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Stalin and the allies

MARTINA CARR: What was Stalin’s attitude towards his Western allies and how did it change during the course of the war?   

KIRILL ANDERSON: In 1941-42 it was obvious that the Soviet Union needed help. So Stalin was forced to accept the terms of his future allies. But the mutual mistrust between them was present throughout and after the war.  There was a reason for this mistrust, as the Soviet intelligence agency was receiving information about things that the [Western] Allies wanted to keep secret – such as the construction of the atomic bomb for example. So there was a great deal of mistrust. But the Allies seemed strong together, mainly due to Roosevelt himself. He acted very effectively and very sincerely in order to smooth the situation between them. However, a certain level of mistrust existed throughout the whole war and after Roosevelt’s death and towards the end of the war when Truman came to power, this mistrust became even more prominent and was one of the building stones of the future Cold War – as it later became known.

MARTINA CARR: To what extent did Stalin feel betrayed, because of the attitude of the Western Allies about the opening of the Second Front?

KIRILL ANDERSON: Stalin was very concerned about the opening of the Second Front and it became a very sensitive issue for him. And the delay with the opening of the Second Front was one of the main reasons for Stalin’s mistrust towards the allies. It was a very serious question for him.  Plus you have to take into consideration the fact that the Soviet Union suffered huge losses and so of course Stalin wanted the pressure to be at least somewhat lifted from the Soviet Union.  So for him the whole issue of opening or not opening of the Second Front was an issue that meant big losses of men, it meant the liberation of the Soviet territories, it was the most important issue for him.

MARTINA CARR: Do you think he suspected that Allies simply wanted to leave the Russians and Germans to exhaust each other while fighting on Soviet soil? It perhaps sounds a bit too simplified, but do you think something like that crossed his mind?

KIRILL ANDERSON: Yes, I think so, but it really is a simplified view of what was going on at the time. But there were reasons for it. We have to remember as we said earlier that he was a very distrustful person, but in this case he really did have some reasons to think that way. Stalin understood situations well. Take Churchill for example. He was an open enemy of communism and communist ideals, Churchill was an enemy of everything that Soviet Union represented before the war. And he didn’t hide it. He became a Soviet ally but still hated the communist system, communist ideas, and of course, all that concerned Stalin.

MARTINA CARR: Do you think the United States and Great Britain should feel guilty today to an extent for not helping the Soviets more at the time to fight the Germans?

KIRILL ANDERSON: I believe that mistakes are made by politicians but that people often pay for them. So I don’t think it’s correct to say that the United States or Great Britain should feel guilty today for what happened during the Second World War.  The guilty ones are those who made political decisions at the time. I would say that the guilty ones in this case are Churchill and even Roosevelt to an extent, although he was more keen to listen to the Soviet side. Churchill had his geopolitical interests and of course he was thinking about the future division of the world and didn’t want Soviet influence to be spread any further. But the American or British people are not guilty for that, the guilty ones are the politicians, not whole nations.