Episode 3

Image for Episode 3Not currently available on BBC iPlayer

Episode 3 of 6

Duration: 1 hour

Joseph Stalin was a tyrant responsible for the death of millions - yet he was also a vital ally of Britain and America during the Second World War.

How was it possible for Churchill and Roosevelt to deal with one tyrant - Stalin - in order to help beat another - Adolf Hitler? That's one of the key questions at the heart of this series.

Using dramatic reconstructions, based on extensive fresh research in Russian and Western archives, and testimony from witnesses of the time, including former Soviet secret policemen who have not spoken before on camera, in order to tell a 'behind closed doors' history. It's a new way of looking at this most vital period, and may change the way people think about the war.

This episode focuses on the secret history of Churchill's first meeting with Stalin in Moscow and the behind-the-scenes actions of Roosevelt's emissary to the Soviet Union.

  • World War II - USSR: From Enemy to Ally Collection

    Watch online our collection of archived programmes and documents
    inspired by World War II: Behind Closed Doors. The collection reveals how the BBC reported on the uneasy alliances made and broken throughout the war.

    Explore the BBC Archive collection
  • Article: World War II: Behind Closed Doors

    To what extent was it possible for the Western Allies to work with one tyrant, Joseph Stalin, in order to defeat another tyrant, Adolf Hitler, and yet still remain untainted themselves? Laurence Rees discusses how the opening of Soviet archives has provided many unpalatable answers.

    Read this article on BBC History
  • Article: Getting Behind the Closed Doors

    Sally Chick looks at the research challenges involved in uncovering what really went on during top secret conversations between the Allied leaders Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin more than 60 years ago.

    Read this article on BBC History

Credits

Director
Laurence Rees
Director
Andrew Williams
Producer
Laurence Rees

Broadcasts

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