Klavdia Nikolaeva

A Just War1

Source: The Labour Monthly, Vol. 24, May 1942, No. 3.
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2008). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

COMRADES, every honest human being, man and woman alike, should understand that the war of freedom-loving peoples of the U.S.S.R., Great Britain and the Allies is a just war for the complete rout of the German bandits, for the liberation of the enslaved peoples from the yoke of Hitlerite Germany.

When the German bandits attacked the Soviet Union, they had not properly considered what exactly the land of Soviets was, or the character of our people. But our people are possessed of a firm and determined character. If an enemy attacks our country, then the whole people and our valiant Red Army fight and continue to fight the enemy mercilessly, wipe out and continue to wipe out the enemy, so that all desire to invade our Soviet land will be knocked out of them for all time.

The German invaders wanted to have a war of annihilation, and they have indeed got it. And may the German people reproach themselves for allowing Hitler and his band to invade foreign lands.

The German invaders have forgotten that our Soviet people are possessed of an indomitable will for victory. Under the wise guidance of the great army leader, Comrade Stalin, our troops are pressing forward wiping out the enemy hordes. Liberating our Soviet soil before the eyes of our people, they are raising up again the burned towns and villages. Thousands of bodies of peaceful inhabitants, brutally tortured children, raped and tortured women! Plunder, rapine, treasures of culture and monuments of the past desecrated by the bestial paws of the Hitlerites!

They came like the Black Plague. They came and drank our blood, seized our cattle and burned our homes. They outraged young and old alike.

“They dragged your wife from her homestead with their filthy brigand hands,

Tortured her to unconsciousness and, in the morning . . . good-bye . . . they finished her off!”

In these words of our poet, Isakovsky, is expressed all the barbarity, the mockery of the German brigands against the population of our motherland, against our women, against the wealth which was the fruits of our labors.

We have proof of these words in numerous documents written by the German bandits themselves. This is what Senior-Corporal Tanrittel writes:—

The more you kill, the easier it becomes. To-day I helped to clear up a camp. We shot 82 people in all. Among them was a beautiful woman. We took her off to a barn; she bit and scratched. Forty minutes later we shot her.

And here is what another brigand, Lieutenant Tafna, writes:—

The Russians have turned out to be devils; we have to bind them up. I liked all this fuss at first, but now that I’m bitten and scratched all over I adopt simpler methods—use my revolver. This cools them off. Just between ourselves an incident happened here unprecedented elsewhere. A Russian girl blew up herself and Senior-Lieutenant Gross. Now we strip them naked and make a proper search; then, afterwards, they just vanish, leaving no trace.

What a store of insolence, shamelessness, foulness and bestiality these brutes have! One German soldier, Heinz Muller, in whom a spark of human consciousness broke through all these brutalities, wrote to his sweetheart:—

I curse the day I was born a German. I am horrified at the life in the German Army in Russia. Immorality, plunder, violence, murder. Old people, women and children are being annihilated. Simply murdered. That is why the Russians defend themselves with such extraordinary courage.

The German rulers do everything to prevent such letters from reaching the German people, sweethearts, wives and mothers.

I want to appeal not only to you, but to all women in Great Britain. Nature endowed us women with fine feelings of motherhood, and it is natural that every woman, irrespective of her nationality, political convictions, religious faith and social status, should guard these noble feelings.

Is it possible that the women of Germany do not know that Hitler has taken their children from them and trained them to be brigands, branded with the swastika and ordered them to kill, rape and plunder!

Can it he that these mothers and wives do not know that by order of Hitler and his generals, their husbands, sons, brothers are perpetrating such unprecedented outrages?

All this is bringing nearer the doom of the German brigands. The German people have covered themselves with shame, with a shame that will go down in the history of the German people as the shameful page in the black period of Hitler’s power.

The land is groaning under the horrors which the German invaders bring in their train. History will never forget this. History has pronounced its verdict and the Soviet people, together with all freedom-loving peoples of the world, will carry this sentence into execution.

In the grave days of war, the women of the Soviet Union have understood perfectly well the role they have to play, and they greet all women who are aware of their position and of the part they have to play in the struggle against Hitlerism. To-day, when our motherland is in danger, trillions of Soviet women on all sectors of the rear and the front are selflessly working shoulder to shoulder with their menfolk in defence of their magnificent motherland for the rout of the German barbarians.

Soviet women have displayed tremendous heroism at the front as nurses. Soviet women understand full well that for victory over the enemy, tanks, planes, guns, machine guns, shells and all essential armaments are necessary. And so, equally with the men, they are working on production, taking the places of those who go into the Red Army.

There can be no war without armaments; everybody without exception should understand this. Some people understand war as being a man’s business; this is wrong. The women should labour especially in wartime when it is a question of defending the motherland, of helping the army fighting for the liberation of peoples from under Hitlerite tyranny. Soviet people are confident of victory and we Soviet women, together with the whole of the Soviet people, are confident of victory and do our utmost to help forge victory over the enemy.

And we want you and all the people of Great Britain to be filled with the same hatred for the accursed enemy of all mankind, Hitlerism, as we are, and with the same confidence in victory as we are. For this we must work hard; we must strengthen to the utmost the ties of friendship between peoples.

Long live the friendship of the peoples of Great Britain and the U.S.S.R.!



1. From the speech delivered by Madame Nikolaeva to the Conference called by the London Trades Council at the Empress Stadium, London, on January 25, 1942.