When Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941 it also threw the latter into a temporary alliance with Britain. The implication in this sentence that the alliance was accidental is intentional. Certainly no one would have confidently predicted it even a matter of weeks before the German attack. Anglo-Soviet relations since the Russian revolution of 1917 had never been good, let alone close. Britain had taken a leading part in the futile and misguided allied intervention on the side of the ‘Whites’ in the Russian civil war; diplomatic relations, opened in 1924, were broken off by the British Government in 1927 on the grounds of Russian interference in Britain’s domestic affairs; and although these relations were restored in 1929, the Soviet Union continued to be the object of suspicion and barely disguised hostility on the part of the right-wing Governments which ruled Britain in the 1930s. Russian attempts to build an anti-Fascist coalition from 1935 onwards were never taken seriously by these Governments, partly because the Red Army was deemed to be capable only of defensive operations — a sentiment heightened by the Stalinist purges of 1936–8 — and partly because it was feared that Russia’s Communist rulers were anxious to embroil Britain in a war for their own selfish purposes.
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Warner, G. (1996). From ‘Ally’ to Enemy: Britain’s Relations with the Soviet Union, 1941–8. In: Gori, F., Pons, S. (eds) The Soviet Union and Europe in the Cold War, 1943–53. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-25106-3_19
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