Anglo-Soviet Treaty of 1942

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Comrades in Arms

The Twenty-Year Mutual Assistance Agreement Between the United Kingdom and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics or Anglo-Soviet Treaty established a military and political alliance between the USSR and the British Empire during World War II, and for 20 years after it. The treaty was signed in London on 26 May 1942 by British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden and by Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov.


The first meeting to discuss the treaty took place on 15 December 1941, a week after the United States joined the British Empire and Soviet Union to oppose the Axis Powers.[1] Joseph Stalin, General Secretary of the Communist Party's Central Committee in the Soviet Union, had the goal of establishing a territorial agreement for post-war Europe, largely divided between Britain and the Soviet Union.[1] Stalin hoped to gain the territories once held by the Soviet Union before the losses from Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941, including regaining Finland, and territory in present-day Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Ukraine, and Belarus. In exchange, Britain would receive land and rights to have naval bases and maritime passage through the English Channel and the North and Baltic Seas.[1]

Absent from initial agreement discussions were other Allied powers, including Australia, New Zealand, India, and China, which had all declared war on Axis powers before 1941. Also not represented were countries with governments in exile due to German occupation, like Czechoslovakia and France, in spite of the initial Soviet aims of the treaty sought to direct the post-war structure of those countries. The treaty represents transition for Britain, ceding some of its super-power status due to a weakened military state, yet still exerting diplomatic power via negotiations.[2]

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  1. ^ a b c Plopeanu, Emanuel (2010). "Ankara – Stockholm – Bern: three types of press commentaries and interpretations about British – Soviet Treaty (May 1942)". Valahian Journal of Historical Studies (14): 133–142. ISSN 1584-2525.
  2. ^ Kettenacker, Lothar (1982). "The Anglo-Soviet Alliance and the Problem of Germany, 1941-1945". Journal of Contemporary History. 17 (3): 436. JSTOR 260555.

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