Why Does Molotov Believe A Second Front Should Be Opened In 1942 History Homework Help

Read Chapter 22 as well as the Transcript of theRoosevelt-Molotov Meeting. Once all reading is complete, respond to the following itemswith a minimum of 300 words, in your own words, no citing:

1. Whydoes Molotov believe a “second front” should be opened in 1942?

2. Ifsuch a front is opened, what does Molotov predict?

3. Ifsuch a front is not opened, what does he fear might occur?

4. Giventhat a second front in France was not opened until June, 1944, what do youthink the effect of that delay may have had no longer-term U.S.-Sovietrelations?




Saturday,May 30,1942,11 A. M.

Present: The President, Mr. Molotov, Admiral King, General Marshall,Mr. Hopkins, Messrs. Pavlov and Cross

 After a brief private conference between the President and Mr. Molotov,conversations were resumed at 11 A.M. The President askedAdmiral King whether there was any special news from the Pacific. The Admiral replied that there wasnothing of importance save some momentary disagreement between GeneralMacarthur and Admiral Nimitz asto an operation against the Solomon Islands.  Admiral King thought thisdifference was due to a misunderstanding, since Admiral Nimitz had in mind a specific project for destruction ofinstallations rather than anything like a permanent occupation.

  Opening the general discussion, thePresident remarked to Admiral King and General Marshall that he first wished toplace them au courant with the questions Mr.Molotov had raised, and he hoped that Mr. Molotov himself would then put the situation before them in detail.Mr. Molotov, the President continued, had just come from London, where he had been discussing with theBritish authorities the problemof a second (invasion) front in Western Europe. He had, thePresident added, been politely received, but had as yet obtained no positive commitment from the British. There wasno doubt that on the Russian front the Germans had enoughsuperiority in aircraft and mechanizedequipment to make the situation precarious. The Sovietswished the Anglo-American combination to land sufficient combat troops on thecontinent to drive off 40 German divisions from the Soviet front. Weappreciated, he continued, the difficulties of the situation and viewed theoutlook as serious. We regarded it as our obligation to help the Soviets to the best of our ability, even ifthe extent of this aid was forthe moment doubtful. That brought up the question, what we can doeven if the prospects for permanent successmight not be especially rosy. Most of our difficulties lay in the realm of ocean transport, and he would inthis connection merely remarkthat getting any one convoy through to Murmansk was already a majornaval operation. The President then suggested that Mr. Molotov should treat thesubject in such detail as suited his convenience.

 Mr.Molotov thereupon remarked that, though the problem of the second front wasboth military and political, it was predominantly political.There was an essential difference between the situation in 1942 and what itmight be in 1943. In 1942 Hitler was the master of all Europe save a few minor countries. He was the chief enemy of everyone. To be sure, as was devoutly to behoped, the Russians might hold and fight on all through 1942. Butit was only right to look at the darkerside of the picture. On the basis of his continental dominance, Hitler might throw in suchreinforcements in manpower and material that the Red Army might not beable to hold out against the Nazis.  Such a development would produce aserious situation which we must face. The Soviet front would becomesecondary, the Red Army would beweakened, and Hitler’s strength would be correspondingly greater, since hewould have at his disposal not only more troops, but also the foodstuffs andraw materials of the Ukraine andthe oil wells of the Caucasus. In such circumstances the outlook would be muchless favorable for all hands, and he would not pretend that such developments were all outside the rangeof possibility. The war wouldthus become tougher and longer. The merit of a new front in 1942depended on the prospects of Hitler’s further advantage, hence theestablishment of such a front should not be postponed.  The decisive elementin the whole problem lay in the question, when are the prospects better for the United Nations: in 1942 or in 1943.

Amplifying his remarks, Mr. Molotov observed that theforces on the Soviet front were large, and,objectively speaking, the balance in quantityof men, aviation, and mechanized equipment was slightly in Hitler’sfavor. Nevertheless, the Russians were reasonably certain they could hold out.  This was the mostoptimistic prospect, and the Soviet morale was as yetunimpaired.  But the main danger lay in the probability that Hitler would try to deal the Soviet Union amighty crushing blow. If, then,Great Britain and the United States, as allies, were to create a new front and to draw off 40 Germandivisions from the Soviet front,the ratio of strength would be so altered that the Soviets couldeither beat Hitler this year or insure beyond question his ultimate defeat.

 Mr.Molotov therefore put thisquestion frankly: could we under-take such offensive action as would draw off 40German divisions whichwould be, to tell the truth, distinctlysecond-rate outfits? If the answer shouldbe in the affirmative, the war would be decided in 1942.If negative, the Soviets would fight on alone, doing their best, andno man would expect more fromthem than that. He had not, Mr. Molotov added, received any positiveanswer in London. Mr. Churchill hadproposed that he should return through London on his homeward journey from Washington, and had promised Mr.Molotov a more concrete answer on his second visit. Mr. Molotov admitted herealizedthat the British would have to bear the brunt ofthe action if a second frontwere created, but he also was cognizant of the role the United States plays andwhat influence this country exerts in questions of major strategy. Without inany way minimizing the risks entailed by a second front action this summer, Mr. Molotov declared his governmentwanted to know in frank terms what position we take on the question of a second front, and whether we wereprepared to establish one. He requested a straight answer.

  The difficulties, Mr. Molotov urged, would notbe any less in 1943. The chances ofsuccess were actually better at present while the Russians still have a solidfront. “If you postpone your decision,” he said, “you will have eventually to bear the bruntof the war, and if Hitler becomesthe undisputed master of the continent, next year will unquestionably be tougher than this one.”

 The President thenput to General Marshall the query whether developments were clear enough so that we could say to Mr.Stalin that we are preparing a second front. “Yes,” replied the General.The President then authorized Mr. Molotov to inform Mr. Stalin that we expectthe formation of a second front this year.

Official American PressRelease

Issued by the White House,June 11, 1942

  The People’s Commissarof Foreign Affairs of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Mr. V. M.Molotov, following the invitation of the President of the United States ofAmerica, arrived in Washington on May 29 and was for some time the President’sguest.  This visit to Washington afforded an opportunity for a friendlyexchange of views between the President and his advisers on the one hand andMr. Molotov and his party on the other.  Among those who participated inthe conversations were:  The Soviet Ambassador to the United States, Mr.Maxim Litvinoff; Mr. Harry Hopkins; the Chief of Staff, General George C.Marshall; and the Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet, Admiral ErnestJ. King. Mr. Cordell Hull, Secretary of State, joined in subsequentconversations on non-military matters.

  In the course of the conversations fullunderstanding was reached with regard to the urgent tasks of creating a secondfront in Europe in 1942.  In addition, the measures for increasing andspeeding up the supplies of planes, tanks, and other kinds of war materialsfrom the United States to the Soviet Union were discussed.  Also discussedwere the fundamental problems of cooperation of the Soviet Union and the UnitedStates in safeguarding peace and security to the freedom-loving peoples afterthe war.  Both sides state with satisfaction the unity of their views onall these questions. 

  At the conclusion of the visit thePresident asked Mr. Molotov to inform Mr. Stalin on his behalf that he feelsthese conversations have been most useful in establishing a basis for fruitfuland closer relations between the two governments in the pursuit of the commonobjectives of the United Nations.

Official Soviet PressRelease

711/6111/1 : Telegram.  The translation of thistelegram was sent on June 13, 1942, to Secretary of State Hull by AmbassadorLitvinov.  It was transmitted to President Roosevelt on June 17.

The People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union (Molotov) toPresident Roosevelt


London, June 12, 1942.

  Before returning to my country Iallow myself once more to express to you, Mr. President, the great satisfactionI feel in having reached a full understanding concerning the urgenttasks connected with the creation of a second front in Europe in 1942 forspeeding up the rout of Hitlerite Germany and concerning co-operation of ourcountries in the post-war period in the interests of all freedom-lovingpeoples. 

  Please accept my sincere gratitudefor the cordial reception and hospitality offered to us by you, Mr. President,and the Government of the United States of America, and my best wishes to youpersonally and to the people of the United States of America.
 Vyacheslav Molotov

No matter what kind of paper writing service you need, we’ll get it written. Place Your Order Now!
× How can I help you?