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Download Britain, Turkey and the Soviet Union, 1940–45: Strategy, by Nicholas Tamkin (auth.) PDF

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By Nicholas Tamkin (auth.)

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Extra info for Britain, Turkey and the Soviet Union, 1940–45: Strategy, Diplomacy and Intelligence in the Eastern Mediterranean

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When Turkish politicians attempted to explain the foundations on which these were based – specifically the alleged Soviet demands for bases at the Straits, revealed by Hitler in March – the FO was dismissive. ‘This is really monstrous. There is no documentary proof that Molotoff [sic] did ask for bases on the Dardanelles. ’80 British refusal to accept ‘Hitler’s word’ is understandable, but refusal even to consider the plausibility of the allegations is surprising, given that Nazi–Soviet collaboration in the eastern Mediterranean had been anticipated throughout the previous year, until the very eve of the German invasion.

16 The Greeks, too, must resist as long as possible. A Greek defeat would mean Axis control of the Aegean, which would impede supplies to Turkey, and increase British liabilities in Egypt. 17 If the Turks believed no aid was forthcoming when their turn came, they might capitulate without fighting, exposing the British front in north Africa and the Middle East. Resources essential to that front ought not to be diverted to aid the embattled Greeks, but any support which could be spared from the Middle East Command should be sent as soon as possible.

The FO reacted with suspicion to the coincidence of Soviet recognition of Rashid Ali and a Turkish offer of mediation in the Anglo-Iraqi dispute. ’78 These suspicions proved unfounded, but they reflected the remarkable schizophrenia in British policy towards both the Soviet Union and Turkey during the first half of 1941. The British trusted neither Russia nor Turkey to refrain from policies detrimental to Britain, yet they chastised both parties – particularly the Turks – for failing to trust each other and establish an anti-German front.

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