Stalin and the Allies: Who Deceived Whom?

In the first of our contributions from the Russian magazine Rodina, Sergei Kudryashov charts the twists and turns of the Soviet leader's tricksy diplomacy with his Western comrades-in-arms and its impact on the war effort.

The war obliged Stalin to make radical changes in his foreign policy. Before the attack by Nazi Germany he could allow himself to observe the development of events and swim with the tide, choosing between Hitler or the West, but after June 22nd, 1941 he had to take positive action. In this new situation the characteristics of Stalinism were clearly displayed.

To judge by the numerous reminiscences of contemporaries one of the most notable features of Stalin's diplomacy was rudeness. Understandably, however, he was obliged to take his allies into consideration and moderate his temper on the international stage. In his relations with Roosevelt, Stalin was to some extent successful, as he respected the power and strength of the country standing behind the president. However, it often did not seem to be the same with other Americans, or with the British, including the prime minister, with whom he was rude and over familiar.

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