14.6.41

Complete mystery, about which no one has any real news, surrounds the state of affairs between Russia and Germany. Cannot yet make contact with anyone who has seen Cripps since his return.[1] One can only judge by general probabilities, and it seems to me that the two governing facts are (i) Stalin will not go to war with Germany if there is any way short of suicide of avoiding it, and (ii) it is not to Hitler’s advantage to make Stalin lose face at this stage, as he is all the while using him against the working class of the world. Much likelier than any direct attack on Russia, therefore, or any agreement that is manifestly to Russia’s disadvantage, is a concession masked as an alliance, perhaps covered up by an attack on Iran or Turkey. Then you will hear that there has been an “exchange of technicians”, etc., etc., and that there seem to be rather a lot of German engineers at Baku. But the possibility that the whole seeming manoeuvre is simply a bluff to cover some approaching move elsewhere, possibly the invasion of England, has to be kept sight of.

[1] Stafford Cripps (1889-1952), then Britain’s Ambassador in Moscow, had returned to London on 11 June. On 13 June, Count Friedrich von Schulenburg, German Ambassador in Moscow, telegraphed the German Foreign Office: ‘…Even before the return of the English Ambassador Cripps to London, but especially since his return, there have been widespread rumours of an impending war between the U.S.S.R. and Germany in the English and foreign press.’ He described these rumours as obviously absurd, but had thought it necessary in responsible circles in Moscow ‘to state they are a clumsy propaganda manoeuvre’ (Churchill, The Second World War, III, pp. 326-37). See also Events, 2.7.39, n. 7. Peter Davison

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2 Responses to 14.6.41

  1. The Ridger says:

    Ooo, called that one wrong – and least the second half of it.

  2. andrew says:

    oh eric, it is going to be so AWESOME, you won’t believe it. i mean that in a bad way, only kind of. hold on to your rocking chair!

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