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11-08-2015, 19:30

Central Europe

Stalin's behaviour shocked Churchill and Roosevelt. The} each had a different concept of democracy. Soviet Russia was assembling a new kind of empire cemented by ideology. The government of each country would orientate itself towards the Russian camp either willingly or by constraint. Communists, usually heads of the communist parties returning from Moscow, became members of National Union governments. The 'fascists' and their supporters were immediately prosecuted. This formula was adopted without objection by the Bulgarians, who had not opposed Soviet Russia in the War, and had always been on friendly terms with the Russians. In Rumania the national front was splintered by the communist policy of reapportionment of land and nationalization of industry. In February 1945 Vychinski, the Soviet Vice -Minister of Foreign Affairs, arrived at Bucarest and issued King Michael an ultimatum to change the government in accordance with Soviet policies and to appoint a communist as minister of the interior. Roosevelt and Churchill proposed setting up a tripartite commission, but Stalin politely refused. In Czechoslovakia, Benes agreed to appoint a communist head of government. Rumania and Czechoslovakia had both been strongly pro -Western. In Hungary the communists tried unsuccessfully to seize power. They were a minority party within the liberation committee which had been set up at Debreczen. The Red Army treated Hungary as an enemy and occupied it on the grounds that it had been a long standing German ally. In Yugoslavia the communists were completely successful. Tito formed a National Council government in March 1945. He himself was head of the government and partisans filled 23 of the 28 ministerial posts. Under the agreement between Stalin and Churchill influence was to have been shared equally between them. In the final event Churchill was very bitter. He felt he had been duped. At the time it was not known that Stalin and Tito did not see eye to eye. All the central European states had entered the Russian sphere irrespective of their wartime policies. Only Greece escaped. Churchill had been adamant and Stalin upheld his part of the bargain. But Greece was soon rent by civil war, possibly at Russia's provocation, and the outcome seemed uncertain.

 

 

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