Crown - The Churchill Tank

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Make Hungary a German protectorate and then move troops up to Romania’s borders. Romania will capitulate. We expect to achieve our goals in the Baltic States in a different way. The neutrality of the Baltic States in the event of war is just as important to us as is the neutrality of Belgium or Holland. Some time later, when a favorable moment occurs for us, we can violate it but for now, on the strength of the nonaggression pact concluded earlier [with Poland in 1934], we avoid automatic interference by the Soviet Union.

This was not entirely true. By incorporating parts of Romania and Poland into the Ukrainian, Belorussian, and Moldavian union republics and absorbing the Baltic States, Soviet security and military forces had to contend with intensely hostile populations. Ukrainian and Belorussian nationalists aided German intelligence in espionage operations before June 1941 and served as saboteurs in the early hours and days of the war, destroying Red Army communications and other facilities. So did the Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians (most of the military units of those states integrated into the Red Army were found to be quite unreliable).

Others have noted his youth and his rapid rise in rank and position. On his return from Spain he spent a few weeks in Paris, and his frequent absences suggest he was carrying out clandestine tasks of some sort, although no available information sheds light on that speculation. Stalin may simply have been determined to insert someone into the position who had no previous ties to RU personalities. 15 It is true, of course, that reports reaching Stalin from the Soviet Military Intelligence Service were couched in Marxist-Leninist jargon, but they still tended to reflect the realities of the noncommunist world faced by the USSR.

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