An interesting article appeared in The Sunday Telegraph: Stalin 'planned to send a million troops to stop Hitler if Britain and France agreed pact'.
Papers which were kept secret for almost 70 years show that the Soviet Union proposed sending a powerful military force in an effort to entice Britain and France into an anti-Nazi alliance.
Such an agreement could have changed the course of 20th century history, preventing Hitler's pact with Stalin which gave him free rein to go to war with Germany's other neighbours.
The offer of a military force to help contain Hitler was made by a senior Soviet military delegation at a Kremlin meeting with senior British and French officers, two weeks before war broke out in 1939.
The new documents, copies of which have been seen by The Sunday Telegraph, show the vast numbers of infantry, artillery and airborne forces which Stalin's generals said could be dispatched, if Polish objections to the Red Army crossing its territory could first be overcome.
But the British and French side - briefed by their governments to talk, but not authorised to commit to binding deals - did not respond to the Soviet offer, made on August 15, 1939. Instead, Stalin turned to Germany, signing the notorious non-aggression treaty with Hitler barely a week later.
The Soviet offer - made by war minister Marshall Klementi Voroshilov and Red Army chief of general staff Boris Shaposhnikov - would have put up to 120 infantry divisions (each with some 19,000 troops), 16 cavalry divisions, 5,000 heavy artillery pieces, 9,500 tanks and up to 5,500 fighter aircraft and bombers on Germany's borders in the event of war in the west, declassified minutes of the meeting show.
But Admiral Sir Reginald Drax, who lead the British delegation, told his Soviet counterparts that he authorised only to talk, not to make deals.
(Read the full text here)
Lev Sotskov is the author of a number of books on Soviet history, including Operation Tarantella (about Soviet spies in the Cold War Britain) and Unknown Separatism in the Service of SD and Abwehr (on collaboration of separatist movements in Soviet republics with the Nazis). He also participated in the preparation of the collection of documents titled "Baltic Countries and Geopolitics". His books perfectly fit the mainstream of modern Russian interpretation of history: Soviet Union as a victim of the Western politicians who set Hitler at the innocent USSR by selling Czechoslovakia in Munich. In spite of this, the documents used in his books are usually reliable, as far as I know and his new book might be interesting. One just has to be careful with the conclusions.