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On July 28, 1943, in one of his famous fireside chats, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt told his fellow citizens: “The world has never seen greater devotion, determination and self-sacrifice than have been displayed by the Russian people and their armies this country of ours should always be glad to be a good neighbor and a sincere friend in the world of the future.”

What has stymied this sincere wish of the 32nd president?

There is some validity to each of the possible explanations, making it all the more important to understand how these two completely different countries, at the most difficult moment in the history of humankind, ended up fighting side by side. One of the key drivers of this unusual alliance was a shared recognition of the scale of the evil that the world confronted in 1939.