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Ep. 4: Sean McMeekin on Stalin and World War II
School of WarNov 9, 2021
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Sean McMeekin is a professor and historian who focuses on early 20th century Europe. In addition to his latest book, Stalin's War: A New History of World War II, McMeekin is the author of The Russian Revolution: A New History, July 1914: Countdown to War, and The Ottoman Endgame: War, Revolution, and the Making of the Modern Middle East, 1908 - 1923, as well as several other books. McMeekin currently serves as the Francis Flournoy Professor of European History at Bard College in New York.


  • 02:02 - Introduction
  • 05:35 - The American understanding of Russia and Joseph Stalin in World War II
  • 09:12 - Politics and Stalin's legacy
  • 11:37 - Stalin's foreign policy prior to WWII
  • 17:40 - Stalin secures the Japanese non-aggression pact
  • 24:03 - The Soviets push for a war between Japan and the United States
  • 27:29 - Harry Hopkins and the Lend-Lease Policy
  • 33:58 - Stalin as an ally
  • 37:17 - Demanding unconditional surrender
  • 40:16 - Debate over what compelled the Japanese to surrender
  • 42:03 - Reception of Stalin's War

Recorded October 6, 2021