British-French-Soviet Negotiations of 1939: Failed Attempt of Establishing a Collective Security System in Europe

Oleg Mashevskyi

DoS (History), Professor, Head of New and Modern History Department, Faculty of History, Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv

Taras Tkachuk

Master of history, Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University

UDС 94(44+410+470)«1939»



The article touches upon the analysis of the main approaches to the consideration of one of the key events in international relations on the eve of the Second World War – the British-French-Soviet negotiations in Moscow in summer of 1939. In particular, the article has reconsidered the stereotypes emerged in Soviet and contemporary Russian historiography that Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact had become possible only because of the Western countries’ indecision to conclude a military convention with the USSR. The study also reviews other historiographical positions characterized by imposing a complete blame for the failure of the attempt to create a system of collective security in Europe only to the Soviet Union. Therefore all the circumstances of conducting trilateral negotiations in Moscow have been analyzed, a comprehensive study of all the factors that influenced their failure, with the use of documentary material, has been conducted.

It is argued that it was inappropriate to accuse only one side of the failure of the British-French-Soviet negotiations: one shall take into account the complex of both subjective and objective factors that influenced the general geopolitical situation in summer of 1939 in one way or another. Therefore, one should note the diplomatic victory of the German Chancellor A. Hitler, who successfully used the contradictions between three countries, avoiding on the beginning of the war, thereby, one of the key mistakes of the World War I – military actions on two fronts.

Key words

World War II, British-French-Soviet negotiations, collective security, Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.

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