"You should have fought them in 1945," the Mayor of Liepaja said. "Think of all the trouble you would have saved yourselves—not to mention us.” As we stood to leave, he pulled up his shirt, showing scars across his stomach. As a boy, he and his mates would visit the barb-wired beaches after curfew, walking backwards into the water to simulate an invasion. He'd been strafed by Soviet guards. How you think about these things often depends on how you grew up.
EXCERPT ONLY: For the complete text of “Churchill and the Baltic” with endnotes, please go to this page on the Hillsdale College Churchill Project.
“No doubt where the right lay”: 1940-95
Soviet Ambassador Ivan Maisky was a “Bollinger Bolshevik” who mixed support for Communism with a love of Western luxury. Friendly to Churchill, he knew the Englishman hoped to separate Hitler and Stalin, even after World War II had started.
But Maisky tended to see what he wished to see. In December he recorded: “The British Government announces its readiness to recognize ‘de facto’ the changes in the Baltics so as to settle ‘de jure’ the whole issue later, probably after the war.” There…
I told the Baltic mayor how Churchill had hoped to force a "showdown" with Stalin over Poland if he got back to Potstam. What the result would have been is a matter for conjecture. “Much of Eastern Europe, given harsh reality, had no chance for liberty,” I said, “but we should not denounce the efforts Churchill made.” Mayor Teodors Enins listened politely, but then he just sadly shook his head. "No. You should have fought them anyway."