The Second World War is called a war of ideologies and morals, unlike the First World War which is called a war of attrition. It brought many nations together to fight against the evil and world-domination seeking Axis powers led by the Germans. Many of these countries had come together to fight against the Axis of evil in the First World War, with the main powers of Britain, France, and the United States joining the Allied forces. One country that had been a key component of the Allied victory in the First World War was Russia, known as the Soviet Union (USSR) during the Second World War. At the beginning of the Second World War the Soviet Union was in a trade agreement and was sided with the German army and assisted in fighting the Allied forces, but on June 22, 1941, the German army put into Operation Barbarossa and invaded the Soviet Union. This led to the Soviets joining the Allied forces in the fight against the Axis powers and completely changed the layout and theater of the war, which came at great cost to the Soviet civilians and military personnel. Although the Soviets war effort in the Allied victory is undeniable, the reaction and opinion of the British public and politicians was far less certain. Prior to the Second World War the Soviet Union had been the global centre for the rise of Communism and the views of the nation varied from admiration to the deepest abhorrence. So when the news of the German invasion of the Soviet Union reached the British people there was a lot of confusion on how to approach the situation. On one hand this powerful nation which could be absolutely pivotal in defeating the German army, and on the other this Communist run regime that the British people had been told to detest for years prior to the war. The leaders of Britain knew the importance of having the Soviets as Allies so they set out to persuade the British people that although the Soviets are communist, this is a war that surpasses that and are going to support the Soviets in fighting the Axis of evil. Through viewing the records of the British House of Commons, the Times Newspaper, Winston Churchill’s speeches, and other media used in Britain during the war, we can see just how, if at all, the view of the public and politicians changed from before and after Operation Barbarossa.
To begin the analyses of the change in perception of the Soviet Union by the British we first need to have some background on the relationship leading up to the Second World War. Even before the end of the First World War relations between the two nations were deteriorating because in 1918 the Russians withdrew from the war due to many revolutions that happened within the nation’s borders. This left the Allied forces to face a German onslaught in France at the end of the war, and while the Bolsheviks took control in Russia to form the Soviet Union, the six years that followed the end of the war, talks between the two countries ceased. Talks between the two nations resumed again during the early 1920’s, but accusations of Soviet espionage and corruption once again halted talks. Talks remained elusive until the beginning of the Second World War, as the Soviet Union joined the League of Nations in 1934 and made a treaty with France and took a stance that was more supportive of continuing peace and the status quo in Europe. From 1936 to 1938 the Soviet Union went through what was known as the Great Purge, which was led by Joseph Stalin. The Great Purge was a series of political repression and cases of murder, treachery, torture, sabotage, unlawful arrests and monitoring, etc to cleanse the Communist Party and bring sweeping political power for Joseph Stalin and his party. This greatly affected the view of almost every major European power of the Soviets, and this was evident by the exclusion of the Soviet Union to the Munich conference regarding Czechoslovakia.
In 1939, as the prospect of war grew larger and larger, Britain attempted to reconnect...
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