AuthorZouev, He Georgy


I am writing to you on behalf of maybe the most attentive readers of your journal who could not pass by the article (vol 44, no 6) concerning the very important issue--the causes of the Second World War, which cost Russia and other republics of the former Soviet Union more than 27 million lives. That is why I would like to remind about some relevant facts that would make the whole picture not so biased as it was painted in the above-mentioned article.

In the 1930s the Soviet Union was clearly anti-fascist and therefore anti-German. Its relations with Germany started changing gradually only after the Munich Agreement, with Berlin taking the initiative, initially in the form of sounding the Soviet position. However, the Soviet leaders, focused on forming a coalition with Great Britain and France, were wary and reluctant to meet the German proposals.

As acknowledged by prominent--even Western--historians, until mid-August 1939, right up to the failure of trilateral negotiations, Stalin was aiming to create an anti-Hitler coalition comprising the Soviet Union, France and Britain. In the Soviet Union, they were well aware that the Third Reich's foreign policy concept was directly connected and merged with Nazi ravings about 'living space' not somewhere in Africa, but in the east, as Hitler said, on Slavic lands. Therefore, the Nazi regime was the main enemy of the Soviet Union. Before the annexation of Czechoslovakia, where Poland did not refuse to take a quite considerable part of its territory, the Soviet Union had several times offered its military assistance but Poland categorically refused to allow Soviet troops passage through Polish territory.

Let us have a close look at the Anglo-French-Soviet negotiations. On 18 March 1939 the British government asked the Soviet Union and a number of other countries about their position in the event of a German attack on Poland. In its turn, Moscow suggested convening an international conference including Eastern European countries to discuss possible protection measures. Then London suggested signing a joint declaration, but Poland refused to do that! And how could one sign a declaration on protection of Poland without Poland itself?

The key point is that on 31 March 1939, the British government provided Poland with unilateral guarantees of independence. On 17 April Moscow offered London and Paris to conclude a tripartite agreement on mutual assistance. But the position of the Polish government and the governments of the Baltic states still remained the stumbling block in the negotiations. The Soviet Union had no common border with Germany. How could it start a war with Hitler if both Poland...

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