Skip to comments.Discovery of Red Army phrasebook hints at Soviet plans to fight Hitler on British front
Posted on 03/26/2006 9:10:56 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
IT IS a world away from the holiday phrasebook. A newly discovered relic of the Second World War shows how the Red Army was expected to take a no-nonsense attitude if they ever encountered English speakers.
The Russian-English military phrasebook told officers how to interrogate English-speaking soldiers and civilians, demand food and water and order people to help repair roads for troops. It even included a phrase for how to demand more tea.
But the date of the phrasebook's publication, summer 1940 - a year before the Soviets published their equivalent German phrasebook - is seen as highly significant. Some historians based in the former Soviet Union believe it adds weight to a controversial theory that Stalin would have sent troops to Britain if the Nazis invaded in order to open up a "Second Front" against Hitler.
The 100-page Short Russian-English Military Phrasebook was published by the People's Commissariat for the Defence of the USSR in 1940.
It is clear from the phrases in the book that the Red Army would be taking no chances if soldiers found themselves in an English-language situation. The book includes staples of military confrontations such as "Hands Up!", "Surrender!" and "If you make noise I shall kill you!" all with guides to pronunciation in the Cyrillic alphabet.
Others are aimed at calming down nervous civilians, such as "Do not be afraid of the Red Army men!", "Everything taken by the Red Army from the inhabitants will be paid for!" and even how to ask for more tea.
Some of the phrases serve to remind that the war was fought in an age before the advent of much modern technology, such as how to ask for carrier pigeons or question whether a well had been poisoned.
The book's emergence is seen as supporting the idea that Stalin hoped to attack Hitler through Britain as part of a plan to double-cross the Nazi tyrant.
Kejstut Zakoretskii, a Kiev-based historian, unearthed the phrasebook along with landing plans which apparently included pictures of the British naval base at Scapa Flow and images of British battleships.
He said: "In summer 1941, Stalin believed that the German attack would not be on the USSR, but on Britain. Military threats to Britain from the south would be a very good excuse to send Britain some military assistance, requested by the British or even not requested."
But Euan Mawdsley, professor of international history at Glasgow University, doubted whether the Soviets could have mounted a successful attack through Scotland. He said: "It would have been very difficult indeed."
Ah yes, I'm sure the Red Army would have "liberated" Britain from the fascists, just like they liberated Eastern Europe.
Who Started the Second World War? - Marx and Engels believed that clashes between the capitalist nations would create avenues for the establishment of socialism. Lenin shared this belief. He saw World War I as a way among capitalist-imperialist powers, fighting over the plunder of the world. The more brutal and destructive the war, the more the power bases of the capitalist classes would be weakened. And out of this destruction would come the opportunity to transform a capitalist war into a "class war," resulting in the victory of communism.
World War I created the conditions for the Bolshevik Revolution and the triumph of socialism in Russia. Lenin believed that another world war would bring about the death of capitalism in other nations. Hence, anything that created the conditions for another world war was viewed as good from the revolutionary Marxist point of view.
During the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Soviets assisted the Nazis in destroying the Weimar Republic in Germany. "Icebreaker" was the Soviet code name for Hitler the man who Would "break the ice "bring about another world war, and create the opportunity for the destruction of capitalism in Europe and the victory of socialism under Soviet leadership.
By signing the Nazi-Soviet pact in August 1939, Stalin deliberately produced the conditions for the world war that he wanted. Germany would fight the Other two main European powers Britain and France and then the Soviet Union would enter the war in its final stages to come out as the ultimate victor.
Why else would instructions be given on how to take English speaking prisoners?
1940 was a year before Germany and the Soviet Union started a war. In 1940, Germany and the USSR were at peace after having split Poland and Germany was at war with France, England and much of the rest of Western Europe. Those historians seem to have forgoten history and are thus condemned to repeat it in a remedial class.
The book was dated 1940. Sounds to me more like Stalin was preparing the Red Army to take part in Operation Sea Lion along with his Nazi allies.
To send troops to Britain Stalin would have needed long distance sea lift on a massive scale, which he did not have. Having a land-lubbing army, the only way it could make sense would be for operations in a Nazi alliance.
For a country so fixated on uniform policy and mass production, could a forgotten little phrasebook be so important?
It would have been everywhere, were it not just another contingency plan out of hundreds of bizarre scenarios. We would have heard about it.
Precisely. Unless I'm missing something fundamental here, I suspect the writer of this piece is an idiot.
"My hovercraft is full of eels"
Yes, Stalin had an alliance with Hitler until Germany launched Operation Barbarossa in May of 1941.
The British and French were preparing an expedition to land in Norway and march to Finland to assist the Finns in fighting the Soviet invasion of Finland in the winter and early spring of 1940.
When the Germans invaded Norway, this force ended up in Narvik in an attempt to defend northern Norway from the Germans. It was withdrawn when the Germans invaded France proper.
I suspect this phrasebook may have its orgins in that whole affair. I'm sure the author of the piece was indeed utterly clueless.
The British had a Navy. The whole thing seems pretty far fetched, but presumably the Brits could have ferried the Russians to England.
The Brits invaded Norway to prevent a German invasion (not, btw, a good idea), not to fight the Russians.
Gerhard Weinberg's history of WWII details Soviet offers to join the war against Britain.
After what the Russians went through between 1941-1945, I'm sure Stalin wanted and ordered that all memory of his 1939-1941 alliance with Hitler be erased.
Russian sent a battalion or two to France during the first world war. They were forgotten, ill-used and mostly died. They were looked down upon by the French not tolerated by the populance.
I dont think the British would have suffered Stalins 'help' for long. The fear of the 'red menace' was high in pre-war England.
"The book was dated 1940. Sounds to me more like Stalin was preparing the Red Army to take part in Operation Sea Lion along with his Nazi allies."
Which underscores what great heroes the outnumbered RAF pilots were in defeating the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain. The defeat of the RAF had to happen first before Operation Sea Lion could be put into effect. Think what might have happened had the RAF been defeated! Could the US have defeated a Europe and Britain entirely in the hands of a Hitler/Stalin alliance? Scary thought indeed.
Never was so much owed to so few.
Stalin joined Hitler in dismembering Poland in 1939. They remained solid allies throughout 1940 and into 1941, despite Hitler's growing desire to doublecross Stalin. To think that Stalin, who was deathly afraid of German military might, would strain to put Soviet troops in England to fight Hitler - when it would be much easier to do it in, say, Poland or East Prusssia - is in the realm of weird doublethink fantasy.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.