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


Results are only viewable after voting.
Nov 2015
1,538
Kyiv
#31
In the very interesting diaries of Chernyaev published recently I found a wonderful phrase of the situation with the Comintern from the diaries of Georg Dimitrov. The diary was classified in the Soviet Union. Dimitrov was a Bulgarian communist, a prominent anti-fascist and agent of the Comintern in Germany when Hitler came to power there. From 1934 Dimitrov lived in Moscow and headed the Comintern.



Chernyaev A.S. / Diaries 1972-1991 / Part I
http://www.fedy-diary.ru/html/032011/13032011-04a.html

Chernyaev Anatoly Sergeevich 1971-1986 Deputy Head of the International Department of the Central Committee of the CPSU, in 1986-1991 - Assistant of the General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee, Assistant of President of the USSR.

Chernyaev:

February 27, 1972 (Sunday)

I drove to the Central Committee. I read the diary of Dimitrov. In 1938, Stalin's tendency to erase the communist guise of the USSR’s policy was clearly visible:

- all sorts of Comintern meetings (plenums of the ECCI, secretariats and others) ordered to hold closed. They did not publish any directives
- they eliminated the international brigades in Spain;
- covered Dimitrov’s idea of an "international working conference" in defense of Czechoslovakia;
- forbade Torez to overthrow Blum;
- ordered the Spanish communists to quietly leave the government of the Popular Front ("no noise!"), etc.


But why? Then he (Stalin - Dir) was preparing for an alliance with Hitler, or was counting on an alliance with Britain and France ??
 
Last edited:

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,405
Sydney
#32
Blum was head of the popular front to which the communists belonged ,
this was part of the Litvinov collective security effort
to build a broad coalition against Hitler , including the old enemies the social democrats
the utter failure of the overture to the French and British government took a while to sink in
At Munich it became painfully obvious that the soviets were not treated seriously ,

Stalin dismissed Litvinov and installed Molotov a very close and old friend of his from the old pre-revolution days
Molotov has been called Stalin bulldog , the policy was clear , no more playing nice
 
May 2017
622
France
#34
In reality the french government who had accepted the german militarization of the Rhin,the german and italian interventions in Spain,the Anscluss,the treaty of Munich about Tchecolovaquia,was continually searching the assistance of England.If Great Britain had accepted the german invasion of Poland,France would have accepted on the same way.We can call that a permanent trahison.
 
Dec 2011
1,298
Belgium
#35
Sparky and Futurist,

coincidentally I started a thread about the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty on a small English language forum. I read for the first time (now more than 15 years ago) about the treaty and how clumsy the Allies had treated Stalin in these crucial weeks before September. Had they obliged the Polish Beck to let pass the Russians and also obliged Romenia, they had along Maisky in collaboration with Churchill and Eden, a real chance on a treaty before Ribbentrop could act, especially while Hitler didn't want in the beginning. But as I see it, the British conservative establishment didn't want nothing with those damned Communists. As they were also right-wing I suppose they preferred dictators like Mussolini and Hitler. And as they did in the Prague disaster the French followed again the British, because they had not the military power to act alone. Although Daladier was more pragmatic. And of course the French had also their right wing against the Communists.
For those who understand French or German I have a documentary from the Franco-German channel Arte, which has all the details of the event. And I checked both the French and the German link to the documentary and they still work...
Hitler-Stalin Pact.
"Since I first started in 2002 on the BBC board, I did research about that pact and over these 16 years I learned a lot about it. My interest was sparked for the first time by a small booklet in Dutch: The Nazi-Sovjet Pact, obviously written by a true Communist (in my opinion someone, who sticks to the original Marx thoughts). (I mentioned him several times on the BBC and can I suppose it still find back) There I learned about Poland not wanting to let the Red Army through their country, even under pressure of Britain and France. That was all in August 1939. Then the "slow boat" to Leningrad instead of a plane direct to Moscow of the British-French allies all in these crucial three weeks before the German invasion in Poland on first september. The British delegate even not having the right papers as accredited person or was it the French Doumenc? A real blame for Stalin.And in all that Ribbentrop was handling via a secret connection with Stalin, a Stalin distrusting the allies after the dishonest Czechoslovakian adventure, where the stupid Polish Beck was pacified with a piece of Czechian soil.
And after all those years I saw this afternoon a French documentary which is a complete résumé of all what I learned through the years. It is very well made and in my opinion better than the nowadays BBC stuff, which has the enerving custom, as there German counterparts on Arte, to include some played stories with nowadays persons (which cost a lot of money for nothing, or is it to please a not to intelligent viewers public?), which don't add anything to the history and destroy even in my opinion the narrative..."
As an introduction the wiki:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov%E2%80%93Ribbentrop_Pact
After reading the wiki I see now that the documentary differs greatly from the wiki. The wiki seemingly defending the actions of the allies...and also from research of myself..."

By the recent discovery of the Maisky diaries and the condensation in a book by Godoretsky there is a new light on the Allied-Soviet negociations.
Diary of Soviet ambassador to London rewrites history of World War II
"A superb PR man at a time when the concept hardly existed, Maisky did not shy away from aligning himself with opposition groups, backbenchers, newspaper editors, trade unionists, writers, artists and intellectuals. He colluded with the opposition of Churchill, Eden – Beaverbrook and Lloyd George – seeking to sway Chamberlain from appeasing Hitler towards an alliance with the Soviet Union."
And further on the same book:
Soviet-British alliance could have averted World War II, diaries of Russian ambassador who drank with Churchill reveal | Culture24

PS: I didn't know about this:
"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".
 
Dec 2011
1,298
Belgium
#36
Sparky and Futurist,

coincidentally I started a thread about the Molotov-Ribbentrop treaty on a small English language forum. I read for the first time (now more than 15 years ago) about the treaty and how clumsy the Allies had treated Stalin in these crucial weeks before September. Had they obliged the Polish Beck to let pass the Russians and also obliged Romenia, they had along Maisky in collaboration with Churchill and Eden, a real chance on a treaty before Ribbentrop could act, especially while Hitler didn't want in the beginning. But as I see it, the British conservative establishment didn't want nothing with those damned Communists. As they were also right-wing I suppose they preferred dictators like Mussolini and Hitler. And as they did in the Prague disaster the French followed again the British, because they had not the military power to act alone. Although Daladier was more pragmatic. And of course the French had also their right wing against the Communists.
For those who understand French or German I have a documentary from the Franco-German channel Arte, which has all the details of the event. And I checked both the French and the German link to the documentary and they still work...
Hitler-Stalin Pact.
"Since I first started in 2002 on the BBC board, I did research about that pact and over these 16 years I learned a lot about it. My interest was sparked for the first time by a small booklet in Dutch: The Nazi-Sovjet Pact, obviously written by a true Communist (in my opinion someone, who sticks to the original Marx thoughts). (I mentioned him several times on the BBC and can I suppose it still find back) There I learned about Poland not wanting to let the Red Army through their country, even under pressure of Britain and France. That was all in August 1939. Then the "slow boat" to Leningrad instead of a plane direct to Moscow of the British-French allies all in these crucial three weeks before the German invasion in Poland on first september. The British delegate even not having the right papers as accredited person or was it the French Doumenc? A real blame for Stalin.And in all that Ribbentrop was handling via a secret connection with Stalin, a Stalin distrusting the allies after the dishonest Czechoslovakian adventure, where the stupid Polish Beck was pacified with a piece of Czechian soil.
And after all those years I saw this afternoon a French documentary which is a complete résumé of all what I learned through the years. It is very well made and in my opinion better than the nowadays BBC stuff, which has the enerving custom, as there German counterparts on Arte, to include some played stories with nowadays persons (which cost a lot of money for nothing, or is it to please a not to intelligent viewers public?), which don't add anything to the history and destroy even in my opinion the narrative..."
As an introduction the wiki:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov%E2%80%93Ribbentrop_Pact
After reading the wiki I see now that the documentary differs greatly from the wiki. The wiki seemingly defending the actions of the allies...and also from research of myself..."

By the recent discovery of the Maisky diaries and the condensation in a book by Godoretsky there is a new light on the Allied-Soviet negociations.
Diary of Soviet ambassador to London rewrites history of World War II
"A superb PR man at a time when the concept hardly existed, Maisky did not shy away from aligning himself with opposition groups, backbenchers, newspaper editors, trade unionists, writers, artists and intellectuals. He colluded with the opposition of Churchill, Eden – Beaverbrook and Lloyd George – seeking to sway Chamberlain from appeasing Hitler towards an alliance with the Soviet Union."
And further on the same book:
Soviet-British alliance could have averted World War II, diaries of Russian ambassador who drank with Churchill reveal | Culture24

PS: I didn't know about this:
"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".
Further to this research:

"Had they obliged the Polish Beck to let pass the Russians and also obliged Romenia, they had along Maisky in collaboration with Churchill and Eden, a real chance on a treaty before Ribbentrop could act, especially while Hitler didn't want in the beginning. But as I see it, the British conservative establishment didn't want nothing with those damned Communists. As they were also right-wing I suppose they preferred dictators like Mussolini and Hitler. And as they did in the Prague disaster the French followed again the British, because they had not the military power to act alone. Although Daladier was more pragmatic. And of course the French had also their right wing against the Communists."

About the French minister of foreign affairs, who interfered with Hallifax:
Georges-Étienne Bonnet | French politician
Georges Bonnet - Wikipedia

And I found also a thesis about the decision making in the British cabinet leading to the Polish garantee and the later slow reaction on the Soviet avances on a three power Alliance.
Also a complete covering of the question by Anna M. Cienciala
Anna M. Cienciala - Wikipedia
From my thread:
Hitler-Stalin Pact.

Kind regards, Paul.
 
Likes: Futurist
Dec 2011
1,298
Belgium
#37
Further to this research:

"Had they obliged the Polish Beck to let pass the Russians and also obliged Romenia, they had along Maisky in collaboration with Churchill and Eden, a real chance on a treaty before Ribbentrop could act, especially while Hitler didn't want in the beginning. But as I see it, the British conservative establishment didn't want nothing with those damned Communists. As they were also right-wing I suppose they preferred dictators like Mussolini and Hitler. And as they did in the Prague disaster the French followed again the British, because they had not the military power to act alone. Although Daladier was more pragmatic. And of course the French had also their right wing against the Communists."

About the French minister of foreign affairs, who interfered with Hallifax:
Georges-Étienne Bonnet | French politician
Georges Bonnet - Wikipedia

And I found also a thesis about the decision making in the British cabinet leading to the Polish garantee and the later slow reaction on the Soviet avances on a three power Alliance.
Also a complete covering of the question by Anna M. Cienciala
Anna M. Cienciala - Wikipedia
From my thread:
Hitler-Stalin Pact.

Kind regards, Paul.
As I now read in three different thesisses, the key event was the Polish guarantee by the British government in March 1939 ignoring the Soviet proposal for a tripple Alliance. But the reality of the anti-appeasers front against those, who didn't want a British-French-Soviet Alliance was more complex than I mentioned in my above rather unelaborated way.
I will try to make a coherent résumé of all what I learned in the now already four thesis books that I read till now, proving that there was perhaps a slim possibility to avoid the Hitler-Stalin pact, both overhere and in my thread
Hitler-Stalin Pact.

Kind regards, Paul.
 
Likes: Futurist
May 2017
622
France
#38
In reality,Daladier,who was not a specialist of strategy, just sergeant in the Legion in 14-18,was sure that the war was for the next year.When after Munich,his plane arrived at the airport of Le Bourget,he was received like a hero and acclamed by a big crowd of people.When he saw the people shouting,he said "bande cons,ils ne se rendent pas compte que l on marche droit a la guerre".Chamberlain prefered speaking about his papers….
 
Likes: Futurist
Jul 2012
730
Australia
#39
Thanks PaulRyckier, interesting reading of the Diplomatic process at that time. A few points come out that we should keep in mind whenever we consider this period.

1. The takeover of Czechoslovakia shook the British from their appeasement mode, but that did not put them on a war mode. Rather, the thinking was to take action that would discourage the Germans from considerations of further expansion. At this stage it was to work with countries at risk - so the offers to Poland, Romania, Greece and Turkey, with only Poland accepting a full guarantee.

Interesting that Chamberlain was happy to accept the Polish and Romanian view that allowing Soviet troops through their countries ran the high risk of them staying.

2. Emerging information that the Germans were serious about invading Poland (end of March) pushed the British to sharing their information with the Soviets and considering their proposal for an alliance - that was rejected mainly because it was too strong an act for the "Peace Front" to discourage Hitler the British favoured at that time.

3. The change of Soviet Foreign Minister from Litvinov (generally pro-West) to Molotov (generally pro-German) raised the possibility of a Soviet German pact and increasing the likelihood of war, encouraged the British to consider a tripartite alliance with the Soviets favourably, to restrain Germany and prevent a pact between them (latter part of May).

From these points its clear that the British continued to hope for a no war scenario as they were forced to respond to events that did eventuate in war.

By the time the British accepted they needed to explore the possibility of an alliance with the Soviets, it was too late.

The Soviets became suspicious of the West's motives after being excluded from the Munich talks and the readiness the West capitulated to Hitler over Sudetenland - Czechoslovakia being an ally of the Soviet Union at the time. The takeover of Czechoslovakia led the West to a response that excluded the Soviet Union and their interests. When the soviets did offer the West something concrete in April 1939, for which the British were not ready to consider seriously, the rejection could easily be interpreted by Stalin as another factor pointing to the West ultimately favouring German interests over Soviet concerns.

So it is hard to answer the the question should the West have done more to develop an alliance with the Soviet Union. The last chance they had was to accept the tripartite alliance proposed by Mayskiy the Soviet Ambassador to London. By May 1939 Stalin had probably lost all confidence and trust in the West doing something constructive about the rising German threat.

The real problem in 1939 was misreading Hitler's intentions - and that was not just a problem in 1939. Its more a case of the West in wanting to avoid a war regardless of the unfolding reality , resulted in a clouding of its judgement of events and poor responses that eventually antagonised a party that may have helped to contain Germany. But the Soviet Union was an unknown quantity, and as Churchill quipped years later, it was a "riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma". How do yo deal with that?
 
Likes: Futurist

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,534
Stockport Cheshire UK
#40
Further to this research:

"Had they obliged the Polish Beck to let pass the Russians and also obliged Romenia, they had along Maisky in collaboration with Churchill and Eden, a real chance on a treaty before Ribbentrop could act,
Churchill and Eden (from Feb 38) were mere backbenchers in the House Of Commons, and as such they had no authority or responsibility for British foreign policy in this period.
 

Similar History Discussions