Anyone familiar with the history of WW2 will know that the Germans hoped for and the Russians feared the British and Americans in 1944/45 might make a separate peace with Hitler and even join together with Germany and fight the Russians.
The facile answer is that the Germans needed something to hope for when all other hope was lost and the Russians were simply paranoid.
It might also be said that neither dictatorship was equipped to understand that such a thing would be impossible to sell to an electorate even supposing a democracy's leadership wished it.
So my question isn't why might the notion of a separate peace have arisen in Moscow or Berlin, but rather, did the Americans or British give any cause at all to encourage the Germans & alarm the Russians. Were there any secret papers, or diplomatic initiatives which hinted at a separate peace?
I mean, apart from the fact the British and Americans met, planned, collaborated, shared intelligence etc separately from the Russians, which, yes, was a problem for the Soviet Union but still a long way from even coming close to concluding a separate peace with Germany and jointly turning their guns on the Russians.
So far as I am aware the British and Americans never wavered from the doctrine of "unconditional surrender" agreed in 1943 and had never the remotest intention of joining forces with Germany and driving the Russians out.
How did many Germans and some Russians get it so wrong?
Updated with sources identifying those Germans who believed in or sought a separate peace:
- Himmler sought to bargain with Jewish lives in exchange for a separate peace [Secret Intelligence and the Holocaust: Collected Essays by Gerhard L. Weinberg, David Bankier]
- Canaris and other German officers
- Donitz and the rest of the Flensburg government [Hitler, Donitz, and the Baltic Sea 1944-1945 by David Grier]
- Donitz and Jodl
- Individual SS officers hoped to exploit tensions between the western Allies and the Soviet Union to open negotiations for a separate peace (Holocaust Museum website)
- Walter Schellenberg, SS General [The Routledge Companion to Nazi Germany by Roderick Stackelberg]
- Otto Ohlendorf, SS-General Felix Steiner, and SS-General Richard Hildebrandt (interrogation of Ohlendorf by British intelligence)