Saturday, January 22, 2022

The Three Hunters: Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin

Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin went hunting. They killed a bear. There was the question of dividing the bear. Churchill said: “I will take the bearskin. Let Stalin and Roosevelt divide the meat.” Roosevelt said: “I have a better idea. I take the bearskin. Let Stalin and Churchill divide the meat.” When Stalin did not come up with his proposal for dividing the bear, Churchill and Roosevelt asked: “What is your proposal?” Stalin replied: “The bear is mine—after all, I am the one who killed it.” The bear was Hitler and the bearskin was Eastern Europe. 

Stalin used to tell this anecdote, after the Feb 1945 Yalta Conference, in which Roosevelt and Churchill agreed to virtually every demand that he made regarding the fate of Eastern Europe. Both Roosevelt and Churchill stand accused of “selling Eastern Europe to Stalin.” 

At the conference, Roosevelt said: “The Polish elections should be beyond question like Caesar’s wife.” Stalin replied: “They said that about her but she had her sins,” and then he went on to explain the Russian strategic view of Poland: “Throughout history, Poland has served as a corridor for invaders coming to attack Russia. I want a strong Poland.” By strong Poland, he meant, a Soviet Poland. Stalin believed that ultimately military power would decide who ruled Eastern Europe which was under the occupation of 10 million Soviet soldiers.

The Western powers (mainly Britain, America, and France) have a long tradition of trying to achieve their geopolitical objectives by selling other countries. If any nation trusts the political establishments of Britain, America, and France, it does so at its own peril.

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