ENGL 583 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Propaganda In The Soviet Union, Tehran Conference
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A big part of Hitler’s propaganda was protecting the world from the Soviet, a big part of Soviet
propaganda was to protect communism from the rest of the world. They still end signing an agreement.
17th september 1939 : Soviet invasion in Poland
The Americans see Stalin as as bad as Hitler. Roosevelt was more concerned about the fact that the
Germans were taking over the West.
Then Hitler keeps being victorious over the West.
Winter War november 1939 - mars 1940 : no real justification for this war. Finland was part of the
Soviet Empire that they had lost, and they want to get it back. The Soviets are not well organized and
prepared. Still the Soviets won, but only took back about 10% of the territory. The Soviets paid a high
price for this in terms of lives loss.
USSR got expelled from the League of Nations on the 14th december 1939.
FDR imposes a “moral embargo” on the USSR. Soviet-american tension reaches its highest point after
that. The moral embargo fails quite quickly. During this period the Soviets take over the Baltics : Latvia,
Romania, Estonia, Lithuania, etc without the world noticing.
The US never really gave diplomatic recognition to this take over because of the tense relations and the
moral embargo. Still, in practice they didn’t help these countries.
At the start of the war, it was against the law to trade with a country at war. This was a big part of the
objective of remaining isolated.
Nov 1939 : Roosevelt manage to have a compromise on this →they have to buy up front and the
goods have to be transported in the buyer's ship ) ‘cash and carry’. Practically the only country
having the cash and the ships are the British.
March 1941 : FDR has a lot of faith in himself → Policy of Lend Lease. The buyer doesn’t have to
give the money up front and the goods can be carried in american ships. Under Lend Lease 38 countries
would receive help and goods of all sorts. About 60% of these goods would go to Britain and the
Dominions. About 20% is going to the Soviet Union. This was controversial because there was a lot of
concern that this would fall into German hands.
US-Soviet relations had experienced a decline before WWII, before becoming allies.
Operation Barbarossa - June 22, 1941
Stalin is still dead-afraid of entering at war against Germany. France falls under Germany in 6 weeks,
Britain is weakened and Stalin fear that he won’t be able to pursue his industrialisation.
Stalin thinks that as long as he gives the Germans what they want, they won’t attack.
Soviet espionage system was the best and they told Stalin that the Germans were preparing an attack,
FDR warns Stalin too, he doesn’t listen. Then the German attack arrives in 1941 through Operation
Barbarossa. Initially, this attack is extremely successful, Stalin does the wrong thing with his troops, it is a
great loss for Soviet troops.
British prime minister Churchill, even if he was a strong anti-communist, decides that they should give
help to Russia. Still, a great part of American opinion was hostile to the war and especially to the Soviet
This operation changes the minds of Britain and the US but doesn’t change the public opinion in those
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