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

"Exciting, deeply engaged, and shrewdly perceptive, Stalin's Curse is an unprecedented revelation of the sinister machinations of Stalin's Kremlin." Based on newly declassified archival materials author Robert Gellately offers a more clearly defined picture of what went on behind the scenes.

Date & Time

Mar. 5, 2013
12:00pm – 1:00pm ET


5th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
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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.


Hosted By

Global Europe Program

The Global Europe Program addresses vital issues affecting the European continent, U.S.-European relations, and Europe’s ties with the rest of the world. We investigate European approaches to critical global issues: digital transformation, climate, migration, global governance. We also examine Europe’s relations with Russia and Eurasia, China and the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. Our program activities cover a wide range of topics, from the role of NATO, the European Union and the OSCE to European energy security, trade disputes, challenges to democracy, and counter-terrorism. The Global Europe Program’s staff, scholars-in-residence, and Global Fellows participate in seminars, policy study groups, and international conferences to provide analytical recommendations to policy makers and the media.  Read more

Kennan Institute

The Kennan Institute is the premier U.S. center for advanced research on Russia and Eurasia and the oldest and largest regional program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the surrounding region though research and exchange.  Read more

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