A most stinking creepy set of Jews

Most British diplomats and Foreign Office experts could not see the Soviets as fully European—it was customary to suggest that they displayed Oriental features, torn between extremes of humanity and cruelty. They presumably inclined toward tyranny, possessed a peasant mentality, were disorganized, and could work only in short bursts of frantic activity. “The Russian temperament,” wrote Sir Archibald Clark Kerr, the British ambassador in Moscow, “still finds sustained exertion distasteful.” Occasionally the treatment of the Soviets as inferior Slavs gave way to their castigation as Jews, resulting in a curious blend of Orientalism, anticommunism, and anti-Semitism. Alexander Cadogan, for example, offended by Soviet accusations that the British were involved in secret negotiations with Germany, noted in his diary in January 1944: “This is quite monstrous. We tell the Russians everything and play square with them. They are the most stinking creepy set of Jews I’ve ever come across.”

—Serhii Plokhy, Yalta, (London: Penguin, 2010), 63.

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