So in case that little map in your head wasn’t fully functional I thought this might help. Here we see the “little” states of Eastern Europe surrounded by Germany and the USSR. France and GB are on the other side of everything and though in the end GB is willing to guarantee their safety they have no real mechanism to do so. This is why, when Poland is invaded in 1939 in the East from the USSR and the West from Germany and France and GB declare “war” it is after not too long dubbed the “phony war” as the soldiers will basically hide behind the Maginot line. No invasion of Germany. No defense of Poland. Nationalism is on the rise and if you haven’t heard the French President Macron today, is warning that it is on the rise again, 100 years after the end of WWI.
So isn’t Stalin’s Bazaar bizarre? Ha Ha. I had to. Sorry. Stalin here is portrayed as a careful practitioner of Realpolitik . Though Kissinger is careful to be not too kind to Stalin, he does note at the 18th Party Congress in the USSR only 35 of the 2000 delegates remain, the others purged by Stalin, he is awfully admirable of his handling of Hitler.
In the beginning Kissinger makes rather a big deal about Stalin’s reliance on “history”. It is an important tenet of Communism that the revolution is one of historical inevitability. The very legitimacy of their government relied on this claim. The legitimacy of our government relies on democracy and hence popularity to a certain extent. In the Soviet system it is almost the opposite. Stalin, and Khrushchev and Brezhnev after him, will help drive the forces of history forward popularity be damned. It won’t be until Gorbachev in the 80s who will literally say on taking office, “we can’t go on like this”, and usher in the end of the USSR, the greatest tragedy of the 20th century according to Putin.
Stalin’s greatest fear is the unification of the capitalist countries all attacking the Soviet Union. So despite Hitler’s naked anti-communism he is willing to make a deal with him. In two years’ time when Hitler will break that deal and launch his attack on the USSR Kissinger will note that for days Stalin will say nothing. He psychoanalyses Stalin as being depressed. I don’t think so. Look at how he set up his Bazaar. He knew exactly what he was getting into.