World War II was the largest and most devastating war in modern history with far-reaching consequences. The single most important campaign was the Soviet-German war, which consumed the lion share of Germany's military resources. In contrast to the tone in German and Anglo-American precampaign assessments, the USSR ws able to repulse the invasion after huge losses and turn the table on Germany and her minor Axis allies.
This book examines how the two most important Western Allies in World War II, the United States and the United Kingdom, assessed the economic and military potential of the Soviet Union in 1939-1945. Since the USSR was the single most important military contributor to the Allied victory in Europe, and the main target of Germany's military strength, these assessments are of paramount importance in order to understand how the Anglo-Americans perceived the overall war situation and adjusted their own war effort in accordance with it. Utilising a wide range of documents produced by the Anglo-Americans during and shortly before World War II, this book explores why Soviet strength was underestimated, and how the Soviet economic system, Soviet society and military capabilities were viewed by Western Government observers.
The Western Allies and Soviet Potential in World War II is a fascinating read for those in academia studying economic history, international economics and security studies, especially areas on military and strategic.
Martin Kahn is a Swedish economic historian. He is a docent (associate professor) affiliated with the Department of Economy and Society at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
Abbreviations 1 Introduction 1.1 General background 1.2 War potential and the general purpose of this study 2 The Anglo-American assessments in a wider context 2.1 The US and British government organizations responsible for assessing the USSR 2.2 The origins, analysis and dissemination of information 2.3 The assessment's reliability and the selection of reports for this study 2.4 The reality and contemporary perceptions of war potential 3 The Soviet Union and the West: The pre-war experience and international Great Power politics before World War II 4 From the guarantee to Poland to the Molotov-Ribbentropp pact 4.1 British anguish: The value of the Soviet Union as an ally and the "gathering storm" in Europe 4.2 Soviet war potential and the possible inclusion of the USSR in a "peace front" 4.3 The Soviets propose an alliance 4.4 Assessments on the eve of the Moscow negotiations 5 US pre-Barbarossa assessments 5.1 The economy and its military potential 5.2 The size and efficiency of the armed forces 5.3 Internal stability 6 The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and its consequences 6.1 The Polish campaign 6.2 The USSR as a potential military adversary 6.3 The Red Army enter Estonia 6.4 Assessments regarding the economy during the autumn 6.5 Soviet air strength - autumn assessments 6.6 Assessments connected to the Soviet-Japanese conflict 6.7 Anglo-French plans to interdict the Soviet oil supply 7 The Soviet-Finnish Winter War 7.1 The Red Army's performance 7.2 The economy and the internal situation 8 Assessments running up to Barbarossa 8.1 The economy and internal stability 8.2 The production and quality of munitions 8.3 Military efficiency and the size of the armed forces 9 The nature of the assessments, and the "reality" 10 The beginning of Soviet-German war: Assessments during Operation Barbarossa 10.1 The border battles and the summer: German victories and the possibility of a Soviet collapse 10.2 The Soviet economy under attack (and Soviet prospects) 10.3 The autumn 1941 situation 10.4 Munitions 10.5 The Armed Forces and their efficiency 11 The first turning point of the war: the Soviet winter offensive 12 The spring, the coming of summer and continued worries 12.1 Soviet prospects and economic resilience 12.2 The Soviet population and the war effort 12.3 The Red Army and its munitions 13 The first year of the Soviet-German war: how realistic were the assessments? 14 The German summer offensive and Soviet prospects 15 The Anglo-American assessments in the context of the possibility to establish a Second Front in 1942 16 The autumn assessments and the battle of Stalingrad 16.1 Prospects and civilian morale 16.2 The economic situation 16.3 Food supply 16.4 The manpower situation 16.5 Munitions 16.6 The size of the armed forces and military losses 16.7 Military efficiency and morale 17 From Stalingrad to Kursk 17.1 Military prospects, internal stability and civilian support for the war effort 17.2 The economy, manpower, food supply and civilian living conditions 17.3 Munitions 17.4 The size of the armed forces and the military mobilization 17.5 The morale, efficiency and losses of the armed forces 18 The 1943 cross-channel attack that never was and the "90-division gamble" 19 The Red Army's first major push to the West 19.1 Soviet military prospects, civilian morale and internal stability 19.2 The economy, manpower, food supply and civilian living conditions 19.3 Munitions: output and quality 19.4 The size of the armed forces and the military mobilization 19.5 The morale, efficiency and losses of the armed forces 20 The final phase of the war: from Operation Bagration to the surrender of Germany (and the campaign against Japan) 20.1 Soviet military prospects and internal stability 20.2 The economy and reconstruction 20.3 The population, the labour force, food supply and civilian life 20.4 The production and efficiency of munitions and military equipment 20.5 The size of the armed forces, losses and military efficiency 20.6 Why the USSR won the war (according to the Military Mission's final report) 21 Assessments compared to reality during the last period of the war 305 22 The assessments of war potential and material aid to the USSR 312 23 A comment on the assessments in the context of the early Cold War 24 Conclusion References Index