In August 1942, Joseph Stalin finally came face-to-face in Moscow with his wartime ally, British prime minister Winston Churchill. Despite the upbeat newsreels of the time, it was hardly a meeting of minds. Churchill and U.S. president Franklin D. Roosevelt knew Stalin was a tyrant who had ordered the deaths of thousands of his own citizens. Would they be able to work with one tyrant to defeat another?
Stalin had a deep mistrust of the West and believed the Western Allies were betraying him, in part by failing to launch D-Day as early as he thought they had promised. He was also determined to regain Polish territory he had captured in 1939 but subsequently lost to the advancing German army in 1941. When the 'Big Three' finally met in Teheran in 1943, Churchill and Roosevelt had to decide how to deal with Stalin over the future of Poland. As the Germans retreated from the country, could the Western Allies prevent one tyranny from being simply replaced by another?
Episode 2 – Cracks in the Alliance examines how the Western Allies worked with Stalin to battle Hitler and determine Poland’s future. As records from secret meetings have revealed, it was a test of the integrity of the alliance since Poland was the very country the British had gone to war to protect.