Skip to comments.Japan Blockades Canton; Major U-Boat Exercises in Baltic (7/26/39)
Posted on 07/26/2009 6:13:19 AM PDT by Homer_J_Simpson
[The threads of the trade negotiations] were, in fact, picked up four days later, on July 26, in Berlin. Dr. Schnurre was instructed by Ribbentrop to dine Astakhov, the Soviet charge, and Babarin at a swank Berlin restaurant and sound them out. The two Russians needed little sounding. As Schnurre noted in his confidential memorandum of the meeting, the Russians stayed until about 12:30 A.M. and talked in a very lively and interested manner about the political and economic problems of interest to us.
Astakhov, with the warm approval of Babarin, declared that a Soviet-German political rapprochement corresponded to the vital interests of the two countries. In Moscow, he said, they had never quite understood why Nazi Germany had been so antagonistic to the Soviet Union. The German diplomat, in response, explained that German policy in the East had now taken an entirely different course.
On our part there could be no question of menacing the Soviet Union. Our aims were in an entirely different direction . . . German policy was aimed at Britain . . . I could imagine a far-reaching arrangement of mutual interests with due consideration for vital Russian problems.
However, this possibility would be barred the moment the Soviet Union aligned itself with Britain against Germany. The time for an understanding between Germany and the Soviet Union was opportune now, but would no longer be so after the conclusion of a pact with London.
What could Britain offer Russia? At best, participation in a European war and the hostility of Germany. What could we offer against this? Neutrality and keeping out of a possible European conflict and, if Moscow wished, a German-Russian understanding on mutual interests which, just as in former times, would work out to the advantage of both countries . . . Controversial problems [between Germany and Russia] did not, in my opinion, exist anywhere along the line from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea and to the Far East. In addition, despite all the divergencies in their views of life, there was one thing common to the ideology of Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union: opposition to the capitalist democracies in the West.
Thus in the late-evening hours of July 26 in a small Berlin restaurant over good food and wine partaken by second-string diplomats was Germanys first serious bid for a deal with Soviet Russia Made. The new line which Schnurre took had been given him by Ribbentrop himself. Astakhov was pleased to hear it. He promised Schnurre that he would report it at once to Moscow.
William L. Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich
*The entire press today features extensive accounts of German submarine manoeuvres in the Baltic Sea, in which the entire submarine fleet reported to number seventy-one craft participated under the personal supervision of Admiral General Erich Raeder.
71? I thought it was closer to 50.
The authorities adduced for that argument and widely cited in the German press are, first, Captain B.H. Liddell Hart, described as the greatest military critic of Germany, and Alfred Duff Cooper, former First Lord of the Admiralty.
I know that name! B.H. Liddell Hart is the author of one of my reference books, History of the Second World War. I expect to be excerpting from it in the not-so-distant future.
Nazi Soviet Pact update at Reply #2.
At the bottom of the first article... the Soviets were saying they had more subs than Germany and Japan combined?
This was all bluster right? The Soviets were not very involved in the Pacific war as far as I know.
I wonder if some of the old UK papers are available like this?
Hey Homey...BH Hart is a good reference. Looks like he was a sharp critic right from his early days. And he was right on target with his critiques.
I’ll have more time to look after church, but I’ve run down the British and German numbers.
Britain had 38 subs overall.
“At the end of August the total German strength in U-boats was fifty-six, but ten of them were, for various reasons, not fully operational. Of the total of completed boats eight were of about 700 tons displacement and capable of operating as far as Gibraltar or the Azores; eighteen were smaller ocean-going boats of 500 tons which could reach out into the Atlantic as far as 15° West or work off the coasts of Spain or Portugal, and thirty were small 250-ton boats which could only be used in the North Sea and in British coastal waters.”
France had 53 in the Med, 4 for the south Atlantic operating out of Morocco, and 2 in the far East (Vietnam, if I recall from earlier reading)
I’ll look for Russia and Japan later.
SO Russia might have been correct at the time?
This was all bluster right?
"The Soviet Navy at the beginning of war, did not have as many surface vessels as the British and Americans had. But the Soviet submarine fleet was large, probably the largest one in the world at the time . The Soviet Navy consisted of 4 battleships, 10 cruisers, 59 destroyers and 218 submarines. The navy was divided in fleets in Baltic Sea, Arctic Sea, Black Sea and the Pacific Ocean."
The Soviets were not very involved in the Pacific war as far as I know.
They didn't declare war on Japan until the middle of 1945.
CougarGA7 posts archived articles from British papers from time to time. The archives are online. Microfiche of U.K. papers may be available at some U.S. library somewhere. I have only looked locally.
I found what we’re looking for in Google Books
At the beginning of the War,
Russia - 168 subs
Japan - 62
Germany - 57
Britain - 69
France - 77
US - 99
See footnote page 95
Thanks. Always interesting.
That is in 1939. My link at Reply #10 says there were 218 Soviet submarines "at the beginning of the war." Did they build 50 more in the intervening two years? I guess that is not unreasonable. If Comrade Stalin willed it to happen it would happen.
That’s very interesting, especially considering the almost non-roll that the Soviet sub fleet played in World War II (With those numbers I have trouble buying that. There’s got to be some hidden history here).
Japan sure doesn’t care who they are belligerent towards do they? At this point there still isn’t any decision on whether to strike north into the Soviet Union for oil or the Dutch East Indies. (Wait a month)
Note: Finish my research paper on deniers of the Nanking Massacre today and I’m officially 1/4 of the way to my masters.
What exactly did Russia do with all these subs?
According to the site I linked above they fought in the Baltic, Arctic, and Black Seas. They actually lost some subs to Finnish submarines.
Thats interesting. Not something I have heard much about.
"The Soviet Navy at the beginning of war, did not have as many surface vessels as the British and Americans had. The date would cause me to question the rest of the article. The was began for the Soviets no later than 1939.
In any event, the original post that started the discussion looks accurate- looks like by any count that the Soviets had more than the Germans and Japanese combined in 1939.