Stalin, Fascists and Freedom

The texts assigned for Friday’s class portray the changing views, which the Soviet Union held towards Germany and other Western nations. While the Hitler-Stalin Pact suggests a mutual understanding between the two leaders (and, by extension, their nations), the later documents paint a far different view of a ‘fascist’ Germany.

In Stalin’s speech in February 1946, he seems to align the Soviet Union with the Western world in a coalition against fascism, and describes the USSR (and other countries involved in the coalition) as freedom-loving. To most Westerners, this would appear contradictory: freedom is only seen in a capitalistic, democratic context, indicating that socialism and communism are inherently freedom-less.

Stalin’s response to Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech shows a shift in Stalin’s thinking, as Stalin compares Churchill to Hitler and accuses Churchill of creating an English racial theory, somewhat similar to Hitler’s racial theory. This was a drastic shift, occurring in only a little over a month (Stalin’s response was published in Pravda┬áin March 1946).

In general, these shifts in allies and the definition of ‘good’, ‘evil’, ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ don’t seem uncommon for the Soviet Union. The massive arrests during the time period, in addition to the Great Purges within the Communist Party, seem indicative of this trend.

2 thoughts on “Stalin, Fascists and Freedom

  1. I similarly noted how drastically Stalin’s attitude toward the West changed in his response to the Winston Churchill’s “Iron Curtain” speech. Previously, he had aligned himself with the West, but once Churchill seemed to be turned against him, then Stalin’s rhetoric toward the West became wholly negative. Stalin’s comparisons of Churchill to Hitler are particularly noteworthy, considering their alliance against Hitler just months previously. In both of Stalin’s speeches, he paints the Soviet Union as a freedom-loving and peaceful entity being oppressed by outside forces. In the former speech, said enemy was practically anyone who underestimated the Soviet people’s ability to succeed and become modern. In the latter, the finger is specifically pointed at Churchill and the English-speaking western world. In doing so, Stalin speaks to align himself with the “common people”, articulating himself as one of the people and as a leader who understands the underdog’s struggle more than a wealthy westerner like Churchill ever could.

  2. I do see the difference between both speeches given by Stalin, both do have completely different tones and arguments, but it does seem like Stalin is attacking the West in both of his speeches. In his response to Churchill, he accuses him of believing that only English Speaking countries are valuable nations and the only valuable nations. He compares Churchill to Hitler and implies that he shares the same ideas as Hitler, concerning which nations should rule over others. In his other speech, he attacks capitalism and how nations that hold capitalistic characteristics are the reason for the emergence of war and of all other complications between countries.

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