Should Britain and France have tried harder to create an alliance with the USSR in 1939?

Should Britain and France have tried harder to create an alliance with the USSR in 1939?

  • Yes

  • No


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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,749
SoCal
#1
With hindsight, should Britain and France have tried harder to create an alliance with the USSR in 1939?

Anyway, I voted Yes. While Britain and France might have feared the consequences of the Soviet military advancing into Central Europe, this ultimately ended up happening anyway, but with a lot more Soviet and Jewish deaths than would have been the case had Britain and France allied with the Soviet Union back in 1939. Also, with the USSR being in the war as early as 1939, the odds of France ever falling probably go down--perhaps way down. In addition, while the Americans might not be happy with such an alliance, Britain and France can tell the Americans that they were left with no choice as a result of US isolationism.

With the Soviet Union being neutral, Britain and France would have had to take much more casualties to defeat the Germans in the event of a long war since there wouldn't be an Eastern Front to put pressure on the Germans. Indeed, it is worth noting that there was a risk of a long war even if anti-Nazis in the German military would have overthrown Hitler and the Nazis sometime after war would have broken out due to the fact that even anti-Nazis in the German military and elsewhere don't appear to have been particularly eager or willing to return Germany to its August 1939 borders. There would have been a possibility of anti-Nazis overthrowing Hitler and the Nazis before the war would have broken out had an Anglo-French-Soviet alliance been created and announced before the war, though; in such a case, war would have likely been avoided.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on this?
 
May 2017
700
France
#2
For the governments of England and France,Staline was the worse enemy.So it was a good politic to give to Hitler everything he wanted, in the purpose to make him the strongest man of center Europe.If a war had explosed between Hitler and Staline,France and UK would have done nothing for the one or the other,because the strategies of dictators in war or peace,don t enter in the projects of the democracies.If Staline had attacked France and UK,Hitler could have been a good ally,and if Hitler had attacked France and UK, Staline could have been a good ally.But the problem is that Hitler really wanted to attack first France and UK,and that Staline prefered a large anti fascist front.So our diplomacies have been oriented against Stalin,who represented no danger,and not against Hitler who prepared our defeat.More intelligent than us,Hitler had understood our intentions.Chamberlain and Daladier were under a normal level in international politics,because they prepared themselves to play the international referees,and they were in reality the future loosers.
 
Likes: Frank81

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,749
SoCal
#3
For the governments of England and France,Staline was the worse enemy.So it was a good politic to give to Hitler everything he wanted, in the purpose to make him the strongest man of center Europe.If a war had explosed between Hitler and Staline,France and UK would have done nothing for the one or the other,because the strategies of dictators in war or peace,don t enter in the projects of the democracies.If Staline had attacked France and UK,Hitler could have been a good ally,and if Hitler had attacked France and UK, Staline could have been a good ally.But the problem is that Hitler really wanted to attack first France and UK,and that Staline prefered a large anti fascist front.So our diplomacies have been oriented against Stalin,who represented no danger,and not against Hitler who prepared our defeat.More intelligent than us,Hitler had understood our intentions.Chamberlain and Daladier were under a normal level in international politics,because they prepared themselves to play the international referees,and they were in reality the future loosers.
AFAIK, though, Hitler's main aim was expansion to the East. Had Britain and France not stood in his way, he would have been unlikely to declare war on them (though if an opportunity would have arisen--such as in Spain--he could have supported authoritarian forces in Britain and/or France and tried to help them seize power there).

As for the Soviets, they had no common border with Britain and France and thus were not a significant threat to them.

BTW, if Britain and France wanted a Nazi-Soviet war, they could have avoided guaranteeing Poland and then going to war on Poland's behalf if Hitler would have invaded anyway. This wouldn't have necessarily been moral, but it could have theoretically been done. Also, it was ultimately the fall of France that led to a huge Nazi-Soviet war; without the fall of France, Britain and France could have bled themselves dry in their fight against Germany while the Soviet Union would have remained neutral and looked with joy at the Western Powers tearing themselves apart.
 
Jul 2018
496
Hong Kong
#4
With hindsight, yes. But Britain and France really couldn’t foresee the Soviet-German co-operation, which was surprisingly unusual in common sense (from the contemporary perspective). Such co-operation severely weakened their position for putting Germany’s expansion under control.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,749
SoCal
#5
With hindsight, yes. But Britain and France really couldn’t foresee the Soviet-German co-operation, which was surprisingly unusual in common sense (from the contemporary perspective). Such co-operation severely weakened their position for putting Germany’s expansion under control.
Britain and France should have been aware that politics can make for strange bedfellows, though. I mean, republican France allied with absolutist Tsarist Russia in the pre-WWI years.

Plus, even without the M-R Pact, a neutral USSR would have been a big problem for Britain and France since it would have ensured that they would have had to do more of the bleeding in the fight against Germany.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,609
Stockport Cheshire UK
#6
While the question is a no brainer, they should have tried harder, the sad truth is they still would have been unable to have reached an agreement that the Eastern European nations under direct threat from Germany would have found acceptable.
The problem is that Poland and the others would not have accepted a treaty that allowed free passage for Soviet armies through their territories, because they feared them every bit as much as the Germans.
There is also the problem that France and Britain had little to offer the Soviets in return, while the Germans were able to bribe the Soviets with the return of their territory lost in the post war battles after WW1 merely for looking the other way when Germany invaded Poland.
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,850
Sydney
#7
The terms of the alliance were not very appealing to the Soviets

France would sit on the Maginot line while Britain would rule the waves and enforce a blocus ,
the soviets would have to fight Germany while its allied would cheer they from a distance .

after the military occupation of Prague in mid March 1939 , some concern emerged that an understanding with the soviet would be needful
by May disctutions and contacts were started ,by mid June the negotiations started ,
the Franco\British military commission headed by Admiral Drax took its sweet time to go to see them , by ship ,
the formal military meeting started in mid August in Leningrad

it became pretty clear that the Western allies would be passive
and that the commission was not abilited to sign a treaty or even to write it's text

Chamberlain main reservation was the virginal neutrality of the Baltic states , run by pro-Nazi military juntas
since he had acted as the gravedigger of Prague
after all the slights they had suffered , in particular by being excluded from Munich when they gave full support to Czechoslovakia
Molotov and Stalin concluded that this was a sick joke .

an overture was made to a German commercial delegation then in Moscow ,
Ribbentrop was on the plane within days , pen in hand
 
Sep 2012
3,680
Bulgaria
#8
1939 was two decades after the allied intervention in their civil war. WWI allied forces fought the reds on their soil so the soviets acquired a lasting memory of these two countries leading a crusade to unseat them from power.
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,749
SoCal
#9
While the question is a no brainer, they should have tried harder, the sad truth is they still would have been unable to have reached an agreement that the Eastern European nations under direct threat from Germany would have found acceptable.
Could Britain, France, and the USSR have concluded an alliance without the approval of the Eastern European countries, though? I mean, sure, the Eastern European countries could loudly scream that they don't want any Soviet troops on their territory, but if they get invaded, the USSR could militarily intervene anyway without these countries' permission.

The problem is that Poland and the others would not have accepted a treaty that allowed free passage for Soviet armies through their territories, because they feared them every bit as much as the Germans.
So, why not conclude such a treaty without the permission of countries such as Poland? After all, that way, at least Britain and France would have had the USSR as an ally if war would have broken out.

There is also the problem that France and Britain had little to offer the Soviets in return, while the Germans were able to bribe the Soviets with the return of their territory lost in the post war battles after WW1 merely for looking the other way when Germany invaded Poland.
Technically speaking, though, Britain and France could tell the USSR that they are going to turn a blind eye to Soviet territorial expansion as long as this expansion was "reasonable."
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
15,749
SoCal
#10
The terms of the alliance were not very appealing to the Soviets

France would sit on the Maginot line while Britain would rule the waves and enforce a blocus ,
the soviets would have to fight Germany while its allied would cheer they from a distance .
Would France actually sit on the Maginot Line if the Soviets lifted a large part of the burden of fighting Germany off of their shoulders, though?

after the military occupation of Prague in mid March 1939 , some concern emerged that an understanding with the soviet would be needful
by May disctutions and contacts were started ,by mid June the negotiations started ,
the Franco\British military commission headed by Admiral Drax took its sweet time to go to see them , by ship ,
the formal military meeting started in mid August in Leningrad

it became pretty clear that the Western allies would be passive
and that the commission was not abilited to sign a treaty or even to write it's text

Chamberlain main reservation was the virginal neutrality of the Baltic states , run by pro-Nazi military juntas
since he had acted as the gravedigger of Prague
after all the slights they had suffered , in particular by being excluded from Munich when they gave full support to Czechoslovakia
Molotov and Stalin concluded that this was a sick joke .
So, Chamberlain wanted the USSR to promise that they are not going to invade the Baltic countries?

an overture was made to a German commercial delegation then in Moscow ,
Ribbentrop was on the plane within days , pen in hand
Yep. :(
 

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