Andrew J. Bacevich generously praises my book, Stalin's Wars: From World War to Cold War, 1939-1953, as "in many respects a model of scholarship" and as "revisionism of high order" (The National Interest, September/October 2007). But my "depiction of Stalin as a great statesman and man of peace" seems to have three problems: a misinterpretation of the nature of the Grand Alliance; a misunderstanding of the nature of statecraft; and an abdication of the moral obligations of historians.
According to Bacevich, I fail to see that the Grand Alliance existed only to defeat Hitler and that once that goal was achieved the wartime coalition inevitably fell apart. What Bacevich does not recognize, however, is that Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin shared a different view of the Grand Alliance. They saw it as a vehicle for postwar political cooperation and as a framework for policing a stable and secure postwar order. The failure to realize that shared vision and the rapid postwar descent into the Cold War is one of the major themes of my book. The origins of the Cold War constitute a long and complex story, but my version bears no resemblance to Bacevich's depiction of Stalin's peaceful intentions being thwarted by the British and Americans. In fact, my argument is that Stalin's pursuit of postwar ideological ambitions undermined his efforts to secure a peacetime Grand Alliance. Stalin's failings as a peacemaker are central to my analysis of the Cold War's origins. My conclusion is that the Cold War could have been averted, but only by the combined efforts of all the erstwhile allies.