The Instigator
WorldWar2Debator
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
whiteflame
Con (against)
Winning
15 Points

Would Franklin Delano Roosevelt have stopped, or at least moderated, Joseph Stalin's actions?

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Post Voting Period
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after 3 votes the winner is...
whiteflame
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/8/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 702 times Debate No: 48662
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (3)

 

WorldWar2Debator

Pro

As many World War 2 historians know, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, then President of the United States, died tragically on the 12th of April, 1945. He had a good relationship with Joseph Stalin, so well in fact he appealed most of Stalin's uncivilised actions during the middle and end of WW2 and got Stalin to rethink. Having died on the 12th of April, I question a challenger whether or not Roosevelt would've stopped Stalin's totalitarianism and indeed the Cold War. I believe Roosevelt would've stopped the Cold War, and as a scourge of European imperialism, dismantled Stalin's empire after World War 2.
whiteflame

Con

I'll be happy to oppose in this debate regarding whether FDR had a reasonable chance of stopping the Cold War and dismantling the USSR's empire. I'd like to thank Pro for presenting an intriguing debate topic, it's not something I've argued before, though it is a bit of alternate history that I feel both overestimates the importance of FDR as a regulator of Soviet actions, as well as underestimates Stalin's impetus for both starting the Cold War and expanding his empire. Nonetheless, as my opponent has not provided any arguments this round, I too will abstain, and leave it to him to start the debate.

Before I leave off, however, I'd just like to make it clear what we'll be arguing in this debate. Though the resolution may state that moderation of Joseph Stalin's actions is sufficient for the proposition, I will argue that he must do more than simply show that FDR could have induced any level of moderation. At the very least, Pro must elucidate a strong likelihood that FDR could have, as he said in his first post, "stopped the Cold War" and "dismantled Stalin's empire after World War 2." If Pro manages to prove either of those things to have a high likelihood of success in a world where FDR survives for at least another 5 years (I think we can agree that he can't live forever and that this is a reasonable length of time in which to accomplish these goals, though Pro may suggest a different length of time if he wishes), then he will win this debate. If I can prove that neither of those things are the slightest bit likely, even taking into account FDR's great stature and his close political relationship with Stalin, then I will win this debate. As such, the burden of proof is shared, though it is mainly on Pro, as he must prove that this single factor is sufficient to substantially alter historical precedent.

With that, I leave it to him to fulfill that burden.
Debate Round No. 1
WorldWar2Debator

Pro

February 13th, 1945. The three Allied warlords meet at Yalta, in the Crimea. Roosevelt is weak, tired and old, and his 14000 mile journey would not help him. Prior to the meeting at Yalta, Roosevelt and Stalin were not quite best buddies. By dissing Churchill about his British habits in front of Stalin, he earned Stalin's respect and friendship. They talked like brothers and they discussed a world in which, according to Roosevelt, the USA, USSR, China, England and France were "policemen ", who helped to stop future wars.

Stalin's liberation of Warsaw:
Stalin's army had stopped right on the Vistula river, 15 miles from the. Polish capital. The Soviet commander was ready to cross. But the Polish underground had created an uprising, knowing the Soviets were so close. Stalin refused to help, remarking the uprising as "irresponsible and dangerous". When the underground were captured, then Stalin attacked Warsaw. The reason for his not attacking when the uprising began was because the underground stood for an independent Poland, and Stalin wanted an empire. He even refused to allow the British and American paratroop planes to refuel in Russia, forcing the Americans and British to not paratroop help. This story proves how arrogant he can be, which will help my next point.

1944: Before D-Day was planned
Stalin wanted the Allies to attack all of France and Southern Germany, allowing his armies to take Berlin, the Balkans, The Adriatics and Poland. This was to expand his empire, clearly proving he was preparing for a war after WW2. He got wind of Roosevelt's death, and he was like an adult on drugs. I believe his actions after World War 2 were quite monstrous, and had Roosevelt lived I believe he would've at least put all of it in Stalin's conscience. A historian described him like this: "His personality, only equalled by Hitler, of greed for power, cruelty and a reign of terror.
whiteflame

Con

Alright, I'd like to thank my opponent for establishing his case. Before I get into mine, I would like to just make it clear that, since Pro has not responded to the points I have made about his burdens within this debate and, specifically, with what he and I must do to win this debate, those are the lines along which this debate will proceed. As such, Pro must prove that FDR's survival past 1945 would have prevented the Cold War and/or resulted in the dismantling of Stalin's empire after WWII.

I'll start with some rebuttal.

So, why wouldn't either of these things have happened? Well, I guess I'll start by using Pro's own example " Stalin's liberation of Warsaw. He even cites this reasoning for why Stalin refused to help the underground there: "The reason for his not attacking when the uprising began was because the underground stood for an independent Poland, and Stalin wanted an empire." Now, why would I take the time to remind everyone of this? Because this happened on January 17th, 1945. FDR died April 12th of that year. Three months later. In between those times, he sent a series of strongly worded messages to Stalin, accusing him of breaking his Yalta commitments over Poland, Germany, prisoners of war, and other issues.[1] Stalin actually responded by saying that he thought the Allies were plotting a separate peace agreement with Hitler behind his back.

So what should we take from this? First, let's just note the fact that Stalin didn't seem to have much respect or friendship for FDR if he was saying that he thought FDR was plotting to work with Hitler. His complete disregard for following his Yalta commitments showcase that as well, as does his willingness to ignore international law and his other allies. Second, even if he did have some respect for FDR during this time, it didn't stop him from pursuing ends that were based in building an empire. He had no reason to dismantle that empire, or even stop its spread. He actively worked to spread it while FDR was still alive, "kicking," and writing him strongly worded messages. So everything that Pro is saying here is in fact in direct contradiction to one of the points that he's trying to support.

Moreover, his point about D-Day only makes things worse. "Stalin wanted the Allies to attack all of France and Southern Germany, allowing his armies to take Berlin, the Balkans, The Adriatics and Poland." Again, he was working with the Allies and planning this when? In 1944. When Roosevelt was still alive. Perhaps he knew that Roosevelt would eventually kick the bucket, but if so, why didn't he wait for that opportunity instead of invading while FDR was still alive? For all that Pro says that "he would've at least put all of it in Stalin's conscience," Stalin didn't seem to care much that his "friend" was sending him messages that called him out for his actions. Again, my opponent says it best, citing some unknown historian (who I can't seem to find): "His personality, only equalled by Hitler, of greed for power, cruelty and a reign of terror." in other words, why would he bother waiting? His conscience, or whatever tatters of it remained, had absolutely no compunction with grabbing all of the land he could as fast as he could.

But all of this just has to do with making an empire. There is literally nothing here about preventing a Cold War scenario. Pro has completely dropped his own burden of proof on this end.

As my opponent's case was so short, I will spend limited time on mine.

Starting with the empire issue. Why did Stalin make an empire? Well, to start, he wanted vengeance. But in the far-thinking sense, he wanted to ensure that he had a barrier between Russia and its possible enemies, which he considered many of the Allies to be. Hence, he constructed the Iron Curtain, which was meant to be a multi-faceted barrier to entry.[2] It became a very physical one with the construction of the Berlin Wall, but since that wasn't during Stalin's time, I won't discuss it here. The USSR lost tens of millions in the war, and as a result, they wanted some distance. The presence or absence of FDR doesn't modify either the desire for vengeance or that for protection.

As for the Cold War, again, I think FDR would have had no ability to affect this outcome had he survived. The U.S. had made and used two nuclear weapons becoming the sole superpower in the world. Do you really think that the USSR would have just shrugged and allowed that to continue following the end of the WWII? Remember the kind of person Stalin was! He wanted power. He wasn't about to sit by and let anyone else grasp it with ease. Beyond that, I think Pro misunderstands what the scope of the Cold War was. It wasn't just us " it was the entire "Western Bloc," including NATO and its associated countries. There was no love lost between them and Stalin, and FDR didn't change that even while he was alive. Beyond all of this, the ideological split between the capitalist societies of the west and the communist societies of the east would always have been a source of discord. Since Stalin wasn't going to shift over to capitalism anytime soon, and since FDR would have been pretty stalwart himself, I sincerely doubt that the ideological friction from which the Cold War was conceived would have been any different. The best you could hope for is that FDR and Stalin would have talked more often, but that doesn't change what would still have happened given Stalin's goals and personality.

With that, I kick it back to Pro to post for the final round.

1. http://www.cvce.eu...
2. http://www.britannica.com...
Debate Round No. 2
WorldWar2Debator

Pro

As I begin my last statement, I'd like to remind Con about Roosevelt's incessant rejections to Churchill's attempts to drag the USA into the Second World War. This proves that Roosevelt was in no way an idiot, but then again he did not see or comprehend the dangers of the Bolshevik empire. As a smart man, I believe had he agreed with Churchill, and assuming Churchill wasn't voted out of British Cabinet, it's pretty safe to assume that Roosevelt could've easily convinced Stalin to stop the totalitarianism he created. To prove this, watch Warlords Episode 4: Roosevelt vs Stalin.

As the documentary states, the pyschological duel between the two was unfinished, and it would've been unfair to claim Stalin was winner, despite Roosevelt's kicking of the bucket. Again, had Roosevelt understood the barbaric ways of Stalin, he would've found ways to dismantle Stalin's empire, thus preventing the Cold War.

Con is correct in saying that America and the USSR weren't the only countries involved, but when you think of the terror raised by the Soviets, and the strong defence put up by the Americans, it's safe to say that they were the main focal point countries during the war. Countries such as England, France, China and Poland, despite their sufficient support, cannot be described as "vital" as that of the USA and USSR.

It's true Stalin was as likely a capitalist as Hitler was a democrat, but Stalin wasn't exactly as cruel as Hitler. I think had Roosevelt offered a conservative view of the Empire to Stalin, it would've at least being enough for Stalin (as a cruel but rational man) to rethink his decision of being so totalitarian. I don't think any of the countries Stalin bullied would've wanted to be led by such a man, so it was only a matter of time before they stopped and thought (as good people brainwashed) "What are we doing? We are causing terror to innocent people and countries who already suffered!"

Even Stalin's generals and men were scared of him. Don't you think Stalin was rational enough to think about his own generals? Sure, it could've earned them a firing squad, but what about Zhukov and Konev and Chuikov? They weren't born Marxists.

Finally, the fact that Stalin died in 1955, only 10 years after Roosevelt in a 45 year war, meant he had little influence anyway. So the fact that he only lived a decade more than Roosevelt makes it questionable if Death himself moderated Stalin's actions.

I'd like to thank Con for this wonderful debate and wish him luck in the result of this and his future debates.
whiteflame

Con

Thanks to my opponent for the debate, and I will now conclude by going back through the arguments in groups and establishing what went on here.

The majority of Pro's arguments can all be summed up by the way he prefaces each of them:

"I think..." "I don't think..." "I believe..."

This is the way he introduces nearly every point in his arguments. In the first round, his only actual argument supporting his case was "had Roosevelt lived I believe he would've at least put all of it in Stalin's conscience." In this round, it's no different.

"I believe had he agreed with Churchill, and assuming Churchill wasn't voted out of British Cabinet, it's pretty safe to assume that Roosevelt could've easily convinced Stalin to stop the totalitarianism he created."

"I think had Roosevelt offered a conservative view of the Empire to Stalin, it would've at least being enough for Stalin (as a cruel but rational man) to rethink his decision of being so totalitarian. I don't think any of the countries Stalin bullied would've wanted to be led by such a man, so it was only a matter of time before they stopped and thought (as good people brainwashed) "What are we doing? We are causing terror to innocent people and countries who already suffered!"

All assertions. Unwarranted and unsourced. I've already shown that FDR had weighed in on Stalin's actions, sent messages to Stalin to that effect, and not had any effect at all. His "conservative view of the Empire" was ineffective at the beginning, and there's no reason to believe that Stalin would have simply given up his empire after he had it if he was willing to ignore pleading to stop expanding. And yes, few of the countries under Stalin wanted to be led by him. It didn't stop him from taking over and running them with his powerful military. Stalin had absolutely no history of listening to reason, and Pro provided zero reason to think he could act rationally in this regard.

Oftentimes, FDR very much disagreed with Churchill, and Churchill most certainly would have been voted out even if FDR had survived, mainly because he was viewed as a wartime prime minister. But even if Churchill had stayed in office, he and Stalin rarely got along. The idea that he could have somehow prevented Stalin from engaging in totalitarianism if he had stayed in office is also ridiculous, as he once again was around during the times of Stalin's expansion.

Other arguments fit this pattern as well:

"Again, had Roosevelt understood the barbaric ways of Stalin, he would've found ways to dismantle Stalin's empire, thus preventing the Cold War."

Again, where is he getting his information here? Roosevelt may have understood Stalin, but he had absolutely no control over his actions, nor did he have any capacity to dismantle the USSR and its empire without initiating a massive war between the two nations. Pro never explains how this will happen, nor does he explain why FDR was somehow better qualified to engage in it. I've provided solid reasoning as to why Stalin started both the Cold War and his empire that Pro spent no time refuting, which is all better warranted than Pro's analysis.

The rest of Pro's arguments either hurt his case or are irrelevant to this argument. Yes, Roosevelt was smart. So was Truman. I don't think intelligence is sufficient to prevent the Cold War and USSR imperialism. Much as I'm sure that documentary is effective at conveying some interesting facts, Pro can't just cite a movie without any quotes or bits of video to back it up. Even the little Pro mentions from the documentary is not relevant to this debate. It doesn't matter who is viewed as the victor. And I think we can safely say that FDR understood that Stalin was acting barbarically. It didn't change anything.

It doesn't matter who was mainly involved in the Cold War either, just that the Cold War would have persisted in any case, which means that FDR wouldn't have prevented it - which, by the way, was one of your burdens in the debate. It also doesn't matter what his generals thought about him. He obviously didn't care - history shows that he was willing to let his generals fear him without putting them in front of a firing squad. He obviously saw rationality in promoting fear. And it most certainly doesn't matter when Stalin died, since, as the resolution states, it's only his actions that we care about. I don't think you can conclude that "Death himself moderated Stalin's actions," otherwise he would have died before he killed 10's of millions of his own people.

Now for a bit of a wrap up.

How should voters look at this round? The first thing to do is ask if Pro has fulfilled his burdens. I think it's relatively obvious that he hasn't. His burden was to show that FDR had a high probability of either stopping the Cold War, or dismantling Stalin's empire. Pro has managed neither. His historical information either supports my points or contributes nothing to the debate. The remainder of his arguments are unwarranted assertions, many with little to no relevance. The few that are relevant have absolutely no basis in reality.

Even if voters are buying his points, I've given sufficient support for the argument that Stalin, even with FDR's influence, will always be more likely to engage in building an empire and starting the Cold War than not. I've provided the best sourced and best warranted arguments in this debate. His assertions simply don't match up, and his historical support only helps me.

So whether it's based on burdens or just on quality of argumentation, voters should be siding with me in this debate. Vote Con.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Jifpop09 2 years ago
Jifpop09
WorldWar2DebatorwhiteflameTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's argument relied on speculation, and he included no sources. Con has decisively proven that Pro fails to meet the burden of proof, and it is very clear that Roosevelt has a strong neutrality policy.
Vote Placed by Wylted 2 years ago
Wylted
WorldWar2DebatorwhiteflameTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con's arguments were sourced. Pro's premises didn't warrant his conclusion. These types of debates can be highly speculative, but pro kinda went too far with his speculations.
Vote Placed by Krazzy_Player 2 years ago
Krazzy_Player
WorldWar2DebatorwhiteflameTied
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Reasons for voting decision: In Round 2, Pro provided some historical facts but makes too many assertions in R3 thus loosing arguments. Only Con's arguments were sourced so source points directly to Con.