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Digital Archive International History Declassified

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Cold War Origins

This collection of primary source documents discusses international relations during World War II and the years shortly after. It begins with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact signed in 1939 and ends with documents from the 1950’s. The collection contains a wide variety of documents including agreements, memorandums, meeting minutes, cables, letters, diary entries, and military reports from WWII. The documents mainly come from Russian and Bulgarian archives. See also the End of the Cold War. (Image, Clement Attlee, Harry Truman, and Joseph Stalin at the Potsdam Conference, July 1945, NARA, Army Signal Corps Collection, USA C-186)

  • September 01, 1939

    Secret Supplementary Protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact, 1939

    Secret Texts of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Non-Aggression Pact, 1939

  • May 09, 1940

    Memorandum to the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU on Troop Strength Orders for the Red Army, 9 May 1940

    Memorandum to the Politburo of the Central Committee of the CPSU on Troop strength orders for the Red Army, May 9, 1940. Proposals for strengthening of Soviet armed forces.

  • January 29, 1941

    Notes from the Meeting between Comrade Stalin and Economists Concerning Questions in Political Economy, 29 January 1941

    Notes from L.A. Leont’ev's January 1941 meeting with Stalin, regarding drafts of two commissioned textbooks on political economy. Stalin gives his views on "planning", "wages", "fascism", and other issues.

  • August, 1941

    Report by Vyshinsky to Molotov Concerning Trade and Economic Cooperation Between the Soviet Union and the United States

    Report by Vyshinsky to Molotov concerning trade and economic cooperation between the Soviet Union and the United States, August 1941

  • May 11, 1944

    State Defense Committee Decree No. 5859ss - On the Crimean Tatars

    Acts of the Crimean Tatars during the Second World War and their subsequent punishment.

  • May 21, 1944

    Report from Mikoyan to Stalin and Molotov regarding Lend-Lease shipments from the United States from 1 October 1941 to 1 May 1944

    Report from Mikoyan to Stalin and Molotov, 21 May 1944, on Lend-Lease shipments from the United States between 1 October 1941 and 1 May 1944.

  • September, 1944

    Memorandum by George Kennan , 'Russia – Seven Years Later' (excerpt)

    George Kennan describes Stalin's character, underlining the importance of his nationality, ignorance of the west, and his seclusion. Kennan further warns that Stalin's advisors are not interested in collaborating with western democracies, and that Russia's internal police regime is developed beyond its foreign policy.

  • October 09, 1944

    Record of Meeting at the Kremlin, Moscow, 9 October 1944, at 10 p.m.

    Churchill, Eden, Stalin, and Molotov discuss the leadership in Poland, Britains interests in Greece and Hong Kong, the actions of Romania and Bulgaria during the war, Turkey, the need for the Great Powers to exert influence on the Balkans to prevent small wars, the leadership of Italy, interests in Bulgaria and Romania, the dividing of Germany and Germany's future, and the American plans in the war against Japan.

  • October 10, 1944

    Record of Meeting at the Kremlin, Moscow on 10 October 1944, at 7 p.m.

    Eden and Molotov discuss the post-war situation in the Balkans, the installment of a Control Commission to influence Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia and Germany as well as the dividing of these countries and which Great Power should exert control on each country.

  • October 13, 1944

    Record of Meeting Held at Spiridonovka House on 13 October at 5 p.m.

    M. Mikolajczyk discusses the Polish memorandum regarding the reconstruction and internal affairs of post-war Poland, Stalin reprimands Mikolajczyk for the extralegal approval of this memorandum. Churchill defends the memorandum, Stalin criticizes it, and Mikolajczyk emphasizes Poland's sovereignty as well as the legitimacy of the underground government in occupied Poland. Contentious discussion on the issue of the Curzon Line between Stalin and Mikolajczyk--Churchill acts as a mediator.

  • October 17, 1944

    Record of Meeting Held at the Kremlin on 17 October 1944, at 10 p.m.

    Churchill and Stalin discuss the progress of the war in Europe and its brutality. They propose three alternative plans of German dismemberment and how German assets should be divided among the Allies. They discuss further punishments and reparations.

  • October 22, 1944

    Minutes of the PWP CC Meetings on 22 October 1944

    Bierut describes the meeting between Mikolajczyk, Stalin, and Churchill, discussing how Stalin rejected Mikolajczyk's memorandum on the Polish situation. Bierut, Churchill, and Stalin discuss the rebuilding of Poland: Churchill thinks reforms should be postponed until after the war, Stalin and Bierut disagree. Beirut and Mikolajczyk discuss the Curzon line and the PKWN. In a final meeting, Churchill, Stalin, and Bierut discuss Polands economy and infrastructure.

  • November 09, 1944

    Letter No. 402 from L.D. Wilgress, Canadian Embassy, Moscow, to the Secretary of State for External Affairs, W.L. Mackenzie King

    The Canadian Ambassador to the Soviet Union, L.D. Wilgress, thoroughly reviews Soviet foreign policy in Europe, Asia, and in Latin America and its relations with the United States and the United Kingdom. Wilgress optimistically concludes that "the Soviet Government are desirous of co-operating fully with the other great powers."

  • November 19, 1944

    Defense Ministry Intelligence Report on the Domestic Political Situation in Bulgaria

    A Defense Ministry intelligence report on the domestic political developments for the month of October 1944. Among the discussed issues are the activities of the anti-communist opposition, the popular perception toward the Soviet occupation and the state of the armed forces.

  • December 08, 1944

    Conversation between General de Gaulle and Marshal Stalin Friday 8 December 1944

    General de Gaulle discusses France's positions on the German question in terms of Germany's borders, disarmament, and alliances. De Gaulle insists that Germany's Western border should not extend past the Rhine and that the country should be disarmed militarily, economically, and morally. He argues that international alliances between the USSR and France should be multilayered, and should include some involvement United States. Stalin argues for the benefit of a tripartite pact between the USSR, France, and England. Stalin then describes a pact between the USSR and France to bolster Poland.

  • March 06, 1945

    Letter from President Roosevelt to Stalin on an Acceptable Compromise Regarding the Composition of the Postwar Polish Government, 6 February 1945

    Letter from President Roosevelt to Stalin on an Acceptable Compromise Regarding the Composition of the Postwar Polish Government; discussing Soviet actions and the Polish government.

  • February 11, 1945

    Yalta Conference Agreement, Declaration of a Liberated Europe

    The text of the agreements reached at the Yalta (Crimea) Conference between President Roosevelt, Prime Minister Churchill and Generalissimo Stalin.

  • May 08, 1945

    Act of Military Surrender, Germany

    English text of the official act of military surrender to the Allied and Soviet forces signed by German High Command.

  • July 14, 1945

    Secret Soviet Instructions, 'Measures to Carry out Special Assignments throughout Southern Azerbaijan and the Northern Provinces of Iran'

    Soviet document with instructions on creating the Azerbaijan Democratic Party in northern Iran in an attempt to set the basis for a separatist movement.

  • October 26, 1945

    Defense Ministry Intelligence Report on the Domestic Political Situation in Bulgaria

    A Defense Ministry intelligence report on the domestic political developments for the month of September, 1945. The report presents the activities of the Fatherland Front government, the efforts of the opposition to discredit Fatherland Front’s policies; the acts of industrial sabotage of armed resistance groups; the work of foreign propaganda and the latest incidents in the armed forces.