"We Can’t Do Business With Stalin"


It is not the purpose of the authors to defend Roosevelt and Truman against all findings of faulty judgment. The elusive truth will not be pinned down, however, by substantially ignoring the context in which many of the difficult wartime decisions were necessarily taken. In simple justice to President Truman, it is worth noting that as late as 1948, when Stalin closed off Allied access to Berlin, the President never threatened the Russians with atomic bombs, although the American monopoly was still intact. Instead he chose the least provocative response—an airlift of essential supplies to the beleaguered city.

Roosevelt or Truman, Stalin, Churchill or Attlee—all labored under a common handicap when compared with contemporary historians: they lacked the benefits of hindsight. Mee contends that they also shared a vested interest in maintaining international tension. He imputes to them the deliberate choice of increasing tension, even at the risk of a third world war, because that course promised various benefits to the peoples of their respective countries. To believe that is to deny these men their humanity.