D. Watson - Molotov, The Making of the Grand Alliance and the Second Front 1939-1942 (4)

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D. Watson - Molotov, The Making of the Grand Alliance and the Second Front 1939-1942 (4)
  University of Glasgow Molotov, the Making of the Grand Alliance and the Second Front 1939-1942Author(s): Derek WatsonReviewed work(s):Source: Europe-Asia Studies, Vol. 54, No. 1 (Jan., 2002), pp. 51-85Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/826217 . Accessed: 06/03/2013 04:01 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at  . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp  . JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.  . Taylor & Francis, Ltd.  and University of Glasgow  are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve andextend access to  Europe-Asia Studies. http://www.jstor.org This content downloaded on Wed, 6 Mar 2013 04:01:31 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions  Carfax ublishing EUROPE-ASIA STUDIES, Taylor&Francis roup Vol. 54, No. 1, 2002, 51-85 Molotov, the Making of the Grand Alliance and the Second Front 1939-1942 DEREK WATSON* RELATIONS ETWEEN RITAIN, he USA and the USSR were better during the Great Patriotic War than at any other time, and the agreement hat Molotov negotiated with Britain during his visit in 1942 was the foundation for cooperation during the war years. It was clearly in the interests of both sides to work together to strengthen he coalition to defeat Hitler, although there was a rather unfortunate rehistory. Molotov had been the chief Soviet negotiator in the failed Triple Alliance negotiations of 1939,' and in the infamous Nazi-Soviet pact. On the Soviet side policy was founded on ideology; there was suspicion of the great capitalist powers, and the legacy of appeasement. Diplomatic and political developments between September 1939 and May 1942, which formed the background to the talks, also greatly complicated Molotov's task in the negotiations, as did changes in Soviet priorities received in instructions from Stalin. The Grand Alliance negotiations, which provide a comment on the diplomatic methods of Churchill, Eden, and Roosevelt and his advisers, as well as those of Molotov, are significant, not only because they were the foundation of the wartime alliance but also because the main problems which were to dog relations during the war were evident during the talks: the question of a Second Front;2 he way in which the alliance should be strengthened and developed; the nature of the peace treaties to be negotiated at the end of the war, including the recognition of Soviet frontiers incorporating heir territorial ains during the 1939-41 period; and the organisation of international cooperation to maintain peace at the end of the war. These questions demonstrated he different priorities of the two sides and one may question whether the Grand Alliance was the real focal point of the negotiations. New archive evidence, now available, highlights these issues, providing additional insights and detail that allows a more nuanced understanding f the negotiations. This material ncludes the papers of Anthony Eden, the British Foreign secretary, unpub- lished documents from the Russian Foreign Ministry archive, and recently published correspondence between Stalin and Molotov during the negotiations, from the Presidential Archive. These documents make it possible to write a revised account of the negotiations using both Western and Soviet archive material, and highlight questions about the formulation of Soviet foreign policy, the extent to which it was made by Stalin alone, and Molotov's role in foreign policy making. Khrushchev recalled that Molotov ISSN 0966-8136 print; ISSN 1465-3427 online/02/010051-35 ? 2002 University of Glasgow DOI: 10.1080/09668130120098241 This content downloaded on Wed, 6 Mar 2013 04:01:31 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions  DEREK WATSON was the only person in the Politburo who opposed Stalin on this or that question for a second time ... There was not a conflict, but ... comments and a certain manifestation of stubbornness.3 Gromyko and Zhukov were more specific: Gromyko recalled that Stalin 'left Molotov responsible for dealing with a number of issues involving other countries', and that 'Molotov exercised a considerable degree of influence on Stalin'.4 Zhukov claimed that at times it reached the point, that Stalin raised his voice and lost his temper, but Molotov, smiling, arose from his seat and defended his point of view ... Molotov was not only a very determined and stubborn man, who was difficult to move from a stance if he really occupied any kind of position ... At that time he exercised a serious influence on Stalin, in particular on questions of foreign policy, in which Stalin always, up to the war considered him competent.5 Anglo-Soviet relations September 1939-May 1942 Before the German attack on the USSR With the failure of the Triple Alliance negotiations n August 1939, the signature of the Nazi-Soviet pact, and the confrontation between Sir William Seeds, the British ambassador, nd Molotov which followed,6 Anglo-Soviet relations had become rather frigid. This continued with the expulsion of the USSR from the League of Nations in December 1939 following the attack on Finland, when pressure n Britain for severing diplomatic relations grew, Seeds leaving Moscow on 2 January 1940. In his final interview with Molotov, Seeds, who perhaps unwisely carped about Molotov's treatment of Britain in the Triple Alliance negotiations, stated that he regretted the hostile attitude of the USSR as displayed in speeches and the Soviet press. He asked for a message to the British Foreign Secretary to help reduce tension. In reply, Molotov declared that the Soviet government bore no enmity to Great Britain 'but was convinced by acts all over the world that His Majesty's government was unfriendly to Russia'.7 On Seeds's return to Britain he was said to be on holiday, but there was considerable speculation in the British press that this was a formal severance of diplomatic relations. In Moscow, Soviet leaders were aware that Britain was sending military supplies to Finland, and had plans to intervene in the Finnish war.8 In early February 1940 Sir Stafford Cripps, who was on a fact-finding tour of India and China, following a conversation with the Soviet ambassador o China, offered to visit Moscow if 'one of those in authority' wished to discuss Anglo-Soviet relations with him. Cripps, who believed that the Soviet pact with Germany was under strain, and had already tried to initiate a trade agreement and represent the views of the USSR to the British government, found his offer accepted.9 He met Molotov, who maintained hat the attack on Finland was the result of the location of Leningrad and the naval position in the Baltic. Cripps felt that Molotov was 'anxious to cultivate better relations with Great Britain', but found him non-committal. Although he said that the USSR was prepared o make a trade or political agreement with Britain, he 'indicated very clearly that any long delay might lead Russia to commit herself 52 This content downloaded on Wed, 6 Mar 2013 04:01:31 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions  MOLOTOV, THE GRAND ALLIANCE AND THE SECOND FRONT 53 elsewhere'. When M. Tikhomirnov, one of Molotov's subordinates, became aware that Cripps was not due back in London until April, he had stated that this was 'too long to wait'.'0 Discounting the usefulness of Cripps as an intermediary with the British government, Molotov now attempted o thwart British plans to intervene n the Finnish war by having I. Maisky, the Soviet Ambassador o Britain, propose to R.A. Butler, the Under-Secretary or Foreign Affairs, that Britain should act as a mediator between the USSR and Finland, an offer which was declined. Molotov's speech to the Supreme Soviet in late March was very hostile to Britain.12 The next major contact between the two powers occurred immediately after Churchill's appointment as Prime Minister in May 1940, when Cripps was sent to Moscow 'to create better relations', basically on a trade mission, but with authority for his talks to 'flow over' into political matters. On Soviet insistence, Cripps was given ambassadorial status (less likely to antagonise the Germans than sending a special envoy), Molotov arguing that, in the light of the 1939 talks, it was not worth sending somebody only empowered to carry out exploratory negotiations. As Gorodetsky has commented, 'the Russians had gained the unprecedented chievement of ... forcing the British to return an ambassador o Moscow'. In the light of Soviet suspicions of English socialists, however, it is less likely that they secured 'the appointment of their own candidate'.'3 At two meetings, on 14 and 27 June, Cripps tried to concentrate on political matters and judged that Molotov, with the grave situation n Europe, was receptive to the idea of more cooperation.14 Following the fall of France, an event which caused great gloom among the Soviet leadership15 s well as in Britain, Churchill personally signed a letter to Stalin on 26 June, seeking an improvement n Anglo-Soviet relations; the letter, despite Churchill's claims that he was the author, was drafted in the Foreign Office.16 Cripps handed the letter to Stalin with Molotov present, on 1 July, and a long but inconclusive discussion ensued. Stalin stated that before 1939 the USSR, like Germany, wanted to change the old equilibrium, whereas Britain and France wished to restore it. If Churchill still wished to do that, he could not agree with him and did not think it possible.17 The 1 July meeting was followed by a period when Molotov refused to see Cripps, referring him to A. Mikoyan, at first because his approach was on trade matters, and later because Mikoyan was a deputy chairman of Sovnarkom, as well as Commissar for Foreign Trade.18 Molotov eventually saw Cripps on 7 August, at an interview described by Cripps as 'a rather negative one', Molotov explaining that the USSR 'had failed to obtain in Britain the political, economic, and strategic benefits which she gained from Germany'.19 upplementary meetings followed on 24 August and 4 October, but Cripps was now referred o deputy commissar A. Ya. Vyshinsky20-per- haps not surprising as the Soviet leadership would not have wished to do anything to disturb relations with Germany at the time of Molotov's visit to Berlin. This was being planned from 17 October, with Molotov leaving for Berlin on 11 November. Cripps was clearly rattled when he found out about the visit,21 writing to the Foreign Office: Vyshinsky's previous assurance o me that Molotov's refusal to receive me had no political significance was now disproved conclusively by his Berlin visit. Molotov's treatment of This content downloaded on Wed, 6 Mar 2013 04:01:31 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
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