The article is devoted to the process of preparing the ancient history volumes of The World History under the aegis of the Soviet Academy before World War II. Despite considerable efforts that were made in 1937–1941, the planned volumes were never released. The authors attempt to identify the main factors that played a role in this. In this paper they provide a general survey of the Soviet historical science and community of ancient historians in the prewar period and focus on the problems of managing the process of writing and proofreading of the “ancient” volumes. The authors suggest that the basic problem was in the divergence of interests between the most significant historians who controlled the process of creating manuscripts for publication. Vasiliy Struve just slowed down the preparation of the volume on the Ancient Orient, but Alexander Tyumenev refused to work on volumes on the history of Ancient Greece. The only way out was centralization which lead to creation of the ‘united command’, which included A.V. Mishulin, A.B. Ranovich and S.A. Zhebelyov. Moscow became the management centre, but S.A. Zhebelyov, a greatly respected member of the Academy from Leningrad, took control over the editorial process.