It is often assumed that the revolutionary changes which occurred in the Balkans and East Central Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War simply resulted from the presence of powerful Soviet forces in these regions. Stalin probably did regard East Central Europe and much of the Balkans as a protective cordon or buffer zone between the Soviet Union and an increasingly hostile West. He may even consciously have held these regions hostage against the implicit danger that a ‘gung ho’ USA might be tempted to drop atomic bombs on Moscow, as it already had done on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Nevertheless, the realities were a great deal more complex than such perspectives would suggest. The Communist regimes were not established merely ‘at the point of the bayonet’, although Soviet military might did play a major part. There was also widespread local support for radical social and economic change, if not always for Communist parties as such. More generally, widespread perceptions and even admiration of the Soviet Union as the principal ‘liberating power’ in East Central Europe and in the eastern Balkans, as the chief victor over European fascism, and as the architect and builder of a ‘brave new world’, undoubtedly played important roles in the expansion of Communist power and Soviet infl uence in post-war East Central Europe and the Balkans – regions in which both democracy (of sorts) and fascism had been tried and found wanting during the 1920s and 1930s. It should also be emphasized that Soviet armed forces were not present when Communist parties seized and consolidated power in Czechoslovakia and in Albania (both of which felt that they had been somewhat ‘betrayed’ by the Western powers in 1938 and 1939, respectively) and that they provided only minor and very belated assistance to Tito’s Partisans in Yugoslavia. Moreover, there would probably have been an autonomous Communist revolution in Greece (as well as in Yugoslavia, Albania and Czechoslovakia) if Britain and the USA had not intervened militarily on the side of the not very popular Greek monarchists against the seemingly popular and successful Greek Communist movement. A more accurate summary would be that the social upheavals and the emergence of Communist-led regimes in East Central Europe and the Balkans during the second half of the 1940s and the widespread (but far from ubiquitous) presence of the Red Army were mutually reinforcing joint consequences of the Second World War.