New Lisbon, WI – The United States had vowed to fight Communism anywhere and everywhere it raised its head, be it at the state department, or in some Middle Eastern Country. Meanwhile the Russians tried to spread Communism to the world.
In 1947 and 48 Romania and then Czechoslovakia fell to Communism. The West would not watch the same thing happen in Korea. When in in 1950 the North Korean army swept across the 38th parallel, capturing Seoul, the Southern capitol, within three days, the UN Security Council sanctioned UN forces advancing on the Koreans. They were quickly thrown back across the line again.
The game began to span the world. Before it was over it would spread from Latin America to the Orient. The doctrine was that it was better for Western troops to hold a piece of land then for it to be held by the Communists.
Meanwhile in Russia Stalin was growing old and restive. He accused nine doctors, five of them Jewish, of assassinating him. He began to fear doctors in general. And he began to grow sicker. His heavy smoking was taking a toll at last.
On March 1st, 1953, Stalin arrived at his quarters after an all-night dinner and movie. With him were Georgy Malenkov, Nikolai Bulganin and Nikita Khrushchev. All of them would one day be the premier of Russia themselves.
Stalin did not get up at dawn. The guards however, were terrified of the consequences of waking him, and let him be. But, at 10 PM, Peter Lozgachev decided he needed to check the premier. He entered the room and found Stalin on his back, in pajamas, unconscious. He had been there all day. Peter immediately called the doctors, who took their time, and arrived the next morning.
Stalin died four days later.
In Russia, thousands filed past his mausoleum. For days afterwards, the street in front of where his body had lain in state was littered with trash and lady’s handbags, blown about by the wind.
The Russian radio had always before ignored bad news and only given good news, reporting state edited media. But now it was announced that Stalin was dead. The people were mortified, what would they do now they wondered. Their way of life was gone, their commander. The man who had led them to victory had died.
A new premier was chosen, Georgy Malenkov, one of the men who had come with Stalin that night from the theatre. It was early Spring, 1953, the Cold War was not over, it was only just beginning. And it was about to go out of this world.
Andrew C. Abbott