Historical Review. The Hitlerite pretext of saving the world from communism

We are printing below an extract from the chapter on the Second World War from the book The Great Conspiracy (1946) by Michael Sayers and Albert E. Kahn.

None of the incidents or dialogue in The Great Conspiracy has been invented by the authors. The material has been drawn from various documentary sources which are indicated in the text or listed in the Bibliographical Notes.

***

Another illustration of the crimes of the real enemies of the peoples of the world — field of skeletons from Japanese massacre at Nanking, China in 1937.

The Second World War began in 1931 with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria on the pretext of saving Asia from Communism. Two years later, Hitler overthrew the German Republic on the pretext of saving Germany from Communism. In 1935 Italy invaded Ethiopia to save it from “Bolshevism and barbarism.” In 1936 Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland; Germany and Japan signed the Anti-Comintern Agreement; and German and Italian troops invaded Spain on the pretext of saving it from Communism.

In 1937 Italy joined Germany and Japan in their Anti-Comintern Agreement; Japan struck again in China, seizing Peiping, Tientsin and Shanghai [Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai — TML Ed.]. The following year, Germany seized Austria. The Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis was formed “to save the world from Communism.”

Addressing the Assembly of the League of Nations in September 1937, the Soviet Foreign Minister Maxim Litvinov said:

We know three states which in recent years have made attacks on other states. With all the difference between the regimes, ideologies, material and cultural levels of the objects of attack, all three states justify their aggression by one and the same motive — the struggle against Communism. The rulers of these states naively think, or rather pretend to think, that it is sufficient for them to utter the words “anti-Communism,” and all their international felonies and crimes will be forgiven them!

Under the mask of the Anti-Comintern Agreement, Germany, Japan and Italy were marching towards the conquest and enslavement of Europe and Asia.

Two possible courses faced the world: unity of all nations opposed to the Nazi, Fascist and Japanese aggression and the halting of the Axis war menace before it was too late; or disunity, the piecemeal surrender to aggression, and inevitable Fascist victory. The Axis Propaganda Ministries, the agents of Leon Trotsky, French, British and American reactionaries all combined in the international Fascist campaign against collective security. The possibility of unity against aggression was attacked as “Communist propaganda”; dismissed as a “utopian dream”; assailed as an “incitement to war.” In its place was offered the policy of Appeasement, the scheme of turning the inevitable war into a united onslaught against Soviet Russia. Nazi Germany made the most of this policy.

The British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, the hero of appeasement, said collective security would divide Europe into “two armed camps.”

  • The Nazi newspaper Nachtausgabe declared in February 1938:

We know now that the English Premier, like ourselves, regards Collective Security as nothing but nonsense.

Speaking in Manchester on May 10, 1938, Winston Churchill replied:

We are told that we must not divide Europe into two armed camps. Is there then to be only one armed camp — the Dictators’ armed camp and a rabble of outlying peoples, wandering around its outskirts, wondering which of them is going to be taken first and whether they are going to be subjugated or merely exploited?

Philippe Pétain, leader of the collaborationist French Vichy regime, and Adolf Hitler, October 1940 in Montoire-sur-le-Loir, France.

Churchill was called a “war-monger.” …

In September 1938, the policy of Appeasement reached its culmination. The Governments of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Great Britain and France signed the Munich Pact — the anti-Soviet Holy Alliance of which world reaction had been dreaming since 1918.

The Pact left Soviet Russia without allies. The Franco-Soviet Treaty, cornerstone of European collective security, was dead. The Czech Sudetenland became part of Nazi Germany. The gates of the East were wide-open for the Wehrmacht.[1]

“The Munich Agreement,” wrote Walter Duranty in The Kremlin and the People, “seemed to mark the greatest humiliation which the Soviet Union had suffered since the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.”

The world awaited the Nazi-Soviet war.

Returning to England, waving a scrap of paper in his hand, with Hitler’s signature on it, Neville Chamberlain cried:

“It means peace in our time!”

Twenty years before, the British spy Captain Sidney George Reilly had cried: “At any price this foul obscenity which has been born in Russia must be crushed…. Peace with Germany! Yes, peace with anybody!… Peace, peace on any terms — and then a united front against the true enemies of mankind!”

On June 11, 1938, Sir Arnold Wilson, Chamberlain’s supporter in the House of Commons, declared:

Unity is essential and the real danger to the world today does not come from Germany or Italy … but from Russia.

But the first victims of the anti-Soviet Munich Pact were not the Soviet peoples. The first victims were the democratic peoples of Europe. Once again, the anti-Soviet facade covered a betrayal of democracy.

Canadian communists and anti-fascists fought in the Internationalist Mackenzie-Papineau Brigade during the Spanish Civil War.

In February 1939, the British and French Governments recognized the Fascist dictatorship of Generalissimo Franco as the legitimate government of Spain. In the last days of March, after two and a half years of epic, agonizing struggle against overwhelming odds, Republican Spain became a Fascist province.

On March 15, Czechoslovakia ceased to be an independent state. Nazi Panzer divisions rumbled into Prague. The Skoda munitions works and twenty-three other arms factories, comprising an armaments industry three times as great as that of Fascist Italy, became Hitler’s property. The pro-Fascist General Jan Sirovy, one-time leader of the Czech interventionist armies in Soviet Siberia, handed over to the German High Command the arsenals, storehouses, a thousand planes and all the first-rate military equipment of the Czechoslovakian Army.

On March 20, Lithuania surrendered its only port, Memel, to Germany.

On Good Friday morning, April 7, Mussolini crossed the Adriatic and invaded Albania. Five days later, King Victor Emmanuel accepted the Albanian crown.

From Moscow, even as Hitler was moving into Czechoslovakia, Stalin warned the appeasement politicians of England and France that their anti-Soviet policy would end in a disaster for themselves. Stalin spoke in Moscow on March 10, 1939, before the Eighteenth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

  • Nazis invade Prague, Czechoslovakia, March 15, 1939.

The undeclared war, said Stalin, which the Axis powers were already waging in Europe and Asia, under the mask of the Anti-Comintern Pact, was directed not only against Soviet Russia but also, and now in fact primarily, against the interests of England, France and the United States.

“The war is being waged,” said Stalin, “by aggressor states, which in every way infringe upon the interests of the non-aggressive states, primarily England, France and the U.S.A., while the latter draw back and retreat, making concession after concession to the aggressors … without the least attempt at resistance and even with a certain amount of connivance. Incredible but true.”

The reactionary politicians in the Western democracies, particularly in England and France, said Stalin, had rejected the policy of collective security. Instead, they still dreamed of an anti-Soviet coalition camouflaged by diplomatic phrases like “appeasement” and “non-intervention.” But this policy, said Stalin, was already doomed. Stalin added:

… certain European and American politicians and newspaper writers, having lost patience waiting for ‘the march on the Soviet Ukraine,’ are themselves beginning to disclose what is really behind the policy of nonintervention. They are saying quite openly, putting it down in black and white, that the Germans have cruelly ‘disappointed’ them, for instead of marching farther east, against the Soviet Union, they have turned west, you see and are demanding colonies. One might think that the districts of Czechoslovakia were yielded to Germany as the price of an undertaking to launch war on the Soviet Union, and that now the Germans are refusing to meet their bills….

“Far be it from me,” said Stalin, “to moralize on the policy of non-intervention, to talk of treason, treachery and so on. It would be naive to preach morals to people who recognize no human morality. Politics is politics, as the old, case-hardened bourgeois diplomats say. It must be remarked, however, that the big and dangerous political game started by the supporters of the policy of non-intervention may end in a serious fiasco for them.

The Soviet Union still wanted international co-operation against aggressors and a realistic policy of collective security; but, Stalin made clear, such co-operation must be genuine and wholehearted. The Red Army had no intention of becoming a cat’s-paw for the appeasement politicians of England and France. Finally, if the worst came, the Red Army was confident of its own strength and of the unity and loyalty of the Soviet people. As Stalin put it:

… in the case of war, the rear and front of our army … will be stronger than those of any other country, a fact which people beyond our border who love military conflicts would do well to remember.

But Stalin’s blunt, significant warning was ignored.

In April 1939, a poll of British public opinion showed that 87 per cent of the English people were in favour of an Anglo-Soviet alliance against Nazi Germany. Churchill saw the Anglo-Soviet rapprochement as “a matter of life or death.” In a speech on May 27, Churchill sharply declared:

If His Majesty’s government, having neglected our defenses, having thrown away Czechoslovakia with all that Czechoslovakia means in military power, having committed us to the defense of Poland and Roumania, now rejects and casts away the indispensable aid of Russia, and so leads in the worst of ways into the worst of wars, they will have ill-deserved the generosity with which they have been treated by their fellow countrymen.

On July 29 David Lloyd George backed up Churchill’s pleas with these words:

Mr. Chamberlain negotiated directly with Hitler. He went to Germany to see him. He and Lord Halifax made visits to Rome. They went to Rome, drank Mussolini’s health and told him what a fine fellow he was. But whom have they sent to Russia? They have not even sent the lowest in rank of a Cabinet minister; they have sent a clerk in the Foreign Office. It is an insult…. They have no sense of the proportion or of the gravity of the whole situation when the world is trembling on the brink of a great precipice….

The voices of the British people and of English statesmen like Churchill and Lloyd George went unheeded.

British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain shakes hands with Hitler after treacherously signing the Munich Pact in 1938.

“A hard and fast alliance with Russia,” observed the London Times, “would hamper other negotiations.”…

As the summer of 1939 drew to a close and war in Europe loomed ever nearer, William Strang, a minor Foreign Office official whom Chamberlain had sent to Moscow, remained the only British representative carrying on direct negotiations with the Soviet Government. Public pressure forced Chamberlain to make another show of negotiations with Russia. On August 11, a British military mission arrived in Moscow to conduct joint staff talks. The British mission had traveled from London on a thirteen-knot vessel, the slowest possible means of transport. When the mission arrived, the Russians learned it had no more authority than Strang to sign any agreement with the Soviet Government….

Soviet Russia was to be isolated and left alone to face a Nazi Germany passively, if not actively, supported by the Munich minded governments of Europe.

Joseph E. Davies later described the choice that the Soviet Government was forced to make. Writing to President Roosevelt’s advisor, Harry Hopkins, the former Ambassador to the Soviet Union stated on July 18, 1941:

From my observations and contacts, since 1936, I believe that outside of the President of the United States alone no government in the world saw more clearly the menace of Hitler to peace and the necessity for collective security and alliances among non-aggressive nations than did the Soviet government. They were ready to fight for Czechoslovakia. They cancelled their non-aggression pact with Poland in advance of Munich because they wished to clear the road for the passage of their troops through Poland to go to the aid of Czechoslovakia if necessary to fulfill their treaty obligations. Even after Munich and as late as the spring of 1939 the Soviet government agreed to join with Britain and France if Germany should attack Poland or Roumania, but urged that an international conference of non-aggressor states should be held to determine objectively and realistically what each could do and then serve notice on Hitler of their combined resistance…. The suggestion was declined by Chamberlain by reason of the objection of Poland and Roumania to the inclusion of Russia….

During all the spring of 1939 the Soviets tried to bring about a definite agreement that would assume unity of action and co-ordination of military plans to stop Hitler.

Britain … refused to give the same guarantees of protection to Russia with reference to the Baltic states which Russia was giving to France and Britain in the event of aggression against Belgium or Holland. The Soviets became convinced, and with considerable reason, that no effective, direct and practical, general arrangement could be made with France and Britain. They were driven to a pact of non-aggression with Hitler.

Twenty years after Brest-Litovsk, the anti-Soviet politicians of Europe had again forced Soviet Russia into an undesired, self-defensive treaty with Germany.

On August 24, 1939, the Soviet Union signed a Non-aggression Pact with Nazi Germany.

Note

1. On September 24, 1938, with the Nazis moving on Czechoslovakia, the leading editorial in the Socialist Appeal, New York Trotskyite newspaper declared: “Czechoslovakia is one of the most monstrous national abortions produced by the labors of the infamous Versailles conference…. Czechoslovakia’s democracy has never been more than a shabby cloak for advanced capitalist exploitation…. This perspective necessarily entails the firmest revolutionary opposition to the Czechoslovakian bourgeois state, under any and all circumstances.”

Under such pseudo-revolutionary slogans, the Trotskyites throughout Europe and America carried on an incessant campaign against the defense of small nations from Axis aggression and against collective security. As Abyssinia, Spain, North and Central China, Austria and Czechoslovakia were invaded one after another by Germany, Italy and Japan, the members of Trotsky’s Fourth International spread throughout the world the propaganda that collective security was an “incitement to war.” Trotsky asserted “the defense of the national State” was really “a reactionary task.” In his pamphlet, The Fourth International and the War, which was used as basic propaganda material by the Trotskyites in their fight against collective security, Trotsky wrote:

“The defence of the national State, first of all in Balkanized Europe — is in the full sense of the word a reactionary task. The national State with its borders, passports, monetary system, customs and the army for the protection of customs has become a frightful impediment to the economic and cultural development of humanity. Not the defence of the national State is the task of the proletariat but its complete and final destruction.”

Trotsky’s followers and sympathizers in Europe and America conducted a bitter struggle against the Popular Front in France, the Spanish Republican Government and other patriotic, anti-Fascist mass movements which were trying to achieve national unity within their own countries and collective security agreements with the Soviet Union. The Trotskyite propaganda declared these movements would only involve their countries in war. “The Stalinist version of the United Front,” declared C.L. James, a leading British Trotskyite, “is not unity for action but unity to lead all workers into imperialistic war.”

Trotsky himself ceaselessly “warned” against the “dangers” involved in an Axis defeat at the hands of the nonaggressor nations. “A victory of France, of Great Britain and the Soviet Union … over Germany and Japan,” Trotsky declared at the Hearings in Mexico in April 1937, “could signify first a transformation of the Soviet Union into a bourgeois state and the transformation of France into a fascist state, because for a victory over Hitler it is necessary to have a monstrous military machine…. A victory can signify the destruction of fascism in Germany and the establishment of fascism in France.”

In this way Trotsky and his fellow propagandists worked hand-in-glove with the appeasers and with the Axis Propaganda Ministries to persuade the people of Europe that collective security was war-mongering and that these agencies attempting to achieve it were “Stalinist” tools.

(The Great Conspiracy, Michael Sayers and Albert E. Kahn,Chapter 22: The Second World War 1946)

Read more

This Day. The Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact, 1939

 

 

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