How Stalin Fooled the World and Why It Matters Today

There are two ways that liberal historians usually look at Stalin. The most leftward of these is to see Stalin as a victim of German and American imperialism who struggled to maintain the peace in the face of aggressive expansionistic efforts by Nazi Germany and the United States.

Such a revisionist history would seem to have been thoroughly discredited in this day and age, despite its persistence in the early days of the Cold War, but it continues resurfacing, most recently in an Oliver Stone documentary series.

But for the most part, Khrushchev’s disavowal of Stalin completed a process that began once the Soviet dictator cut a deal with Hitler, triggering a growing Destalinization cascade on the left. Stalinists still persisted in the West, but their influence on the authoring of history steadily diminished. Instead they embraced a different version of history that would salvage the ideological integrity of the left.

In this more conventional version of history, Stalin was not truly a Communist, but a non-ideological dictator who had seized control of the Soviet ship of state and transformed a promisingly progressive revolution into a backward feudal tyranny.

This version of history had been developed by the Trotskyites and a number of disaffected groups on the left and with the Cold War; it became the conventional version of history. After the fall of the USSR, it was embraced by nationalists looking to resurrect Stalin as a monarch, rather than a party man.

Stalin indeed appeared to have jettisoned bits of the old international Communist agenda and zeroed in on domestic purges. The constant civil bloodshed convinced many of his potential enemies that Stalin’s USSR was mainly a threat to its own people. They viewed Stalin as a domestic tyrant, rather than an international Red Emperor.

But as Robert Gellately argues in Stalin’s Curse: Battling for Communism in War and Cold War, accepting the view of Stalin as a pragmatic tyrant may have been the worst mistake that they ever made.

Gellately takes on both versions of Stalin, contending that the Soviet tyrant was not the victim of warmongering, but the author of the Cold War who had deliberately sought a global conflict for the sake of Communist ideology and Communist power.

The linkage between these two elements is vitally important. By reducing Stalin and his Soviet Union to mere tyrant and tyranny, revisionist liberal historians could successfully argue that they just wanted to be left alone. And if Stalin had been no more than a tyrant and the USSR no more than a pedestal for his cult of personality, that reading of history might have some plausibility.

Only by rediscovering Stalin as an ideological tyrant and the USSR as a Red Empire, as Gellately does, is that revisionist reading of the Cold War rendered null and void.

As early as 1920, Stalin was already envisioning a Red Empire, in Gellately’s words, that would encompass Russia and much of Eastern Europe. Stalin’s actions in both World War II and the Cold War were aimed at realizing that Red Empire.

Gellately takes note of Stalin’s self-definition as a “professional revolutionary and party organizer” and connects it to his international ambitions. The Stalin who emerges in Stalin’s Curse does not represent a break with the leftist history of the revolution, but a continuation of it. While liberal history insists on viewing Stalinism as a break from Leninism, Gellately makes a convincing case for the reign of Stalin as a natural extension of the reign of Lenin.

Most compellingly, Stalin’s Curse argues for recognizing Stalin’s strategic acumen in outwitting FDR and Churchill, as he had been unable to outwit Hitler, using the familiar narrative of Russian victimhood in a war that he had clumsily stumbled into to demand territorial concessions all the way up to Germany.  And yet Stalin’s achievements largely came from the willingness of his Western allies to lose sight of what he was and what he represented.

In one telling moment, that has a dreadful modern resonance, FDR, while staying in the bugged Soviet mission, is warned by Churchill that Stalin was preparing “a Communist replacement for the Polish government.”

The Soviet agent overhearing the conversation listens to FDR accuse Churchill of preparing an anti-Communist government and recalls “thinking how strange it was” for the president to “put Churchill and Stalin on the same plane” and to think of himself as “the arbiter between them.”

That moment is not the only one in Stalin’s Curse that bears such historical echoes. The National Front coalitions that the Soviet Union used to take over Eastern Europe bear a strong similarity to the Islamist coalitions used to take over the Arab Spring. And the willingness of the West to believe the comforting lies that they were told remind us that our disastrous foreign policy did not emerge yesterday.

While Stalin casually disposed of hundreds of thousands of lives, he took few major strategic risks, relying on attrition to do his work for him. As a canny negotiator, Stalin used every peace offer as an opening bid to expand his control replicating his battlefield strategy at the negotiating table

When FDR and Churchill thought that they were shaping a final settlement for Europe, they were actually engaging in an endless bargaining session that would only be settled with the Red Army.

History concerns itself with dry facts, but has less to say about human minds, and so it is difficult to know whether FDR and Churchill were fooled or whether they chose to be fooled. When FDR and Churchill praised Stalin’s integrity and sincerity, had they been deceived by the world’s greatest actor or did they allow themselves to be deceived so that the terrible compromises they made seemed more palatable?

This question, like so many of the others in Stalin’s Curse, remains applicable today. While Stalin is dead, there are many lesser Stalins like Morsi, small vicious men with an unlimited capacity for bloodshed and an even more unlimited ability to fool Western leaders into believing in their sincerity and goodness.

The negotiations that allowed Stalin to gobble up so many countries have been repeated again and again. And every time that diplomats call for a diplomatic solution in North Korea and Iran, we find ourselves back sitting across the table from Uncle Joe.

And that may be Stalin’s true curse.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • Chezwick

    From my teens to my mid-thirties, I studied Communism and Kremlinology with an insatiable appetite and a very critical eye. The Stalin epoch was of particular interest to me. I was always fascinated by his bureaucratic machinations,…how he out-maneuvered his rivals in the factional struggles of the mid 1920s, before his autocracy was de facto. He may have had a coarse personality, he may not have been terribly literate like Trotsky, Radek, Bukharin and other communists withi the inner sanctum of the party, but he understood people on a very basic level. He instinctively knew who was malleable and who was principled…and he would deal with each accordingly. He understood the concept of "dosage": When, how, and to what extent to apply political pressure on his adversaries. As monstrous as he was when his power was total, when he was ever in doubt, he tended towards caution. For example, whereas Hitler began devouring his own children (the SA) within a year of capturing power….and did so in one fell swoop (the 'night of the long knives'), Stalin spent a full decade consolidating his position before his 'Great Purge' decimated the Party….and even then, he dressed it up with show-trials for purposes of "legitimacy".

    Stalin was an evil genius….but let's be clear, Roosevelt, Duranty, George Bernard Shaw, and the many other Western leaders and intellectuals who sang his praises…did so from a willful ignorance. Evidence of his crimes was everywhere, particularly from those Russians who made it out of hell-on-Earth to tell their stories.

    • Fred Glass

      I have been under the impression that it was only FDR of the 3 allied leaders who insisted on unconditional surrender of the axis powers & that Churchill & Stalin were willing to make some sort of peace treaty. If this is correct it is hard for me to understand how FDR would have been fooled by Stalin.

      • gerry

        No this was Truman,FDR was washy washy.

        • mlcblog

          I think FDR even loved Uncle Joe in a way.

      • AnOrdinaryMan

        FDR's insistence on unconditional surrender complicated matters. It made it nearly impossible to negotiate surrender terms with Germany, and prolonged the war. Churchill knew who/what Stalin was, as was evidenced by his March, 1946 "Iron Curtain" speech, made at Fulton, Missouri. This was one reason why at Yalta, Stalin and FDR did some of the negotiating behind Churchill's back.
        However, I'm reminded of the time that Stalin refused the U.S. permission to use old Soviet airfields, late in the war, as refueling bases for B-17's, in their mission to destroy the Nazi war machine in Eastern Europe. Stalin's red herring excuse for this was that the U.S. wouldn't open a far eastern front, by invading Japan. But this refusal should have tipped FDR and Truman off as to who Stalin was; an ally in name only.

        • defcon 4

          The above statement about not using Soviet airfields late in the war isn't entirely true. The USSR managed to grab some B-29's in the Far East theater of operations that landed in the USSR after battle damage. They weren't refused landing privileges, but the planes were confiscated and the USSR produced a 4-engined bomber practically identical to the B-29.

          • AnOrdinaryMan

            It's absolutely true; and this episode is in a number of books that deal with the end of WWII.

    • gerry

      They were not ignorant,they knew.The were just the fellow ravellers and the useful idiots.Stalin had only disdain and scorn for them.

    • trickyblain

      Very well put. An honest post.

      But FDR and the slavishly admiring Duranty had two very separate motives, or ideals if you prefer: Duranty — more or less — considered Stalin's USSR as some sort of ideal. FDR knew the war against the Nazis would have a quicker, more beneficial outcome if he supported the lesser (for US purposes at the time) of two evils.

    • mlcblog

      Always so interesting. Thank you.

  • Rianna Richards

    I honestly don't wish to see another Dictator like Stalin in the U.S. either.

  • Steve

    I'm a collectivist nutjob and even I don't recall ever meeting anyone who advanced Stalin as anything other than a paranoid megalomaniac on the same scale as Hitler. I don't know whether I could even listen to someone trying to advance the views you put forth without punching them in the face.

    Make no mistake, this is a strawman argument about "liberals". It's as offensive to me to suggest that Stalin should be excused for his ideologically-driven tyranny as it would be to you if I suggested that right-wingers want to excuse Hitler because he was a fierce capitalist who loved his country and wanted its economy to recover.

    They were both murderous egomaniacs who'd lost perspective so badly that they needed to be eliminated for the sake of those they were supposed to be helping as well as for the rest of humanity.

    • http://twitter.com/BlissTabitha @BlissTabitha

      Your argument falls flat in several areas..

      For one, they're not uncommon in the liberal world. I've come across more than a few Lennin & Stalin fans online that always state there was some US conspiracy & they weren't really that bad..

      Here's a single example of the type I'm talking about..
      Liberal Montclair State University Professor: I Have “Yet to Find One Crime That Stalin Committed”… http://weaselzippers.us/2012/11/12/liberal-montcl

      Just like Anita Dunn from Obama's administration & her love for the mass murdering Mao, (her 'favorite philosopher') . The left loves tyrants. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2FVEe7wCzs

      The second place is the progressive revisionist history that somehow Hitler was on the right. Hitler was no friend of capitalism. He was a socialist, atheist, leftist. He was the definition of today's 'progressive' . Heck he even had a tight relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood! The only difference between his philisophy & today's progressivist was his keeping secure borders.

      If you don't believe me that's OK I'll provide proof. Here's solid documentation that proves what I'm saying. http://constitutionalistnc.tripod.com/hitindex.ht

      One way to know if they're from right or left is the size of the 'state'. If it's huge enough (as in where we're headed) to stomp out individual liberty that's left. In other words, when the government replaces God, that's leftist.

      Collectivism never brought anybody anything good. Not one thing. It removes the middle class & replaces it with tyranny & slavery for all. Problem with it is, many don't see or understand that until it's far too late.

      • tagalog

        One crime that Stalin personally participated in: the murder of Kirov.

        Numerous bank robberies. War crimes in southern Russia during the Civil War.

    • Gordy

      Hitler a fierce capitalist? Wow, you are a nutjob. Hitler was a fierce Socialist.

    • kasandra

      Well, you must have never met Oliver Stone and his ilk who blame, e.g., the Cold War on U.S. paranoia and the military-industrial complex and exhonorate Comrade Stalin.

    • Mcwrath

      Hey Collectivist nutjob, You can't have meet too many So…Was'nt that Stalin who set in motion the massive collectivist agricultural project during the 30s which led to the death of millions in the Ukraine…That was a product of collectivist communist policy not from his singular megalomanic personality…Oh of course being akin to your totaliarian creeds, your threat of violence is typically at hand. And this, while you 'sensetivities' are so easily ''offended'' by the will to intellectual inquiry…It is'nt personal dummy…Maybe you would not be so willing to punch someone in the face for speaking their mind if you thought you would come off the worse…

    • Cat K

      Hitler and the National SOCIALISTS were not "right-wingers" as you imply. Even a child should know this. You need to do some research and certainly more reading before you enter the discussion. Good luck to you.

      • objectivefactsmatter

        "Hitler and the National SOCIALISTS were not "right-wingers" as you imply."

        But all of my friends say he was. It must be true.

    • reader

      "Make no mistake, this is a strawman argument about "liberals". "

      Really? Just drop by a K-12 school near you and ask if they have Howard Zinn as required history reading. The answer will be invariably "yes." Chances are that no opposing view to that of Zinn is required at the same time. So, refrain from insulting posters' intelligence here.

    • LibertarianToo

      Steve, that's the point. While self-described right-wingers do not deny that Hitler was right-wing, self-described left-wingers deny at the top of their lungs that Stalin was left-wing. They act like he was "a paranoid megalomaniac" of no particular ideological stripe. With the exception of Susan Sontag, the Lefty intellectuals in the West have never condemned Communism because of Stalin. They act like Stalin had nothing to do with Communism.

      • tagalog

        Stalin wrote The Short Course in Marxist studies, used for two generations in the USSR to teach children the fundamentals of doctrinaire Marxism.

        There can be no real doubt (despite the "socialism in one country" smokescreen Stalin put up) that Stalin was a true-blue, dyed-in-the-wool Maxist. He was the literal manifestation of "the dictatorship of the proletariat."

      • http://twitter.com/BlissTabitha @BlissTabitha

        Well I deny it because I'm not using progressive revisionist history but factual history. :-)
        I have a response to our 'collectivist friend' that I put in earlier but it had to be approved because I included links in it. It's a couple posts above you. Please take a look at it & check out the "Hitler was a leftist" link..
        This is one of those myths the left created & it's believed in the mainstream now..
        Much like the 'southern strategy' that never happened, it's a lie that needs to die. We all need to learn the truth about these things so we can end it.
        As far as I'm aware on a national level the only 'right wing' gov't that ever went on massive purges (that would compare), would be Rome & England with the Catholic church as government. (Though I have no doubts there wasn't anything spiritual involved with church for the people since they weren't even allowed to read Bibles)..
        Though Hitler had a relationship with the Catholic church he hated Christianity & never really hid that about himself. The problem was they all thought they were such 'enlightened', 'progressive' types of people in Germany then they all didn't mind. He was actually really into the Occult (same stuff we now call New Age. See the VRIL Society).
        Anyhow check out the link to it when you get a chance.. No doubt about it. Hitler was a progressive 100%! ;-)

        • Drakken

          Bravo Tabitha, you nailed it.

        • LibertarianToo

          Well, ignorance is bliss, Tabitha (yeah, I couldn't resist). Hitler was right wing whether you like it or not. So was Pinochet. As far as I'm aware, mainstream American conservatives are not apologists for extreme right-wing Fascism. I am quite aware that National Socialism is socialism, which only means that the distinction worth making is between individualists and collectivists – NOT right and left.

          Stalin's "purges" were the least of his crimes, particularly since so many of his "victims" were the same sort of s.o.b.'s that he was.

          The English killed far more people in Ireland because they were Catholic than it ever killed in England "with the Catholic Church as government" whatever that means. Oliver Cromwell was a butcher to rival Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot And it wouldn't have mattered whether people were "even allowed to read Bibles" since they couldn't read and didn't have books. But nevermind . . ..

          I don't know where you learned history, but I'm glad I didn't go to school there.

    • tagalog

      Stalin was hardly on the same scale as Hitler; Stalin's murder score beats Hitler's murder score by more than 3 to 1 by the most conservative estimate.

      Stalin's claim that he was forced to murder, imprison, and re-settle "kulaks" in Ukraine and elsewhere, to the tune of 8 million starved and a total of 13 million "repressed" (Robert Conquest, Harvest of Sorrow), was made in the name of industrialization, and left-wing Westerners swallowed that hook, line, and sinker.

      • defcon 4

        Not all of them, I know Orwell experienced an ugly epiphany about Communism.

        • tagalog

          Yes, and Orwell wasn't the only one. Whittaker Chambers comes to mind, and Lionel Trilling. Elia Kazan.

    • epaddon

      Steve, for you to think that ANYONE would regard Hitler as a "fierce capitalist" is the height of absurdity. Every conservative knows (though the left likes to ignore this) that Nazi stands for National SOCIALIST party! Hitler was no capitalist in the Adam Smith tradition and that's why no one in conservatism ever defended him. OTOH, let's look at modern Hollywood which to this day keeps making heroes out of the ultimate group of Stalin bootlickers, the Hollywood Ten and try to whitewash the nature of what Stalin did for the sake of depicting American anti-communists as evil. And of course there's Oliver Stone, the ultimate linear descendant of those Stalin bootlickers who does the same stuff to applause and approval (to the point where his anti-Semitism gets a free pass from those who couldn't stop talking about Mel Gibson)

    • mlcblog

      Bull! or you are not running in the same circles I know.

    • David

      Sorry Steve, no "strawman argument about liberals" here. So if you are more of the Leninist/Trotsky ilk, and refuse to see the obvious results at the end of collectivist, redistributive takeovers, you must in the useful idiot camp.

  • kate5778b

    This ideology continues under a different guise; it amazes me when they all look and sound the same the 'intellectuals' always fall for the deception hook, line and sinker.

  • http://twitter.com/BlissTabitha @BlissTabitha

    'Gellately takes note of Stalin’s self-definition as a “professional revolutionary and party organizer"…………

    – Is that anything like what we call a 'community organizer'? ;-)

    • tagalog

      Stalin was a community organizer, all right, especially when it came to organizing the funds in the coffers of the banks he robbed in various communities, or when he organized whole townships in Poland by killing every man, women, and child in them.

    • mlcblog

      Exactly!! shades of O.

  • Elsa_is_Elsa

    Very interesting analysis – utterly vital to take into account with every negotiation, especially all the "turn the other cheek" negotiations, appeasement negotiations.

  • sharpsrifle

    Sounds a lot like Ovomit.

    • trickyblain

      No, it doesn't. If Obama were anything like Stalin, "Sharpsrifle" would be limp in the bottom of a pit, dead as a rock, for that post alone.

  • Rostislav

    I believe that the key words of Mr. Greenfield's great article are "the willingness of the West to believe the comforting lies" – it was, is, and always will be the main reason of all the Western democracies' failures, be they in Europe, in my country, in Israel or elsewhere. But – why, why is the West so eternally gullible? I think, because it is so eternally (at least after our most contagious plague of 1917) ruled by all kinds of Socialist utopists, who just can't live without beautiful lies. The only exceptions from these "creators of better worlds" were Mrs. Thatcher and Mr. Reagan, whose healthy ruling principles were as far from Socialism as it was only possible in the countries with an electorate already strongly poisoned with the "social justice" parasitic ideas. Mr. Greenfield is quite right, mentioning that "it is difficult to know whether FDR and Churchill were fooled or whether they chose to be fooled" – but, as Hillary cynically says, "What difference does it make now?" And the present situation looks like it really doesn't make any difference for the majority of the Western voters, indeed, – nor for the buried corpses of the past decades, neither for the living objects of new endless experiments with "peace initiatives". To discuss this situation is like to argue about the cause of some patient's cancer in its latest all-embracing (governments, parliaments, courts, press, voters) degree – of course, it may be rather thrilling in a purely academic sense, but the main thing about the dying patient is that his deadly tumor – so tiny at first! – was benevolently permitted to develop without any due attention… Rostislav, Saint-Petersburg, Russia.

  • tagalog

    Stalin didn't fool the world, the world fooled itself about Stalin.

    When what's-his-name Davies, the FDR ambassador to the USSR, wrote about the show trials, he told the truth about what happened; where he went wrong was in justifying it as OK. Same with Walter Duranty and the Terror Famine; he knew exactly what was happening, it was just that it was OK with him. "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs."

    Churchill saw Stalin for exactly what he was, but by the last couple years of the European war, FDR was in control, and he had managed to kid himself about Stalin ("Uncle Joe," how Stalin must have laughed at FDR over that) for quite a while.

    Stalin took the Eastern European nations from the Baltic states down to Czechoslovakia and Albania, and the Western Allies did nothing about it; they justifed his conquests as part of the spoils of war. Likewise, nobody confronted Stalin about taking the Pacific islands that had belonged to Japan even though the USSR and Japan had not fought each other until the last week of the war.

    When Stalin wanted the Soviet citizens forcibly returned, tens of thousands of them, who had stayed in the West after the war ended and wanted to remain there, the Western Allies hastened to comply with the USSR and cheerfully shipped them off to the gulag and execution.

    Stalin never made any bones about what a monster he was; it was the people who dealt with him who refused to believe it, and who insisted against all contrary evidence that he was really a nationalist, not a genocidal ideologue.

    • defcon 4

      Funnily enough a significant proportion of PRC troops captured by the US didn't want to be repatriated to the PRC after the Korean War.

    • mlcblog

      OK. This makes sense. FDR kidded himself. I can buy that.

      In my reading of this man whom I was taught in public school to idealize, I now see him as a flaming progressive, he and his wife. I think he was thrilled to go along with Uncle Joe but turned a blind eye to the evil and murderous realities of the man.

  • reader

    "Stalin indeed appeared to have jettisoned bits of the old international Communist agenda and zeroed in on domestic purges. The constant civil bloodshed convinced many of his potential enemies that Stalin’s USSR was mainly a threat to its own people. They viewed Stalin as a domestic tyrant, rather than an international Red Emperor."

    Daniel, just two comments here:
    1. Terrorising domestic population did not start with Stalin. In fact, Stalin's foe Tukhatchevsky had declared himself a representative of the occupying power, i.e., the Dictatorship of the [international] Proletareat, when putting down anti-Bolshevik uprising at Tambov – in the heart of Russia. This is how Bolsheviks viewed themselves all along.
    2. Late Russian historian Nikolayevsky points out exactly at the time when Stalin changed course from Comintern centered to more national centered – October 1941, when Wehrmacht came close to taking panic stricken Moscow. American envoy Harriman corroborated this in his notes by quoting Stalin as saying that his troops won't fight for the World Revolution but he hoped that they would for Mother Russia (see Geoffrey Roberts, Stalin's Wars).

  • marios

    Communist Stalin as any communist or many of them name themselves socialists, progresses, or such innocently liberals are symptom of the same fatal illness SOCIALISM. Socialism is dictatorship, tyranny, totalitarian system. There is not much difference between fascism and socialism. Under fascism there is still private business, under socialism government dictate everything and collectivism is one of corn stone that ideology. Stalin's regime killed from 20 MLN to 40MLN their own citizens and the same time in time of oppression and incomparable tyranny Soviet people thought that they live in the most free country. Stalin was elected many times by democratic way by 98-99% population. How it could happened? All media, educational system was controlled by Stalin and his comrades, by Communists party. Sounds familiar?

  • marios

    We see now in our own country almost the same instruments of Power used by BHO government and Dem's party overall. Bad that the most people are really gullible one or just parasites who want only "free lunch" now. For ignorance and "free lunch" people always soon pay horrible price. Do our Rep's in Congress know history? I am not sure. They all must start morning by reading this http://www.frontpagemag.com.

  • Omar

    I am sick of hearing leftists try to portray Stalin as the real hero of World War II. I am also sick of leftists trying to portray the United States as a "supporter" and "ally" of Nazi Germany. And I am sick of the left's constantly erroneous portrayal of America's efforts to provide fredom and democracy in the world as American "imperialism". For the record, first of all, there is no American "imperialism" at all. If anything, the United States was founded on the principles of anti-colonialism (anti-imperialism), democracy, liberty and free-market capitalism. America fought against an autocratic monarchy (King George III of Britain, who was one of three monarchies the left loves, along with King Philip II of Spain and the last queen of Hawaii) and created a modern democratic institution. The real imperialist powers in WWII were Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Imperial Japan (the only one of the Axis powers the left loves because it attacked Pearl Harbor and because it is a non-European power) and the Soviet Union (which the left loves so much that it refuses to view it as an imperialist power, despite evidence to the contrary). Bottom line, there is no American "imperialism" at all, but there is Russian imperialism, Chinese imperialism, Cuban imperialism, Iranian imperialism, Communist imperialism and Islamist imperialism. Second, the left never mentions that the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were allies in the years preceding WWII. In fact, the Soviet Union actually helped Nazi Germany instigate the Holocaust. The brilliant documentary "The Soviet Story" tells the truth about what really happened in those years. The link is here: http://www.sovietstory.com

    • SCREW SOCIALISM

      Omar AKBAR!

  • defcon 4

    Yet I've heard Russian people cried in the streets on hearing Uncle Joe had died.

    • mlcblog

      Exactly.

  • Just a mom

    Stalin was able to fool the West because there was no 3rd Army to discover his crimes and no Western journalists willing to document them:

    “On 4 April, as it paused to allow the rest of the 12th U.S. Army Group to catch up, the 3rd Army made two notable discoveries. Near the town of Merkers, elements of the 90th Infantry Division found a sealed salt mine containing a large portion of the German national treasure. The hoard included vast quantities of German paper currency, stacks of priceless paintings, piles of looted gold and silver jewelry and household objects, and an estimated $250,000,000 worth of gold bars and coins of various nations. The other discovery which the 3rd Army made on 4 April horrified and angered those who saw it. When the 4th Armored Division and elements of the 89th Infantry Division captured the small town of Ohrdruf, a few miles south of Gotha, they found the first concentration camp to be taken by the western Allies.[28]”

  • BLJ

    Besides being a murderous piece of garbage Stalin was a shrimp with a pock marked face. A perfect role model for Marxist losers like Obama.

    • obama Guy

      Yep, somebody had to mention Obama (LOL)!

  • Stan

    Greenfield doesn't adduce any information that would contradict the "Stalin as pragmatic tyrant" thesis. Trying to get back lost Russian provinces in Eastern Europe and installing friendly rulers doesn't amount to a grand plan to take over the world.

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "The Soviet agent overhearing the conversation listens to FDR accuse Churchill of preparing an anti-Communist government and recalls “thinking how strange it was” for the president to “put Churchill and Stalin on the same plane” and to think of himself as “the arbiter between them.”"

    The great FDR. The great dupe.

  • Ghostwriter

    Like Omar,I don't understand how ANYONE can view Stalin as anything other than a monster. He had thousands of people slaughtered for no real reason other than his own paranoia. There are a couple of documentaries on Stalin that I wish people like Oliver Stone would watch. The first one is a documentary on the World War II clash between the two megalomanical leaders on History International,now H2. This happened before the war. The nephew of an admiral in Stalin's navy told the story of his uncle as he met an American battleship as it entered Vladivostok. He described how compared to the American battleship,the Russian ship bobbed around the water like toys.
    He described the American admiral,a guy named Anelle who took him on the tour of the battleship personally. There were a lot of people who went on tours of the ship. After a few days,the battleship left. Some days after that,Stalin had the man arrested as "a spy for the West." He ended up disappearing. Also,in that documentary series,it had people in punishment battalions who did the most dangerous jobs possible.

    The History Channel also had an English version of a German documentary on Stalin. It had interviews of people not only who knew but were prisoners of him. They even had a man who drew pictures of what life was like in a gulag and I can tell you,they aren't pretty. Even with all the knowledge of the terrible things he did,why are there people like Oliver Stone who venerate this monster? I also wish that Omar would tell me why these people would continue to blame America for the Cold War when it was Stalin who wanted to control Eastern Europe and then the world. I wish would be someone who could tell me why that is.

    • Omar

      Hi, Ghostwriter. The reason why the left hates America so much (and blame it for almost virtually everything, and I mean almost virtually everything) is because America (and the West) oppose the left's vision of a totalitarian "utopia". America and the West stand for democracy, free-market capitalism and the rule of law, while Communism stands for totalitarianism, imperialism (though the left will never admit that) and terror. Remember that the modern left (the left actually existed in Spain under the ruthless King Philip II during the 16th century) was established by the French Revolution of 1789-1793, when radical left-wing extremists known as the Jacobins overthrew the French monarchy of King Louis XVI and created the first ever Communist totalitarian regime which instigated the Reign of Terror. Louis XVI was an American ally who supported the patriots struggle for independence against King George III of Britain. While George III seemed to opposed outwardly what was going on in France during the 1780s and the 1790s, there is some indication that he secretly supported and funded the French Revolution and the subsequent Jacobin dictatorship. Since George III's Britain were the first anti-Americans and the Jacobins were the first Communist totalitarians, George III and the Jacobins formed a secret bond. And thus, Communism and anti-Americanism bonded there as well. That bond is also noticeable by the fact that both mercantilism and Communism oppose free-market capitalism and open competition. Since the French Revolution, the radical left has opposed America on practically every issue and for every part of the last two centuries. The goal of the Communists is never democracy, because Communists view democracy as a "bourgeois" principle. The goal of the Communists is to lie to the workers and the ordinary people about establishing a so-called "utopia" in the world, only to establish a totalitarian regime were civil liberties and civil rights are nonexistent and where the government controls absolutely everything, including one's own pets (By the way, Stalin's forced collectivization in Ukraine and other parts of the Soviet Union led to the confiscation and deaths of many people as well as their farm animals, many of whom are pets). The left also never likes to admit the fact that Communism is also an imperialist ideology that murdered more people (in both peace and war) than Fascism. In fact, Fascism was also inspired by Communism. The only difference is that Fascism focused on extreme nationalism, while Communism focuses on so-called "internationalism". When Fascism and Nazism were defeated by the Allied powers in World War II, the Soviet Union decided to become the new totalitarian enemy of the democratic Allies of the United States and the United Kingdom. For about 45 years-from 1945 to 1990, the Soviet Union was the chief instigator of totalitarianism, oppression, imperialism and human rights violations in that former country and around around the world. During that time, the Soviets have established puppet regimes around the world. Thankfully, most of those puppet states are gone, but some revisionists like Oliver Stone still refuse to see the horrors of Communist totalitarianism. Since the collapse of the USSR, radical Islamism declared itself to be the new totalitarian enemy of the West and democracy. Because radical Islamism is an enemy of the West and democracy, the left formed a new alliance with the Islamists. Hence, the modern unholy alliance formed.

  • thebuckwheat

    The spirit of FDR and Uncle Joe are alive today in Obama and Iran. I hope the consequences are less deadly.

  • mlcblog

    ",,,or did they allow themselves to be deceived so that the terrible compromises they made seemed more palatable?" Somehow, knowing human nature as I do, this seems the more probable, yet this requires us to believe in the possible foibles of the great FDR and Mr. Churchill.

    Uncle Joe,indeed. I once read a reliable account of the thousands that Stalin murdered. It seems he had to have at least 1,000 deaths a day and sometimes these were in the 10,000's — a DAY!!

    Pure evil. Not easily grasped by ordinary men or great, like FDR and Churchill. The trusting innocence, the loathing to believe so ill of someone, and yet there they were, sitting in so many pictures now famous with this ruthless and cunning person.

    The beat goes on, only now there seems to me to be even more oblivion, as in the case of John Kerry, for instance, a certain willingness to fall on the sword, an intense drive to self-destruct in order to pander to and agree with our enemies.