of the Cold War, Part One,1917-1945
Excerpts from Janette
Rainwater's book-in-progress, From the New Deal
to the Raw Deal: An Annotated Chronology of the Events that Have
Changed the United States
seize power in Russia in the "October" Revolution.
(The country was still using the Julian calendar.)
sign a separate peace treaty with the Germans at Brest-Litovsk on
very unfavorable terms, giving up 1/3 of the population and 1/3
of the productive lands of the old Russian Empire--- including the
Baltic states (Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia), Georgia, Finland,
and the Ukraine.
The first troops
of the Allied Expeditionary Force leave for Murmansk and Archangel
to help the White Russians in the civil war against the Bolsheviks
hoping, in Winston Churchill's phrase, to "strangle Bolshevism
in the cradle".
[By the end
of the year there were nearly 200,000 troops there from the USA,
Britain, France and Japan plus Italian, Greek, Serb and Czech contingents,
some of whom remained into 1920. Additionally several hundred thousand
anti-Bolshevik Russians were armed and supplied. This occupation
was responsible for much of the Soviet paranoia toward the West.
An angry Krushchev said in Los Angeles in 1959: "Never have
any of our soldiers been on American soil, but your soldiers were
on Russian soil." Los Angeles Times, September 2, 1991.]
an offer to William C. Bullitt (who is in Moscow on a secret mission
sponsored by the British and Wilson's Colonel House): In return
for a peace conference with the Allies, the removal of all foreign
troops and cessation of military aid to the insurgents, the Soviets
would accept responsibility for the repudiated Tsarist debt and
allow all de facto governments to remain in control of the territory
they occupied, thus relinquishing the Urals, Siberia, Finland, the
Baltic states and most of the Ukraine.
[This extraordinary offer was good until April 10. But thanks to
the strong anti-Bolshevik sentiments that were prevalent, Wilson
and Lloyd George never seriously considered the proposal. Also Admiral
Kolchak's troops had just made asurprising 100-mile advance in eastern
Russia which led to predictions that Kolchak's White Russians would
be in Moscow in another two weeks.
of the West to accept Lenin's offer solidified the Soviet feeling
of isolation and hostility. The history of the rest of the century
might have been quite different if the Bullitt-Lenin plan had been
accepted by the Allies, the blockade lifted, the starving people
The threat of a new blockade might have been sufficient to cause
the Russians to adopt a communist government less threatening to
with the dismissal of Lenin's offer, resigned as a member of the
American peace delegation to the Paris Peace Conference and later
was bitterly opposed to most of the provisions of the Versailles
Peace Treaty, correctly predicting that it would encourage German
irredentism and Japanese imperialism and ultimately war between
Japan and the United States. His testimony before Lodge's Senate
Committee on Foreign Relations aided the defeat of the treaty and
the ultimate resignation of Secretary of State Lansing. (1)
and Sources for Origins of the Cold War, Part One
States recognizes the Soviet Union-- 16 years after its revolution.
William C. Bullitt is appointed ambassador.
was finally achieved due to the rise in power of the Japanese Empire.
In the agreement the USSR agreed to protect the freedom of worship
of American nationals in the USSR and to refrain from sponsoring
revolutionary activity against the American political system. Russia
had not recognized the infant USA until 33 years after its revolution.
Catherine the Great, like many other European monarchs of her time,
had feared the "republican virus" might be contagious.]
At the Munich
Conference Hitler, Mussolini, Chamberlain (U.K.), and Daladier (France)
agree: The Sudeten German areas of Czechoslovakia will be ceded
to Germany in exchange for Hitler's pledge of no further German
felt he had won a victory of "peace in our time"; many
others, including the future British Prime Minister Winston Churchill,
charged "appeasement". The Czechs, who were not consulted,
felt they had been sold out by the Allies. The Soviets were also
not included in the conference despite the fact that they had offered
to support the Czechs.
A poll taken
the week after the conference showed that a majority of Americans
approved of the Pact. It was thought for many years that the Munich
Agreement had given the Allies a badly-needed year in which to re-arm;
later scholarship has shown that Hitler's war machine was not ready
in 1938 and that the year's delay in the outbreak of war helped
Germany more than Britain and France. (3)
the US Ambassador to Great Britain, claimed credit for the treaty
forhaving influenced Chamberlain to trust Hitler. (4) Actually Chamberlain
was influenced by a report from his Secret Intelligence Service:
"What Should We Do?" stated that a deal with Germany "might
not prove to be uncongenial", as Hitler was proposing to "disintegrate"
the Soviet Union and would guarantee Britain's supremacy overseas.
Prior to the
conference FDR had assured Hitler that the US had "no political
involvements in Europe". This declaration from the nation that
had entered World War I "to keep the world safe for democracy"
undoubtedly strengthened Hitler's hand in dealing with the Allies.
As in Austria
Nazi agents had infiltrated the country and helped create a demand
to join Germany; and as with the remiltarization of the Rhineland
in 1936, Hitler's generals had advised against Hitler's threatened
invasion: the Czech army was well-trained and well-equipped and
the German army was not yet ready for all-out war.] (7)
the USSR sign a five-year non-aggression pact which contains a secret
agreement in which they fix their two spheres of interest in Eastern
Europe (8) including the partition of Poland. In an accompanying
commercial agreement Germany extended the Soviets a credit of 200
million marks and Stalin guaranteed to ship huge quantities of grain,
oil and metals.
was stunned; Britain was especially surprised by this von Ribbentrop-Molotov
non-aggression pact, as Stalin had recently approached the British
to make a defensive alliance with them and the French against Nazi
Germany. That possibility was foundering because of British lack
of enthusiasm and Polish antipathy for the Russians.
Great Britain mobilized in expectation of war. Japan had not been
consulted and now felt vulnerable to her old enemy, Russia. Britain
announced that she would come to the defense of Poland. Chamberlain
repeated his offer to mediate the German-Polish dispute about the
alleged mistreatment of ethnic Germans living in Poland and the
possible return of the Polish Corridor to Germany.]
Poland under the phony pretext that their border forces were attacked
"Polish army troops" were German concentration camp inmates
who were forced to put on stolen Polish uniforms, then trucked to
the border, given lethal injections, placed in the position of "attackers"
and shot. This was Operation Canned Goods, conceived and
directed by Reinhard Heydrich. The ruse succeeded in initially confusing
the world as to which country had fired first.
Two days later
Britain and France declared war on Germany and a German submarine
torpedoed and sank the British passenger liner Athenia; 28 American
passengers were lost. A week later Americans were polled: Should
we declare war and send our army and navy abroad to fight Germany?
"NO" was the answer given by 94%.] (8-1)
Union invades eastern Poland with 40 divisions. Some troops carry
white flags and claim to be coming to help their Slavic brothers
fight the Germans.
[Germany and the Soviet Union partitioned Poland along the lines
agreed upon in the vonRibbentrop-Molotov treaty.]
invade Finland to gain territory to protect the approaches to Leningrad.
[The fascist government of Baron Mannerheim had been colluding with
the Germans to fortify the Aland Islands located in the Gulf of
Finland just in front of Leningrad, islands which they were treaty-bound
not to fortify.
was immediately on the side of Finland, especially when news was
received that Stalin's air force had bombed civilian centers and
then machine-gunned the fleeing citizens. FDR called for a world
embargo on the sale of military planes to countries who bombed civilians.
The League of Nations, which had refused to take any action on Japan's
invasion of China nor Italy's invasionof Abyssinia, condemned the
Soviet Union's action and expelled the country from the League.
had expected to subdue little Finland within a month. However, Swedish
cryptologists were able to decode the Soviet Union's military messages
and forwarded the results immediately to Field Marshal Mannerheim
who was thus able to anticipate every military move. (9)
felt more sympathy for "gallant little Finland" in its
three-month struggle than for the combatants in the Sino-Japanese
War or the conflict in Europe, as Finland had fully paid its World
War I debts to the US, unlike the British and the French. In February,
1940 the House of Representatives came close to refusing to allocate
funds for the US Embassy in Moscow--- which would have caused de
facto severance of relations with the Soviet Union. (10)]
Union completes the takeover of the Baltic republics of Estonia,
Latvia and Lithuania, territory that had belonged to the czars and
became sovereign states after World War I. [FDR froze their financial
1941 at 3:15 AM
armies--- 3.3 million soldiers--- pour across the Bug and Niemen
Rivers to invade the Soviet Union in violation of their "Peace
and Friendship" treaty. German bombers attack 66 Soviet airfields,
destroying one-fourth of all Soviet airplanes.
days five Russian armies were destroyed. Operation Barbarossa's
success was partly due to Stalin's initial paralysis and to the
fact that he had decimated the upper ranks of the military with
his political purges in the previous decade. (12)
after the start of the invasion Hitler confided to Baron Oshima,
the Japanese Ambassador to Germany: "I knew that if I left
Russia alone and continued my fight against England, [Russia] would
stab us in the back when we were least able to resist." (13)
For three years,
until mid-1944, 95% of the German ground forces were engaged on
the Eastern Front. Three-fourths of all German casualties were suffered
there. Four years of bitter fighting and Hitler's scorched-earth
retreat caused the destruction of...
cities and towns
70,000 Soviet villages
three-fourths of the industrial plant of the USSR (which President
Kennedy later compared to the "destruction of this country
east of Chicago")
An estimated 27 million Soviet citizens died.--- American
and British deaths combined were less than a million. (14)
been amply warned that the invasion was coming. Die Rote Kapell
(Red Orchestra), the Soviet spy network in western Europe, as early
as January had sent intelligence that the Germans had cancelled
preparations for a Channel invasion of England and were moving troops
to the east. Later the Brussels, German and Swiss branches of the
Red Orchestra had each sent the exact date of the invasion--- May
15---and then its postponement to 3:15 AM of June 22. Also he had
received warnings from the US and British governments and from Richard
Sorge, the Soviet spy in Japan.
that the German build-up in the East was designed to pressure him
into delivering more supplies to Germany and to conceal Hitler's
real plan-- to invade England. He also suspected the British of
sending phony warnings designed to induce him to mobilize his troops,
thereby provoking Hitler to attack him and so avert an invasion
of Britain. (15)]
to give aid to the Soviet Union. Senator Harry S Truman (D-MO):
"If we see that Germany is winning, we ought to help Russia,
and if Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany. And that way
let them kill as many as possible, although I don't want to see
Hitler victorious under any circumstances. Neither of them think
anything of their pledged word."
[At this point
in time, the world was mostly unaware of the 17-22 million deaths
in the Soviet Union caused by Stalin's policies of forced collectivisation
of farms and purges of his "enemies".] (16)
FDR and Prime
Minister Winston Churchill, meeting on a warship off Canada, announce
their "Atlantic Charter" for the world:
freedom of the seas
abandonment of the use of force
self-determination for the people in the countries then occupied
by the Axis powers.
said about self-determination for people in the colonies of France
and Great Britain! And, more fatefully, nothing was decided about
Stalin's determination to retain the territories of eastern Poland
and southern Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Roumanian Bessarabia
which had been absorbed into the USSR since September, 1939 and
had been part of Russia's empire under the Tsars. Stalin considered
control of these areas to be vital to the Soviet Union's security.]
FDR asks Congress
to declare war against Japan: "Yesterday, December 7, 1941
a day which will live in infamy the United States of America
was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of
the Empire of Japan."
In less than
an hour the Senate votes approval 82-0 and the House 388-1.
Italy declare war on the United States; Congress responds with a
declaration of war on them.
[This was foolish
on Hitler's part; there was so much American anger at the Japanese
over the Pearl Harbor attack that public opinion would not have
permitted a declaration of war against Germany and especially not
the concentration of war effort in Europe rather than Asia.]
Charles Lindbergh speaks to an America First group: "There
is only one danger in the world-- that is the yellow danger. China
and Japan are really bound together against the white race. There
could only have been one efficient weapon against this alliance
. . . Germany . . . the ideal setup would have been to have had
Germany take over Poland and Russia, in collaboration with the British,
as a bloc against the yellow people and Bolshevism. But instead,
the British and the fools in Washington had to interfere."
Andrei Andreyevitch Vlasov defects to the Germans.
[Vlasov, who had been personally decorated by Stalin the year before
for his successful defense of Moscow, forms a "Russian Army
of Liberation" made up of Russian POWs.
He and his
army later betrayed the Germans, went to the assistance of Czech
partisans, and then surrendered to the Americans. The US, as was
legally required, turned Vlasov over to the Soviets who tried him
for treason and executed him in 1946. In the early years of the
Cold War, veterans of the Vlasov Army were recruited by the US for
guerrilla actions and espionage against the Soviet Union despite
knowledge of their Nazi allegiance, virulent anti-Semitism, and
the crimes they had committed within the camps for displaced persons.
In Moscow Prime
Minister Churchill breaks the bad news in person to Stalin: There
can be no Anglo-American "second front" in Europe in 1942,
as FDR had unwisely promised.
He cites military unreadiness to launch an invasion by September,
the last month of favorable weather. He proposes landings in North
Africa and continued saturation bombing of Germany as a substitute
for the second front to help ease the burden of USSR on the Eastern
[There was considerable speculation and demand from those on the
left in the United States for a second front. (19)]
The last remaining
units of the Sixth German Army surrender at Stalingrad after an
heroic five-month defense of the city by the Soviets.
[This was the
turning point of the war and the beginning of the German defeat.
They are pushed back 250 miles, almost back to the starting point
of their summeroffensive, before their line is stabilized at the
beginning of March. (20)]
break diplomatic relations with the Polish government-in-exile.
[The Nazis had revealed the burial in Katyn Forest of thousands
of Polish officers who had disappeared during the Spring of 1940,
naming the Soviets as perpetrators. The Soviet Union denied responsibility
for the massacre, saying the Nazis did it in 1941. The Poles asked
the International Red Cross to investigate the affair.
this as an act of hostility and installed a puppet regime in Lublin.
The Soviet Union maintained its innocence of the Katyn atrocity
until 1990 when the world learned that the NKVD, on Stalin's direct
order, had systematically murdered 15,000 Polish officers in Kalinin,
Katyn and Starobelsk and buried them in mass graves.] (21)
Union announces that it has abolished the Comintern, or Communist
International, which had been organized in 1919 to foment communist
revolutions in other countries.
favorable comment from most Americans, including Joseph Davies,
ambassador to the Soviet Union, Eric Johnston, president of the
US Chamber of Commerce and even Rep. Martin Dies (D-TX), chairman
of the House Committee to Investigate Un-American Activities. The
major skeptics were prelates of the Catholic Church, William C.
Bullitt, former ambassador to USSR, and die-hard isolationists such
as Rep. Hamilton Fish (R-NY). (22)]
The KGB in
Moscow receives a coded message from the Soviet Embassy in Washington
that four German officers have recently arrived in England from
Switzerland with an offer to arrange the assassination of Hitler
in exchange for a negotiated peace with Great Britain and America,
leaving out the Soviet Union.
had been supplied by Maurice Halperin, an analyst with the Latin
America division of the OSS, who was also spying for the Soviet
Union. As a result Stalin became very distrustful of the true intentions
of FDR and Churchill despite their repeated statements to him that
their governments would insist on Germany's unconditional surrender.
This event could be cited as one of the major sources of the Cold
later accused of espionage by his courier Elizabeth Bentley, but
he denied the charge and was never brought to trial. However, after
the war the FBI began cracking the Soviet code and decrypting messages
from the Soviet consulates to Moscow; in July 1995 the National
Security Agency started releasing these TOP SECRET documents to
the public, including the one about this plot. (23)]
announces the unconditional surrender of Italy.
quickly occupied the northern part of the country and freed Mussolini
from the Partisans who had captured him. The Americans and the British
excluded the Soviets from participating in the negotiations for
surrender. Churchill: "We cannot be put in a position where
our two armies are doing all the fighting but Russians have a veto
and must be consulted on any minor violation of the armistice terms."
This set a
precedent, and the Soviets did not consult with the other Allies
about armistice terms for Rumania, Hungary and Bulgaria when they
liberated these countries in 1944.
The American Joint Chiefs of Staff acknowledged that this was "only
natural and to be expected" since it was the Red Army that
had achieved their surrender.
armistice had been secretly signed by Prime Minister Pietro Badoglio
on the 3rd, the day of the first Allied landings from Sicily. (24)]
Harriman discusses a postwar loan from US to USSR with the Soviet
commissar for foreign trade, disclosing: "It would be in the
self-interest of the United States to be able to afford full employment
during the period of transition from wartime to peacetime economy."
of State Hull had earlier told the Russians that the United States
wanted "to cooperate fully in the rehabilitation of war damage
in the USSR." Prominent in the motivations of economic advisors
promoting the idea of a loan had been the fear of another Great
Depression once the impetus to the economy of war production was
removed. But if America's commodities and surplus industrial equipment
could be sold to the Russians in exchange for raw materials, then
full employment could be maintained.
States government continued with the expectation of such a loan
through 1944. (25)]
Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin in their first face-to-face meeting
agree on the timing for an American-British landing in northern
France to create the long-awaited second front. Future Poland will
include German lands west to the Oder; the "Curzon" line
of 1919 will be the Eastern border.
agrees that FDR need not make a public declaration of these agreements
until after the 1944 elections; the Polish-American vote must not
There is a
tentative agreement that Germany will be partitioned after the war.
They reaffirm the territorial integrity of Iran (where British and
Soviet troops have been since 1942 to protect the oil fields from
seizure by the Nazis). (26)
after the Red Army enters Poland, the Soviet government issues a
public statement that Ukrainian and White Russian territories that
had been part of Poland now belong to the USSR and that Poland may
expect compensation through the return of "ancient Polish lands"
in the West taken centuries before by the Germans.
to the Big Three agreement in Teheran.) Because of the unfriendly
relations demonstrated by the Polish government-in-exile, the USSR
may be forced to sponsor a different government in Warsaw more sympathetic
A public opinion
survey indicates that only 42 per cent of Americans believe that
Russia can be trusted to cooperate with the United States after
the war--- a decline of 12 points in two months. (27).
from 44 nations meet for a financial conference at Bretton Woods,
New Hampshire. They agree to form an International Monetary Fund
(IMF) and an International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
a victory for FDR who believed that postwar prosperity for the US
was dependent on open markets abroad, and also that the consequent
rise in living standards worldwide would prevent future wars. Britain's
agreement was secured because of their dependence on American aid
to win the current war.
Union, angry about the Anglo-American refusal to publicly guarantee
its new western boundaries, refused to participate despite Secretary
of the Treasury Morgenthau's best efforts and the promise of a large
postwar reconstruction loan. (28)]
Winston Churchill to Parliament: "It is the Russian Army that
has done the main work of ripping the guts out of the German Army
. . . In the air and on the ocean and the seas we can maintain ourselves,
but there was no force in the world which could have been called
into being except after several more years that would have been
able to maul and break the German Army and subject it to such terrible
slaughter and manhandling as has fallen upon the Germans but the
Russian Soviet Armies."
[This was a
typical remark at that time; it was only after the Cold War got
under way that politicians and the media started minimizing the
role of the Red Army in the defeat of Nazi Germany.]
Committee on Economic Foreign Policy approves a plan for a "moderate
peace" in the postwar treatment of Germany: restitution and
reparations for Germany's victims, prohibition of manufacture of
armaments and elimination of "German economic domination in
Europe", but integration of the defeated Reich into the world
economy with a decent standard of living and retention of her industrial
and other efforts for a "soft peace" provoked a reaction
from Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Jr, who advocated
eliminating Germany's industrial plant completely, turning the country
into a primarily agricultural nation. FDR was initially much in
favor of the Morgenthau Plan: "I see no reason for starting
a WPA, PWA or a CCC for Germany when we go in with our Army of Occupation
. . . . The German people as a whole must have it driven home to
them that the whole nation has been engaged in a lawless conspiracy
against the decencies of modern civilization."
version of the Morgenthau Plan was leaked to the press in late September,
resulting in public disapproval and FDR's disavowal. Basic attitudes
toward the Soviet Union colored the split in the differing opinions
on postwar treatment of Germany. I. F. Stone charged the proponents
of a "soft peace" with wanting to rebuild Germany quickly
as a "bulwark against Bolshevism". (29)
the erstwhile castigator of Hitler's regime, was one of the earliest
opponents of a "Carthaginian peace" for Germany, thus
garnering much criticism from many who had been her stalwart admirers
Union declares war against Bulgaria which, up until this time has
been at war only with Britain and the US and has been attempting
to negotiate a surrender to British and American officials in Cairo.
[The Red Army
then occupied the country without resistance, and Bulgaria declared
war against its old ally, Germany. The Soviet Union excluded Britain
and the US from any control in the surrender negotiations, citing
as precedent the exclusion of the Soviet Union from any decision-making
in Italy the year before. (31)]
At the urging
of Prime Minister Churchill, FDR and Churchill sign a secret memorandum
that "the world" is not to be told of the atomic bomb
before its use and steps should be taken to see that there is no
leakage of information from Professor Bohr "particularly to
the Russians". Full collaboration between the two countries
"for military and commercial purposes" will continue after
the defeat of Japan. (32)
[To the dismay
of the British, President Truman would simply abrogate the agreement
for joint authority for nuclear weapons and claim that no copy of
such an accord could be found. The 1946 McMahon Act which he signed
barred the US from sharing atomic secrets with any country, even
the United Kingdom which had initiated the research. (33)]
Churchill and British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden meet with Stalin
in Moscow and--- in violation of the principles of the Atlantic
Charter--- make the following offer to Stalin: after the war Russia
may have 90% predominance in Rumania, 80% predominance in Bulgaria
and Hungary in exchange for Britain's having 90% predominance in
Greece with Yugoslavia split 50-50. Stalin agrees. (No mention is
made of Poland, the country over whose fate Britain had entered
the war.) (34)
arrived in Greece that month, the Germans having been driven out
by ELAS, the People's Liberation Army. (Its political counterpart,
EAM, embraced the entire left---communists, socialists, many priests,
a few bishops--- and numbered nearly two million people out of Greece's
seven million.) (35)]
Civil war breaks
out in Athens.
[Churchill sent in more British troops to preserve the Greek monarchy
and crush the rebels, members of ELAM-ELAS, the Communist-dominated
partisan group that had been most active in defeating the Germans.
The British were assisted by remnants of the Nazi Security Battalions.
This while the Allies were still fighting the Germans!
did NOT want their King George back, so Churchill was forced to
accede to the establishment of a regency by the end of the month.
Stalin, true to his October agreement with Churchill, did not interfere
and no word of criticism appeared in Pravda, the Communist Party's
official newspaper. In fact, the January armistice agreed to by
ELAS may have been prompted by Moscow.
Much of the
American public protested the British action, showing more concern
for events in this region than in Poland. Stalin later took over
Bulgaria and then Rumania, but with far less blood than was shed
in Greece. (36)]
the American public is dissatisfied with the extent of Big Three
cooperation; of these, 54% blame Great Britain, 18% blame Russia.
Union asks the US for a loan of $6 billion at 2.25% interest for
the purchase of capital equipment in the United States to be repaid
by the exports of gold and other raw materials.
suggested to FDR that the US make it for $10 billion at 2% over
On January 27th the State Department indicated to the Russian government
that "necessary legislation" would have to be passed,
but that "longterm credits constitute an important element
in the postwar relations between our two countries." Meanwhile
lend-lease materials continued to flow to Russia, including much
goods that could be used for postwar reconstruction.
In March Rep.
John Vorys (R-OH) succeeded in placing an amendment onto the lend-lease
extension bill that would prohibit the use of lend-lease for postwar
relief, rehabilitation, or reconstruction. The question of a postwar
loan was not discussed at the Big Three meeting in Yalta, and no
loan was ever given to the Soviet Union.] (38)
army groups break through the German lines and begin their advance
toward the Oder River and Berlin.
and British chiefs of staff meeting in Malta are in bitter conflict
about the strategy of the endgame in Europe. The British want to
make costly spearheads to occupy Berlin, Vienna and Prague before
the Red Army can get there. The Americans refuse to incur such major
casualties for political reasons. General Marshall declares he would
ask to be relieved of his command should the British plan be adopted.
Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin agree:
will be partitioned into occupation zones, there will be reparations
in kind limited to ten years, territory ceded, and factories dismantled.
--- "Free and unfettered elections" will be held in Poland
and the Balkans. (There are seven million Polish-Americans of voting
age, so this is an area of tremendous political sensitivity.) (40)
--- The Soviet Union will declare war on Japan within three months
of the end of the war with Germany (41);
five permanent members of the Security Council of the UN (US, UK,
USSR, France, China) will have the right to veto.
--- Almost half of Poland's prewar territory will be given to the
Soviet Union--- less than a quarter of the 1931 population of this
area had been Polish, most were Ukrainians, "an unhappy and
rebellious minority before the war" plus some "equally
dissatisfied" Belorussians. (42) Poland's western boundary
will be moved west to the Neisse River, a territory containing approximately
nine million Germans.
--- The southern
part of Sakhalin Island (lost to Japan in 1905) shall be returned
to USSR; Japan will also give the USSR the Kurile Islands.
--- Without consultation with Chiang Kai-shek, the Western Allies
agree that USSR will jointly operate the Chinese Eastern Railway
in Manchuria with China and that USSR will have a predominant interest
in Dairen, Manchuria's chief port.
--- Stalin is given permission to use the labor of German prisoners
of war as part of the reparations due the USSR.
[FDR has been bitterly criticized by the Republicans ever since
for "giving away" Eastern Europe and the Far East to Stalin.
The fact is that the Red Army had already occupied all of what would
be called the "Eastern bloc" with the exception of Czechoslovakia
and the Allies had not yet reached the Rhine in the west.
FDR made concessions
to Stalin in the Far East to achieve a promise to enter the war
against Japan. This was at a time when the Americans were experiencing
heavy casualties in the Pacific, each island being won at great
cost and the atom bomb was five months away from being tested. Chiang
Kai-shek later approved of the deal FDR had made, and the Sino-Soviet
treaty signed in August formalized the agreement of the two governments.
opinion was quite favorable to the results of the Yalta Conference;
only 9% of Americans felt the agreements reached at Yalta would
be unfavorable to the United States.] (43)
the head of the OSS in Berne, Switzerland, is contacted by an Italian
businessman and a Swiss schoolmaster about the possibility of opening
a channel for the unconditional surrender of the German troops in
the Southern front.
were losing the war, a fact obvious to everyone but Hitler. Various
peace feelers had been made since November, many of them from Himmler
offering a joint war against the Soviet Union.
made to Dulles began a series of meetings and negotiations code-named
Operation Sunrise that culminated two months later in the
surrender of the German and Italian fascist forces signed on April
29th. (Dulles would become director of the CIA 1953-1961.) (44)
Soviet deputy commissar for foreign affairs, meets with the King
of Rumania, gives him two hours to dismiss the current fascist government
of General Radescu and to form one more to the liking of the USSR.
was forced to accept the Popular Front government of Peter Groza.
There was little or no disagreement from the West. The government
had been one of
the most repressive in Europe, and their peasants some of the most
And, according to Fleming, "the Soviets were doing in Rumania
what Churchill had already done in Greece, with more justification
and with little bloodshed."] (45)
Minister Molotov, having been informed of the prospective meeting
in Switzerland of an American and a British general with German
military as part of the Operation Sunrise maneuvers, tells
Ambassador Harriman that the Soviet government has no objection
to the talks but wishes to have three Soviet officers at the meetings.
is refused on the grounds that the talks are only exploratory and
Soviet participation would delay the proceedings. And since the
proposal was for a surrender on the Anglo-American front, the Americans
and British should be the ones responsible for the negotiations
just as the Soviets were in charge of German surrenders on the Russian
An angry exchange of notes followed in which Molotov accused the
Americans and British of negotiating "behind the back of the
Soviet government which is bearing the brunt of the war against
Germany" and threatened to boycott the United Nations organizational
meeting in San Francisco.
On April 3rd
Stalin sent a long letter to FDR accusing the Americans and British
of having promised "to ease the Armistice terms for the Germans"
in exchange for their opening up the front and allowing the Allies
to "move to the east". He semi-apologized after receiving
an indignant reply from FDR who told him: "I cannot avoid a
feeling of bitter resentment toward your informers, whoever they
are, for such vile misrepresentations of my actions or those of
my trusted subordinates."] (46)
you think will be into Berlin first, the Russians or us?" General
Eisenhower is asked at a news conference. Ike answers--- the Russians
on the basis of mileage. They are 33 miles away while the Americans
and the British are 200 miles distant.
Bradley had estimated that a mad dash towards Berlin by the British
would cost 100,000 casualties for a "prestige objective"
that would be within the occupation zone assigned to the Soviet
Union. Churchill was pushing such a venture so the Russians couldn't
say that they had "done everything".] (47)
FDR dies of
a cerebral hemorrhage while vacationing at Warm Springs, Georgia.
Vice-President Harry S Truman (HST) becomes president.
message to Stalin on the Operation Sunrise controversy was
written that morning, a note thanking him "for your frank explanation
of the Soviet point of view of the Bern incident, which now appears
to have faded into the past without having accomplished any useful
purpose." ] (48)
Churchill, who had earlier urged that the Anglo-American troops
attempt to beat the Red Army into Berlin, suggests to the new President
Truman that General Eisenhower not withdraw the troops from the
Elbe to the agreed-upon boundary of the future zones of occupation
until the Soviets made certain concessions.
[HST and officials
of the War Department refused all of Churchill's increasingly importunate
demands on the grounds that it would impede rather than promote
Russian cooperation and compliance with agreements. General George
C. Marshall, commenting on Churchill's wish for the Anglo-Americans
to beat the Russians into Prague: "Personally and aside from
all logistic, tactical, or strategic implications, I would be loath
to hazard American lives for purely political purposes."] (49)
Harriman, formerly an enthusiastic backer of the USSR, returns hurriedly
to Washington, fearing that Truman does not understand that Stalin
is breaking his agreements. He warns HST that Russian occupation
of a country would mean the control of that country's foreign policy,
the institution of a secret police and the loss of freedom of speech.
In his first
presidential meeting with a Soviet leader, HST bluntly tells Foreign
Minister Molotov that the United States would recognize no government
in Poland that did not provide free elections. When Molotov protests
that he has never been talked to this way before, HST rudely replies:
"Carry out your agreements and you won't be talked to like
[In his memoirs
Molotov stated that he believed that Truman's "stridently pugnacious"
attitude was due to his knowledge of the nearly-ready atomic bomb.
In actuality, FDR had never included him in any discussions of atomic
research and HST was still as ignorant of atomic secrets as the
average American citizen.
was divided on how the new president should deal with the Russians.
At a crucial meeting earlier that day Stimson and Marshall advised
against provoking a "collision" with the Russians and
perceived a genuine Soviet need for security in setting up a puppet
state in Poland.
Harriman, Forrestal, Leahy and Stettinius--- wanted a showdown and
pointed out that the Russians were moving in on Romania and Bulgaria
as well as Poland. Historians differ on whether HST took a tougher
line than FDR would have. Indeed, Truman immediately reversed Roosevelt's
policy.) All agree that FDR would have phrased things more diplomatically.]
armies meet southwest of Berlin, completing their encirclement of
Soviet troops meet at the Elbe River near Torgau, Germany.
At the United
Nations conference in San Francisco the United States manipulates
to achieve the admission of Argentina to membership despite Argentina's
fascist government and past support of the Axis powers. This violates
the agreement made by the Big Three at Yalta to deny membership
objected and appealed to world opinion, but was voted down 31-4
in the UN's first major action. The vote had the effect of isolating
and humiliating the Soviet government, as Argentina had sponsored
the expulsion of the Soviet Union from the old League of Nations.
of State Cordell Hull, a member of the American delegation, but
in too poor health to attend the meetings, warned Secretary of State
Stettinius that if the US was "not careful we could get Russia
into such a state of mind that she might decide that the United
Nations organization was not going to furnish adequate security
to her in the future" and might instead rely on "a federation
of nations close to her."
At the same
conference Britain and the US frustrated the USSR's wish to have
Poland admitted to the United Nations. I. F. Stone complained in
the Nation that "too many members of the American delegation
conceive this as a conference for the organization of an anti-Soviet
bloc under our leadership."
although technically a neutral country for most of the war, had
been a non-belligerent favoring Germany in much the same manner
as the US had been a non-belligerent favoring Britain in the months
before Pearl Harbor.
Maurice Halperin, in 1942 the Latin America division of the OSS
and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were sufficiently concerned about
Argentina's complicity that a preliminary survey for a full-scale
military invasion of Argentina was undertaken. By the time the survey
was completed, the Germans were retreating from Stalingrad, and
any reason for invasion had ended.
the last Latin American country to declare war against Germany and
Japan--- on March 27, 1945. After the war thousands of Nazis and
high-ranking SS officers escaped the dragnet and were taken to Argentina
through the "rat line".] (52)
May 7, 1945
Alfred Jodl signs surrender documents in Reims, France. Supreme
Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower wires Washington and London:
"The mission of this Allied force was fulfilled at 0241 local
time, May 7, 1945. All fighting was to cease the next day at 11:01
signs an order for the curtailment of Lend-Lease to Great Britain,
France, and the Soviet Union. Only supplies needed for Soviet operations
in the Far East or for completing industrial plants already partially
supplied should be shipped in the future.
administrator, mindful of congressional opposition to the use of
Lend-Lease for postwar reconstruction, interpreted the order rigidly
and ordered ships then at sea carrying supplies to turn back to
The USSR was
outraged and Truman ordered those ships to continue on to their
Soviet destinations.] (53)
Reinhard Gehlen, the head of Nazi intelligence against the Soviet
Union and the East, surrenders to US Army officials with his aides,
telling them, "I have information of the greatest importance
for your supreme commander."
[In the last
months of the war Gehlen and his top staff had moved their intelligence
files on Eastern Europe and the USSR to a burial site near their
secret (and well-stocked) retreat in the Bavarian Alps where they
hid out during the last days of the war. As early as December, 1943
Gehlen had planned to offer his information and expertise to the
United States, knowing of their lack of intelligence on the East
and hoping for a US-USSR rupture.
was treated as just another Nazi officer POW until the Army learned
that Red Army forces were searching for him. Then Generals Edwin
Sibert and Walter Bedell Smith began developing a relationship with
Gehlen without informing Eisenhower, who had forbidden fraternization
with the Germans. Gehlen and his staff were released from POW status
and given VIP private quarters from which they wrote reports on
the Red Army for the Americans.] (54)
initiates a request for Moscow to mediate a peace settlement and
to receive a special envoy from the Emperor.
to Moscow was intercepted and decoded by American intelligence and
immediately relayed to Truman. The Japanese ambassador was unable
to make an appointment to see Molotov until August 5th.
When they met
on August 8th, Molotov read him a brief note: "From tomorrow,
that is from August 9th, the Soviet Union will consider herself
in a state of war against Japan".
On August 9th the Soviets invaded Manchuria.]
August 2, 1945
Conference: Stalin, Truman and Churchill agree to the elimination
of nationalism and militarism, the partition of Germany into four
occupation zones (UK, US, USSR, France), the dismantling of industrial
plants, and reparations.
western boundary will be the Oder-Neisse rivers (the point reached
by the Red Army), Poland gets part of East Prussia and the port
of Danzig (to be renamed Gdansk), and the Soviet Union receives
Polish territory in the East.
are made about the future of Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania or Italy.
Stalin promises that by mid-August the Soviet Union will have entered
the war against Japan.
Truman at Potsdam
receives word of the successful test of the atom bomb at the Trinity
site in New Mexico.
and their chiefs of staff discuss the atomic bomb test and agree
to drop one on Japan no later than August 10. Later in the day Truman
casually mentions to Stalin that the US has "a new weapon of
unusually destructive force". Stalin replies that he is "glad
to hear of it" and hopes the US will make "good use of
it against the Japanese".
no curiosity about the news; he had been well-informed of American
progress in building the A-bomb from a spy physicist at Los Alamos,
the nationalized Briton, Klaus Fuchs. However, the next day he had
Molotov cable the Soviet nuclear physicists to accelerate the work
on the Soviet atomic bomb--- which had been underway since 1942.]
Stalin informs Truman that his government had received a message
from the Japanese emperor asking that the Soviet Union serve as
a peace intermediary. (This Truman already knows from intelligence
reports.) Stalin indicates that he intends to send a negative reply
and Truman thanks him. (56)
The US military
drops an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan this city being chosen
because it was the "largest untouched target" on the bombing
were killed instantly and another 50-60,000 died of burns and infection
in the next few months. General Groves, head of the atomic bomb
project, ridiculed the stories of "radiation sickness"
among the Hiroshima survivors as "hoax or propaganda".
An untold number would die through the years from the effects of
States had detailed plans for the use of chemical weapons on Tokyo,
Osaka, Yokohama and nearly two dozen other Japanese cities with
the prospect of killing 5 million people and injuring another 5
million. This from the country that had condemned the Soviet Union
in 1939 for bombing and machine-gunning civilians in Finland!
(Japan had used chemical weapons in China and Southeast Asia.) (57)
Ambassador Harriman that the Soviet Union has declared war against
Japan and Soviet troops are already moving into Japanese-occupied
Manchuria, as per the terms of the Yalta agreement.
[He had wanted
to enter the war earlier, but the Chinese had been stalling since
the end of the Potsdam conference--- in response to Harriman's conniving---
in their negotiations about the exact concessions the Russians would
receive at war's end.] (58)
in the uniform of a one-star US Army general, and 6 aides disguised
as US Army captains are secretly flown to the United States.
very comfortable accommodations at Fort Hunt, Gehlen made an agreement
with the US military. He would head a secret unit in Germany funded
and supported by the US to continue gathering intelligence on the
Soviet Union and the Eastern European countries. (Their first year's
budget was about $3.4 million.)
Org" would operate under German leadership, giving its intelligence
findings to the US, with the understanding that if ever German and
American interests should diverge, the Gehlen Org would put the
interests of Germany first! In 1955 the Gehlen Org was incorporated
into the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) of the New Federal Republic
two sinister outcomes of this pact of the military with Gehlen:
Org became a cover for ODESSA in helping many SS officers escape
justice. Among these were: Franz Six and EmilAugsburg, who had both
led extermination squads that sought out Jews and communists in
eastern Europe and who had been associated with the Wannsee Institute,
the Nazi think tank that created the formula for the "final
solution" of the Jewish problem. And also Klaus Barbie, "the
Butcher of Lyon."
Some of the
worst of the ODESSA refugees went to work for Gehlen. These totally
unrepentant Nazis became the major suppliers of information about
the aims and strength of the Soviet Union to the US, West Germany
and NATO. It was in their interest for the US to become militantly
anti-communist and their distortions of their "intelligence"
made the Cold War inevitable. (59)
September 12, 1945
In a long memorandum
Secretary of War Stimson urges HST to share the secrets of the atomic
bomb with Russia. "If we fail to approach them now, and merely
continue to negotiate with them, having this weapon rather ostentatiously
on our hip, their suspicion and their distrust of our motives and
purposes will increase . . . The only way to make a man trustworthy
is to trust him."
of State Dean Acheson supports his proposal; the rest of HST's cabinet
story, "The 36-Hour War: Arnold Report Hints at the Catastrophe
of the Next Great Conflict", features a drawing of the United
States with rockets carrying A-bombs hitting 13 US cities from rocket-launching
sites that were built "quickly and secretly" in the jungles
of equatorial Africa by an unnamed "enemy of the US".
After 40 million
Americans are killed and all cities of 50,000 or more are leveled,
enemy air-borne troops arrive. However, after all this, the US "wins
the atomic war".
States loans Great Britain $3.75 billion.
1946 when told that the French government of Léon Blum was
on the verge of being replaced by a Communist one, the United States
averted this catastrophe by a loan of $1.3 billion and a write-off
of $2.7 billion of war debts, taking the funds that had been appropriated
for the Export-Import Bank for trade credits that would be extended
and Hungary also failed to receive loans from the World Bank in
this period.] (61)