Roosevelt’s BFF 'Uncle Joe'
by Jonathan Goodwin
Betrayed, by Herbert Hoover
and December, 1943, Roosevelt attended conferences in Cairo and
Tehran. The Tehran conference was the first meeting of Roosevelt
with Stalin. Churchill was also present. These meeting were preceded
in August with a meeting including Roosevelt and Churchill in Quebec.
In the Quebec
conference, Churchill advocated that the allies open the second
front in Europe through the Balkans as Churchill described
it, the soft underbelly of Europe. This would prevent
a Soviet rush into that area, avoiding the permanent establish of
the authority of the Soviet Union in this region, potentially saving
much of Central Europe from Soviet tyranny. General Wedemeyer conveys
Roosevelts view on this notion:
President then added the curious statement that he did not understand
the British viewpoint in this connection, for he, Roosevelt, did
not believe that the Soviets wanted to take over the Balkan states
but wished only to establish kinship with other Slavic peoples.
like the Soviets, who needs enemies?
Churchill tried every trick in his oratorical bag to get Stalin
on board with his proposal. Stalin refused, insisting that the second
front should be through the west as had previously been discussed.
Clark was, at the time, in command of Allied Armies in Italy. He
strongly supported the Prime Ministers viewpoint, as indicated
in his book written after the war:
that might have changed the whole history of relations between
the Western world and Soviet Russia was permitted to fade away
alone in my opinion, but in the opinion of a number of experts
who were close to the problem, the weakening of the campaign in
Italy in order to invade southern France and instead of pushing
on in the Balkans was one of the outstanding political mistakes
of the war.
Had we been there before the Red Army, not only
would the collapse of Germany have come sooner, but the influence
of Soviet Russia would have been drastically reduced.
As I have mentioned
in the past, it seems inappropriate and perhaps naïve to label
such significant decisions such as this one of where to establish
a second front and why as simply a political mistake.
Upon his return
to the U. S. from Cairo and Tehran, Roosevelt delivered a radio
address. Regarding Stalin, Roosevelt said:
To use an
American and somewhat ungrammatical colloquialism, I may say that
I got along fine with Marshall Stalin
we are going to get along very well with him and the Russian people
very well indeed
examine Roosevelts good companion Uncle Joe, through
two events that preceded the war.
head of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union, consolidated near-absolute power in
the 1930s with a Great Purge of the party that was justified as
an attempt to expel "opportunists" and "counter-revolutionary
infiltrators". Those targeted by the purge were often expelled
from the party, however more severe measures ranged from banishment
to the Gulag labor camps to execution after trials held by NKVD
of revelations from Soviet archives, historians now estimate that
nearly 700,000 people (353,074 in 1937 and 328,612 in 1938) were
executed in the course of the terror, with the great mass of victims
merely "ordinary" Soviet citizens: workers, peasants,
homemakers, teachers, priests, musicians, soldiers, pensioners,
ballerinas, beggars. Many of the executed were interred in mass
graves, with some of the major killing and burial sites being
Bykivnia, Kurapaty and Butovo
.Some Western experts believe
the evidence released from the Soviet archives is understated,
incomplete or unreliable.
signed 357 proscription lists in 1937 and 1938 that condemned
to execution some 40,000 people, and about 90% of these are confirmed
to have been shot.
toll from famine in the Soviet Union at this time is estimated
at between 5 and 10 million people. The worst crop failure of
late tsarist Russia, in 1892, had caused 375,000 to 400,000 deaths.
Most modern scholars agree that the famine was caused by the policies
of the government of the Soviet Union under Stalin, rather than
by natural reasons. According to Alan Bullock, "the total
Soviet grain crop was no worse than that of 1931 ... it was not
a crop failure but the excessive demands of the state, ruthlessly
enforced, that cost the lives of as many as five million Ukrainian
peasants." Stalin refused to release large grain reserves
that could have alleviated the famine, while continuing to export
grain; he was convinced that the Ukrainian peasants had hidden
grain away and strictly enforced draconian new collective-farm
theft laws in response.
Michael Ellman concludes that Ukrainians were victims of genocide
in 193233 according to a more relaxed definition that is
favored by some specialists in the field of genocide studies.
He asserts that Soviet policies greatly exacerbated the famine's
death toll. Although 1.8 million tonnes of grain were exported
during the height of the starvation enough to feed 5 million
people for one year the use of torture and execution to
extract grain under the Law of Spikelets, the use of force to
prevent starving peasants from fleeing the worst-affected areas,
and the refusal to import grain or secure international humanitarian
aid to alleviate conditions led to incalculable human suffering
in the Ukraine.
on the total number of casualties within Soviet Ukraine range
mostly from 2.2 million to 4 to 5 million.
leader of the Soviet Union, set in motion events designed to cause
a famine in the Ukraine to destroy the people there seeking independence
from his rule. As a result, an estimated 7,000,000 persons perished
in this farming area, known as the breadbasket of Europe, with
the people deprived of the food they had grown with their own
in 1929, over 5,000 Ukrainian scholars, scientists, cultural and
religious leaders were arrested after being falsely accused of
plotting an armed revolt. Those arrested were either shot without
a trial or deported to prison camps in remote areas of Russia.
estimate that ten million persons were thrown out of their homes,
put on railroad box cars and deported to "special settlements"
in the wilderness of Siberia during this era, with up to a third
of them perishing amid the frigid living conditions. Men and older
boys, along with childless women and unmarried girls, also became
slave-workers in Soviet-run mines and big industrial projects.
By mid 1932,
nearly 75 percent of the farms in the Ukraine had been forcibly
collectivized. On Stalin's orders, mandatory quotas of foodstuffs
to be shipped out to the Soviet Union were drastically increased
in August, October and again in January 1933, until there was
simply no food remaining to feed the people of the Ukraine.
Much of the
hugely abundant wheat crop harvested by the Ukrainians that year
was dumped on the foreign market to generate cash to aid Stalin's
Five Year Plan for the modernization of the Soviet Union and also
to help finance his massive military buildup.
It has been
asked by many, including by Hoover: why did Roosevelt formally recognize
the Communist Soviet government shortly after taking office, when
every President before him refused to do so? Why did the United
States decide to take sides in a war between two totalitarian states
the Soviets and the Germans? If for some reason a side had
to be chosen, why the Soviets and not the Germans? To these questions
I would now add: why Roosevelts acquiescence of Stalin regarding
opening up the second front in the Balkans? Why not occupy this
region first, denying the opportunity to the Soviets, and thus saving
the population of this region from the Communist nightmare?
the glowing report regarding Uncle Joe? In Roosevelts
we are going to get along very well with him
this book, Hoover is quite pre-occupied with the infiltration of
Communist actors in the Roosevelt Administration. He looks at events
during the 1930s and 1940s through a lens that is shaded with this
viewpoint. Whether or not Hoover is correct in his concerns and
assessments in this regard, it seems to me that only two explanations
are plausible when considering and answering the questions regarding
Roosevelts positions and actions regarding the Soviet Union:
purposely acted in favor of the Soviets due to his feelings in favor
of communism and collectivism (his economic policies made quite
clear his leanings in this regard, although fascism would have been
closer to Roosevelts economic model), or
wanted to create and prop up a reasonably (perceived) strong Soviet
Union as a natural enemy to the west, thus establishing
a cold war that would be the health of the state for decades to
I cannot say
which of the two is correct; certainly I am open to a third possibility.
Perhaps Hoover will offer a clue as to his view at some point in
with permission from the Bionic
© 2012 Bionic