Race to Victory (2020): S01E02 – An Unholy Alliance


Introduction

This series reveals how and why the central alliance between Great Britain, the United States and The Soviet Union was formed leading into World War II.

Outline

7:48 am on 07 December 1941. The US naval base at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii is attacked by 350 Japanese planes. They sink four American battleships – half the US fleet. In just two hours, they also destroy 188 aircraft and kill more than 2,000 Americans.

The majority of Americans did not want to be caught up in another world war. Roosevelt had won a third presidential campaign in 1940 promising ‘Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.’ Throughout 1940 and 1941, Roosevelt and Churchill had worked together to win victory over Nazi Germany, whilst maintaining American neutrality. As Churchill grew more frustrated that the US would not actually join the war, Roosevelt negotiated the ‘Lend-Lease Act’ supplying Britain with tanks, aircraft, ships, weapons, clothing and food.

In August 1941, Churchill crossed the Atlantic Ocean and secretly met Roosevelt face to face for the first time in Newfoundland. The meeting resulted in the Atlantic Charter being signed, setting out the British and US goals for the period following the war. Churchill hoped that America would now finally join the fight. But he was wrong.

Meanwhile in Eastern Europe, the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact between the Soviet Union and Germany was reduced to dust, when three million Nazi troops rolled across the Russian border in June 1941. The German forces headed towards Moscow, then changed tack – closing in on Leningrad which they surrounded, laying siege to the city for two and a half years. Stalin was desperately in need of new allies.

Then on 07 December 1941, the US naval base Pearl Harbour was unexpectedly attacked by the Japanese, catapulting America into the war and bringing the conflict into the Pacific.

On 08 December, America declared war on Japan. And three days later, the US also declared war on Germany and Italy. Churchill finally had what he wanted.

This mutual desire to defeat the fascist powers at all costs brought Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin together in an alliance, despite their vastly different ideologies. On New Year’s Day 1942, representatives of Britain, the US and USSR signed the United Nations Declaration, pledging to join hands to defeat the Axis powers. The ‘Big Three’ was born.

Race to Victory Series

You can find a full index of Race to Victory here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 15 May 2020.
  • Running Time: 60 minutes (with adverts).
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

 

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