I was wondering if anybody could give me some information on the Soviet offers of an alliance against Hitler between themselves, the British & the French & the failed talks between the powers in the summer of 1939.
The Molotov/Ribbentrop is far more well known & adored by the right wing as an example of how evil the Soviet Union was.
I recently read William L. Shirer's "The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich". I was amazed at how many times he mentions the Soviet offers of an alliance.
Can anybody give me more information?
Here's part of the argument in a nutshell.
http://www.johndclare.net/RoadtoWWII8.htmWhy did Anglo-Soviet Talks Fail? [SCAB]
a. Chamberlain did not trust Stalin, who was a Communist and a dictator. In particular, he would not ever have allowed Russia to control Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
b. The Russians thought Britain wanted to trick them into war against Germany.
c. Poland did not trust that the Russians (who wanted to send troops into Poland), once in, would ever leave.
a. Britain could not send troops to fight in Poland, so if Stalin supported Britain, he would end up fighting a war in Poland on Britain’s behalf.
b. On the other hand, Hitler was promising him peace, half of Poland and a 'sphere of influence' over eastern Europe.
After Munich, Stalin was convinced that Britain would break its promise to Poland. He was convinced that Britain would leave Russia fighting Hitler alone.
a. At first, Lord Halifax refused Stalin’s offer of a meeting.
b. When the British sent an official, he could not make any decisions. Stalin got fed up with British delay.
This is an interesting article which outlines the supposed terms of the Soviet offer to Britain.
"This was the final chance to slay the wolf, even after [British Conservative prime minister Neville] Chamberlain and the French had given up Czechoslovakia to German aggression the previous year in the Munich Agreement," said Gen Sotskov, 75.
The Soviet offer - made by war minister Marshall Klementi Voroshilov and Red Army chief of general staff Boris Shaposhnikov - would have put up to 120 infantry divisions (each with some 19,000 troops), 16 cavalry divisions, 5,000 heavy artillery pieces, 9,500 tanks and up to 5,500 fighter aircraft and bombers on Germany's borders in the event of war in the west, declassified minutes of the meeting show.....
The Soviet attempt to secure an anti-Nazi alliance involving the British and the French is well known. But the extent to which Moscow was prepared to go has never before been revealed.
Simon Sebag Montefiore, best selling author of Young Stalin and Stalin: The Court of The Red Tsar, said it was apparent there were details in the declassified documents that were not known to western historians.
"The detail of Stalin's offer underlines what is known; that the British and French may have lost a colossal opportunity in 1939 to prevent the German aggression which unleashed the Second World War. It shows that Stalin may have been more serious than we realised in offering this alliance."
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