rkka_arvgk wrote:John Colville was a junior staffer at 10 Downing Street for both Chamberlain and Churchill. His diary "The Fringes of Power" W.W. Norton 1985, entry for 13 October 1939 relates (pgs 40 & 41):
Great quote, thanks - hadn't seen that before. Pure insanity. Capitalist imperialism can be a helluva drug. Luckily Churchill had high drug tolerance, given that he was also an imperialist but clocked Hitler from the get-go.
Here's more from "Failure of the Anglo-Franco-Soviet Alliance," cited upthread:
Pressure for a Soviet alliance was building up on all sides. Public opinion in Great Britain was vociferous. 'Winston', long a thorn in the side of Tory cabinets, challenged the government in Parliament and in the press. What was going on, why the delay in responding to Soviet proposals, why no pressure on Poland to cooperate? The old hater of bolsheviks was for banding together to 'break Hitler's neck!'1" The British chiefs of staff also started to press for agreement with the USSR. They knew in early May that the French intended to stand on the defensive on the fortified Maginot line in the event of war between Germany and Poland. The Polish army would quickly be defeated without Soviet support, and if the USSR sided with Germany, Great Britain would face the gravest dangers. Vansittart also returned to the charge and seemed to influence the dawdling Halifax.
Chamberlain's entourage was intriguing; Halifax, a young anti-bolshevik 'die-hard' in the early 1920s, was said to regard the USSR as 'the anti-Christ'. Strang, head of the Central department, thought that Chamberlain opposed a Soviet alliance because it would signal the end of appeasement; he said 'all at No. 10 are anti-Soviet'. Halifax explained to the French that 'half the British population' held the Soviet Union responsible as much as the Nazis for 'all the troubles of the last 10 years'."3 Obviously, Halifax had not kept up with British public opinion which massively favoured an Anglo-Soviet alliance, but neither had Chamberlain. He was relieved by Litvinov's sacking and threatened to resign 'rather than sign [an] alliance with the Soviet'. Even Corbin attributed the British cabinet's 'reticence' to anti-communist animosity.114
This was months before the last-minute negotiations portrayed upthread as the bad-faith first instance of Soviet attempts to form an anti-Hitler alliance before the war.
Another VERY interesting passage:
Collier was a member of Vansittart's small circle, and at times he boldly criticised the government. In a shocking comment on the minutes of the Foreign Policy Committee, composed of senior cabinet ministers, he noted that if one 'read between the lines', especially of Chamberlain's comments, one could not 'help feeling that the real motive for Cabinet's attitude is the desire to secure Russian help and at the same time to leave our hands free to enable Germany to expand eastward at Russian expense'. Strang disputed this, but Cadogan, consistent with his earlier views, did not refer to it. Collier warned that the 'Russians are not so naive as not to suspect this, and I hope that we ourselves will not be so naive as to think that we can have things both ways'.
The "Collier" referred to here is Laurence Collier, at that time head of the Foreign Office's Northern Department. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laurence_Collier
If a senior official of the British government suspected Chamberlain et. al. of avoiding alliance with the Soviets in hopes that Hitler would attack Stalin instead of the West (which would be free to assume neutrality absent an alliance), it can hardly be impermissible for us to speculate that Chamberlain was so motivated.
...which by the way is also insane. Who would have been next in line after Hitler conquers the SU?