The Second World War
On September 1, 1939, Nazi mechanized divisions invaded Poland at seven points. Two days later, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany. Within two weeks, the Polish regime, which under the influence of the anti-Soviet “Colonels’ clique” had allied itself with Nazism, refused Soviet aid and opposed collective security, fell to pieces, and the Nazis were mopping up the scattered remnants of their former ally.
On September 17, as the Nazi columns raced across Poland and the Polish Government fled in panic, the Red Army crossed the prewar Polish eastern border and occupied Byelorussia, the western Ukraine and Galicia before the Nazi Panzers could get there. Moving swiftly westward, the Red Army occupied all the territory which Poland had annexed from Soviet Russia in 1920.
“That the Russian armies should stand on this line was clearly necessary for the safety of Russia against the Nazi menace,” declared Winston Churchill in a radio broadcast on October 1. “An Eastern Front has been created which Nazi Germany does not dare assail. When Herr von Ribbentrop was summoned to Moscow last week it was to learn the fact, and accept the fact, that the Nazi designs upon the Baltic states and upon the Ukraine must come to a dead stop.”
The advance of the Red Army to the west was the first of a series of moves by the Soviet Union counterbalancing the spread of Nazism and designed to strengthen Soviet defences in preparation for the inevitable showdown with the Third Reich….
During the last week in September and the first days in October, the Soviet Government signed mutual assistance pacts with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. These agreements specified that Red Army garrisons and Soviet airports and naval bases were to be established in the Baltic States.
There began immediately a wholesale deportation of the Nazi Fifth Column in the Baltic area. Within a few days 50,000 Germans had been deported from Lithuania, 53,000 from Latvia and 12,000 from Estonia. Overnight, the Baltic Fifth Columns so labouriously built up by Alfred Rosenberg suffered a devastating blow, and the German High Command lost some of its most strategic bases for the contemplated attack on the Soviet Union.
Russo-Finnish War, 1939
But to the north, Finland remained as a potential military ally of the Third Reich.
The most intimate working relationship existed between the German and the Finnish High Commands. The Finnish military leader, Baron Karl Gustav von Mannerheim, was in close and constant communication with the German High Command. There were frequent joint staff talks, and German officers periodically supervised Finnish army maneuvers. The Finnish Chief of Staff, General Karl Oesch, had received his military training in Germany, as had his chief aide, General Hugo Ostermann, who served in the German Army during the First World War. In 1939, the Government of the Third Reich conferred upon General Oesch one of its highest military decorations ….
Political relations between Finland and Nazi Germany were also close. The Socialist Premier Risto Ryti regarded Hitler as a “genius”; Per Svinhufrud, the wealthy Germanophile who had been awarded the German Iron Cross, was the most powerful behind-the-scenes figure in Finnish politics.
With the aid of German officers and engineers, Finland had been converted into a powerful fortress to serve as a base for the invasion of the Soviet Union. Twenty-three military airports had been constructed on Finnish soil, capable of accommodating ten times as many airplanes as there were in the Finnish Air Force. Nazi technicians had supervised the construction of the Mannerheim Line, a series of intricate, splendidly equipped fortifications running several miles deep along the Soviet border and having heavy guns at one point only twenty-one miles from Leningrad. Unlike the Maginot Line, the Mannerheim Line had been designed not only for defensive purposes but also for garrisoning a major offensive force. As the Mannerheim Line neared completion in the summer of 1939, Hitler’s Chief of Staff, General Halder, arrived from Germany and gave the massive fortifications a final inspection ….
During the first week of October, 1939, while still negotiating its new treaties with the Baltic States, the Soviet Government proposed a mutual assistance pact with Finland. Moscow offered to cede several thousand square miles of Soviet territory on central Karelia in exchange for some strategic Finnish islands near Leningrad, a portion of the Karelian Isthmus and a thirty-year lease on the port of Hango for the construction of a Soviet naval base. The Soviet leaders regarded these latter territories as essential to the defence of the Red naval base at Kronstadt and the city of Leningrad.
By the end of November, the Soviet Union and Finland were at war. “The Finnish nation,” declared the Finnish Government, “is fighting for independence, liberty and honor…. As the outpost of Western civilization, our nation has the right to expect help from other civilized nations.”
The anti-Soviet elements in England and France believed that the long-awaited holy war was at hand. The strangely inactive war in the west against Nazi Germany was the “wrong war.” The real war lay to the east. In England, France and the United States, an intense anti-Soviet campaign began under the slogan of “Aid to Finland.”
Prime Minister Chamberlain, who only a short time before had asserted his country lacked adequate arms for fighting the Nazis, quickly arranged to send to Finland 144 British airplanes, 114 heavy guns, 185,000 shells, 50,000 grenades, 15,700 aerial bombs, 100,000 greatcoats and 48 ambulances. At a time when the French Army was in desperate need of every piece of military equipment to hold the inevitable Nazi offensive, the French Government turned over to the Finnish Army 179 airplanes, 472 guns, 795,000 shells, 5100 machine guns and 200,000 hand grenades.
While the lull continued on the Western Front, the British High Command, still dominated by anti-Soviet militarists like General Ironside, drew up plans for sending 100,000 troops across Scandinavia into Finland, and the French High Command made preparations for a simultaneous attack on the Caucasus, under the leadership of General Weygand, who openly stated that French bombers in the Near East were ready to strike at the Baku oil fields.
Day after day the British, French and American newspapers headlined sweeping Finnish victories and catastrophic Soviet defeats. But after three months of fighting in extraordinarily difficult terrain and under incredibly severe weather conditions, with the temperature frequently falling to sixty and seventy degrees below zero, the Red Army had smashed the “impregnable” Mannerheim Line and routed the Finnish Army.
Hostilities between Finland and the Soviet Union ended on March 13, 1940. According to the peace terms, Finland ceded to Russia the Karelian Isthmus, the western and northern shores of Lake Lagoda, a number of strategic islands in the Gulf of Finland essential to the defence of Leningrad. The Soviet Government restored to Finland the port of Petsamo, which had been occupied by the Red Army, and took a thirty-year lease on the Hango peninsula for an annual rental of 8,000,000 Finnish marks.
Addressing the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R. on March 29, Molotov declared:
The Soviet Union, having smashed the Finnish Army and having every opportunity of occupying the whole of Finland, did not do so and did not demand any indemnities for its expenditures in the war as any other Power would have done, but confined its desires to a minimum … We pursued no other objects in the peace treaty than that of safeguarding Murmansk and the Murmansk railroad ….
The undeclared war of Nazi Germany against Soviet Russia went on ….
On the day that Finnish-Soviet hostilities ceased, General Mannerheim declared in a proclamation to the Finnish Army that “the sacred mission of the army is to be an outpost of Western civilization in the east.” Shortly afterwards, the Finnish Government began to construct new fortifications along the revised frontier. Nazi technicians came from Germany to supervise the work. Large armament orders were placed with Sweden and Germany. German troops began arriving in considerable numbers in Finland. The Finnish and the German commands set LP joint headquarters and held joint army maneuvers. Scores of Nazi agents swelled the staffs of the German Embassy at Helsinki and the eleven consulates around the country….
End of the “phoney war”
The lull in the west came to a sudden end in the spring of 1940. On April 9 German troops invaded Denmark and Norway. Denmark was occupied in a single day without resistance. By the end of the month the Nazis had crushed organized Norwegian resistance, and the British troops, which had come to aid the Norwegians, were abandoning their few precarious footholds. A puppet Nazi regime was set up in Oslo under Major Vidkun Quisling.
On May 10, Chamberlain tendered his resignation as Prime Minister, having brought his country to possibly the most desperate situation in its long history. That same day, as the King asked Winston Churchill to form a new cabinet, the German Army invaded Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg. By May 21, the Germans had smashed their way through crumbling opposition, reached the Channel and cut off the Allies in Flanders.
Panic swept through France. Everywhere, the Fifth Column was at work. French troops were deserted by their officers. Whole divisions found themselves without military supplies. Paul Reymud told the Senate that French Army chiefs had committed “unbelievable errors.” He denounced “traitors, defeatists and cowards.” Dozens of top-ranking French officers were suddenly arrested. But the arrests came too late. The Fifth Column was already in control of France.
The former French Minister of Aviation, Pierre Cot, later wrote in Triumph of Treason:
… the Fascists had their own way in the country at large and in the Army. The anti-Communist agitation was a smoke screen behind which was being prepared the great political conspiracy that was to paralyze France and facilitate Hitler’s work …. The most efficient instruments of the Fifth Column …. were Weygand, Pétain and Laval. At the Council of Ministers which was held at Cangé, near Tours, on June 12, 1940, General Weygand urged the government to end the war. His principal argument was that a Communist revolution had broken out in Paris. He stated that Maurice Thorez, General Secretary of the Communist Party, was already installed in the Presidential Palace. Georges Mandel, Minister of the Interior, immediately telephoned to the Prefect of Police in Paris, who denied Weygand’s statements; there was no disturbance in the city, the population was quiet …. As soon as they had seized power amid the confusion of the collapse, Pétain and Weygand, with the help of Laval and Darlan, hastened to suppress all political liberties, gag the people, and set up a Fascist regime.
With every hour, confusion mounted and the debacle grew, as the French soldiers fought on desperately, hopelessly, and the world watched the betrayal of a nation on a scale never witnessed before ….
From May 29 through June 4, the British Army evacuated its troops from Dunkirk, heroically rescuing 335,000 men.
On June 10, Fascist Italy declared war on France and England.
On June 14, Paris fell, and Pétain, Weygand, Laval and the Trotskyite Doriot became the Nazi puppet rulers of France.
On June 22, an armistice between Germany and France was signed in the Compiègne Forest in the very same railroad car in which Marshal Foch had dictated the terms of surrender to the defeated Germans twenty-two years before.
As France crumbled, the Red Army again moved swiftly to strengthen the defences of the Soviet Union.
In the middle of June, forestalling an imminent Nazi Putsch in the Baltic States, Soviet armoured divisions occupied Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
On June 27, the Red Army moved into Bessarabia and northern Bukovina, which Rumania had snatched from the Russians after the Revolution.
The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany now faced one another on their future battle lines.
Toward the end of July, the Nazis launched mass air raids over London and other English cities, pouring down tons of explosives upon the civilian population. The raids, which increased in ferocity throughout the next month, were intended to terrify and paralyze the whole nation, and swiftly bring an already gravely weakened England to her knees.
But with Churchill as Prime Minister profound changes were taking place within Great Britain. The confusion and division which had resulted from Chamberlain’s leadership had given way to determination and growing national unity. Across the narrow Channel the British people saw the workings of the Fifth Column. Churchill’s Government acted swiftly and with resolution. Scotland Yard and British Intelligence swooped down on Nazi agents, British Fascists and leaders of secret Fifth Column intrigues. In a sudden raid on the London headquarters of the British Union of Fascists, the authorities seized important documents and arrested many Fifth Columnists. The leader of the British Fascist Party, Sir Oswald Mosley, was arrested in his own apartment. Sensational arrests followed. John Beckett, a former Member of Parliament and founder of the anti-Soviet and pro-Nazi People’s Party; Captain A. H. Ramsay, Tory Member of Parliament for Peebles; Edward Dudley Elan, an official in the Ministry of Health, his wife Mrs. Dacre Fox, and other prominent Pro-Nazis and Fascists were arrested. A Treachery Bill was passed, providing the death penalty for traitors.
Showing that it had learned well the lesson of France and of the Moscow Trials, the British Government in July 1940 announced the arrest of Admiral Sir Barry Domvile, former Director of Naval intelligence. Domvile, a friend of Alfred Rosenberg and of the late General Max Hoffmann, had been involved in most of the anti- Soviet conspiracies since 1918. At the time of his arrest, Domvile was the head of a secret pro-Nazi society in England called The Link which was organized with the aid of Heinrich Himmler, Chief of the Gestapo ….
Assured against treachery from within, the British people faced the ordeal of the Nazi air blitz without flinching, and defended themselves. On the single day of September 17, 1940, the RAF downed no less than 185 German planes over England.
Meeting such fierce and unexpected resistance, and mindful of the Red Army on his eastern borders, Hitler paused at the Channel. He did not invade the British Isles
The year was 1941. An air of tense expectancy hung over the whole of Europe as Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, the two greatest military powers in the world, prepared to lock in battle.
On March 1, the Germans entered Sofia, and Bulgaria became a Nazi base.
On April 6, after a popular revolt had overthrown Regent Prince Paul’s Yugoslavian regime and Nazi agents were forced to flee the country, the Soviet Government signed a non-aggression pact with the new Yugoslavian Government. That same day, Nazi Germany declared war on Yugoslavia and invaded it.
On May 5, Stalin became Premier of the U.S.S.R.
At four o’clock on the morning of June 22, 1941, without any declaration of war, Hitler’s tanks, air force, mobile artillery, motorized units and infantry were hurled across the borders of the Soviet Union on a stupendous front stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea.
Later that morning Goebbels broadcast Hitler’s war proclamation. It read in part:
German people! At this moment a march is taking place that, as regards extent, compares with the greatest the world has hitherto seen. United with their Finnish comrades, the fighters of the victory of Narvik are standing in the Northern Arctic. German divisions commanded by the conqueror of Norway, in co-operation with the heroes of Finnish freedom, under their marshal, are protecting Finnish soil. Formations of the German eastern front extend from East Prussia to the Carpathians. German and Rumanian soldiers are united under Chief of State Antonescu from the banks of the Pruth along the lower reaches of the Danube to the shores of the Black Sea. The task of this front, therefore, no longer is the protection of single countries, but the safeguarding of Europe and thereby the salvation of all.
Italy, Rumania, Hungary and Finland joined the Nazi war on Soviet Russia. Special Fascist contingents were raised in France and Spain. The united armies of a counterrevolutionary Europe had launched a Holy War against the Soviets. The Plan of General Max Hoffmann was being tested in action ….
On November 11, 1941, the American Undersecretary of State, Sumner Welles, said in a speech at Washington:
Twenty-three years ago today, Woodrow Wilson addressed the Congress of the United States in order to inform the representatives of the American people of the terms of the Armistice which signalized the victorious conclusion of the First World War …. Less than five years later, shrouded in the cerements of apparent defeat, his shattered body was placed in the grave beside which we are now gathered ….
The heart-searching question which every American citizen must ask himself on this day of commemoration is whether the world in which we have to live would have come to this desperate pass had the United States been willing in those years which followed 1919 to play its full part in striving to bring about a new world order based on justice and on “a steadfast concert for peace.” … A cycle in human events is about to come to an end …. The American people … have entered the Valley of Decision.
On December 7, 1941, without warning, Japanese bombing planes and battleships attacked the United States of America. Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy declared war on the United States ….
On December 9, in an address to the American people, President Roosevelt said:
The course that Japan has followed for the past ten years in Asia has paralleled the course of Hitler and Mussolini in Europe and Africa. Today, it has become far more than a parallel. It is collaboration so well calculated that all the continents of the world, and all the oceans, are now considered by the Axis strategists as one gigantic battlefield.
In 1931, Japan invaded Manchukuo — without warning. In 1935, Italy invaded Ethiopia — without warning.
In 1938, Hitler occupied Austria — without warning.
In 1939, Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia — without warning. Later in 1939, Hitler invaded Poland — without warning. In 1940, Hitler invaded Norway, Denmark, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg – – without warning.
In 1940, Italy attacked France and later Greece — without warning.
In 1941, Hitler invaded Russia — without warning.
And now Japan has attacked Malaya and Thailand — and the United States — without warning.
It is all of one pattern.
The masks were off. The secret war of the Axis Anti-Comintern against Soviet Russia had merged with the world war against all free peoples.
On December 15, 1941, in a Message to Congress, President Roosevelt declared:
In 1936 the Government of Japan openly associated itself with Germany by entering the anti-Comintern Pact. This pact, as we all know, was nominally directed against the Soviet Union; but its real purpose was to form a league of fascism against the free world, particularly against Great Britain, France and the United States.
The Second World War had entered its final decisive phase as a global conflict between the forces of international Fascism and the united armies of progressive mankind.
3. In June 1940 the Institute for Propaganda Analysis in New York City reported: “The American press told less truth and retailed more fancy lies about the Finnish war than about any recent conflict.”
4. At 10:30 P.M. on the night of Saturday, May 10, 1941, a German Messerschmitt plane plummeted earthward over Lanarkshire, Scotland, and buried its nose in a field near Dungavel Castle, property of the young Duke of Hamilton. A former employee on the Duke’s estate saw the flare of the fallen plane and then the slow, white plume of a descending parachute. Armed with a pitchfork he ran out to find a man lying on the ground with a broken ankle. The man was Rudolph Hess, Adolf Hitler’s Deputy.
“Take me to the Duke of Hamilton,” said Hess, speaking in English.“l have come to save humanity!”
Hess hoped through Hamilton and his friends to gain British Tory backing for the Nazi attack on Soviet Russia.
Sir Patrick Dollan, Lord Provost of Glasgow, Scotland, said on June 11, 1941:
“Hess came here … in the belief that he could remain in Scotland two days, discuss his peace proposals with a certain group and be given a supply of petrol and maps to enable him to return to Germany and tell them the results of his conversation.”
Referring to the Hess Mission in his speech of November 6, 1941, Stalin declared:
“The Germans knew that their policy of playing upon the contradictions between the classes in separate states, and the contradictions between these states and the Soviet Union, had already produced results in France, the rulers of which had allowed themselves to be intimidated by the spectre of revolution, had refused to resist, and terror-stricken had placed native land under the heel of Hitler. The German-fascist strategists thought the same thing would occur with Great Britain and the United States of America. The notorious Hess was sent to Britain by the German fascists for this very purpose, in order to persuade the British politicians to join the general campaign against the U.S.S.R. But the Germans gravely miscalculated. Rudolph Hess became a prisoner of the British Government.”
(The Great Conspiracy, Michael Sayers and Albert E. Kahn,Chapter 22: The Second World War, 1946)