turkey and grea 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 truman 's initiative. and i think that it was successful so my question is, how long did it take for that to be dissipated, because i could 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.
>> one of the -- when you try to study the development of american grand strategy, one of the amazing things, the persistence of containment, that really -- that senators question, if you really have -- 47 is a key year. the threats of greece and turkey, the truman doctrine, the more and more of the revelations of the spies, a big spy ring crack in canada and the rose ebbbergs are coming up and there are more threat in the media about the threat of the soviet union. so really you've got the series of things that happened. the korean war will globalize containment for a focus on europe and asia as well. you have the development of nc68, national council 68 which is a containment for the united states which is incorporated after korea, about 1951 and will dominate our defense policy then. even in the reagan era, there is
still a consensus about containing the soviet union and they are a threat and the question becomes on the methodology, the star wars, and the sdi and some of those things. and there is also, as there are signs of disillusion in the soviet union and there is the sense the threat is dissipating and that reduces some of the impetuous. but arguably, the containment grand strategy of the united states is a bipartisan policy from arguably about -- about late 1940s until the wall goes down. 50 years where we have a consistent fairly bipartisan approach to foreign policy, which is pretty amazing, considering state we find ourselves in today. that would be my pitch on it as well, anyway. >> just to -- it is a slightly different point, but it is also very interesting to see the
popular responses in europe over those ensuing decades and the perceptions of the soviet union. there was a very strong movement in large parts of europe in the '70s, 1980s, the reassessment of the cold war, the americans were put into the light of being the aggressors, stalin hadn't been so bad. there was a lot of campaign for nuclear disarmament and criticism in the united states in the way it handled the cold war and so on and sort of a very important reaction against reagan as well when he was trying to bring in some of the policies toward the soviet union. so it wasn't just a question in the united states, but also the way in which the cold war was perceived in europe was very different and in fact there was a lot of opposition to american policy in europe in those 1970s, 80s period. >> and to rethink.
there is a backlash after vietnam and a lot of it is a generational split. and there was a great statement that i heard from someone one day is the problem is the atomic bomb and for the world war ii generation, the atomic bomb ends world war ii, for the upcoming young generation, it started the cold war. so part of it is a perspective as the world war ii generation fades the commitment to the cold war lessons as well. so there is -- i can understand that the motivation for the lessening in the 70s and 80s in the europe and the united states to the commitment to the cold war policies. >> staying in the center. >> given stalin's desire to have the baltic states and in part of this time, why do you suppose he didn't extend that to finland, because they had fought a war with finland before and yet finland seemed to be able to with stand that communist
expansion and it would have turned the baltic more into a soviet state, how did that line in the stand didn't include finland? >> i think there is one answer and that is the winter war. the things were incredible. it is very little known conflict, but the fins fought and inflicted heavy, heavy casualties on the soviet union. and in fact, one of the reasons that hitler thought it would be easy to walk in and crush the soviet union was because the fins, little finland, had managed to inflict some 800,000 casualties on the soviets. and this kind of, if you will, sent a strong signal to stalin that finland was different. the battic states were very weak, they are very small, easy to take.
stalin made all sorts of historical kind of excuses as to why the baltic states had to be soviet, which were spurus, they were untrue but he used the arguments. he couldn't get away from w that in finland. and the finish, it is not very well nobody, but that was one of the most amazing wars of the 20th century, i think. >> and again, are you finished? one more up here. >> perhaps i'm uninformed. but this was the first time i've heard that -- 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. >> now, again, the french were very reluctant to rearm german.
and we had to offer them all kinds of incentives, of course, degall is coming to power and degall is the -- it is a very interesting relationship. the french said we are kind of with you, but we're not. and there is a period where they withdraw from the military commissions for nato, they are in and out. it is a rough relationship. but in order to get them to sign up for germany, we have to commit to more support for them. we sent them massive logistics to indo china. and involved in a lot of support. it is another great story if we had more time just to talk about how we narrowly avoid going into to save [ inaudible ] in 1954. they sent a delegation in wash and the chairman of the joint chiefs admiral radford is ready to save the air force to save them and there is a number of reasons that gets stopped. but a lot of the lodge iskgisti coming from us. and again it is a sense of
worldwide communism. and i know al mollett will talk about what is going on in korea, but when the north koreans attack across the 38th parallel in june, 1950 and president truman holds his meeting, the first thing they talk about is how do we take out the soviet air bases in the far east. and then where do they send the first reinforcements, to europe? because they see this is a diversion because the real attack is coming in europe. so there is this monolithic view of things that we have to contain everywhere but there is a peculiar relationship between us and the french that we -- we feel that they -- of course they play us like a fine instrument to get the aid. but then -- but that is part of what we give them in order to allow the rearmament of germany. >> and next question over here. >> fdr was very sick when he
attended the alta conference. his blood pressure for instance was 280 over 160, which is twice the normal. he was having small strokes, he was in congestive heart failure. and my question is this. was he even in a condition to understand what was taking place? >> well, yes. i mean, he was very ill. but he didn't have any dementia or serious memory loss or failure in that regard. so he was still competent in that sense. but he was very ill, very tired. and it is very difficult to know what effect that sort of condition would have on decisions that would be made. i doubt very much that anything
that was done in alta would have been different. stalin pretty well controlled the show. churchill couldn't do very much. and fdr rather agreed. but even if he been very well, i don't know that the outcome would have been particularly different. i don't know if you have any -- >> everybody understood fdr, he still kept a kpcompetent staff advisers around and they understand his intent, but i agree with alexandra, that the political strategic situation favored stalin. and as al an brook said, he was a master strategist and that shows at the last couple of conferences. >> back to your left. >> along with the yalta issue, i had always read that one of the reasons fdr had to capitulate to some of stalin's -- i guess -- i
don't know -- requests, that is a very loose term there, because we still hadn't tested the atomic weapon and we might need them to help defeat japan. could you speak to that, please. >> well, remember, fdr wants -- he wants the soviet union, the u.n., we're not out there, we don't want to scare the soviets away. we want them -- fdr wants to keep this alliance. he has the idea of the five policemen. they are going to police the world and keep order and he knows the soviet union has to be part of the formula so he is will to sacrifice -- pole and for instance, in order to get -- to get the soviet union in the u.n. and that is one of the reasons why churchills iron curtain speech is a decry because he is going against the
u.n. and on the bomb. and if we had one work in new mexico, that doesn't mean we'll have one work -- there is so many. the bomb is much overplayed. and even -- we still don't know what will bring the japanese to surrender. richard frank talked about that before. you need the different blows and we are still testing the bomb and we still want to get the soviet union in the war against japan and we don't know what will bring them down. there is not the decision that the a-bomb is the hammer against the soviet union. they still expect the soviet union to be our ally. stalin tries to get 19 seats in the u.n. he wants a seat for every soviet union republic and eventually he gets three. that is part of the compromise. but fdr has other goals, long-term goals for this globalized world that we talked about yesterday. >> now, i just -- a comment. i agree. if you are talking about yalta
in particular and there wasn't -- there was a great incentive for fdr to get the soviet union, the agreement for the fight against japan and the bomb is an issue at potsdam but not yet at yalta. >> we're going to stay to left in the far back. could you please stand, ma'am. >> why, exactly did fdr choose harry truman to run with him in his last presidential campaign? >> long answer. i don't know enough details on in a to answer that. >> we're going to -- >> where is rob statino, we're going to extend that session by 45 minutes to we could have a full explanation. >> i would go to somebody else in the audience. i know there was a certain amount of political -- truman was a good guy from the part of the country that roosevelt wanted. he was a respected senator. but again, he wasn't part of the inner circle. he was brought in for the -- as vice presidents often are for certain political advantages.
and he had a lot of friction with a lot of fdr staff because he was not part of the inner circle. but i -- again, i'm not as overly expert on the machinations of the democratic part in 1944 but there are political res irveatiervations brought this guy from missouri to be with him. >> and given that mr. putin could be viewed as stalin-like and given the fact that he has seemed to restore some pride in the soviet union, my question is, how is stalin viewed by soviet citizens and residents today? >> another 45-minute extension, please. >> and alex, not to interrupt, but i think that will be covered in this afternoon's final session, as to how it is remembered in the former soviet. so if you don't mind, joe, please ask that, if not addressed. but i would like to get to another final question.
so we can try to spread it around. in the very back left corner, please. could you please stand, sir. >> yes. first and foremost, i think that the decision was not made by fdr to take truman. remember, wallace, henry wallace was the vice president and southerns didn't like his civil rights positions and fearful of his pro-soviet view points and from what i read fdr told the convention, you choose who you want. i'm not going to get involved. he didn't want harry s. truman and i don't believe and it hos h to do with domestic communism and that is my point, i think. but my question is, when did stalin become chats key, and they fought and it was socialist and chatski and worldwide revolution and in 1940 stalin
sends an asasssassin to put an [ inaudible ] in his head. and mao found them to be more concerned about russia and the world if you could answer when stalin became [ inaudible ]. >> and he leaved in these great forces and that inevitably this would happen but it was a very interesting moment in the 1920 war when lennon tried to bring the -- the baltic revolution to germany by going through poland and bringing the revolution and the red army was stopped at the gates of warsaw in the so-called miracle on the visitula and after this defeat lennon goes back to russia and said we are going to consult in one country for now and then think about the international implications later.
interestingly enough in that war, stalin -- he was deeply humiliated humiliated. he was ordered by lennon to mount an attack which he did don't in the right time or place and lennon dressed him down enorm asly for this favor and stalin never forgot this. there were all sorts of theories about how much did this defeat in pole land and this dressing down by lennon affect his feelings about pole land, warsaw, that part of the world as well. but nevertheless, this marks a moment when lennon decides you are going to turn back into dealing with the soviet union first. and at that point stalin did whatever lennon told him to do. but there is no doubt that stalin still believed in and harbored and wanted worldwide revolution. but he was pragmatic enough, he was a tactition and very clever and smart enough to realize if things weren't going his way, he weren't deliberately start a third world war to try to push
it, he thought inevitably the forces of history would be such that capitalism would crumble and communism would succeed. and as i said before, it didn't necessarily have to be in his lifet >> thank you all very much. [ applause ] . now a look at the influence of american democracy after world war ii. a panel of historians look at growth of the american federal government during the war. the united nations and human rights after the war and the relief for displaced jewish refugees from poland. this is 90 minutes. the 240 session is entitled america, democracies bastion. we have five scholars to given us presentations and in order from my immediate