Joseph Stalin Essay

1252 words - 5 pages

For many years now, the relationship between the United States and the Russian governments can at best only be classified as complicated. The Russian government will forever be marred by the Communist ideals of the U.S.S.R., and for that reason has been consistently held at an arm’s length by many of the nations around the world. Americans have been both fascinated and repulsed by the Communist ideals of the U.S.S.R., and especially by its first General Secretary of the Communist Party, Josef Stalin. Stalin has been described as secretive, paranoid, highly intelligent, and an extremely dangerous military strategist. In short, Stalin embodies the very communist traits that so many government officials feared throughout the 20th century. This fear was especially prevalent during World War II when the American government found itself forced to ally itself with Stalin’s Soviet Union in order to act as the “arsenal for democracy” (Q). Not surprisingly, many Americans considered this the equivalent of the U.S making a deal with the devil; other the other hand, the fact that a few, namely President Roosevelt, trusted Stalin despite his communist ideals, did shock a great many Americans including President Roosevelt’s own Vice President and eventual successor, Harry Truman. Confident and charming Roosevelt met a man with his back against the wall that was more than willing to go down fighting, and as a result felt Stalin’s intentions were true; Truman, however, was worried he wouldn’t fill his predecessor’s shoes and came up against a confident and successful military strategist who felt he was entitled to a few concessions within his alliance, and was therefore distrustful of Stalin. In the end it seems clear that the difference in the men’s opinion of Stalin can be attributed to a combination of their own personalities and positions, as well as the military predicament facing the Russians at the time in which each man met Stalin.
Roosevelt has often been criticized for what many believe was misguided faith in the devious leader of the Soviet Union. However, even before World War II began, Roosevelt had no illusions of what Stalin was and what he represented believing that the “Soviet Union was run by a dictatorship as absolute as any other dictatorship in the world” (483). Furthermore, Roosevelt only considered allying with Stalin after his personal advisor Harry Hopkins assured him of Stalin’s resolve to fight the Germans till the end. It is therefore not Stalin’s ideology that Roosevelt put his faith in, but instead trusted in Stalin’s desire to do everything in his power to keep his own country from the Germans. More than anything it seems that Roosevelt saw Stalin as a way to achieve his short-of-war- strategy, supporting Stalin and his army was a way to defeat or weaken German forces without direct American support. Even this seemingly small show of faith in Stalin angered many Americans who believed that since Stalin had made a deal with Hitler...

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