Flashpoint Trieste, The First Battle of the Cold War

This is one of those exciting history books that reads like a novel. Churchill made an inspired choice in deciding to support Tito and his Communist Resistance Army. However, it was a relationship that was not just unlikely, but one with potential fault lines. – Much Recommended.


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NAME: Flashpoint Trieste, The First Battle of the Cold War
FILE: R2633
AUTHOR: Christian Jennings
PUBLISHER: Bloomsbury, Osprey
BINDING: soft back
PAGES:  352
PRICE: £9.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War Two, World War 2, Second World War. Tito, 
Churchill, Yugoslavia, Communist Resistance, Germans, Soviets, 
Victory in Europe, dividing the spoils, new nations, Cold War

ISBN: 978-1-4728-2173-7

IMAGE: B2633.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y8bdt4eo
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: This is one of those exciting history books that reads 
like a novel. Churchill made an inspired choice in deciding to 
support Tito and his Communist Resistance Army. However, it was a 
relationship that was not just unlikely, but one with potential 
fault lines.  – Much Recommended.

World War Two was not the slow moving accident that became the 
Great War, but it had its share of unlikely Allies and chaotic 
development. The end of the war was even more chaotic and rapidly 
led to the Cold War. Trieste became one of those pawns of the new 
war and its first battle. What made it even more chaotic was that 
Tito was also at odds with Stalin and determined to take a robust 
independent line in Yugoslavia's interest after 1945. The difficulty 
for the Allies was that they were suffering from the naive political 
attitude of the US. This attitude failed to recognise the dangers 
from the Soviets in the way that Churchill recognised the grave 
risks. As Stalin began to move his boundaries West, the US began to 
take fright and an anti-Communist approach became established. This 
approach could not differentiate between flavours of Communism, 
becoming inflexible and unimaginative.

Yugoslavia was a collection of states that was almost an 
afterthought. As a monarchy it had held together, but with 
difficulty. The various religions and ethnic groups were not 
natural bedfellows. When the Germans invaded the Balkans the 
resistance that developed was a number of groups that followed 
the divisions of Yugoslavia. Not only did they fail to co-operate, 
but they actively fought each other. Churchill recognised the 
complex situation and decided to support Tito's Communists because 
he saw them as the most determined and functional group that had 
clear objectives in fighting the Germans. He saw them as the best 
and most economic way of tying down the maximum number of German 
troops and resources. The result was that Britain and Tito worked 
well together against a common enemy. That mutual appreciation 
survived the end of WWII and the Cold War, with Tito becoming the 
first post-war Communist leader to make an official visit to Britain 
but that did not mean that relations were always good.

Tito was looking to defeat and eject the German invaders and build a 
new united Yugoslavia that had adequate ports and infrastructure to 
support a developing economy in peace. This focus on Yugoslavian 
interests was one reason why he was prepared to fight the Soviet 
Union if necessary after 1945, not wanting to exchange one invader 
for another. Although the Serbs shared common heritage and religion 
with Russia and political concepts with the Soviet Union that did not 
mean that they would accept life as a Soviet satellite or province. 
Had the Western Allies followed the advice of Churchill, there would 
have been a clear understanding of what would follow the 
unconditional surrender of Germany. However, Churchill had several 
reservations about the US and Soviet view of what the surrender 
should be and there is evidence that he was attempting to negotiate 
a surrender of the Italian Fascists, leading to the killing of 
Mussolini to prevent those discussions being used by the Italian 
dictator as a captive. The result was that Stalin thought he had a 
free hand to expand Russia westwards by installing puppet 
administrations in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and all the 
other states that had been occupied by the Germans during WWII. He 
also expected half of Germany and Austria. Churchill correctly saw 
that as a base from which to expand Russia to the North Sea and the 
Channel. The US had a different perception and Churchill saw a 
pragmatic solution to post war reconstruction. Somewhere in that 
confusion, Britain saw Trieste being part of Italy and Tito saw it 
as a key port for Yugoslavia.

The author tells the complex story of how that all worked out. In 
that, there is everything a novelist could hope for as a plot and 
cast of characters. There are three well-chosen photo plate sections 
that include some full colour images. It is a compelling mix of 
spies and partisans of Italy and Yugoslavia, an SS General, US 
interventions, British SOE agents and the atmospheric environment of 
the Cold War. History doesn't get any more thrilling, its a real 
page turner.