Joseph Stalin Drafts A Memorandum To Winston Churchill And Franklin Roosevelt

On August 13, 1942, Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin drafted a memorandum to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt opposing their decision not to invade Western Europe at that time.

In the memo, Stalin, whose beleaguered Russian army had been contending with a German invasion for over a year, impressed upon the Americans and the British the necessity of relieving the pressure on Russia's eastern front. Stalin pressed the Allies to open a second front against Hitler in Europe. Concluding that this action would be militarily unsound for them to attempt in 1942, England and the U.S. chose instead to invade North Africa.

The alliance between Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union began to unravel soon after the German threat was vanquished in 1945. Indications of the depth of the tensions between the allies had surfaced in February of that year at the Black Sea resort of Yalta, where Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt met to plan the final defeat and occupation of Nazi Germany.

Stalin met in several conferences with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (and later Clement Atlee) and/or American President Franklin D. Roosevelt (and later Harry Truman) to plan military strategy and, later, to discuss Europe's postwar reorganization. Very early conferences, such as that with British diplomats in Moscow in 1941 and with Churchill and American diplomats in in Moscow in 1942, focused mostly upon war planning and supply, though some preliminary postwar reorganization discussion also occurred. In 1943, Stalin met with Churchill and Roosevelt in the Tehran Conference. In 1944, Stalin met with Churchill in the Moscow Conference. Beginning in late 1944, the Red Army occupied much of Eastern Europe during these conferences and the discussions shifted to a more intense focus on the reorganization of postwar Europe.