5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Stalin’s Curse: Battling for Communism in War and Cold War

Event Co-sponsors

A chilling, skillfully delineated account based on newly released Russian documentation that reveals Stalin's true motives--and the extent of his enduring commitment to expanding the Soviet empire--during the years in which he seemingly collaborated with Roosevelt, Churchill, and the capitalist West.

At Yalta, Stalin very persuasively played the role of a great world leader. Even astute observers like George Kennan concluded that the United States and Great Britain could deal with Stalin by assuming realistic objectives like self-preservation. But now, Robert Gellately uses the most recently uncovered and up-to-date documents to make clear that in fact the dictator was merely biding his time, determined as ever to establish Communist regimes across Europe and beyond; and that his actions during these years (and the poorly calculated responses to them from the West) set in motion what would eventually become the Cold War. Exciting, deeply engaged, and shrewdly perceptive, Stalin's Curse is an unprecedented revelation of the sinister machinations of Stalin's Kremlin.

Robert Gellately is the Earl Ray Beck Professor of History at Florida State University and recently was the Bertelsmann Visiting Professor of Twentieth Century Jewish Politics and History at Oxford University. He is the author of Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe; The Gestapo and German Society: Enforcing Racial Policy, 1933--1945; and Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany. His books have been published in more than twenty foreign languages.

Moderator of the discussion was Vladimir Tismaneanu - a former Wilson Center fellow and professor of politics and director of the Center for the Study of Post-communist Societies at University of Maryland.


  • Robert Gellately

    Earl Ray Beck Professor of History at Florida State University
  • Vladimir Tismaneanu

    Former Wilson Center Fellow and Director, Center for the Study of Post-Communist Societies, University of Maryland