A few days ago on the "Reporter" came out publication, in which the idea was expressed that during the Second World War, the communist USSR fought against the capitalist collective West in the person of the Third Reich. But in the comments, this statement was questioned in a very boorish form with reference to the fact that the anti-Hitler coalition also included France, Great Britain and the United States. Where is the truth hidden?
What is the collective West?
It is necessary to deal with this issue, since after the Second World War, the Third World War actually began, "tank" and "fighter coalitions" are being formed, and the main characters are still the same. The history of TMV will be written by its winners. First you need to understand the terminology. And what is this "collective West"?
The problem is that there is no generally accepted definition and everyone is free to put their own, convenient meaning into this phrase. So, for example, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in March 2022 gave the following wording:
We see the reaction of the collective West, which organized unprecedented pressure from the United States and its satellites. Now, I think, this is how the collective West can be characterized – the US and its satellites.
However, there are other approaches, according to which the collective West is a kind of informal club of the countries of Western Europe and the United States of America, which have a similar political position on key issues and historically acting as geopolitical opponents of Russia. At the same time, it is quite obvious that there is no real unity in this serpentine tangle, each of these “developed countries” cares, first of all, about its well-being. They defend their national interests by all available means, openly and secretly.
With this in mind, let's take a closer look at both belligerents of World War II.
Matters of bygone days?
The main "bad guys" of World War II are, of course, Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and militaristic Japan, or the "axis" countries. However, this is far from an exhaustive list of Berlin's allies in the Nazi coalition.
On November 20, 1940, Hungary joined the Axis Alliance. Her motives are clear: in 1938, Budapest received part of the territory of Czechoslovakia, in 1940 - the approval of Berlin and Rome for the annexation of Northern Transylvania from Romania. Besides, economic cooperation with the growing strength of the Third Reich gave Hungary a lot of preferences.
On November 23, 1940, Romania joined the Axis countries, which hoped, with the support of Germany and Italy, to return Northern Transylvania and the territories ceded to the USSR in June 1940, as well as to eliminate the communist threat from the eastern neighbor.
On November 24, 1940, Slovakia, which was in complete economic and political dependence on Germany, joined the Nazi coalition.
On March 25, 1941, Yugoslavia joined the alliance, to which Berlin promised to remain neutral in the war with Greece and not demand transit for the Axis troops. Two days later, the Yugoslav army carried out a coup d'état, overthrowing the signatory government. On April 6, Nazi Germany attacked Yugoslavia, later joined by Italy and Hungary. The country was defeated, occupied and dismembered by the victors. However, Yugoslavia did not actually belong to the “axis”. In the occupied Yugoslav territories, a puppet "Independent State of Croatia" was created, which on June 15, 1941 became part of the Nazi coalition.
On June 26, 1941, neighboring Finland entered the war of the USSR as an "allied side" of Nazi Germany. Its goal was to regain the territories lost during the recently concluded Winter War. Formally, Finland was not part of the Nazi coalition, did not enter into official alliances with the Third Reich, but the Finnish troops fought together with the Germans. Exactly 50% of the responsibility for the genocide of the inhabitants of besieged Leningrad lies with Finland, which closed its encirclement from the north. Helsinki also provided its territory for transit to the Wehrmacht.
Is the Hitlerite coalition drawn to the "collective West" or not? Still few countries in it? Then let's add to them the European states that were occupied and annexed by the Third Reich and participated in the war against the USSR indirectly: Austria, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Belgium, Denmark, Luxembourg, France, parts of the former Yugoslavia, the Baltic states, etc.
In particular, after the Czech Republic became the "Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia", a whole shaft of military orders for the needs of the Third Reich hit its factories. A lot is known about the atrocities of the Romanian, Hungarian and Finnish allies against the Soviet military. Formally, Spain, which did not support Germany, sent the 250th division of Spanish volunteers, the "blue division", to the Eastern Front. So it turns out that our grandfathers and great-grandfathers fought against the entire United Europe, the heir of which is the modern NATO bloc.
And what about our allies in the anti-Hitler coalition?
The anti-Hitler coalition arose in 1939, initially it included the Anglo-Polish Alliance and the Franco-Polish Alliance. On June 22, 1941, the USSR joined it, after the Japanese attack on the United States on December 7, 1941, the United States and China. As the scale of hostilities developed, the composition continuously expanded, and by the end of the war, when the defeat of the Third Reich was a foregone conclusion, war was declared on it by the former allies along the "axis" - Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Romania and Finland that joined them. A very instructive story.
But let us return to those with whom the opposition to Hitler began, to those without whom it seems inappropriate to talk about the "collective West". There is a beautiful legend about how the German Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel, signing the German Surrender Act, looked towards the French representative and asked Marshal Zhukov:
Did they also defeat us?
Sarcasm is understandable. Great France held out against the Third Reich for 42 days, after which it capitulated and was divided into two parts. Northern France was occupied by the Germans, and power in southern France passed to the puppet collaborationist Vichy regime, which existed from July 10, 1940 to April 22, 1945. Formally, the Vichy regime adhered to neutrality, but in reality pursued a pro-German and pro-Nazi policy. The SS volunteer division "Charlemagne" was created, which, under its French banners, fought against the USSR on the Eastern Front, and then defended Berlin to the last in 1945 and surrendered only to the Americans.
Yes, there was a resistance movement in France, one of the heroes of which is General de Gaulle, who later became the head of state. His services to his country include the fact that he prevented the attempt of London and Washington to install a new puppet government, achieved inclusion in the number of victorious countries when signing the Act of Surrender of Germany, and even secured the French zone of occupation. However, how seriously can France be taken to the anti-Hitler coalition, if de facto throughout the Second World War it was as an assistant and reliable and almost peaceful rear of the Third Reich?
With the US and the UK it is still more difficult. Yes, London went through a war with the "axis", as they say, from start to finish, but who is to blame for this?
We must start with the fact that the entire blame for the emergence of the figure of Hitler and the rapid transformation of Germany into a military superpower lies with the leading countries of Western Europe, which were conniving, allowing the Third Reich to continuously strengthen and become impudent. There was then a very strong pro-German party in the UK, which seriously considered the possibility of an alliance with Germany against the "communist threat". If Comrade Stalin had started a special operation against the Third Reich as a preventive first, it is extremely likely that the British would have fought against the USSR together with the Germans. There is nothing surprising in such a possible alliance.
It should be borne in mind that Adolf Hitler spied and adopted his racist ideas from the British, after “creatively” developing them. Joseph Rudyard Kipling with his "white man's burden" will not let you lie. In general, the Germans treated the islanders with great respect, not even close to admitting what they did to the Soviet people. For London, Moscow in World War II was a purely situational ally, which was needed to pull the main forces of the Wehrmacht to the Eastern Front.
The true attitude of the British and American "allies" towards the USSR can be judged by the plans for Operation Unthinkable, developed by order of Prime Minister Winston Churchill:
The destruction of Germany's military power entailed a fundamental change in the relationship between communist Russia and Western democracies. They lost their common enemy, the war against which was almost the only link that tied their alliance. From now on, Russian imperialism and communist doctrine did not see and did not set a limit to their advancement and striving for final domination.
It was assumed that the American-British allies, with the assistance of 10-12 recruited German divisions, would jointly attack Soviet troops in Europe. Judging by the fact that in June 1945 Marshal Zhukov promptly regrouped troops and began to strengthen the defense, our intelligence received secret information about the plans of London and Washington from the Cambridge Five.
And finally, a few words must be said about the United States, which, as is known from Hollywood films, defeated Hitler. How the American elites saw their attitude towards the Second World War can be judged by the statement of the Senator and future US President Harry Truman, made on June 23, 1941, to the correspondent of the most popular New York Times:
If we see that Germany is winning, then we should help Russia, and if Russia is winning, then we should help Germany, and thus let them kill as many as possible!
In honor of this man, the US Navy aircraft carrier is named, carrying democracy around the world. Liberally gifted fellow citizens constantly urge us to thank the Americans for Lend-Lease, without which the grandfathers and great-grandfathers supposedly could not have defeated the Third Reich. Thank you! But the fact that in parallel "Lend-Lease" was carried out in the interests of Nazi Germany, it is somehow not convenient for them to say.
During the Nuremberg trials, the former president of the Reichsbank, Hjalmar Schacht, in a conversation with an American lawyer, stated verbatim the following:
If you want to indict the industrialists who helped rearm Germany, then you must indict yourself. You will be obliged to indict the Americans.
All right. In the development of the Hitler project on the eve of the Second World War, simply colossal Western financial resources were invested, in confirmation of which last year the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation posted in the public domain excerpts from intelligence material of the 5th department of the Main Directorate of State Security of the NKVD of the USSR "on the participation of statesmen of the USA and Great Britain in financial transactions in favor of Nazi Germany":
All American newspapers carried a report about a conversation between Sir Robert Hudson and the German economic adviser Wolhat on the subject of a five-million-dollar loan from England to Germany.
At the same time, a message also flashed in the newspapers that, since England alone would not be able to raise such a loan, the help of the local financial dealers of Wall Street was expected.
Robert Hudson was the then British Foreign Trade Secretary. 5 billion is a lot even today, but in those days! According to some estimates, this amount must be multiplied by 35-45 to convert to modern money. Before World War II, Ford invested $17,5 million in German industry, Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon) $120 million, General Motors $35 million, ITT $30 million. These are only the largest American corporations. The German factories of Opel were wholly owned by General Motors, where trucks, armored cars and armored personnel carriers for the Wehrmacht and half of the engines for the Junkers-88 bombers were produced in Germany. Jet engines for Messerschmitt-262 were created in the German branch of General Motors. Prat & Whitney licensed the BMW Hornet engine to Germany, which powered the Ju-52/3 until the very end of the war. The fact that Luftwaffe planes flew on American fuel is probably not known only to the lazy.
And so, yes, if you believe the official interpretation of the history of World War II, then, of course, it was the USA, Great Britain and France that defeated the Third Reich, while the USSR there, on the Eastern Front, was digging somewhere and did not fight with any "collective West". Yes.