In 1945 The U.S. Navy Secretly Delivered 180 Warships To The Soviets To Help Them Invade Japan

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Image: United States Navy

It’s 1945 and the U.S. commander at the Cold Bay military base in Alaska awaits a detachment of new personnel. The men duly arrive on March 23 – but they are not Americans. They are, in fact, Soviets. And their arrival signals the start of one of the most extraordinary episodes of American-Soviet co-operation of WWII.

Image: Hans Sönnke

After entering the Second World War in 1941 the Soviet Union and America fought as allies against the Germans. WWII itself had actually started in 1939. However, both countries had remained neutral for the first couple of years of the war.

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Image: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

But the neutrality that the two countries shared in common was eventually to be shattered. The Soviet Union didn’t join the war at first because of a secret treaty it had signed with the Germans. This was known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. The two nations signed the agreement in late August 1939 – not long before WWII hostilities broke out.

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