I resent the gratuitous canard contained in John Lukacs’s “The Dangerous Summer of 1940” (October/November 1986). Lukacs charges that our current American government “neither remembers nor understands” the historical quid pro quo that offered the Soviet Union hegemony in Eastern Europe as reward for its tremendous exertions against Nazi Germany during the war.
I’m quite sure that the Reagan administration fully comprehends the oftrepeated argument that Russia feels entitled to its half of Europe both as war booty and as buffer against attack. But unlike some liberal historians and commentators, Mr. Reagan does not accept this arrangement as either inevitable or permanent (much less moral).
Just as Americans advocated the dismantling of Britain’s colonial empire after World War 11, so too did they expect nations freed from German tyranny to become free and independent. For historians and others to countenance and rationalize continued Russian repression of the captive nations is to obscure the very reason why we fought Hitler in the first place—that is, to resist and roll back the forces of totalitarianism.