Journal of Contemporary History
(Sage Publications, London, Newbury Park and New Delhi),
Vol. 26 (1991 April), 215-227.

R.C. Raack :

Professor of History Emeritus at California State University, Hayward.
He is currently working on Soviet diplomacy in the second world war
and on Soviet film propaganda in the same period.

Stalin’s Plans for World War II

Recent revelations from inside Stalin’s former empire indicate that much of the history connected with that land of enigmas and its former secretive vozhd’ is going to have to be revised.  One of the widespread idées fixes connected with the history of Western, essentially British and American, relations with the Soviet Union is that while Stalin was ruthless in his domestic policy, he was opportunistic, yet basically cautious and defensive in his foreign policy.  Stalin’s approach to the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939 has most often been viewed as consistent with his allegedly defensive stance.  According to this long prevailing notion, Stalin made his odious Pact with the German devil as a reaction to what he understood as Western efforts to deflect Hitler’s aggression eastward.  With the Hitler-Stalin Pact in his diplomatic armoury, Stalin could extend the defences of the Soviet state westward, gain control over former tsarist-held territories, and win valuable time for military preparation to meet the nazi assault he knew must eventually come.  Stalin himself is said to have asserted parts of the last argument in discussions inside the Kremlin.(1)

Fewer writers have contended that Stalin viewed the coming of war in Europe as an opportunity to expand Bolshevik influence well beyond tsarist boundaries and directly westward in the aftermath of a collapse of the bourgeois governments there.  In this view, the western Europeans, as Russian historical analogy and Marxist-Leninist prediction foreshadowed, must repeat the first world war internal collapse of the tsarist empire during, or after, the second world war.  Their governments would then be replaced, like it, by revolutionary Bolshevik regimes.(2)

Unfortunately it is still difficult to gain total clarity on Stalin’s purposes.  The current Soviet government, in spite of so-called glasnost’, has been systematically obfuscating Stalin’s foreign policy escapades, rather than systematically co-operating with independent researchers looking into his foreign (as opposed to his domestic) misdeeds.(3)  To these historians its relevant archives for the period remain closed.

Establishing the second programme as Stalin’s preferred option would require historians to put aside finally the widespread supposition that his purposes behind making the 1939 Pact were defensive.  In fact, we can find much very credible evidence from sometime friends of the Soviet side to show that Stalin made the Pact, or at least tried to use it, for offensive purposes.  This evidence, most of it dating from about ten months after the Pact, has nonetheless gone uncited by the vast majority of historians concerned with these times.  If we take account of these witnesses, it would seem that we may have to radically recast the most accepted view of Stalinist foreign policy.  For if Stalin really intended to use Molotov’s signature to the infamous Pact as the first step in a Bolshevik Drang nach Westen, as these witnesses report, we shall also have to reconsider the most widely accepted views of Soviet purposes all during the war and even in the early postwar period, when the Red Army and NKVD finally came west.(4)

We cannot imagine that the war that broke out in September 1939 would either have begun as it did or taken the course that it actually took, had there been no Hitler-Stalin Pact.  Without the Pact and its ancillary secret protocols, a different war might have broken out, but not the war history gave us.  Would Hitler have invaded Poland without being convinced that the Poles in retreat before the German armies in 1939 would be smashed by the eastward-aimed German hammer thudding against the westward-moving Soviet anvil ?  Without the Pact, the Poles’ prospects for retreat were good, even after the likely initial heavy defeats by the Wehrmacht, as were those for extended stands in the large eastern reaches of their state.  Supplied through Romania, perhaps by the Soviet Union itself (which, had there been no Pact, would have had to keep the Germans embroiled and away from its own borders), and even perhaps by the Lithuanians (who had no love for the Poles, but had already found very good reason to fear Hitler), the Poles’ chances of holding out in the east for months, or even longer, were very favourable.  Without the Pact, Hitler, given the French and British threat in the West and embroiled with the Poles, would never have dared to attack the Lithuanians and Romanians to cut off those supplies.  For such moves he would have needed the approval of the Soviets.  And why would they have given it then if they had initially rejected his earlier deals ?  One can only imagine a very different outcome for Hitler in such circumstances of sustained Polish resistance than the quick campaign in the east that he ultimately carried off.  And without that Blitzkrieg, one can only imagine a vastly different diplomatic and military history of the times.

Given the Poles’ venomous wrath against the Teutons, we might confidently suppose in retrospect that retreating Polish commanders would not have quickly surrendered, but would have fought on for months east of the Bug.  The sieges of Warsaw and Modlin, and the battle of the Westerplatte, the extended fighting between the Red Army and Polish forces in the east (lasting well into autumn 1939),(5) not to mention the incredibly stalwart Polish resistance in the later Warsaw uprising, establish a true picture of Polish military tenaciousness in the second world war.  An extended Polish stand in the east would soon have compelled the French and British, if only for reasons of honour, to advance in the West against Hitler.  They might, as they did, forget that honour for the period of slightly over a month after 1 September 1939 that the Poles actually managed to hold out against the Germans and Soviets.  But the Westerners could not have ignored their military commitment to their eastern allies much longer.  The matter would have soon become a public and parliamentary one.  Saving their credibility as allies would soon have had to loom large in the thinking of Western leaders.

Likewise the Germans, without the abundant raw materials and other supplies from the Soviets guaranteed by the Hitler-Stalin Pact, would soon have fallen on tougher times in the war with the West.  And the frail German national sense of security, a local weakness Hitler clearly understood, was one that the food guarantees, the Pact and ancillary documents were in part designed to countervail.  That pervasive German fear of hunger brought on by war would have been all the stronger had Germany in 1939 been facing the prospect of another long British blockade without Soviet oil and foodstuffs.  The blockade experience of the first world war was one no adult German could forget.  In his speeches Hitler touched an extremely sensitive collective nerve by constantly and passionately recalling episodes of hunger.(6)  Those Soviet guarantees of food were as vital a part of Hitler’s successful wooing of his frightened people to assist in helping him with his questionable, and deliberately unspecific, war plans as any propaganda victory he ever pulled off.

In fact, the widely prevalent view of Stalin’s behaviour in 1939 and 1940, up to the German attack, remains close to the one which British Prime Minister Chamberlain and Winston S. Churchill, an important member of the war cabinet, shared in autumn 1939 :  that the Soviet attack on Poland was defensive.  And if they and others moved away from the view that Soviet purposes were defensive when the Soviets invaded Finland, they quickly returned to their original position when Stalin called off the ‘Winter War’, leaving Finland, albeit considerably reduced in territory, still independent.(7)  Stalin’s subsequent wartime moves west, all but one secretly covered by the Pact with Hitler, were made in the days of June 1940 when the British were totally preoccupied with saving themselves from Hitler’s Drang nach Westen.  No doubt Stalin timed the launch of his campaigns leading to the annexation of the Baltic States and large segments of Romania largely for that very reason.  In the days of Dunkerque the British did not have a moment to reflect.  The issues passed virtually unnoticed.

But we must recall that no Western statesmen at the time had any knowledge of the infamous secret protocols.  Moreover, Stalin, from the time he concocted his excuses for the attack on Poland in September 1939 until the invasion of the Baltic nations and Romania, was, unlike Hitler, constantly covering his moves propagandistically as defensive.(8)  And, in fact, the Soviets were mostly occupying territory which had once been part of the tsarist empire.  The latter, in turn, had been an ally of France and Britain in the first world war.  With that historical memory in mind, it was quite possible for the British to see the occupation of the Baltic states as a defensive move against Hitler.  (If one did not wonder why the Germans made no protest at the time the Soviet frontier was extended to embrace that of vulnerable East Prussia surely the events of late summer 1914 cannot have been totally forgotten in Berlin and London ?)  Still, the British, on reflection, might have found it impossible to rationalize Stalin’s Romanian annexations (not all of which were former tsarist territory) in the same way.

Yet, as noted, the British (not to mention the French) were wholly distracted just then.  Systematic thinking about such far-away places would have been almost impossible.  And, as we know from constant wartime discussions, Churchill, among others, was regularly confused about the geography of the area and its proper proprietors.  He did tend to think historically, but seemingly without the historical background necessary.  The fact that for centuries, before the tsars came, the Poles had been the long-time proprietors of much of the Baltic, the Ukraine and White Russia seems to have eluded his historical grasp.  Perhaps Churchill could not quite separate Ukrainians and White Russians from Russians, for he seemed to view the Russians as the justifiable proprietors of all the lands up to the imperfectly defined Curzon Line.  And the Curzon Line (in all its forms), on which in later diplomacy with Stalin he eagerly appeared to fasten, was perhaps close to his heart.  It bore, we must recall, the name of a Briton, in fact an earlier colleague, whom he had recently dubbed one of his ‘great contemporaries’.  This British idea of historical geography, plus Churchill’s historical preoccupation with the German menace, appears to have made this once notably anti-Bolshevik statesman generally predisposed from 1939 on to see the Stalinist Soviet Union ever more frequently in a quite favourable light.(9)

The fact that we have several accounts of this kind of thinking from these higher-ranking Soviets during this period, and that Molotov and Dekanosov contemporaneously made the same kind of observations and assertions, suggests their validity as historical evidence as well as the probability that all the ideas expressed came from the same fount.  That source was, most likely, foreign policy discussions inside the Kremlin between the vozhd’ and his intimes, discussions probably dating at least from the first plans for the negotiations to win the most favourable pact possible with the nazis.  Those discussions would have taken place over many months, as plans ripened and circumstances changed, and would have covered subjects such as how to gain maximum profits for the Soviet Union after negotiating the Pact and how to redraft it.  (Important aspects of the secret protocols were significantly redrafted during meetings in late September with Ribbentrop, during which Hitler was telephonically consulted.)  They would also have discussed how best to implement the Pact against Poland, the Baltic states, Finland, and Romania, as well as the feared intervention of Great Britain and France in the Finnish war.(13)  It is scarcely to be doubted, especially in light of the often-recorded high levels of alcohol consumption in the Kremlin, that theory, practicality and fantasy frequently merged in the Tischgespräche of the smoke-filled Kremlin ambiance.  For it is well known that, after discussions, Stalin frequently wined and dined with his bizarre crew of sidekicks and advisors.

Molotov, Dekanosov and Zhdanov were likely just pouring out by way of persuasive rhetoric directed to their astonished would-be Baltic collaborators the essence of all they had come to hope and believe during those night-time parleys which was also what many of the Kremlin intimates, them included, had mentally enshrined as future reality.(14) Surely no reader familiar with the history of the period will doubt that Stalin was capable of sizeable miscalculation based on colossal diplomatic fantasies just as he often fantasized and, even worse, effected, interventions in almost every aspect of Soviet cultural and intellectual life.  The unexpected failure of the Finns to rally to the new ‘democratic government’ he endowed them with in 1939, his evident shock and surprise at the German attack in 1941, and his misbegotten (for his purposes) choice of Karl Renner as Austrian political leader in 1945 are but three of the many notable disasters which befell poorly concocted schemes to expand his power and influence.  To them we could easily add post-war examples :  the disadvantageous (to him) consequences of the forced Czech coup of 1948, the Berlin Blockade and the Korean War.  All of the latter seriously limited Stalin’s influence and diplomatic as well as military possibilities beyond the Soviet-centred bloc he had forged during and after the war.

Now if these harangues delivered variously in Kaunus, Moscow and Tallinn really do reflect Stalin’s plans deriving from the new situation which came about with the Pact, then much that happened in later wartime diplomacy and many of Stalin’s moves in the immediate post-war period become fixed in a light far different from that in which they have usually been seen hitherto.

If the mistake of seeing Stalin’s post-Pact behaviour entirely incorrectly was made in 1939 by Churchill and other leading Britons, it was not differently, albeit equally incorrectly, measured by contemporary, and similarly anti-nazi, American statesmen (and, as noted, by countless writers of history).  Both groups later conducted the key Western wartime diplomacy with Stalin.  Both made seemingly carefree open as well as secret, and wholly unrequited, commitments of moral and material support to the Soviets after the German attack east.  Of course, these men even then knew nothing of the secret protocols.  And in their ignorance of Stalin’s post-war plans, which the latter and his friends did nothing during wartime diplomacy to repair,(15) the Westerners made incredibly false assumptions about the prospects for Soviet wartime and post-war behaviour on the continent to the west of its 1939 borders.

That behaviour was most likely to be a simple recasting, in the yet more favourable circumstances of total wartime and post-nazi European chaos, of the schemes calling for the management of vast post-war changes in Europe’s constitution the same plans which seemingly had fired the Kremlin’s 1939–41 Drang nach Westen.  But, locked into their false prognosis of Soviet co-operation with the West, and fearful of upsetting the irritable Soviet vozhd,’ the Western leaders’ natural compulsion was to try repeatedly to justify their early unreflective and uninformed commitments in their dealings with the unscrupulous Soviets by hanging on to whatever Stalin gave them as hope for bringing about a peaceful reconciliation of Eastern and Western post-war goals.  Only Stalin knew the latter were utterly irreconcilable with his.

The arguments of the early Cold War originated in wartime inter-Allied disagreements over how to redispose the territories ransacked and politically reorganized between 1939 and 1941 to suit the purposes of Hitler and Stalin.  These arguments are therefore directly connected with an understanding of Stalin’s purposes in those lands in the earliest wartime years, and an understanding of his purposes still unrealized in the rest of Europe to the west between 1939 and 1941.  If we accept as correct the statement of Soviet purposes which Molotov, Zhdanov and Dekanosov are said to have proclaimed in June and early July 1940, a great deal of the history of wartime and early post-war diplomacy is going to have to be rewritten.

Research findings over the last ten or so years in the area of Central and East Central European history have tended to confirm the view that Stalin’s foreign purposes in this crucial area throughout the whole of the second world war, particularly the era of the Grand Alliance, were utterly ruthless and in no way defensive.(16)  Many of these reports anticipated, and are now analogously confirmed by the vast number of recent Soviet findings and confessions at last fixing undeniably the real nature of his crackpot tyranny at home.  These reports prove Stalin’s unscrupulous treatment of everyone within his wide grasp, even of his closest advisers and sometime partners in crime.  A researcher will look in vain in all of these recent histories for evidence of Stalin’s benign purposes abroad during the period of diplomacy centred on the second world war.  Whether he dealt with allies or enemies beyond the Soviet Union’s borders, solid evidence has it that all seem to have been Kremlin-designated as potential victims of Soviet duplicity and as places for the extension of Soviet power.  We may surely anticipate that, once the main archives of the former satellite states are thrown open to independent research, masses of additional reports will come forth to confirm that information we already have.

The onus of establishing as invalid the evidence of Soviet wartime goals featured earlier, should there be a will to do so, rests on those who have strangely failed over the years to cite it.  For, in the course of ignoring or missing it, they have obviously so far failed to refute it.


1. An argument most recently found in Ingeborg Fleischhauer, Der Pakt.  Hitler, Stalin und die Initiative der deutschen Diplomatie 1938-1939 (Berlin 1990), 418ff, see, especially, 434.  It is an argument which would be more plausible if she had cited, and accounted for, the evidence I am describing below, and had taken account of the arguments with respect to Soviet behaviour from 1938 to be found in Jiri Hochman, The Soviet Union and the Failure of Collective Security, 1934-1938 (Ithaca, NY 1984), 144-75 ;  and in Ivan Pfaff, ‘Jak tomu odpravu bylo se sovëtskom pomoci v mnichovské krizi’, Svédectvi, XIV, nos. 56 and 57, passim.  Steven M. Miner, Between Churchill and Stalin.  The Soviet Union, Great Britain, and the Origins of the Grand Alliance (Chapel Hill, NC 1988), 134-6, notes the persistence of this argument.

2. A recent account suggesting a view of Soviet expansionism westward :  Gerhard L. Weinberg, ‘The Nazi-Soviet Pacts :  a Half-Century Later’, Foreign Affairs, LXVII (1989), 177-8, 184-6.  A study of the background of the Pact conducing to the same point of view :  Robert C. Tucker, ‘The Emergence of Stalin’s Foreign Policy’, Slavic Review, XXXVI (1977), 563-89.

3. See Mr. Gorbachev’s speech in Pravda, 3 November 1987.  After this early mischievous defence of Stalin, Mr. Gorbachev began to suggest that the secret protocol to the Pact was a Western falsification because, allegedly, no copy was now to be found in the Soviet archives.  See Inteligencja wobec nowych problemów socjalizmu.  Spotkanie Michaila Gorbaczowa z przedstawicielami polskiej inteligencji (Warsaw 1988), 88.  (Of course, the existing German original could easily have been authenticated professionally were he to challenge it officially, as he, in the past, has done rhetorically.)  Even more recently, the Moscow press has actually published excerpts from, and condemned, the secret protocols drawn from copies held in the archives of the German Federal Republic, and there have been reports that Soviet copies have been found.  Yet the Soviet government is still, as of this writing, clearly refusing to draw conclusions which might affect the future shape of the USSR from the information being discussed.  See also my article, ‘History as Past and Current Politics.  The Gensek, Stalin, and the Beginnings of the Cold War’, East European Quarterly, XXIII (1989), 129-44.
      Obviously, what Mr. Gorbachev originally believed, however much he understood of the dimensions of Stalin’s foreign crimes, was that it was tactically necessary to move forward today, and to reserve looking back for tomorrow.  But the debate over Stalin in the Soviet Union, as noted, has by now gained its own momentum.  See Susanne Nies, ‘Die Stalin(ismus)-Kontroverse in der Sowjetunion’, Osteuropa Forum Aktuell, no. 24/1989, 11-14.  The latest, as of this writing, from the Soviets, includes the texts of the Pact and the secret protocols as well as other documentation, and argues for their historical authenticity :  Vladimir Karpov, ‘Marshal Zhukov, ego coratniki i protivniki v gody voiny i mira (literaturnaia mozaika)’, Znamia, no. 10/ 1989, 60-71.

4. Some explanation of this neglect of the evidence is provided by the fact that few historians have really preoccupied themselves systematically with evidence on the subject deriving from the Soviet, and fewer yet with the east central European, side.  Likewise, the vast number of recent revelations with respect to Stalin’s domestic business help us draw a far finer picture of Stalin’s personality than was possible before.  This newly defined picture of an evil and erratic Stalin almost compels us to see the matters with which he is connected differently and underscores the need for a new understanding of Stalin’s entire historical role.

5. New on the war against the Red Army, Karol Liszewski, Wojna Polsko-Sowiecka 1939 r. (London 1986), passim.

6. Fleischhauer, op. cit., 540, fn 8 ;  Rudolf Binion, Hitler among the Germans (New York 1976), 61-5.

7. Winston S. Churchill, The Second World War, I (‘The Gathering Storm’, London 1948), 403 ;  Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill, VI (‘Finest Hour, 1939-1941’, Boston 1983), 99-100, 105-212 ;  Detlef Brandes, Grossbritannien and seine osteuropäischen Allierten (Munich 1988), 67 ;  Miner, op. cit., 15-30.
      Churchill, for example, having seemingly forgotten Stalin’s ‘democratic’ government, established for Finland as he wanted it organized in 1939, appears to have not suspected what Stalin’s plans were for the latter then as well as later.  See ibid., 195, 262.

8. Stalin’s careful propagandistic formulation of a ‘defensive’ war against Poland in September 1939 :  Janusz Piekaakiewicz, Polenfeldzug.  Hitler und Stalin zerschlagen die polnische Republik (Bergisch Gladbach 1982), 127, 141, 157, 159-61 ;  Ivan Maiskii, the Soviet ambassador in London through much of the war, pressed to keep up the same facade, argued sanctimoniously that the Soviet invasion of Lithuania was likewise defensive :  Miner, op. cit., 64.

9. The debate in the Foreign Office over Soviet purpose and policy in 1939 and 1940, confused as it was by the mixed signals and information coming out of Moscow, was as vexed then as it has been among historians subsequently.  And virtually the same positions were then being taken.  See Miner, op. cit., 38, 43.
     Churchill himself constantly referred to Soviets in his post-war histories as ‘Russians’.  With that kind of geographical state of mind (which was also manifest in the expressions of both Roosevelt and Churchill in wartime inter-Allied discussion —as one can ascertain from perusal of the Foreign Relations of the United States series on the wartime conferences), it was easy for him to understand everything not Polish as Russian.  When Stalin argued that the Curzon Line (his version, to be sure) was ethnographically the right one, Churchill failed to challenge him (Churchill, V [‘Closing the Ring’, London 1952], 349).  Even after the war he wrote that the Ukraine was ‘Russian territory’ (ibid., I, 335), and always mentioned the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland as a Soviet defence need.  See also Brandes, op. cit., 67.

10. Back in the 1940s Anna Louise Strong, in The Soviets Expected It (New York 1942), 120, gave Kreve-Mickievicius great praise ;  so did, far more recently, the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, in Akademiia nauk SSSR, Sotsialisticheskie revolutsii 1940 g. v Litve, Latvii i Estonii (Moscow 1978), 185, 254.

11. Stalin and Molotov had little respect for the French.  In fact, their disrespect was obsessive.  It crops up as one of those idées fixes the like of which abounded in Stalin’s curious, and provincial, Kremlin environment.  Molotov volunteered a few words about the French to Czech exile—President Benes in 1943 :  ‘ . . . politically they are rotten, and they have proved their weakness as a race’.  See Vojtech Mastny, ‘The Benes-Stalin-Molotov Conversations in December 1943.  New Documents’, Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas, XX (1972), 394.  Like the pandemic Kremlin notions described in the text above and in footnote 12, Molotov’s view of the French appears to have been widespread, for Ambassador Ivan Maiskii suggested something like the same idea to a British diplomat in June 1940, and Stalin said something of the same to British Lord Ismay in September 1941 (see Miner, op. cit., 64, 163).  At the Teheran Conference in early December 1943, Stalin himself, probably the originator of the anti-French obsession (and Hitler’s former comrade in arms), opined that France ought to be ‘punished for its criminal association with Germany’.  Moreover, he thought that nine-tenths of the French intelligentsia were ‘corrupt and infected with nazi ideology’ (presumably the other tenth were the communist teachers).  See Charles Bohlen memo, 15 December 1943, in file, ‘Memos summary of Hopkins-Stalin Conversations, 25 June 1945, United States National Archives, RG59, ‘Records of Charles E. Bohlen’, Bohlen Correspondence, 1942-1952, Box 3.  Furthermore, having hosted Charles de Gaulle at the Kremlin just a couple of months earlier, Stalin jumped in immediately with an unfavourable remark about his recent guest and the entire French nation to his current Western guests at the Yalta Conference in January 1945.  See Charles E. Bohlen, Witness to History, (1929-1969) (London 1973), 185.

12. Stalin’s henchmen tell the grand scheme :  Seppo Myllyniemi, Die Baltische Krise 1938-1941 (Schriftenreihe des Instituts für Zeitgeschichte, translated from Finnish, Stuttgart 1979), 126 ;  and Erich F. Sommer, Das Memorandum.  Wie der Sowjetunion der Krisg erklärt wurde (Munich 1981), 115-17.  Original of part of the plan in United States Congress, Select Committee, Baltic States Investigation.  Hearings before the Select Committee to Investigate the Incorporation of the Baltic States into the USSR (Washington, DC 1954), 342-3, 450-63.  Dekanosov confirms Molotov :  Myllyniemi, op. cit., 126 ;  more from Andrei Zhdanov, ibid., 133 ;  also Sommer, op. cit., 120-2.  Note also Stalin’s allegedly drunken outburst in May 1941 to the same point (Miner, op. cit., 123).  All confirmed to a measure by later evidence supplied by Khrushchev :  he recalled secretly Stalin’s ambitious plans for post-war Germany and for the expansion of ‘socialism’ on the Continent :  see Karel Kaplan, The Short March (translated from the German, London 1987), 3, 91 ;  and, on the Soviet desire for a war in the west, Miner, op. cit., 95 ;  Weinberg, op. cit., 178.
      Such grandiose formulations, as suggested above in footnote 11, flowed from the top down in the Soviet Union.  For example, the auguries of the renowned Soviet Ukrainian film-maker, Aleksander Dovzhenko, who was one of those Soviet intellectuals called in by ‘STALIN’ (upper case, as Dovzhenko so often, and not untypically for a Soviet intellectual in those times, referred to the Soviet Führer in print).  In a speech of 1935 (published by Goskinoizdat :  ‘Za bol’she Kinoiskusstvo’, 234), made when Dovzhenko was consulting with Stalin and his friends about the creation of a Ukrainian-focused film (‘Shchors’) on the model of Stalin’s favourite revolutionary ‘horse opera’, ‘Chapaev’, the film-maker, just out of the Kremlin hothouse, declaimed about what he had learned of a ‘colossal world war’ to come.  The Soviets must prepare their weapons, he reported.  After the coming victory, it would be possible to fulfil all our ‘fantasies and dreams’.  Where else but in the centre itself could he have collected such notions ?  (Citations from the Dovzhenko Collection in the Vsesoiuznyi Institut Kinomatografii, Kafedra Sovetskogo Kino :  from A. Dovzhenko in Literaturnaia Gazela, 20 March 1935 ;  and M. Doglopolov in Komsomol’skaia Pravda, 3 March 1935.) Jan T. Gross quotes a Pole arrested in Soviet-occupied eastern Poland in 1939 by the NKVD.  In response to the arrested man’s question, ‘Why me ?’, he got the answer, ‘ . . . the whole world belongs [to us], and all will be judged [by us]’.  And, from another local Soviet representative :  ‘We are annihilating the enemies of Soviet power ;  thus we will flog them until we have exterminated all the bourgeoisie and kulaks, not only here, but all over the world’.  Cited in ‘Wywozki do Rosji’, Aneks, no. 51/2 (1988), 63, 83.  Given the terror in the Soviet state in those days, it is scarcely to be doubted that those sentiments accurately reflected official understanding, or suspected that they had been plucked out of the blue sky.

13. Miner, op. cit., 46-7.

14. Molotov was given to saying awkward truths crudely and directly.  This he did both publicly and privately.  See above, fn 10.  One other example, quoted by Roy Douglas, Britain and the Cold War, 1942-1948 (New York 1981), 123 ;  another in Weinberg, 178.
      Stalin was also a crude jester, a practitioner of grotesque black comedy which became reality, an evident victim of his own weird ambiance.  He liked proclaiming, in the presence of Westerners as well as those to be affected, the need to hang (his own) diplomats, and to send aides who knew too much to Siberia.  See, for example, John W. Young, France, the Cold War and the Western Alliance, 1944-49.  French Foreign Policy and Post-war Europe (Leicester 1990), 32-3.

15. It is worth asking why Hitler did not publish the Pact during the war to embarrass the Soviets.  We know the Germans had destroyed the original (why?), but they could have printed it from the microfilm copy they kept.  They could have published it with a history claiming that Stalin had proposed much of it.  Right or wrong, such a history, with a picture of the Pact documents along with Molotov’s signature, would have caused trouble in inter-Allied wartime relations.  German Propaganda Minister Goebbels made good anti-Soviet propaganda out of the Katyn discoveries (even though Roosevelt and Churchill, as is well known, did their uttermost to squelch the story).

16. See for example Hochman and Pfaff, cited above (on Stalin and the Sudetenland crisis of 1938);  and Bronis J. Kaslas, ‘The Lithuanian Strip in Soviet-German Secret Diplomacy, 1939-1941’, Journal of Baltic Studies, IV (1973), 211-25.  (Stalin’s secret border dealings, the ‘sale’ to and repurchase of countless thousands of Lithuanian citizens, among them not a few Jews, from Hitler — a deal in which Stalin was taken for millions of dollars in gold on the eve of the German attack.  Recently appearing :  S.A. Gorlov, ‘SSSR i territorial’nye problemy Litvy’, Voenno-istoricheskii Zhurnal, no. 7, 1990, 20-8, attempts to put these events in a more favourable light.)  R.C. Raack, ‘Stalin Fixes the Oder-Neisse Line’, Journal of Contemporary History, 25, 4 (October 1990),467-88 (Stalin deliberately undertook to deceive Churchill and Roosevelt on the Polish-German border);  and, for Stalin’s plans in post-war Germany, Dietrich Geyer, ‘Deutschland als Problem der sowjetischen Europapolitik am Ende des zweiten Weltkrieges’, in Josef Foschepoth (ed.), Kalter Krieg and Deutsche Frage.  Deutschland im Widerstreit der Mächte 1945—1952 (Gottingen 1985);  Alexander Fischer, ‘Die Sowjetunion und die "Deutsche Frage" 1945-1949’, in Göttinger Arbeitskreis (ed.), Die Deutschlandfrage and die Anfänge des Cyst-West Konfikts 1945-1949 (Berlin 1984);  and idem, in Institut für Zeitgeschichte, München (ed.), Der Weg nach Pankow.  Zur Gründungsgeschichte der DDR (Munich 1980).