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Reconstructing the Cold WarThe Early Years, 1945-1958$

Ted Hopf

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199858484

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199858484.001.0001

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Stalin’s Foreign Policy

Stalin’s Foreign Policy

The Discourse of Danger Abroad, 1945–53

(p.72) 3 Stalin’s Foreign Policy
Reconstructing the Cold War

Ted Hopf

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter assesses the ability of societal constructivism to explain a host of Soviet relationships with the external world, which includes China, Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia, and the West. It is divided into two parts. The first deals with the period of relative Soviet tolerance of difference at home, reflected in a more tolerant foreign policy abroad. The second part reflects the triumph of the discourse of danger at home, and its projection onto Soviet relations with Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia, East Germany, China, the Third World, and the United States. Besides telling the story of these events based on the latest primary documentation available, it points out both the limits and rewards of paying attention to the elements of Soviet identity elaborated in Chapter 2.

Keywords:   societal constructivism, foreign relations, foreign policy, China, Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia, West, Soviet identity

Stalin presents a real challenge to any brand of structural theory, a challenge which societal constructivism handles, if imperfectly. Some societal understandings of the Soviet Union that appeared in chapter 2 are fully embodied by Stalin, Molotov, and other Soviet foreign policy decision-makers when making foreign policy choices after the war. Since they are so widely shared in Soviet society, they are likely understandings of the Soviet Union that Stalin, Molotov, and other Soviet elites were socialized into earlier in their lives, and not products of the predominant official discourse.

A number of the hypotheses raised in chapter 2 are confirmed empirically by the archival records of this period. The ambiguous period marked in Soviet society after the war until 1946 is reflected in Soviet foreign relations in the same period. The intolerance of difference that follows, its treatment as dangerous deviation that threatened the very continuation of the Soviet project, is also well-reflected in the Stalinization of Eastern Europe from 1947 to 1953. Fear and intolerance of difference from the Soviet model is also manifested in Soviet indifference to the possibility of allying with revolutionary movements in the decolonizing world. Finally, understandings of China in the period as an under-developed, pre-modern periphery, on its way to becoming the Soviet Union echoes a vanguard Soviet identity atop the hierarchy of socialist development in the world.

Identity relations don’t seem to help as much in understanding Soviet support for the Korean War. That choice is hard to explain from any general theoretical perspective, other than one that foregrounds Stalin’s own authority and agency in making Soviet foreign policy during the period.

This chapter is divided into two parts, the first dealing with the period of relative Soviet tolerance of difference at home, reflected in a more tolerant foreign policy abroad. The second part reflects the triumph of the discourse of danger at home, and its projection onto Soviet relations with Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia, (p.73) East Germany, China, the Third World, and the United States. Besides telling the story of these events based on the latest primary documentation available, I point out both the limits and rewards of paying attention to the elements of Soviet identity elaborated in the previous chapter.

Part One. Stalin’s Tolerance of Difference: Soviet Foreign Policy before the Cold War, 1945–47

Stalin’s tolerance of difference perhaps most graphically manifested itself in relations with the Soviet Union’s Eastern European allies after the war.1 In this period, while ensuring that pro-Moscow communists were in power in these countries, Soviet leaders frequently reined in those allies who, like many officials around Stalin, tried to anticipate the leader’s wishes by rushing ahead with the Stalinization of their countries. Stalin personally recommended the maintenance of coalition governments, or popular or national fronts, in Eastern Europe, often against the more sectarian and reckless wishes of the latter’s communist politicians.

For example, in July 1945 Stalin told the Bulgarian Communist Party to not remove the Agrarian Party from its government. After the London Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting in September–October 1945, Stalin called on Georgii Dimitrov, first secretary of the Bulgarian communist party, to recruit two opposition party members to the government, to satisfy American and British demands.2 He complied. In June 1946, Stalin advised that the Bulgarian communist party maintain its “fatherland front” for the upcoming elections, of course, assuming “everything necessary” is done so the communists win. After winning the elections, Andrei Zhdanov told his Bulgarian communist allies to avoid “dizziness from success,” and maintain the Fatherland Front, of course, on terms favorable to communists.3

(p.74) While the popular front in Bulgaria did not result in any electoral threat to communist rule, circumstances were different in Hungary, where the Smallholders Party won the majority of votes in the October 1945 Budapest assembly elections, contrary to Matias Rakosi’s assurances to Kliment Voroshilov, the Soviet chairman of the Allied Control Commission (ACC) for Hungary.4 The November 1945 parliamentary elections saw the Smallholders Party win an absolute majority of 57 percent, while the Hungarian Communist Party and Socialist Party won 15 percent each, the National Peasants Party 5 percent, and the Bourgeois Democratic Party, less than 1 percent. Soviet advice was to get the Hungarian communists to form a national front with as many of the least anti-Soviet parties as they could.5

In Voroshilov’s report to Stalin and Molotov in Moscow about the campaign, he complained that the Hungarian communists, including Rakosi, behaved and spoke too radically, their “leftist sentiments” driving the farmers away.6 In post-election advice from Stalin to Hungarian communists, he suggested the latter accept 3 of 14 seats, but insist on the Ministry of the Interior over the Ministry of Finance. The communist Laszlo Rajk became Hungary’s new interior minister.7 This was and would be a common pattern in Stalin’s recommendations: In coalition governments, make sure you have control over the “power ministries:” the police, interior ministry, armed forces, intelligence agencies, and so forth.8

While in general Stalin and the Soviet foreign policy establishment consistently recommended moderate tactics to their Eastern European communist (p.75) allies, at least one figure did not concur. The Bulgarian communist Georgii Dimitrov, general secretary of the Communist International (Comintern) from 1934 to its dissolution in 1943, but after the war a Soviet Central Committee International Information Department (CC IID) head, was just as militant as other Eastern European communists who had to be restrained.9

On May 10, 1945, Wladyslaw Gomulka, at the time a deputy prime minister in the Polish government, was summoned to the CC IID to report on the situation in Poland. He was severely criticized by Dimitrov for being too timid. After Gomulka explained that his party tells the peasantry that it is against collectivization of private farms, Dimitrov asked, “[W]hat if someone wants to enter a collective farm? What then? You are against the introduction of collective farms by force, but what if someone wants it?” Gomulka answered defensively that such situations didn’t exist yet. When Gomulka spoke of resistance in the countryside to collectivization, Dimitrov suggested, “This means you have not smashed their faces enough. You’re the ruling party after all.” Gomulka: “No, comrade Dimitrov, we couldn’t do this because we don’t want a fratricidal war.” Dimitrov: “Without conflict, nothing will happen, you need to purge….” To Gomulka’s statement that the Polish government wouldn’t “go for concentration camps or mass arrests,” Dimitrov answered, “This is right, but you cannot get along without concentration camps.” Gomulka reassured him that “we have one.”10

It should be added here that, given the peculiar way in which Soviet alliance relations operated with its Eastern European allies, Dimitrov had allies in the Polish party leadership, and could expect to receive some support from them for his more militant positions, even if Stalin opposed him.11

Five days later, in a letter to Stalin, Gomulka assured him that the Polish Workers’ Party leadership agreed with Stalin about the need to oppose sectarianism, and the “mechanical transfer of … the Soviet model, without consideration of the specific features of Poland.” Gomulka went on to promise land reform, free retail trade of agricultural products in cities, and the release from prison of those arrested without sufficient evidence of a crime.12 Six months later, Stalin agreed with Gomulka’s proposal to free up the agricultural market, (p.76) get rid of state-controlled bread rationing, and accept loans from the United States and Britain.13

One principle of identity that made this encouragement of coalitions possible in this period was Stalin’s rejection of binarization and dichotomization in favor of multiplicity and continua. Instead of the world being black and white (either you are with us or against us), Stalin told Polish socialist leaders visiting Moscow in August 1946 that “the sharp border which existed earlier between communists and socialists is gradually eroding. For example, the merging of the communist and social-democratic parties in Germany.”14

A crucial feature of Stalinist tolerance in this exchange is the acknowledgement, or even encouragement, of Eastern European communists to take into account their peculiar national characteristics, the unique contexts in which they have to operate, and the necessary differences they will have to have from the Soviet model, and from the historical Soviet experience of becoming socialist.

Stalin explicitly differentiated the Polish path to socialism from the one pursued in Russia and the Soviet Union in a May 1946 meeting with Polish President Boleslaw Bierut in Moscow. Stalin explained:

in Poland there is no dictatorship of the proletariat, and no need for one…. We had strong enemies, we had to topple three pillars—the czar, the landlords, and a relatively strong class of Russian capitalists…. We needed coercion, a dictatorship. You have a completely different situation. Your capitalists and landlords have so seriously compromised themselves with the Germans that you crushed them with no great effort…. Undoubtedly, the Red Army also helped remove them from Poland…. You are getting closer to socialism without any need for a dictatorship of the proletariat or the Soviet system…. Lenin permitted the possibility of socialism by using the institutions of a bourgeois democratic system, such as parliament…. It is sufficient for you to reduce prices and give people more consumer goods and the situation will stabilize…. You will get closer to socialism without a bloody struggle….

Stalin went on to distinguish between those against whom “you spare nothing to do away with,” viz., the armed resistance, and those legal parties, such as that of (p.77) Mikolayczyk, whom you can repress, but not destroy.15 Stalin further advised not to move against the Catholic Church, as it “can all the same be in coalition with you….”16 In his November 1946 meeting with the Polish party aktiv, Gomulka repeated Stalin’s analysis in order to justify Poland’s “peaceful path” to socialism.17

The period after the war was also marked by both explicit and implicit references to the Russian nation as part of the Soviet self. At a meeting with the CC IID in the autumn of 1945, Stalin said that Slavic peoples had been especially victimized by Germany in the past, but now “an emerging alliance of these Slavic peoples will once and for all resist German aggression….”18 Soviet diplomats evaluated the March 1947 treaty between Poland and Czechoslovakia as “strengthening the unity of Slavic peoples” against Germany.19 In agreeing with Tito’s territorial ambitions in the Balkans during a May 1946 meeting in Moscow, Molotov noted that Thessaloniki is an “old Slavic city,” and Yugoslavia needs an outlet to the Aegean Sea.20 In October 1946, Suslov objected to a Hungarian communist party suggestion to convene a meeting of Danube River basin communist parties in Budapest, because its “successes in socialist construction were less significant than in the Slavic countries” of Yugoslavia and Bulgaria.21

Rarely, the obvious anti-Marxist nature of privileging the Russian nation was so explicit it provoked some critical response. A Slavic Congress was planned to meet in Prague in April, and then June, 1948. Its postponement until after Stalin’s death was in no small part due to the unusual recognition of the contradictions posed by an ethnonational Slavic identity and a supranational Soviet socialist one. In discussing the upcoming congress with its organizing committee, including (p.78) Suslov and Shepilov, Zhdanov said he was “categorically against” discussing the economic construction of “Slavic countries” because “the very question is artificial and unscientific.” He asked, “Where is the Marxist approach here? Is there even a gram of Marxism?” He went on to object to any ethnographic discussion of “Slavic peoples,” fearing that such “questions as whether Galician Ukrainians are closer to Great Russians or to Western Slavs” will come up, as will “conversations about little brothers.” Zhdanov clearly recognized the political costs of projecting the predominant discourse of Russian identity beyond Soviet borders.22

Both Soviets and those with whom they interacted off-handedly referred to Soviets as Russians. Stalin, in conversation with Polish socialists in Moscow, said, “As far as Lenin is concerned, and us, his Russian students, we always stand for the independence of any country….”23 In a March 1948 meeting with the East German communist leadership in Moscow, Stalin asked whether Grotewolhl knew “how much the Russians take every year in reparations in millions of marks or dollars.”24 This kind of matter of fact slip of the tongue precisely replicates what was occurring in Soviet novels and daily conversations at the time.

If we recall from chapter 2, the predominant discourse about the superiority and centrality of the Russian nation did not adopt an anti-Semitic character until 1948–49. Indeed, two highly-placed efforts by the MGB in October 1946 and Suslov a month later, got nowhere. It is noteworthy, therefore, that anti-Semitism in Eastern European allies that manifested itself prior to the official campaigns in the Soviet Union were also criticized by Stalin himself. In particular, in February 1947, during a meeting with Rumania’s communist leader Gheorgiu-Dej, Stalin asked him whether it was true that they “would like only Rumanians to be in the party,” and added that if true, the party “would become a racialist party, not a class one. If it acquires a racial character, the party will inevitably die.”25 A week later, just before Dej’s departure, Stalin told him he was dissatisfied with Dej’s candor about the “nationalistic deviation” within the Rumanian communist party, and reminded him he needed to “value and promote good workers independent of (p.79) whether they are Rumanians, Jews, or Hungarians. In Russia also there was a strong anti-Semitic movement, stronger than in Rumania…. However, Bolsheviks didn’t cede their positions on the national question.” Stalin warned that “if the Rumanian communist party will be racial, it will die, for racism leads to fascism.”26

Another area in which Stalin initially tolerated difference was in his not infrequent insistence that Eastern European communists were Soviet equals, not Moscow’s subordinates. For example, in April 1946, after a long “report” by Hungary’s prime minister, Nad Ferents, Stalin said that Ferents was not obliged to give a “report,” since the Soviet government saw Hungary as an independent country, and therefore the Soviet government considered what the prime minister just said to be a “communication/soobshchenie,” and thanked him for it.27

Stalin’s tolerance for difference in these initial months after the war extended to the encouragement of productive relations with imperialist powers. For example, in Stalin’s last meeting with Tito in May 1946, Stalin encouraged Yugoslavia to “allow other Powers into the Yugoslav economy,” and Tito agreed.28 In meetings with Polish and Czechoslovakian communists, Stalin advised them to have “good diplomatic relations with the United States, Britain, and France, as well as the Soviet Union.”29

In the first 18 months after the war, it appears that Stalin expected and hoped that the United States, Soviet Union, and, much less so, and less and less, Britain, would manage world, especially European, affairs. One sees a mixture of mostly restraint, but some cautious probing, in these first 18 to 24 months after the war.

There is much evidence that Stalin expected long-term cooperation with the United States after the war.30 In a June 1945 meeting in Moscow with representatives of the Polish provisional government, Stalin said, “Poland should have alliances with several big states. Poland needs alliances with Western states, with Great Britain, France, and friendly relations with America.” This collection of security guarantees was aimed against what Stalin expected to be a revived German threat which he suggested might appear within six years.31 It appears so long as Western states aimed their alliances against Germany, Stalin was satisfied. For (p.80) example, the March 1947 English-French treaty was positively evaluated by the Soviets because of its explicit identification of Germany as the target of mutual assistance.32

Even after Winston Churchill’s bellicose Fulton, Missouri speech describing an “iron curtain” descending across Europe, Stalin’s reply published in the March 14, 1946, Pravda was critical primarily of Churchill’s efforts to “sow seeds of discord among the allied states and complicate their cooperation.”33 In conversation with the then Czechoslovakian Foreign Minister Hubert Ripka on March 28, Molotov said he didn’t think the tense situation would get worse. “We are not on the offensive, and if our Western friends don’t launch any new attacks on us, the situation can normalize itself.”34 On May 24, 1946, Stalin told visiting Polish president Bierut that “no kind of war is now possible. Neither we, nor the Anglo-Americans can now start a war. We have all had enough of war. Furthermore, there is no point to a war. We are not getting ready to attack England and America, and they will not risk it. No kind of war is possible for at least 20 years…. Churchill’s speech is blackmail aimed at bullying us…. But if you don’t intimidate yourself, they will make noise and more noise and then calm down.”35 Stalin repeated his arguments to Zhdanov in September, adding that conflict between American and English imperialists was far more likely.36 In his speech on the 29th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in November, Zhdanov still called for the possibility of continued cooperation among allies in the coalition against Hitler.

Underlying Stalin’s expectation of continued collaboration with the allies after the war was his Leninist belief that inter-imperialist contradictions would eventually lead to a new war among them, most likely between Britain and the United States. Zubok and Pleshakov write that “Stalin went to his grave believing that war between the US and its European allies was the most likely outcome, more so than between the US and Soviet Union.”37 And why not? Had not the last world war vindicated Lenin’s theory of imperialism? Germany, Britain, and France in Europe, the United States and Japan in Asia had all gone to war over (p.81) conflicts of colonial interests. Had not these inter-imperialist contradictions overcome or transcended any threat emanating from the socialist project in the Soviet Union? On the other hand, if the Soviet Union could ally with the United States and Britain against Hitler, why not against Hitler’s successors, who Stalin believed would inevitably arise and seek revenge?

But early postwar Soviet foreign policy wasn’t without its cautious probing of what the postwar settlement might bring one of its primary victors. Among these tests of Western forbearance we could include material support for Greek communists in their civil war. In late November 1945, Molotov approved the provision of 100,000 tons of Soviet grain to the Greek resistance, to be funneled through Bulgaria. On the other hand, just three months later, Molotov indirectly recommended the Greek resistance not prepare for an armed uprising against the monarchy.38 During their January 1946 visit to Moscow, Greek communists were not even permitted to meet with Stalin or Molotov, and had to meet with lesser Soviet officials, not in the Kremlin, but at the trade union headquarters.39 Although the Soviets approved the Greek communist establishment of a provisional government in December 1947, neither Moscow, nor Belgrade, nor anyone else, recognized it.40 In February 1948, Stalin told Yugoslav and Bulgarian leaders that he was “beginning to have doubts about a victory by the partisans.” He concluded that “of course Greek partisans should be supported, but what is lacking in the correlation of forces cannot be made up for by proclamations … We need a rational calculation of forces….”41 Even so, it was not until May 1949 that Moscow ordered the closure of the Greek-Albanian border for military aid to the Greek resistance and got Albanian agreement to disarm and intern any Democratic Army of Greece fighters and officers on its territory.42

By May 1945 it was clear that Soviets were thinking of prolonging their occupation of northern Iran in order to extract the same oil concessions from Tehran in the north that Britain enjoyed in the south. In January 1946 Iran took the issue before the United Nations (UN). In April, Iran and the Soviet Union agreed to link the Soviet withdrawal to the creation of a joint oil concession. By (p.82) May, the Soviet Union effected its withdrawal. In November Iranian government forces began an offensive in southern Azerbaijan and northern Kurdistan. By spring 1947, they had imprisoned the leaders of the national liberation movements (NLMs) created in Moscow, and Mustafa Barzani, leader of the Kurds, had fled to Moscow.43 but the Iranian parliament rejected the agreement in the autumn of 1947, leaving the Soviet Union with nothing for its efforts, other than a closer relationship between Washington and Tehran.44

Whether genuine or not, Stalin expressed a great deal of fear of the United States and the West during this period, constantly advising Soviet allies to behave more moderately or more covertly, and frequently invoking the threat of provoking the United States and its allies in order to justify his refusal to take some actions to expand communist influence somewhere. So, Stalin advised the Bulgarian communist leadership during a September 1946 visit to Moscow to create a Labor Party, not a Workers’ or Communist party, as it will “help you internationally,” that is, not make the United States as suspicious. At the same meeting, Stalin refused to provide Soviet military instructors for the Bulgarian army, suggesting “enemies will make good use of it.”45

In a November 1945 meeting with Gomulka, Stalin advised the Polish party to not invite Soviet CPSU representatives to the Polish party congress, “so enemies cannot say that the congress occurs under the control of the CPSU….” Stalin also advised Gomulka to not postpone parliamentary elections, but hold them by the spring of 1946, to “avoid international complications.”46

In explaining his retreat from Iran, Stalin wrote to the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan leader, Said Jafar Pishevari, that “we couldn’t leave our armed forces in Iran primarily because … England and America would say to us that if Soviet forces can remain in Iran, why can’t English forces remain in Egypt, Syria, Indonesia and Greece, and American forces in China, Iceland, Denmark, etc….”47 It bears stressing that during Soviet bargaining with Iran over trading Soviet withdrawal for rights to oil concessions, the Iranian Tudeh/Communist Party was pressing for permission to mount an armed rebellion against the government in Teheran, promising that “short and easy victory” that clients of great powers are seemingly always pledging in order to garner support from their patrons.48

(p.83) Soviets also rejected Greek communist party participation in the founding meetings of the Cominform in September 1947, arguing that “it would discredit the Greek party, as if they were taking orders …” from Moscow.49

The overall picture of postwar Soviet foreign policy tracks in general terms with the domestic identity topography prevailing in Moscow at the same time. Just as there is uncertainty and contestation at home about how dangerous deviations from the Soviet model are, there is the same ambiguity and temporizing abroad, especially evident in Eastern Europe. The taken for granted quality of the Russian nation as the surrogate nation for the Soviet Union is also apparent in Soviet interactions with its western neighbors. Relations with the West were also under development, not yet fixed in a Cold War binary of mutual enmity.

Part Two: The Discourse of Danger: Stalin’s Cold War, 1947–53

As the discourse of danger became the official Soviet discourse in the Soviet Union, its effects were most immediately, dramatically, and deeply felt in Eastern Europe, where Soviet allies found themselves subjected to an ever-escalating program of Stalinization, culminating in mass purges of their parties, and ritualized show trials often ending in the executions of those accused. This turn toward orthodoxy made Yugoslavia’s independence anathema, and made the United States and the West into mortal enemies. Soviet actions in Eastern Europe and Germany helped the United States and the West decide on creating a separate Germany. Stalinist orthodoxy, however, also made the decolonizing world irrelevant to Soviet interests. The successful communist revolution in China gave the Soviet Union an ally in the Far East, one eager to assume the role as vanguard for revolutionary movements there. Its first role was in the Korean War.

A. The Stalinization of Eastern Europe, 1947–53

I think that Rajk must be executed, since people will not understand any other sentence for him. (Stalin to Rakosi, September 1949)

The growing intolerance of difference at home was increasingly projected onto Eastern Europe, with the partial exception of eastern Germany. Not only is this projection of Soviet identity true as a general statement, but remarkably precise details of the Stalinization of Eastern Europe follow closely after whatever turning of the screw had recently occurred in Moscow. This shows how (p.84) desperately insecure Stalin was about any “identity gap” that might emerge between the socialist countries of Eastern Europe and the model of socialism in the Soviet Union.

What counts as a threat to Soviet identity at home became what Soviets looked for in their Eastern European allies as threats to the socialist projects there. Soviets at every level simply could not escape their own domestic categorizations of danger. Moreover, they followed, temporally speaking, their emergence in the Soviet Union as threats, thereby supporting the hypothesis that Soviet identity, and dangers to it, imply how identity relations unfold with the external world, in this case some of Moscow’s very closest others in the world.

Soviet fears of Eastern Europe slipping out of its grasp and into the American orbit were reinforced by knowledge that initial public support for Moscow and the Red Army as liberators had turned to resentment and anxiety, and still worse, positive attitudes toward the United States. In essence, there was a race between initial gratitude toward Moscow for liberating them from Nazi Germany and continued fear of Germany and growing fear of Moscow and displeasure with occupation and subordination. Especially in Poland and Czechoslovakia in the first two years after the war the Soviet Union was regarded as a protector against Germany.50

As early as May 1947, a turn toward greater orthodoxy was marked in Soviet leaders’ conversations with Eastern European leaders. Hungary’s Rakosi was told by Molotov to “intensify the class struggle.”51 Gomulka was criticized for his idea of a “Polish national path” to socialism. At the founding meeting of the Cominform in September 1947, all such national paths to socialism were condemned.52 On March 18, 1948, Yugoslavia was condemned for nationalist deviations; on 24 March, Hungary, and then on April 5, Poland and Czechoslovakia were accused of the same heresy. While the general charge linked the erroneous choice of a national path to servility before the West, anti-Sovietism, and hence danger to socialism in these countries and to relations with Moscow, each long memorandum produced in the CC FPD and sent to Suslov revealed evidence of deviation particular to each country.

In the case of Hungary, for example, the party was accused of not transferring German property to the Soviets, of permitting the publication of Games of the Underground World, a 1946 book in which Soviet soldiers were depicted as “wild men and tyrants,” of not showing enough Soviet films and too many American and English films, of publishing too much Western literature and philosophy in journals, and of not deleting entries for the “disgraced” Zoshchenko and Akhmatova (p.85) from the “Bibliography of Russian Literature.”53 The Hungarian CC Secretary, Jozsef Revai, was taken to task for “bourgeois nationalism” for being “silent about Soviet achievements” in a speech in which he correctly said, “we learn from Soviet culture; we consider it a model, but we don’t copy it.” Not copying, while not extolling, equaled danger in the minds of Soviet representatives in Budapest.54

Czechoslovakia’s main errors were its “orientation on a peaceful path to socialism without victims or class struggle, parliamentary illusions, an accommodationist stance toward “backward nationalistic elements” in society and toward capitalism in the countryside. Stalin’s portentous speech from the 1930s was quoted, “On Rightist Deviation,” in which he laid out the starkest of binary choices: “Either the Marxist theory of class struggle or the theory of accepting the right of capitalists in socialism. Either the irreconcilable contradiction of class interests or the theory of harmony of class interests. One of the two.” Of course, the report was criticizing many of the policies that Stalin himself had encouraged Czechoslovakian and other communists to adopt during the 1945–47 period of ambivalence toward difference in the Soviet Union.55 Czechoslovakia was further criticized for its “liberal-pacifistic” attitude toward “leaders of bourgeois parties,” having permitted some 8,000 to emigrate by August 1948, rather than arresting them and “conducting big political trials which would have unmasked them as enemies.”56 Soviet warnings had their effects. By November 1948, 600,000 Czechoslovak party members had been verified; 75,000 were arrested or expelled from the party.57

Along with East Germany, Poland was the last and least Sovietized of Moscow’s Eastern European allies. For example, throughout 1947 Soviet MGB officers were being recalled from Poland, at Poland’s request. Stalin and Bulganin also agreed in 1947 to remove all Soviet military officers from Poland by 1951, (p.86) and in 1948 agreed to withdraw advisers from the security ministries. All these Soviet withdrawals were suspended after Gomulka’s removal from the Polish leadership in September 1948.58

More dramatically, at the founding meeting of the Cominform in September 1947, Gomulka alone objected to the “coordinating” functions of the new organization, having been told by Stalin in person just a month before that it would only be a body for the exchange of information. According to Jakub Berman, a Polish Politburo member at the time, the rest of the Polish delegation had to plead with Gomulka not to vote against the very creation of the Cominform. They did succeed in getting its headquarters, planned for Warsaw, moved to Belgrade, fearing its location’s effects on a loan being negotiated with the United States at the time.59

By March 1948, the Soviet ambassador to Poland, Viktor Lebedev, reported to Molotov that the Polish party was split between “Gomulka who is infected with Polish chauvinism and Hilary Minc who was in Moscow during the war and is pro-Moscow.” He characterized the Gomulka group as having stayed in Poland “and headed the communist anti-Hitler underground,” while Minc, Jakub Berman, and Roman Zambrowski only returned to Poland after Soviet liberation. The Gomulka circle considers itself to be “real Poles,” not “Moscow agents.” The Minc circle, on the other hand, is “a Jewish group.” Lebedev’s recommendation was to disempower Gomulka by surrounding him with pro-Moscow party leaders.60 In June, Berman told the Soviet embassy in Warsaw that he and his comrades were doing everything they could to “save Gomulka as leader of the party,” that is, convince him to accept the new orthodoxy being promulgated from Moscow.61

The Central Committee report “On the Anti-Marxist Ideological Positions of the Leadership of the Polish Workers’ Party,” dated April 5, 1948, foregrounded Poland’s anti-Russian nationalism, Gomulka’s failure to pay public tribute to the role of the Red Army in liberating Poland, insufficient militance in collectivizing the countryside, hence preserving capitalist positions there, and the continued toleration of the vast influence of the Catholic Church.62

(p.87) In August 1948, Boleslaw Bierut met with Stalin in Moscow where they formulated the main accusations for the “Gomulka Affair” to be used at the upcoming Polish CC plenum. These included an accommodating stance toward Tito, “rightist nationalist deviation,” and “distrust for the Soviet Union.” In his futile defense at the plenum, Gomulka continued to cite Stalin’s previous, and by now repudiated, approval of “national paths to socialism” in Eastern Europe.63 On December 16, Molotov advised the Polish leadership to remove Gomulka from the Politburo, but leave him on the Central Committee.64

By July 1949, Ambassador Lebedev could report progress: Collective farms had begun to appear since April; kowtowing before everything coming from the West had begun to decline; Lysenkoism was making its way among Polish biologists and geneticists; and an offensive was being prepared against the Catholic church.65 But his guarded optimism was short-lived. By February 1950 he was complaining to the Soviet leadership about Polish suspicions of the Soviet-born Polish Defense Minister Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky and Poland’s slow pace of collectivization, “interpreting as they wish” Stalin’s former counsels of moderation. The Polish leadership also failed to take its November 1949 “vigilance plenum” seriously. Indeed, after that plenum, Minc had the nerve to warn against extremes, “so we don’t have a Yezhovshchina”—a reference to the bloody purges under Stalin in 1937–38. Stalin circled this word in blue pencil on his copy of the memo.66

At the plenum, Bierut, influenced by the Rajk Affair in Hungary, warned of penetration by Tito’s agents, but blamed it all conveniently on the ousted Gomulka.67 Gomulka was arrested in August 1951, but the wheels of injustice in Poland moved so slowly that Stalin’s death came before Gomulka’s execution.68

A revealing exception to accelerated Stalinization was Albania. Albania earned this exemption by being lower on the hierarchy of modernity than any other Eastern European country. In his March 1949 conversation with the visiting Albanian leader Enver Hoxa, Stalin, noting Albania’s backwardness, advised him not to rush with collectivization and criticized his appropriation of commercial (p.88) bourgeois property. “Albanians shouldn’t copy what happened in Russia…. They should consider local peculiarities….”69 Relative backwardness, as in the Soviet Union itself, justified local or national roads to socialism, deviance that was not dangerous, but just unavoidable, given one’s place on the lower rungs of development.

Reports from Eastern Europe warned of servility before the West after the campaign against it had been launched in the Soviet Union in 1946–47. In a June 1947 report to the Soviet leadership from the CC FPD, the analyst P. Guliaev warned that “market servility before Americans is especially prevalent among the middle classes in Czechoslovakia.” Moreover, more than 5,000 foreign students are studying here, and a similar number of Czechoslovak students are abroad. Dozens of Czechoslovakian professors are invited to England, the United States, and France. Bookstores are filled with foreign literature.70 The problem is that “to a great degree the influence of so-called ‘Western culture’ in different areas of science, culture and art is still preserved in Poland and Czechoslovakia.” The danger lies in “Western propaganda finding fertile soil in Eastern Europe” because of the intelligentsia’s “spirit of admiration for the West and hostility for Soviet culture.”71 Even Red Cross workers giving tuberculosis vaccinations to Slovakian school children were accused of espionage by the Soviet ambassador in October 1949.72 Reporting on their May 1949 tour of Eastern Europe, Soviet analysts from the CC FPD wrote that “the influence of the West isn’t being controlled” by the parties in Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.

A July 1948 report from a political section chief of the Red Army in Poland to V. G. Grigorian, deputy head of the CC Propaganda and Agitation (Agitprop) Department in Moscow, contained complaints about the number of American films being shown in Poland: “There are days when in all the theaters only American films are shown.” In general, Soviet films are shown “in the worst theaters, Americans in the best.” American films are even shown in Polish military officers’ clubs. There are still Young Men’s Christian Associations in 16 big Polish cities.73 (p.89) “The average Warsaw citizen jokes that the US Embassy has more cars than the biggest firms in Poland. You can meet cars with US flags on any street.”74

Over a year after Stalin had launched the anti-cosmopolitan campaign in the Soviet Union, Soviets in Poland complained that the article hadn’t been republished by a single Polish paper. When it finally appeared in April 1949, there was no cosmopolitanism in Poland exposed, but just an abstract discussion. This was because, the Sovinformburo analyst concluded, the Polish CC Press Department “still indulges bourgeois cosmopolitans and Anglo-Saxonophiles who use Polish newspapers and publishers to propagandize the superiority of Anglo-American science and culture.” He concluded that despite the September 1948 plenum [which ousted Gomulka], “rightist opportunist tendencies in the party are still strong….”75 Only in June 1949 did the Union of Polish Artists declare “socialist realism” to be the privileged form of art in Poland.76 Ambassador Lebedev reported to Stalin in June 1950 about the Polish intelligentsia’s “recognition of no authorities other than Americans, French, and English … [with] the overwhelming majority still being captivated by Anglo-American ideas.”77

The Soviet campaign against Western influence had some effect. According to Goban-Klas, only one American film was shown in Poland from 1949 to 1958.78 By June 1952 the Soviet embassy could report that in Poland 48 percent of films being shown in Poland were Soviet, 38 percent Polish and other people’s democracies, and 14 percent progressive films from capitalist countries, mostly France and Italy. By July 1949, the Soviet Union was requesting the closure of all Western cultural and information centers in Eastern Europe.

If one were to read the correspondence between Moscow’s leadership and any allied capital in Eastern Europe, one could easily mistake it for exchanges (p.90) between Moscow and any oblast in the Soviet Union.79 The taken for granted hierarchy in the relationship was palpable. In a February 1950 conversation Hungary’s Rakosi had with a Soviet MGB adviser in Budapest, he “stressed repeatedly that Hungary is a small country, no bigger than Moscow oblast, and he is only ‘an obkom secretary’.”80 This is precisely the identity relations Moscow understood as both natural and desirable.

The growth of the institutions of repression in the region also reflected the new discourse of danger applied to Eastern Europe. For example, Polish internal security forces grew from 21,000 to 33,000 from 1948 to 1953, and Czechoslovakian forces from 3,000 to 11,000. Eastern European interior ministry officers began to enroll in Soviet MGB and MVD schools.81 The number of sentences for political crimes in Bulgaria increased from 134 in 1948 to nearly 1,500 in 1951, in Czechoslovakia from 1,600 in 1949 to 16,000 in 1950. The courts averaged over 250 death sentences per year.82 In Hungary alone, from 1950 to 1953 650,000 people were investigated by the security organs, and 400,000 were penalized in some fashion.83 In Rumania, 200,000 members were expelled from the party between 1948 and 1951, 20 percent of its total membership. After its May 1952 plenum, another 200,000 were purged.84

Institutions of domestic repression aimed at danger at home were soon matched by a build-up of Eastern European military power aimed at defending socialism from dangers abroad. The Soviets deployed an additional 80,000 men to their forces in Germany between 1949 and 1950. The Czechoslovakian army grew from 180,000 to 400,000. In Moscow in January 1951, Eastern European communist leaders were requested to increase their defense spending. Even the Polish defense minister, Rokossovsky, claimed Soviet targets for spending couldn’t be reached until 1956. The other defense ministers agreed. By 1953, Eastern European armies numbered one million.85

If, prior to 1947, Stalin advised Eastern European allies to develop good relations with the West, thereafter, and especially after the confusion surrounding (p.91) responses to the Marshall Plan, these allies asked Moscow’s advice and approval for every foreign policy decision imaginable. Illustrative in this regard are the minutes of the Rumanian ambassador G. Valdescu-Rakoas’s meeting with deputy minister of foreign affairs Valerian Zorin in March 1949. Over the course of the meeting, the ambassador asked Zorin for the “Soviet attitude” toward Rumanian participation in the following meetings: International Organization of Health Care; Congress of Engineers in Cairo; Congress of Veterinarians in London; Congress on Forestry in Helsinki; International Exhibit of Philately in Belgium; Milk Congress in Stockholm; a Stockholm sports festival; International Congress of Meteorologists; a musical competition in Belgium; the International Congress of Jurists on Human Rights in Prague (here Zorin noted that the Soviet Union wouldn’t be attending); and the Congress of Criminology in Paris (here Zorin said no). Besides the last two, Zorin responded that each state could decide for itself. The Ambassador was clearly anxious about the granted autonomy as he continued to try to feel out Zorin about Soviet preferences.86 The fear and anxiety felt by those working with Stalin, the incentive to overfulfill his slightest intimations is tangible as well in exchanges between Eastern European allies and Soviet representatives at all levels.

Some of the most gruesome evidence of the relationship between Soviet domestic identity and its policy in Eastern Europe was the deep Soviet concern over the precise details of the many political show trials conducted in Eastern Europe beginning in 1949.

In May of that year, Hungarian Foreign Minister Laszlo Rajk was arrested. In late June, MGB Lt. General M. I. Belkin arrived from Moscow with his investigative team. Belkin reported to Moscow that excessive torture had been used, resulting in “confusing testimony.” Belkin, in consultation with Hungarian party general secretary Rakosi, changed the direction of the affair from simple nationalism and Trotskyism, to the more directly dangerous Titoism and US imperialism. Rajk’s purported espionage was associated with his stay in French prisons, again reinforcing the danger of exposure to the West. Stalin himself confirmed the text of the accusations against Rajk in an August meeting with Rakosi in Moscow. The September trial was covered extensively in the Soviet press, showing average Soviets how easily one could slip from nationalism and servility before the West to betrayal of the motherland and service as an agent of imperialism. On September 14, Rakosi sent Stalin a letter informing him of seven death sentences to be issued based on the trials. Stalin replied a week later: “I think that Rajk must be executed, since people will not understand any (p.92) other sentence for him.”87 The conduct and substance of the affairs were so carefully controlled from Moscow that when Soviet advisers in Hungary complained to Rakosi about flaws in the case he replied that “he doesn’t attach special significance to this because the texts will be transferred to Moscow where there are specialist-jurists, in particular comrade Vyshinsky …,” who will put things in order.88

As was argued in chapter 2, Stalin followed a strategy of “exemplary” punishment of selected individuals or groups to mark in bold letters the ever-narrowing boundaries of permissible difference. This perhaps explains one of the rare moments of Soviet restraint toward Eastern European purges in the period. In September 1951 the Soviet ambassador to Hungary, Evgenii Kiselev, told the Hungarian leadership that it was a mistake to purge technical workers, such as engineers, en masse, “indiscriminately considering them potential enemies” of the People’s Republic of Hungary. Such a strategy, Kiselev advised, would only alienate many who could “honestly serve” the country.89 Rakosi apparently didn’t listen to Kiselev, for a year later Kiselev complained to then foreign minister Vyshinsky that “too many cases are being sent to the procurator. In 1951 there were 362,000, and police organs dealt with another 500,000+. As the facts show, many of them have no serious basis and they were thrown out by the procurator.” He concluded, as he had over a year before, that such “mass charges can only negatively affect the mood of the population.”90

In September 1949 the Soviet leadership instructed its Bulgarian allies to make “connections with Tito” the decisive direction in investigating the Kostov affair. The indictment itself was drawn up in Russian by Soviet advisers and then translated into Bulgarian. In December Traicho Kostov, former president of the Council of Ministers, was sentenced to death and Vulko Chervenkov, General Secretary Dimitrov’s successor since July 1949, cabled Stalin for any revisions to the sentence. Stalin offered none.91

The “Slansky Affair” in Czechoslovakia had its roots in Hungary’s Rajk Affair. As Murashko has concluded, “In order to appear worthy in the eyes of Moscow, (p.93) the Czechoslovakian Communist Party leadership needed a public trial with the unmasking of at least one plot against the new system….”92 Even after requesting Stalin send MGB agents secretly to help him investigate the Rajk Affair’s implications for Czechoslovakia, Klement Gottwald, party chairman, still told his MGB advisers in Prague on September 27, 1949, that he didn’t think the “Anglo-American spy network had grown to the size of that revealed in Hungary.” He insisted “there is no Rajk” in the Czechoslovakian government. But his MGB advisers reported to Moscow that local security forces were not finding enough intelligence agents—“for five months they haven’t uncovered a single affair of foreign intelligence agents.” Gottwald ultimately gave in to Soviet pressure and held the demanded CC meeting “on revolutionary vigilance” in Feburary 1950, his report having been prepared on the basis of direct instructions from Stalin himself.93 He then agreed to remove Vladimir Clementis, his foreign minister, on March 18, 1950.94

The Slansky Affair proved more complicated than those of Kostov, Rajk, or Clementis because Rudolf Slansky was a Moscow Communist who enjoyed the trust of many in the Soviet CC FPD, for whom he had served as an agent in Czechoslovakia for the past seven years. On July 20, 1951, Stalin telegrammed Gottwald to say the materials on Slansky weren’t sufficient, and Gottwald agreed. Four days later, however, Stalin recommended replacing Slansky as general secretary of the party, and agreed to Gottwald’s suggestion to move him to the Council of Ministers. Slansky was arrested in November 1951, charged with consorting with Tito, advocating a “special Czechoslovakian path” to socialism, restoration of capitalism, and its consequent subordination to “English and American imperialists.” In the intervening year, the new charge of Zionism was hung on Slansky, linking him with American intelligence through Jewish nationalist groups. Of the 14 defendants in the Slansky affair, 11 were Jewish. A year later, Slansky and 11 others were sentenced to death.95

(p.94) One element of these “affairs,” and repressions in Eastern Europe more generally, was their relationship to the Soviet discourse of dangerous Jewish nationalism and anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union. Just as the MGB in 1946 and then Suslov in 1947 sent memos warning of Jewish danger to a Soviet leadership not yet responsive to construing Jewish nationalism as a threat, Soviet advisers and Eastern European leaders complained of Jews in Eastern European leadership positions, at first without any resonance from Moscow.

But then, Polish Jewish communist leaders, who had been so instrumental in removing the bourgeois nationalist deviant Gomulka in the summer of 1948, soon found themselves caught up in the projection of the anti-cosmopolitan campaign from Moscow. Having just reported to Moscow in March 1948 that Minc, Berman, and Zambrowski were Moscow’s most reliable allies, in July 1949, Ambassador Lebedev wrote to Vyshinsky and Stalin that “Bierut is the most serious and reliable party and state leader in Poland.” He went on to charge that “Berman, Minc, and Zambrowski haven’t freed themselves from strong nationalistic prejudices.” Evidence against Berman was that his older brother was a leader of “Jewish nationalistic organizations” in Poland. The Joint Committee still hadn’t been liquidated in Poland, despite Moscow’s advice, because of Berman’s resistance. Minc had no “Polish” deputies in the Ministry of Industry. The MGB, beginning with deputy ministers and including all department heads “hasn’t a single Pole. All are Jews. Only Jews work in the intelligence department.” His conclusions were that “Bierut is isolated from other Polish communists by a group of people who clearly suffer from Jewish nationalism” and a “Pole must be made MGB head who will be Bierut’s right hand and gradually purge the apparat.”96

On February 10, 1950, a Soviet MGB adviser in Budapest, Kartashov, sent a report to the Soviet leadership, in which he wrote how he was “struck by how many Jews there are in leading state and party positions.” Jozsef Revai, a Jew, was a big nationalist who was close to Rajk and objected against his arrest, saying the accusations were contrived by Hungarian state security. Politburo members Mikhail Farkas and Zoltan Vas, both Jews, were compromised by their close ties to the American spy, a Jew, Dr. Benedek. Too many Jews had penetrated the security police. A significant number of Hungarian Jews, he went on, have “vast family, commercial, and political ties with America….” Even the “fascist Horthy government protected them (Hungarian Jews) from the Germans. Kartashov then closes the circle, linking Hungarian Jews to American intelligence and the presumed danger to the Soviet Union.97 At this particular time however, when (p.95) the anti-Semitic campaign had waned in Moscow, affairs against Jews did not resonate with the Soviet leadership.98

In May 1951, a Soviet MGB adviser in Prague sent Minister of State Security Viktor Abakumov a memorandum informing him that the subversive activities of Jewish nationalists had penetrated top party and state ranks in Czechoslovakia. Slansky came from an old Jewish family, the MGB adviser continued, and has great influence in the party and “all bourgeois Jewish nationalists are oriented toward Slansky.”

As was argued in chapter 2, the Russian nation was identified both officially and popularly, both explicitly and incidentally, as the predominant ethnonational core of the Soviet Union. In so doing, the Orthodox religion was treated much more leniently than religions that were understood as fostering non-Russian national identities, such as Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, or Lutheranism. This set of identity-spawned concerns was reflected in the treatment of religious beliefs in Eastern Europe. Fears of nationalist deviation were often connected to fears that the local non-Orthodox churches were breeding grounds for such threats. For example, just six months before his death, Stalin chided Poland’s Bierut for not adopting a harsher policy toward the Catholic clergy, underestimating their connection to bourgeois nationalism in Poland.99 There were also the many slips of the tongue that demonstrated the taken for granted quality that Russia as the Soviet Union’s implicit nation enjoyed. For example, in negotiations with Mao in January 1950, Stalin referred to “Russian troops” in Port Arthur.100

While I argue that Soviet efforts to replicate itself in Eastern Europe were the product of its domestic discourse of danger, where any differences from the model could entail the overthrow of socialism in the Soviet Union, it would be a mistake to underestimate the interaction effects between this domestic identity and events in the world. And the one external event that had the biggest influence on reinforcing Soviet feelings of insecurity before the United States only reaffirms the importance of paying attention to domestic Soviet identity in the first place. It turns out that the European Recovery Program, or Marshall Plan, as it is most commonly known, was the single event that most convinced the Soviet leadership of the danger the United States posed to allied regimes in Eastern Europe.

By shifting, if only unintentionally, the currency of the competition from military power to economic wherewithal, from Soviet strength to its very weakest suit, the United States amplified all Soviet insecurities about the possible (p.96) erosion of the Soviet position in Eastern Europe, and accelerated the process of Stalinization, of creating in Eastern Europe domestic orders as closely imitative of Soviet identity as possible. The most threatening weapons the United States had in the early years of the Cold War were economic and cultural, not military.

For most observers, and IR theorists of the Realist persuasion, it would have made sense had Moscow reacted with greater alarm to the declaration of the Truman Doctrine by the US president before a joint session of Congress in March 1947 than to the proposal of the European Recovery Plan by US Secretary of State George Marshall at the June 1947 Harvard University commencement. But they would be wrong. Instead, the growing need to have no deviation from Stalinism in even the smallest matters at home translated into Soviet alarm at the prospect of its European socialist allies forming economic relationships with the imperialist West. And the alacrity with which so many of them opted for attending the Paris planning meetings for the Marshall Plan was still more evidence of how dangerously alluring US economic power could be. The Truman Doctrine, or the US assumption of British security obligations in Turkey and Greece, was nothing new—just the substitution of one imperialist for another.

This is not to say that the Marshall Plan should not be interpreted as part of US containment policy. It no doubt was, but it was not intended to unravel Soviet control over Eastern Europe, as Stalin inferred. It was instead a way to pump money into Europe to help finance their purchase of US exports, and then, when their own industries recovered, to help them earn dollars through exports to the US market. All this, of course, was aimed at helping Europe re-establish itself as an independent bulwark against Soviet expansionism, reducing the burden on the United States. In fact, one of the main arguments offered by the Truman Administration to Congress was that the Marshall Plan aid would obviate the need for increased defense budgets in the United States.101

On June 5, 1947, US Secretary of State George Marshall delivered the commencement address at Harvard University in which he made the offer of substantial U.S. economic assistance to Europe, or what later came to be known as the Marshall Plan. Two weeks later, England and France invited the Soviet Union to participate in a June 27 foreign ministers meeting in Paris to discuss the plan. The Politburo met to discuss the invitation on June 21, and on June 24 approved Molotov’s trip to Paris. Throughout the meeting, Molotov’s major objection concerned control over the disbursement of resources, arguing for each state’s right to ask for aid without US “interference” in how the aid was to be spent. Ultimately unsatisfied on this point, as well as the fact that aid was available for Germany (from which reparations would end), Molotov announced (p.97) Soviet opposition to the plan on July 2. On July 5 Molotov sent a telegram to all Eastern European allies advising them to go to the forthcoming Paris meeting on the ERP, but in order to undermine it by each leaving it, declaring it a mask for US domination of Europe. Just two days later, however, Molotov rescinded the previous telegram, this time advising each country not to attend, leaving “motives for rejections at their own discretion.”

This last telegram put the Czechoslovakian government in the most difficult position, having already accepted the British/French invitation and appointed its delegation. On July 9, Stalin demanded Gottwald come to Moscow, and harangued him into joining other Eastern European states in declining the invitation, arguing that one could not be both “friendly to the Soviet Union” and attend the Paris meeting. On July 11, Prague annulled its decision to attend, and foreign minister Tomas Masaryk commented famously: “I went to Moscow as a free minister, but returned as Stalin’s lackey!”102

Rejection of the Marshall Plan only deepened the unpopularity of communists in Eastern Europe, not least of all in Czechoslovakia. In the May 1946 parliamentary elections, Czechoslovakian communists had won 38 percent of the vote. Four months after Masaryk’s humiliating return from Moscow, they garnered only 20 percent in university student elections, boding none too well for the upcoming May 1948 parliamentary contest. According to available intelligence, the Prague government’s ultimate rejection of the invitation to the Paris meeting on the Marshall Plan resulted in western governments consigning Czechoslovakia to the Soviet sphere of influence, thus reassuring Czechoslovak communists during their assumption of power in February 1948. What has most often been termed a “coup” was in fact a series of blunders by noncommunist democrats accompanied by swift and ruthless opportunism by the communists. Democrats resigned from the coalition government on February 20, 1948, protesting against communist penetration of the police forces. Instead of Masaryk and social democrats resigning too, thus forcing new elections, the Czechoslovakian president Edvard Benes accepted the new majority communist government, who immediately used the instruments of the state they had so carefully penetrated, as well as mobilized aktiv on the streets, to purge and persecute the remaining opposition. Benes resigned in June and died in September.103 As Gottwald later remarked, “I couldn’t believe it was so easy.”104

The formation of the Cominform should also be seen in light of both the discourse of danger emanating from Moscow and Eastern European receptiveness (p.98) to the Marshall Plan. Egorova argues that the Cominform was created in response to Stalin’s surprise and irritation at the independent actions of the French and Italian communist parties in May 1947, their decisions to leave their respective coalition governments. Stalin was not informed in advance of their decisions.105 Zhdanov wrote to the French communist leader Maurice Thorez on June 2, 1947, to criticize the party for the no-confidence vote and for not consulting with Moscow first.106 This kind of “freelancing” was not consistent with a Soviet understanding of itself atop a hierarchy of subordinate parties.

Of critical importance, and reflected in Zhdanov’s notes for his plenary speech that were vetted by Stalin, however, was the Eastern European responsiveness to the Marshall Plan. From Moscow’s perspective, it revealed the Achilles Heel of Soviet strategy in Eastern Europe: its economic weakness relative to the United States. Intentionally or not, most probably not, the United States had shifted the competition over Europe to an arena of Moscow’s greatest weakness, its weakest suit. Not only was the United States materially superior, but Moscow’s Eastern European allies had enthusiastically responded to the lure of sacrificing their one-sided dependence on Moscow for the corrosive integration into Western capitalist markets.107

Zhdanov ascribed four errors to western communist parties in the draft of his speech at the September 22, 1947, formation of the Cominform. These were: the “self-liquidationism” of Browder in the United States; “parliamentary illusions,” rather than ratcheting up of the class struggle; belief in the electoral path to socialism; and the idea of “national roads” to socialism, all ascribed to the French and Italians.108 At the Cominform meeting itself, Zhdanov criticized the Italian Communist Party (PCI) for not opposing the Marshall Plan effectively, although he didn’t advocate unleashing a civil war in Italy like Tito did. In March, Molotov was prompted to telegram Palmiro Togliatti, the PCI general secretary, advising him to stop listening to the Yugoslavs and not initiate any kind of armed conflict.109

(p.99) While not advocating armed overthrow of the French and Italian governments, Stalin did not foreclose the possibility of armed conflict between communists and their governments, and was prepared to arm them for that eventuality. Symbolically, just a week before what would be the last meeting of the CFM, Stalin met with Thorez in Moscow and asked him how matters stood with weapons. Thorez said the party had hidden quite a few. Stalin said French communists need weapons if attacked, and the Soviet Union “can give them to you if necessary.”110

A word needs to be said about the peculiar institutional arrangements that accompanied Soviet foreign relations, especially with Eastern Europe. Not surprisingly, Stalin mostly handled foreign policy almost single-handedly, helped only by Zhdanov and Molotov on Eastern European affairs, and Anastas Mikoyan, who undertook a variety of foreign assignments.111 Molotov was also the foreign minister as well as CC Secretary for foreign affairs, so enjoyed the closest of relations with Stalin on matters of foreign policy.112 The Politburo as a whole met only three times from October 1946 until Stalin’s death in March 1953.113 Instead, policy was decided by Stalin and a small number of the party leadership, at meetings at the Kremlin beginning late at night, and often continuing into the morning at one of his dachas. The results were then often written up and sent around for signatures to the Politburo members. To our knowledge, no one ever refused to sign such a document.114 All these arrangements maximized the institution of Stalin’s arbitrary power.

Special relations were enjoyed by those Eastern European communists who had spent time in Moscow. In August 1945, for example, Georgii Dimitrov, a Bulgarian communist who had emigrated to the Soviet Union in 1923, becoming an official in the Central Committee’s Department of Relations with the International Communist Movement, asked Stalin’s advice about how to run as a candidate in Bulgarian parliamentary elections while simultaneously already being a Supreme Soviet deputy in the Soviet Union! Stalin recommended he resign from the Soviet parliament, and Dimitrov returned home to Bulgaria for the first time in 22 years. Even so, he kept an apartment in Moscow, and visited the grave of his son, Mitia, there.115

(p.100) Other scholars have noted that spending the war in Moscow was a great advantage to any Eastern European communist upon returning home, while those who had either fought against the Nazis at home, been imprisoned by them, or had emigrated to other countries, were disadvantaged in Moscow.116 Years spent in Moscow allowed one to cultivate relationships with the Soviet party elite, while not being in Moscow made Stalin suspicious that contacts with foreigners, especially Europeans, and even German Nazi jailers, would somehow have made someone less politically reliable. Being a resistance fighter might have made you into a nationalist, that is, someone more loyal to her home country than to Moscow.117 This, of course, was precisely the phenomenon that developed at home with regard to returning Soviet POWs, or to authors who cited too much Western literature in their own work.

In the case of postwar Poland, for example, the Moscow communists included Bierut, Berman, Minc, and Roman Zambrowski; the nationalists were Gomulka, Marian Spychalski, Zenon Kliszko, and Ignacy Loga-Sowinski.118 Among other foreign communist leaders, Palmiro Togliatti of the PCI, and Maurice Thorez of the French communist party (PCF), both spent the war in Moscow. As late as 1949 in East Germany, there were 165 highly-ranked communist party members with Soviet citizenship. Many who spoke about “our” party had in mind the CPSU in Moscow.119 After the Soviet liberation of Rumania in August 1944, both Anna Pauker and Laszlo Luka returned from Moscow to the leadership of the Rumanian party.120 The Hungarian communist party general secretary, Matias Rakosi, had spent the war years in Moscow, while Rajk, who would be arrested, tried and executed in 1949, had the misfortune of having fought in the Spanish Civil War against fascism, and having spent World War II in French, Hungarian and German prisons and concentration camps. These experiences made Rajk simultaneously a serious political rival of Rakosi and a serious political risk for Moscow, as he hadn’t “arrived on the Moscow wagon train” after the war, unlike Rakosi.121

(p.101) Beyond the hundreds of Eastern European communists who spent years in Moscow and returned home, there were many who stayed in Moscow to work in the CC FPD, writing memoranda, training cadres, working as couriers, or making radio broadcasts.122 These communists provided yet another transmission belt between Moscow and its Eastern European allies. Some Moscow communists returned home as intelligence agents for the Soviet Union. For example, Professor Arnost Kolman at Charles University in Prague had spent 30 years in the Soviet Union, had taught at the Higher Party School in Moscow, and, upon his return to Czechoslovakia in 1945, became an informant for the Soviet embassy.123

In Tatiana Volokitina’s edited volume on Soviet policy toward Eastern Europe, the authors argue that a peculiar dynamic developed among the leaders of individual Eastern European allies, as well as among the leaders of the countries themselves. They were constantly vying among themselves to gain “the right to be the source of information for Moscow” and to become Stalin’s “only trusted person” in their country and in the bloc, if possible.124 Anxiety on this score was expressed by Rakosi, who complained to a Soviet MGB adviser in Budapest that he was “offended by how far away from Stalin he had to sit during Stalin’s birthday celebrations in Moscow.”125

One of the more striking and tragicomical examples of this competition for Stalin’s favor were the extraordinary efforts taken by Soviet allies in Eastern Europe to demonstrate their ecstasy on the occasion of his 70th birthday, celebrated on December 21, 1949. Czechoslovaks, for example, assured the Soviet ambassador Mikhail A. Silin that they had gathered 8 million birthday greetings, or over 90 percent of the population over 6 years of age, that they would erect a monument to Stalin in the center of Prague, and that they had prepared 15 to 20 railroad wagonloads of gifts for transport to Moscow. According to Volokitina, celebration plans for all Eastern European allies were vetted with Soviet advisers before implementation.126

Another institution familiar from the Soviet domestic scene was mortal fear of telling Moscow anything it didn’t want to, or expect to, hear. This entailed withholding information that might contradict the assumptions underlying current Soviet policy, or sending doctored information so as to justify that policy.127 This was of course always counterproductive for Soviet policy aims, perhaps nowhere (p.102) greater than in eastern Germany. When German communists finally summoned up the courage to tell Stalin that the number of rapes committed by Red Army soldiers was hugely costly to them politically, Stalin’s reply was, “I will not allow anyone to drag the reputation of the Red Army through the mud.”128 Needless to say, the matter wasn’t pursued. Meanwhile, in occupied Germany, when rapes were reported, albeit rarely, in the local press, the perpetrator was invariably referred to as “a man in a Red Army uniform,” never as a Red Army soldier.129

One can see how delicately one had to talk when meeting the “Great Friend.” Stalin asked the Hungarian prime minister Ferenc Nagy, during an April 1946 meeting in Moscow, whether Hungarians resented the Soviet armed forces, and intimated that he should speak frankly. The latter replied that the occupation army had no disagreements with the Hungarian people, and there were few incidents. “Often dishonorable Hungarians themselves abuse the occupation army,” he said. He did add, however, that it cost Hungary a lot to pay for the occupation. Stalin replied that the Hungarian people cannot be morally offended by the Red Army … and that these forces will be gradually withdrawn, unburdening the Hungarian economy.130

Another peculiarity of the Soviet-East European relationship was the level of control Moscow exercised over not only broad strategic decision-making in Eastern Europe, but also the most minute of details, just as if the Central Committee in Moscow were ordering obkom and raikom secretaries in the Soviet Union what to do. For example, Soviet advisers wrote East Germany’s land reform legislation.131 Kynin concluded that “there is no evidence in any archives, German or otherwise, that the German communist party participated in developing the land reform,” which was decided upon in August 1945.132 Soviets in East Germany insisted on the presence of flowers at party meetings, (p.103) re-choreographed the ceremonies accompanying party membership card distribution, and demanded that banners, red scarves, and musical instruments all be present at Pioneer meetings, all according to common Soviet practice.133

In September 1949 Ambassador Silin complained to the head of Czechoslovakia’s CC ID, Bedrich Geminder, about the obviously reduced number of portraits of Stalin and Soviet flags on display during official holidays. It “both surprises and troubles us,” he said. In his report of the conversation to the foreign ministry, Silin concluded that “Geminder and Slansky will draw the necessary conclusions.”134

It would be most misleading to consider either the Soviet Union or any of its Eastern European allies as unitary actors. Instead, there were many institutionalized channels through which Moscow both gathered information about its allies and exerted influence and pressure on them. Among these channels were Soviet embassies, journalists, the MVD, MGB, and Cominform, as well as the many Soviet delegations that visited these countries. Almost all the latter routinely wrote reports to the Central Committee analyzing the state of political play in the country they had visited, often pointing out various risks of dangerous deviance they had noted during their visits. At the same time, Eastern Europeans tried to use these many channels to not only exert influence on Moscow, but to gain political advantage against competitors at home, and in other Eastern European countries.

One such common technique was providing Moscow with compromising materials or “kompromat,” on one’s political rivals. Eastern European communists were acutely attuned to the fine-grained twists and turns of official Soviet discourse in Moscow, which better enabled contriving the most resonant collection of charges against a rival. Rumania’s leader Gheorge Gheorgiu-Dej, for example, fed Soviet representatives information on his rival Luka, accusing him of a loss of “vigilance” and connections with Zionists and “right-opportunist deviationism,” all calculated to resonate with the predominant discourse of danger prevailing in Moscow in April 1951.135

Rakosi was perhaps the most diligent in spreading kompromat about his purported communist allies in Eastern Europe, especially Czechoslovakia’s Gottwald and Poland’s Gomulka. During his June 4–21, 1949, visit to Prague, Rakosi gave Gottwald a list of 675 purported Anglo-American spies in Czechoslovakia, including two Politburo members, Minister of the Interior (p.104) Vaclav Nosek, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Clementis.136 In July 1949, as Rajk’s interrogation dragged on, Rakosi told one of the visiting MGB advisers on the affair that despite informing Gottwald of a “chain of espionage” throughout Eastern European communist parties connected to the Rajk affair, “Czech communist leaders still haven’t taken any kind of measures.”137 Planting these charges with both MGB advisers and Cominform representatives had its effect. In September 1949 Bierut, not wishing to appear less vigilant than his Hungarian counterpart, appealed to Stalin to arrange a meeting in Moscow so he could discuss with Stalin the Gomulka and Spychalski affairs “in connection with the Budapest process….”138 Also in response to Rakosi’s efforts to impugn the credentials of his Eastern European competitors, both MGB representatives from Poland and Czechoslovakia arrived in Budapest to familiarize themselves with the materials of the affair and search for criminal ties between Rajk and his “accomplices,” and their own party elites. But even after reviewing the materials, Gottwald asked Rakosi, through Rakosi’s visiting brother and CC member, Zoltan Biro, whether, during Rajk’s trial, the names of implicated Czechoslovakians could go unmentioned. Rakosi refused. Gottwald and Romania’s Gheorgiu-Dej subsequently appealed to Moscow to send MGB specialists to help them prepare their “affairs.” Stalin personally replied to Gottwald’s request on September 23, 1949, promising to send the necessary advisers to Prague.139

Rakosi continued his campaign against Gottwald during Stalin’s birthday celebrations in Moscow in December. He told Boris Ponomarev at the CC FPD that Interior Minister Nosek, Defense Minister Svoboda, and Foreign Minister Clementis were all connected with English intelligence.140 In an April 8 letter to Gottwald, Stalin demanded Svoboda’s removal. He was dismissed on April 25.141 Even after Rajk’s execution and the prosecution of affairs in Poland, Rumania, and Czechoslovakia, Rakosi complained to a Soviet MGB adviser in Budapest, whose report of the conversation was distributed to the Soviet leadership in Moscow, that “Gottwald and Slansky are [still] indecisive and liberal toward hostile elements in the party.”142

(p.105) Peculiar institutions yielded peculiar conversations. In May 1949, behind Rakosi’s back, Hungary’s political police, under Moscow’s direct control, reported to Pavel Iudin and L. S. Baranov in the CC FPD in Moscow that the Hungarian party was not paying sufficient attention to the struggle with Trotskyites in the party. Rakosi was furious and demanded from the Soviet ambassador Georgii M. Pushkin to be told who had given the “Russians” this information. Rakosi accused them, his own police, of trying to sour relations between Moscow and himself.143 Pushkin had reported the same day to Moscow that while “the Hungarian police are still inexperienced and young, the main thing is they are devoted to the Soviet Union.”144

But it wasn’t only at the highest level that compromising information was passed on to Soviet officials. A Rumanian consular official in Poland sent Suslov a report “on the political and social life of Poland” in October 1948 in which he reported seeing only “one portrait of Comrade Stalin on May Day, and even that was very small. The parade itself was boring, and the marchers looked coerced.” On June 22, liberation day for Poland, “criminally little was said or written about the Soviet heroes who saved the Polish people.” And “nothing at all happens” on Soviet Aviation or Navy Day. He also reported what Soviet advisers noticed, the deep penetration of American and Western culture in Polish daily life: the availability of newspapers, books, and magazines from England and the United States, and posters for their films.145

In addition, it was taken for granted that Soviet officials would participate in their allies’ Central Committee and Politburo meetings. For example, Soviet ambassador M. F. Bodrov was invited to a closed (to Bulgarian party members) Central Committee meeting in May 1950 to examine personnel changes on the CC.

Perhaps most well-known, a Soviet citizen, Marshal Konstantin Rokossovsky, was appointed Polish defense minister in November 1949. Soon the overwhelming majority of the Polish command staff was Soviet. Of 45 generals in March 1950, 27 were Soviet; by December, 40 of 52. Rokossovsky communicated directly to the Chief of the General Staff in Moscow, bypassing Bierut and the Polish defense ministry.146 In May 1950 Rokossovsky was made a Polish Politburo member. Jakub Berman recalled that in both his offices at the Council of Ministers and at the Central Committee, he had two phones. One was a local line, the other was connected directly to Moscow, and Stalin’s hours of business had the same effects in Warsaw as they had in Moscow, compelling (p.106) thousands to remain awake into the wee hours of the morning, lest the Great Friend from Moscow call.147

These complicated loyalties of Eastern European communists manifested themselves after the Soviet-Yugoslav split. More than 500 Yugoslavians in the Soviet Union at the time of Tito’s excommunication from the bloc refused to return to Yugoslavia.148 Within the Yugoslavian party itself, more than 55,000 members, or 12 percent of the total, and 52,000 candidate members, identified with the position of the Cominform (of course drafted by Moscow) against Tito and their own party. Tito’s response was harsh. More than 16,000 were sent to labor camps, and 5,000 emigrated. Over 172,000 were arrested from 1948 to 1952, about 100,000 in 1948–49 alone.149

B. The Excommunication of Tito’s Yugoslavia in 1948

Up until months before being excommunicated from the Soviet bloc, Yugoslavia had been regarded by Soviets as its most similar and reliable ally in Eastern Europe, at least as far as its domestic transformation was concerned. Indeed, the original draft of the Yugoslav constitution in 1946 was almost a literal translation of the Soviet constitution of 1936.150 In the run-up to the founding of the Cominform in September 1947, the CC FPD produced analytical reports on each Eastern European ally. Yugoslavia’s domestic policies were extolled, far more so than any other Eastern European ally, although its foreign policy was criticized for insubordination and recklessness: on Trieste, on its role in the Balkans and Albania, and on the Bulgarian constitution.151 Gibianskii concluded, “In leading Soviet circles they were very sensitive to … the danger of a violation of hierarchy in relations between the Soviet Union and peoples’ democracies.”152 In a report prepared for Zhdanov’s speech at the opening of the Cominform in September (p.107) 1947, Yugoslavia was singled out for eliminating “the roots of capitalism more thoroughly than in other Eastern European states.”153 The January 1948 round of CC FPD reports also gave Yugoslavia a clean bill of health.154

The excommunication of Yugoslavia from the Soviet bloc is probably best understood in relationship to a series of independent actions by Soviet communist allies in Europe that demonstrated that any continuing tolerance of difference, as expressed in “national roads” to socialism, was too risky, threatening a reversal of socialist construction domestically, as well as closer economic, political, and diplomatic relations with the imperialist West. Yugoslavia’s own actions, decisions by the French and Italian communist parties to force the collapse of their coalition governments, and the alacrity with which Eastern European allies met the idea of the Marshall Plan, made Tito’s Yugoslavia a possible exemplary case of deviationism that Stalin could use to re-establish the hierarchy within the bloc.

Soviet targeting of Tito and Yugoslvia, the country most advanced on the socialist road, very closely parallels the treatment of deviants at home. Tito was chosen as an exemplar, a model who had been consistently praised for his adherence to the Soviet model.155 For example, the philosopher Georgii Aleksandrov, the film director Sergei Eisenstein, and the author Vsevolod Kochetov, all of whom had just received Stalin Prizes, were singled out during anti-cosmopolitan and anti-kowtowing campaigns, demonstrating that even the most revered and seemingly unblemished of Soviet models could still err and could still require rectification by the party. So, how could a lesser light possibly be innocent of some dangerous deviation, even if unintentional?

Soviet displeasure with Tito’s foreign policy built up over the six months prior to his March 1948 excommunication. Stalin sent a telegram to Tito in August 1947 criticizing him for unilaterally announcing a treaty with Bulgaria without consulting Moscow. Just a few months later, Tito, again without consulting Moscow, proposed sending a Yugoslav army division to Albania. Tito backed down in both cases, and in a February 1948 meeting in Moscow among the Soviet leadership, Bulgaria’s Dimitrov and Kostov, and Yugoslavia’s foreign minister Edvard Kardelj and Politburo member Milovan Djilas, the Soviet allies confessed their errors and signed an agreement to consult with Moscow in advance on any foreign policy move thereafter. But almost simultaneously, Tito (p.108) was defying Soviet orders by continuing to arm Greek partisans. And just three weeks after the agreement in Moscow, on March 1, 1948, Tito argued in the Yugoslavian Politburo for authority to press Moscow to reverse itself, and allow Yugoslav troops in Albania, and a Yugoslvian-Albanian union.156

It is worth noting that Belgrade’s relationship with Albania was not dissimilar from Moscow’s relationships with its Eastern European allies. Just as the Soviet Union expected to participate in the inner workings of central decision-making in Poland or Czechoslovakia, for instance, Yugoslavia had a representative from the Yugoslavian communist party in the Albanian communist party’s central committee, too.157

Much of the danger from Tito’s independence arose from the identity relations that characterized Moscow and its Eastern European allies. Sitting atop the hierarchy of the socialist community meant that any actions by its subordinates were attributed to Moscow’s orders. Danger came from imperialist enemies inferring that whatever Moscow’s allies did was at the direction of Moscow and from socialist allies inferring that if Yugoslavia could act independently, whether in foreign or domestic policy, so could they. In the February 10, 1948, meeting with their Bulgarian and Yugoslavian counterparts, the Soviet leadership warned that the reckless Yugoslavian-Bulgarian treaty, for example, would only give “English and Americans a pretext to intervene in Greece,” and Dimitrov’s ill-advised remarks about a Balkan confederation only made it easier to create a Western bloc. Molotov pointed out that Polish comrades had thought Moscow had authorized Yugoslav and Bulgarian actions, and the Albanians told Moscow they thought the Soviet leadership had agreed to the introduction of Yugoslavian troops into Albania. Otherwise, why would Tito suggest it?158

Stalin went on to explain the connection between allied actions and American domestic and foreign policy:

You are giving reactionary elements in America food to convince public opinion that America won’t be doing anything special if it creates a Western bloc, because a bloc already exists in the Balkans…. Heading (p.109) America are real moneybags, not intelligents [sic], who hate us passionately and only look for a pretext…. They can fail at the elections if we give progressive elements arguments by our conduct…. But if these money magnates end up in office again, then we will be significantly guilty through our behavior.159

Tito’s actions were communicated immediately to Moscow, through its ambassador, Anatolii Lavrentiev, and by one of its allies on the Yugoslavian Politburo, the finance minister, Sreten Zhuiovich.160 Gibianskii argues that “everything changed when Moscow received Lavrentiev’s report about the Yugoslav Politburo meeting.”161 Most importantly, the Soviet leadership learned that their Yugoslav comrades denied Soviet advisers and diplomats access to data about the Yugoslavian economy, had rejected Stalin’s order that Bulgaria and Yugoslavia pursue an immediate confederation, and, despite Stalin’s admonitions to end the Greek civil war, had instead met with the Greek CP General Secretary, Nikos Zakhariades, and informed him that Yugoslavian military aid would continue, despite Stalin’s objections.162 On March 18, 1948, the Soviet Union withdrew all its military and civilian advisers from Yugoslavia over Yugoslav objections, the first material manifestation of the breach that would last until 1955.163

What ultimately served as the foundation for the bill of particulars levied on Yugoslavia was received by Suslov on March 27 from his CC FPD analysts. The subsequent report was distributed simultaneously to Tito and the entire eastern bloc. The report was titled, “On the Anti-Marxist Positions of the Leaders of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia on Questions of Foreign and Domestic Policy.”164 The new binary of the discourse of danger was evident. On page one, under the section entitled “Scorn for Marxist Theory,” the authors quoted Lenin in “What’s to Be Done?” Lenin had written that “only two ideologies exist: socialist and (p.110) bourgeois. There is no middle. Therefore, any reduction in socialist ideology, any dismissal of it, means the strengthening of bourgeois ideology.”165 No gray areas of innocuous difference existed here. Yugoslavia had ignored its place in the hierarchy by “ignoring the Soviet Union as the decisive force” and minimizing the role of the Red Army in Yugoslavia’s liberation. The smallest details of deviation on the “Yugoslav national path to socialism” were now excoriated as dangerous bourgeois degeneration, matters such as not wearing the red scarves of Soviet Young Pioneers, not publishing the full text of the Soviet CC Resolution on Muradeli’s opera, The Great Friendship, and not accepting a visit of the Red Army song and dance ensemble in December 1946. In addition to the foreign policy unilateralism, enumerated above, socialist construction in Yugoslavia was now criticized, unlike in the reports of just months before. Most ironic, however, were the charges made against Tito himself: his “vozhdizm, vanity, and presumptuousness,” and his concentration of power, which meant “he practically alone leads the entire sociopolitical life of the country and its foreign policy.”166

Eastern European allied responses to the March 27 letter against Tito could only have confirmed Stalin in his suspicion that hierarchy needed to be imposed strictly on the bloc. The most immediate, and only unprompted, support Moscow received was from Rakosi’s Hungary, on April 8. The Rumanian and Czechoslovakian parties didn’t even hold Politburo meetings to discuss the letter. The Polish party didn’t respond for almost a month, and then did so only after Gomulka told the Soviet ambassador that he didn’t believe the charges.167 Some Bulgarian and Czechoslovakian party members approved “the courage and independence of Tito” at local meetings.168

In their April 13 response to Stalin and Molotov, Tito and Kardelj denied the charges, suggested that this must just be a big misunderstanding, attributed Soviet charges to bad intelligence from disgruntled informants, and asked that the Soviets send a delegation to discuss matters.169 But the May 4, 1948, reply from Stalin and Molotov, also sent simultaneously to Eastern European allies, allowed for no compromise. Two weeks later, Suslov generously invited Tito to attend a June Cominform meeting where he could listen to his own denunciation. Tito declined the opportunity.170

(p.111) Just as the identification of Zoshchenko and Akhmatova as deviants, and Eisenstein, Aleksandrov, and Kochetov as New Soviet Men who could nevertheless make dangerous errors, had warned average Soviets that the boundaries of acceptable Soviet identity had become much more narrow, identifying the hero Tito as a dangerous deviant sent a chilling message throughout Eastern Europe. National roads to socialism, with their toleration of religious believers, private agriculture, Western cultural influence, and other contextual differences, let alone independent foreign policy action, were now punishable offenses. Of course such a punishment, being driven out of the bloc and possible dependence on the West, would probably have been voted for by most Eastern European publics. But it was a terrifying prospect for thousands of Moscow’s allies in power in these countries.

Just how dangerous Tito’s deviance must have been thought to be to Soviet security—understood as the need to have regimes in Eastern Europe as similar to the Soviet model as was possible to achieve—is evident in the fact that Moscow abandoned an ally, and even turned an ally into a potential enemy, just after the creation of the West European Union and days before announcing the blockade of Berlin. Mastny argues that the problem was “the incompatibility of Stalinist affinities.”171 There is truth in the argument that the very closeness of Soviet and Yugoslav identities made differences between them that much more dangerous to the Soviet project. The more socialist Yugoslavia was understood to be, the closer it was to the Soviet model, the more dangerous any of its “national” deviations or foreign policy ventures were, as they resonated in the bloc as authoritative alternatives to the model on offer from Moscow.

Stalin expressed the paternalistic and hierarchical logic of these identity relations in a February 1950 reception at the Hotel Metropol in Moscow: “Yugoslavia has placed itself outside the family; it wanted to take an impossible separate path; it will return to the family sooner or later.”172

C. The East German Exception

Tatiana Volokitina opens her book on Soviet foreign policy toward eastern Europe after the war by explaining that East Germany had been excluded from the book because “in Soviet policy the GDR (German Democratic Republic) occupied a special place, apart from Eastern European countries….”173 This special place reflected Soviet aspirations that Germany would be reunited, maximally as (p.112) a Soviet ally, minimally as a demilitarized, neutralized country friendly to the Soviet Union. So long as there was any hope that unification on acceptable terms could be effected, East German adoption of the Soviet model, in all its Stalinist details, had to be deferred. As Norman Naimark, perhaps the foremost historian of Soviet-GDR relations, concluded: “The Soviet Union had different intentions than it did in [the rest of Eastern Europe]. In Germany, the Soviets were interested in maintaining maximum flexibility to accommodate to a four-power agreement on unification, demilitarization, and neutralization of the country.”174

As was the case with Soviet allies in Eastern Europe more generally in the year or two after the war, Stalin counseled caution and moderation to his East German friends. In a June 1945 meeting with Wilhelm Piech and Walter Ulbricht, Stalin proposed that the German party publicly declare that the Soviet model was inappropriate for Germany and a parliamentary democracy must be established, and guarantee that farmers with large landholdings shouldn’t fear confiscation.175 In addition, German communists “should stop speaking so glowingly about the Soviet Union.”176 In a subsequent memorandum on land reform in eastern Germany from Molotov and Vyshinsky to Stalin, they explicitly differentiated the more moderate terms of the expropriations, as compared to those being undertaken in the rest of Eastern Europe.177

However, even before Stalinization in eastern Germany, which came several years after it had already begun in the rest of Eastern Europe, the Soviet appetite for reparations made eastern Germany an incredibly unattractive model for those Germans living in the West. From 1945 to 1947, around 17,000 boxcars of dismantled German factories arrived in the Soviet Union.178 A reasonable estimate is that one-third of East Germany’s industry was removed, and then reparations continued from ongoing East German production. Having promised to end reparations in May 1946, partly in order to affect the autumn elections in eastern Germany, the dismantling of German factories continued until January 1947.179 As late as October 1947, when Stalin agreed to reduce Soviet troops in (p.113) East Germany by 40 percent, he agreed with First Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Ivan Serov over the objections of General Sokolovskii, commander of Soviet forces in Germany, that the freed up food supplies should not be left for local Germans, but transferred to the Soviet Union.180 More amusing, but still telling, was widespread resentment among Germans of Soviet requisitioning of potatoes to make vodka for themselves. Graffiti appeared, replacing SED (Socialist United Party) with Soviet Property of Germany.181

The Soviet Union was obsessively interested in reparations, repeatedly demanding $10 billion of transfers, not only from eastern zones, but western zones, too, this figure having been discussed at the Yalta Conference in February 1945, though never formally agreed to. In November 1946, Molotov offered the French deputy foreign minister, Maurice Jacques Couve de Murville a deal: If France supported the Soviets on the $10 billion, they could rely on Soviet support for French claims on the Saar.182 In his January 1947 meeting with East German leaders, Stalin acknowledged that the continued “dismantling had influenced the mood before the Berlin elections.”183

Not only Soviet reparations made the close identification of German communists with Moscow politically costly in eastern Germany, but so too did the issue of German prisoners of war in the Soviet Union, of whom there were 4 to 5 million by the end of the conflict.184 Colonel Sergei Tiulpanov, head of the Soviet occupation’s Propaganda Department, succeeded in getting 120,000 freed in time for the September 1946 parliamentary elections at the request of East German communists who were fearful of the popular resentment engendered by not only the POW issue itself, but the fact that Soviets didn’t allow letters to be exchanged between the POWs and their families in East Germany.185 As of March 1947, there were still one million German POWs in the Soviet (p.114) Union. Although the Soviets agreed to free them all at the December 1948 CFM meeting in Moscow, the promise went unfulfilled until 1956, although the numbers had dwindled to 30,000 by 1951.186

Added to the political burden of local communists were the up to two million rapes committed by Soviet soldiers in East Germany in 1945 and 1946. These didn’t end until the Soviet army isolated itself in its own camps by 1948. Not until January 1949 did the USSR Supreme Soviet pass a law with strict punishments for rapes by Soviet citizens in Germany. Many Soviet representatives reported back to Moscow that the rapes were costing the communists political support.187 In addition, there was the brutal reality of up to 80,000 workers forced to work in the uranium mines near the Czechoslovak border in order to fuel the Soviet atomic bomb program. Exposed to radiation poisoning and only the most rudimentary of living quarters, thousands fled westward.188

The 2+ million POWs, rapes, reparations, and overall repression resulted in dismal local election results in September 1946, and still worse in Berlin elections the next month. In the local elections, both the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Christian Democratic Union (CDU) outpolled the communists, and in Berlin the Social Democratic Party (SDP) got 49 percent of the vote, the CDU 22 percent, and the German communists only 20 percent. Not surprisingly, German women voted in far greater numbers against the communists than did men.189

Soviet analysts recognized that the SDP had won so many votes because it had demanded a re-examination of Germany’s eastern borders, the return of Silesia and other eastern provinces, the end to reparations, the return of POWs, and the end to harsh Soviet rule. Of course, the German communist party was wrong-footed on all these issues by Soviet policies.190 As late as May 1947, Tiulpanov reported to the foreign ministry that even some members of the German Communist Party were suggesting negotiations with Poland on adjusting the border.191

(p.115) In a long meeting with Stalin in March 1948, Piech had to take a most circuitous route to get to the point of asking Stalin to rein in Soviet police in eastern Germany, who were arbitrarily arresting young men, many of whom would disappear without a trace. Piech started by talking about anti-Soviet propaganda taking its toll on the German people, and then raised the issue of the arrests. Stalin asked, “Who is arresting these Germans?” Then Stalin suggested they were “foreign agents and spies.” Finally, Stalin asked, “Why haven’t you written me about this before?” Piech responded that he didn’t want to bother him with trivialities. Stalin exclaimed, “What bother?!”192 Ulbricht continued to complain the following month to Tiulpanov about the food situation, the continuing dismantling of factories, and the disappearances of party members who had been arrested by Soviet authorities without charge, all of which reduced public support for the party and its program.193

Soviet occupiers proved equally obtuse on seemingly more minor, but politically sensitive issues, such as refusing to heed German communist requests to stop displaying portraits of Soviet military leaders in public, or showing movies glorifying Imperial Russian Generals Kutuzov and Suvorov, or, still worse, showing the Red Army’s triumphal march into Berlin, including scenes of German POWs marching east, the same POWs whose fate went unknown for years to the Soviet Union’s putative allies in Germany.194 While A. A. Smirnov, head of the 4th European Department of the MFA, recommended to Molotov in June 1947 that Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen, both former Nazi concentration camps, be shut down, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Deputy Chief of SWAG, Ivan Serov, refused.195

It is worthwhile to compare Soviet to Western occupation policy, since Moscow and Washington were both ultimately competing for the hearts and minds of Germans. Soviet policy had two major disadvantages. First, the United States was completely uninterested in reparations for itself, having reaped huge economic dividends from the war, while avoiding almost all of its devastation. Meanwhile, the Soviets, as shown, were vitally interested in extracting resources from conquered Germany, both for reasons of need and retribution. Second, Soviet understanding of what kind of domestic political order was necessary in Germany in order for the Soviet Union to be secure became increasingly Stalinist, and therefore unattractive, to Germans with a choice. Meanwhile, the system on offer from the United States, liberal democratic capitalism, was not (p.116) so horrible, in comparison. It might seem, given the electoral returns and refugee flows, that the West must have followed a far more benign policy toward the defeated Germans than Moscow. But the picture is more mixed, and the differences point out the huge advantages the United States and the West had in prosecuting the ensuing Cold War with the Soviet Union.

For example, if the Soviets re-used Auschwitz, Sachsenhausen, and Buchenwald as camps for German prisoners, the Americans so used Dachau and the British, Bergen-Belsen. While Germans under Soviet occupation frequently complained about disappearing friends and family, arbitrarily arrested by Soviet police forces, it was in the American occupation zone that almost 170,000 denazification cases were tried, compared to only 18,000 in the Soviet zone. Significantly, while the United States began to release them en masse in 1949 to support Chancellor Adenauer’s government, the growing Stalinization of eastern Germany was underway. Germans in the Soviet zone, at least for the first two years, were fed better than Germans in western occupation zones, a starvation diet being one of the ways western occupiers thought Germans should be punished for the war.196

In a December 1948 meeting with the German leadership, Stalin chided them with being too openly militant, reminding them, “Old Teutons went naked into battle with the Romans, but suffered losses…. One must mask oneself.” Stalin went on to recommend against the planned expropriations of property. He criticized Piech, Grotewohl and Ulbricht for their “premature” efforts to build socialism. “One must wait…. Socialism must be approached by zigzags, not directly…. Conditions in Germany dictate a more cautious policy.” He again differentiated Soviet from East German experience, and joked he had become an opportunist in his old age.197 Unlike other Eastern European constitutions that were religiously copied from the Stalinist Soviet constitution of 1936, the GDR’s constitution of October 1949 was explicitly modeled on the Weimar Republic constitution.198

Granted greater leeway from adhering to the Stalinist model of course didn’t mean anything was permitted. It only looked like toleration of difference in comparison to what was happening in the Soviet Union itself, and in other Eastern European countries. Even in the exceptional case of eastern Germany, “by force of habit as well as conviction, Soviet political officers encouraged … [German communists] to follow similar patterns of organization and behavior. They were (p.117) the schoolmasters of the [German communist party] and the headmaster [was] Colonel Tiulpanov.199 For example, the German Academy of Sciences was taken to task by Soviet advisers for not pursuing Lysenkoism in biology, as it was being done in the Soviet Union.200 The campaign against foreign influence on Soviet culture was followed by the banning of foreign plays in Germany in August 1946. While verbatim translations of the Soviet CC resolutions on Zvezda, with their crude invective against Akhmatova and Zoshchenko, remained unpublished in the East German press until 1952, apparently in order not to scare away support for local communists, Alexander Dymshits, head of the Culture Department under Tiulpanov, wrote a series of articles about socialist realism and its application to East German culture.201 Just as foreign trophy films were shown in the Soviet Union with rewritten subtitles, and a political interpretation appended to the opening of the film, Tiulpanov insisted that every film shown in Germany be accompanied by an opening monologue by a party official to “explain” the film to its German audience.202

Only after Western rejection of the Soviet note of March 1952 suggesting a unified, democratic, neutral, and demilitarized Germany did Stalin authorize, on July 8, 1952, the construction of socialism in the GDR, openly and according to the Soviet model. The German exception was over.203 In communications with the German leadership after the note, Stalin advised, finally, collectivization of German agriculture. Ulbricht, in particular, jumped at the chance, having been restrained by Moscow for the last seven years. Collectivization was accompanied by a round of show trials of “terrorists and saboteurs,” just like in the Soviet Union in the 1930s.204

D. Relations with China

Soviet relations with China, or more precisely the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the nationalist Kuomintang government, followed the same pattern of moderation in the first year or two after the end of World War II and was generally characteristic of Soviet relations with the rest of the world, and of identity relations (p.118) at home. Much scholarship has appeared in recent years on Sino-Soviet relations, based on archival openings in both China and Russia.205 A general picture emerges of a Soviet balancing act. At first openly restraining Mao, and behaving correctly toward Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang, and then increasingly providing material support to the Chinese communists, while still maintaining the pretense of even-handedness. Once the People’s Republic of China (PRC) was established in September 1949, Stalin still moved cautiously in establishing an alliance with China, again fearing a provocation of the United States. But any such fear was put aside in Stalin’s April 1950 agreement to back Kim Jong Il’s invasion of South Korea, with the proviso that Chinese armed forces would provide whatever military support North Korea might need. From 1950 until Stalin’s death, significant quantities of Soviet economic and military aid flowed into China, but China used much of this aid in Korea and was continually restrained from pursuing its primary strategic objective, the reconquest of Taiwan by Soviet refusal to support it.

Soviet Temporization and Moderation

On August 14, 1945, the Soviet Union and the Kuomintang signed a “Treaty of Friendship and Alliance,” resulting in Soviet military bases in Port Arthur, Dairen, control of Manchurian railroads, and independence for Outer Mongolia, or the People’s Republic of Mongolia. (PRM) On the very same day, Japanese (p.119) Emperor Hirohito broadcast his message of surrender, and within hours, Stalin cabled Mao suggesting that the CCP negotiate with the Kuomintang and resolve their differences peacefully.206 A two-pronged Soviet policy ensued. In October 1945, the Soviet army left enough captured Japanese equipment to outfit 300,000 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers. But on November 19, 1945, Moscow informed the CCP of its decision to transfer all cities along the Changchun railroad to the Kuomintang government, and advised all CCP cadres to evacuate. In early December 1945, Soviet forces allowed the Nationalist army to land at Mukden. But in March 1946, Stalin supported CCP plans to occupy all of Changchun, Harbin, and Quiqihaer, dropping his insistence that the CCP participate in a coalition government with the Kuomintang.207 As late as April 1947, Molotov assured US Secretary of State George Marshall that Moscow wanted a common policy in the Far East that would adhere to the Four Power agreements reached during the wartime conferences.208

Reflecting Moscow’s abiding fear of provoking the United States, Soviet weapons supplies to the PLA were kept secret. Even into 1949, Soviet weapons were replaced by American ones, so it could be argued they had been captured from the Nationalists.209 Persistent Soviet reluctance to allow Mao to travel to Moscow to meet Stalin is probably accounted for by this Soviet fear that an official and public reception of Mao would only risk increasing US interest in providing support to the Kuomintang. In early 1947, Mao expressed his interest in traveling to the Soviet Union. On June 15, the Soviets assented, but only a secret visit. But just two weeks later, Stalin changed his mind and advised the visit’s postponement.210 In July 1948 Stalin recommended delaying Mao’s visit until November, this time deploying the flimsiest of excuses: Soviet leaders had to see to the harvest!211 On November 21, 1948, Mao asked again, and again Stalin suggested a later date.212 On January 11, 1949, Stalin again advised Mao against visiting because “it would be used by enemies to discredit the CCP as a force allegedly dependent on Moscow….”213

(p.120) Consistent with an application of a discourse of difference, and Moscow’s understanding of itself as atop the hierarchy of socialist modernity, was the frequent advice from Stalin and other Soviet leaders to Mao and the CCP to moderate their ambitions for a rapid socialist transformation of China. It should be said that, despite Mao not visiting Moscow, there was constant communication between the two parties, most often in the form of Chinese communists sending Moscow long memos and reports on what they were doing and asking advice on what they should be doing. For example, replying to Mao’s telegram of November 30, 1947, on April 20, 1948, Stalin advised against “following the examples of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia,” in eliminating all other political parties from the political stage. Instead, China should have a coalition government, because it will be a “national revolutionary-democratic government, not a communist one….” Nationalizing the land and property of the bourgeoisie would be a mistake.214

The Alliance with China

By early 1949 it was clear to Stalin that Mao’s forces were going to win in China. This victory was understood by Stalin to be a huge boon to Soviet security, and that of socialism in general. He told Ivan Kovalev, his personal envoy to Mao, in May 1948, that “if socialism is victorious in China, and our countries go along the same path, then the victory of socialism in the world can be considered guaranteed. We will not be threatened by any contingencies.”215 Herein is concealed the ultimate rupture in identity relations. So long as the Soviet Union and China, as two socialist countries, were on “the same path,” security and victory were assured. But, in just ten years, identity differences would result in disastrous results for Sino-Soviet relations.

In a January 1949 telegram to Mao, Stalin, while for at least the fourth time refusing to entertain Mao in the Soviet Union, sent Anastas Mikoian as his personal representative to meet with Mao, and recognized Mao’s “victorious liberation war.” Soviet understanding of China changed as it became clear that victory was close at hand. While Mikoian repeated Stalin’s recommendation of a coalition government, he also urged Mao to collectivize the peasantry, not just expropriate landlords. China was to become more like the Soviet Union every day. At the March 1949 CCP CC Plenum, Mao made Chinese imitation of the Soviet Union official, thus making any future differences between Moscow and Beijing that much more consequential.216

(p.121) Another very significant identity that emerged for China during Mikoian’s visit was China’s role as vanguard for revolutionary movements in the decolonizing world; a division of labor was emerging, with the Soviet Union atop the hierarchy, responsible for revolutionary movements in the modern, developed West, and China, subordinate, but still responsible for national liberation movements in the East. It came about after Mao kept calling himself a “pupil of Stalin,” inexperienced, a bad Marxist, etc. Finally, Mikoian told him that the Chinese experience was of “theoretical value for revolutionary movements in Asian countries,” thus opening the door to a particular kind of alliance relationship.217

What would later become the topics of negotiation between Mao and Stalin during their first and only meeting in Moscow from December 1949 to February 1950 were also discussed by Mao and Mikoian. Mikoian telegrammed Moscow on February 6, 1949, reporting that Mao and the Chinese were surprised that the Soviets considered their treaties with China to be unequal, and expressed no interest in their revision.218 But Mao did ask whether Inner and Outer Mongolia could be merged into one Chinese province, something neither Stalin nor any subsequent Soviet leader found imaginable, given the existence of the People’s Republic of Mongolia. Mao also asked about Soviet military support for the PLA’s efforts to crush the rebels in Sinkiang. Mikoian refused the request, but Liu Shaoqi raised it again with Stalin in July–August 1949 in Moscow, and Stalin assented.219 Indeed, there was a significant increase in Soviet military aid to China, including military advisers and pilots, in the first half of 1949, antedating Mao’s “lean to one side” speech on June 30, 1949, conventionally marked as the beginning of the Sino-Soviet alliance.220

Sandwiched between Mikoian’s week with Mao in China and Mao’s ten weeks with Stalin in Moscow was Liu Shaoqi’s ten-week stay in Moscow in June–August 1949.221 Liu, at the time the second-ranking member of the CCP behind Mao, raised the issue of the August 1945 Soviet treaty with the Kuomintang, but Stalin replied he didn’t want to discuss its revision or renunciation yet, as it would allow Britain and the United States to selectively renege on all the agreements reached at Yalta.222 However, he did agree to discuss it with Mao (p.122) during his upcoming visit, and offered to evacuate Port Arthur immediately, if the Chinese wished. Liu demurred.223

During Liu’s visit, on July 25, Mao telegrammed Stalin declaring that “we need to seize Formosa” and asked to have 1,000 Chinese pilots trained in Moscow over the next six months or a year, and be supplied with 100 to 200 fighter planes and 40 to 80 bombers. Mao also requested that Stalin send volunteer pilots and covert military units to aid in the capture of Taiwan. Stalin refused the requests to aid in the liberation of Taiwan, saying it would entail conflict with both the US Navy and Air Force and would “provide a pretext for unleashing a new world war.” He said instructors are available anytime, but the other aid requests should be thought about and discussed later. Stalin suggested to Mao, instead of invading the island, why not send special forces to foment rebellion? The latter might have been Stalin calling Mao’s bluff, since Mao had assured Stalin of the ease with which the PLA could take Taiwan, since the masses would rally to the CCP’s side.224 Fear of provoking the United States also spurred Stalin’s desire to hide the $300 million loan Moscow offered China, either as a loan to Manchuria or as a secret party to party agreement, to be formalized only when a new Chinese government was established. He also advised China not to join the Cominform.225

Other Soviet behavior manifested anxiety about unnecessarily provoking the United States in China. Stalin personally, for example, kept the official recognition of the PRC on October 2, 1949, a low-key matter. He even kept it off the front page of Pravda, overruling Gromyko. Moreover, to maintain legal niceties, Stalin had kept a Soviet ambassador, Nikolai Roshchin, in Nanking until September 30, 1949, despite repeated requests from Mao to remove this Soviet representative to the Kuomintang.226

Chinese subordination to Moscow was fully evident by this time. Prior to visiting Moscow, Liu had sent to Stalin a report, “On the Question of Relations between the CPSU and CCP,” which asserted that “Mao and the CCP CC think that the CPSU is the headquarters of the international communist and workers’ movement, and CCP is only the staff of one of the fronts. The interests of the (p.123) parts must be subordinate to international interests, and therefore the CCP subordinates itself to the decisions of the CPSU. If differences emerge between the two parties, then the CCP, having expressed its viewpoint, will subordinate itself and will fulfill the decisions of the CPSU.”227 What could be better than that, from the viewpoint of Moscow? China had declared itself to be a peripheral oblast to the Moscow center.

But Stalin didn’t endorse this kowtowing before Moscow. He reportedly said it seems strange to us, “the party of one state subordinating itself to the party of another…. It is impermissible…. You shouldn’t take the thoughts we express as orders. They are a kind of fraternal advice…. We can advise you, but not order you, since we are insufficiently informed about the situation in China….”228 Stalin instead repeatedly emphasized China’s unique contribution to the world revolutionary movement—in the decolonizing world. It was during this meeting that Stalin and Liu explicitly agreed that China, not the Soviet Union, would be responsible for relations with, and aid to, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam.229 Stalin said that “Asians are looking to you with hope,” and the CCP has many “pupils.”230 But Liu would have nothing to do with Stalin’s elevation of China’s role. At the farewell banquet for Gao Gang, Stalin proposed a toast in which he said, “While today you call us older brother, a younger brother can catch up and surpass him.” But Liu protested and refused to raise his glass to this, exclaiming, “We will always learn from our older brother!”231 What is more, in direct contravention of the cult of infallibility in place at home, Stalin admitted to Liu that “we know we have made ourselves a hindrance to you…. We may give you erroneous advice because we don’t understand the real situation in your country. Whenever we err, you should let us know.”232

(p.124) Stalin also tried to restrain Chinese enthusiasm for immediate socialist construction, as he had in Eastern Europe until 1947, and would in East Germany until 1952. He advised Liu to include the national bourgeoisie in the Chinese government and to not confiscate imperialist investment hastily.233 Stalin endorsed moderation because of his understanding China as lower on the hierarchy of socialist development than Eastern European people’s democracies, let alone the Soviet Union itself. In a February 1950 meeting on the new edition of Stalin’s textbook on political economy, it was agreed that China still lagged behind on the road to socialism. It had only a dictatorship of “the proletariat and peasants” and had “feudal relations” in the countryside, not unlike the early stages of Soviet rule in Central Asia. They concluded that China was “still in the first phase of development.”234

Finally, Mao arrived for his first, and only, visit with Stalin, on December 16, 1949, remaining in Moscow until February 17, 1950. Mao wasn’t “abandoned” or given the cold shoulder by Stalin during his trip, contrary to earlier historiography on the subject. He stayed at “Blizhnaia,” the dacha used by Stalin when he didn’t stay at the Kremlin. Stalin met Mao the day he arrived, and then Mikoian and Vyshinsky on the 18th, Molotov and Mikoian on the 20th. Nikolai Fedorenko, MFA Far Eastern Department head, met him every day, and Kovalev met him mostly every day. At Stalin’s birthday celebration at the Bolshoi Theater on December 21, Mao was given the seat of honor beside Stalin on his right, with Khrushchev on Stalin’s left. He was next to Stalin at the banquet the following day and was the first foreign guest invited to speak.235

At the first meeting, on the afternoon of December 16, Stalin said revision of the 1945 treaty was not advisable, as it was part of the Yalta agreements, and any changes would afford a pretext to the United States and Britain to reopen other questions, such as the Kurile islands or Sakhalin. Stalin instead suggested keeping the treaty but withdrawing Soviet troops from Port Arthur. To Mao’s request for Soviet pilots to help in the reconquest of Formosa, Stalin temporized, saying aid hasn’t been ruled out, but we should consider its form. And then, invoking the well-known danger, he said, “What is most important here is to not give Americans a pretext to intervene ….”236 In late December, Mao complained to Kovalev (p.125) that they had come to Moscow for nothing: “Why had he come, just to eat, shit, and sleep every day?”237 On January 2, 1950, Molotov and Mikoian told Mao that a new treaty could be negotiated.238 Discussions between Mao and Stalin began on January 22, at which time Stalin said the Port Arthur agreement wasn’t equitable, and that China and the Soviet Union should share equally in the control of the Changchun railroad.239

The Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance, signed on February 14, 1950, replacing the August 1945 treaty with the Nationalist government, resulted in the return of Port Arthur to China no later than December 31, 1951, instead of by 1975, as provided for in the 1945 treaty.240 It also obligated both sides to offer military assistance if either was involved in military hostilities with Japan or its allies. China also got concessions on the Changchun railroad, as well as elimination of Soviet extraterritorial rights on Chinese soil.241 The joint stock companies for the exploration and exploitation of Chinese mineral resources, suggested by China in January 1950, were agreed to by the Soviet side. But the “secret protocols” were the humiliating “bitter pills,” as Mao referred to them some years later, that reeked of the “unequal treaties” of the nineteenth century. For example, China agreed to keep all foreigners and foreign investment, other than Soviet, out of Manchuria and Sinkiang, and the Soviets had the right to move troops on the Manchurian railroad without informing China, while China, despite repeated demands during the talks, didn’t enjoy reciprocal rights. Stalin himself introduced the idea of prohibiting “citizens of third states” in Manchuria and Sinkiang, and “[t]he Chinese delegation met the idea with bewildered silence.”242

On January 8, Soviets advised Mao to demand the Kuomintang seat on the UN Security Council (UNSC). The Soviet Union began boycotting UNSC meetings on January 16.243 At the January 22 meeting, Stalin agreed with Mao’s proposal to occupy Tibet.244

(p.126) The Korean War

The North Koreans have lost nothing in this war except the victims.245

—Stalin, August 25, 1952

When Stalin was asked at Yalta in February 1945 what the Soviet Union wanted for participation in the war against Japan, he asked for nothing in Korea. At Potsdam, six months later, he agreed to the division of Korea at the 38th parallel, and ordered a stop to the Soviet advance weeks before US soldiers had even arrived in the South. In September 1947, Moscow suggested a mutual withdrawal of foreign forces and withdrew all Soviet forces by December 1948, seven months before the United States completed its exit.246 In late 1949, Stalin even accepted his ambassador’s proposal to dismantle Soviet naval and air bases in North Korea.247

Consistent with the caution shown toward the Chinese civil war unfolding next door, the Soviets refused to sign a treaty of alliance with North Korea, holding out hope for an ultimately united Korea. Pursuant to Kim’s persistent pleas for Soviet help in a war of reunification against the South, including Kim’s presentation of a plan of attack to Stalin in March 1949,248 Stalin asked the Soviet embassy in Pyongyang to evaluate a possible attack by the North. Its September 14, 1949, report was pessimistic about North Korean prospects. The Politburo two weeks later agreed with the conclusions made by its foreign ministry officials in North Korea.

Its conclusions were included in a subsequent telegram to Kim. It argued that the North didn’t enjoy military superiority, the guerilla movement and popular uprising had not been prepared in the South, and “the possibility of a prolonged war would give the Americans an excuse to interfere in Korean affairs.”249 Stalin’s consultations with Mao in early October resulted in a telegram on October 27 from Gromyko to the Soviet ambassador in Pyongyang, Terentii (p.127) Shtykov, warning the North Korean leadership, once again, to cease provocations on the border.250

Despite repeatedly verbally restraining Kim, Soviet military aid to North Korea accelerated throughout 1949.251 On January 5, 1950, Truman announced the end of military assistance to the Nationalist Chinese on Taiwan. A week later, Secretary of State Dean Acheson gave a speech in which he removed both Taiwan and South Korea from the US defense perimeter in Asia. On January 30, Stalin telegrammed Kim, agreeing, finally, to his request to discuss his invasion plans in April in Moscow. While the sequence certainly looks like a compelling causal story, it should be said that nobody has yet turned up any Soviet documentation linking these two American speeches to Stalin’s change of heart.252

During his secret March 30–April 25, 1950, visit to Moscow, Kim Jong Il promised Stalin a fait accompli, a war so short that the United States would not have time to intervene effectively. In particular, he reassured Stalin that it would be a surprise attack and last three days; 200,000 South Korean communists would rise up in support of the invasion; and southern guerillas would support the North Korean army. Not only Soviet, but even Chinese help would not be necessary, Kim argued.253 Stalin approved the attack, but told Kim the Soviets would not fight, even if the United States intervened, and any military assistance would have to come from China, reflecting the new division of labor forged between Moscow and Beijing a year earlier.254 North Korea was so convinced of its short war theory that it didn’t even plan beyond 30 days.255

Kim went from Moscow to China, visiting Mao on May 13. The Chinese appealed to Moscow for clarification, and Vyshinsky cabled Mao that Stalin had indeed approved Kim’s plans, “but it is up to you, China, to decide.” Not only did Mao approve, releasing some 70,000 Koreans from the PLA to help North Korea, (p.128) but prepared to invade Taiwan, too. Mao further assured Kim that the United States wouldn’t intervene as “the US won’t risk World War III for such a small territory.”256

Manifesting his continued concern about the United States, Stalin refused to provide even military advisers to North Korea before the attack.257 The war began on June 25. By June 28, Seoul had fallen. Meanwhile, Stalin was pushing Kim to advance faster, fearing a US intervention otherwise. By July 5, Stalin pressed China to deploy nine divisions on its border with Korea, just in case, promising air cover.258 Buoyed by North Korea’s initial success, Stalin termed the July 13 British proposal of a return to the 38th parallel “impudent and unacceptable.” Stalin again requested those nine Chinese divisions, promising Soviet air cover.259 Meanwhile, China had already felt out India about exchanging a return to the 38th parallel for the permanent seat on the UNSC. In his reply to Stalin, Mao ignored the request for the nine divisions but thanked him for the offer of Soviet air support.260

At this time, Stalin was very satisfied with the turn of events in Korea. In his August 27 rejection of Gottwald’s261 suggestion that boycotting the UNSC meetings on Korea was a mistake, Stalin outlined the following strategic logic:

America has now involved itself in a military intervention in Korea, an opportunity to commit new stupidities so that public opinion can see the true face of the American government. Now hardly any honest person can doubt that America is an oppressor and aggressor, and that they are not as militarily strong as they advertise. Besides, it is clear that the USA is now distracted from Europe. Isn’t this a plus for us in the balance of world forces? Unconditionally.

Let’s assume that the American government will tie itself up in the Far East and involve China in the struggle for freedom in Korea. What can happen then?

First, America can’t deal with China’s huge armed forces…. [I]f only America should overextend itself in this struggle. Second, America will be unable to launch World War III in the near future…. There will be time to strengthen socialism in Europe….262

(p.129) Given the many rewards Stalin expected the war in Korea to bring the Soviet Union and the socialist camp, he would plausibly have been dismayed over the success of the Inchon landing in South Korea behind North Korean lines on September 15.

Just three days after the landing, Stalin urged North Korea to redeploy its forces from the southeast to the defense of Seoul and to build air defenses for Pyongyang, warning that the Korean Peoples’ Army (KPA) was in danger of being destroyed by unchallenged US air power and a double envelopment by US forces. But North Korea ignored the advice for over a week. Seoul fell to US forces less than two weeks after the landing. The same day, the Soviet Politburo decided the KPA should retreat back across the 38th parallel and concentrate on defending North Korea. Kim appealed to the Soviet Union and China on October 1 for direct military intervention to save North Korea.263 Stalin asked Mao the same day to send five to six Chinese divisions, with Soviet air cover.264 The initial Chinese response was negative, arguing that it was too dangerous, Chinese forces were too weak, they should wait, North Korea can be lost, and Kim can lead a guerilla war.265 On October 5, the Soviet Politburo resigned itself to the loss of North Korea, not wishing a direct military conflict with the United States. But Stalin still urged Mao to intervene, arguing that China would never get Taiwan back if the United States occupied all of Korea, and that war with the United States (if China fights it) was better now, than later, when Japan recovers.266 On October 9, Mao tentatively agreed to ultimately send nine divisions, with Soviet air cover, the same day US forces crossed the 38th parallel.267 Not until October 13 did Mao agree to intervene, and Chinese forces crossed the border on October 24.268

On November 24, MacArthur began his offensive toward the Yalu River border between North Korea and China. The Chinese counterattack resulted in Chinese forces retaking Pyongyang on December 4. The Chinese having the US forces on the run, Stalin agreed with Mao’s conditions for a cease-fire on December 7: withdrawal of all foreign troops from Korea, withdrawal of US forces from Taiwan and the straits, the UNSC seat for the PRC, and a conference on a peace treaty with Japan.269 Through December, both Stalin and Mao pushed the Chinese (p.130) commander, Peng Dehuai to capture Seoul and push US forces farther south. On December 31, Chinese forces retook Seoul.270

The front having roughly stabilized at the 38th parallel over the last six months, on June 5, 1951, the Soviet ambassador to the UN, Iakob Malik, informed George Kennan that the Soviet government would like a peaceful resolution of the Korean War as soon as possible.271 The same day, Stalin telegrammed Mao to not “accelerate the war, since a drawn out war gives the possibility for Chinese troops to study contemporary warfare, shakes up the Truman regime in America, and harms the military prestige of Anglo-American soldiers.” If we were to summarize positions on a possible armistice from May 1951 to June 1953, we could say the Soviets wished to prolong the war; the Chinese wavered, but ultimately supported a prolonged war unless the United States made significant concessions, and the North Koreans increasingly wished to end the war as soon as possible.272

By July 1951, Stalin agreed to Mao’s negotiating position, dropping the issues of Taiwan and the UNSC seat, but demanding a cease-fire, POW exchange, withdrawal of all foreign forces, and a return of refugees.273 In August 1952, Zhou Enlai and Stalin met in Moscow, mostly to coordinate strategy in Korea. Zhou said that the Americans wanted to return 76,000 POWs, while keeping 13,000 Chinese. The Koreans wanted this deal, arguing that their daily losses were greater than the number of POWs whose return the North Koreans, Chinese, and Soviets were arguing for. Zhou reported that Mao was for continuation of the war as it “hinders US preparation for World War III.” Stalin agreed.274

After endorsing Kim’s decision to launch the war, Stalin did all he could to reduce the probability of a direct military clash between Soviet and US forces. Most obviously, he induced Chinese forces to do all of the ground combat, while Soviet military engagement remained in the air.275 Stalin refused to allow Soviet Koreans to fight on the side of the KPA. US bombing of a Soviet airbase 100 kilometers inside the Soviet border resulted in a quiet Soviet protest, not in a pretext to deepen Soviet involvement. The redeployment of Soviet air defense forces to Manchuria was done in secret, and the planes Soviets flew had North Korean markings, their pilots wore North Korean uniforms, and on the radio, they spoke only Korean.276

(p.131) E. The Irrelevant Third World

We might reasonably expect that the decolonizing world would have been seen by the Soviet leadership as the richest possible source of allies against the United States, a huge opportunity for an expansionist Soviet Union to challenge the prevailing status quo in the imperialist camp. On the contrary, under Stalin, given his fear of difference, and distrust for any but the most loyal communists who were committed to the Soviet model in detail, these nationalist leaders of anti-colonial movements were not regarded as potential allies, but rather as potential lackeys of the imperialists.

An August 1945 conversation between Molotov and the French ambassador to the Soviet Union, Georges Catroux, is illustrative. The latter asked Molotov about the Soviet attitude toward the re-establishment of French sovereignty in Indochina. Molotov asked incredulously why anyone would oppose this? Catroux answered that Roosevelt opposed it.277

Stalin resisted even recognizing Ho Chi Minh’s Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) in January 1950, in contrast to the PRC’s enthusiastic and public acclamation. When Ho visited Moscow in February 1950, while Mao was still there, he had to do so in secret, and he was told to make any aid requests to China, not the Soviet Union.278 Stalin even later said he regretted recognizing the DRV, saying he had done so too hastily.279

Now, of course, one can plausibly argue that Molotov and Stalin still thought of France as a major player in Europe, an important potential ally on managing the occupation of their common German enemy. But this could not explain similar attitudes toward rebellious colonies held by other imperial powers, or the continued indifference toward these revolutions after the lines in Europe were already drawn. Scholars who have made the connection between Soviet hopes for French help on Germany and Soviet restraint on Indochina or Algeria have not cited any primary evidence in making the claim.280 My claim that Soviet indifference toward Vietnam was just part of a more general indifference to the decolonizing world, because of fear of its likely betrayal of socialism and the Soviet Union, seems more plausible, as it accounts for a wide range of outcomes, not only Soviet attitudes toward national liberation movements (NLMs) in French colonies.

(p.132) It is interesting to see how Stalin regarded UN trusteeships. The issue arose at the November 1946 New York CFM meeting, and Molotov cabled Stalin to say he saw no reason for the Soviet Union to participate in them. On the contrary, Stalin cabled back, we should express our interest, so we can use them as bargaining chips to be traded on issues of more importance. To ensure Molotov got the point about Soviet lack of interest in decolonization per se, he explained that “we shouldn’t be more leftist than the leaders of these territories. They … mostly are corrupt and care not so much about the independence of their territories, as the preservation of their privileges…. The time is not yet ripe for us to clash over the fate of these territories….”281 In one of his very few available commentaries on revolutionary prospects in the “East,” Stalin wrote a letter to the Indonesian Communist Party, cautioning it to “reject revolutionary Leftism,” and, instead, concentrate on political work among the people.282 He went on to remind its members that they were not China; they did not share a border with the Soviet Union, who could provide them refuge from encirclement.283

Ironically, given future alignment patterns in the Middle East, and the anti-cosmopolitan campaign that began in 1948 in the Soviet Union, the one anti-colonial movement Stalin did support was that of Israel. Soviet Ambassador to the UN Andrei Gromyko’s General Assembly speech in June 1947 calling for an Israeli state in Palestine was a moving appeal for justice for the world’s Jews: “An enormous number of surviving European Jews have ended up without homeland, shelter, or means of existence. Hundreds of thousands wander around different countries in search of refuge. The greater part of them are in refugee camps…. It is time, not in words, but in deeds, to help these people…. The fact that not a single west European state was able to defend the elementary rights of the Jewish people, and defend it from the violence of fascist butchers explains the aspiration of Jews to create their own state. It is impossible to justify the denial of such a right for Jews.”284

Not only did the Soviet Union immediately recognize the state of Israel on May 15, 1948, but had covertly supplied the Jewish resistance with weapons through Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia for years after the war. The recruitment of Jewish fighters and purchase of arms was so obvious in Prague that US Secretary of State George Marshall protested to the Czechoslovakian foreign minister, Clementis, accusing Prague of violating the UN arms embargo on Palestine. In the autumn of 1948, the Czechoslovakian consulate in Israel gave transit visas to members of the (p.133) terrorist Stern gang so they could flee to Prague after assassinating the UN envoy to Palestine, Count Folke Bernadotte.285 The Soviet Union also supported Israel diplomatically at the UN during the war that ensued after Israel’s declaration of independence. Soviet UN Ambassador Yakov Malik, for example, called for a cease-fire in the war in November 1948, leaving Israel in possession of previously Arab territory.

The case of Soviet support for Israel clearly runs contrary to my hypotheses about the link between societal understandings of Soviet identity and relations with the external world. If we recall from chapter 2, Solomon Mikhoels was arrested in January 1948, popular anti-Semitism was tolerated throughout the media and in official institutions, and in November 1948, the Jewish Anti-Fascist Committee was shut down. All this occurred during staunch Soviet support for Israel, and months before the Soviet Union ended the covert supply of weaponry to Israel in February 1949.286

Consistent, however, with the more general Soviet indifference to the decolonizing world, ending support for Israel didn’t result in support for its Arab neighbors or the Palestinians. When asked about the Soviet position on aid for Palestinian refugees, Gromyko replied that the Soviet Union wouldn’t participate “since this problem was created by other countries.”287 The overthrow of Egypt’s King Farouk in July 1952 went almost unremarked in Moscow.288

F. Relations with the United States

The main weapons of America are stuffed animals, cigarettes, and other goods for sale.

—Stalin to Zhou Enlai, August 1952, Moscow

Stalin made this statement to Zhou Enlai with ridicule, but in fact he had put his finger on one of the prime sources of the US advantage in the Cold War: its economic prowess. The United States was the Soviet Union’s most Significant Other in world politics from 1945 until 1991. Indeed, both often referred to themselves as “the only two great powers” in the world.289 Indeed, any other categorization of (p.134) the Soviet Union was a violation of the hierarchical and patriarchal order of things. As Molotov told the Soviet ambassador to the United States a few days after Truman’s announcement of aid to Greece and Turkey, such declarations will not “convert us into obedient good little boys.”290 Soviet relations with every other country were in some way understood in relationship to Soviet relations with the United States, or imperialism. All the foregoing discussions could have been presented with the United States as a player, but most central in this relationship were the fate of Germany and Soviet security in Eastern Europe. Conditioning these relations were Soviet expectations of a new world war with the United States, and concern that Moscow, or its allies, not unnecessarily provoke the United States into a more forceful posture against the Soviet Union or its allies.

1. Fear of a New War with the United States

It seems safe to say that Soviet leaders never feared that the United States would attack the Soviet Union, either conventionally or atomically. One material indicator of how confident the Soviet Union was of US intentions was the reduction of Soviet armed forces from 11 to 3 million between 1945 and 1948, and a decline in the military budget from 138 to 55 billion rubles in the same period. Even during the four years of American atomic monopoly, Stalin appears to have been unconcerned about the possibility of an unprovoked US attack on the Soviet Union. He thought, for example, that the United States had only a few atomic bombs in any case, maybe five or six. In fact the United States had nine by mid 1946.291

Moreover, Stalin was unimpressed by the destruction wrought on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The reports he received from Japan attributed the level of destruction to the flammability of wood and paper houses, Japan’s lack of air defenses, the lack of strategic warning, and the failure to evacuate civilians. Soviet military planning in the early postwar years took all these Japanese vulnerabilities into account. Civilian defense, strategic warning, and bombing of US bombers in theater before they could take off to deliver their atomic munitions were the nucleus of early Soviet postwar planning.292

Nevertheless Stalin both devoted precious resources to the acceleration of the Soviet atomic program, as well as expressed relief at its successful test on August 29, 1949, telling one of its main “fathers,” Igor Kurchatov, that “if we had been a year or 18 months later, we would surely have felt it on ourselves,” perhaps (p.135) reflecting fear of the chatter in the United States about the expedience of a preventive war against the Soviet Union.293

Stalin’s other source of “hope” against a US attack was that, theoretically speaking, inter-imperialist wars were inevitable, but not imperialist wars against the Soviet Union. The latter could only occur indirectly, as a result of the former. Underlying this hope, besides Lenin’s theory of imperialism, was Stalin’s conviction that the US economy was in another state of capitalist crisis, and so would be forced to compete with Britain, and other imperialist powers, for markets to exploit. This would explain his view that the United States was trying to repress German economic development, that denial of the Marshall Plan to Eastern European allies would deal a blow to the US economy, and that the US was desperate to trade with Eastern Europe and China. Talking with Sergei Eisenstein about his sequel to Ivan the Terrible, Stalin offered his theory of US warmaking: “Americans bombed Czechoslovakian industry. They adhered to this line all across Europe. For them it was important to destroy industry that competed with them. They bombed with gusto!”294

What Stalin and the Soviet leadership apparently never felt was fear that the United States would attack the Soviet Union, or that there was any high probability of war between the two countries. Of more than a few direct quotes from Stalin, with many different interlocutors, only once did he express fear of a war with the United States. In August 1948, for example, despite tensions over the unification of the Western zones in Germany in March 1948, the Soviet surface blockade of West Berlin initiated on April 1 and the June 4 US Senate passage of the Vandenberg Resolution committing the United States to the stationing of troops in Europe, Malenkov told Pietro Nenni, general secretary of the Italian Socialist Party, in August 1948 that the Soviets were convinced of a low probability of war.295

In a May 1949 conversation with his envoy to Mao, Ivan Kovalev, Stalin said that “war isn’t advantageous for the imperialists…. They aren’t ready to fight…. America is less ready to attack the USSR than the USSR is to repulse an attack….”296 While Stalin warned Togliatti in January 1951 that a new world war could break out at any moment,297 in February Stalin told a journalist that “the peace movement can prevent a new world war.”298

(p.136) In discussing the Korean War with Zhou Enlai in Moscow in August 1952, Stalin asserted:

The Korean War has shown the weakness of the Americans…. Americans aren’t at all capable of conducting a big war, especially after Korea. All their power is in planes and the atomic bomb…. America can’t beat tiny Korea…. Every American soldier is a speculator…. The Germans conquered France in 20 days. The United States, already for two years, can’t deal with tiny Korea. What kind of power is that? They want to subjugate the world, but can’t deal with tiny Korea. No, Americans don’t know how to fight…. They place their hopes on the atomic bomb and bombing, but you can’t win a war like that. You need ground forces, but their ground forces are few and weak. They fight with little Korea, but in the United States they are already crying. What will happen if they start a big war? Then, perhaps, they all will cry.”299

2. Fear of Provoking the United States

As was seen from Stalin’s discussions with Eastern European and Chinese leaders, his fear of the United States continued after expectations of some kind of co-hegemony with Washington had been dashed. Stalin criticized the Bulgarian leadership in August 1947 for signing a treaty with Yugoslavia before peace treaties had been signed between the Allies and Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, since this just gave a pretext for the “US to increase support for Greece and Turkey.” Replying to his “Great Friend” Stalin, Dimitrov agreed to table the treaty.300 At the same meeting in March 1948 Stalin told Yugoslavian representatives Kardelj and Djilas to not deploy an army division in Albania; otherwise, both the English and Americans would have a pretext to intervene.301 Stalin advised the East German leadership in December 1948 not to join the Cominform as “one shouldn’t give new arguments to one’s enemies.”302

(p.137) 3. Germany and Eastern Europe

What becomes a central problem in relations between the United States and the Soviet Union—the Stalinization of Eastern Europe—was born during the wartime conferences, when it was collectively agreed that these regimes would be simultaneously “free and friendly toward the Soviet Union.” This was oxymoronic. Somehow, Roosevelt and Churchill either believed, or disingenuously repeated the expectation, that Eastern Europeans would freely choose to be friendly to Moscow, and Stalin repeated that such friendly regimes would be freely chosen. Perhaps a useful myth to keep the coalition together, it was a delayed action mine in the relationship, as Western publics were increasingly horrified by the Stalinization of Eastern Europe, and Stalin felt increasingly betrayed by Western insistence that these governments be populated by parties and individuals he felt were hostile to the Soviet Union.

Given the level of destruction suffered by the Soviet economy, the US suspension of Lend-Lease in May 1945 was a serious blow. According to Gosplan, Lend-Lease and imports accounted for 55 percent of trucks and cars, 21 percent of tractors, 42 percent of locomotives, 41 percent of aluminum, 99 percent of tin, and all the natural rubber used in the Soviet Union from 1941 to 1945. Lend-Lease was worth about $11 billion and in 1944 was fully 19 percent of Soviet GNP.303 So, although, the Truman Administration cut all Lend-Lease recipients off at the same time, the shock done to the already reeling Soviet economy was massive, and doubtless underappreciated in Washington. This came along with oddly protracted negotiations over a $5 billion US loan to the Soviet Union that had been promised by Roosevelt at both Teheran and Yalta.304 Instead, the Soviet Union was granted a credit of $244 million in October 1945.

In September 1945 at the London CFM meeting, US Secretary of State James Byrnes raised the possibility of a US-Soviet treaty that would “keep Germany disarmed for 20–25 years.” Informed by Molotov of the US proposal, Stalin replied that, while it was “hard to reject,” Molotov should ask for a pact against Japan, as well.305 In June 1946 Molotov sent a memo to Stalin on Byrnes’s proposed treaty, after gathering comments from many MFA officials. Molotov found nothing good in the proposal he claimed was pursuing the following goals: reduce the time Germany is occupied; reduce Soviet reparations; weaken (p.138) control over Germany; weaken Soviet influence in Germany; preserve German economic and military power; accelerate Germany’s potential so as to use it against the Soviet Union; and re-examine all Allied decisions on Germany.306

In the discussions leading up to Molotov’s memo Marshal Zhukov weighed in, arguing a demilitarized Germany would be followed by US demands that Soviet troops leave Poland and the Balkans. Molotov’s deputy, Solomon Lozovsky (later executed in the Leningrad Affair), expressed fear of economic competition with the West, as the troop withdrawal would “lead to US economic domination of Germany.”307 Perhaps the unlucky Lozovsky was most prescient, as it would be the US economic threat to Soviet gains in Eastern Europe, or rather the alacrity with which Eastern Europeans welcomed such a threat, that would prove most alarming to Moscow.

In September 1946, perhaps in response to the speech given by Secretary of State Byrnes on September 6 in Stuttgart announcing a turn in US policy in Germany from occupation to reconstruction, Molotov instructed Nikolai Novikov, then ambassador to the United States, to join him in Paris for the CFM meeting. He then asked Novikov to write a memorandum on the state of US-Soviet relations, in effect dictating what should be in it. In it Novikov warned Moscow that US intentions in Germany were to rapidly withdraw from western Germany, leaving an ally of the United States in its place.308

Just a month after Britain and the United States announced the unification of their zones of occupation in western Germany on January 1, 1947, Stalin met with Piech, Ulbricht and Grotewohl. Stalin elaborated on what he took to be US and British plans for Germany. He argued that they feared Germany’s rise as a global competitor on world markets, and so were for its underdevelopment, division, and weakness. The USSR opposed this because A) German and Japanese recovery would lead to better and cheaper goods on world markets; B) an economically repressed Germany will only be a revanchist Germany; and C) the USSR sympathizes with German workers who deserve to live better. Stalin suggested in the worst case, the eastern zone would have to be unified, and promised to delay reparations, end dismantling German industry, and reduce the number of Soviet armed forces on East German territory.309 This line of argumentation contradicted Molotov’s memorandum rejecting the Byrnes proposal (p.139) just six months before, in which it was argued the United States was trying to make a German counterweight to the Soviet Union in Europe.310

While Molotov interpreted Truman’s enunciation of his eponymous doctrine on March 12, 1947, as evidence that the United States would support reactionary regimes and try to subvert Soviet allies in Eastern Europe, the real threat to Soviet positions in Eastern Europe was to come from a less expected source: an offer of economic aid.311 The US offer of economic aid to all European countries reinforced Soviet fears of losing Eastern Europe. By shifting, if unintentionally, the currency of the competition from military to economic power, the United States amplified Soviet insecurities about the possible erosion of the Soviet position in Eastern Europe and accelerated the process of Stalinization—of creating in Eastern Europe domestic orders as closely imitative of Soviet identity as possible.

Moreover, Marshall Plan aid recipients would have to open themselves up to hundreds, if not thousands, of American and Western European officials who would assist in the distribution of that aid, this at a time when Stalin at home was doing everything possible to reduce his population’s exposure to the noxious influence of Western culture. This fear of exposure to the West was a major incentive to prohibit Eastern European allies from accepting ERP aid. After all, at the end of his life, Stalin even accused Molotov and Mikoian of having “fallen under the influence of Western imperialist countries.” Both having been in America, “they returned from there under the great impression of the economic might of America…. They were apparently frightened by the overwhelming power they saw in America….”312 Not only was the ERP understood as possibly corrosive of the necessary socialist orders in Eastern Europe, but given Stalin’s theory of imperialism, the United States needed the ERP to sustain its tottering capitalist economy.313

On July 7, 1947, Secretary of State George Marshall replaced Directive JCS (Joint Chiefs of Staff) 1067 of July 17, 1945, which officially governed US occupation policy in Germany, with Directive JCS 1779, the latter advocating a (p.140) “stable and productive Germany.”314 On August 30 Marshal Sokolovsky protested US and British moves to create Bizonia, pointing out that the Allied Control Commission (ACC) was supposed to reach unanimous decisions for all of Germany on matters such as industrial production.315

On October 14, 1947, the Soviet Union decided to sign treaties of alliance with its Eastern European allies, this time aimed at “all aggression,” not just German.316 In justifying these treaties to the Hungarians in February 1948, Molotov spoke only of the German threat and cited Ernest Bevin’s January 1948 speech about including Germany in the West European Union (WEU), to be launched in March.317 The Brussels Pact, which created the WEU, was regarded by the Soviet leadership as the “first official military-political alliance of the Western bloc under US direction” because its preamble didn’t limit itself to the German threat, but spoke of “armed aggression in Europe” in general.318

At the November-December 1947 CFM meeting in London, the Western powers suggested setting up a separate state in the Western zones of occupation. While Western powers saw this as the only way to ensure the economic viability of western Germany in the face of Soviet obstructionism, the Soviets understood the proposal, on the heels of the Marshall Plan, as an open violation of wartime agreements on a unified approach to postwar Germany, and a sign of Western plans to include what would become West Germany in a Western military alliance.319 In early 1948, the Western powers announced a Feburary 19 meeting in London to discuss a separate agreement on West Germany.

At the London meeting, Molotov continued to pursue a united Germany, but Soviet demands for reparations made it unacceptable to the other three occupying powers. France joined Bizonia and in December 1947, all reparations to the Soviet Union from Trizonia were ended.320 At a March 1948 meeting of US, British, French, and Benelux foreign ministers that had been going on since February 23 in London, it was decided to go ahead with a separate German state.321 A week later, foreshadowing the Berlin Blockade, A. A. Smirnov wrote Molotov a memo on “Our Measures with respect to Germany in the Near Future,” in which he said that “we can no longer limit ourselves to protests … [s]ince the (p.141) Western powers have destroyed the ACC and CFM and renounced previously adopted decisions, agreements on … zones of occupation have lost their force. The Soviet government will therefore be compelled to close its zone….”322

On March 20, 1948, Sokolovsky abandoned the Allied Control Commission (ACC) in Germany. A week later, Stalin met with the German communist leadership in Moscow, reassuring them that if Germany remained divided it would be West Germany that would suffer, as East Germany would have assured markets in the East. Meanwhile, unification might still take years.323 On April 1, the Soviets began to blockade all land routes for travel to Berlin. On April 17, SVAG reported to Moscow that “Germans think that the Anglo-Americans have retreated before the Russians….” Dratvin and Semenov went on to claim that “Clay’s attempts to create an airbridge have failed. The Americans have realized it is too costly….” On 24 June, the blockade was extended to all ground transportation.324

On July 3, Sokolovsky announced what it would take to end the blockade: Western abandonment of plans to create a separate West German government. At his August 2 meeting with the French, British, and US ambassadors, Stalin retreated a bit, linking the end of the blockade to acceptance of the Soviet Deutschmark in all Berlin and Western suspension of its efforts to create a separate government until a Four Power meeting could be held. Meanwhile, Soviet officials in Germany continued to report to Moscow all sorts of problems with the Western airlift, especially emphasizing the coming difficulties in autumn and winter. After the airlift demonstrated its capacity through the winter, Stalin dropped his currency demands, and settled for a Four Power meeting, with no commitment from the West not to create the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). The blockade was lifted on May 12, 1949, just two weeks after the not unrelated creation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), uniting the United States, Canada, and WEU members Iceland, Portugal, Iceland, Italy, and Norway in alliance against the Soviet Union.325

(p.142) In September 1950, not least because of the increased fear of the Soviet threat generated by the launching of the Korean War in June, the United States officially proposed the rearmament of the FRG within NATO. In September 1951, Western allies announced West Germany’s integration into the European Defense Community, as an alternative to NATO membership. On March 10, 1952, the Soviet government sent a note to all Western occupying powers in Germany proposing, for the last time, a reunified, neutral, demilitarized, and democratic Germany. Western rejection of the proposal on March 25, 1952, spurred “Stalin to abandon hope for a united Germany, telling Piech” he must organize his own state.326 What the note showed was that Stalin preferred a neutral united non-communist Germany to an armed West Germany in NATO.327 On May 28, 1952, the European Defense Treaty creating the EDC was signed.

At Stalin’s death in March 1953 it is hard to disagree with Vojtech Mastny’s conclusion that Stalin had left the world around the Soviet Union in a pretty fair mess. To a significant degree, the mess that Stalin’s successors inherited was the product of a discourse of danger prevailing at home in the Soviet Union. This was a discourse that could tolerate not the slightest deviation from the Soviet model of socialism. Consequently, Eastern European socialist regimes must become Stalinist regimes. The process of Stalinization in Eastern Europe did more than anything, before the Korean War, to ensure a Cold War between the Soviet Union and the West. At the same time, however, the discourse of danger fenced off one enormous arena of possible conflict and competition between the United States and the USSR: the decolonizing world. After Stalin’s death, we will see that the discourse of difference, while certainly most welcome to Soviet citizens, was no unequivocal dampener of the Cold War, but in fact expanded its reach.


(1) Zbigniew Brzezinski, in his splendid book Unity and Disunity in the Soviet Bloc, periodized Soviet rule in Eastern Europe in this fashion, too, basing his arguments mostly on open party documents. More recently, scholars who have used archival materials have reached the same conclusion. For example, Elena Iu. Zubkova, “The Rivalry with Malenkov,” in Nikita Khrushchev, ed. William Taubman, Sergei Khrushchev, and Abbott Gleason (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), 196; and Iurii P. Bokarev, “Eshche Raz ob Otnoshenii SSSR k Planu Marshalla,” Otechestvennaia Istoriia 1 (2005): 88.

(2) For the sake of simplification, I refer to all Eastern European parties as communist parties, rather than differentiating between the Socialist United Party of Germany (the result of the merger of socialists and communists in April 1946), Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party, the Polish Workers’ Party, and so on.

(3) Georgi Dimitrov, The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov, 1933–1949 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), 375, 393, 405. The phrase “dizziness from success” comes from Stalin’s March 1930 front page Pravda editorial designed to put an end to the excesses of forced collectivization, as its level of arbitrary violence even exceeded Stalin’s expectations and desires.

(4) Rakosi was the general secretary of the Hungarian communist party.

(5) Bela Zhelitski, “Postwar Hungary, 1944–1946,” in The Establishment of Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe, 1944–1949, ed. Norman Naimark and Leonid Gibianskii (Boulder: Westview Press, 1997), 78.

(6) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa v Dokumentakh Rossiiskikh Arkhivov, 1944–1953 gg., Tom I, 1944–48, (Moscow: Sibirskii Khronograf, 1997), 271. A word about the references: Many of my citations are to collections of Soviet archival materials collected by Russian academics in large edited volumes. These are mostly from the Archive of Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As far as I can tell, based on other compilations of archival materials by Russian scholars, the transcripts of memoranda, conversations, etc., are mostly verbatim. Of course, any materials I have reviewed myself are cited as such by the name of archive, the fond, the opus, the delo, and the page numbers. The most important compilations of foreign ministry documents used here are those of Gibianskii, Kynin, Ledovskii, Murashko, and Volokitina. Fortunately, these Russian scholars, and others, continue to produce work based on archives often inaccessible to foreign scholars.

(7) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa v Dokumentakh Rossiiskikh Arkhivov, 1944-1953 gg., Tom I, 1944-48, (Moscow: Sibirskii Khronograf, 1997), 290–91.

(8) On the Czechoslovakian case, see Igor Lukes, “The Czech Road to Communism,” in The Establishment of Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe 1944–1949, ed. Normal Naimark and Leonid Gibianskii (Boulder: Westview Press, 1997), 252–58; on Yugoslavia, see Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Sword and the Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB (New York: Basic Books, 1999), 355–56.

(9) The CC IID was created in July 1944 but was replaced by the CC Foreign Policy Department (CC FPD) in December 1945, a month after Dimitrov returned to Bulgaria.

(10) Gennadii Bordiugov and Gennadi Matveev, eds., SSSR-Polsha: Mekhanizmy Podchinennia,1944–1949 gg. (Moscow: AIRO-XX, 1995), 105–22.

(11) I. S. Yazhborovskaia, “Vovlechenie Polshi v Stalinskuiu Blokovuiu Politiju: Problemy i Metody Davleniia na Plskoe Rukovodstvo. 1940-e gody,” in Stalin i Kholodnaia Voina, ed. A. O. Chubarian (Moscow: In-t vseobshchei istorii RAN, 1997), 92–93.

(12) Bordiugov, SSSR-Polsha, 122–39.

(13) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa, 301–02. For similar moderating advice to Rumania’s communist party chief Gheorghe Gheorgiu-Dej on issues of nationalization of industry and freedom for the opposition press, see Tri Vizita A. Ia, Vyshinskogo v Bukharest, 1944–1946: Dokumenty Rossiiskikh Arkhivov (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 1998). In February 1947, Stalin urged Dej to accept US offers of wheat and corn. Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa, 568.

(14) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa, 511.

(15) Stalin made a similar point about the harder Soviet road to Czechoslovakia’s Klement Gottwald in the summer of 1946. Galina P. Murashko and Albina F. Noskova, “Sovetskii faktor v poslevoennoi Vostochnoi evrope (1945–1948),” in Sovetskaia Vneshniaia Politika v Gody “Kholodnoi Voiny” (1945–1985), ed. L. N. Nezhinskii, (Moscow: Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia, 1995), 90. Stanislaw Mikolayczyk was prime minister of the Polish government in exile in London during the war.

(16) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa, 443–60. Tatiana V. Volokitina, “Stalin i Smena Strategicheskogo Kursa Kremlia v Kontse 40-x Godov: ot Kompromissov k Konfrontatsii,” in Stalinskoe Desiatiletie Kholodnoi Voiny: Fakty i Gipotezy, ed. I. V. Gaiduk, N. I. Yegorova and A. O. Chubarian (Moscow: Nauka, 1999), 14; Tatiana V. Volokitina, “Nakanune: Novye Realii v mezhdunarodnykh Otnosheniiakh na kontinente v kontse 40-x godov i Otvet Moskvy,” in Moskva i Vostochnaia Evropa. Stanovlenie politicheskikh rezhimov sovetskogo tipa (1949–1953), Ocherki istorii, ed. Tatiana V. Volokitina et al. (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2002), 36–38.

(17) Grant M. Adibekov, Kominform i Poslevoennaia Evropa, 1947–1956 (Moscow: Rossiia Molodaia, 1994), 93.

(18) Volokitina, “Nakanune,” 31.

(19) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa, 586.

(20) Leonid Ia. Gibianskii, “Poslednii Vizit I. Broza Tito k I. V. Stalinu,” Istoricheskii Arkhiv 2 (1993): 27.

(21) Leonid Ia. Gibianskii, “Kak Voznik Kominform. Po Novym Arkhivnym Materialam,” Novaia i Noveishaia Istoriia 4 (1993): 137; and Adibekov, Kominform I Poslevoennaia Evropa, 23.

(22) M. Iu. Dostal, “Zapis Besedy A. A. Zhdanova s Organizatorami Kongressa Uchenykh-Slavistov, Mart 1948 g.,” Istoricheskii Arkhiv 5 (2001): 3–10.

(23) And in conversation with German leaders in January 1947, Stalin substituted Russian for Soviet. Georgii P. Kynin and Johan P. Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR po Germanskomu Voprosu (6 oktiabria 1946 g.—15 iiuniia 1948 g.),” in SSSR I Germanskii Vopros, vol. III (Moscow: Mezhdunarodnye Otnosheniia, 2003), 261; and Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa, 512.

(24) “Za Sovetami v Kreml: Zapis Besedy I. V. Stalina s Rukovoditeliami SEPG. Mart 1948 g.,” Istoricheskii Arkhiv 2 (2002): 23.

(25) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa, 565.

(26) Ibid., 582.

(27) Ibid., 408.

(28) Gibianskii, “Kak Voznik Kominform,” 21.

(29) Volokitina, “Stalin i Smena Stratigicheskogo Kursa Kremlina,” 12–13.

(30) Cold War historians who also have concluded that early postwar Soviet expectations entailed continuing cooperation include Campbell Craig and Sergey Radchenko, The Atomic Bomb and the Origins of the Cold War (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008), 98.

(31) Stalin told Tito in April 1945 that Germany would “re-establish its power” in 12 to 15 years. Volokitina, “Nakanune,” 31, 35.

(32) N. I. Yegorova, “NATO i Evropeiskaia Bezopasnost: Vospriiatie Sovetskogo Rukovodstva,” in Stalin i Kholodnaia Voina, ed. A. O. Chubarian (Moscow: In-t vseobshchei istorii RAN, 1997), 296.

(33) It bears noting however, given Stalin’s warning to Gheorgiu-Dej about the road to fascism originating with racism, that Stalin also warned that Churchill’s appeal to “English-speaking nations” was also racist. I thank Matthew Evangelista for bringing this parallel to my attention.

(34) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa, 397.

(35) Ibid., 456–61.

(36) Dimitrov, The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov, 415.

(37) Vladislav Zubok and Constantine Pleshakov, Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1996), 73–74.

(38) Dimitrov, The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov, 396.

(39) Artiom A. Ulunian, “The Soviet Union and ‘the Greek Question,’ 1946–53: Problems and Appraisals,” in The Soviet Union and Europe in the Cold War, 1943–53, ed. Francesca Gori and Silvio Pons (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996), 145.

(40) Vojtech Mastny, The Cold War and Soviet Insecurity (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 35.

(41) Gibianskii, Leonid Ia., “Na Poroge Pervogo Raskola v ‘Sotsialisticheskom Lagere,’” Istoricheskii Arkhiv 4 (1997): 99–100.

(42) Tatiana V. Volokitina et al., eds., Vostochnaia Evropa v Dokumentakh Rossiiskikh Arkhivov, 1944–1953 gg., Tom II, 1949–1953 (Moscow: Sibirskii Khronograf, 1998), 82–83.

(43) Barzani’s son Massoud was holding on to power in Iraqi Kurdistan as of 2011. Iurii Zhukov, Stalin: Tainy Vlasti (Moscow: Vagrius, 2005), 403.

(44) Nataliia I. Egorova, “‘Iranskii Krizis’ 1945–1946gg. Po Rassekrechennym Arkhivnym Dokumentam,” Novaia i Noveishaia Istoriia 3 (1994): 24–42.

(45) Dimitrov, The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov, 413–14.

(46) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa, 302–03.

(47) Egorova, “Inranskii Krizis,” 40; and Westad, The Global Cold War (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 63.

(48) Westad, The Global Cold War, 61.

(49) Gibianskii, “Kak Voznik Kominform,” 143.

(50) Murashko and Noskova, “Sovetskii faktor,” 74–77.

(51) Volokitina, “Stalin i Smena Stratigicheskogo Kursa Kremlina,” 17.

(52) Volokitina et al., Moskva i Vostochnaia Evropa, 46–48.

(53) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa, 802–05; and Pokivailova, “Moskva i Ustanovlenie Monopolii,” 322.

(54) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa v Dokumentakh Rossiiskikh Arkhivov, 1944–1953 gg. Tom II, 766–67.

(55) The report “On Certain Errors of the Czechoslovakian Communist Party,” is in RTsKhIDNI f17 op128 d1162, 44–73. A CC FPD report made similar charges against Czechoslovakian communists in the autumn of 1948. Galina P. Murashko and Albina F. Noskova, “Repressii Kak Element Vnutripartiinoi Borby Za Vlast,” in Moskva i Vostochnaia Evropa. Stanovlenie politicheskikh rezhimov sovetskogo tipa (1949–1953). Ocherki istorii, ed. Tatiana V. Volokitina et al. (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2002), 512.

(56) Murashko and Noskova, “Repressii Kak Element Vnutripartiinoi,” 443.

(57) Tatiana V. Volokitina, “Istochniki Formirovaniia Partiino-Gosudarstvennoi nomenklatury—Novogo Praviashchego Sloia,” in Moskva i Vostochnaia Evropa. Stanovlenie politicheskikh rezhimov sovetskogo tipa (1949–1953) Ocherki istorii, ed. Tatiana V. Volokitina et al. (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2002), 156–57.

(58) Galina P. Murahsko and Albina F. Noskova, “Institut Sovetskikh Sovetnikov v Stranakh Regiona: Tseli, Zadachi, Rezultaty,” in Moskva i Vostochnaia Evropa. Stanovlenie politicheskikh rezhimov sovetskogo tipa (1949–1953). Ocherki istorii, ed. Tatiana V. Volokitina et al. (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2002), 606.

(59) Gibianskii, Leonid Ia., “Problemy Mezhdunarodno-Politicheskogo Strukturirovaniia Vostochnoi Evropy v Period Formirovaniia Sovetskogo Bloka v 1940-e Gody,” in Kholodnaia Voina: Novye Podkhody, Novye Dokumenty, ed. M. M. Narinskii (Moscow: Institute of General History, 1995), 121; and Teresa Toranska, “Them:” Stalin’s Polish Puppets (New York: Harper & Row, 1987), 282–84.

(60) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa, 830; Murashko and Noskova, “Repressii Kak Element Vnutripartiinoi,” 505–06.

(61) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa, 900.

(62) This report is in RTsKhIDNI f17 op128 d1161, 2–19.

(63) Murashko and Noskova, “Repressii Kak Element Vnutripartiinoi,” 508–09.

(64) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa, 932–44.

(65) Bordiugov, SSSR-Polsha, 341–48.

(66) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa v Dokumentakh Rossiiskikh Arkhivov, 1944–1953 gg. Tom II, 311–15.

(67) Volokitina, “Istochniki Formirovaniia Partiino-Gosudarstvennoi Nomenklatury,” 124.

(68) For what it is worth, Edward Ochab, a Polish CC Secretary at the time, has said that Poles dragged their feet on Gomulka’s trial, despite being pressed by Soviet leaders, and especially Beria, to accelerate the proceedings. Toranska, Them, 49–50.

(69) Stalin repeated this moderating advice to Hoxa in April 1951. Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa v Dokumentakh Rossiiskikh Arkhivov, 1944–1953 gg. Tom II, 504; Tatiana V. Volokitina et al., eds., Sovetskii Faktor v Vostochnoi Evrope, 1944–1953, vol. 2, 1949–1953 (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2002), 70–73.

(70) RTsKhIDNI, f17 op128 d1083, 213–21.

(71) From a March 21, 1949, memo from the head of the MFA’s Fourth European Department, S. P. Kirsanov, quoted in Pokivailova, “Moskva i Ustanovlenie monopolii Kompartii na Informatsiiu na Rubezhe 40-50-x godov,” 329–30.

(72) Volokitina et al., Sovetskii Faktor v Vostochnoi Evrope, 191.

(73) Bordiugov, SSSR-Polsha, 255–57.

(74) April 9, 1949, report from TASS correspondent in Warsaw NG Pantiukhin to Stalin and Molotov. In Bordiugov, SSSR-Polsha, 282. It should be noted that most Soviets who travelled abroad in this, and subsequent, periods were either required to submit reports about their trips, who they met, the conversations they had, etc., or felt a strong normative constraint to so report. This should be kept in mind when one encounters charges of some Soviet journalist being a spy or intelligence agent. They all more or less were providing intelligence, but could hardly be considered intelligence agents in the sense of CIA operative or KGB mole.

(75) Asked almost 40 years later whether there was a struggle with cosmopolitanism in Poland, Berman answered, “Yes, there was, because copying the model of the Soviet Union was obligatory in every sphere.” His older brother, Adolph, emigrated to Israel in 1950. Toranska, Them, 320–22; and Bordiugov, SSSR-Polsha, 292–304.

(76) Baudin, “Zhdanov Art,” 234.

(77) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa v Dokumentakh Rossiiskikh Arkhivov, 1944–1953 gg. Tom II, 343.

(78) Tomasz Goban-Klas and Pal Kolsto, “Eastern European Mass Media: The Soviet Role,” in The Soviet Union in Eastern Europe, 1945–89, ed. Odd Arne Westad, Sven Holtsmark, and Iver B. Neumann (London: St. Martin’s Press, 1994), 110–36, 133.

(79) Pokivailova, “Moskva i Ustanovlenie Monopolii,” 325–31. An oblast is the Soviet unit of goverance beneath the republic. A raion, or district, is beneath the oblast. There were “oblast committee/obkom” and “district committee/raikom” party secretaries heading these political jurisdictions. A city (gorod) committee is a gorkom.

(80) Volokitina et al., Sovetskii Faktor v Vostochnoi Evrope, 259.

(81) Galina P. Murashko and Albina F. Noskova, “Repressii—Instrument Podavleniia Politicheskoi Oppozitsii,” in Moskva i Vostochnaia Evropa. Stanovlenie politicheskikh rezhimov sovetskogo tipa (1949–1953). Ocherki istorii, ed. Tatiana V. Volokitina et al. (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2002), 430–34.

(82) Volokotina et al., Moskva i Vostochnaia Evropa, 286.

(83) Murashko and Noskova, “Repressii,” 447.

(84) Volokotina et al., Moskva i Vostochnaia Evropa, 142–49.

(85) David Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994), 240, 287; Yoram Gorlizki and Oleg Khlevniuk, Cold Peace: Stalin and the Soviet Ruling Circle, 1945–1953 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004), 98–100; and Toranska, Them, 46–47.

(86) Volokitina et al., Sovetskii Faktor v Vostochnoi Evrope, 57–61.

(87) Murashko and Noskova, “Institut Sovetskikh Sovetnikov,” 522–27; Bela I. Zhelitski, “Arest Raika. Smena Kontseptsii ‘Dela,’” Novaia i Noveishaia Istoriia 3 (2001): 166–78; and Volokotina et al., Moskva i Vostochnaia Evropa, 108–09.

(88) Murashenko and Noskova, “Institut Sovetskikh Sovetnikov,” 621.

(89) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa v Dokumentakh Rossiiskikh Arkhivov, 1944–1953 gg. Tom II, 604.

(90) Ibid., 853–54.

(91) Murashko and Noskova, “Repressii Kak Element Vnutripartiinoi,”518–519; Danilov and Pyzhikov, Rozhdenie Svekhderzhavy, 54; and Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa v Dokumentakh Rossiiskikh Arkhivov, 1944–1953 gg. Tom II, 263.

(92) Murashko and Noskova, “Repressii Kak Element Vnutripartiinoi,” 450.

(93) In 1949–50, all Eastern European parties held plena on “revolutionary vigilance” to discuss the dangers revealed by the Rajk, Tito, Kostov and Gomulka affairs, and their connections to Anglo-American intelligence. Pokivailova, “Moskva i Ustanovlenie Monopolii,” 331.

(94) Murashko and Noskova, “Repressii Kak Element Vnutripartiinoi,” 532–33; Murashenko and Noskova, “Institut Sovetskikh Sovetnikov,” 622–27; Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa v Dokumentakh Rossiiskikh Arkhivov, 1944–1953 gg. Tom II, 159–60; and Volokitina et al., Sovetskii Faktor v Vostochnoi Evrope, 285–90.

(95) Murashko and Noskova, “Repressii Kak Element Vnutripartiinoi,” 555–62; Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa v Dokumentakh Rossiiskikh Arkhivov, 1944–1953 gg. Tom II, 166, 841; and Raymond Taras, “Gomulka’s ‘Rightist-Nationalist Deviation,’ The Postwar Jewish Communists, and the Stalinist Reaction in Poland, 1945–1950,” Nationalities Papers 22, no. 1 (1994): 124.

(96) Lebedev’s advice ironically resonates with his March 1948 advice to surround Gomulka with the three Jewish Communists he now typifies as exerting a baneful influence on Bierut. Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa v Dokumentakh Rossiiskikh Arkhivov, 1944–1953 gg. Tom II, 172–77.

(97) Volokitina et al., Sovetskii Faktor v Vostochnoi Evrope, 260–67.

(98) Murashko and Noskova, “Repressii Kak Element Vnutripartiinoi,” 552.

(99) Volokitina et al., Sovetskii Faktor v Vostochnoi Evrope, 696.

(100) Dieter Heinzig, The Soviet Union and Communist China, 1945–1950: The Arduous Road to the Alliance (Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 2004), 331.

(101) Fred L. Block, The Origins of International Economic Disorder (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977), 87–88, 104–05.

(102) Danilov and Pyzhikov, Rozhdenie Svekhderzhavy, 45–49.

(103) Lukes, “The Czech Road to Communism,” 44, 252–58.

(104) Mastny, The Cold War, 42.

(105) Nataliia I. Egorova, “Stalin’s Foreign Policy and the Cominform, 1947–53,” in The Soviet Union and Europe in the Cold War, 1943–53, ed. Francesca Gori and Silvio Pons (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996), 197.

(106) Gibianskii, “Kak Voznik Kominform,” 141.

(107) This interpretation is consistent with Scott Parrish, “The Marshall Plan, Soviet-American Relations, and the Division of Europe,” in The Establishment of Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe, 1944–1949, ed. Norman Naimark and Leonid Gibianskii (Boulder: Westview Press, 1997), 285–86, with the exception that I place greater emphasis on Soviet preferences for reparations over economic welfare in Eastern Europe.

(108) Silvio Pons, “A Challenge Let Drop: Soviet Foreign Policy, the Cominform and the Italian Communist Party, 1947–8,” in The Soviet Union and Europe in the Cold War, 1943–53, ed. Francesca Gori and Silvio Pons (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996), 247.

(109) Silvio Pons, “Stalin, Togliatti, and the Origins of the Cold War in Europe,” Journal of Cold War Studies 3, no. 2 (Spring 2001): 17–22.

(110) Mikhail M. Narinskii, “I. V. Stalin i Moriz Torez. Zapis Besedy v Kremle, 1947 g.,” Istoricheskii Arkhiv 1 (1996): 13.

(111) William Taubman, Khrushchev: The Man and His Era (New York: W. W. Norton, 2003), 329–30.

(112) And even during his replacement by Vyshinsky as foreign minister from 1949 to 1953, Molotov was still at the center of all foreign policy decision-making.

(113) Iu. N. Zhukov, “Borba za Vlast v Rukovodstve SSSR v 1945–1952 godakh,” Voprosy Istorii 1 (1995): 28.

(114) Zubovka, “The Rivalry with Malenkov,” 71–72.

(115) Dimitrov, The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov, 378, 387, 411.

(116) Murashko and Noskova, “Repressii Kak Element Vnutripartiinoi,” 516.

(117) For instance, General Petrushevskii, main military adviser in the Bulgarian army, identified local Bulgarian communists as nationalists in his reports to the “Center.” Murashko and Noskova, “Repressii Kak Element Vnutripartiinoi,” 516.

(118) Taras, “Gomulka’s ‘Rightist-Nationalist Deviation.’”

(119) Norman M. Naimark, The Russians in Germany: A History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation, 1945–1949 (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1995), 292; and Giles MacDonogh, After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation (New York: Basic Books, 2007), 104.

(120) Eastern European militaries were also liberally populated by officers who had spent the war in exile in the Soviet Union. Murashko and Noskova, “Repressii,”463–94; and Volokotina et al., Moskva i Vostochnaia Evropa, 138.

(121) Murashko and Noskova, “Institut Sovetskikh Sovetnikov,” 520–21; and Bela I. Zhelitski, “Tragicheskaia Sudba Laslo Raika. Vengriia 1949g,” Novaia i Noveishaia Istoriia 2 (2001): 125–34.

(122) Gibianskii, “Poslednii Vizit Tito,” 137.

(123) Murashko and Noskova, “Institut Sovetskikh Sovetnikov,” 512.

(124) Volokotina et al., Moskva i Vostochnaia Evropa, 11.

(125) Volokitina et al., Sovetskii Faktor v Vostochnoi Evrope, 260.

(126) Ibid., 214–16.

(127) See, for example, Andrei M. Ledovskii, a Soviet consular officer in China in the 1940s, “12 Sovetov I. V. Stalina Rukovodstvu Kompartii Kitaia,” Novaia i Noveishaia Istoriia 2 (2004): 126–27.

(128) Naimark, The Russians in Germany, 71.

(129) Reports from Major General Sergei Tiulpanov, propaganda director of the Soviet Military Administration—Germany (SVAG) to Moscow also included the “disguised as Red Army” phraseology when reporting on crimes against the German people. Georgii P. Kynin and Johan P. Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR po Germanskomu Voprosu (9 maia 1945 g.—3 oktiabria 1946 g.,” in SSSR i Germanskii Vopros, vol. II (Moscow: Mezhdunarodnye Otnosheniia, 2000), 344. Complaining about the excesses of the local Soviet security forces could get you arrested, as it did Lt. General K.F. Telegin, who was imprisoned for “animosity toward the NKVD.” Naimark, The Russians in Germany, 104, 561 n. 169.

(130) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa v Dokumentakh Rossiskikh Arkhivov, 1944–1953 gg., Tom I, 1–10.

(131) Georgii P. Kynin and Johan P. Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR po Germanskomu Voprosu (9 maia 1945 g.—3 oktiabria 1946 g.),” in SSSR I Germanskii Vopros, vol. II (Moscow: Mezhdunarodnye Otnosheniia, 2000), 36–37.

(132) Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR po Germanskomu (9Maia 1945g.—3 Oktiabria 1946g.),” 738.

(133) Naimark, The Russians in Germany, 285, 315.

(134) Volokitina et al., Sovetskii Faktor v Vostochnoi Evrope, 171–72.

(135) On the more general phenomenon of passing kompromat to Moscow, see Murashko and Noskova, “Institut Sovetskikh Sovetnikov,” 645–49; and Pokivailova, “Moskva i Ustanovlenie Monopolii,” 339.

(136) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa v Dokumentakh Rossiiskikh Arkhivov, 1944–1953 gg. Tom II, 171.

(137) Ibid., 181–82.

(138) Murashko and Noskova, “Repressii Kak Element Vnutripartiinoi,” 530.

(139) Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa v Dokumentakh Rossiiskikh Arkhivov, 1944–1953 gg. Tom II, 171, 219–23; and Murashko and Noskova, “Institut Sovetskikh Sovetnikov,” 621–22.

(140) Volokitina et al., Sovetskii Faktor v Vostochnoi Evrope, 244.

(141) Murashko and Noskova, “Repressii kak Element,” 482.

(142) Ibid., 258–59.

(143) Pokivailova, “Moskva i Ustanovlenie Monopolii,” 340–41; Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa v Dokumentakh Rossiiskikh Arkhivov, 1944–1953 gg. Tom II, 95–97.

(144) Murashko and Noskova, “Repressii Kak Element Vnutripartiinoi,” 521.

(145) Bordiugov, SSSR-Polsha, 263–66.

(146) Murashko and Noskova, “Repressii,” 485–88.

(147) Toranska, Them, 335.

(148) Pokivailova, “Moskva i Ustanovlenie Monopolii,” 359.

(149) Volokitina, “Istochniki Formirovaniia Partiino-Gosudarstvennoi Nomenklatury,” 214–18.

(150) Tatiana V. Volokitina, “Oformlenie i Funktsionirovanie novogo Mekhanizma Gosudarstvennoi Vlasti,” in Moskva i Vostochnaia Evropa. Stanovlenie politicheskikh rezhimov sovetskogo tipa (1949–1953). Ocherki istorii, ed. Tatiana V. Volokitina et al. (Moscow: ROSSPEN, 2002), 235.

(151) Leonid Ia. Gibianskii, “Kominform v Deistvii. 1947–1948 gg. Po Arkhivnym Dokumentam,” Novaia i Noveishaia Istoriia 2 (1996): 164–68.

(152) Ibid., 168; Gibianskii’s work, relying as it does on the most exhaustive use of archival sources in multiple countries, is the single best source on Soviet-Yugoslavian relations from 1945 to 1953. For far greater detail than I can offer here, see Gibianskii, “Sekretnaia Sovetsko-Iugoslavskaia Perepiska 1948 Goda,” Voprosy Istorii 4, 6, and 10 (1992); Gibianskii, “Kak Voznik Kominform.”; Gibianskii, “Kominform v Deistvii, 1947–1948 gg. Po Arkhivnym Dokumentam,” Novaia i Noveishaia Istoriia 2; and Gibianskii, “Na Poroge Pervogo Raskola.”

(153) RGASPI f575 op1 d3, 103.

(154) Leonid Ia. Gibianskii, “Kominform v Deistvii. 1947–1948 gg. Po Arkhivnym Dokumentam,” Novaia i Noveishaia Istoriia 1 (1996): 170.

(155) It couldn’t have helped Tito that in Moscow they were well aware of his and Yugoslavia’s popularity in other Eastern European countries. G. P. Murashko and A. F. Noskova, “Sovetskoe Rukovodstvo i Politicheskie Protsessy T. Kostova i L. Raika,” in Stalinskoe Desiatiletie Kholodnoi Voiny: Fakty i Gipotezy, ed. I. V. Gaiduk, N. I. Yegorova, and A. O. Chubarian (Moscow: Nauka, 1999), 24.

(156) Gibianskii, “Sekretnaia Sovetsko-Iugoslavskaia Perepiska 1948 Goda,” Voprosy Istorii 4, 120–23; Gibianskii, “Na Poroge Pervogo Raskola,” 96; Adibekov, Kominform I Poslevoennaia Evropa, 100–01; and Jeronim Perovic, “The Tito-Stalin Split,” Journal of Cold War Studies 9, no. 2 (Spring 2007): 32–63. The Soviets found out on March 23 that Tito had recommended not only an Italian communist seizure of northern Italy in the event of a US military intervention in the country, but also a communist uprising in Austria to create a divided country with a communist east. Gibianskii, “Kominform v Deistvii, 1947–1948 gg. Po Arkhivnym Dokumentam,” Novaia i Noveishaia Istoriia 2, 164.

(157) Perovic, “The Tito-Stalin Split,” 44.

(158) Gibianskii, “Na Poroge Pervogo Raskola,” 96–97.

(159) Gibianskii, “Na Poroge Pervogo Raskola,” 98. This is a rare moment: Stalin recognizing the possible effects foreign policy might have on US domestic politics. Note, however, it is Dimitrov’s and Tito’s conduct that risks tipping the election, not Stalin’s. So, the coup in Czechoslovakia, progressive Stalinization of Eastern Europe in general, formation of the Cominform, and the soon-to-be declared blockade of Berlin are not understood, at least not in the archival records, as actions that could “give food” to American reactionaries.

(160) Gibianskii, “Kominform v Deistvii, 1947–1948 gg. Po Arkhivnym Dokumentam,” Novaia i Noveishaia Istoriia 2, 160; and Pokivailova, “Moskva i Ustanovlenie Monopolii,” 349.

(161) Gibianskii, “Kominform v Deistvii, 1947–1948 gg. Po Arkhivnym Dokumentam,” Novaia i Noveishaia Istoriia 2, 161.

(162) Perovic, “The Tito-Stalin Split,” 55–56.

(163) Murashko and Noskova, “Institut Sovetskikh Sovetnikov,” 610.

(164) RTsKhIDNI f17 op128 d1163, 9–24. This is in the same series as the rest of the drafted reports about Eastern European allies.

(165) Ibid., 11.

(166) Ibid., 16–21.

(167) Murashko and Noskova, “Repressii Kak Element Vnutripartiinoi,” 498–500.

(168) Volokitina, “Nakanune,” 54–55.

(169) Gibianskii, “Sekretnaia Sovetsko-Iugoslavskaia Perepiska 1948 Goda,” Voprosy Istorii 6, 160–66.

(170) Ironically, Tito had been one of the most vociferous supporters of the Cominform, as it was aimed against what he considered “rightist deviationism” in French, Italian, and Czechoslovakian parties. Zubok and Pleshakov, Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War, 135.

(171) Mastny, The Cold War, 37.

(172) Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 366.

(173) Volokotina et al., Moskva i Vostochnaia Evropa.

(174) Naimark, The Russians in Germany, 351.

(175) Wilhelm Piech would become the first president of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in 1949, and Walter Ulbricht would become first secretary of the communist party in 1953.

(176) Dimitrov, The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov, 372. Soviet representatives in eastern Germany had to go around painting over the red stars that their German communist allies had put on buildings. Stalin also had to reverse the German communists’ announced ban on all other political parties in June 1945. Filitov, “The Soviet Administrators,” 111.

(177) Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR po Germanskomu (9Maia 1945g.—3 Oktiabria 1946g.),” 37, 218–19.

(178) Danilov and Pyzhikov, Rozhdenie Svekhderzhavy, 113.

(179) Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR,” 40–48, 178; and SSSR I Germanskii Vopros, vol. III (Moscow: Mezhdunarodnye Otnosheniia, 2003), 705.

(180) Naimark, The Russians in Germany, 197. Similarly, Molotov, in February 1947, rejected Rumanian requests that Moscow pick up expenses for maintaining Red Army forces in Rumania, saying this would happen only after peace treaties were ratified by the three Powers. Volokitina et al., Vostochnaia Evropa v Dokumentakh Rossiskikh Arkhivov, 1944–1953 gg., Tom I, 567.

(181) Naimark, The Russians in Germany, 160–69, 384.

(182) Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR,” 181.

(183) SSSR I Germanskii Vopros, vol. III, 256. Not until May 1950 did the Soviet Union write off what it claimed to be the remaining half of its reparation bill: $3.7 billion, though the estimate is very rough. Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR,” 42. In his April 1947 meeting with Secretary of State Marshall in Moscow, Stalin complained that the Soviets had received only $2 billion in reparations from Germany, when “the Russians at Yalta had said $10 billion, and the Americans had said this is not so much.” Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR,” 358. Note as well Stalin’s conversational substitution of Russians for Soviets.

(184) For similar concerns in Rumania, see Tri Vizita, 223–25.

(185) Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR,”85–86.

(186) Ibid., 68; and MacDonogh, After the Reich, 420–21.

(187) Naimark, The Russians in Germany, 79–132.

(188) Ibid., 244–49.

(189) Ibid., 121, 329.

(190) Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR,” 196–204. Piech asked Stalin during his January 1947 Moscow meeting whether “even small changes could be made in the eastern border.” Stalin said it was impossible. SSSR I Germanskii Vopros, vol. III, 261.

(191) SSSR I Germanskii Vopros, vol. III, 339. It should be noted that the movement of Polish borders westward was originally raised not by Stalin, but by Polish exiles in London, in 1942, and was agreed to by Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill only at Yalta in February 1945. Giles MacDonogh, After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation (New York: Basic Books, 2007), 13.

(192) “Za Sovetami v Kreml,” 10.

(193) Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR,” 663.

(194) Naimark, The Russians in Germany, 308, 420.

(195) SSSR I Germanskii Vopros, vol. III, 412.

(196) MacDonogh, After the Reich, 355–66.

(197) Volokitina, “Nakanune,” 39; Naimark, The Russians in Germany, 312–13; “‘Nuzhno Idti k Sotsializmu ne Priamo, a Zigzagami:’ Zapis Besedy I. V. Stalina s Rukovoditeliami SEPG. Dekabr 1948 g.,” Istoricheskii Arkhiv 5 (2002): 5–12.

(198) Danilov and Pyzhikov, Rozhdenie Svekhderzhavy, 41.

(199) Naimark, The Russians in Germany, 284.

(200) Ibid., 235.

(201) David Pike, “Censorship in Soviet-Occupied Germany,” in The Establishment of Communist Regimes in Eastern Europe, 1944–1949, ed. Norman Naimark and Leonid Gibianskii (Boulder: Westview Press, 1997), 224–32.

(202) Naimark, The Russians in Germany, 284.

(203) Wilfried Loth, “Stalin’s Plans for Post-War Germany,” in The Soviet Union and Europe in the Cold War, 1943–53, ed. Francesaca Gori and Silvio Pons (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996), 31.

(204) Mastny, The Cold War, 138–39.

(205) The best examples include Lorenz Luthi, The Sino-Soviet Split: Cold War in the Communist World (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008); Heinzig, The Soviet Union; Boris T. Kulik, Sovetsko-Kitaiskii Raskol: Prichiny i Posledstviia (Moscow: Institut Dal’nego Vostoka RAN, 2000); Elizabeth Wishnick, Mending Fences: The Evolution of Moscow’s China Policy from Brezhnev to Yeltsin (London: University of Washington Press, 2001); Kathryn Weathersby, “Sovetskie Tseli v Koree, 1945–1950,” in Kholodnaia Voina: Novye Podkhody, Novye Dokumenty, ed. M. M. Narinskii (Moscow: Institute of General History, 1995), 315–33; Kathryn Weathersby, “New Russian Documents on the Korean War,” Cold War International History Project Bulletin Issues 6–7 (Winter 1995/1996): 30–84; Kathryn Weathersby, “Stalin, Mao, and the End of the Korean War,” in Brothers in Arms: The Rise and Fall of the Sino-Soviet Alliance, 1945–1963, ed. Odd Arne Westad (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998), 90–116; Niu Jun, “The Origins of the Sino-Soviet Alliance,” in Brothers in Arms, 47–89; Andrei M. Ledovskii, “Na Diplomaticheskom Rabote v Kitae v 1942–1952 gg.,” Novaia I Noveishaia Istoriia 6 (1993): 102–32; Andrei M. Ledovskii, “Peregovory I. V. Stalina s Mao Tszedunom v Dekabre 1949-Fevrale 1950 g. Novye Arkhivnye Dokumenty,” Novaia I Noveishaia Istoriia 1 (1997): 23–47; Andrei M. Ledovskii, “Stenogrammy Peregovorov I. V. Stalina s Czhou Enlaem v Avguste-Sentiabre 1952 g.,” Novaia I Noveishaia Istoriia 2 (1997): 69–86; Andrei M. Ledovskii, “Stalin, Mao Tszedun i Koreiskaia Voina 1950–1953 Godov,” Novaia i Noveishaia Istoriia 5 (2005): 79–113; Shen Zhihua, “Sino-Soviet Relations and the Origins of the Korean War: Stalin’s Strategic Goals in the Far East,” Journal of Cold War Studies 2, no. 2 (Spring 2000): 44–68; and Sergei N. Goncharov, John W. Lewis, and Xue Litai, Uncertain Partners: Stalin, Mao, and the Korean War (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1993).

(206) Jun, “Origins,” 52.

(207) Ibid., 55–60; and Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 92–98, 114.

(208) Jun, “The Origins,” 61.

(209) Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 101. The June 26—August 14, 1949, Liu Shaoqi visit to Moscow was kept so secret that Western scholars only heard about it in the late 1980s. Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 176.

(210) Ledovskii, “Stenogrammy Peregovorov,” 23.

(211) Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 124. Perhaps Stalin used this transparent evasion because of his embarrassment over allowing his fear of possible US reactions to influence his relationship with Mao.

(212) Ledovskii, “Stenogrammy Peregovorov,” 24.

(213) S. L. Tikhvinskii, “Perepiska I. V. Stalina s Mao Tszedunom v Ianvare 1949 g.,” Novaia I Noveishaia Istoriia 4–5 (1994): 135.

(214) APRF f39 op1 d31, 298–99.

(215) Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb, 274.

(216) Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 140; Goncharov, Lewis, and Litai, Uncertain Partners, 39–45.

(217) Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 148; Goncharov, Lewis, and Litai, Uncertain Partners, 46.

(218) Ledovskii, “Peregovory I. V. Stalina,” 28.

(219) Zhihua, “Sino-Soviet Relations,” 55–57. At this meeting with Liu, Stalin offered 40 Soviet fighter planes, as well advising that China “Sinicize” Sinkiang, and its borders more generally. Danilov and Pyzhikov, Rozhdenie Svekhderzhavy, 61–62.

(220) Goncharov, Lewis, and Litai, Uncertain Partners, 74.

(221) Ibid., 64 (arguing that Stalin met with the delegation six times); cf. Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 177 (arguing only two).

(222) Stalin’s abiding fear of provoking the West resulted in his telegramming Mao in June 1949, warning against deploying the PLA too close to China’s borders with Western colonies. Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb, 274.

(223) Zhihua, “Sino-Soviet Relations,” 57.

(224) Goncharov, Lewis, and Litai, Uncertain Partners, 69; Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 131; and Ledovskii, “Peregovory I. V. Stalina,” 32–33. Yet again another case of an ally promising a short and easy war to entice its great power partner to participate.

(225) Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 179, 206.

(226) Ibid., 256. What is worse, Stalin appointed Roshchin, as the Soviet Union’s first ambassador to the PRC, despite having been ambassador to the Nationalist government. In a January 1950 meeting with the head of the Soviet MFA’s Far East section, I. F. Kurdiukov, Mao asked that Roshchin be replaced. The request was never passed on to Stalin. Ledovskii, “Na Diplomaticheskom Rabote v Kitae,” 127. Only in July 1950, with the appointment of Pavel Iudin, did Mao get a Soviet ambassador to his liking.

(227) Goncharov, Lewis, and Litai, Uncertain Partners, 47.

(228) Rakhmanin, “Vzaimootnosheniia I. V. Stalina,” 83.

(229) Ilya V. Gaiduk, Confronting Vietnam: Soviet Policy toward the Indochina Conflict, 1954–1963 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 2. Chen Jian, Mao’s China and the Cold War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001), 120; and Zubok and Pleshakov, Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War, 57.

(230) Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 207. Later, in a September 1952 meeting with Zhou Enlai, Stalin told him that “China must become the flagship of Asia. It [not the Soviet Union] should be supplying other Asian countries with specialists.” Shu Guang Zhang, Economic Cold War: America’s Embargo against China and the Sino-Soviet Alliance, 1949–1963 (Washington: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2001), 109.

(231) Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 218.

(232) Ibid., 208. A very similar exchange occurred between Stalin and Zhou Enlai on September 19, 1952, with Zhou asking for orders and Stalin insisting on giving only advice. Ledovskii, “Stenogrammy Peregovorov,” 85. In his February 10, 1948, conversation with Dimitrov, Kostov, Kardelj, and Djilas in Moscow, Stalin famously admitted to being wrong about China: “[T]hey turned out be right; we turned out to be wrong….”

(233) Heinzig, The Soviet Union 201–02. Stalin’s copy of Liu Shaoqi’s report has numerous “Yes[ses]!” in Stalin’s blue pencil beside passages that acknowledge China’s long road to socialism ahead, and current demand for moderation. APRF f45 op1 d328.

(234) Ethan Pollock, Stalin and the Soviet Science Wars (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006), 180.

(235) Heinzig, The Soviet Union 268, 281–84.

(236) “Record of Conversation, Stalin and Mao Zedong, December 16, 1949,” in Brothers in Arms, 315–16.

(237) Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 288.

(238) Zhihua, “Sino-Soviet Relations,” 57–58.

(239) “Record of Conversation, Stalin and Mao Zedong, January 22, 1950,” in Brothers in Arms, 325–326.

(240) Later in 1950, the Soviets agreed to evacuate Dairen by the beginning of 1951. In September 1952, China asked Moscow to prolong its troop presence in Port Arthur, and Moscow did so until May 1955. Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 356–57.

(241) On September 15, 1952, Stalin agreed with Zhou Enlai to transfer railroad to China by the end of that year. Ledovskii, “Stenogrammy Peregovorov,” 81.

(242) Ledovskii, “Na Diplomaticheskom Rabote v Kitae,” 121–26; and Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 349–58, 373–76.

(243) Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 299.

(244) Ledovskii, “Peregovory I. V. Stalina,” 41.

(245) Stalin, arguing against accepting armistice conditions, August 25, 1952.

(246) Weathersby, “Sovetskie Tseli v Koree,” 315–322.

(247) Zhihua, “Sino-Soviet Relations,” 48.

(248) Stalin replied at the time that “it is not necessary to attack the South, although in the case of a southern attack on the North, it would be possible to go over on the counteroffensive.” Mastny, The Cold War, 90.

(249) Zhihua, “Sino-Soviet Relations,” 50.

(250) Evgueni Bajanov, “Assessing the Politics of the Korean War, 1949–1951,” Cold War International History Project Bulletin 6–7 (Winter 1995/1996): 54, 87; and Andrei M. Ledovskii, “Stalin, Mao Tszedun i Koreiskaia Voina 1950–1953 Godov,” Novaia i Noveishaia Istoriia 5 (2005): 92. It should be kept in mind that both the North’s Kim and the South’s Syngman Rhee had continually claimed sovereignty over all of Korea, and sporadic military clashes between the two across the 38th parallel were a common occurrence right up to the onset of the war in June 1950. As Gaddis concluded, both Rhee and Kim tried to push their Great Power patrons into a war, and Stalin ultimately took the bait. John Lewis Gaddis, We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 70–75.

(251) Zhihua, “Sino-Soviet Relations,” 48.

(252) Ibid., 52.

(253) Ibid., 53, 66.

(254) Goncharov, Lewis, and Litai, Uncertain Partners, 137.

(255) Ibid., 155.

(256) Zhihua, “Sino-Soviet Relations,” 67; Mastny, The Cold War, 94; Ledovskii, “Stalin, Mao Tszedun,” 94; Weathersby, “New Russian Documents,” 39; At the time of the Korean War, Andrei M. Ledovskii was Soviet consul-general in Mukden, China.

(257) Zhihua, “Sino-Soviet Relations,” 62.

(258) Weathersby, “New Russian Documents,” 43; and Mastny, The Cold War, 99.

(259) Ledovskii, “Stalin, Mao Tszedun,” 100.

(260) Ibid., 101.

(261) I must say I have not come across another instance of an Eastern European ally having the courage/audacity/risk-acceptance to directly criticize any of Stalin’s foreign policy decisions.

(262) Ledovskii, “Stalin, Mao Tszedun,” 96–97.

(263) Ledovskii, “Stalin, Mao Tszedun,” 103.

(264) Aleksandr V. Vorontsov, “‘Okazat Voennuiu Pomoshch Koreiskim Tovarishcham,’” Istochnik 1 (1996): 124–30.

(265) Ledovskii, “Stalin, Mao Tszedun,” 104.

(266) Ibid., 105; and Vorontsov, “Okazat Voennuiu Pomoshch,” 132–33.

(267) Vorontsov, “Okazat Voennuiu Pomoshch,” 134.

(268) Alexandre Y. Mansourov, “Stalin, Mao, Kim, and China’s Decision to Enter the Korean War, September 16–October 15, 1950: New Evidence from the Russian Archives,” Cold War International History Project Bulletin Issues 6–7 (Winter 1995/1996): 95–104; and Ledovskii, “Stalin, Mao Tszedun,” 110.

(269) Weathersby, “New Russian Documents,” 52.

(270) Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb, 284.

(271) Ibid., 288.

(272) Weathersby, “New Russian Documents,” 52–59, 71–78; Mastny, The Cold War, 124–48.

(273) Weathersby, “New Russian Documents,” 67.

(274) Ledovskii, “Stenogrammy Peregovorov,” 74–75.

(275) During the war, the Soviet Union supplied China with materiel for 64 army and 22 air force divisions, leaving China with $650 million to repay, which they did so by 1965. Jian, Mao’s China, 61.

(276) Weathersby, “Sovetskie Tseli v Koree,” 327–29.

(277) Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie,” 225.

(278) Goncharov, Lewis, and Litai, Uncertain Partners, 107–08; Jian, Mao’s China, 121.

(279) Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 306.

(280) I have in mind Goncharov, Lewis, and Litai, Uncertain Partners, 107, and Gaiduk, Confronting Vietnam, 3. For example, the latter argues the Soviets didn’t want to undermine the French Communist Party’s chances of joining a French government. But the PCF had already been ousted from a coalition government in May 1947, three years before Ho Chi Minh was given the cold shoulder in Moscow.

(281) Vladimir O. Pechatnov and Vladislav M. Zubok, “The Allies are pressing on you to break your will,” Cold War International History Project Working Paper (Washington, D.C.: Wilson Center, 1999), 22.

(282) Gaiduk, Confronting Vietnam, 8.

(283) Westad, The Global Cold War, 67.

(284) Zhukov, Stalin: Tainy Vlasti, 475.

(285) Ibid., 462–465. The assassination of Bernadotte had been approved by none other than Yitzhak Shamir, future Likud prime minister of Israel. Bowyer Bell, “Assassination in International Politics,” International Studies Quarterly 16, no. 1 (March 1972): 59–82.

(286) Zhukov, Stalin: Tainy Vlasti, 469.

(287) Volokitina et al., Sovetskii Faktor v Vostochnoi Evrope, 134.

(288) Gaddis, We Now Know, 166.

(289) For example, General Lucius Clay in conversation with Marshal Sokolovsky in Berlin in October 1945. Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR po Germanskomu (9 Maia 1945g.—3 Oktiabria 1946g.),” 248. US Ambassador Walter Bedell Smith in conversation with Sokolovsky and Semenov in Moscow in March 1946. Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR po Germanskomu (9 Maia 1945g.—3 Oktiabria 1946g.),” 435.

(290) Nikolai V. Novikov, Vospominaniia Diplomata (Moscow: Politizdat, 1989), 379.

(291) Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb, 152–53.

(292) Ibid., 227–32.

(293) Ibid., 271.

(294) Andrei Artizov and Oleg Naumov, eds., Vlast i Khudozhestvennaia Intelligentsiia: Dokumenty TsK RKP(b)-VKP(b), VChK-OGPU-NKVD, o Kulturnoi Politike, 1917–1953 gg. (Moscow: Demokratiia, 1999), 615.

(295) Pons, “Cold War in Europe,” 22.

(296) Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb, 263–64.

(297) Pons, “Cold War in Europe,” 25.

(298) Holloway, Stalin and the Bomb, 288.

(299) Ledovskii, “Stenogrammy Peregovorov,” 75.

(300) Dimitrov, The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov, 423. “Velikii Drug” or “Great Friend” was the code name for Stalin in Dimitrov’s telegrams to Moscow.

(301) Gibianskii, “Na Poroge Pervogo Raskola,” 99.

(302) “Nuzhno Idti k Soltsializmu,” 22.

(303) Danilov and Pyzhikov, Rozhdenie Svekhderzhavy, 122–23.

(304) Stalin expressed his confusion over both Lend-Lease and the elusive credits when Secretary of State George Marshall visited Moscow in April 1947. Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR,” 356.

(305) Volokotina et al., Moskva i Vostochnaia Evropa, 33; Pechatnov and Zubok, “The Allies are pressing,” 5.

(306) Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR po Germanskomu (9 Maia 1945g.—3 Oktiabria 1946g.),” 575.

(307) Pechatnov and Zubok, “The Allies are pressing,” 18.

(308) Loth, “Stalin’s Plans,” 28; and Noikov, Vospominaniia Diplomata.

(309) “‘Nasha Liniia Takaia …’ Dokumenty o vstreche IV Stalina s rukovoditeliami SEPG. Ian-fev 1947g.” Istoricheskii Arkhiv 4 (1994): 40; Loth, “Stalin’s Plans,” 26–27; and Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie,” 247–60.

(310) Consistent with this view is SVAG’s report to Molotov on US intentions, delivered on February 8, 1947. Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR,” 266–67.

(311) I discussed the effects of the Marshall Plan on Soviet-Eastern European relations above, in Section A.

(312) Mikoyan, Tak Bylo, 574.

(313) Mikhail M. Narinskii, “The Soviet Union and the Berlin Crisis, 1948–9,” in The Soviet Union and Europe in the Cold War, 1943–53, ed. Francesca Gori and Silvio Pons (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996), 58. This theory extended to Stalin’s expectations for US investment in China, with Stalin telling Liu Shaoqi in July 1949 that “the crisis in the US will force it to value highly trade with China.” Heinzig, The Soviet Union, 466.

(314) MacDonogh, After the Reich, 238.

(315) Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR,” 57.

(316) Dimitrov, The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov, 430.

(317) Volokitina, “Nakanune,” 45–48.

(318) Yegerova, “NATO i Evropeiskaia Bezopasnost,” 62.

(319) Volokitina, “Nakanune,” 43.

(320) Narinskii, “The Soviet Union and the Berlin Crisis,” 60.

(321) These meetings were importantly separate from both the CFM and ACC meetings, both of which included the Soviet Union.

(322) Kynin and Laufer, “Vvedenie: Politika SSSR,” 57; Paul Steege, “Holding on in Berlin: March 1948 and SED Efforts to Control the Soviet Zone,” Central European History 38, no. 3 (September 2005): 438–42.

(323) “Za Sovetami v Kreml,” 23–24.

(324) For the untold story of of just how porous the blockade was, and how Soviets even encouraged West Berliners to get their food and coal from the Soviet zone, see William Stivers, “The Incomplete Blockade: Soviet Zone Supply of West Berlin, 1948–49,” Diplomatic History 21, no. 4 (Fall 1997): 569–602.

(325) Narinskii, “The Soviet Union and the Berlin Crisis,” 64–72.

(326) Loth, “Stalin’s Plans,” 30–31.

(327) Iurii V. Rodovich, “O ‘Note Stalina’ ot 10 Marta 1952 g. Po Germanskomu Voprosu,” Novaia i Noveishaia Istoriia 5 (2002): 63–79; and Gaddis, We Now Know, 126–28.