On 16 June 1947, British cartoonist Leslie Gilbert Illingworth illustrates the threat represented by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, who is methodically trying to extend his area of influence in Central Europe to include the countries of Western Europe.
In March 1948, British cartoonist David Low illustrates the Communist threat facing the whole of Europe and deplores Moscow’s stranglehold on a number of countries including Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria. From left to right, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and his Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov.
On 13 March 1948, in Luxembourg, Paul-Henri Spaak, Belgian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, delivers an address during which he describes the nature of and the threats posed by the Soviet Union’s foreign policy.
With a view to the parliamentary elections due to be held on 9 October 1949 in Austria, the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) warns the country’s voters against the threat posed by the ‘Communist octopus’.
‘The stepfather: I already have enough children, but I like you so much that I’d like to adopt you.’ On 1 April 1950, the German daily newspaper Der Mittag illustrates the Soviets’ desire to take over West Berlin and extend their zone of influence in Central Europe.
On 12 October 1951, the Russian daily newspaper Izvestia emphasises the positive action taken by the Soviet peoples and their leader, Joseph Stalin, to uphold peace in the world, and emphasises the determination of the Socialist States and the USSR to adhere to the commitments made in the Stockholm Appeal.
In December 1952, Paolo Emilio Taviani, Junior Minister in the Italian Foreign Ministry, criticises the political aims of the Moscow leadership and describes European unification as a bulwark against the Communist threat.
At the beginning of the Cold War, the ‘Molotov Plan — the definitive solution to all the world’s problems’ predicts that the world will evolve according to Communist and Soviet principles. Molotov was Soviet Foreign Minister from 1939 to 1949 and from 1953 to 1956.
On 17 September 1946, Alexander Werth, correspondent for the British weekly newspaper The Sunday Times, asks Soviet General Joseph Stalin a series of questions on the international situation and the threat of a new war.
On 25 September 1949, the French daily newspaper Le Monde considers the implications for the West of the Soviet Union’s acquisition of atomic weapons and raises the issue of monitoring weapons of mass destruction.
On 4 October 1949, the Italian daily newspaper Il nuovo Corriere della Sera considers the implications for the West of the Soviet Union’s acquisition of nuclear weapons and raises the spectre of possible nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.
‘Hey! Hey! Pull up these useless barriers and move them up to the front! We need to set up a joint barricade!’ In April 1950, the German cartoonist Stig calls on European countries to unite in order to counter the Soviet threat.
‘The angel of peace seeks a new battlefield — Joseph, the angel of peace: And now whose turn is it to be liberated?’ In September 1951, in the Socialist daily newspaper Tageblatt, the Luxembourg cartoonist Simon criticises the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin’s international policy.
‘Jo-Jo The Dove’. In 1951, the French anti-Communist movement Paix et Liberté (Peace and Liberty) publishes a poster condemning the true politico-military designs of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and placing particular emphasis on the figure’s bellicose nature.
In the midst of the Cold War, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) draws up a report on the development of the Soviet armed forces between 1947 and 1954 and highlights the threat of these forces to Western Europe.
Political agreements in Central and Eastern Europe
On 26 February 1948, the French daily newspaper Le Monde recounts the events which took place the previous day in Prague and which led to the resignation of President Edvard Benes following pressure from Klement Gottwald supported by the Soviet Union.
On 26 February 1948, the Luxembourg daily newspaper Luxemburger Wort recounts the events of the ‘Prague Coup’, which gave Czechoslovak Communists the majority in Klement Gottwald’s Government at the expense of the Democrats led by Jan Masaryk.
On 26 February 1948, drawing lessons from the ‘Prague coup’ which placed the Czechoslovak communists at the head of Klement Gottwald’s government to the detriment of the democrats led by Jan Masaryk, the Italian daily newspaper Il nuovo Corriere della Sera deplores Moscow’s stranglehold on the country and recalls the recent efforts for democratisation and openness in Czechoslovakia.
On 27 February 1948, the Luxembourg daily newspaper Luxemburger Wort comments on the purges carried out in Czechoslovakia by the new Government led by Klement Gottwald with a view to stabilising the Communist power structure.
On 28 February 1948, the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung speculates on the consequences of the ‘Prague Coup’ which culminates in the establishment of a Communist Government in Czechoslovakia led by Klement Gottwald.
In his memoirs, Georges Bidault, former French Foreign Minister, is concerned at the consequences of the ‘Prague coup’, which led to the Czech Communists seizing power from the democrats led by Jan Masaryk, and emphasises the threat that the USSR represents for Western Europe.
In February 1948, crowds demonstrate in the streets of Prague against the ‘Prague Coup’, during which the Communists, led by Klement Gottwald, sidelined the other political parties in the democratically elected Parliament and became the dominant power.
On 11 March 1948, the British daily newspaper Daily Mail leads with the consequences of the ‘Prague coup’, which led to the establishment of a Communist government in Czechoslovakia led by Klement Gottwald, and speculates on the death in suspicious circumstances of the Czech Foreign Minister, Jan Masaryk, the previous day.
On 25 September 1945, British cartoonist David Low illustrates the concern of the Western powers at the fate reserved by the Soviet Union for the countries of Eastern Europe, and particularly criticises the bringing to heel of these countries by Moscow. From left to right: James Byrnes, US Secretary of State, Ernest Bevin, British Foreign Secretary, and Molotov, Soviet Foreign Minister.
On 6 June 1947, the Luxembourg daily newspaper Luxemburger Wort considers the events in Hungary which have led to the ousting of the democratically elected government headed by Imre Nagy by the communist government of Matyas Rakosi.
On 9 February 1949, Dean Acheson, US Secretary of State, makes a statement in which he deplores the ongoing trial of the Hungarian Cardinal, Jozsef Mindszenty, and condemns the totalitarian and police activities of the Communists in Hungary.
In December 1950, Guy Mollet, French Minister of State responsible for relations with the Council of Europe, publishes an article in the journal Notre Europe, in which he sets out his concerns as to the fate that the Soviet Union has in store for European countries behind the Iron Curtain.