The author analyzes modern Russian history from a new perspective. Due to the ideological heritage of the XIXth and XXth centuries, the social settings of the sociopolitical history of the USSR (1917–1945) have not been fully identified. Detailed examination of ideological and political concepts shows that the revolution of 1917 became not a middle class, proletarian movement, but rather a plebeian one. The misjudgment by the new power enabled growth but caused tremendous losses of human lives and material damages. Socialization of economy and strict centralization led to a new social structure and established terror as an instrument for social reorganization. WWII revealed the necessity of a correction of these developments, but the events of the Cold War circumvented any further considerations.
8. The USSR in the Second World War, 1941–1945
22 June 1941
Regardless of their significance, the aim here is not to describe the twists and turns of Soviet development between 1938 and 1941. The USSR was still a country far from mastering the problems posed by its own economic and civilizational revolution, nor was it able to benefit from the economic and civilizational progress attained internationally. It remained an unreliable partner to England and France, which did not trust the country’s intentions. On the eve of the new world war, the USSR was thus isolated, unprepared for the conflict with Nazi Germany.
With this in mind, there is no point in looking back to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939 and subsequent agreements between the USSR and Nazi Germany. These profited from the mutual distrust between the USSR and Western states. But in our opinion, it was Great Britain’s policy which went furthest in enabling Nazi Germany and its allies to act aggressively. Not only did Britain’s policy aim at ‘reconciling’ with Germany. It also weakened the position of France in continental Europe and particularly in the east of Central Europe. The policy contributed to the restoration of Germany’s military power, culminating in the September 1938 Munich Agreement, which saw the Czechoslovak Republic handed over to Hitler and Nazi Germany gazing eastward toward Poland, which inevitably became its first victim.
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