The Great Powers and the Dardanelles

September 26, 1944

Report Outline
Russia, Britain, Turkey, and the Dardanelles
Dardanelles Control Between Two Wars
Turkish Neutrality in World War Ii
The Dardanelles in Wax and Peace

Russia, Britain, Turkey, and the Dardanelles

Soviet russia will emerge from the present war as one of the three strongest world powers and the dominant power in eastern Europe. At the end of World War I she was one of the weakest of the major powers. Her statesmen had no place at the Peace Conference at Versailles, where new states were carved out of her territory, and a cordon sanitaire was laid along her border to protect western Europe against the spread of Bolshevism. In 1915, the Dardanelles had been promised to Tsarist Russia in a secret treaty with France and Great Britain; it was expected at that time that Russia would make a major contribution to ultimate victory for the Allies. This and the other secret treaties of the Allies were made public by the Soviet government soon after it came into power in November, 1917. At that time the Soviet government specifically renounced any claim to the Turkish Straits or to Constantinople; both it declared should remain under Turkish sovereignty.

The Dardanelles in Postwar Settlements

Settlement of the problem of the Dardanelles, which has plagued foreign offices for three centuries, will be a necessary part of any adjustment of the conflicts of interests in eastern Europe which have lain back of both world wars. What the attitude of a victorious Russia toward that problem will be is one of the uncertainties of the period immediately ahead.

The Soviet government's envoy at Ankara visited the Turkish foreign office in August, 1941, shortly after the Nazi invasion of Russia, and pledged continued acceptance of Turkish sovereign rights in the Dardanelles area. Foreign Minister Eden later announced in Parliament that both Russia and Great Britain had given assurances to Turkey that they had “no aggressive intentions or claims in respect to the Straits.” There have been recent signs, however, of a deterioration in the good relations heretofore maintained by Moscow with the nationalist government at Ankara, and also of British dissatisfaction with the continued Turkish policy of neutrality in World War II.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
World War II Aftermath
Dec. 2009  Rewriting History
Dec. 18, 1981  Europe's Postwar Generations
Apr. 06, 1949  Occupation Feeding
Jun. 12, 1946  Compromise
May 22, 1946  Treaties of Alliance
May 01, 1946  European Peace Settlements
Apr. 17, 1946  International Information
Nov. 10, 1945  Nationalization
Sep. 26, 1944  The Great Powers and the Dardanelles
Feb. 23, 1944  International Cartels
Sep. 04, 1942  World Organization After the War
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Regional Political Affairs: Europe