Soviet WW2 propaganda and the Allies’ war effort

The Allied war effort in WW2 was the area where Soviet propaganda always observed factual accuracy. However, it was always framed as an auxiliary chapter, incomparable to the role of the USSR. Information about the lend-lease was patchy, and presented in such a way where only specialists could assess its significance.

The guidelines for the Soviet propaganda concerning the Allies and their contribution to the victory in WWII were rather unchanged throughout the whole post-war history:

  • The outcome of the war was decided by the USSR, with some help from the Allies. Their fear of Hitler made them overcome their previous anti-Sovietism. (But not for long).
  • The whole thing was called The Great Patriotic War 1941–1945. WWII before that was a separate war between Germany and the Capitalist France and Great Britain who unsuccessfully had tried to direct the German aggression toward the USSR. The Western front was opened in Bretagne in 1944, not in France 1939.
  • There was some delivery of weapons, equipment and food, on a commercial basis, called lend-lease. Many British and American men died transporting it over the Atlantic. We appreciate their sacrifice.

Below, you see a typical Soviet propaganda poster about the Allied effort in WWII at the bottom of my posting. The Soviet soldier takes the central, most prominent place, the American and British are sort of escorting him to battle, or trying to cover behind his back. No sign of anything suggesting the lend-lease deliveries.

The lend-lease itself was not a secret. But it was largely reduced to footnotes and short secondary chapters in the history books. The whole scale of it, especially the food component of the help, became known to the public first in the late 1980s, right before the USSR collapsed.

If my memory serves me right, my dad mentioned once or twice Soviet posters in English that were made in the USSR celebrating the British military transports to Arkhangelsk. They were intended for display in places visited during the war by the Allied diplomats and military. So far, I haven’t seen any of them.

Picture: “The Red Army, together with the armies of our allies will break the back of the Fascist beast (Iosif Stalin)“.

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