In August 1942, Roosevelt appointed W. Averell Harriman to represent the United States at a conference with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin. The Moscow Conference sought a common understanding of Soviet and Anglo-American military plans and was the highest level meeting to that time of the three allies. At the conference, Churchill delivered some unwelcome news. He told Stalin that western military planners had concluded that an Anglo-American invasion of Europe that year was "military folly." The Soviets, however, wanted a "second-front" to relieve Nazi pressure. In response to Churchill, Stalin gave Harriman this memo, condemning the prime minister's decision and arguing that British and American forces were capable of invading Europe in 1942.
Transcript of Joseph Stalin's Memo
- How did Joseph Stalin describe the significance of a second front to the conflict in Europe both in Russia and to its allies?
- How would you consider the strength the alliance between the Soviet Union and its European and American allies? Use evidence from the source.
- What did the change of plans and impact of that change communicate about the United States' goals in Europe? How did its nonaction in this matter align with its motivations?
- Based on the geographic location of the Soviet Union, why might the U.S. not want the USSR to join the fight against Japan?
Stalin, Joseph, "Memorandum in Russian from Joseph Stalin about opening a second front in Europe during World War II, with English translation of same," 13 August 1942. Courtesy of Library of Congress