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The "Big Three" Allied Powers


The German surprise attack on Russia reversed overnight the direction of Soviet foreign policy. The recent “friend” was now a deadly enemy, while its enemies became the Soviet Union’s allies in the common struggle. Many in the West equally sympathized with the newly emerged force of resistance to the Nazi scourge. On the day of the undeclared assault by Hitler on the Soviet Union, political and public leaders in many countries voiced their support of the USSR. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill pledged his country’s firm backing of the Russian war effort. President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States said that the American government was prepared to provide necessary assistance. The Soviet pact with Hitler and the manifest blemishes of Stalin’s regime were quickly forgotten, replaced by the growing admiration for Soviet military achievements.  

German Conquests and Allies in Europe: 1941-42 (click to enlarge)

Obviously, the war did not resolve the contradictions that existed between the USSR and its capitalist allies, such as Britain and the United States. But for the moment all differences receded in the face of the fascist threat. Motivated by the common resolve to attain the full and unconditional defeat of Nazi Germany, the “big three” Allied powers set about creating and consolidating the antifascist coalition of states. One of the first steps was the Anglo-Soviet agreement of 12 July 1941, pledging the two countries to assist one another and to abstain from making any separate peace with Germany. The creation of the wartime coalition of the “big three” was finalized by the agreement on an Anglo-Soviet alliance of 26 May 1942 and the similar Soviet-American agreement of 11 June 1942. More generally, the Allies included all twenty-six signatories to the Declaration of the United Nations of 1 January 1942 (the number of signers would grow as the war went on).

The USSR played a key role in the antifascist coalition as the country, which withstood the most powerful onslaught of the German military machine and made a decisive contribution toward victory over Nazism.

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USSR in World War II


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