World War Two: Behind Closed Doors, Stalin, the Nazis and the West Stalin by Laurence Rees (2008), a BBC Book, is a good read – much about the relationship between this tyrant, Churchill and Roosevelt during the Second World War.
Hitler was a formidable conqueror; if not for Russians’ steadfast resistance and great sacrifices, Europe would have been completely run over by Germany. To the chagrin of Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt were dragging their feet over the launching of a second front to ease pressure on the Russians; hence Stalin’s distrust of Churchill and Roosevelt. Contrary to what western historians’ romantic record that the Normandy landing was the D-day of the war, Germany’s fate had already been sealed after the losses they suffered in the eastern fronts. Both Churchill and Roosevelt were ingratiating themselves to Stalin. Poland which suffered also a great deal during the war was supposed to surrender a large tract of its eastern zone to Russia in exchange for continued existence under an accord struck between Stalin, Churchill and Roosevelt. But what happened was something else; Poland, together with all the eastern European countries became the satellite states of Soviet Union, which Great Britain and the United States were totally unable, or not prepared, to do anything about. There was a great deal of betrayal for many Poles had sacrificed so much fighting under the banner of the Allied forces.
Stalin was one who would not bat an eyelid in sending his own people to death, let alone the Poles and the minorities like Tartars in Russia. The Russians could blatantly blame the Germans for the Katyn massacres where thousands of Poles were killed cold-bloodedly – even though facts pointed that they themselves were the culprits. Might talks loudest!
This was from Churchill: The difficulty about the Poles was that they had unwise political leaders. Where there were two Poles there was one quarrel. Stalin was one up with this rejoinder: “that where there was one Pole he would begin to quarrel with himself through sheer boredom”.
There are indeed much to learn about the leaders on both sides of the divide from this book. Two sophisticates could not out-wit a country bumpkin!