Assess the view that Stalins suspicions of his western allies between 1941 and 1945 were justified

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Assess the view that Stalin’s suspicions of his western allies between 1941 and 1945 were justified

Throughout the Second World War, there were many disagreements and causes for suspicion between the USSR and its allies in the west in the period 1941-1945. The four factors that will be investigated in this coursework, which are the Second Front, Poland, The Grand Alliance and the atomic bomb, were all issues that strained relations between these allies and caused suspicion between the two.

Historian Bradley Lightbody argues that the Soviet Union expected their Western allies delayed the Second Front in the hope that the Soviet and Nazi armies would destroy each other. This would lead Stalin to be suspicious of his western allies as it appears that if what Lightbody argues were to be correct, then this would help the west in eliminating there pre-war threats in Communism with Stalin, and Fascism with Hitler. In his writing, Lightbody says, “800,000 Soviet soldiers and civilians were killed in the single battle of Stalingrad, compared to 375,000 British and 405,000 American casualties for the entire Second World War.” This evidence is useful in justifying Stalin’s suspicions of the west as it appears that Lighbody’s view is true.  However, after evaluating all the fighting that took place in the Second World War, it is clear that actually, Britain and America were not as involved as the USSR. Most of the casualties suffered by the USA were from fighting with the Japanese. The attack on Pearl Harbour on 7th December 1941, which effectively was the point at which America joined the war, saw 2,402 Americans were killed, 57 of these being civilians, with a further 1,247 wounded. Mainland fighting was also a cause of heavy losses for the Americans, for example with the Battle of Okinawa starting on the 1st April 1945 and ending on the 21st June 1945. If America were to win this battle, it would prove to be a strategic advantage over the Japanese, as their aim was to control the island as a base for air operations on the planned invasion of the Japanese mainland. U.S losses included 62,000 casualties, 12,500 of whom were either killed or missing.

Historian Robert Wolfson strongly challenges Lightbody’s view with his argument that the complex preparations needed for the D-Day Landings of June 1944 show that the Second Front could not have been launched any sooner. He states that preparations for the attacks had to be the most elaborate ever to succeed. If this argument were assumed to be correct then Stalin cannot be justified in his suspicions as the western allies were planning for what resulted to be a major turning point in the war. In his writing, Wolfson says that, “some 10,000 planes, 80 warships and 4,000 other craft were needed for the invasion, all of which had to be prepared and assembled in the right places.” Wolfson also mentions the fighting that is taking place in North Africa at the time of which Stalin is calling for a Second Front. The North African Campaign took place from 10th June 1940 to 13th May 1943. It included battles fought in Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Many of the countries fighting in this campaign had North African interests of colonisation and would therefore be vital to prestige and power once the war was over. Allied losses were shown at a total of 238,000 over the whole three year period. This further evidence backs up Wolfson’s argument that Stalin had no right to be suspicious of his western allies as this war effort would have needed much thought and time from the west in order to claim victory.

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After evaluating each argument about whether Stalin had a right to be suspicious of his western allies over the delaying of the Second Front, it would seem Wolfson is most credible here because Lightbody does not consider the other commitments of the west to show why there was a delay. It is without this consideration it would appear that Wolfson is strongest in his argument.

Historian James Fitzgerald argues that the independence of post-war Poland was undermined by decisions taken at the Teheran Conference in November 1943. His view was that the Western Allies created a situation which no ...

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This is an interesting essay that considers all the key issues in the tensions of the Grand Alliance during WW2. Historiography is well understood and adds weight to the debate although at times, more evidence is needed to fully evaluate it. 4 out of 5 stars.