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Stalin's Curse: Battling for Communism in War and Cold Warby Robert Gellately
Synopses & Reviews
A chilling, riveting account based on newly released Russian documentation that reveals Joseph Stalin’s true motives—and the extent of his enduring commitment to expanding the Soviet empire—during the years in which he seemingly collaborated with Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and the capitalist West.
At the Big Three conferences of World War II, Stalin persuasively played the role of a great world leader. Even astute observers like George F. Kennan concluded that the United States and Great Britain should view Stalin as a modern-day tsarist-like figure whose primary concerns lay in international strategy and power politics, not in ideology. Now Robert Gellately uses recently uncovered documents to make clear that, in fact, the dictator was an unwavering revolutionary merely biding his time, determined as ever to establish Communist regimes across Europe and beyond, and that his actions during these years (and the poorly calculated Western responses) set in motion what would eventually become the Cold War. Gellately takes us behind the scenes. We see the dictator disguising his political ambitions and prioritizing the future of Communism, even as he pursued the war against Hitler. Along the way, the ascetic dictator’s Machiavellian moves and bouts of irrationality kept the Western leaders on their toes, in a world that became more dangerous and divided year by year.
Exciting, deeply engaging, and shrewdly perceptive, Stalin’s Curse is an unprecedented revelation of the sinister machinations of the Soviet dictator.
"Florida State University's Gellately (Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler) adds to his distinguished body of work on 20th-century totalitarianism with this analysis of Stalin's conduct in international relations between 1939 and 1953. Utilizing recently released Russian documents, Gellately demolishes whatever traces remain of the revisionism that holds the U.S. primarily responsible for the Cold War. On the contrary, Gellately argues that Stalin took consistent advantage of his 'overly accommodating' wartime allies in order to export Communist ideals and extend Soviet power after WWII, when it was far too late to keep Stalin from consolidating his hold on Eastern Europe and revitalizing his domestic dictatorship with 'all its repressive trappings.' His desire to eliminate 'the faintest trace of deviance' led to suppressing ethnic groups at home, establishing repressive satellite regimes in Eastern Europe, and bringing the West's Communist parties into line with a rigid ideology. The overreach prompted Western Europe and America to rally against Stalin's influence, but it was not until his death that the 'iron will and revolutionary militancy' driving the system finally subsided. Even then, it took another four decades before Stalin's eroding empire finally collapsed. Interweaving scholarship and the testimonies of those who suffered under Stalin's rule, Gellately's history is political and personal. 8 pages of photos, 3 maps." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A chilling, skillfully delineated account based on newly released Russian documentation that reveals Stalin's true motives--and the extent of his enduring commitment to expanding the Soviet empire--during the years in which he seemingly collaborated with Roosevelt, Churchill, and the capitalist West.
At Yalta, Stalin very persuasively played the role of a great world leader. Even astute observers like George Kennan concluded that the United States and Great Britain could deal with Stalin by assuming realistic objectives like self-preservation. But now, Robert Gellately uses the most recently uncovered and up-to-date documents to make clear that, in fact, the dictator was merely biding his time, determined as ever to establish Communist regimes across Europe and beyond, and that his actions during these years (and the poorly calculated responses to them from the West) set in motion what would eventually become the Cold War. Exciting, deeply engaging, and shrewdly perceptive, Stalin's Curse is an unprecedented revelation of the sinister machinations of Stalin's Kremlin.
About the Author
Robert Gellately is the Earl Ray Beck Professor of History at Florida State University and recently was the Bertelsmann Visiting Professor of Twentieth-Century Jewish Politics and History at Oxford University. He is the author of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe; The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy, 1933–1945; and Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages.
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