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A decisive intelligence failure? British intelligence on Soviet war potential and the 1939 Anglo-French-Soviet alliance that never was

Author

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  • Kahn, Martin

    () (Department of Economic History, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)

Abstract

In 1939 the British Government tried to assess Soviet war potential in order to know more about their potential ally, as part of the negotiations concerning an Anglo-French-Soviet alliance. British assessments of Soviet economic and military strength (and the internal stability of the Stalin regime) in this context have partly been neglected in earlier research, and it seems both that British estimates were much more off the mark than earlier supposed, and that the gross underestimation of Soviet strength in 1939 was probably a major factor in the British reluctance to enter into an anti-Hitler coalition with the USSR.

Suggested Citation

  • Kahn, Martin, 2008. "A decisive intelligence failure? British intelligence on Soviet war potential and the 1939 Anglo-French-Soviet alliance that never was," Göteborg Papers in Economic History 12, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunhis:0012
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2077/9633
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economic History; Soviet Union; British Intelligence; Soviet war potential; Second World War; Soviet economy; Soviet military strength; Appeasement policy; Intelligence failures;

    JEL classification:

    • B20 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - General
    • F51 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions
    • F52 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - National Security; Economic Nationalism
    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General
    • N40 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-
    • P20 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - General
    • P29 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Other
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies
    • Z00 - Other Special Topics - - General - - - General

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