How serious was the situation on the Eastern Front in 1942?

Notes from a cabinet meeting between Prime Minister Churchill and senior commanders and politicians, November 1942

Catalogue ref: CAB 65/28

Extract a

-MOST SECRET-
NO CIRCULATION
W.M (42) 162nd CONCLUSIONS.
Monday. 30th November, 1942.
THE PRIME MINISTER read to the War Cabinet a very cordial [friendly] telegram which he had received from M. Stalin, dated 28th November, in reply to a telegram from himself dated 24th November.

Extract b


M. Stalin had referred to the paragraph in the Prime Minister’s telegram in which he had stated that by building up a strong American Army and Air Force in Great Britain and making continuous preparations along our South-Eastern and Southern coasts kept the Germans pinned in the Pas de Calais [area of France closest to the English coast]. M. Stalin hoped that this did not mean that the Prime Minister had changed his mind with regard to his promise, given in Moscow, to establish a Second Front [another front against the Germans as well as in the USSR] in Europe in the Spring of 1943.
The Prime Minister said that the changed situation made it all the more incumbent upon us [made it his duty] to start a Second Front in Europe in 1943. Our present activities in the Mediterranean, important though they were, could only be regarded as an inadequate contribution compared with the efforts which Russia was making.