US Stamps

1944 Christmas postcard from Persian Gulf Command

Feb 7, 2024, 11 AM
This 1944 Christmas greeting from a U.S. Army soldier in Iran celebrates the “cooperation on a large scale” between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union. He, and the West generally, misread the Russians’ happy acceptance of our aid.

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

Talk about war creating strange bedfellows. The December 1944 Christmas postcard shown front and back here is a testament to short-sightedness.

It characterizes our good friends the Soviets, who were then fighting their way toward Berlin from the east, having repulsed Hitler’s attempt to invade and defeat the Soviet Union. At the same time, the Western Allies were fighting toward Berlin from the west, after the D-Day landings of June 1944.

While it is true that the Russians’ defeat and pursuit of the German forces cost a great many military and civilian lives as the Russians took possession of western Ukraine, Belarus and central Europe, their military machine was at least partially enabled by the Western Allies providing a significant amount of fighting equipment and other essentials.

The Christmas message on the postcard is from the Persian Gulf Command, one of the lifelines through which that material flowed. This is reflected in the fine print on the address side of the card sent by a U.S. Army enlisted man. Here is the text:

“The insignia between the American and Russian soldiers is that of the Persian Gulf Command, U.S. Army Supply line to Russia. Here, in Iran, is an example of Russian-American cooperation on a large scale
resulting in a mutual respect and confidence, a foundation for further cooperation when our immediate task is finished.”

That was utter twaddle. The Soviet Union was happy for the U.S. Army to maintain its supply line and cooperated in the effort, but it was planning a different post-war relationship. Joseph Stalin was taking, holding and incorporating into the Soviet Union territory it had overrun or making plans to install communist governments in those central European countries that would eventually form the Iron Curtain Winston Churchill spoke of after the war.

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