How the West lost World War II at Yalta

by Dan Hannan

Seventy-five years ago, we lost the war. Or, more precisely, we gave up on winning it.

Among all the 75th anniversaries marked by our politicians — D-Day, V-E Day, V-J Day — this week’s is the one that should make us squirm. On Feb. 11, 1945, at the Crimean resort of Yalta, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill agreed to a carve-up that condemned hundreds of millions of Europeans to tyranny and left the USSR as the only state to come through World War II wholly victorious.

That is not an easy thing to acknowledge. Even as I was writing the last paragraph, I felt as if I was somehow slighting the American, British, and other Allied soldiers (my late father among them) who, without making a fuss, dropped what they were doing and rushed to do their duty. Yet, 75 years on, we should be honest.

Why, after all, did World War II begin? There were a lot of contributory factors, obviously, but the immediate casus belli was Adolf Hitler’s invasion of Poland. Britain and France went to war to defend Polish sovereignty against a neighboring dictatorship that aimed to swallow up a large chunk of its territory. They ended up agreeing to leave Poland under the domination of a neighboring dictatorship that swallowed up a large chunk of its territory.

We can offer all sorts of explanations and excuses. Roosevelt was dying — he lived for only two more months, not long enough to see the socialist enslavement of Eastern Europe. But, frankly, even had he been in full health, watchful and alert, it is not clear how much more he could have done.

“Whoever occupies a territory gets to impose his own social system on it,” Stalin told the Yugoslav Partisan Miloslav Djilas. “Everyone imposes his system as far as his army can reach.” At that moment, Stalin’s army reached very far indeed, the most powerful force under mobilization. Denis Healey, the future Labour minister who was at that time a British Army major, remarked that “all the Red Army needed to reach the North Sea was boots.”

To challenge Soviet hegemony in the Eastern Europe, the Western allies would have needed to threaten force credibly. Churchill was prepared at least to consider that option, one of the reasons he was turned out of office in the election of July 1945.

Roosevelt was not prepared to do that. Credulous at the best of times, he placed great store by Stalin’s promise to implement the Four Freedoms. (How the old gangster must have chuckled.) In any case, he was desperate to bring the USSR into the war against Japan — a commitment that Stalin was happy to give.

So, the deed was done. Bulgarians, Czechs, Estonians, East Germans — all were condemned to two generations of occupation and misery. Polish soldiers had fought with grim patriotism across the Western theater — at the Battle of Britain, in North Africa, in Normandy. They sustained fearsome casualties at Monte Casino and Arnhem. Yet their Western allies were in no position to return the favor when, in 1945, their homeland was overrun for the second time.

Stalin was able to impose a ready-made government, put together in the Kremlin but lacking domestic support inside Poland. It was the same story in every conquered satrapy, except, to some degree, Yugoslavia. There were fewer than 4,000 Hungarian Communists when Matyas Rakosi returned to Budapest with the Red Army, and fewer than a thousand Romanian Communists (out of a population of 20 million) when Ana Pauker came back to Bucharest.

But Stalin knew how to work with useful idiots. His satellite parties were initially instructed to join coalitions or Popular Fronts, maintaining the facade of democracy until, through a combination of force and fear, they could assume total power. Western socialists mulishly refused to see what was happening.

We have been telling ourselves a lie ever since. It is perhaps an understandable lie, a lie born out of respect for the fallen. But it is a lie nonetheless.

The lie holds that, somehow, communism is not as bad as fascism. We like to think that the ascendancy of Stalinism, the secret police, the torture chambers, the gulags, was a price worth paying. We British, especially, need to tell ourselves that it all worked out in the end. Otherwise, what was our sacrifice for? We emerged in 1945 broken and bankrupt. We have still not paid off our wartime debt. We desperately want to believe that we won.

In fact, it was not until the Thatcher-Reagan years that we finally made some restitution to the nations betrayed at Yalta. If we must identify a Western victory, it came in 1989. Too late for millions.

(c) Washington Examiner

12 comments

  • Glad you put this brilliant piece up F1. This anniversary proves that Nato is no longer fit for purpose, because the overwhelming majority of its members will not fight Russia. a) they are surrender monkeys and b) they are on putler’s side anyway.

    Liked by 5 people

  • There is at least one inaccuracy in this article. The author claims Britain has still not paid off it’s war time debt. The final installment for Britain’s war debt was paid in 2006. Otherwise the article reflects the weakness of the West in realising Stalin’s plans, and takeover of Eastern Europe.

    Liked by 4 people

  • Roosevelt was a little blind because he got most of his information from the New York Times, as many Americans did in those days, includingtheU.S. State department.The Times’ correspondent in Moscow, Walter Duranty, was a real low-life. He was an alcoholic womanizer, and the Soviets supplied him with a fine apartment and women and booze. In exchange, he painted a rosy picture of the Soviet Union, despite the fact that millions of people were being murdered and starved to death. Almost the first thing Roosevelt did, when he got into office, was to recognize the Soviet government.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You should see Mr Jones; a great movie about the Holodomor. Duranty was a filthy degenerate who shilled for Russia, just as Alex Jones, Michael Savage, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, Julian Assange et al do now.
      For revealing the truth about the Holodomor, Gareth Jones was murdered by Russian goons. He was 29. Duranty led a full life and retired to Florida; sickening.

      Liked by 2 people

  • What an absolutely idiotic, asinine piece. What exactly are you suggesting? That we should have opposed the Russians during the Battle of Budapest? That we should have stepped in and fought against the Russians during the Prague uprising? Why would you seemingly sympathize with literal Axis countries like Hungary, Romania, and German-annexed and collaborator Czechoslovakia?

    Given what Russia went through, with large parts of its territory destroyed and tens of millions of people killed, there was obviously going to be no restoration of the pre-1939 status quo. Russia literally had hostile regimes sitting on her borders – Hungary, Poland, Romania, German-incorporated & puppet Czechoslovakia sitting on its borders. And if you’re Russia, you’re obviously going to do something to neutralize threats to your security.

    When we defeated Japan, similarly, we essentially dictated a new constitution to Japan’s leaders. We reduced the emperor’s status to that of a figurehead without political control. We forced them to renounce the right to wage war, which involved eliminating all non-defensive armed forces. We turned Japan from an enemy into an ally. But for some arbitrary reason, which I suspect is in fact motivated by hatred for Russia, you impose the rule that Russia was not allowed to do to countries what we did to Japan.

    “So, the deed was done. Bulgarians, Czechs, Estonians, East Germans — all were condemned to two generations of occupation and misery.”

    Soviet troops withdrew from Bulgaria in 1947, there was no occupation of Bulgaria. Soviet troops withdrew from Czechoslovakia in December 1945. East Germany and West Germany were both supposed to have been occupied and reformed just like Yalta and Potsdam established, after all, Germany started a big war. 30 to 40 percent of Estonia consists of Russians, who sure as hell don’t consider the Soviet Union as time of “occupation and misery”.

    “Polish soldiers had fought with grim patriotism across the Western theater — at the Battle of Britain, in North Africa, in Normandy. They sustained fearsome casualties at Monte Casino and Arnhem. Yet their Western allies were in no position to return the favor when, in 1945, their homeland was overrun for the second time.”

    Why does this propaganda about Poland always neglect the fact that Poles and Russians also fought together against Germany? In far larger numbers than the relatively unimportant western front. Russians and Poles fought together in the Vistula-Oder offensie, Battle of Berlin, Prague, etc. The fact that Poles and Russians fought alongside in Poland kinda refutes your “muh Russian occupiers” propaganda.

    Stalin was able to impose a ready-made government, put together in the Kremlin but lacking domestic support inside Poland. It was the same story in every conquered satrapy, except, to some degree, Yugoslavia.

    “There were fewer than 4,000 Hungarian Communists when Matyas Rakosi returned to Budapest with the Red Army, and fewer than a thousand Romanian Communists (out of a population of 20 million) when Ana Pauker came back to Bucharest.”

    Hungary and Romania were enthusiastic, eager Nazi German allies responsible for the Holocaust and waging aggression. It sounds like you’re siding with them over our ally Russia.

    “But Stalin knew how to work with useful idiots. His satellite parties were initially instructed to join coalitions or Popular Fronts, maintaining the facade of democracy until, through a combination of force and fear, they could assume total power. Western socialists mulishly refused to see what was happening.”

    Again, given what happened in 1941-1945, the idea that Russia would allow the existence of hostile regimes in countries that had literally just invaded it is just not very realistic. Germany, Hungary and Romania were all aggressor states. Czechoslovakia happily and willingly went along with the Nazis – Prague was untouched by fighting until May 1945. And Russian policies of reforming and assuring that wartime enemies would not remain enemies was completely analogous to our policies of occupying and reforming Japan.

    Like

    • Moskovia got everything they deserved after joining Hitler and nazi Germany when they signed Molotov-Ribbentrop. As you know, this set the table for World War 2. Then after World War 2, Moskovia picked up where Hitler left off. Japan also became one of the most productive and democratic states on earth.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Reblogged this on THE FLENSBURG FILES and commented:
    While the Allies claimed victory on 8 May, 1945, some historians claimed that the war was lost before it could have been won. This article supports that claim. In your opinion: How did Germany become a divided state for the next 45 years? Was it through Roosevelt’s unwillingness or inability to continue with the alliance and of rebuilding Europe? Was it through Stalin’s aggressive spread of socialist ideology that the West couldn’t contain? Were there other factors? Looking forward to some thoughts in the Comment page…..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Excellent questions. In my opinion it would be a combination of conditions you proposed. America was rebuilding after the war too. Yet congress allocated $15 billion for the Marshall Plan. After the war that was a lot of dough. America like the rest of the allies were also tired of war. That is the condition of civilized countries after years of death. Such is not the case in Moskovia where death is celebrated as an opportunity to advance their national interests and eastern Europe paid the price.

      Liked by 2 people

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