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Title: British attempts to forge a political partnership with the Kremlin, 1942-3
Authors: Folly, MH
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Citation: Journal of Contemporary History, (2016)
Abstract: In February 1943, the British Foreign Office launched an initiative to open discussions with the Soviet Union on postwar aims, a subject which had been off-limits since the disputes over Soviet frontiers during the negotiation of the Anglo-Soviet Treaty in early 1942. Joseph Stalin’s response was to treat the approach seriously, and to request concrete proposals that would lead to a firm formal agreement. The British immediately pulled back, and no progress on political issues was attempted until later in the war. This paper analyses this rarely-discussed episode, focusing on how British indecisiveness, at a crucial stage of the war, and the lack of political will of Anthony Eden, led to confusion and mixed messages being sent to the Soviet government. Attempts to build a solid political component to the wartime alliance and to reach agreement on the key issues of a postwar European settlement prior to the end of the war were delayed not so much by the ideological gulf between the allies as their different cultures of diplomacy and the customary processes of their bureaucracies. Ultimately progress was made when each began to adopt elements of the approach of the other.
ISSN: 0022-0094
Appears in Collections:Dept of Politics, History and Law Research Papers

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