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Failed anti-Hitler Alliance between France, Britain and the Soviets


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#1 Jenisch

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 05:35 PM

I know that a critical factor behind the failure of such Alliance was the rejection of the Poles to allow Soviet troops to cross their territory, fearing they would occupy it.

Why did the Poles feared this? I mean, Britain and France would be ready to help them. They and the Poles were already expanding and modernizing their armed forces, and Stalin would (in my understanding) probably not try to risk a war with the capitalist nations. With such Alliance defeating Hitler, Stalin probably would acquire part of Germany like historically, so why?

Edited by Jenisch, 09 February 2012 - 05:40 PM.


#2 Kai-Petri

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 07:04 PM

I guess you have to go back to the 1920´s and probably even further than that.

Polish-Soviet war:

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I also suggest checking the threads on Munich conference with search function.

You also say that Britain and France would be ready to help. How much was there help in 1939 to be honest?!
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#3 tomflorida

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 03:15 AM

Yes, probably further then Polish-Soviet. After 123 years of partion and even more then 123 years of foreign intervention, its no suprise Poland would not allow any of its close neighbors to 'pass" through. In fact most nations are not to friendly to the idea of allowing foreign troops to pass through.

Oh hold on a sec. "Why did the Poles fear this? I mean, Britain and France would be ready to help them." Oh, I get it, joke of the day.

#4 LJAd

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 06:22 AM

An alliance with the SU against Germany would be suicidal for Poland (as would be an alliance with Germany against the SU):it would change the statu quo,and only the statu quo would enable Poland to survive.
The only thing that could save Poland,was an alliance with France and Britain to DETER Hitler from attacking Poland .If he attacked,Poland would be on its own,because the alliance did not foresee a substantial military help by Britain and France .The reason is (although Polish nationalists will continue to deny this,still thinking that Poland was a great power)that the existence of Poland was irrelevant for Britain and France .

#5 TiredOldSoldier

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 06:51 AM

Poland alone had little chance of resisting on it's own against either Germany or the USSR and practically none against both as historically happened. Problem is Pilsuski's Poland historically did very little to be considered a "good neighbour", so any alliance with a bordering country would be opportunistic and it's western "allies" could do very little to actually help if deterrence failed. IMO (with the usuakl 20/20 hindsight) Polish leadrship was remarkably shortsighted, they should have seen what was comming and fought the Munich agreement as hard as they could instead of grabbing a piece of the cake.
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#6 Jenisch

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 03:30 PM

Oh hold on a sec. "Why did the Poles fear this? I mean, Britain and France would be ready to help them." Oh, I get it, joke of the day.


The negotiations were being conducted, with the French the most interested. The Anglo-French also had a plan to attack the Soviet Union, including bomb the Caucasus oilfields (Operation Pike) in case Stalin turned out an enemy. The French, British and Polish forces were reequiping, and as the time passed they would become more and more stronger. And please, don't put hindsight regarding the historical events here, because the Poles really waited for the Allied help historically.

Edited by Jenisch, 10 February 2012 - 03:37 PM.


#7 LJAd

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 04:56 PM

Poland alone had little chance of resisting on it's own against either Germany or the USSR and practically none against both as historically happened. Problem is Pilsuski's Poland historically did very little to be considered a "good neighbour", so any alliance with a bordering country would be opportunistic and it's western "allies" could do very little to actually help if deterrence failed. IMO (with the usuakl 20/20 hindsight) Polish leadrship was remarkably shortsighted, they should have seen what was comming and fought the Munich agreement as hard as they could instead of grabbing a piece of the cake.

no:the survival of Poland as an independant state was not depending on the willingness of Britain and France (1000 km far away,and no allies)to start WWII for the sake of Poland .I am still waiting for the proof that the British-French guarantee was essential for the Polish leadership.
The survival of Poland was depending on the fact that its 2 hostime neighbours were antagonistic to each other .The momant they were allying,Poland was lost .
If there was a war,and Germany was defeated (as in 1945),Poland still was lost,becoming the prey of the SU.Poland had no benefit at all to start a war with Germany,or to be involved in such a war.
Besides,the fact that the Sudeten would return to the Reich constituted no danger for Poland .

#8 tomflorida

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 01:35 AM

I'm not putting hindsight at all. When the Polish Soviet War started Poland asked Germany for weapons, and where denied. They ask Britain for weapons and the shipyeard Unions would not allow, and when shipment was finally sent, it was stuck somewhere, sorry forgot. When they asked the French, they response was, why is Poland starting a fight with peacefull Russia. Anyway, I know I am oversimplying a complicated answer. But the point is very simple, when did France or Britain come to the aid of poland. Now I mean real aid, not paper. I think Poland is still waiting.

#9 LJAd

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 06:06 AM

Of course,you never heard of general Weygand in 1920 in Poland ?
Generally :this is still the same Polish attitude :when Poland was in trouble,every one was obliged to come to the rescue. Why ? The world had no obligations to Poland .

#10 Kai-Petri

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 07:26 AM

Returning the Sudeten perhaps not a direct threat to Poland, but it meant that Germany now was having another political victory which naturally lead Hitler to believe the West was weak and he could do anything. It opened the gates to the Czech itself with the fortresses in German hands, and if the West had opposed the Sudeten situation, Halder et co would have made a coup to stop Hitler.¨Also the Sudeten area was highly industrialized, which meant Hitler was able to boost his military efforst.

Munich and Appeasement: 1938

Hitler after the Munich conference: "Our opponents are poor creatures. I saw them at Munich."
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#11 LJAd

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 08:07 AM

About the coup :that's what was claiming Halder after the war .But,since he served Hitler faithfully till he was fired in september 1942,I don't believe anything of it .

#12 Tamino

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 06:13 PM

The root of the »Polish problem« is similar to all those problems arising from the fall of Central and East European Empires. Ex-Great nations felt robbed for »their own territories« taken away from them by their former subordinate compatriots. In reality, all new nations originating from former Empires have gained just territories at which they were historically in overwhelming majority; all other territories were lost due to migrations of Great nations within their own Empires. The problem escalated when »Great nations« wanted »their« territories back, with or without their former second class compatriots.

Now, if Central European nations want to see the past impartially, we all must admit that only Britons have sincerely resisted from the beginning to territorial aspirations at the continent. Perhaps their opposition was not always resolute but their opposition can not be denied. Without efforts of Britons, Central Europe would have been torn apart, again, there is no shade of doubt about that. However, quite another question is what could have been attainable in reality.

However, deliberation came from the East and it was much better than prospect of life or death under Nazis. All I can say is: Thank you Russians. Thank you Britons.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


#13 Gebirgsjaeger

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 06:59 PM

However, deliberation came from the East and it was much better than prospect of life or death under Nazis. All I can say is: Thank you Russians. Thank you Britons.


Some people from eastern Countries which where living in that aera and time will see it different and had only to choose between Cholera and Plague!
Regards, Ulrich

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#14 Tamino

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 07:35 PM

Some people from eastern Countries which where living in that aera and time will see it different and had only to choose between Cholera and Plague!

It depends dear Ulrich. Others may see that like the difference between Cholera and flu. ;)

Even though communists were sometimes quite awkward, they have never jeopardized peoples lives. Just forget the Cold-War rethorics and ask anyone from East Europe. Some even still miss the good old times.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


#15 scipio

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 07:38 PM

only Britons have sincerely resisted from the beginning to territorial aspirations at the continent


But only after they (sorry the English - not Scots who were almost always allied to the French) were kicked out of France at the end of 100years war in 15th Century and found easier, more profitable prey in the New World and the East.


Chamberlain was in some sense was only trying to perpetuate this long held British policy of supporting the weaker party\ies to prevent any dominant power taking control of the Continent, whether this was Louis XIV, Napoleon, Philip of Spain, Stalin or Hitler.

The problem in 1939 was that there were two equally nasty, very powerful regimes, Germany and Russia equally capable of dominating the Continent.


For ideological reasons the British Government could never quite bring itself to ally with Stalin until it was too late.

The Soviet Foreign Minister Litvinov had been working hard to bring about a meaningful anti-Nazi Alliance but with his fall and replacement by Molotov in May 1939, Stalin had virtually given up on the Anglo-French.

By the time that Poland came into the picture it would have taken a lot of concrete proof to get him to ally himself to the British. One can only imagine his disgust when the British informed the Russians in the meeetings in August 1939 that they could contribute 2 Divisions to fight against Germany (the Russians thought this was a mis-translation and asked for it to be verified).
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#16 Tamino

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 08:15 PM

@scipio

Of course, Britons had their own interests in Europe but materialization of British interests was in favor of all European countries, including Germany and USSR. All we have to fear is dominance of one nation over others and I am sure Britons never wanted to dominate Europe, just to keep Europe properly balanced. It should be understood, however, that British Army had to march over the entire European continent in order to help Poles and at that time that was indeed difficult, but not impossible. We all know now the result and that was the maximum that could have been attainable, given the circumstances.

But what I have seen during my frequent visits to Poland, the outcome isn't that bad at all. I have seen substantial progress. Some things simply take time and patience.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


#17 Gebirgsjaeger

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 08:30 PM

It depends dear Ulrich. Others may see that like the difference between Cholera and flu. ;)

Even though communists were sometimes quite awkward, they have never jeopardized peoples lives. Just forget the Cold-War rethorics and ask anyone from East Europe. Some even still miss the good old times.


Yep, this is correct, Tamino! But no one will miss Stalins terror with more than 13 mio. killed people by his politic! Except the ones on the winners side
Regards, Ulrich

Horrido!

"We're surrounded. That simplifies our problem!" LtGen. Chesty Puller.

#18 Tamino

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 08:41 PM

Yep, this is correct, Tamino! ...

Maybe population of Germany isn't aware of that, but you have succeeded to build perhaps the best kind of socialism ever while "new European" countries try to develop the 19th century society with extreme class differentiation. In many aspects former society was more humane.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


#19 Gebirgsjaeger

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 08:50 PM

Yes again! But this will lead us to far away from the original topic.
Regards, Ulrich

Horrido!

"We're surrounded. That simplifies our problem!" LtGen. Chesty Puller.

#20 Tamino

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 09:06 PM

Yes again! But this will lead us to far away from the original topic.

Indeed Ulrich, so let's get back to the subject.
In my opinion Stalin had no illusions about the certainty of his future duel with Nazis, he has only failed to recognize the intention of immediate attack. At that time USSR were preparing for the future armed conflict and they have tried to postpone attack to some later, more appropriate time for Red Army. Therefore he was reluctant to do anything that could be interpreted as hostile move against Germany. Any alliance involving France and Britain would just jeopardize his intentions. In fact, he has overrated Hitlers capability of rational reasoning. IMHO.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


#21 LJAd

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 09:30 PM

But only after they (sorry the English - not Scots who were almost always allied to the French) were kicked out of France at the end of 100years war in 15th Century and found easier, more profitable prey in the New World and the East.


Chamberlain was in some sense was only trying to perpetuate this long held British policy of supporting the weaker party\ies to prevent any dominant power taking control of the Continent, whether this was Louis XIV, Napoleon, Philip of Spain, Stalin or Hitler.

The problem in 1939 was that there were two equally nasty, very powerful regimes, Germany and Russia equally capable of dominating the Continent.


For ideological reasons the British Government could never quite bring itself to ally with Stalin until it was too late.

The Soviet Foreign Minister Litvinov had been working hard to bring about a meaningful anti-Nazi Alliance but with his fall and replacement by Molotov in May 1939, Stalin had virtually given up on the Anglo-French.

By the time that Poland came into the picture it would have taken a lot of concrete proof to get him to ally himself to the British. One can only imagine his disgust when the British informed the Russians in the meeetings in August 1939 that they could contribute 2 Divisions to fight against Germany (the Russians thought this was a mis-translation and asked for it to be verified).

Well,that's ignoring the fact that Stalin never would join an alliance against Britain (why should he ?) and that Britain and France also did not want an alliance with Stalin (why should they ?)
Britain and France wanted the statu quo,and an alliance with the SU would endanger the statu quo,besides ,Stalin only would be usefull if Poland was defeated,and Germany had a common border with the SU .
And,for Stalin,Hitler only would be dangerous,if Poland was defeated(the common border),but,without the Molotow-Ribbentrop pact,an attack on Poland was impossible .
Litwinof had not been workig hard to constitute an anti-nazi alliance,he had been working hard to prevent a French-British-German alliance against the SU.
Since 1933,Hitlerwas parading as the defender of the western civilisation against the bolchevic danger,the reply of Stalin was to present the SU as a liberal democracy,defending peace against fascism .And,for this,Litwinof was the ideal man :he spoke French,was dressed as a western politician,and could do blahblah for hours about democracy,peace,the covenant,etc.Litvinof could tell clichés till the cows were dancing on the ice and give the impression that he believed them..He could be considered by the western politicians (experts in blahblah about democracy,peace,the covenant,etc)as one of us .No western politician would consider Molotov as one of us .

#22 tomflorida

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 02:00 AM

Of course,you never heard of general Weygand in 1920 in Poland ?
Generally :this is still the same Polish attitude :when Poland was in trouble,every one was obliged to come to the rescue. Why ? The world had no obligations to Poland .


No I dont believe that every one was obligated to come to rescue. But, do you not find the humor in "Why did the Poles fear this? I mean, Britain and France would be ready to help them".

#23 LJAd

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 10:50 AM

Sigh,as always,people are still adhering to this etnocentric POV=that everything was decided by decisions made at London and Paris,while the truth is that these countries were unable and unwilling to get involved in a quarrel between Poland and Germany .The importance of the guarantee from Britain and France was insignifiant .They were not ruling Europe.
The only country which could help Poland was the SU,but,as the SU did not consider that it was in its interest to help Poland,Poland was doomed .

Edited by LJAd, 12 February 2012 - 11:12 AM.


#24 scipio

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 11:42 AM

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The above is from a small booklet "Why we are at War with Germany" written in 1939 by Henderson, British Embassador to Germany, to explain to the British nation how the Government had tried every possible path to Peace but reluctantly had to face Germany in a new war.

You will note the reference to Litvinov. France, Russia and Czechoslovakia had agreed a defence pact. Russia wanted to bring Britain in to add serious weight to this Pact (watered down unfortunately at the last minute by Laval). Russia was ignored then at later at the Czech talks even thought it had a pact with Czechoslovakia.

Every action of the Soviet Government pointed to them seriously wanting to ring in Hitler. No one did or said anything without Stalin's approval. Litvinov was well accepted in the West and that is why Stalin used him.

Of course there was never any prospect of a British\French\Nazi crusade against Stalin. However you are right that Stalin's nightmare was that the West would sit on its hands and encourage Hitler to destroy The Soviet Union.

Naturally this would be one of Litvinov's objectives but this does not exclude constructing a cordon around Germany of Britain France Russia with additions from Czechoslovakia, Romania and Poland (less likely) etc. Even Italy at an earlier stage could have been considered. This would have suited Russia perfectly, at least in the short term, if it detered Hitler (or his Generals - remember he promised he would not wage war on two fronts).

Stalin showed himself to be the most flexible of all the leaders in WW2. Unfortunately the British Government (and population) let their ideaological qualms prevent them from joining a serious front against Hitler whilst there was still time.

#25 LJAd

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 05:54 PM

1)The Soviet treaty with Czechoslovakia only would apply if France would go to war for the Czechs
2) The only way for the SU to help the Czechs was by invading Poland/Romania,two countries who had an alliance with France ...against the SU
3)the following always is forgotten :the British/French/Soviet front against Germany only could be triggered,if there was a reason=if the Czechs were willing to resist to Hitler,and,there is no proof that the Czechs would resist to Hitler,if they were supported by Britain and France,only post war claims by the Czechs ,to put the fault on Britain and Frnce
4)Britain had no obligations at all to the Czechs
5)Why would Britain join an alliance against Germany ? Germany was no danger for Britain,it also was no danger for France




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