|The New Central Europe|
The Teheran conference, although dealing only superficially with post- war political issues, nevertheless revealed clearly that the United States and Britain did not intend to press for a reorganization of Europe which would emphasize the political unity of the Continent. As a matter of fact, these two leading Western powers gave no indication of any common effort at all to change the old political system of nation- states into a new form of supranational cooperation. Instead of concentrating on badly needed reforms in the structure of Europe, they seemed to labor under the notion that pre- war national sovereignty should remain the basis of Europe's post- war political organization. Meanwhile, with inaction on behalf of a united and federated Europe, the forces which had brought about the partition of Europe were forging ahead.
Military realities, of course, took precedence. The German attack on Russia had failed to achieve its object, which was, it should be remembered, to win a blitzkrieg victory in the east that would enable Hitler to deliver the death blow to Britain in the west. The battle for Moscow in the winter of 1941 42 was won by the Russians, and the Stalingrad battle, during the winter of 1942- 43, marked definitely the turn of the tide in the war in the east. The Allied landing in North Africa in November 1942 was the prelude to the invasion of Europe from the south. Sicily was invaded in July 1943, and the Italian mainland in September. Mussolini was overthrown, but was rescued by German paratroopers and reestablished as head of a Nazi- sustained Fascist regime in northern Italy, while the new Italian regime under Marshal Badoglio signed an armistice.
Although the offensive power of the Germans was broken in the east, and Hitler's "European fortress" dented from the south, the Nazi war machine remained formidable. The Western democracies, facing another strong enemy, Japan, in the Far East, were happy to have the Red Army as their ally. They were also greatly impressed by the might of Soviet Russia. In 1941 the prevailing opinion in the West had been that Russia would collapse. After the gigantic victory at Stalingrad, however, it was assumed that the U.S.S.R. would emerge from the war as a great power. Russia's post- war position was discussed at Quebec, where Rooseveltand Churchill met in August 1943. A memorandum which one of Roosevelts principal advisers, Harry Hopkins, had with him at the Quebec conference recognized that: "Since Russia is the decisive factor in the war, she must be given every assistance, and every effort must be made to obtain her friendship. Likewise, since without question she will dominate Europe on the defeat of the Axis, it is even more essential to develop and maintain the most friendly relations with Russia." The memorandum also embraced the view that: "With Russia as an ally in the war against Japan, the war can be terminated in less time and with less expense in life and resources," and that otherwise "the difficulties will be immeasurably increased and operations might become abortive." At the Teheran conference, in November 1943, after some controversy, agreement was reached concerning joint strategy in both Europe and the Far East. It was decided that the cross- Channel invasion by the Allied forces should take place in May 1944, together with a landing in southern France; and Stalin gave his assurance that the Soviet Union would enter the war against Japan as soon as possible after the common victory over Hitler in Europe. Churchill had originally demurred from the landing in southern France, favoring instead continuation of the campaign in Italy with all available forces in the Mediterranean. He hoped the Allies, in cooperation with the Balkan partisan forces and with Turkey's eventual intervention in the war, could break through the Ljubljana Gap into Austria and Hungary contributing thus, rather than by the Riviera landing, to the final defeat of Nazi Germany. Both the Americans (for strategic reasons) and the Russians (for political reasons) opposed Churchill's plans, although Stalin later changed his mind. When in the autumn of 1944 the Soviet offensive in Poland came to a halt, Stalin then strongly advocated that the Allied armies in Italy should cross the Adriatic and drive north through Yugoslavia in the direction of Vienna. Also, the second Quebec conference of the Allies, in September 1944, recommended the advance toward the Ljubljana Gap and across the Alps through the Brenner Pass. But the diversion of Allied forces from Italy to southern France and the stubborn German resistance in northern Italy made the breakthrough into Central Europe from the south impossible. Not only in the light of later political developments, but also from a strictly military point of view, Churchill was probably right when he urged that Germany be given "a stab in the Adriatic armpit." However, failure to adopt this strategy certainly had far less effect on subsequent events than was later assumed by some critics. If Churchill's strategic plans in the Mediterranean theater of war could have been applied, and moreover applied successfully, armies of the West would have been the liberators in some areas of Central and Eastern Europe where at the war's end the Red Army was the master. But unless it is forgotten that the Second World War was fought against Nazi Germany, and also unless it is overlooked that without the Russian alliance the West could not have won the war, it is not possible to conceive of any strategy that could have kept the Russians within their pre- war boundaries. Not even Churchill's strategy could essentially have changed the post- war partition of Europe between the armies of the Russians and of the West.
The critics of Western blunders who assumed that Churchill's strategy could have saved half of Europe from Soviet liberation also blamed the Allied policy of unconditional surrender toward Nazi Germany. This policy, it was argued, strengthened Hitler's power by weakening the chances of his internal enemies to overthrow him, and thus the war was prolonged with the resultant Soviet thrust deep into the heart of Europe. "Unconditional surrender" was certainly not sound either as policy or as propaganda toward the enemy; but it is most improbable that any reasonable conditions of surrender could have stopped Hitler's madness or could have been a decisive aid to the anti- Nazi conspirators in overthrowing Hitler. It is true that the German underground's heroism (as well as the resistance in Germany's satellites, especially Hungary was never fully appreciated in the West; but even in retrospect it is hard to see how the Hitler regime could have been overthrown by more clever Allied policy, or how, through cooperation with anti- Nazi Germans, the West's reliance on Soviet Russia's military might could have been modified. Only superior force could crush Nazi Germany; and in order to muster this superior force, close cooperation between Russia and the Western Powers was absolutely necessary.
Russia was as eager as the West to cooperate. Not until victory seemed certain did Stalin show anxiety to keep the eastern front as his exclusive theater of military operations. In 1941, for instance, Stalin insisted, though in vain, that a British army be sent to Murmansk or Rostov to relieve pressure on the Red Army.4 Not until the end of 1942 was the West able to participate in the war with forces which brought relief to the hard- pressed Russians. And the massive invasion of Europe from the west had to be delayed until the summer of 1944, a delay which caused dangerous tensions between Russia and the West. It is doubtful whether the armies of the Western democracies could have reentered the European continent had Russia not withstood the fury of the German onslaught in the east. As Cordell Hull pointed out: "We must ever remember that by the Russians' heroic struggle against the Germans they probably saved the Allies from a negotiated peace with Germany."
The military might of the West was not sufficient to forestall the Russian occupation of Eastern Europe. Nor, unfortunately, were the political weapons of the West adequate to protect the nations of the Middle Zone from the consequences of Soviet liberation.
Russia's future relationship to "Eastern Europe," as the Middle Zone of small nations between Germany and Russia came to be known after the Second World War, was a principal issue between the East and West from the moment the German attack turned the Soviet Union into an ally of the Western democracies. In fact, the future of East- West cooperation depended largely upon a mutually satisfactory solution of the problems in the belt of smaller nations between Germany and Russia.
That this area, once the cordon sanitaire of French policy, and later the German Lebensraum of the post- Munich era, must cooperate and live in friendship with the Soviet Union and never again become a springboard of German aggression, was the most obvious conclusion to be drawn from past experience, especially during wartime, when Germany was the enemy and Soviet Russia an ally. This conclusion however was followed by another, which envisaged no solution for Eastern Europe save to acquiesce in the fate of becoming a Soviet sphere of influence. A line of thought which anticipated such a status for Eastern Europe appeared in some famous leading articles in The Times shortly after the German attack on Russia.
On July 15, 1941, the Times said: "An . . . error of 1919 which is fortunately present in our minds today was the elimination of Russia from the settlement. Little foresight should have been needed to realize that a settlement of Eastern European affairs made without regard to Russian interests and at a moment when Russia could not make her voice heard was unlikely to endure. That error at any rate will not be repeated." On August 1, 1941, The Times elaborated upon the subject: "Russia may continue to be separated from Western Europe by different material conditions and by different traditions and ways of life . . . but this involves no irreconcilable divergence of policy.. The direct community of interest created by Hitler's invasion can be projected into the future and becomes applicable to the future settlement of Europe. Leadership in Eastern Europe is essential if the disorganization of the past twenty years is to be avoided, and if the weaker countries are not to be exposed once more to economic disaster or to violent assault. This leadership can fall only to Germany or to Russia. Neither Great Britain nor the United States can exercise, or will aspire to exercise, any predominant role in these regions; and it would be fatal to revive the Allied policy of 1919, which created a bond between Germany and Russia against Western Europe." On March 7, 1942, The Times further declared that "security in Europe will prove unattainable if Russia herself does not feel secure...." The known author of these unsigned leading articles was the historian Edward Hallett Carr, who expressed his ideas even more bluntly in his popular wartime book, Conditions of Peace. There he stated: "Just as preponderant weight will properly be given in Western Europe to the views and interests of Great Britain, the same preponderant weight must be given to the views and interests of Russia in Eastern Europe."
Curiously, Carr's program (which in effect outlined pretty closely the actual trend of British policy) was almost identical with the text of the secret agreement Tsarist Russia had proposed to France during the First World War. This text read: "We are prepared to allow France and England complete freedom in drawing up the western frontiers of Germany, in the expectation that the Allies on their part would allow us equal freedom in drawing up our frontiers with Germany and Austria. . . ." Certainly no such secret agreement partitioning Europe into Western and Eastern spheres of influence was concluded during the Second World War; nevertheless it was taken for granted that after the war Russia would have a preponderant weight in Eastern Europe, and British diplomacy was even inclined to acknowledge this fact by preliminary agreements which came very close to dividing Europe into spheres of influence. American diplomacy, on the other hand, repeatedly rejected such devices as "power politics" and "balance of power" as unsuitable for ensuring a new type of peace in the post- war world. Churchill's simultaneous flirtations with European federation and with its direct opposite, spheres of interest, were both rejected by the United States. American diplomacy centered its efforts instead on the creation of a worldwide organization, the United Nations. This ultimately was approved as the common post- war objective of the Grand Alliance. The East European nations were expected to promote this objective by establishing governments friendly to Russia; they were to cooperate most closely with Russia against the revival of German imperialism, as were the Western nations too, under the aegis of the United Nations.
President Rooseveltbecame the principal spokesman for the widely shared belief that what the world needed was a global organization, supported by the leading Great Powers. Noble internationalism and broad- minded progressivism in this "One World" concept mingled with blindness for the practical details. A most regrettable concomitant of the "One World" concept was that believers in world unity tended to overlook the urgent need for European unity. Under Roosevelts leadership the United States progressed to the stage of breaking away from its antiquated traditions of isolationism, for Rooseveltwas fully aware of the great mistake his country had made a generation before, when isolationist sentiment prevented the United States from joining Wilson's creation, the League of Nations. But at the same time, American policy- makers were victims of "over-
simplified One Worldism," as one critic described it. And this over- simplification in international affairs led to consequences after the Second World War no less calamitous than those which followed the failure of the United States to join the League of Nations after the First World War.
East- West agreement on an East European settlement proved difficult long before the Red Army wrested control of these regions from the German Wehrmacht. The first clash, which was really just the latest encounter in an old controversy, occurred during the negotiations for a formal Anglo- Soviet treaty of alliance in 1941 42. Some of the issues connected with Russia's relations to her western neighbors were the same as those which had caused the failure of Anglo- Soviet negotiations in the summer of 1939. However, Russia now took for granted that she was entitled, as an ally of the West, to retain the territorial gains she had obtained during her partnership with Hitler.
The Soviet territorial aims came to light during Eden's visit to Moscow in December 1941. The Russians demanded restoration of the borders to their position prior to Hitler's attack; that is, Russia wanted to incorporate Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, also portions of Finland, Poland and Romania, into the U.S.S.R. The only Soviet concession was to allow the Curzon Line, which was slightly more favorable to Poland than the Ribbentrop- Molotov Line, to become the Polish- Soviet frontier. An additional Soviet demand was that Romania should give Russia special facilities for bases. In return, Romania was to receive from Hungarycertain Transylvanian territories which had been awarded to Hungaryby a German- Italian decision in 1940. Poland in its turn was to be recompensed by the transfer of East Prussia. The restoration of Albania, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia (with slight territorial gains at the expense of Italy), and a tentative plan for the dismemberment of Germany, were included in the Soviet proposals.
The British, faced with these Soviet proposals, were unwilling to enter into secret agreements on the post- war territorial settlement. But Stalin continued to press the issue, letting it be known that he regarded recognition of Soviet territorial aims in the Baltic area as a test of Britain's trustworthiness as an ally. Churchill thereupon, according to Cordell Hull, "seemed reluctantly determined" to go ahead with such an accord. For the British, as Hull explained, "could not help but remember that their own protracted discussions with the Russians in 1939 over these same Baltic states might have been one of the causes of Stalin's signing an agreement with Hitler instead of Chamberlain. . . . They feared lest . . . Stalin might negotiate a separate peace with Germany." Only after a warning that the United States government would issue a separate statement "clearly stating that it did not subscribe to the principles and clauses of the Anglo- Soviet treaty" did Eden suggest a formula omitting all reference to frontiers. Molotov made a last attempt to assert the Soviet claim in May 1942, when he came to London. He proposed that a clause be inserted in the treaty whereby Britain would recognize Russia's "special interests" in the countries which were her western neighbors. But it was of no avail, and the twenty- year Anglo- Soviet treaty of cooperation and mutual post- war assistance was signed on May 25 without territorial provisions.
The United States government continued to adhere to the principle that the idea of balance of power, or spheres of influence, should be banned, and that the means of keeping peace in the post- war world should be sought in the overall authority of an international security organization. British diplomacy, however, while largely sharing the American views, showed a tendency to acknowledge the fact, not really contested, in effect, by the Americans either, that the Soviet Union did have special interests in Eastern Europe. Thus Churchill, during his first meeting with Stalin in Moscow, in August 1942, con- ceded that the Soviet Union had "predominant interest" in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary Romania, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria, while Stalin recognized Great Britain's "predominant interest" in Greece. This agreement was, no doubt, in line with the old balance- of- power concept; but Sumner Welles's criticism that it was this agreement which started Western diplomacy on the policy of spheres of influence in Europe seems to blame Churchill for something for which he actually was not alone responsible." What started Western diplomacy on the policy of spheres of influence in Europe was, rather, a mistaken belief of the Western Allies in general, the belief that if the nation- states between Germany and Russia were restored individually and protected by the authority of a worldwide international organization (though not united among themselves by supranational ties, nor with the rest of Europe as a unit), they would be capable of safeguarding their independence in the shadow of the monolithic power of a victorious Soviet Russia.
In the Kremlin there were some skeptics, who as the American Ambassador to Moscow, Averell Harriman, observed, were "unwilling to see Russia depend for her security solely on an untried world organization with associates whom they did not fully trust.12 But similar skepticism with regard to the security of the Middle Zone did not prevail among the Western leaders. They rightly acknowledged that Soviet Russia, invaded and devastated by Germany, was legitimately entitled to obtain full security. But they viewed the security of the Middle Zone, vis- a- vis Russia, with a lack of foresight much like their attitude during the period of appeasement vis- a- vis Nazi Germany. In actuality, Western views about the future of the Middle Zone reflected political conceptions implying the partition of Europe, despite vigorous protests, especially from the American State Department, against spheres of influence. The nations of the Middle Zone were expected to cooperate with Soviet Russiaagainst the revival of German imperialism, a most natural and desirable program which the Western Powers themselves were trying to implement on a worldwide scale. But the sole assistance the Middle Zone nations were to receive from the West was "Big Three unity," that is, the unity of Great Britain and the United States with Russia. When translated into reality, this amounted to an amicable partition of Europe between the West and Russia, with no security for the small nations of the Middle Zone apart from an untried world organization and untried Soviet cooperation. A few sharp- eyed critics of Western policy foresaw this coming partition of Europe. Thus, David J. Dallin, an American scholar of Russian origin, whose knowledge of Soviet affairs was no less profound than his understanding of the Middle Zone problems, made this observation in one of his books published during the war: "Most of the popular schemes proposed recently for post- war settlement of European relations envisage a durable partition of Europe into two . . . spheres; the Eastern sphere, embracing all the large and small countries from a line east of Germany- Italy to the Urals; and the Western sphere, containing all the nations lying west and south of Germany. "This trend of thinking," added Dallin, "is not confined to a few authors and diplomats. On the contrary, the idea of dividing Europe into two spheres has a multitude of adherents because it seems to indicate a peaceful solution of thorny problems." And he warned: "The idea, an agreeable one, is being uncritically digested. However, it does not ensure a stable structure, nor does it contain a guarantee of peace."
Cooperation between Soviet Russiaand the Middle Zone nations raised a series of grave problems. One set of problems was related to Russia's post- war frontiers. Some of the territorial questions, such as the status of the Baltic states, were never solved by agreement. After the unsuccessful Soviet attempt to insert a territorial clause into the Anglo- Soviet treaty of May 1942, Stalin did not even raise the question of Soviet post- war frontiers during Churchill's Moscow visit later in 1942. However, at the Teheran conference of the Big Three in November 1943 the Curzon Line was tentatively agreed upon as the future Soviet- Polish frontier; and a final decision was reached in this matter at the Yalta conference in February 1945 (the London Polish government in exile not concurring in this decision) . Other Soviet territorial demands were met one by one, in the armistice treaties (concerning parts of Finland and Romania), at the Potsdam conference (concerning parts of East Prussia), and in the Czechoslovak- Soviet treaty, signed in June 1945, by which Ruthenia was ceded to Soviet Russia.
The core of the problem concerning the future of the Middle Zone, however, was not so much the territorial question, as the kind of government Russia's neighbors would have after the war. The Western Powers agreed in principle with Russia that the pro- German, Nazi and Fascist reactionary elements should be expelled from public life; also that the new governments should be based on democratic forces which would carry out necessary social reforms in the liberated countries, follow a friendly policy toward Soviet Russia and build an effective barrier against German aggression. But it was easier to agree on the broad characteristics of the future governments than on the procedure by which these new governments should be constituted.
Later, at Yalta, the Western principle of free elections won recognition, though without any effective safeguards to ensure its observance. There was only the hope that the war against the common enemy had wiped out the controversies of the past, and that Western democracy and Soviet communism would cooperate in mutual trust to create a new world order under the shield of the United Nations.
Faith in Soviet Russiawas nourished by a belief then current, that communism could progress from tyranny to democracy, a belief which reached its highest peak in the West during the war. Hatred of Nazi Germany too was transformed into sympathy toward Russia, whose soldiers had borne the brunt of the struggle against the dreadful common enemy. Also certain "changes" in the Soviet Union were interpreted hopefully as heralding a new era in the history of communism. These changes were the dissolution of the Communist International in 1943, interpreted as the end of the Bolshevik ambition to stir up world revolution; the official recognition of the Russian Orthodox Church, interpreted as the end of the Bolshevik persecution of religion; and the sudden flare- up of the Pan- Slav movement.
Soviet sponsored Pan- Slavism was especially instrumental in allaying the fears of revolutionary communism and Russian imperialism. The theory fitted well into the Western image of a post- war Europe, in which the Slavic East was envisaged as a counterbalance to Germany. Also, Pan- Slavism was interpreted as an expression of wholesome nationalism, a departure from Communist internationalism. Western experts on Russia believed the rebirth of Russian nationalism, under the impact of war, to be a salutary deviation from Communist orthodoxy. They saw the Soviet Union dropping the internationalist revolutionary elements of Marxism.
A Pan- Slav Committee, under the chairmanship of General A. S. Gundorov, was founded in Moscow shortly after Hitler's attack on Russia. The first Slav Congress, called by the committee, was held in August 1941. A manifesto, issued by the congress, exhorted the Slavs to fight against the common Fascist enemy; it disavowed the Pan- Slav imperialism of Tsarist Russia, and proclaimed the equality of the liberated Slav nations. "No interference in the inner affairs of other nations!" proclaimed Stalin on November 6, 1941, when he reiterated the guiding principles of the new Slav movement, emphasizing that the sole aim of the Soviet Union was to liberate the enslaved nations from Hitler's tyranny, and then leave them absolutely free to decide under what kind of regime they wished to live.
The Pan- Slav movement during the war gained enormous popularity among the Slavs, both in enslaved Europe and throughout the free world. Hitler's insane hatred of the Slavs had accomplished what no Slav enthusiast had ever achieved during the long history of Pan- Slavism: he had made the Slav movement a reality. Two more Slav congresses were held in Moscow during the war. The publication of a monthly, Slavjane (The Slavs), began in January 1943. Slav congresses were organized in the United States, Canada, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Uruguay, Argentina, Palestine, Australia and New Zealand. Under the chairmanship of an old English friend of the Slavs, R. W. Seton- Watson, a congress of Slav nations met in London in 1944. Even King Peter of Yugoslavia, whose government in exile, like that of the Poles, was branded reactionary by the Moscow Slav Committee, tried to get on the bandwagon of Pan- Slavism. In January 1945, he declared that "fraternal union with Russia is one of the most deeply rooted sentiments of the Slav peoples."
Of course there were Slavic dissenters who disapproved of the Slav movement. Unfortunately, however, most of these Slavic dissenters, like most of the non- Slavic critics of the West's pro- Russian policy, also were people with a "reactionary record," such for instance were the Catholic Slovaks in the United States who supported Tiso's Fascist Slovakia and their opinions therefore were dismissed by a line of reasoning, incidentally correct, that it was bias rather than political wisdom that prompted them to oppose the pro- Soviet Pan- Slav currents.
Least attracted by the new Pan- Slavism were the Poles, who were the closest Slavic neighbors of the Russians. Not even this heyday of Slavic fraternization improved Polish- Russian relations. On the other hand the most enthusiastic propagators of Pan- Slavism were the Czechs; they, the westernmost among the Slavs, with their homeland farthest away from Russia, had never in their history as a nation come into direct contact with the Russians. The Czech exiles, with their great democratic reputation in the West, were the most effective salesmen of the idea that the new Pan- Slavism was a happy combination of progressive democracy and Slav brotherhood, which would erect an impregnable wall against German imperialism in post- war Europe.
The few Czechoslovak democrats who entertained contrary views had no influence on exile politics. Most prominent among them was Milan Hodza, who died in June 1944. Hodza, shortly before his death, pro- tested vigorously in a memorandum to the American State Department against the Pan- Slav policy of the Czech government in exile, which in his view was helping to build spheres of influence. Hodza recognized the attraction which Pan- Slavism held for the Czechs. "A Slav nationalist," he wrote, "may be enthusiastic about an unheard- of expansion of Slavic thought or sphere as far as Prague, a traditional center of Slavic culture and political efforts." But he warned against the pitfalls of Slavic nationalism, and called it a "dangerous error" to believe that Russian communism had become something different just because it had embraced nationalism. He believed that the nations of Central Europe between Russia and Germany could attain freedom and independence only in a federation.
The Czechoslovak nationalists, however, who supported Benes' pro- Russian policy, whether they were liberals (Jan Masaryk), socialists (Hubert Ripka), or communists (Vlado Clementis) , took turns in assuring the West that the new Slav policy would be the best safeguard of peace in Central and Eastern Europe. Even the so- called federalists among them were confident of Russia's best intentions. Said one of them, Hubert Ripka: "If Soviet policy adopted an attitude of extreme reserve, if not a negative one, to confederative plans in Central Europe, the reason was that it feared lest, in this new form, the old, anti- Soviet conception of a cordon sanitaire might be revived. I do not doubt that the Soviets will regard these plans favorably once there are guarantees that they are not directed against the Soviet Union, that they cannot become an instrument in the hand of any other Great Power, and especially of Germany, and that the nations of Central Europe wish to live in friendly accord with the Soviet Union. . . . I have no doubt that events will prove that we were not mistaken in showing our faith in the friendly intentions of the Soviet government, and its determination to respect the liberty and independence of the smaller nations of Central and South- Eastern Europe."
Pan- Slavism did not seem to worry the West at all. Western sympathy with Slavic nationalism was of course nothing new. After the defeat of Germany in the First World War, the liberation of the Slavs in the eastern half of Europe was viewed as a blessing conferred through the extension of Western ideas of nationalism and democracy. During the Second World War, however, sympathetic Westerners saw the Slavic nations striving for and achieving an even greater measure of freedom and security than they had previously enjoyed under Western guidance, by means of a new integration into an Eastern community under Russian leadership.
One such sympathetic Westerner, the English historian A. J. P. Taylor, wrote, "The Slav peoples have now come of age; none of them will again pass under German tutelage, nor under Anglo- Saxon tutelage either. The peoples of Western Europe, and finally of the United States as well, have learned that they can employ the Germans to enslave the Slavs only at the price of being enslaved themselves. Sooner than pay this price, Western civilization, and particularly its two Great Powers, England and America, have recognized the Slavs as equals; this is the meaning of the Anglo- Soviet alliance of 1942, and of the present collaboration between the three Great Powers. The West has at last ceased to insist that its civilization, liberal, individualistic, humanitarian, is the sole form of civilization; it has acknowledged the equal claims of Eastern European civilization, Byzantine and collectivist. . . . The collaboration of the three Great Powers means the permanent disappearance of Germany as a Great Power and thus an end of the German problem which has spread its shadow over the first half of the twentieth century."
However, the birth of this new age of the Slavs was not as joyful an event as many Western friends of the Slavs had anticipated. And the course of history in Eastern Europe, hailed by A.J.P. Taylor, was viewed with less enthusiasm by one of its makers, Winston Churchill. He had the ill foreboding of Europe's coming unfriendly partition.
|The New Central Europe|