Disinfo: In the summer of 1941 Britain deliberately did not rush to help the USSR


Britain in the summer of 1941 was deliberately in no hurry to provide military assistance to the Soviet Union after its entry into the war with Germany, and London did not intend to transfer to Moscow the technical information that it possessed itself. This is proven by the declassified archival materials of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR).


A recurring deceptive narrative on WWII that tries to diminish or deny the role of the Western Allies and the financial and material support to the Soviet Union.

The Russian publication The Insider classified this story as 'half-truth'. The document taken from the archives and published by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service is authentic but taken out of the context, suggests that the attacks perpetrated by the Third Reich against allies convoys were not a real threat and understate the support provided by the UK.

The document published by the SVR relates to a specific tactical situation when the allies were deciding on the least dangerous route for the supply of military supplies to the Soviet Union. There were fears that the German navy and aviation would be able to block the route from Iceland to Arkhangelsk. In a difficult situation, the British had every reason not to start delivering goods until the issue of delivery methods was fully worked out. It also follows from Gorsky's telegram that at that moment the British were afraid technical information could be intercepted by the Germans and decided to hold it back for some time.

Ultimately, Britain and the United States established the movement of Arctic convoys; the first of them, known under the code name "Dervish", departed from Iceland on August 21 and arrived in Arkhangelsk without loss on August 31. A total of 7 convoys were conducted in 1941, and during the entire war - 78. In 1941, the Arctic convoys delivered 484 British Hurricane fighters to the USSR, among other strategic cargoes.

Winston Churchill announced the need for military assistance to the USSR on June 22, 1941:

Any man or State who fights against Nazism will have our aid. Any man or State who marches with Hitler is our foe. This applies not only to organized States but to all representatives of that vile race of Quislings who make themselves the tools and agents of the Nazi regime against their fellow-countrymen and against the lands of their births. These Quislings, like the Nazi leaders themselves, if not disposed of by their fellow-countrymen, which would save trouble, will be delivered by us on the morrow of victory to the justice of the Allied tribunals. That is our policy and that is our declaration.

In Total during the war Soviet Union received 4174 aircraft from Great Britain as assistance (Hawker Hurricane fighters, and since 1943 - more modern Supermarine Spitfires), 1084 heavy tanks Mk II Matilda (the first - already with the second Arctic convoy in October 1941), 3782 light tank Mk I Valentine, 301 heavy tank Mk IV Churchill. On August 16, 1941, Great Britain provided the USSR with a £ 10 million loan for the purchase of weapons; later the loan amount increased to £ 60 million.

Read also similar stories: In September 1939 the USSR did not attack Poland but carried out the liberation campaign of the Red Army, There are three myths about WWII, WWII archives are open in Russia, whereas in Western countries they are kept secret and revisionism is promoted.


  • Reported in: Issue 227
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/12/2020
  • Outlet language(s) French, Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: USSR, UK, Germany, Russia
  • Keywords: Historical revisionism, WWII, Joseph Stalin, Secret services
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