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The Anglo-Soviet Alliance (Hardback)

Comrades and Allies during WW2

WWII Russia & the Eastern Front Cold War Military

By Colin Turbett
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 248
Illustrations: 100 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781526776587
Published: 31st March 2021


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RRP £25.00

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From the onset of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917 until the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, Britain enjoyed an ambiguous relationship with the USSR and its people. All inter-war governments were concerned about the communist ideals of the new state and the threat they presented to British interests at home and abroad, and this was inevitably reflected amongst the general population. However there was a well-established British Communist Party whose fortunes were tied to the Soviet Union’s successes and failures.

The wartime alliance offered the Communists an opportunity to extend their influence and win electoral support. Or did it? There were influences at work stemming from both sides that sought to put the importance of allied victory above competing ideology, with agreement over the need for a strong and unconditional anti-Fascist alliance. Compromises were made and relationships formed that would have seemed strange indeed to the pre-war observer. There were, however, tensions throughout the period of the war. By mid-1945, the alliance was threatened by differences that reflected original ideologies that had been glossed over for the duration of the conflict: these led to a Cold War for the next 45 years.

This book, using both contemporary sources as well as post-war analyses, examines these matters alongside images that take us back to the period and help us understand its intricacies. It will start with a look at Britain’s opposition to the Bolshevik Revolution and the consolidation of the Soviet State under Lenin and then Stalin. The main body of the book goes on to give detail of the Wartime Alliance and the various forms through which it was expressed – from Government led Lend-Lease of equipment, to voluntary 'Aid for Russia. t ends with the War’s aftermath and the division of the world between the influences of capitalism on the one hand, and the “really existing socialism” of the Soviet Union and its satellites on the other. Tensions and expectations resulted, amongst other great social events, in the launch of the Welfare State, the demise of the British Empire, the nuclear arms race and, ultimately, the end of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Colin Turbett did a excellent job with this book, his insight and items from his personal collection regarding the CPGB and its relationship to wartime politics, was very interesting and paints of vivid picture of this period both internationally and domestically in the UK. I was most taken aback by the general feeling that Russia was this unsung hero of the war (until deemed otherwise), being the focal point of fundraising drives, and pro-USSR charity events. This was very thought provoking, and runs counter to my notions of where Russia sat within the media at the time. Perhaps people were willing to look the other way to a maniacal monster like Stalin, much like how we do now with many of our “allies”, but the whole thing comes across as if the UK somewhat used the USSR and perhaps they used the UK.

Another solid offering from Pen and Sword, highly recommended.

NetGalley, Stephen Kelley

About Colin Turbett

A keen motorcyclist and social historian, Colin Turbett is the author of Motorcycles and Motorcycling in the USSR 1939-1990 (Veloce) and Playing with the Boys – Olga Kevelos Motorcycle Sportswoman. During his career as a social worker and frontline manager he had a number of academic papers published alongside two books: Rural Social Work Practice in Scotland (Venture Press 2010) and Doing Radical Social Work (Palgrave Macmillan 2014). He has long held an interest in the history of the Soviet Union and its people. This is his first book for Pen and Sword.

Perfect Partner

Red Star at War Victory at all Costs (Hardback)

Russia’s losses during the Second World War were beyond imagination and touched the lives of an entire population caught between a brutal and murderous invader and a ruthless leadership at home. Soviet victory over the Nazis, which effectively won the war, was the end result of effort and sacrifice by the ordinary millions who were totally committed to saving their ‘motherland’. The humanity of the ordinary Soviet citizen in uniform is often forgotten because of later Cold War narratives propagated East and West for differing ideological reasons. This book seeks to redress these imbalances.…

By Colin Turbett

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