Encouraging words - Churchill's responsibility for Stalin's aggressions

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Re: Encouraging words - Churchill's responsibility for Stalin's aggressions

Post by ljadw » 10 Feb 2024 07:08

gebhk wrote:
09 Feb 2024 22:32
The planning of Operation Unthinkable does not mean that Operation Unthinkable would be possible
It was entirely possible. That it would almost certainly have not succeed is another matter altogether.
The British chiefs of Staff considered Operation Unthinkable as militarily unfeasible even if the US joined Britain and the US would not join Britain ,we also don't know what the Dominions would do .Politically it would also be impossible as the planning implied a commitment of 10 German divisions :the British population and even the British army would not accept this .There would also be a general insurrection in France and very big problems in Britain .And what would do the King ?
Besides :the planning for the attack on the Soviets was 4 days before the elections . Not a coincidence ,it was a desperate attempt to win the elections and the result would be a total conservative defeat and Churchill would never return as PM .
Churchill and Lloyd George had planned a same operation in 1922 when the government was collapsing :an attack on the Ottoman Empire .

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Re: Encouraging words - Churchill's responsibility for Stalin's aggressions

Post by gebhk » 11 Feb 2024 09:07

Hi Ijadw

You still seem to be unable to grasp that there is a difference between something being impossible and something being hazardous or suicidal. It is impossible for human beings to fly or even glide unaided. That does not mean that stepping off tall buildings is impossible, sadly demonstrated by many thousands of people every year despite ALL the evidence that it will not be good for them. You can keep on citing reasons why attacking the Soviet Union in 1945 was a bad idea (and that is an interesting debate for another occassion) but none of it will ever prove that it was impossible.

Which brings us to the point: Churchill seems to have been willing to take enormous risks in the imperial British interest (as he saw it of course), but was not prepared to take them in the interest of his allies or even a more widely considered 'ethical' interest. It is difficult to fault him for that. However, what does bring distataste is his vitriolic and hipocritical outrage when others did exactly the same and his attempts to blame others for the behaviour of his government and/or his country.

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Re: Encouraging words - Churchill's responsibility for Stalin's aggressions

Post by ljadw » 11 Feb 2024 10:24

About the claim that Unthinkable was possible : to be possible , it had to be possible to start it and to start Unthinkable needed the support of the Dominions :Britain could not start a war without the support or better :the consent of the Dominions ,all of them . And we know that there were not willing to give their consent .
And : for a DOW (Britain could not start a war in 1945 without a DOW ) the approval of parliament was needed : without this approval ,there would have been no DOW to Germany at 3 September 1939 .
In 1945 an important part of the Commons was opposed to Unthinkable :Labour and its allies and maybe also the Liberals .They would tell the people that Churchill was a war monger who started a war to remain PM . A civil war was not excluded .
About the attitude of Churchill : IMHO he was a politician without moral scruples ( not that this is bad ) but also a man without convictions ( his only conviction was that the interests of his country were subordinated to his own interests ):starting as a Tory he deserted to the Liberals ,left them to return to the Tories where he tried to unsaddle their leader Baldwin and during his years in the desert (1929-1939 ) he was de facto not a Tory but the leader if the Churchill party.
Did this make him a bad PM ? I don't think so . A lot has been talked here about the question if he would have acted differently of Baldwin/Chamberlain if he was PM before the war , but NO ONE has dared to open the discussion if Baldwin/Chamberlain, Halifax would have done differently during the war if they were PM .
About his hypocritical outrage when others did the same and his attempts to blame other people for the behavior of his government/country :you can call this distasteful,but give me the name of a British /non British politician who did not the same,or the name of a military leader :they all look for scapegoats .
Remember : victory has thousand fathers,defeat is an orphan .
Distataste is a moral notion who has no place in politics .Politicians are all hypocrites .
When Napoleon wrote his memoirs ,he claimed the victories for him while his generals were responsible for his defeats .

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Re: Encouraging words - Churchill's responsibility for Stalin's aggressions

Post by ljadw » 11 Feb 2024 11:55

Churchill has been attacked here on this thread,without serious proofs,for his responsibility for Stalin's occupations of East European territories .
But the author hided the fact that Chamberlain and Halifax did not say what Maisky claimed that Churchill said.
Also is been hided that Stalin did NOT occupy these territories because of what Churchill said ,that there was no reason to condemn what Stalin had done ,because there is no proof that what Stalin had done,was bad for Britain .
One can argue that what Stalin did was bad for Poland (but I could reply that if he had not done it,it would be worse for Poland ),but this is totally irrelevant because Chamberlain,Halifax,Churchill were not Poles ,had no obligations to Poland and could do nothing to prevent Stalin from doing what he had done .

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Re: Encouraging words - Churchill's responsibility for Stalin's aggressions

Post by Sheldrake » 11 Feb 2024 12:17

wm wrote:
29 Jan 2024 04:18
On October 1, 1939, Churchill said during radio address from London:
Russia has pursued a cold policy of self-interest. We could have wished that the Russian Armies should be standing on their present line as the friends and allies of Poland, instead of as invaders.
But that the Russian Armies should stand on this line was clearly necessary for the safety of Russia against the Nazi menace.
...
It cannot be in accordance with the interest or safety of Russia that Germany should plant itself upon the shores of the Black Sea, or that it should overrun the Balkan states and subjugate the Slavonic peoples of Southeastern Europe. That would be contrary to the historic life interests of Russia.

On October 6, 1939, Churchill met with the Soviet ambassador in London - Ivan Maisky.
Among others, he said this:
Some of my Conservative friends advise peace. They fear that Germany will turn Bolshevik during the war. But I’m all for war to the end. Hitler must be destroyed. Nazism must be crushed once and for all. Let Germany become Bolshevik. That doesn’t scare me.
Better communism than Nazism.
And actually, Germany partially turned Bolshevik after the war.

,,,, snip....

Then he concluded:
Your non-aggression pact with Germany triggered the war, but I bear you no grudge. I’m even glad. For a long time now I’ve felt that a war with Germany is necessary. Without your pact, we would have hesitated and drawn things out, until we procrastinated to the point when we could no longer win the war.
The Maisky Diaries by Ivan Maisky
Ever since 1944 Poles have reasonably considered their country betrayed by the countries that declared war on Germany after agreeing to protect Poland. The results of WW2 for Poland were that its boundaries were shifted West. The USSR hung onto those parts of 1939 Poland which it had annexed and a communist regime imposed for the next 45 years. This is all despite the efforts of Poles in exile to do their bit to defeat the Nazis.
On 31 March 1939, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain told the House of Commons that ‘in the event of any action which clearly threatened Polish independence, and which the Polish Government accordingly considered it vital to resist, His Majesty’s Government would feel themselves bound at once to lend the Polish Government all support in their power.’[ii] The French Government endorsed this pledge.(Parl. Debs, 5th ser., House of Commons, vol. 345, col. 2415.}
https://history.blog.gov.uk/2019/03/28/ ... to-poland/

The same Foreign Office blog piece also quotes Ivan Maisky
'Knowing the English and the traditions of British foreign policy, I could not accept that Chamberlain would make any firm commitments in Eastern Europe’.
Diary entry by Ivan Maisky, Soviet Ambassador in London, 29 March 1939 (Gabriel Gorodetsky (ed), The Maisky Diaries (London: Yale, 2015). - probably the same source as quoted in #1

If you read the parliamentary statement, there was less than a firm commitment. There was no promise to restore Polish territorial integrity. The promise was to lend the Polish government "all support in its power". That is what the British did. What it thought it could do.

Chaimberlain's commitment to Poland was made in response to Hitler's occupation of Moravia and Bohemia in March 1939 breaking his commitment at Munich. It was a gesture made to attempt to deter Hitler from his next step. There was little if any practical military planning. Politically the British and French tried to engage the Soviets in an alliance, but any grand alliance would founder on the political problems of deploying Soviet troops in Poland.

The title of the thread is a slur on Churchill. Throughout his life, Churchill was an implacable opponent of communism. After Hitler invaded the USSR, Churchill commented to a member of his staff that "if Hitler invaded Hell he would make a favourable reference to the devil in the House of Commons." He had to deal with Stalin and undertake the realpolitik of international affairs. The trouble was that by 1944, Britain lacked the capability to restore the Polish Government in exile to power in Poland.

Maybe, Britian and the USA could have faced down Stalin over Poland. However, the US had no appetite for antagonising the USSR. Roosevelt sucked up to Stalin and played nice with the USSR so they would get involved in the nwar against Japan and take part in the United Nations, which was FDR's legacy.

Of course, the British and US would have been in a far stronger position had the British and Americans reached the River Oder rather than the River Elbe. This is one hypothetical outcome of a 1942 or 1943 cross-Channel assault. Suppose German resistance collapses the Anglo-American forces reach Berlin first and the leading elements of the II Polish Corps approach Posnen en route to Warsaw... That would have been a different negotiating position.

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Re: Encouraging words - Churchill's responsibility for Stalin's aggressions

Post by ljadw » 11 Feb 2024 16:15

I like to add that Britain promised to help Poland if it was attacked by Germany and that it said that it would not help Poland if it was attacked by the Soviets .
And : Britain did what it promised .
The conclusion is that Poland was not betrayed .
Before the war the Poles were only 66 % of the population,after the war they were 100 % .
Other point : one can not rewrite history by saying : suppose .

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Re: Encouraging words - Churchill's responsibility for Stalin's aggressions

Post by Steve » 11 Feb 2024 21:16

It could be that crafty Stalin had worked Churchill out down to a T and knew which buttons to press. Churchill wrote to his wife Clementine from Moscow in October 44 “I have had very nice talks with the old bear. I like him the more I see him. Now they respect us and I am sure they wish to work with us”. To Clement Attlee he wrote “We have talked with an ease, freedom and a beau geste never before attained between our two countries. Stalin has made several expressions of personal regard which I feel were all sincere”.

Why Churchill proposed the strange percentages agreement was because he was looking for Stalin’s support against Roosevelt in getting back the British Empire in the Far East. In return for Stalin’s backing in this objective Britain would, subject to certain agreements, support the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe.

When Churchill sided with Stalin over Poland in October 1944 he seems to have known that the Soviets were responsible for Katyn. He had agreed with Stalin that there should be no Red Cross investigation of Katyn because it would be “a fraud and its conclusions reached by terrorism”. The British ambassador in Moscow sent a report that virtually laid the blame on the Soviets. Churchill told Eden on April 28 1943 “there is no use prowling round the three year old graves in Smolensk” Three year old graves places them in 1940 so he was apparently accepting that the Soviets were responsible. He must also have known about the deportations of hundreds of thousands of people from the eastern part of Poland to Siberia. Poland was not going to get in the way of good relations with a war criminal.

The meeting in Moscow could be said to be realpolitic in action but if we were to change the name Churchill to Chamberlain I am sure it would then become another example of Chamberlains appeasement.

Taken from Churchill by Clive Pontin 1994

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Re: Encouraging words - Churchill's responsibility for Stalin's aggressions

Post by gebhk » 12 Feb 2024 13:51

Hi Steve
It could be that crafty Stalin had worked Churchill out down to a T and knew which buttons to press.
I think you are right. Albeit in the cold light of day Churchill subsequently realised he'd been 'led by the nose' and tried to put the brakes on but by then Britain had little real braking power to apply.
The meeting in Moscow could be said to be realpolitic in action but if we were to change the name Churchill to Chamberlain I am sure it would then become another example of Chamberlains appeasement.
That is the nub of the matter!

H i Sheldrake
but any grand alliance would founder on the political problems of deploying Soviet troops in Poland.
I rather think any grand alliance would founder on the fundamental problem that Stalin had no intention of getting himself tied into such an alliance beyond occupying those parts of Poland, Romania, Finland and etc, that he wanted.

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Re: Encouraging words - Churchill's responsibility for Stalin's aggressions

Post by ljadw » 12 Feb 2024 15:47

Steve wrote:
11 Feb 2024 21:16


Why Churchill proposed the strange percentages agreement was because he was looking for Stalin’s support against Roosevelt in getting back the British Empire in the Far East. In return for Stalin’s backing in this objective Britain would, subject to certain agreements, support the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe.

He must also have known about the deportations of hundreds of thousands of people from the eastern part of Poland to Siberia. Poland was not going to get in the way of good relations with a war criminal.

The meeting in Moscow could be said to be realpolitic in action but if we were to change the name Churchill to Chamberlain I am sure it would then become another example of Chamberlains appeasement.

1 The percentage agreement (which was not strange ) was NOT to have Stalin's support against Roosevelt : it was because it was the only thing he could do , unless you propose that Churchill asked the Commons a DOW on the USSR .
2 The deportations and Katyn were an open secret as was the existence of the Gulag already before the war .
3 Churchill would have done the same in 1938 as Chamberlain if he was PM and Chamberlain would have done the same as Churchill in 1944 if he was PM .
The reason was that the only alternative was to start war against Hitler or Stalin,something the British people would not accept .
The fate of the peoples of Eastern Europe was not the business of Chamberlain or Churchill or the British people . It was better to accept reality .
In April 1939 Chamberlain told Poland that Britain would not help her if she was attacked by Stalin . In September 1939 Stalin invaded ''Russian Poland '' and Chamberlain did nothing .In 1944 Churchill did nothing .
Besides : Curzon had warned Poland in 1920 against an invasion of Russia and Britain did nothing when Poland yet invaded Russia . .
It was not because the Churchill lobby attacked Chamberlain unjustly for Munich ,calling appeasement very bad (Eden defended appeasement ) ,that the Chamberlain lobby can say that what Churchill did in 1944 was very bad .
Both policies were good for Britain ,the fate of the other people was not the business of British PMs .

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Re: Encouraging words - Churchill's responsibility for Stalin's aggressions

Post by Steve » 14 Feb 2024 21:58

Post war Soviet domination of Eastern Europe may well have been inevitable but that does not mean it should have been helped along. True, Britain did not have a treaty to defend Poland against the Soviets but Poland was a British ally unlike Czechoslovakia in 1938. In 1944 there was a Polish army corps fighting in Italy and Polish forces fighting in Northwest Europe. About 10% of German planes shot down in the Battle of Britain were shot down by Polish pilots and Polish ships were protecting British convoys. To have sided with Stalin in October 1944 against the Poles was a disgrace. The situation with Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria was different.

Katyn was not an open secret in 1944; the British government took the view that it was German propaganda and advised the Americans to do the same which they did. The British press seem to have followed the government line while the Polish press in Britain was censored. Churchill informed Stalin that the Polish press would “have proper discipline” with regard to “atrocious Nazi propaganda”. Until Gorbachev admitted that the Soviets had carried out the massacre it was not unusual to find someone arguing that Katyn was a German crime.

“The fate of the peoples of Eastern Europe was not the business of Chamberlain or Churchill or the British people . It was better to accept reality”

Presumably ijadw you think that the British and French guarantee to Poland in 1939 should never have taken place and Britain and France should have minded their own business. They should have accepted reality which was that German domination of the small eastern European counties was inevitable.

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Re: Encouraging words - Churchill's responsibility for Stalin's aggressions

Post by Sheldrake » 15 Feb 2024 01:03

Churchill spent a lot of time in the Autumn of 1944 trying to get a fair solution in Poland, persuading the Government in Exile to do a deal with the Lublin Poles. This failed in the face of Soviet intransigence as they controlled the Lublin faction.

I don't know what more Churchill could have done. Any suggestions?

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Re: Encouraging words - Churchill's responsibility for Stalin's aggressions

Post by ljadw » 15 Feb 2024 08:17

Steve wrote:
14 Feb 2024 21:58
Post war Soviet domination of Eastern Europe may well have been inevitable but that does not mean it should have been helped along. True, Britain did not have a treaty to defend Poland against the Soviets but Poland was a British ally unlike Czechoslovakia in 1938. In 1944 there was a Polish army corps fighting in Italy and Polish forces fighting in Northwest Europe. About 10% of German planes shot down in the Battle of Britain were shot down by Polish pilots and Polish ships were protecting British convoys. To have sided with Stalin in October 1944 against the Poles was a disgrace. The situation with Hungary, Rumania and Bulgaria was different.

Katyn was not an open secret in 1944; the British government took the view that it was German propaganda and advised the Americans to do the same which they did. The British press seem to have followed the government line while the Polish press in Britain was censored. Churchill informed Stalin that the Polish press would “have proper discipline” with regard to “atrocious Nazi propaganda”. Until Gorbachev admitted that the Soviets had carried out the massacre it was not unusual to find someone arguing that Katyn was a German crime.

“The fate of the peoples of Eastern Europe was not the business of Chamberlain or Churchill or the British people . It was better to accept reality”

Presumably ijadw you think that the British and French guarantee to Poland in 1939 should never have taken place and Britain and France should have minded their own business. They should have accepted reality which was that German domination of the small eastern European counties was inevitable.
The defeat of Germany would have as result that Eastern Europe would be dominated by the Soviet Union .This is the reality . Maybe you think that the UK and the US ( Britain alone could do nothing, nothing at all )should have started a war to prevent the Soviet domination of Poland and Czechia ( the others were German allies who deserved their fate ) ?
The guarantee is not my business, but the results are
1 The end of Britain and France as great powers
2 The Holocaust
3 The domination of Eastern Europe by the Soviets
4 The rest of Europe becoming US satellites .
5 The loss of 3 million Poles
And all this because an American professor ,a typical example of the Bildungsbürgertum ( in plain English : an intellectual ) who became also president ,convinced people in Britain that war was bad and that those who started a war were criminals . Not that it prevented Wilson from starting wars himself .
What Chamberlain did before the war and Churchill did during the war was logical,reasonable and realistic . What Wilson and FDR did was stupid and hypocritical .
About Katyn : Even the Churchill Society admits that Churchill and FDR knew that the Soviets were responsible . But they had no other option than to deny the truth .

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Re: Encouraging words - Churchill's responsibility for Stalin's aggressions

Post by gebhk » 15 Feb 2024 10:21

Hi Sheldrake
I don't know what more Churchill could have done. Any suggestions?
By 1944 nothing practical of course, as Britain had no real independent say in matters of policy. However, the question here is what he shouldn't have done and the answer might be that he should not have supported the USSR against Poland. As an aside, being a far greater appeaser of Stalin than Chamberlain was of Hilter, he should not have criticised Chamberlain.
Until Gorbachev admitted that the Soviets had carried out the massacre it was not unusual to find someone arguing that Katyn was a German crime
And, even despite Gorbachev, not much has changed in that respect :roll: . As even this hallowed Forum will attest, you can always find some nut, zealot or self-deluder who will argue an 'alternative' theory to anything. Given the mountain of forensic and circumstantial evidence, I doubt that any rational and well-informed person would not have thought by 1944 that Katyn was, at the very least, more likely than not a Soviet crime.

Hi Ijadw
But they had no other option than to deny the truth .
This is nonsesense. There is always another option and usually many. They chose to do so from political expediency and, one suspects, partly to salve their own consciences.

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Re: Encouraging words - Churchill's responsibility for Stalin's aggressions

Post by ljadw » 15 Feb 2024 11:34

gebhk wrote:
15 Feb 2024 10:21
Hi Sheldrake
I don't know what more Churchill could have done. Any suggestions?
By 1944 nothing practical of course, as Britain had no real independent say in matters of policy. However, the question here is what he shouldn't have done and the answer might be that he should not have supported the USSR against Poland. As an aside, being a far greater appeaser of Stalin than Chamberlain was of Hilter, he should not have criticised Chamberlain.
Until Gorbachev admitted that the Soviets had carried out the massacre it was not unusual to find someone arguing that Katyn was a German crime
And, even despite Gorbachev, not much has changed in that respect :roll: . As even this hallowed Forum will attest, you can always find some nut, zealot or self-deluder who will argue an 'alternative' theory to anything. Given the mountain of forensic and circumstantial evidence, I doubt that any rational and well-informed person would not have thought by 1944 that Katyn was, at the very least, more likely than not a Soviet crime.

Hi Ijadw
But they had no other option than to deny the truth .
This is nonsesense. There is always another option and usually many. They chose to do so from political expediency and, one suspects, partly to salve their own consciences.
Britain was at war with Germany, not with the Soviets .
1 The Germans had killed already countless Britons and were killing everyday a lot of them .
2 The Soviets had killed already a lot of Germans and were killing everyday a lot of them : this means that the Soviets had SAVED and were SAVING a lot of British lives .
3 The Soviets had killed a lot of Poles .
The first was bad for Britain .
The second was bad for the Germans .
The third was bad for Poland but not for Britain .
The duty of a British government was to do what was good for Britain ( = to save British lives ), NOT to do what was good for Poland .
In other words : British lives were more important for Churchill than Polish lives : the relatives of British casualties could vote for or against Churchill : the relatives of Polish victims could not do that .
And : it was not to salve their own consciences : a sitting government is always giving priority to political expediency,consciences are only a luxury politicians can not afford .
When the Soviets intervened in their satellite Afghanistan, stupid Carter whined and stopped the grain export to the SU and lost the election .
His successor,Reagan,allowed again the grain exports and won his second election .For Reagan ,the votes of the farmers of Kansas were more important than the lives of the Afghans .
Britain,not only Churchill ,but also Attlee ,did business with Franco,because the Spanish export to Britain saved British lives and helped Britain to kill Germans . The fact that the division Azul was killing Russians,thus also helping the Germans to kill Britons ,was no obstacle for the British government ,because the trade with Spain was more important than what was doing the division Azul .
Russian lives were irrelevant for Britain, so were Polish lives .
If you are at war with SOB Hitler with as ally SOB Stalin, you can't tell people that Stalin was a SOB .

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Re: Encouraging words - Churchill's responsibility for Stalin's aggressions

Post by ljadw » 15 Feb 2024 12:09

George Earl, Ron Jeffery,Owen O'Malley, colonel Van Vleet said and proved that the Soviets were responsible for Katyn, but their reports were destroyed and they were fired .This proves that Churchill and FDR knew the truth .

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