End of World War II
● At potsdam the big three met to settle the post-war order. Winston
Churchill represented Britain,Joseph Stalin represented The Soviet
Union and Harry Truman represented the United States.
● Truman was unprepared to settle the post-war order.
● After the WW1 in a clash of ideologies, communist and capitalist,
that the Cold War began.
● Stalin and Lenin knew that the west countries would do anything to
Russian Civil War
● The reds defeated the whites
● A lot of people were suffering from starvation after war.
● Russia turned away from the outside world to rebuild the economy.
● Roosevelt promised a New Deal for Americans.
● Roosevelt would manage capitalism for the public good and would
recognize the Soviet Union. For 16 years there had been no
relationship between the two governments.
● Stalin’s industrial drive attracted American experts. Soviets still did
the heavy industrial labor and Americas were the engineers and
could leave the country when they finished their job, but not the
● Stalin was a tyrant, and threatened with torture and murder those
who disagreed with him or failed to do what he wanted.
● Private fields became collective and peasants were murdered in
the process. The result was famine.
● Stalin felt he has to convince the people and party that there was a
conspiracy against the Soviet Union by the capitalist countries. He
accused comrades of betrayal and forced them to confess of doing
espionage through torture and threats.
● These trials revealed that the Soviet Union was a police state and
not a workers’ paradise. But there were still a lot of supporters
outside of the Soviet Union.
Fascism vs. Communism
● In the 1930’s Stalin called for a popular front of the left against
Hitler and Fascism. Lots of people followed it because a great
cause for socialists and communists, and doubts about Stalin were
● Franco of Spain launched a fascist rebellion and lots of people
joined the Popular Front of the Left to fight against it. Franco was
financed by Hitler and Mussolini. In Germany, Hitler was rearming,
and did not hide his ambition to conquer Europe and the World.
● Roosevelt wanted to keep out of any European war, and Britain’s
Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, trusted that Hitler would listen
● In 1939, Britain, France and Italy allowed Germany to invade
Czechoslovakia. They betrayed their ally.
● Stalin drew the conclusion that to Western democracies would do
nothing to stop Hitler, so he signed a Nazi-Soviet Pact with
Germany. It is believed that Stalin did this to have time, because
he thought the Soviet Union needed two years to defend itself
● In September 1939, Hitler invade Poland. Germany and Russia
had conspired against her. Britain and France declared war on
● The Nazi-Soviet Pact had allowed the Soviet Union to invade
Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Stalin had already invaded Finland.
● In 1940, Germany moved west. By mid 1941, France, Belgium,
Holland, Denmark, Norway, Yugoslavia, Greece had been
● On June 22, 1941, Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. It was a day
that changed History. Hitler meant to gain a colony, but the move
allowed the Soviet Union to move into the heart of Europe only four
years later. The future outlines of the Cold War began to form with
the German invasion of the Soviet Union.
● Abroad the Soviet Union won support, and even Britain welcomed
Stalin’s Russia as an ally.
● On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked USA’s Pearl Harbor. The
US declared war on Japan, and days later Germany declared war
on the US. In this way, archenemies, The Soviet Union and the US
● The German thrust at Moscow was blocked. Stalin met British
diplomats at Moscow and Stalin already wanted to discuss
post-war boundaries. He wanted the Baltic States and part of
● The US supported it’s allies with guns and trucks, but Stalin
needed someone to fight Germany on the western front.
● The suffering of the Soviet people was extreme.
● For six months battle raged in Stalingrad, outside Moscow. Finally
the Germans were trapped and forced to surrender.
● Germany tried to split the alliance against them. They exposed
Stalin’s atrocities in Poland.
● In 1943, the big three met at the Russian Embassy in Tehran,
which was bugged. Stalin received reports every day of what
Roosevelt and Churchill said. Roosevelt and Churchill had begun
to like Stalin.
● At this conference, they agreed that post-war eastern Europe
would be a Soviet zone of influence. Stalin would annex eastern
Poland, and as compensation Poland would get a part of eastern
Germany. Poland was offered no choice.
● On June 6, 1944, the biggest seaborne invasion in history, D-day,
happened. It was the second front invasion from the west that
● On the eastern front, the Soviet army continues to advance.
● Polish resistance seized the city of Warsaw from the Germans.
The Red Army arrived near Warsaw but stopped across the river,
so the Germans attacked again. The Red Army did not help and
the Polish had to fight alone. The Polish blamed the Soviets for
● Churchill and Stalin tried to divide up Europe among themselves
and the Americans: Rumania 90% under Soviet influence, 10% the
others, Greece 90% British, Yugoslavia and Hungary 50/50,
Bulgaria 75% Soviet.
● In February 1945, they met again. They had to decide the post war
arrangements for Germany, and the future of Poland. But by then
the Soviets already held most of Poland, the Balkan States, much
of Czechoslovakia and Hungary. On paper, through diplomacy,
they decided that these countries had to be ruled through elections
and under free democracy. Germany would be governed jointly by
● The Americans advanced into Germany without resistance. As
they advanced,they discovered the full horrors of FAscism. The
main target had been the Jews, but all nations had suffered.
● By allied agreement, the capture of Berlin was left to the Soviets.
● As Hitler’s Reich fell apart, countries gathered in San Francisco to
create the United Nations.
● On May 8 1945, the Germans surrendered. As a result of the War,
Europe was cut in two, from the Baltic to the Adriatic. On one side
democracies, on the other, countries under soviet rule.
● The war in the Pacific continued. The third allied summit happened
in Potsdam. There were a lot of differences at Potsdam. There,
Truman announced America had a very powerful weapon.
● Three days after the summit ended. American forces dropped an
atomic bomb in Hiroshima and three days later in Nagasaki.
● The nuclear shadow was present at every cold war crisis to come.
How did the Soviets feel about American experts having more
freedom than them?
Why did Roosevelt and Churchill support Stalin and agree to give
him influence in eastern Europe, when they knew he was a tyrant
What happened in France and Italy? Did they take part in any
Why did Japan attack Pearl Harbor?
3 things I learned:
I learned the story of the Second World War. I didn’t know anything
I learned that Stalin was a tyrant and his government was a police
state. He was very cruel with his people, and the people he
I learned that Britain and the US, who in theory defended
democracy and freedom, were willing to make pacts with Stalin to
invade countries and let him control them under his rules.
Two things I found interesting are that:
When Russia was in civil war people were so desperate that they
made sausages with human flesh.
That Stalin seemed to have the best secret service, and knew
everything about his allies.
A question I still have
I still have the question above :-)
One more is: why did the Americans throw the atomic bombs,
when they could have won the war with Soviet help.