STALINISM—BEFORE AND DURING WORLD WAR II
By Albert Weisbord
A funny thing happened to the Communist Parties on their way to the seizure of world power. They started to quarrel among themselves. The quarrel began among those communist parties which had already seized state power in their own countries. The Russians under Stalin denounced the Yugoslavs as Tito “revisionists”, a word as dirty to Russian communists as the word “Bolsheviks” is to conservative Republicans in the United States. Too weak to strike back at the Russians, the Tito Yugoslavs kicked the Albanian communists under Hoxha, who were the smallest of the then pro-Russian groups, and called them sectarian dogmatists. Anxious to break up the constellation of states gathered around Russia, the United States rushed to the support of Yugoslavia and poured in economic and military aid on a large scale. Reverberations of the Tito-Stalin conflict were felt all through central and eastern Europe and events in Greece, Hungary, Poland, and elsewhere took place that soon made the Russians retreat from any effort they may have dreamed up of crushing Tito by military force.
As the Russians retreated, it was now their turn to be denounced as “revisionists”, by the more aggressive and militant Chinese communists under Mao Tse-tung, on whose side there also rallied the ruling communist parties in North Korea under Kim, and in North Vietnam, under Ho Chi-min. In Europe the communist regimes in East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria and Rumania, directly under the massive pressure of the Russians, swung behind Stalin’s successor, Khrushchev, as all of them turned to make peace with the Titoists. These smaller communist regimes, smarting under the deals which Russian domination had imposed on them, were not at all averse to moving in the same direction as Tito, especially if they could now hope to obtain some of the money from the U.S. treasury that Tito had received. In Europe, only Albania, cut off from Russia, supported the Chinese communist position. In a counterattack against the Chinese and other Asian communist regimes around Mao Tse-tung, the Russians denounced the whole bunch as a pack of adventurers and dogmatic sectarians.
The so-called communist movement is a world movement in which the various communist parties occupy different stages of power. In the center are those parties which have seized power entirely or mainly through their own strength and action. They are, first of all, the communist parties in the Soviet Union and in China, and then the communist parties in Yugoslavia, North Korea, and North Vietnam. (We might include the Albanians here.) Latterly, in a sudden breakthrough a social explosion erupted in Cuba, the group taking power moved toward the Soviet block and called itself a socialist (communist) organization.
Next to this central ring of “heroic” parties are those parties which have been handed state power through the aid of the Red Army. These last parties include those in East Germany, Hungary, and Rumania, whose populations were actively on the side of the Hitler nazis, those in Poland and Czechoslovakia whose peoples were actively on the side of the Soviet Union during World War II, and that of Bulgaria where the nation was reluctantly dragged into the war on the side of the Nazis but which would not fight Russia. Because of these historical differences, for the Russian Red Army to move into Hungary, East Germany, or Rumania is immensely easier than for it to move into a Poland, or a Czechoslovakia, not to speak of a Yugoslavia. (For all practical purposes, Outer Mongolia can be considered as much an independent State to the Russians as Tibet to the Chinese).
The third category of communist parties consists of those acting in relatively advanced countries now playing, however, a relatively secondary role in world affairs. Here must be mentioned Italy and France (and Japan) where there are influential communist parties, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, where the communist parties are of little significant importance, although these countries are becoming industrialized, and West Germany and Great Britain, where these parties are really insignificant. In the United States, the communist party has become so shattered and discredited that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is hard put to whip up a “Red scare” as a means of frightening Congress to give it a fat budget.
After Yalta and the gentleman’s agreement by Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt to divide Europe East and West along the Elbe River, the communists of France and Italy were sternly forbidden to seize state power; after Stalin’s break with Tito, the Greek communists were callously sacrificed by their “comrades” and were crushed.
Nevertheless, the attitude of these important communist organizations that are not yet in power but which dominate the working class of such industrial countries as Italy, France, and Japan is of very great importance. Potentially, these parties are even more important than those which have actually seized power, because the conquest of power by the working class depends above all on how the working classes of western Europe and the United States are impelled to act.
These communist parties are torn by the following political dilemma, reflecting a socioeconomic dilemma. The political dilemma consists in the fact that these parties are thoroughly infiltrated and dominated on the one hand, by the secret counter-revolutionary elite corps established by every bourgeois state for the purpose of devitalizing the given communist party as a revolutionary force and utilizing it for the state’s own nationalist purpose. On the other hand, the same communist party is thoroughly infiltrated by agents of Moscow or of Peking who supply money and talent so as to use it as instruments for their own purposes, whether nationalist or internationalist as the case may be. It is very difficult for such a party to have an independent leadership with a will of its own.
The political dilemma hides the socioeconomic dilemma that while the communist party pretends to be a revolutionary based upon the propertyless proletariat, it is in reality thoroughly dominated by intellectual elements from the middle class groups, supported by large layers of clerical, technical, and skilled workers. Where the country is industrialized in an era of prosperity, with sufficient jobs and social security for all persons needing them, the communist organization tends to become merely a wordy entity mouthing imprecations but capable of accomplishing very little serious work.
Is it possible for world communism to succeed without the active participation of the mass of workers in the advanced countries of Western Europe and North America? And until this mass of workers is actually involved in the struggle for power can the debates between the Russians and the Chinese be anything but smoke screens to hide their own nationalist desires? Here is the crux of the matter: the debate over “revisionism” staged by the Russians and Chinese cannot be of real vital importance to the decisive workers of the West because the debaters are, relatively speaking, on the outer circles of the economic world. Certainly, Russia and China are important, but they are not as important as Western Europe and the United States, despite their greater total population.
If the debaters are not in the real center of economic gravity, their debates tend to become unreal. They hide their real desires with all sorts of phony formulations and fraudulent sophistry, all in the name of “Marxism-Leninism” interpreted in a freakish and even comic manner. China will accuse Russia of “revisionism” of “Marxism-Leninism” simply as a mask to hide its disappointment that Russia has withdrawn its technical and material aid in the matter of atomic bomb development for China. Russia will charge Tito with “revisionism” of “Marxism-Leninism” simply because he refused to adapt Yugoslav planning to fit in with Russia’s plans as Moscow wanted him to; or to standardize the weapons in his army so that they would fit in with Russia’s intention to become the sole source of his military supplies, etc., etc.
It would be a mistake to call these charges and counter-charges “ideological” or “theoretical” arguments, since the ideas are patently fabricated by self-interest and the theories fished up at will. Neither party really means a word of what it is saying; it is simply their method of carrying on an attack with words. Each party knows exactly what the other is really striving for and wishes to counter the attack without revealing to the bourgeois world what it is all about. So discussion becomes a strange case of semantics in which generalities are bandied about and mock discussions arranged while the real machiavellian intrigues go on behind the scenes. We can not judge their thinking by what they say, we must judge both by what they do, taking also into account their “deeds” of speech.
And all this is supposed to be conducted by honest, simple proletarian parties that do not believe in bourgeois falsehoods and maneuverings, but like to pose as going bluntly to the point. This almost unbelievable charade raises a number of questions among which are:
1. Why are these workers’ groups quarreling when they are supposed to be united in the face of their common, capitalist, bourgeois, imperialist, enemies?
2. What are the disputes really about?
3. Why are the real issues hidden in this manner? We caution the reader that the trail will be as bizarre as that taken by Alice in Wonderland as she jumped down the hole after the white rabbit.
The reader should be further warned that although the words uttered by these humpty-dumpties can mean whatever the humpty-dumpties want them to mean, one must not conclude that the fight itself is to be laughed at. On the contrary, the struggles among these communist parties is of the utmost gravity and importance to all of us since they may affect our very lives and the future of the entire world for many years to come. Behind the charade of words there is being enacted a deadly drama in which we ourselves may soon be called upon to play a part.
STALINISM—BEFORE AND DURING WORLD WAR II
By Albert Weisbord
Russian Communist Nationalism
The Great Patriotic War
In 1941 the long awaited showdown between the Nazis and the Bolsheviks finally broke out as Hitler made a direct military thrust at the Soviet Union the whole length of the line from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Now the whole world was to see how a real Bolshevik and “guaranteed” Marxist-Leninist regime fights a war against a capitalist power, such as the Soviet Union had to do against Nazi Germany. Many questions were awaiting answers, such as:
1. Would bolshevism call on the workers of the world to aid it? (It was Karl Marx and Frederick Engels who raised the slogan: “Workers of the World Unite, You Have Nothing to Lose but Your Chains, You have a World to Gain!”) (*1)
2. Would bolshevism call on the workers of the enemy country to transform imperialist war into civil war, to turn their guns on their officers and overthrow their hateful capitalist system, and would the Bolsheviks promise to help them create a real socialist republic where war and exploitation would be no more? (Lenin did) (*2)
3. Armed with the theory and practice of Marxism, had bolshevism prepared for the inevitable struggle and would it fight courageously to prevent the enemy from invading the “holy” and “sacred” precincts of the “workers’ fatherland"? (Marx had declared the workers had no fatherland; internationalism had taught that patriotism was the last refuge of the scoundrel.) (*3)
4. Would Bolshevik leaders carry out the policy of open diplomacy exposing the secret capitalist deals for the partitioning of the world into spheres of interest which inevitably laid the basis for new wars? (Trotsky did at Brest Litovsk) (*4)
5. Was the bolshevist army really a proletarian and democratic one, with officers close to and fused with their soldiers? (Trotsky, Tito, Mao Tse-tung, and Castro, all abolished army caste practices and procedures)(*5)
6. Would the Bolshevik party rally the national minorities within the country by exposing and destroying all manifestations of “great power” chauvinism and thus win these minorities over to fight valiantly side by side with the communist forces? (This was the traditional policy of Lenin) (*6)
7. When the bolshevist army took enemy prisoners, would it indoctrinate them to become revolutionary communists so that they could return home to organize communist revolts in their native lands? (As prisoners of war, Tito, Bela Kun, German World War prisoners, and many others became so indoctrinated under Lenin and Trotsky.) (*7)
8. Should the bolshevist army conquer the territory of the enemy, would Bolshevik policy agree to incorporate the new country as an equal member of the Soviet Union sharing all resources and economies together as brothers? (This was the original ideal of the Soviet Union) (*8)
As events transpired, however, it became clear that if one did these things one would NOT be a Bolshevik “realist” who, by self-acclaim, is the best of all “realists” in the whole wide world. Instead, one has to do the following:
A. In preparation for the coming war you must destroy every effective communist organization in every country, including your own.
B. Now that revolutionary workers parties have been destroyed all over the world as far as possible, you are free to maneuver and to “play off” one hostile imperialism against another in order to get the best possible deal in secret pacts.
C. In further preparation for the war, make sure that the populations of new territories seized by you are so conditioned that they will rush to help your enemies. In order to induce the Nazis further to think they will win the war easily, make no preparations to defend the new territories and reject all information available to you as to the exact time and place the enemy is going to attack. Of course, just before the war starts, annihilate most of the talented communist officers in the army so that in the course of the war you can transform the army on a czarist basis. And just as naturally drop all ideas of uniting the workers of the world, or of calling on the German worker-soldier to turn his guns against the nazi officer.
D. Use the war to fight communism elsewhere, as in China, Yugoslavia, Albania, Greece. Guarantee to your allies that whatever territories your armies may win the working people and toilers of these territories will not become part of the Soviet Union but, on the contrary, these territories would be mercilessly looted for the benefit of “holy” and “sacred” Russia.
In short, Bolshevik “realism” may be defined as acting in the name of Marxism-Leninism, counter to all the principles enunciated by Marx and Lenin. After all, who knows how Marx or Lenin would have acted in World War II? Marx was only a “cosmopolitan” who did not know Russia, and Lenin only a Russian who had not been able to solve any problems outside his own country—as witness the communist insurrectionary failures when he was the leader of the Communist International in Bavaria, Hungary, Germany, Poland, etc.
A. In preparation for the coming war you must destroy every effective communist organization in every country including your own. You do it for many and various reasons:
1. Because you want to be recognized by the United States which makes this a condition as well as rendering innocuous certain communist parties irritating it elsewhere;
2. Because you want to make a united front with capitalist nations which may be opposed to nazi Germany, which is the enemy you are supposed to be prepared against, and to appease these allies you must make their communist parties subservient to such capitalists;
3. Because you want to make a deal with nazi Germany itself so as to induce Hitler to fight the other allies in your united front and leave you alone for the time being, and to do this you must help the nazis in other countries of Europe as well;
4. Because you want to seize certain territories on your own account and you are afraid that the communist parties in such territories, say Poland, might object and rally the people against you;
5. Because you believe it would be better and safer for Russia to deal with the enemies of the workers than with the workers themselves, say in China;
6, Because you are convinced—at least, that is what you state—that because of your previous methods of control, given communist parties are completely dominated by agents of the capitalist class, and these parties must be rebuilt from scratch;
7. Because the communist party in your own country is too independent and must be chastised by the secret police; because the communists in the army might threaten the party leadership of which you are the head, and so these communists must be destroyed, etc, etc, etc.
Fantastic? Impossible? Unbelievable? Consider merely a small part of the evidence that can be brought to substantiate each of the seven points above:
1. Between World War I and World War II the protracted equilibrium which had tolerated a Soviet Union in a capitalist world had begun also to engender illusions that the soviets could coexist peacefully for an indefinite period with the rest of the world. All that was needed was for the soviets to leave other nations alone; they would return the complement. International relations now assumed the form of seeking trade relations with capitalist nations. In line with this policy the entire diplomacy of the Soviet Union was reconstructed. In the days of Lenin, who was the leader both of the Russian State and of the Communist International, revolutionary communism and Russian diplomacy went hand in hand. Joffe, Karakhan, Litvinoff, and Trotsky, all were then primarily propagandists for the world revolution in their relationship with the diplomats of other countries. This was bound up with the belief that the welfare of Russia was dependent upon the development of the world revolution.
With the rise of Stalin, the Russian State first became divorced from the Communist International, and then the Communist International was made to play a role subservient entirely to the particular whims of Russian diplomacy. Now other countries began to recognize Russia and to enter commercial relations with her. These countries stipulated that Russia must not engage in revolutionary propaganda and in proportion as the Russians became better business men international relationships would improve.
Thus in the eyes of the Russian bureaucrats the capitalist world was not so vicious after all and if Russia behaved herself she could manage to divide the capitalist forces, make business deals with some, and secure their aid. Essentially, of course, this was a theory of class collaboration because, in trying to obtain economic favors from world capitalism, the Russians would be forced to refuse to help the workers abroad in their struggles against such capitalism. This, in turn, would strengthen the power of capitalist countries to increase their demands upon the Soviet Union.
An excellent example of all this was shown when Russia was recognized by the United States. President Roosevelt insisted that Soviet Russia outstrip all precedent in the way of guaranteeing that no revolutionary propaganda would be spread abroad. Hitherto Russia had consented to agreements that the officials of the Russian State would not propagandize for the overthrow of governments willing to sign treaties with Russia, but had never offered to control the Communist International, a supposedly independent body. Stalin, however, now was ready to end the fiction of Comintern independence from Russian national policies and openly to announce its liquidation.
Point four of the document recognizing Russia therefore declared that Russia “was not to permit the formation or residence in its territory of any organization or group which has as its aim the overthrow or the preparation for the overthrow of or bringing about by force of a change in the political or social order of the whole or any part of the United States, its territories or possessions.” (*9)
In this document, then, Russia guaranteed not only what her own agents would not do, but what she would not let any body of people do on Russian soil. As the document reads, no group of refugees or any body of men whatever could now gather on Russian soil, six thousand miles away from the United States, and hold a meeting which would discuss the inevitability of a social change by force in the United States. The United States here was controlling not only acts within its own borders but the actions of private people in Russia itself.
The conditions tied to American recognition of Russia were stricter than the laws of the United States governing its own subjects. In the United States it has been constitutionally permissible for a soap-box orator to call for the overthrow of the American social system. He could not urge the overthrow of the government, but he could demand the abolition of capitalism and the profit system and predict that it would have to come about by violence. The pact signed with Litvinoff by Roosevelt, however, specified that no one in Russia should be allowed to do what could be done in America, namely that no one in Russia could advocate the overthrow by force, or the change by force not only of the American government but of the political order in general, and not only of the political order but of the social older, such as the social system of capitalism, and not only of the United States but of any territory or possession of the United States!
What Stalin had in effect pledged to realize was no less than the liquidation of the Communist International, the liquidation of the Communist Party in the United States and in such countries, as Cuba, considered as territories or possessions of the United States. Naturally, this would also affect the communist parties in all important countries in the world. These parties would in effect be auctioned off to the highest capitalist bidder that would make the necessary political payments to the Soviet Union.
The U.S.-Russian Treaty of recognition was consummated in 1934. In 1935 the Communist International met for its last time. Of course Stalin made no public organizational decision to liquidate for a very good reason: it was necessary for the Russians to use the Communist International as an instrument of control to ensure that the various parties toed the Russian line and to guarantee that the deals made with Russia were actually lived up to. Only in 1943, in the very peak of World War II, was the Comintern formally dissolved, after the West had made it amply clear that the Comintern was a hindrance.
“After war came to Russia and the United States, we pressed upon the Russians the doctrines contained in the Atlantic Charter and the United Nations Declaration, and made it clear that such cooperation was incompatible with any sort of subversive activities within any of the United Nations.” (*10)
The immediate effect of the recognition of Russia by Roosevelt was the striking transformation of the Communist Party of the United States. Before the full effects of the Russian recognition policy had become felt, the position of that party towards Roosevelt and the New Deal had been expressed to the effect that the New Deal “is a sharper turn of the capitalist dictatorship in the United States to war and fascism.” (*11) Even as late as the Eighth Convention of the U.S. Communist Party, the National Industrial Recovery Act was characterized as a strike-breaking move in a trend toward fascism. (*12)
Once Roosevelt had become Russia’s friend, however, a complete change of attitude took place. The independent unions and other organizations controlled by Stalinists which threatened to cause the administration embarrassment were dissolved. Where, in the days of Hoover, there had occurred periodic marches on Washington: hunger marches, farmers’ marches, bonus marches, and what-not, now no big militant demonstrations were staged at the capital of the country. The recognition of Russia was hailed as a great force for peace, as an act that would give many jobs to the workers, etc. (*13) After Roosevelt’s recognition of Russia it was not good policy for Stalinists to attack him too strongly.
But the big pay-off to Roosevelt in those days was to come in Cuba. In 1932 a powerful revolution had broken out in Cuba against the Machado administration in which there was danger that American property would be confiscated. With Russia recognized, at once the Cuban communists changed their whole approach, as history shows.
A brief resume of the situation can be stated as follows: Under Machado, an open military dictatorship had been established which already had taken the lives of over 2,500 people. Behind Machado stood American capital. Ever since the Spanish-American War, the United States had never really relinquished the prize plum of Cuba. By articles II and III of the Platt Amendment, the government to be established in Cuba was forbidden to contract a public debt over the amount it could meet with ordinary revenues. Also, the U.S. was allowed to intervene for the “preservation of Cuban independence, maintenance of government adequate for the protection of life, property, and individual liberty.” (*14) This, of course, meant that the U.S. Government could intervene with its military forces whenever any attempt was made to interfere with the rule of capitalism and the vicious landlordism which controlled the island.
In fact, since 1898, the U.S. literally had dominated the island by means of its armed forces. The first time the army was in occupation from 1898 to 1902; the second time, after the liberal revolution had swept away President Palma, the U.S. army had intervened from 1905 to 1909. Then, during World War I, General Crowder had been sent to occupy the country. Only after World War I ,was the U.S. military control removed, and in 1924 Machado became President dictator of Cuba.
The 1930 depression seriously affected Cuba and its chief industry, sugar. Imports and exports fell more than 80 per cent. Increasingly the Machado government had to resort to the most brutal terror which alienated the entire population and led to violent revolutionary action on the part of students and others. According to the U.S. Consular report: “wages paid in 1932 are reported to have been the lowest since the days of slavery in Cuba.” (*15)
Under such circumstances, not even the power of American capitalism and the highly trained special army of Machado could prevent the revolution. With lightning speed the revolution opened up with student strikes and demonstrations culminating in a general strike by all labor. Machado was overthrown. De Gespedes, his successor, was ousted and the liberal Grau San Martin set up as provisional president. But the workers were in no mood for half-way measures. Immense union organizations were built overnight; the union halls were armed with guns seized in the revolution. The workers advanced the boldest demands for improving their conditions. In the countryside the agrarian workers were seizing the large estates and appropriating the foodstuffs for their own use. The Cuban Revolution reached the position of a dual power existing within the country. The provisional government no longer could control the situation and had to look to the trade union centers where the real power resided. The army had become demoralized and was under the leadership of the sergeants, with the perspective that the sergeants would give way to the soldiers and the revolution be completed.
It is at this juncture that Roosevelt recognized Russia on the condition that communists would not permit anyone to advocate by force the change of social system in any territory or possession of the U.S.A. Listen now to the statement of the Cuban communist Sanini “….the Communist Party of Cuba to striving to do everything possible to avert intervention and to create the greatest possible force for resistance to it, if it nevertheless takes place. But this is only possible by means of concessions to the imperialism of the U.S.A. at the price of which the Cuban toiling masses, under the leadership of the Communist Party, will try to buy off intervention. It is precisely with this aim… the C.P. tries to direct the chief blow of the revolutionary masses above all against the local Cuban ruling classes…. It is precisely with this aim…. that the Communist Party of Cuba considers it inadvisable for the workers to seize the American enterprises…. Precisely with this aim…. the Communist Party of Cuba considers it inadvisable to force ahead the seizure of plantations belonging to American capital, and fights above all for considerable reduction of the rent of this land…. Precisely with this aim ….the Communist Party of Cuba considers it advisable for the workers’ and peasants’ government, if it should be formed, to enter into negotiations with the government of the U.S.A. on the conditions of nationalization of big foreign property….i.e. it allows the possibility of buying out this property. With the same aim the Communist Party of Cuba allows the possibility of retaining American ownership to some extent in this form of concessions…” (*16)
This decision found affirmation in the inspired article of a representative of the Communist Party of the United States (Harry Gaines) who declared: “The Communist Party… will offer to deal with Yankee imperialism on the basis of concessions to avoid armed intervention in the event of the success of the workers and peasants’ regime.” (*17)
The position of Stalinism here was illustrated with obvious bluntness. It was necessary above all to come to an agreement with Roosevelt, the new friend of Russia. To come to this agreement and to prevent the threat of intervention in Cuba from being realized it was also necessary to end the Cuban Revolution. The masses had to be diverted from the line of confiscation of American property with the argument that American intervention could be bought off if American property were protected and concessions given while the real enemy was to be considered local Cuban capitalism. But since American property included most of Cuban property that was of real importance, what the proposal of the communists really meant was to stage a mere political show and not a social revolution. To this effect the Cuban Communist Party offered itself as the willing tool of American imperialism.
In China, the communists had been told to attack above all Japanese imperialism and to win over native Chinese capitalists to a united front; in Cuba, the communists were ordered not to attack American capitalism but only Cuban capitalists, although these local capitalists had no power and influence of any importance. The motivation was clear: In the one case Japan was Russia’s enemy, in the other case, Roosevelt was now considered Russia’s friend. In each case the movement was to be sacrificed to Russia’s temporary diplomatic game. In the case of Cuba the net result was utter defeat for the Cuban revolutionary movement. The next time the revolutionary movement arose in Cuba, IT HAD TO BY-PASS THE COMMUNIST PARTY TO SUCCEED.
2. The same powerful international forces that had led to the recognition of the Soviet Union by the United States, also led the Soviet Union into the League of Nations, precisely at a time when that league was no longer an instrument to prevent the rise of German militarism. Russia could not become part of the League of Nations without objectively adding her weight to its pressure as an organ of world imperialism maintaining a given level of the status quo. It was not enough that Russia had entered a defunct organization effective only as a machine for war and colonialist force against which Lenin and others had thundered; it was now necessary under Stalin, to idealize the whole set-up and to build theories about France and England being real powers for peace.
The military corollary of Russia’s entrance into the League of Nations was soon seen in the creation of the Franco-Soviet Pact on May 15, 1935, in which both France and Russia pledged mutually to assist each other in case of invasion by another country. Prior to this time, Russia had made non-aggression pacts with her capitalist neighbors in which each pledged not to invade the territory of the others, but not mutual assistance pacts. This was the first time that communists had promised to aid some capitalist country if invaded by another imperialist rival. Stalin declared in a signed statement that he understood and fully approved the national defense policy of France in keeping her armed forces at a level required for security. Previously, communists had denounced Franco as a robber imperialist and the Versailles Treaty a robber imperialist treaty; now France was a great force for peace and should be supported against any attack against her.
In their defense of the Franco-Soviet Pact, the Stalinists involved themselves in the whole metaphysical question, when is a country the aggressor and when is it on the defensive? During World War I the opportunist socialists had banged their heads in vain against the wall of that problem, each nationalist socialist group maintaining that it was “their” country that was being attacked. The Germans proved this by referring to the Russian invasion of Germany, the French by pointing at Germany, the English by parading Belgium, the Russians by stressing the invasion of Serbia by Austria, and so on. As a matter of fact, regardless of the form that the world conflict happened to take at any particular moment, the War was the result of the mutual rivalry, and aggressions of all the imperialist powers which these socialists were defending. It became a highly dubious question whether any country was solely on the defense. Who can undertake to say what is defense and what is offence in the jungle world of imperialism where plot and counter-plot is the essence of diplomacy?
To take up the question of defense and offense is to presume that there is an abstract law of international morals, something eternal and holy which all nations must obey. The truth is, there is no such international law, and there can be aggression without invasion and invasion without aggression, both leading to the same ends.
In the case of the Franco-Soviet Pact, since France had allies, would not an attack on one of France’s allies, say Czechoslovakia, be an attack an France itself and would not Russia be pledged to take sides? Soon after the Franco-Soviet Pact the Soviet Union did make another alliance between itself and doomed Czechoslovakia. One cannot say A without saying B, but, of course, the Stalinists honored neither A or B, and perhaps originally never meant to.
So far as our present discussion is concerned, the issue in not merely the question of the Soviet Union signing a military alliance with this or that imperialist and colonialist power but rather what happened to the communist parties in these allied powers as a result of this Pact. As in the case of Russia entering the League of Nations, it was necessary for Stalin to idealize this Pact and to prove there was nothing class collaborationist about it. Later, he would call a special world Congress of the Third International to perform this sleight-of-hand. In the meantime Stalin gave notice to all communist parties that French militarism was now to be supported. Dropped were the charges that France was the arch enemy of Russia, that France had been organizing a White Guard Army of one hundred thousand in Paris for intervention at the proper moment, that France was responsible for the murders of Volkoff and Vorovsky, Soviet diplomats abroad.
But now the Russians were protecting the League of Nations and the status quo which they had previously denounced. The French Communist Party was now ordered to abandon all thought of revolutionary activity, support recruiting for the French Army, to end anti-militarist work, to put down strikes in all munitions, metal, and other factories that might be useful in war time. All this gave tremendous advantage to French militarists who responded to the Russians by a rapid growth of French fascist organizations.
The new policy could not work well in Germany. Previously the German workers had been propagandized that Russia was Germany’s best friend and that Russia would have to fight side by side with the Reichswehr were France to invade Germany. The Germans had been told to continue their attacks upon the Versailles Treaty and the League of Nations as its off-spring, rather than upon the German capitalists. The effect of the Franco-Soviet Pact was to build up nazi counter action in Germany and help destroy the German Communist Party as well.
Having faced the world communist movement with a mass of accomplished facts, the Russian leaders finally convened the Seventh World Congress of the Comintern in 1935. In the days of Lenin, the Communist International had met annually, ever since its foundation in 1919; under Stalin, it met in 1924, then in 1928, after a gap of four years, and then in 1935, after a lapse of seven years. During this last period there had occurred the startling events of soviets in China, revolutions in Spain and in Cuba, the rise of fascism in Europe and its victory in Germany, Austria, and Central Europe, the invasion of China and the conquest of Manchuria by Japan, the development of the deepest economic crisis the world had ever seen, the campaign for liquidation of the “kulaks” in the Soviet Union, tremendous changes in America, etc., but none of these matters had seemed important enough to the Bolsheviks for them to call in the communist parties to a world congress to discuss policies or perspectives.
When, finally, the Communist International did convene, it was clear that it had long been dead as a revolutionary force (Indeed, it had been murdered by the time of the Sixth Congress in 1928). The Congress stated plainly that no longer was proletarian revolution involved but merely the struggle against fascism; the fight was not of workers against capitalists, but of bourgeois democracy against fascism “Today the proletariat in most capitalist countries are not confronted with the alternative of bourgeois democracy or proletarian democracy; they are confronted with the alternative of bourgeois democracy or fascism.” (*18)
The unprecedented decisions of the Seventh Congress could be summed up as follows: First, communists were to unite with democratic capitalists to form People’s Fronts against fascism. In pursuit of this aim, communists could join People’s Front governments and help build up capitalist armies for the defense of democracy. Second, in foreign policies, the Stalinists must support democratic countries against the fascist countries. Third, unions controlled by communists were to be dissolved and the unions return to the fold of the reformist organizations from which they had broken away. Thus, the Red International of Labor Unions could be liquidated. Finally, the communist parties themselves had to form close united fronts with the socialist parties in such a way as to pave the path for organic unity later, even though this would mean that the Communist International in certain countries would then have no official section. In order better to accomplish this task each party was to be given organizational independence. (*19)
The Stalinists went much farther than the mere formation of a People’s Front; they also declared their willingness to become part of a People’s Front government and concluded that in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Belgium, where socialists were in the government, the communists were to support the socialists and the government. In Czechoslovakia the communists were to take a more patriotic and nationalist position. (*20) In England, the communists were to work for a Labour Party Government. In Rumania, Poland, Yugoslavia, and similar countries the communists were to include in their People’s Front wealthy leaders of the reactionary peasants parties, etc. (*21)
The most developed form of the People’s Front was that developed in France. In a series of riots and vast general strikes the militancy of four million French workers had brought the leaderships of both communist and socialist parties together in a Common Front which, with the additions of sections of the Radical Socialist Party, became a People’s Front which rapidly turned into the same type of Union Sacree that had been formed during World War I. One of the leaders of the French Communist Party was to declare: “If the workers, to take Marx’s words, have no fatherland, they, the Internationalists, have something to defend from now on, it is the cultural inheritance of France, it is the spiritual wealth accumulated through all that her artists, her artisans, her workers, and thinkers have produced. “ (*22) On Armistice Day, 1939, L’ Humanite could come out with the slogan: “Long Live the Republican Army.” (*23) By May, 1936, the communists had decided they could vote for all French military appropriations. (*24)
The liquidation of the French Communist Party as an effective revolutionary force went hand in hand with the liquidation of the French Trade Union Center. Now when workers went on strike, both socialists and communist combined to put an end to it. In 1936 the People’s Front became the People’s Front Government with Leon Blum at its head. It was this very government that placed an embargo around revolutionary Spain and contributed greatly to the defeat of the Spanish Republic by Franco. It was this very government that reduced the value of the franc from 20 cents to 4 cents and with the tremendous inflation overwhelming the cost of living, reduced the standard of living of the workers to its lowest point before World War II.
3-4. The destruction of the German Communist Party was a far more difficult task to accomplish than that of the other communist parties. But the Russian Bolsheviks in pursuit of their nationalism did not hesitate to realize it. The Germans had the biggest and most important party in Europe outside of the Russians. They were also in a country that had been defeated in the World War and had been made to feel the consequences of defeat all too sharply. German socialism had been the traditional barrier to revolutionary Marxism while German discipline had built up a set of strong workers’ organizations that could not be crushed easily. To ruin German working class communist organizations would need not only unprecedented brutality by the German rulers but also extreme skill by the Bolshevik “realists". The job was done in several stages.
World War I had resulted both in a defeat for Germany and in a Bolshevik revolution for Russia. The victorious Versailles Powers had then turned their attention to crush that Revolution, but they were too weak, too divided, and too far away from Russia to achieve their ends. They were able, however, to create a cordon sanitaire, or health belt around Russia to quarantine her, composed of the Baltic States, the States of Eastern Europe, and the Balkans. To break this ring through an alliance with Germany became one of the chief aims of communist nationalism under Stalin. Already, in 1922, the Treaty of Rapallo had been signed with Germany to bring the two countries together economically, politically, and militarily. Even at that time one of the leaders of the Comintern, Nikolai Bukharin, was able to declare “There is no principled difference between a loan and a military bloc. I affirm that we are now strong enough to make a military alliance with a bourgeois state in order to crush one capitalist country with the help of another….In a country that has concluded such a military alliance, it is the duty of our comrades to help such a bloc to victory."(*25)
During this period, after the death of Lenin, the line of the Comintern was clearly stated by Bukharin in 1926: “When Germany, defeated and subjugated, reduced to the status of a semi-colonial country, resisted the imperialism of the victorious Entente, in manifestos, declarations, etc., the supreme bodies of the Soviet power publicly declared their sympathy. At this time the Communist Party considered defending the German Fatherland against the imperialism of the victorious Entente.” (*26)
Thus, according to the Stalinist Bolsheviks, Germany after World War I had been reduced to a semi-colonial status and was exploited as a victim of world capitalism. The German workers to be free had to fight not their capitalists but the Versailles Powers, the victorious imperialists who had turned Germany into a semi-colony and who were alone responsible for the misery of the German masses. German workers should revolt against the French in the Ruhr, and Germany should be aided to build up secretly its army again in spite of the prohibitions to this effect found in the Versailles Treaty. Naturally, these ideas fitted in very well with the plan of the Junker militarists and the nascent nazi movement. It is no wonder that the German Army looked with such friendly eyes at the Soviet Union and that the rising fascist movement took on the name “national socialist” and would not fight Russia until the very end as a last and desperate resort.
Stalin’s tool, Radek, was the leader in connecting the Reichswehr with the Soviet Army so that the cadres of the new German Army could be trained and rebuilt and so that Germany could secretly be rearmed. “The Junkers firm built factories at Fili, Samara, and Saratov, and an airfield in the Tambov region. The Hugo Stolzenberg Company constructed a plant to produce Bersol, an explosive salt, and Phosgen and Lost, two types of poison gas. Reichswehr Major Lehman tested submarines in the Baltic and the Black Sea. German officers were sent to Russia to conduct training courses for experts in chemical warfare and for pilots.” (*27)
“Late in 1926 three German-owned ships, the Gothenburg, Artushoff and Kolberg, arrived at Stettin from Russia with a cargo of grenades for the Reichswehr. The longshoremen who unloaded them were paid a special bonus for their silence, and during the period of their work were confined to the dock area.” (*28)
But the United States had not intervened in World War I in order to turn over the heart of Europe to an alliance with Bolshevism and soon enough the advent of the U.S. Young and Dawes Plans and the revision of the Versailles Treaty began to put Germany on its feet again as a world power. There was now stiff competition between the Soviet Union and the United States as to who could best befriend the new Germany. In the field of economics it was clearly the United States, but in the field of politics, since the United States was tied up with its former allies, Great Britain and France, most of the help had to come from Stalinism which had helped Germany rearm and tear up the Versailles Treaty.
The German Communist Party was ordered to join forces with the Nazis in the campaign to win back the Rhineland and the Ruhr. Both Stalinists and nazis made their chief enemy the social-democrats. The Stalinists joined with the nazis in demanding the dissolution of the Prussian parliament. When the nazis came to power large numbers of communists joined them as their “left wing". No revolutionary struggle was made by the Stalinists against the nazi victory.
The climax was reached when the Soviet Union abandoned its alliance with the Western Powers in order to win a series of secret pacts with Hitler in 1939, valid up to the time the Soviet Union was brought into the war. Unfortunately for the Bolshevik “realists” the true story of the Stalin-Hitler deals can not be denied since the Allies as victors in World War II came into full possession of the archives of the Foreign Offices of fascist Italy and nazi Germany, and using the tactics of Lenin and Trotsky for full publicity of secret treaties, revealed the diaries, memoranda, and reports of leading nazi and fascist statesmen regarding their dealings with their counterparts in the Soviet Union.
Years before the Stalin-Hitler Pact was consummated it was common understanding that Stalin was willing to show the nazi-fascists that he was reasonable to make a deal. For example, on January 23, 1937, Galeazzo Ciano, Italian Foreign Minister, reported a conversation between Mussolini and Goering, nazi leader, in which the Duce says: “…Russia has never sent her own troops to Spain. She had confined herself to sending the communists of France, Belgium and Switzerland to join the Reds in Spain.” (*29) This was meant to be proof that Stalin did not intend to get involved in revolution elsewhere.
Already in 1937, in anticipation of the deal with the nazis for the partition of Poland and in order to make such partition as painless as possible, Stalin had ordered the complete annihilation of the Polish Communist Party. Nobody knows who in the Comintern ordered this annihilation, nor was any official reason given at the time, but in the great purge of 1937-1938 “Practically all
Polish Communists who were in Soviet territory at that period were either physically liquidated or sent to various concentration camps…. It is not actually known who was shot and who was spared, but during the purge all the CPP’s leadership disappeared.” “…altogether several hundred active members of the party disappeared in one way or another” (*30) The only leaders who survived were those who could not be reached because they were in Polish prisons at the time! After Poland was divided between Stalin and Hitler the Polish Communist Party members were again carefully screened and all those who were against the Stalin-Hitler Pact exterminated.
Much later, when it was necessary to revive the Polish Communist Party to act as stooges for the Russians, the Polish Communist Party historian, Tadeus Daniszowski wrote in 1948: “The purpose of the dissolution was to eliminate the provocateurs, to separate them from the healthy basic mass of the party. On this foundation, a new party was to be created, Marxist-Leninist in outlook…” (*31) Here is Stalinism in its purist form—not only to murder your comrade but to slander him as well! How remarkable, that after so many years of being under Stalinist tutelage the whole Polish Communist Party should have been so thoroughly infected with agents provocateurs that hundreds of members, including the entire leadership had to be annihilated in a cleansing action! Thus, in one year or so, about ten times as many Polish communists were murdered by Stalin as had been killed by the Polish reactionary government in the entire period between World War I and World War II!
Shortly before the Hitler-Stalin Pact was signed, the German Foreign Office representative Schnurre, reported a conversation held with the Soviet Charge, Astakhov, in which he stated there was a rather extensive discussion about the question of why National Socialism had sought the enmity of the Soviet Union in the field of foreign policy. Moscow understood why domestic communists should be killed, but why fight the Soviet Union? Schnurre answered this complaint of Astakhov by the soothing remark that things would be different now that the Communist Party of Germany had been entirely liquidated and a new policy was being followed by Russia. Said Schnurre: “The importance of the Comintern had been overshadowed by the Politbureau where an entirely different policy was being followed now than at the time when the Comintern dominated. The amalgamation of Bolshevism with the national history of Russia…. had really changed the international face of Bolshevism…. particularly since Stalin had postponed world revolution indefinitely.” (*32)
Not long after the signing of the Pact, Ciano reported a conversation with Hitler and Ribbentrop, Hitler’s Foreign Minister, in which re Ribbentrop: “He got to the point of saying that among the members of the Politbureau and of the Comintern he felt himself as comfortable as amongst the old guard of Nazism or the old squadristi….And when I asked what value one must attach to the Anti-Comintern Pact, he dropped the question saying that the Comintern no longer exists and that Stalin has become in effect the champion of Russian nationalism.” (*33)
Ciano reported on the conversation held with Ribbentrop by Mussolini and himself on March 10, 1940, in which re Ribbentrop: “He has the impression that Russia is not only aiming at, but is even fairly far advanced on the road towards being a national and normal state.” In proof of this Ribbentrop declared that in the central administrative organs of Russia there were no longer any Jews, and continued, as reported: “Stalin had set himself to organize the Russian Empire on the basis of centralism, and that aim he has largely achieved, since nothing now happens in Russia other than what he wishes. To this end he has employed methods which have been current in Russia since olden times…. The Reich Foreign Minister goes on to say that the Political Bureau (Politburo) is made up of authentic Muscovite elements who are no longer interested in other countries and are said, on the contrary, to tend towards separating Russia from the rest of the world.”
“In fact, since the conclusion of the Russian Pact, no further attempt at Soviet interference in German internal affairs has been met with in Germany…. By virtue of the understanding with Russia, Germany has her navy free. Russia is going through a great historical transformation. She has renounced world revolution.” (*34)
Ciano reported on the meeting between Hitler and Mussolini at Brenner Pass March 18, 1940. Said Hitler as reported: “Germany and Russia have no opposing interests; they are economically complementary in every field…. Russia, too, is undergoing a far-reaching evolution and the path Stalin has taken seems to lead to a sort of Slav-Muscovite nationalism and to be a move away from Bolshevism of a Jewish-international character.” (*35)
As Mussolini stated, as reported on July 1, 1941: “It is false to speak of an anti- Bolshevik struggle. Hitler knows that Bolshevism has been non-existent for some time.” (*36)
5. The destruction and annihilation of the Communist Party of China by the Bolsheviks were thwarted by the heroic actions of Mao Tse-tung; but this story in best reserved when the analysis of Chinese Communist Populism is made in another chapter.
6. During the Soviet purges -1928-1939—many communist party leaders were exterminated on grounds of being Trotskyists, Zinovievists, rightwing liquidator anti-partyists, fascist agents, agents provocateurs, etc., etc. The Yugoslav leadership suffered frightful losses before Tito was put in charge by Stalin; in regard to the communist leaders in Hungary and in the Balkans, devastating executions took place repeatedly. For this purpose the trick often used was to lure these leaders into Russia on the pretext they were badly needed in Moscow for important central work where they would be murdered. Sometimes such leaders were quietly denounced to the local authorities who arrested and killed them. During World War II many of the survivors were executed by the Nazi-fascists or by the Stalinists, whoever caught them first. Only a very few were spared by Stalin for later use as puppet government officials.
Of course, communist parties have always been vulnerable to activities of police agents of capitalist governments. Once the danger of communism had become clear, it became a standing rule that wherever and whenever a communist party was formed the government of that country would have to make every effort to infiltrate and control that party and establish its agents as leaders. This was done in Russia repeatedly and with great success by the Czarist regime. It has also been done in the United States.
In some countries, owing to the pressure of events, the communist party may attain power and overthrow the former government in spite of government agents in the ranks and in the leadership of such a party. This happened in Russia and in China. In Russia the head of the Bolshevik faction in the Duma before World War I, one Malinovsky, was found to be a longtime agent of the Okhrana, or Czarist secret police, and was executed when his dossier was discovered. Among the seven comrades of the most important St. Petersburg Bolshevik Party Executive Committee, four were later uncovered as agents of the police. We shall examine the case of Stalin later.
The basic reason why Lenin did not fear the police agent in his midst was his faith in the way his organization was built and functioned. In order to get influence in Lenin’s Party, one had to be constantly tested in struggle as a professional revolutionist, and thus one had to perform a great deal of revolutionary work in order to acquire membership and leadership. An agent of the police, to keep his position and influence, would have to bring in more members into the party than he could cause to be arrested; he would have to make the party grow more than he could destroy it.
In the United States, on the other hand, with its untested, faction-ridden, vulgar leadership, its complete lack of Leninist understanding, its artificial immigrant base, etc., the communist party was particularly vulnerable and the Government was able to place its agents in the very top echelons of the communist party. Such “leaders” as Jay Lovestone (Jacob Liebstein), Wm. Z. Foster, Benjamin Gitlow, Bertram D. Wolf, Kornfeder (Zack), and many others were either government agents from the very beginning or very quickly capitulated and became stool pigeons to testify against communists after World War II, or they were left unexposed to continue from within or because of a deal with Stalin’s security agents. (Wm. Z. Foster, for example, was never really brought to trial by the Government. He always managed to get away with it. He was always spared “on account of his heart” or because he happened not to be present at the meeting raided, etc. And so it was with Liebstein. Gitlow and Zack testified for the F.B.I) The communist party eventually became a magnificent tool in the hands of the government to help destroy world communism and as such a tool under no circumstances would it be destroyed by the U.S. Government.
As agents of the U.S. Government the leaders of the Communist Party U.S.A. could and did perform the following very important tasks:
a) Infiltrate the ranks of the world communist forces, especially inside of Russia, and report in full on all Russia’s plans and methods of operation;
b) Help destroy the effectiveness of world communism by being such unreliable elements that the Russians in disgust would abandon world operations through such parties;
c) Destroy the effectiveness of the Communist Party of the U.S.A. by seeing to it that wrong and impossible programs and policies were adopted and by tearing the party to pieces by constant and unprincipled fighting;
d) Picture the communist party as being a mere Russian nationalist tool rather than a product of American life so that it could more easily be controlled and, when necessary, attacked by the U.S. Government as a “foreign agent";
e) Prevent any other communist organization from arising that might be less controlled by the Government or cause unpredicted trouble;
f) Keep the Government constantly informed as to all members and fellow-travelers and all their actions and policies; distribute party literature through regular Post Office channels so that all such subscribers and receivers could be registered for investigation by the government; adopt the tactics of signed petitions so that the petitioners might also be registered and investigated;
g) Provide the Government with the necessary pretexts to insist that a huge government apparatus be constantly maintained to watch the communist party and their follow-travelers so that with this government apparatus at its command certain groups could control the political life of the nation more firmly;
h) Aid foreign governments friendly to the U.S. to control and destroy the communist movement in those countries also;
i) Assassinate and destroy any revolutionist who could not be controlled by such government agents and informers, etc., etc.
It is clear that from the beginning the Russian communist secret police had understood well enough that practically all their communist parties affiliated to them were under the control of the respective governments. Under Lenin, they took the gamble that under the pressure of historic events erupting from 1917 to 1923 they would be able to wrest control of these parties from the grip of the governments actually controlling them, and that the communist parties elsewhere could achieve the same victories that they had accomplished in Russia. By 1924, with the rise of Stalin, the Russians gave up this hope and realized that most of the communist parties throughout the world, especially the Communist Party U.S.A. were worthless and hopelessly in the hands of such as the F.B.I. and other government agencies.
In regard to these foreign communist parties, the Russians could make a deal with the counter-agents of the various capitalist countries involved somewhat as follows:
a) The controlled communist party would be allowed to function by the Russians so long as that party formally recognized the leadership of Stalin and Russia, no matter how many agents of the government were in the foreign party. The party had to remain a tool for the victory of Stalinism in every field.
b) This party would be allowed to sabotage any resolutions and decisions of the Communist International that might effectively end in revolution or subversion of the foreign government since Stalin meant to betray world revolution.
c) Foreign agents would be allowed to enter Russia as representatives of communism provided Russian agents could be free to work in the capitalist countries within those communist parties.
With such a cynical modus vivendi between Stalinism and the secret service and security police of capitalist nations, naturally it would be very easy for Stalinism to denounce any leader or any foreign party as agents of capitalism, or fascism, or what-not.
7. Naturally, the destruction of the Russian Communist Party itself was the most convulsive task of all. It had to be done early since only by taking control of the Bolsheviks could Stalin restrain the revolution, use the Russian Revolution to crush revolutions elsewhere, and utilize the prestige of bolshevism to destroy effective communism all over the world.
Let us remember that the Russian Revolution had not started as a workers revolution for socialism or even for peace, land, and bread. The February Revolution was initiated by a revolt of the soldiers who were sick of dying at the front under corrupt and inefficient czarist officers. The soldiers were supported by the overwhelming mass of people who were hungry and wanted an end to czarism. Of course, they wanted an end to the war and, of course, they wanted a better distribution of the land on the countryside, but their immediate demands could be stated under the rubric of efficient, national, democratic government. In short, it was a nationalist democratic revolution with social overtones.
As the Revolution advanced it moved from bourgeois nationalism to social nationalism, to socialist nationalism, to communist nationalism, to communist internationalism, as one party after another took the leadership of revolutionary affairs. Eventually the Bolshevik party seized power with the support of the working class and poor peasantry while the country was immediately plunged into a protracted series of bitter civil and national wars. At the end of these wars the working class and its vanguard, the Bolsheviks, found themselves in fact exhausted and unable to pursue the revolution internationally so as to recruit additional forces for extending the revolution abroad so as to protect the Russian Revolution from destruction by superior anti communist forces within and without.
The creation of soviets, with their immense majorities of peasants and peasant-soldiers, had been conceived by the Bolsheviks under Lenin as a form of workers and peasants democratic-dictatorship, in which the working class, as a small minority of the total economic population, could induce the immense majority of toilers to support the drive for international revolution. At the height of the civil war every effort was made to turn the revolution more and more into working class internationalist channels. It was then that the illusion was created that the revolution was not essentially a two-class revolution of peasant property holders and workers but a dictatorship of the proletariat which was allied with the poorest level of the peasantry and which would proceed to stir up international communist revolutions throughout the world.
As the Revolution fell back in retreat and became further and further contained, in essence it turned back towards its original position: international communism became national communism, national communism became communist nationalism. Communist nationalism, however, could not become bourgeois nationalism because the now dominant group was no longer the peasantry which had become partly proletarianized and partly collectivized, but the technicians, engineers, plant managers, and bureaucrats in party, trade union, economic organization, army and State who had their own national places to defend.
International communism in which the Russian Revolution is pictured as the starting point of world revolution was above all represented by Lenin and Trotsky, the two emphasizing different aspects: the first, Russia as the starting point for world revolution; the second, the world revolution as happening to start in Russia. This is the period when Russia is characterized first and foremost as a dictatorship of the proletariat with secondary stress on its dependence upon the peasantry. On the other hand, national communism, quickly becoming communist nationalism, was represented by Stalinism.
Each stage was marked by feverish struggles within the party and drastic effects upon the people. Unknown millions perished in purges, concentration camps and deportations. In the end the voice of the workers was stilled, the communist party was destroyed as a communist entity, the hand of the bureaucrat dominated everything, now represented by the faceless “Junta” of Brezhnev, Kosygin, and company. The fight against Trotsky, starting with the death of Lenin, 1924-1928, marked the defeat of international communism; the crushing of the Zinoviev-Kamenev-Bukharin factions marked the end of national communism 1928-1930; with the physical extermination of the leaders of these factions still within Russia the true period of the dominance of communist nationalism had arrived. (*37)
B. Now that revolutionary workers parties have been destroyed all over the world as far as possible, you are free to maneuver and to “play off” one hostile imperialism against another in order to get the best possible deal in secret pacts. Try very hard to make a deal with the very leader you believe is going to destroy you. Offer him the whole of Europe if he will but grant you some more time and show him that you are sincere by pledging friendship and cooperation, by furnishing him with immense quantities of the sinews of war, by mobilizing all the puppet parties controlled by you in other countries on his behalf and by making only “small” demands for a “small” share of the loot for yourself, such as a “small” piece of Finland, a “small” piece of Rumania, a “small” piece of Poland, the “small” Lithuania, “small” Latvia, “small” Estonia, a “small” piece of Czechoslovakia, a certain freedom in the Dardanelles at Turkey’s expense, a free hand in Persia, etc. This little piece of “realism” will make every Bolshevik glad because it will increase the territory of the “workers” fatherland” and this is all that matters. You can also claim that this extension of the “workers fatherland” will make later invasion by nazi Germany all the more difficult, but at the same time, carried away by this “realism” you can forget to really fortify this territory and you can later weep that you were caught by “surprise” when it was all taken away again by your nazi friends.
When the Hitler-Stalin Pact was consummated August 23, 1939, all parties concerned seemed very happy. “They drank champagne. Stalin proposed a toast in honor of Hitler: I know how much the German nation loves its Fuehrer; I should therefore like to drink to his health.” (*38) Besides a non-aggression pact and a trade pact there was also a secret protocol which split East Europe into spheres of interest: To Russia went Bessarabia, the Baltic States up to Lithuania, and Poland up to the rivers Narew, Vistula, and San. For the time being Lithuania was left under the influence of Germany. On September 3rd, 1939, after the invasion of Poland by the nazis, “Ribbentrop invited the Soviet Government to move its troops into Poland in order to occupy the territory allotted to it in the secret protocol of 23rd August.” (*39)
As the Russians advanced into Poland, escape for the Poles became impossible and all the Polish soldiers were irretrievably lost. Stalin now hailed the German Soviet friendship as being “sealed in blood.” (*40)
On August 25th Hitler wrote to Mussolini that, thanks to the pact with the Soviet Union, Rumania was no longer in a position to take sides against the Axis Powers and through these negotiations a completely new situation in world politics of the greatest possible good to the Axis had resulted. (*41) On the same date Mussolini wrote to Hitler that the new Moscow position would now alter the position of Turkey which previously had been for England. (*42)
On September 6th the German Ambassador to Moscow, Schulenburg, reported on how the Russian people themselves were taking this new turn on the part of Stalin: “However the sudden alteration in the policy of the Soviet Government after years of propaganda directed expressly against German aggressors, is still not very well understood by the population….Especially the statement of official agitators to the effect that Germany is no longer an aggressor runs up against considerable doubt. The Soviet Government is doing everything to change the attitude of the population….The press is as though it had been transformed. Attacks on the conduct of Germany have not only ceased completely but the portrayal of events in the field of foreign politics is based to an outstanding degree on German reports and anti-German literature has been removed from the book trade, etc.” But the ambassador added in his report that “The fear is expressed by the population that Germany, after she has defeated Poland, may turn against the Soviet Union.” (*43)
On September 28th a new partition of Europe was effected by Hitler and Stalin. Stalin received Lithuania in return for yielding the eastern section of Poland west of the Vistula river. The part of Poland ceded to Hitler was a part very heavily populated by Jews who were to be quickly exterminated. Russia agreed to supply large quantities of raw materials to Germany in return for manufactured goods. Each Government pledged itself to suppress Polish agitators. Now Molotov congratulated the nazis on their capture of Warsaw, on their conquest of Norway and Denmark and also on their conquest of Holland, Belgium, and Luxembourg. (*44)
As is known, the German invasion of Poland brought on war with the Western Powers: France, Great Britain, and in their train, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, and later Norway and Denmark. In a conversation with Ciano, the German Dr. Ley declared that thanks to the Stalin Pact only territorial troops had been left in Poland and all 176 German divisions were free to be used an the Western front. (*45) Further to help the Germans, Stalin turned over to them the Russian naval base on the Murmansk coast for their use up to September 1940.
It is then no wonder that the German Admiral Raeder could report on November 25, 1939 that at the Fuehrer’s Conference on Naval Affairs Hitler had stated he “was a great admirer of Stalin and was only afraid that he might be replaced by some extremist.” (*46)
Learning that Hitler was about to drive forward to overwhelm the Maginot Line in France, the Russians realized that they had immediately to occupy the territory promised to them by Hitler or they might not be able to get it later. They now quickly moved into all the Baltic countries, including Lithuania, and into Bessarabia. Thus when France fell July 31, 1940 Molotov could declare: “The prospect of increase in German power did not worry the Soviet leaders in the least, since the friendly relations between Germany and the U.S.S.R. were based on the fundamental interests of both countries.” (*47)
During this period Stalin adopted the following policies:
a) He was for Swedish neutrality and made it impossible for Sweden to enter the war on the Allied side.
b) He made a non-aggression pact with Turkey stipulating that Turkey must not attack Germany. And when Turkey also signed a non aggression pact with Britain and France, he bitterly attacked Turkey for this even though Turkey had expressly stipulated that this second pact must not be used against the Soviet Union.
c) In addition Stalin used the parties still in the Communist International fully on behalf of his new friendship to Hitler.
d) In Czechoslovakia the communist party there greatly hampered whatever resistance to the Germans took place.
e) In France, where as a result of the previous Popular Front policies of the Comintern, the French Communist Party had actually voted for war credits, the French Communist Party was ordered to declare that the Anglo-French imperialists were the ones really responsible for the war because they had persuaded Poland to refuse an amicable settlement of the Danzig question and that their vote for war credits had been an error.
f) All throughout the world the communist parties denounced the French and British as imperialists who had started the war and propagandized that the masses should demand immediate cessation of hostilities (thus allowing Hitler to keep all that he had seized)
g) In Germany Walter Ulbricht, Stalinist mouthpiece, denounced the socialists for opposing Hitler and declared: “The German Government announced its desire for friendly relations with the Soviet Union, whereas the Anglo-French warmongers wished to make war on her. It is in the interests of the Soviet people and the German workers to thwart Britain’s Plans.” (*48)
When France fell, the Germans did not remove any of Stalin’s works from the French bookshops, while burning all of Trotsky’s. And when, in a conversation with Ribbentrop, Mussolini expressed his astonishment that communist papers could still be published in conquered France in spite of being banned, Ribbentrop informed him with a smile that some of these papers were printed in Germany! (*49)
During the period of lull while France was still standing behind her Maginot Line, the Russians decided to take no chances on being invaded from the North and declared war an Finland. Since the Baltic had been granted to Russia under the secret protocol of the pact, the Russians figured this was the time to take advantage of Hitler’s inability to take sides with Finland. These fears were not without foundation. When Count Ciano met the Finnish Minister on December 8, 1939, for example, he reported that the Minister “….confides to me that Germany herself had supplied arms to Finland, turning over to her certain stocks especially from the Polish war booty.” (*50) Previously, Ciano had written: “….one thing is sure, and that is that for many years Germany has been supplying arms to the Finns.” (*51) On January 31, 1940, Ciano met the English Ambassador to Italy, and reported: “The English Ambassador informs me that while his government is increasing the shipment of supplies to Finland, it has decided not to send military units. He is pleased when I tell him that we, too, are shipping supplies and a nucleus of specialists.” (*52)
The victory over Finland by Russia led to a greatly extended influence of that country over the Baltic, a connection with Norway in the north and control over the nickel and other resources of Finland, all of which could only be looked upon as extremely disturbing by Hitler. On the other hand, Stalin saw to it that the trade pact and economic arrangements he had made with Hitler were lived up to the letter. Even before the formal economic agreement made on February 10, 1940, the trade in commodities between the Soviets and Germany had reached impressive figures since Russia had allowed Germany the use of her territory and railways for the transport of goods imported from Rumania, Iran, Afghanistan, and the Far East. In 1940 the commodities exchanged were to be 900,000 tons of Russian oil, 100,000 tons of cotton, 500,000 tons of iron ore and 300,000 tons of scrap iron. In one year Germany received one million tons of grain. In this way the British blockade of Germany was brought to naught.
In a German Foreign Office Memorandum dated September 28, 1940, the German diplomatic officer, Schnurre, wrote: “The supplies from the Russians have heretofore been a very substantial prop to the German war economy. Since the new commercial treaties went into effect, Russia has supplied over 300 million Reichsmarks worth of raw materials…. (*53) Russia has thus far received compensation only in the amount of about 50 million Reichsmarks….Our sole economic connection with Iran, Afghanistan, Manchukuo, Japan and, beyond that, with South America is the route across Russia….” Stalin is reported to have declared gleefully to Karl von Ritter: “If we—Russia and Germany—go on collaborating like this for another four or five years, Russia will be able to produce enough raw materials to supply two Germanys.” (*54)
The growing strength of Russia in Eastern Europe was beginning to worry Hitler. He had overcome France; his only remaining enemy in Western Europe was Great Britain which he was planning to finish off by the end of 1940 or the beginning of 1941. But this was taking longer than anticipated as the Royal Air Force was defeating the Luftwaffe in aerial combats. Hitler was afraid that as soon as he became heavily engaged in the West in the final struggle with Britain, Stalin would seize the opportunity of carrying out his program by annexing Finland, occupying Bulgaria, and moving into the Dardanelles.
At first Hitler tried to lighten this pressure on Eastern Europe by pointing out that Russia’s future really lay in the direction of Iran, India, and the Middle East and not in the Balkans. He urged Russia to join the Three Power Pact of Axis Powers—Germany, Italy, and Japan—and make it a Four Power Pact. In fact, on April 13, 1941, a Russo-Japanese friendship and neutrality pact was actually signed. At the same time Count Ciano could report Hitler as saying that Germany had an interest in the Finnish nickel mines at Kirkenes and so had lately given large supplies of arms to the Finns together with five ships taken at Bergen. (*55)
On his part Molotov was not averse to making the Three Power Pact a Four Power Pact along the lines that Germany would have Europe, Russia the Middle East and Japan the Far East; but there would have to be a few extra gains for Russia added, as Molotov pointed out on November 25, 1940: First, Germany would have to get out of Finland and leave that country to Russia; Second, Bulgaria would have to be considered in the Russian sphere of influence; Third, Russia must get a base in the Dardanelles so that it would have access to the Mediterranean; Fourth, Japan would have to renounce all rights to North Sakhalin. These new conditions at the expense of Germany, Italy, and Japan, Hitler was not at all able to meet and thus determined once and for all to deal with this arrogant Stalin. He made an agreement with Finland for the movement of German troops across that country; he cancelled Memel as a free port for Lithuania; he held a conference over the Danube without consultation with Russia; he occupied the Rumanian oil fields with secret German troops. On November 20, 1940 Hungary joined the Axis Powers; on November 23, Rumania joined; on November 28 Yugoslavia asked to join but delayed until after Bulgaria had signed up on March 1, 1941 and joined only on March 25.
With the fall of France, Italy had been conceded full influence over the Mediterranean covering Nice, Corsica, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, to get an outlet to the ocean, Libya, Ethiopia, French Somaliland, Greece, Albania, Yugoslavia. (Germany, however, deputed the claim on Morocco and also wanted her old African colonies back.) England now stood alone in desperate need of friends. She was not only losing her empire, she was in mortal danger of her very life. In such
desperation she turned to Russia, sending Sir Stafford Cripps to make the necessary deals. Cripps offered Russia the Dardanelles, the Baltic, the Black Sea. Britain would be willing to engage in full trade with Russia if Russia would only guarantee that the supplies sent would not reach Germany. (*56) In return Molotov promptly reported this offer by Cripps to Germany. Molotov was expecting Hitler to finish the job of overwhelming England and not expecting Hitler to change his mind. Stalin did not intend to take the losing side and would at least wait it out.
The assumptions on which Molotov counted, however, were no longer valid in 1941 when Hitler had failed in his attack on England, when the United States was greatly increasing its aid to Britain and when Hitler had decided to strike at the Soviet Union. On March 25th, when Yugoslavia was supposed to sign the Three Power Pact, Regent Prince Paul of that country was overthrown by a military coup and the signature refused. Yugoslavia, was attacked by Germany on April 6th. On that very date the Soviet Union signed a non-aggression pact with Yugoslavia, but predating it April 5th. The Serbian Army surrendered on April 17th. The Greek Army, which had fought off Italy after Italy’s conquest of Albania, was overcome by the Germans and surrendered in Athens on April 27th. All this extra and unexpected military effort upset Hitler’s time table which had scheduled the attack against Russia for May 15th. It was now put off to June 22nd. In the meantime Russia seized that occasion to consummate a non-aggression pact with Japan on April 13th so as to induce Japan to leave the Soviet Union alone by giving it a free hand in China.
As we review the evidence in the period before the Soviet Union entered World War II, we must conclude that no matter how much of a failure the Bolsheviks were as international champions of the working classes, they were not inferior in cynical, international intrigue. They had succeeded to split the capitalist powers, which, as the Finnish episode clearly showed, would have gladly united against them; they had extended their territory greatly and had supposedly straightened out their defense lines; they had won important delays in time—they did not enter the war first but last and just in time to secure as an ally the greatest capitalist power in the world, the United States. Bolshevik national “realism” had saved the day for “Mother Russia.”
Of course, one can not attain such levels of Bolshevik “realism” overnight. It takes long years of machiavellian training. Stalin (Djugashvili) shows us how it is done:
1. Attend a theological seminary in a backward feudal region of the Russian Empire and study to become a priest. This will give you the proper start in Marxist “dialectical materialism".
2. When some of the students become interested in social problems, betray them to the authorities, so that they will all be expelled and thus made better revolutionaries.
3. Become a trusted agent provocateur for the czarist police, getting yourself arrested and exiled so that you can very quickly escape and get a “reputation".
4. As a police agent start internecine fights so that the workers’ organizations must expel you twice and you can then join the small Bolshevik opposition group as an opponent to the other leaders and build up fake paper organizations that will enable you to attend Congresses abroad as a “delegate” from this or that supposedly existent circle.
5. With your police knowledge, arrange that others commit robberies and send the loot to Lenin to win his approbation.
6. When arrested, stir up fights of one revolutionist prisoner against another so as to cause at least one such to be murdered. This will teach workers not to trust each other, a fine lesson to know.
7. When in exile be on intimate terms with forgers, thieves, anti-Semites, and known czarist agents provocateurs.
8. If you are compelled to any writing do so locally and make sure that your writings are later hidden so that their plagiarism and ignorant contents are not exposed to leaders of your party.
9. While pretending to go along with the leaders of your party, secretly work against them by preventing their articles from being published, for example, or by siding with the faction that is opposed to your party’s seizure of power, by urging deals with compromisers, etc.
10. When your party seizes power and executes your master—the czar—plot to seize power yourself. First get yourself into the key organizational post and quietly place your henchmen in key positions. Act so that it will not become known until much later that you were in a position to hasten the death of your revered party leader, Lenin, who has now denounced you. After the death of the revered party leader, systematically murder all the other top leaders and old party members. This will take you at least a decade to do but you will be equal to the job. That is how you will get a reputation as a man of steel. Above all, murder all those who might have possibly guessed that you had been an agent provocateur all the time.
Since the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1966 where, in a secret meeting, Khrushchev denounced Stalin, the points made above are no longer so fantastic, so impossible, and so unbelievable, as they would have seemed previously.
The deformed Stalin, with toes joined together, and with a semi-impotent left arm apparently due to the alcoholism of his sadistic father, was born 1879 in a very backward region of the Caucasus. In 1894 his mother managed to get him into the Tiflis Seminary to study to become a priest. Here he became a member of a student group secretly discussing the political events of the day and reading books forbidden by the Seminary authorities. According to his mother, in 1898 Stalin left of his own accord and was not expelled; later, however, the other members of this group were discovered and expelled. Verashchak, a reliable revolutionist who met Stalin later in Siberia, related the following incident about Stalin in this connection: “His comrades in the club say that soon after his expulsion, they were in turn expelled. After an interval it was ascertained that the expulsions were the result of a denunciation conveyed by Stalin to the Rector. In the subsequent explanations with his comrades he did not deny the accusation, but justified the action by saying that the expelled students, who lost their claim to the priesthood, would become good revolutionaries.” (*57)
In 1901 Stalin joined the Tiflis Social-Democratic Party in which he immediately began such a spate of intrigue and slander that he was expelled. (*58) Stalin was thus forced to leave Tiflis, end of 1901, going to Batum where he did not attempt to work with the Social-Democratic Party but formed his own separate group for the very good reason that his record of Tiflis had caught up with him and he had been spotted by Jordania, one of the most important Social-Democrats in the country, and warned to end his intrigues. According to Jordania, Stalin was brought before a party tribunal. (*59) Apparently, early in March 1902 Stalin managed to instigate a mob of armed workers to storm the Batum jail in the course of which several lives were lost. Since this unauthorized event had all the marks of a police provocation there were threats among the workers of settling with Stalin. Conveniently he was then arrested, and after spending a stint in jail, was deported to Siberia for three years. He escaped in January, 1904, after a brief exile of five weeks, and returned to Tiflis, then part of a region alive with revolutionary discontent against czarism.
But when the Revolution of 1905 broke out nowhere was there recorded the slightest activity of our great Stalin. At this moment of revolutionary events Lenin sent special emissaries to Georgia: Kumatovsky, Krassin, and Ketzkhoni, but when Stalin later wrote his memoirs he never mentioned these men, as though he had never met them or had known them there. Most likely, Stalin lay low for fear he would be assassinated by those who knew his past. That Stalin was not active in 1905 was shown by the fact that he was not arrested, although not strictly in hiding.
Trotsky, who did not know of Stalin’s later exposure as an agent provocateur, characterized this period of Stalin’s life as follows: “Here is a revolutionist so constituted that a real revolution of the masses upsets him by throwing him out of his rut and kicks him aside. Never a tribune, never the strategist or leader of a rebellion, he has ever been only a bureaucrat of the revolution. That was why, in order to find full play for his peculiar talents, he was condemned to bide his time in a semi-comatose condition till the revolution’s raging torments had subsided.” (*60)
But if Stalin had no time for the 1905 Revolution, he did have time and occasion to slip into the Bolshevik Conference at Tammefors, Finland, late 1905, although not a delegate. Again he appeared at the Socialist-Democratic Congress in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1906, as though he were a delegate from a group in Tiflis, but he was uncovered as a phony and not allowed to be seated as a delegate. He appeared also at the 1907 London, England, Congress, this time claiming a seat as representative of a district where there was no party group at all. The Caucasus delegation protested and Stalin was removed as a voting delegate. When Stalin returned to Tiflis he was again excluded from the party and went to Baku outside the boundary of Georgia. No doubt full reports were made to the czarist Okhrana.
What is not generally known, and was carefully hidden from publication, is the fact that Stalin was arrested for one day in 1906 and then mysteriously released just in time to make the Stockholm Congress. In his book “Stalin’s Great Secret”, Isaac Don Levine gives photostatic proof of authentic documents of the Okhrana that Stalin was then an important agent who was not to be hampered in doing his work. Thus it was that, without a passport, Stalin could pass the Russian border in 1906 to get to Sweden and in 1907 to London.
Back in Baku, Stalin immediately began a campaign of slander against the leading revolutionist, Stepan Shaumyan. “between the two there began a long struggle, pushed to such length that the Baku workmen even suspected Djugashvili of having denounced Shaumyan to the police and wanted to bring him up before a Party tribunal. He was saved by arrest and exile in Siberia.” (*61)
It is difficult for objective historians to get positive proof of Stalin’s actions in this period because after he reached power he was very careful to suppress all his writings of this time and to divulge as little as possible. For example, he never explained how he managed to get out of Russia without special incident so easily in 1906 and in 1907; he never explained his real role in the expropriations of government and capitalist funds staged actually by that master “bandit” Kamo who was supposedly under his direction and who was responsible for so much money being sent to Lenin. All those who have told on Stalin were killed: Kamo himself, and Bibineishvili, author of a biography of Kamo in which he had the indiscretion to write “a mysterious stranger” arrived in Georgia and “under false pretenses took possession of Kamo’s correspondence and of other variable material…. The documents…. disappeared without a trace.” (*62)
On March 25, 1908, Stalin was again arrested in Baku. One would have expected that he would have received a hard and long sentence. After all, he had already been sentenced to three years in Siberia and had escaped. He had gone abroad to international congresses infected with czarist agents who had reported all who had attended. He had reputedly been behind a large number of violent expropriations for the benefit of revolutionary activity. And, what is more, Major General Kozintsov, chief of the gendarmerie for the province of Baku, wrote in and suggested that Djugashvili be placed under police surveillance in Eastern Siberia for three years. Instead, Stalin was sent not to remote Siberia but to the town of Solvychegodst in European Russia, a few hundred miles north of Moscow and east of St. Petersburg, and not for three years but for two!
Naturally, Stalin easily escaped and then, defying all conspiratorial rules, returned to Baku where he was again arrested. Now Captain Galimbatovsky of the Okhrana recommended exile for five years to the remoter regions of Siberia. But Stalin was merely ordered to return to Solvychegodsk to finish his sentence! Naturally, again Stalin “escaped” easily and this time went to St. Petersburg itself where he was arrested in September, 1911, and was again ordered back to finish his sentence! And why this easy sentence procedure? In 1911 Lenin was organizing his central committee in St. Petersburg, a committee of seven of which four were agents provocateurs, as later proven, at the head of which was Malinovsky. Lenin sent an emissary to Stalin asking him whether he would become a member of this Russian Executive Committee and when he agreed to do so was promptly “co-opted.” Thus, Stalin was never elected to his membership in the Executive Committee, but was “co-opted” and admitted on the staff by the chief czarist agent, Malinovsky. A few days after his acceptance Stalin found it easy again to “escape” and take up his post at St. Petersburg as “editor” of the Bolshevist paper, Pravda.
At this time the Bolshevik faction was putting out two papers in Russia: Zviezda and Pravda. “It is significant that histories of the Bolshevik Party by Zinoviev, Nevsky, Shalaven, Yaroslavsky, and Bubnov do not mention Stalin in connection with Zviezda and Pravda.” (*63)
In April, 1912, Stalin was arrested in St. Petersburg and exiled to Central Siberia for four years, but he soon managed to “escape” and joined Lenin in December in Cracow for the meeting with the Central Committee. He continued to stay with Lenin in Vienna. On his return to St. Petersburg in February, 1913, he was again picked up and sent this time to the remote Turukhansk region in Eastern Siberia, where he remained until the Revolution. In Turukhansk also were two very prominent Bolsheviks, Sverdlov and Spandaryan. Sverdlov later became President of the Soviet Republic. After his death it was announced in 1924 that his full correspondence would be published, but it never saw the light. Sverdlov had not got along with Stalin. (*64)
In the early days of the Revolution, in March 1917, Stalin and others on the Russian Bureau of the Communist Party (Bolsheviks) were for fatal compromises with the Menshevik Social-Democrats and others. In great alarm Lenin wrote a series of “Letters from Afar” for immediate publication in Pravda. Significantly, Stalin allowed only one of the letters to be published and then only on April 3rd, the very day that Lenin actually arrived in Russia. In great anxiety because of this sabotage, Lenin had made the desperate deal with German headquarters to pass through Germany in a sealed car in order to reach Russia before it was too late. It was this sabotage by Stalin that was the immediate cause of Lenin laying himself open to the charge of being a “German Agent.”
What was later revealed as a heinous error was committed by Lenin when he made Stalin the Organizational Secretary of the Party, and also the Head of the Workers and Peasants Inspection, a Control Commission to see that opportunists, careerists, and non-Bolsheviks were eliminated from the communist party, now that it had obtained the State power. This was like placing a hungry cat in charge of an open saucer of cream. The serious illness of Lenin gave Stalin the opportunity to change a relatively unimportant post to the most crucial one to dominate the party apparatus. He began to intrigue against Lenin so that Lenin, furious, broke off all comradely relations with him before his death and urged his removal from the post of Secretary of the Party, and from the Control Commission. When Trotsky brought up this proposal, at Lenin’s request, Stalin, Bucharin, and others were not only hostile but actually proposed not to print the resolution in the press. Intrigue went so far, indeed, that in view of the insistent demand by Lenin that the article be shown him in print, Kuibishev, afterward the head of the Control Commission, argued that one special number only of Pravda should be printed with Lenin’s article and shown to him, while the article itself should be concealed from the party!
Leon Trotsky, in his book on Stalin, has pointed out why it was plausible to believe that Stalin actually could have poisoned Lenin. He gives as evidence the poisoning of Maxim Gorky. He shows how Frunze was ordered to have an operation that led to his unexpected death under the surgeons knife. He stressed how Stalin’s chief terror agent, Yagoda, had a complete laboratory for poisons always at the command of Stalin. He brought forth how, 14 years later, Stalin actually accused Bucharin of an attempt on Lenin’s life because of Bucharin’s charge that Stalin had poisoned Lenin. He related how he himself had been warned repeatedly by leaders of the Bolshevik party, such as Zinoviev, and Kamenev, that his own life was in great danger. Trotsky quoted Kamenev as stating: “You imagine that Stalin is preoccupied with how to reply to your arguments. Nothing of the kind. He is figuring how to liquidate you without being punished.” (*65)
Isaac Don levine in “Stalin’s Great Secret” underlined how many of those killed by Stalin had been rumored to have had in their possession evidence that Stalin had been a czarist agent. He included Zinoviev and Kamenev who had stated to Trotsky they were putting away important letters to be opened in case of their murder by Stalin. Lenin’s personal secretary, Smolyanninov, was believed to have possessed such evidence when he was liquidated. Djerzhinsky, founder of Lenin’s security police, who had died under suspicious circumstances was reported to have come into documents compromising Stalin and had turned them over to Tomsky who was also liquidated but not before he had put them in the possession of Voroshilov who as Marshal of the Army apparently could blackmail Stalin with it. Several Soviet historians who had come upon the Okhrana files in their researches had disappeared. (*66)
On April 23, 1956, there appeared an article in Life Magazine written by an Alexander Orlov, who quit Moscow’s service after 21 years of important intelligence service. Here he gave the details of how Marshal Tukhachevsky and the entire high command of the Red Army had been killed shortly before the Soviet-Hitler War broke out. He wrote that an old Okhrana file containing denunciations made by Stalin in his own handwriting had been found and shown to General I.E. Yakir, commander of all military forces in the Ukraine, and also to Stanislav Kossior, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of the Ukraine. Orlov stated:
“General Yakir flew to Moscow and conferred with his friend Tukhachevsky, supreme commander of the Red Army…. Tukhachevsky took into his confidence the Deputy Commissar of Defense, Gamarnik…. Out of this there developed a conspiracy headed by Marshal Tukhachevsky to end the reign of Stalin…. The sudden realization that the tyrant and murderer responsible for the piled-up-horror (of the blood purges then being ordered by Stalin) was not even a genuine revolutionary but an impostor, a creature of the hated Okhrana, galvanized the conspirators into plans for action.” But by this time, our hero Orlov, must have learned that the Communist Party of the Soviet Union was denouncing Stalin and it was safe to go ahead to write his article. We shall soon come to Soviet Premier Khrushchev on the same subject.
The Bolshevik party’s adherence to Stalin’s massacre of the top officer staff of the Red Army must have been secured by the clear implication of Tukhachevsky’s conspiracy. An exposure of Stalin would have to be an exposure of the Communist Party that had reached a point of impotence against an agent provocateur. This exposure would have inevitably led to a split in the party and civil war on the very eve of World War II, Hitler and all the others, no doubt, would have seized on this glorious good fortune of rending the Soviets to pieces.
On August 10, 1940, Liberty Magazine published an article by Leon Trotsky entitled “Did Stalin Poison Lenin?” in which he testified that once having asked Lenin’s doctor whether Lenin’s illness was terminal and the doctor had replied not at all for Lenin had a powerful organism, he went to a meeting of the Polit-bureau of Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Stalin where Stalin informed them that Lenin had suddenly called him in and had asked for poison. Stalin reported that the old man was suffering and said he wanted to have the poison at hand.
Trotsky continued: “Lenin asked for poison—if he really did—at the end of February, 1923. In the beginning of March he was again paralyzed. But his powerful organism, supported by his inflexible will, reasserted itself. Toward winter he began to improve slowly, to move about more freely; he listened to reading and read himself; his faculty of speech began to come back to him. The findings of the physicians became increasingly more hopeful…
“When I asked the physicians about the immediate cause of Lenin’s death, which they had not expected, they were at a loss to account for it. The autopsy was carried out with all the necessary rites; Stalin took care of this himself. But the surgeons did not search for poison.”
The question raised by Trotsky apparently was answered positively by a woman refugee from a Soviet concentration camp who had met there a Gavriil Volkov who had been the chef of the Kremlin sanitarium at Gorki, outside of Moscow, where Lenin had been hospitalized before his death. He told her of Stalin’s occasional visits to Lenin and how twice Lenin’s wife was suddenly called to Moscow on supposedly urgent business while Stalin was there. During both absences Lenin had taken alarming turns for the worse. On his last day of life, in the absence of his wife, Lenin managed to write a note to the effect that he had been poisoned and for some one to call his wife, Trotsky, and everyone else they could get to come immediately. (*67)
With Lenin out of the way, Stalin, in unprincipled alliance with Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Bukharin, declared war on Trotsky. They decided to hide from the other communists the “last testament” of Lenin, where he had called for the removal of Stalin and implied Trotsky should take his place. Thirty years later Khrushchev, who had then been one of the strong-arm lieutenants of Stalin to smash Trotsky, in his secret speech to the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, had the brass to declare that during this struggle against Trotsky, Stalin had used no uncomradely methods. Said this “Stalin exposer”, Khrushchev: “We must affirm that the Party had fought a serious fight against the Trotskyites, Rightists and Bourgeois Nationalists and that it disarmed ideologically all the enemies of Leninism. This ideological fight was carried on successfully, as a result of which the Party became strengthened and tempered. Here Stalin played a positive role.” (*68)
How “ideological”, how “theoretical” was this fight conducted by Stalin against Trotsky and later against Zinoviev and Kamenev and Bukharin? It included mass drives to get raw recruits to drive out the old Bolshevik supporters of the Opposition, it included mass purges and expulsions, larceny of documents, forgeries, expulsions, defamation and slander, removal from jobs and official posts, physical attacks, arrests by the secret police, false trials and murder of all the principal opponents of Stalin. (*69) Thus, even in the act of “exposing” Stalin, Khrushchev continued the same Stalinist course of slanders vilification, justification of history, etc.
In order to attack Stalin and yet justify himself and his criminal colleagues, Khrushchev had to invent a theory that Stalin had become insane in his later years and euphemistically listed the matter as a “cult of personality.” According to Khrushchev, the Bolshevik party which had supported Stalin in all his crimes, of course was still correct and always had been infallibly correct. Just listen to this Khrushchev confess not his own crimes but those of Stalin:
“Stalin acted not through persuasion, explanation and patient co-operation with people, but by imposing his concept and demanding absolute submission to his opinion. Whoever opposed this concept or tried to prove his viewpoint and the correctness of his position was doomed to removal from the leading collective and to subsequent moral and physical annihilation.” (*70) “He acted on an increasingly larger scale and more stubbornly through punitive organs, at the same time often violating all existing norms of morality and of Soviet Laws.” (*71) “Mass arrests and deportations of many thousands of people, execution without trial and without normal investigation created conditions of insecurity, fear and even despair.” (*72) “As facts prove, Stalin used his unlimited power, allowed himself many abuses, acting in the name of the Central Committee, not asking for the opinion of the Committee members nor even of the members of the Central Committee’s Political Bureau; often he did not inform them about his personal decisions concerning very important party and government matters.” (*73)
And just how many did the Bolshevik party, through Stalin kill? Hear Khrushchev who blames it all on Stalin, of course: “It was determined that of the 139 members of the party’s Central Committee who were elected at the Seventeenth Congress, 98 persons, that is 70 per cent, were arrested and shot (mostly in 1937-1938)” (*74) In this Seventeenth Congress, held 1933, 80% of the delegates had been members of the Bolshevik party since before 1921 and 60% of them were supposedly workers by social origin. Khrushchev continues: “The same fate met not only the Central Committee members but also the majority of the delegates to the Seventeenth Party Congress. Of 1,966 delegates….1,108 persons were arrested on charges of revolutionary crimes.” (*75)
Thus it was the very flower of the communist party as it then existed that was sacrificed. The czarist agent provocateur, Stalin, who did this must have acted on the principle of poetic justice that anyone who could call himself a Stalinist ipso facto deserved death! How true! It was the murder of Kirov, prominent Bolshevik, which ostensibly prompted these purges but Khrushchev takes the time to prove that it was Stalin himself who ordered the murder of Kirov and then ordered the purge two days before the Politburo was given notice of it.
In 1937-1938, according to Khrushchev, 383 lists containing thousands of party members for execution were sent to Stalin and were approved by him. “Mass arrests of party, Soviet, economic and military workers caused tremendous harm to our country and to the cause of socialist advancement.” (*76) And all this was done without notifying the Political Bureau, according to Khrushchev, as though the Politburo, the little angels, were not aware of this. And during all these terrible years, the Bolshevik party was loudly maintaining that the Soviet Union was steadily becoming a workers paradise, had reached socialism in 1935, or 1932, or some such year and was already moving an to the attainment of the highest Marxist ideals of communism! Such rubbish is still maintained by the same infallible party!
Several questions, now no doubt, in the mind of the reader, should be answered here. In the first place, if what Stalin did in his fight against Trotsky was all simon-pure, good Marxism, Leninism, bolshevism, at what point did Stalin degenerate or rather, at what point did the Bolshevik party degenerate so as to allow Stalin to become dictator? Was it in 1932 when later it was solemnly announced socialism had actually arrived, or in 1935 when the new Soviet Constitution adopted destroyed the Soviets, or when? For an answer we should examine closely the Russian Communist Party which, in the midst of treacherous conduct that cried to the high heavens, was murdering all internationalist revolutionists who were denying the Stalinists their position as angels in those high heavens.
The matter goes even further: We are entitled to know not only at what point the degeneration occurred in the Russian party, but how it happened at all. One of the well-known principles of Marxist science is that no class in power gives up without a fight. Here we see the Russian Communist Party, supposedly spokesman for the Russian proletariat give way to a system in which that party became the tool of agents provocateurs. How could this have come about?
The correct thesis, we believe, should run something as follows:
1. The bulk of the membership of the Bolshevik faction was originally Russian advanced workers and intellectuals. Many of these intellectuals lived abroad and accepted an internationalist viewpoint. Some few of the advanced workers agreed to this viewpoint that the Russian Revolution was secondary in importance to the world revolution, but, no doubt, most of the worker members of the party conceived of the world revolution as something abstract and theoretical and not something immediate and vital.
2. Internationalists, like Lenin, headed this party. It was the only party Lenin could build, but it was not a party that truly deserved Lenin’s leadership. The best proof of this is that Lenin had to fight literally against all of his leading party comrades and associates: Zinoviev, Kamenev, Bukharin, not to mention Stalin who was never an internationalist, and as soon as Lenin died the Bolshevik Party showed its true ferocious nationalism. To think of the Bolshevik party as a Leninist party is a natural but serious error. Lenin’s internationalism temporarily won out only due to world historic circumstances when it appeared that world revolution would actually follow world war and help Russia. The moment world revolution faded away, it was time to get rid of Lenin. Strictly speaking, we can not state historically that the Russian Communist Party “degenerated” to nationalism, since it had never really gone beyond nationalism; it never “degenerated” from Leninism, since it was never “Leninist.” It merely adopted the coloration of Leninism only as it felt its chameleon needs warranted such coloration.
3. In 1917 the Bolshevik party grew with extraordinary rapidity as revolutionary events pushed it forward—from a few thousand members before the Revolution it contained over a million members at the time of Stalin’s accession to power. Who were these new members? In the main, they were workers relatively recently drawn into the industries from the countryside and as such, although revolutionary activists, really peasants recently proletarianized. In addition, large numbers of soldier-peasants were also taken into the party. These people were not internationalists, at heart they were not Leninists, but could find their plausible representative only in a nationalist. Thus, too, the great majority of secondary leaders could not understand a Lenin, or a Trotsky, or even a Zinoviev. But they could understand a Stalin, a Molotov, a Kirov, a Khrushchev, a Koganovich, a Mikoyan and other nationalists no matter what their ethnic origin or temporary phrase-mongering coloration. It is not far from the truth in stating that Stalin won out basically because he was the leader of the Bolshevik party that represented best the cadres which had joined the party during and after the Revolution.
4. That the proletariat in Russia was, in the main, a proletarianized peasantry overwhelmed by peasant tradition and calculation, was clearly demonstrated by the fact that through the Soviets, mainly peasant and soldier soviets, there was established not a proletarian dictatorship, or one-class rule, but a workers-peasants dictatorship, or two-class rule. Of the two classes that jointly came to power, one, the proletariat, stood for “socialism” as represented by national ownership of the means of production and distribution of wealth, and the other, the peasantry, stood for expropriation of landlords and a strong national state to protect them. Nationalism was thus their common denominator and each class could respect the other, without new civil war, on the basis of nationalism. Taking charge of the Revolution could be the coordinators of such nationalism, the bureaucrats in charge of party, industry, army, state, and social organization. Thus the Revolution’s pendulum would swing to its final resting point, bureaucratic centrism.
Now how did the Bolshevik party leadership get out of the charge that it must have been as bad as Stalin to have engaged in all these crimes all these years? In a special statement issued after Stalin’s exposure, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union defended itself by stating that “the people” would not have understood action taken against Stalin if such action had been taken previously. The Soviet people, according to the Committee, knew Stalin as one who always acted in defense of the Soviet Union. “One should also bear in mind that many facts about wrong actions of Stalin especially in the sphere of the violation of Soviet law, became known only during recent times—after the death of Stalin, mainly in connection with the exposure of the Beria gang and the establishment of Party control over the organs of state security.” (*77)
Could any apologetic have been more disgraceful than this? The Bolshevik fearless leader of world revolution and creator of the “new Soviet man” was afraid of the people! Naturally, the party that had murdered the people by the tens of millions could not appeal to the people against Stalin. Everyone knew the monster Stalin had been created by this very party that had turned into a God, and in the crassest Byzantine manner, kissed his feet in adulation! Naturally, the workers would not understand why Stalin was worthless and not also this counter-revolutionary Bolshevik party!
The CCCPSU statement ended in a great peen of praise for its infallible self: “The essence of democracy is not in formal appearances but in whether political power really serves and reflects the will and interests of the majority of the people, the interests of the working people. The entire internal and foreign policy of the Soviet state shows that our system is truly democratic, a truly popular system. The highest aim and constant concern of the Soviet state is the raising in every respect of the people’s living standards, the securing of a peaceful existence for its people.” (*78)
C. In further preparation for the war, make sure that the populations of new territories seized by you are so conditioned that they will rush to help your enemies. Deport immense numbers of the population from the Baltic provinces, Poland, and other border regions. In this way you will induce large portions of the population to welcome the nazi forces as liberators and hurry to help them. This in turn, will give the nazis overconfidence, they will extend themselves, and find they have gone too far too fast, and thus finally be destroyed. This will prove you are a truly infallible master of Bolshevik strategy.
In order to induce the nazis further to think they will easily win the war, make no preparations to defend the new territories and reject all information available to you as to the exact time and place the enemy is going to attack. When the attack does occur make sure you run and hide so that only thirteen days after the attack has started can you come out and talk to the people, telling them an attack his been made. Since you have already murdered most of the talented communist officers in the army, by your cowardly failure to show your face you can not claim masterly strategy since, with a good part of your armies surrendering early, most of those who trusted you will have perished. You know, of course, and have always known, that only when your old followers of your own party are dead will new talent arise and Russia will have a chance to win.
No longer allow anyone to speak about workers of the world uniting. Do not ask that the German worker-soldier turn his guns against his officer. Do not even attempt to call for strikes and insurrections in Germany. Instead, call for extermination of all Germans indiscriminately, so that your enemy can have a solid mass behind him.
Make sure that old former czarist conditions are reinstituted in the army. Forget the old communist awards and banners and form new ones, such as the Order of Suvarov, of Kotuzov, of Alexander Nevsky, honoring the old czarist generals of the past whom revolutionists had been taught to despise. Above all, use the war to make yourself absolutely omnipotent.
On June 21, 1941, Hitler launched his mighty war machine against the Soviets. Stalinist apologists, like Anna Louise Strong, could write: “Most of all we must know that the Soviets expected it, and got ready for it….” (*79) She interpreted Stalin’s failure to show his face during the first thirteen days as a sign of his great strength, concentration of thought, and philosophical composure. She took it upon herself to spread the boasting by Voroshilov about how much better the Red Army was over Hitler’s. Voroshilov had claimed in 1939, that the motorization quotient in the Red Army had increased from 2.9 horse power per soldier in 1929 to 13 horse power, making the Red Army the most highly mechanized force in the world. The artillery salvo of a Soviet army corps was given as 7.136 tons while the Germans had only 6.078 tons. The Soviets could fire 66.6 tons of shells per minuet while the Germans could fire only 48.7 tons. (*80)
At the time she wrote her book surely this Strong person must have known of the speech that Stalin made after he came out of hiding on July 3rd, in which, in order to explain away the terrible debacle at the front, he stated that Germany had been completely ready “whereas Soviet troops had still to effect mobilization and move up to the frontier” (*81) and that was why in the very first few days the Soviet Union had lost all of Lithuania, a considerable part of Latvia, the western portion of Byelorussia, and part of the Western Ukraine! Now listen to Stalin explain why the Soviet Union was not ready: “Naturally, our peace-loving country, not wishing to take the initiative of breaking the pact, could not resort to perfidy.” (*82) (Stalin could not resort to perfidy, imagine that!) Apparently Stalin did not believe that Hitler, his dear friend, would turn on him for no reason at all, at the very time when he had tried so hard to live up to his pact with Hitler by shipping the war goods Hitler needed right to the very last day when Hitler attacked. The American, Harry Hopkins, could later report: “………………” (*83)
In contrast, here is what Khrushchev reported in his secret speech: “Before the war our press and all our political-educational work was characterized by its bragging tone. When an enemy violates the holy Soviet soil, then for every blow of the enemy we will answer three blows and we will battle the enemy on his soil and we will win without much harm to ourselves.” (*84) Khrushchev continued: “During the war and after the war, Stalin put forward the thesis that the tragedy which our nation experienced in the first part of the war was the result of the unexpected attack of the Germans against the Soviet Union. But, comrades, this is completely untrue. (*85) It appears that Stalin had been given ample warnings from many sides but had rejected the most positive proof. “And already in the first days of the war it became evident that our Army was badly armed, and that we did not have enough artillery, tanks and planes to throw the enemy back.” (*86) Khrushchev then added, “But mass production of all this was not organized, and, as a matter of fact, we started to modernize our military equipment only on the eve of the war.” (*87)
This last statement is supported by the Stalinist, Voznesensky, who writes: “The Patriotic War found Soviet war industry in the process of introducing the production of new equipment and the mass output of war equipment was not organized as yet.” (*88) “In 1941, four and one-half months after the beginning of the war, Comrade Stalin referred to our shortage of tanks, and partly, of aircraft, as being one of the causes of the temporary reverses of the Soviet Army.” (*89)
As for Stalin’s role at the start of the war, Khrushchev scornfully commented: “It would be incorrect to forget that, after the first severe disasters and defeats at the front, Stalin thought that this was the end. In one of his speeches in those days he said: ‘All that which Lenin created we have lost forever.’” (*90) Khrushchev went on to say: “After this, Stalin for a long time actually did not direct the military operations and ceased to do anything whatever. He returned to active leadership only when some members of the Political Bureau visited him and told him that it was necessary to take certain steps immediately in order to improve the situation at the front.” (*91) And how did Stalin “improve” the front? In the same speech Khrushchev denounced Stalin for having overruled the considered opinion of all the generals in a battle situation in Kharkov causing the unnecessary loss of hundreds of thousands of Soviet soldiers.
How tremendous the Russian debacles at the front were in the first months of the war is seen by the report of Voznesensky, who states that the territory occupied by the nazis by November 1941, only about four months after the start of Hitler’s invasion, included 40% of the total Soviet population, 63% of the coal, 68% of the pig iron, 38% of the grain, 38% of the cattle, 60% of the hogs, 41% of the railroad lines, etc. (*92) The devastation of the areas seized by the Germans were terrific, for only 17% of the workers remained, 13% of industrial enterprises, 23% of the houses, 40% of the cattle, 30% of the sheep and goats, 10% of the hogs, etc., when the Soviets returned. And so it was in the Ukraine, as well. (*93)
But more important than the loss of material was the loss of manpower. The estimate of the U.S. Army as to the number of Soviet prisoners alone who were taken in the first nine months of the war was 2.25 million, with some experts estimating the total at 3.6 million. (*94)
Hitler himself, in a conversation with count Ciano on October 26, 1941 is reported to have declared: “Why must Russia now be considered out of the fight? ….Counting dead, wounded and prisoners, it is a question of some ten million soldiers. The corps of non-commissioned officers almost in its entirety. Still more imposing are the losses of material….” (*95) But at the same time Stalin could make the following lying report to the leaders of his own party in Moscow: “In four months of the war we lost 350,000 killed, 378,000 missing and have 1,020,000 wounded men. In the same period the enemy lost over 4,500,000 killed, wounded and prisoners.” (*96)
“There is a mass of evidence to show that at the outset, volunteer units of Russian deserters, up to a total of 200,000, were formed for guard duties on the German lines of communication. They were under the overall charge of General Kolstring, former Military attache in Moscow.” (*97)
In his speech of November 6, 1941, Stalin laid down the general policy of the Bolsheviks during the war. “Above all, this was to be a patriotic war that had nothing whatever to do with the international working class or world revolution. On the contrary, one of the principal war aims was no intervention whatever in the internal affairs of other peoples!” (*98) If it was war of extermination that the nazis wanted, they would get it: “Henceforth our task, the task of the peoples of the U.S.S.R., the task of the men, commanders and political workers of our Army and our navy, consists in annihilating to the last man all Germans who penetrated the territory of our country as its occupationists. No mercy to the German occupationists! Death to the German occupationists! (*99) This was Stalin’s answer in reply point that the “Nazis dare call for annihilation of the great Russian nation, the nation of Plekhanov and Lenin, Belinsky, and Chernyshevsky, Pushkin and Tolstoy, Glinka and Tschaikovsky, Gorky and Chekhov, Sechenov and Pavlov, Repin and Sunkov, Suvarov and Kotizov.” (*100)
The following day, this time on the Red Square, Moscow, again Stalin stressed the war was a patriotic war only. “Let the manly images of our great ancestors—Alexander Nevsky, Dmitri Donskol, Kusma Minin, Dmitri Pozharsky, Alexander Suvarov, Mikhael Kotuzov,—inspire you in this war!” (*101) In his next speech, July, 1942 no mention was made of Lenin or the role of the communist party; In his speech of November 6th, 1941 he first called for the liberation of all oppressed peoples under Hitler; only in the speech of November 7, 1941 does he first mention that the fight is under the banner of Lenin, and only on February 13, 1942 does he add greetings to the guerilla fighters and to the Bolshevik party. By this time, no doubt, he had abandoned the belief that he could get peace with Hitler by auctioning off the communist party. In all his speeches his mention of the communist party role is rare and scant.
“During the whole period of the war the Soviet press has printed less about capitalism, communism and socialism than the publicity apparatus of the tiny Communist party of Britain prints in a single day.” (*102) As the U.S. Army report states: “Following the initial German attack, the Soviet propagandists had quickly dropped the standard Communist slogans and placed heavy emphasis on patriotism, playing up ‘The Great Patriotic War’, and the ‘fatherland’. The masthead of Pravda was changed from ‘Workers of the World Unite!’ to ‘Death to the German Invader.’ The old Czarist heroes were dragged out and the Russian victory over Napoleon in 18l2 was given wide play.” (*103)
Besides fighting the Germans, Soviet partisans in the rear were also busy undoing some of Stalin’s forced collectivization policies. Says the U.S. Army reports: “In some areas the partisans distributed the land to the natives, setting the agricultural quotas considerably lower than those in the German controlled sectors. In the rear of the Second Army they even went to the extreme of distributing religious printed matter and holding church services for the populace.” (*104)
In his Order of the Day for May 1, 1942, Stalin affirmed: “Comrades, we are waging a just and patriotic war of liberation. We have no such aims as seizing foreign lands or subjugating foreign peoples. Our aim is clear and noble. We want to rid our Soviet land of the German fascist scum.
We want to liberate our brothers, Ukrainians, Moldavians, Byelo-Russians, Latvians, Estonians, Karelians, from the shame and humiliation to which the Nazi-fascist beasts subject them.” (*105)
By the end of 1942 the heroic Red Army was indeed showing signs of being able to defeat the nazis. In his speech of November 6, 1942, Stalin stated the three tasks to be performed: 1. to destroy Hitler’s state; 2. to destroy Hitler’s army; 3. to destroy the “New Order in Europe.” (*106) There was still no mention of policy, however, in regard to the fate of those nations of Europe about which he had bargained with Hitler. Only a year later, on November 6, 1943 did Stalin at last mention the liberation of peoples of Europe from the fascist yoke. In this speech he laid down the following points, among others:
“1. Liberate the peoples of Europe from the fascist invaders and help them rebuild national states dismembered by the fascist enslavers; the peoples of France, Belgium, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Greece, and other states now under the German yoke must again become free and independent.” (*107) But he made no mention of the liberation of the peoples of Hungary, Rumania, and Bulgaria, or Finland which he had planned to seize.
“5. Establish lasting economic, political and cultural collaboration among the peoples of Europe based mutual confidence and mutual assistance for the purpose of rehabilitating the economic and cultural life destroyed by the Germans.” (*108) (Thus the only aim was to be the restoration of the capitalist status quo, and not a brave new world of socialism.)
It will be recalled that in 1943 Stalin had dissolved the Communist International. On May 28, 1943, a Mr. H. King, Moscow correspondent of Reuters News Agency asked Stalin about this and received the following written reply from the Russian “Marshall":
“The dissolution of the Communist International is proper and timely because it facilitates the organization of the common onslaught of all freedom-loving nations against the common enemy—Hitlerism. The dissolution of the Communist International is proper because:
“1. It exposes the lie of the Hitlerites to the effect that Moscow allegedly intends to intervene in the life of other nations and to Bolshevize them. An end is now being put to this lie.
“2. It exposes the calumny of adversaries of communism within the labor movement to the effect that Communist parties in various countries are allegedly acting not in the interest of their people but on orders from the outside. An end is now being put to this calumny too.
“3. It facilitates the work of patriots in freedom loving countries for uniting progressive forces of their respective countries regardless of party or religious faith into a single camp of national liberation—for unfolding the struggle against fascism.
“4. It facilitates the work of patriots in all countries for uniting all freedom-loving peoples into a single international camp for the fight against the menace of world domination by Hitlerism, thus clearing the way for future organization of a companionship based on their equality.” (*109)
During the prosecution of the Patriotic War, the widest display of “Great Russian” chauvinism was given full scope. The treatment of national minorities was one example. Thanks to the deals with Hitler, Stalin had taken portions of Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, etc. Immediately large numbers of the population were deported into Central Russia, and Siberia. For Poland alone the estimate was 1.5 million persons. It might be said that these people were unreliable, as indeed they were, but this could not excuse the genocide of whole peoples far from the theater of war. Khrushchev in his secret report declared that at the end of 1943, when the Soviet Union had already thrown back the invaders, all the Korochai people were deported from their land, also the whole of the Autonomous Kalmyk Republic; in 1944 all the Chechen and Ingush people and the Balkars and their Autonomous Republic.
Here is a report on the dissolution on December 27, 1943, of the so-called Kalmyk Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic: “The population of the republic—men, women, children, infants-in-arms—was rounded up by the secret police and shipped on crowded, unheated cattle-cars to the slave labor camps of Western Siberia. Husbands were separated from their wives, mothers were torn from their children. Tens of thousands perished on the long trip in freezing winter weather. (*110) (Why was this done, had these people rebelled against the Bolsheviks? Ex-Soviet Staff Officer, Ivan Krylov, on his defection to the U.S. did allege that insurrections had taken place among the Kalmucks, Chetniks, Tartars of the Nagai Steppes, and many of the Kuban Cossack clans. The Cossacks were reported to have put up a big struggle and were finally sent to the Bykovsky-Peresov Camp where 15,000 were executed out of hand out of the 45,000 taken.[*111])
Many examples of “Great Russian” chauvinism can be seen in Soviet textbooks of which we cite some:
a) “The most important task of an ideological-political education during the process of teaching history, consists in instilling in students Soviet patriotism and Soviet national pride.”
b) “The Russian people are the most outstanding among all the nations composing the Soviet Union.”
c) “The annexation by Russia of various peoples, whether voluntary or forcible, had for all of them a beneficial and progressive meaning. It helped them to be united with the great Russian people in the struggles against the common enemy, Tsarism, and strengthened the economic and cultural ties among all the peoples of the Russian Empire.”
d) “The Pechenegs and the Polovetsi, the Mongolian conquerors, the German dog-knights, the Swedish and Polish gentry interventionists, Napoleon, and other invaders, frequently tried to conquer the Russian land, and madly attempted to enslave the Russian peoples…. From the struggle against foreign invaders emerged the outstanding Russian military commanders and statesmen: Alexander Nevsky, Dimitri Donskoi, Minin and Pozharski Suvarov, Kotuzov and many others, all of them representing the glory and pride of the Russian people….Our people more than once saved, with their own blood, European civilization from destruction by the barbarians.” (*112)
“It is interesting that the old Russian belief that Russia saved Europe from enslavement by the Mongols is a part of current Soviet doctrine”—and for authority the author cites the 1950 edition of the standard Soviet medieval history text book—“It is extremely interesting and significant, incidentally, to note that the 1946 edition of the same declared that the ‘heroic struggles of the Russian and Ukrainian (italics mine) peoples saved Europe from suffering at the hands of the Mongols.” (*113)
The “Great Russian” people, the “chosen people”, were the first to see the real light of Marxism, according to them. Only they could build the new “Soviet Man.” All must model themselves on the Russian pattern. “Only he who unconditionally protects the U.S.S.R. is an internationalist, for it is impossible to solve the problems of an international revolutionary workers movement without protecting the Soviet Union.” (*114)
As “great Russian” chauvinism grew, it was Russia, not the Soviet Union, that became the center of the universe. Here is a poem we are sure will impress Ukrainians and Poles, for example, a poem widely disseminated in the Soviet press during the war:
“Having sternly scorched, in the Russian way,
"The Russian earth they left behind,
"Our comrades died before our eyes,
"Baring their chests, in the Russian way,
"I swell with pride that its fight is mine,
"That a Russian mother gave us birth,
"That a Russian woman, bidding us goodbye,
"Embraced me thrice, in the Russian way.” (*115)
We have already noted how Stalin praised the czarist reactionary generals, such as Suvarov, Kotuzov and Nevsky. He did more than that, he established special military awards and orders in their name. Let us remember that Suvarov had commanded Russian troops in a punitive expedition against the peasant insurrection against the Czar in Southern Russia and had participated in the partition of Poland at the end of the 18th century. Later, the Russians made the Poles hail as a hero this very destroyer of their nation! The record of the others are on similar lines: (*116)
For a long time previous to these moves by Stalin there had been steps taken for the elimination of the egalitarian influence in the army and its reorganization along czarist lines, hastened especially after the purge of the communist army officers in 1939. During the 1930’s a special army of 250,000 members of the political security force had been established for purposes of political surveillance over the regular army, and as border guards, etc. They had created a network of sections and functionaries of the Political Administration of the Red Army, performing the functions of propaganda and police control. (*117) It was this security group that was used against the Red Army communists in the purges.
Because of the vast defections in the Army over to the nazis at the start of the Patriotic War, political commissars which had existed in Trotsky’s day but which had been removed by Frunze, Trotsky’s successor only to be reintroduced in 1937 and again abolished under Timoshenko, were again reintroduced, but the entire ideology of the commissars was changed from communism to nationalism. Questions of imperialist, capitalist, revolutionary, or counter-revolutionary wars were discarded. With the death or defection of older officers, party restrictions were greatly loosened to allow many younger officers to join the privileged communist party, and when the new army orders and awards were established, no political instructors and commissars were allowed to qualify, as all these awards were reserved for fighting officers only. (*118) In 1942, the system of commissars was again abolished and the commissars put in army uniform under the regular army officers in control, the security troops being then dissolved into the army itself. In 1943 it was reported “Officers now are not supposed to carry parcels or baggage except in the vicinity of railroad stations…. Junior officers are not permitted to sit down in public conveyances while senior officers are standing and must receive permission from their officers to sit….” (*119)
In the same year the Government established so-called Suvarov Schools for boys to begin life careers as army leaders. As reported: “They will be attended principally by children of officers killed during the war….” (*120) Dancing lessons were compulsory at the Suvarov Schools so that the cadets should know how to conduct themselves in “society". (*121) At the same time the “Red Army clubs would be for the exclusive use of officers. All members of the army previously had been entitled to use club privileges.” (*122)
Special insignia were reintroduced for officers, including officer shoulder straps formerly used in the czarist army. Saluting became compulsory, strictly enforced. Iron discipline like that in the nazi army was established. According to the new regulations no soldier could complain about his immediate superior to a higher officer. Orders could no longer be subject to discussion by lower ranks. Commanding officers could be brought up on charges only on order of the People’s Commissar of Defenses. Force, which previously could be employed against the soldier by an officer only in time of battle and only for failure to execute military orders, now could be used any time. (*123) New special picked “Guards” regiments, as under the czar, were formed with soldiers at double pay and officers at pay and a half. Army marshals were given special very expensive stars made of gold, platinum, large and small diamonds.
D. Use the war to fight communism elsewhere, as in China, Yugoslavia, Albania, Greece. Prefer the rule of Chiang Kai-shek to that of Mao Tse-tung since, in return for favors, Chiang would grant you concessions in Sinkiang, in Inner Mongolia, in Manchuria, in Korea, and in Outer Mongolia, while Mao would demand the return of even Outer Mongolia and Kamchatka. In this way, the “workers’ fatherland” would get even more territory and you make the Bolsheviks even more glad. This will counterbalance the fact that you have sacrificed 25 to 30 million Soviet inhabitants in the Bolshevik way you conducted the war.
During the war, should independent communist movements happen to arise anywhere, make deals with your capitalist partners that such communism be destroyed. Give Greece to Britain in a deal. Offer half of Yugoslavia to her in another deal. Divide Persia with her, too. In return “holy” and “sacred” Russia will be able to seize control of territory closer by: Bulgaria, Rumania,
Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary. Should your allies hesitate to make such deals, then, draw a bold line on the map, the way you were supposed to have done on the military map at Stalingrad according to your lickspittle cinema directors, and give them all of Western Europe as you previously had conceded it to the nazi Germans. Draw this bold line north and south in the very center of Europe and make it plain that you will crush all workers’ efforts at revolutions in the West by means of your controlled communist parties and by means of your Red Army, if necessary provided that all territory East of that line is turned over to you as your sphere of influence. This will make Bolsheviks very happy, since Central Europe will now be their satellites.
Guarantee to your allies that whatever territories your armies may win, the working people and toilers of these territories will not become part of the Soviet Union, but, on the contrary, loot these territories thoroughly for the benefit of “holy” and “sacred” Russia, and then exploit them to the hilt. There is no use of making deals for spheres of influence if you cannot profit by them.
As the war progressed it became ever clearer that the toilers of the Soviet Union were responding to nationalist appeals at least to the same degree as the Germans. Both sets of armies were ruled by political parties similarly constructed and headed by an undisputed dictator. Both sides considered themselves the “chosen people”, the “Herrenvolk". Both parties were rooted among the people entered directly into the fight side by side will them. Both parties asked and gave no quarter but fought on to the and, the former German communists, now turned nazi, fighting just as fanatically as the rest. There were no revolts or rebellions behind the German lines, in Germany by the German people, and while there had been large-scale defections and surrenders in the Soviet ranks at the start, the terrible fate that befell even those going over to the nazi side put an end to such defections and made the struggle more bitter than ever. (The U.S. Army report states as its opinion that had Hitler made the slightest effort of using Stalin’s opponents against the Russian troops that victory would have been his.) (*124)
And now the great leap forward in industrialization, which Trotsky had first proposed and which then had been taken up and pushed in the most brutal manner by Stalin, showed its value. The following table gives the economic situation at the start of the first five year plans, in 1928, and in 1940, at the beginning of the War. (The figures are in terms of constant 1945 prices in billions of rubles, except as otherwise stated)(*125)
1928 1940 National Income 25 128 Capital Investment 3.7 43 Fixed Capital 140 709 Gross Industrial Output 21.4 138.15 Means of Production 8.5 84.8 Consumers Goods 12.9 53.7 Agricultural Output 15 23 Grain Production (billion poods)4.5 7.3 Area Sown(million hectares) 113 150 Livestock on Collectives(million) horses .3 14.5 cattle .3 20.1 sheep and goats .5 41.9 hogs .1 8.2 Freight ton-kilometers (billion)93 415 Workers and Employees(million) 10.8 31.2 Retail and Cooperative Trade 11.8 175.1 Receipts of State Budget 7.3 180 Urban population (millions) 18%(1926) 32%
In spite of the fact that the rapid advance of the nazis reduced the population of the Soviet Union from a total of 192 million to only 130 million, a monumental effort was made especially by the engineers, technicians, and managers, to transfer the industries to the East where the nazis could not get them and to build up production there. The story is amazing and shows what the people could do once the old Stalinist cadres had perished and new unbureaucratized people could come to the fore who were fighting for their very lives.
In the Eastern Regions of the U.S.S.R. by 1943 industrial output had grown to such an extent as to amount to 83 billion rubles, or 7½ times the production of all pre revolutionary Russia: coal 2.3 times as much; steel – twice as much; lead—59 times as much; zinc—18.8 times as much, etc. (*126) In the course of the War, 1,360 large enterprises had been moved to the East; 455 to the Urals, 210 to Western Siberia, 250 to Central Asia and Kazakhstan. Thus the Ural region became the most powerful industrial region of the country. In 1940 it had produced goods worth 9.2 billion rubles, by 1943, 31 billion rubles. Similarly Western Siberian production went from 3.7 billion rubles in 1940 to 8.7 billion in 1942 and to 11 billion in 1943. Central Asia and Kazakhstan rose from 4.8 billion rubles of industrial production in 1940 to 6.6 billion in 1943, marked by especially great changes in the metal-working industries which jumped from a value of .6 billion rubles in 1940 to 2.3 billion in 1943. There was a correspondingly great growth in electrical power. (*127)
For the Eastern Regions, then, as a whole, gross output of industry jumped from 39.4 billion rubles in 1940 to 91.2 billion in 1944. “….War production in the eastern and central regions of the U.S.S.R. alone was 2.5 times greater during the Patriotic War than the level of production in the whole territory of the U.S.S.R. in 1940". (*128) As we shall see, this great industrial advance in Siberia and Asia meant great pressure on Chiang Kai-shek’s China, with considerable concessions made to the Soviets for the sake of the common struggle against the Axis Powers.
The bitter character of the War made a return to a form of military communism almost inevitable. The workers were fixed on their jobs and there was no labor turnover. Military discipline was installed on the railroads. Prices were fixed and firm, as were wages. Supplies were rationed with additional food given for “shock work” for which about 60% of the workers qualified because of their phenomenal work in heavy and war industry. The fact that Russia had a well extended system of farm collectives and state farms meant that there could be maximum collection and no hoarding of foods. There could be efficient state concentration and distribution and the possibility of rapid shifting from one region to another. Women went into industry and especially into agriculture, where they did a tremendous job. There were no abandoned children, as after World War I, but all were taken care of. A great expansion of communal feeding occurred.
It must be said that in all these aspects it was the manager, the engineer, the scientist and technician who led the way in improvisation under very difficult circumstances and in restoring industry to even higher technological levels than before. It was this group which was responsible for the design and production of the many innovations brought into the war by the Soviet Union.
And it is because of this scientific and technical leadership that these elements and not the workers, as such have the decisive posts today. And why not? If workers give up internationalism, how can they legitimately lead the nation? The proletariat can fight revolutions, not design scientific advances; if the proletariat does not fight the bourgeoisie apparently Russian history shows they do not deserve the power.
On the other side of the War, the Germans were aided by their conquests in Europe, by their systematic looting of conquered territory, and by their vast system of enslavement. “In the estimate of the Board of Economic Warfare of the U.S.A., the value of the wealth plundered by hitlerite Germany in the occupied countries before 1941 amounted to 9 billion pounds sterling, or double the pre-war annual national income of Germany. In addition, hitlerite Germany was exploiting foreign workers on a large scale, whose number in Germany reached 12 million, which allowed the Germans to make up for the withdrawal from production of a large number of workers for the army.” (*129)
In the end the great collective effort of the toilers in the Soviet Union, especially as aided by key material support by the United States, enabled them to throw back the enemy so that by the time of the 1945 Battle of Berlin the Soviet Union could state it used in that battle 41,000 artillery piece and mortars, 8,400 aircraft, and 6,300 modern attack tanks. (*130) This spelled finis for the nazis.
In anticipation of victory, the Allies (the United States, Great Britain, and the Soviet Union)
decided to confer at Yalta on the subjects of Germany, Europe, post-war international cooperation, China, and the Far East. “Although the three nations had been fighting for their very existence for years, it was not until Yalta that there was enough mutual confidence to bring them together for specific co-ordination of the military situation.” (*131)
In their relations with the Soviets, Great Britain and the United States played quite different roles. Before the War had begun, Roosevelt understood very well that the Soviets and nazi Germany would have to be locked in mortal combat. At the same time he had little use for British imperialism, appreciated it as a relic of the past, and held that the United States would have to replace Britain in world affairs as the great unifying capitalist power.
Thus, while Great Britain went to war over Poland and bitterly resented the Hitler-Stalin Pact, the United States could take those matters more philosophically. Cordell Hull U.S. Secretary of State at the time, sent word to the President that this partition of Poland did not mean Soviet participation in the European War on Hitler’s side, but was solely to secure the frontier and protect the Russian minorities in East Poland. (*132) Then, when Russia followed up her deal with Hitler by war on Finland, Hull could report “Britain and France would have liked to send an expeditionary force through Norway and Sweden to Finland, largely with the objective of opening up a new front against Germany in the Baltic, and of hindering Soviet export to Germany. (*133) After Germany had declared war on Russia, followed by Finland and Rumania, while Great Britain felt it necessary to declare war on Finland, the United States did not, and the Finnish Embassy operated in Washington all during the war until near the end. Only on June 3, 1944, did the U.S. Government announce a blacklist of Finnish firms trading with Germany, (*134) and only on June 16th of that year did the State Department ask the Finnish diplomats to leave the country, although it was pointed out that this did not constitute a rupture with Finland. On June 30th the rupture finally did occur, but by then Finnish spy reports from Washington were no longer of decisive help to the nazis. Similarly, the United States maintained relations with the Vichy Government all during its existence, much to the disgust and horror of the Free French under De Gaulle. (During the European phase of World War II, Bulgaria never declared war on Russia, the United States was never at war with Finland or on Vichy, Japan was not at war with Russia, although in each case the countries compared were on opposite sides.)
In an effort to maintain her previous world influence, Great Britain early proposed to Russia jointly to occupy Iran because of the Shah’s allegedly pro-nazi attitude. Of course, under the Czar, Iran also had been so divided, and now it was ostensibly a matter of getting help to the Soviet Union, of developing the oil fields there, and of putting pressure on Turkey. From Stalin’s point of view, it was also a method of implementing Russia’s ambitions for a sphere of interest in the Middle East embracing Iran and India, with a further tie-up with the Turkomen Moslem population in Western China-Sinkiang. The United States, however, insisted that the war must not take on an appearance of seizing spheres of influence, and forced a statement from the Soviet Union and Great Britain to the effect that their division of Iran was not to be permanent and that they would withdraw after the war had ended.
Although the Allies publicly announced they are against secret deals, such secret deals were made. In 1943 the British met the Russians at a Moscow conference. The question of Germany came up. “Eden said his Government would not like to see a united Germany remain but would prefer to see her divided into separate states, particularly a separate Prussia.” (*135) At Yalta, Stalin argued for this very point; that he wanted Germany dismembered into small states, like Austria, but by this time Churchill had changed his mind and finally convinced Roosevelt to go along with him. Had France been present, Stalin would have been amply supported since France wanted the outright annexation of the Saar, the separation of the Rhineland from Germany under French administration, and the transfer of the Ruhr region to international control. France certainly would have joined in the general agreement that it was necessary to use German forced labor to rebuild devastated Europe.
Somewhat later a clear agreement was reached between the British and Russians for the partition of Europe into spheres of influence. Since it was a secret understanding to which the U.S.A. was supposed not to be a partner, matters had to be taken step by step. The first step was to agree that Greece was to be under British influence, while Rumania and Bulgaria were to be controlled by the Russians. Yugoslavia was to be shared between both powers, on a sort of 50-50 basis, with the understanding that Hungary, being occupied by the Red Army, would naturally come under Stalin. Thus the “cordon sanitaire”, or “health belt” used after World War I to quarantine the Soviet Union, was to be reversed to become a series of buffer states under Soviet control to prevent revolution from reaching the West. Of course, it was thoroughly understood that these buffer states were to remain formally independent, in accordance with the Atlantic Charter, and not to be taken into the Soviet Union.
Stalin could gladly agree to this last for many reasons: First, he wanted to exploit the territory won and he could not do so if this territory turned communist or was taken directly into the Soviet Union. For example, at Yalta the Russians demanded payment of $20 billion in war indemnities with 80% of German industry to be removed from Germany and reparations to be paid off in ten years. In order to get such payments, Stalin wanted to use German forced labor to rebuild the Soviet Union. He thus did not want a German political and communist revolution until such payments were completed.” (*136) Second, he was afraid to take in the working class of Europe since this would inevitably mean the end of Russian domination and his absolutism. Third, he had already made it clear he was opposed to world revolution and such direct extension of the Soviet Union would only lead to imminent head-on conflict with the United States and world capitalism. At Yalta, the Russians stressed their desire for Poland, for example, to be free, independent, and friendly, and that there was no Soviet aim for annexation of that country.
The matter of Greece and Rumania, however, was one that had to be settled early. On June 8, 1944, Churchill opened the subject with Roosevelt and argued on behalf of an agreement that the Rumanians and Bulgarians should be dealt with by the Russians while the Greeks and Yugloslavs should be dealt with by the British, since the latter were in Britain’s theater of operations. (*137) President Roosevelt answered that this would lead to spheres of influence and therefore he was against it. But later Roosevelt was made to see the light and, thoroughly aware of Britain’s secret dealings with Stalin, now pressed for an official meeting at Yalta. (*138)
Says Byrnes: “In the fall of 1944, Churchill and his Foreign Minister, Anthony Eden, had visited Moscow and, while there was no formal agreement, we knew they had reached the formal understanding that, if the British found it necessary to take military action to quell internal disorders in Greece, the Soviets would not interfere. In return, the British would recognize the right of the Soviets to take the lead in maintaining order in Rumania.” (*139)
At the Yalta Conference held in the early part of 1946, the questions of Greece and Yugoslavia were fully discussed and the deal on the Balkans confirmed. “The Prime Minister then turned to Greece and said that he was hopeful that peace would come. It was doubtful, however, that a Government of all parties could be established since they hated each other too much. Stalin observed that, since the Greeks had not yet become accustomed to discussion, they were following the practice of cutting each others throats.” (*140) Stalin, however, being accustomed to discussion, had never cut anyone’s throat! This is bolshevism ,speaking about revolution and civil war!
Continuing the report by Stettinius: “The Prime Minister concluded his remarks on Greece by saying that five British trade union leaders had recently visited Greece and had a difficult time. They were very much obliged to Marshal Stalin, the Prime Minister stated, for not having taken too great an interest in Greek affairs. Stalin repeated that he had no intention of criticizing British actions in Greece, nor, he added, did he have any intention of interfering in that country.” (*141)
At the Conference President Roosevelt submitted his draft for a “Declaration on Liberated Europe” in the discussion of which Stalin suggested the addition of the following sentence: “In this connection, support will be given to the political leaders of those countries who have taken an active part in the struggle against the German invaders.” This addition was to sanction Stalin later in eradicating opposing parties in the countries his forces were to occupy, but it naturally would pertain to Greece where the supporters of Britain were the very ones the resolution covered as not to be supported. To prevent Britain becoming alarmed, Stalin immediately added that his proposal would not apply to Greece. “The Marshal then remarked that he thought it would have been exceedingly bad had the Prime Minister allowed any but British forces to go into Greece. He had, Stalin added, complete confidence in British policy in Greece. The Prime Minister expressed his pleasure with this statement.” (*142)
Indeed, the Prime Minister did more than that. In his speech to the House of Commons, February 27, 1945, on his return from Yalta, Churchill declared, “The impression I brought back from the Crimea, and from all my other contacts, is that Marshal Stalin and the Soviet leaders wish to live in honorable friendship and equality with the Western democracies. I feel also that their word is their bond. I know of no Government which stands to its obligations, even in its own despite, more solidly than the Russian Soviet Government.” (*143)
Likewise the President of the United States could report to Congress March 1, 1945: “But I am sure that—under the agreements reached at Yalta—there will be a more stable political Europe than ever before….” (*144) and Secretary of State, Stettinius hastened to add: “President Roosevelt did not ‘surrender’ anything significant at Yalta which it was within his power to withhold.” (*145)
In regard to Germany, although there was no agreement on dismemberment into small estates, there was a dismemberment into three and then four military zones. Churchill could report to the House of Commons. “The Allies are resolved that Germany shall be totally disarmed, that Nazism and militarism in Germany shall be destroyed, that war criminals shall be justly and swiftly punished, that all German industry capable of military production shall be eliminated or controlled, and that Germany shall make compensation in kind to the utmost of her ability for damage done to Allied nations.” (*146)
In regard to Poland the Allies agreed to back Russia’s demand for the Curzon Line (set by lord Curzon after World War I) as the Western boundary of Russia and to give Poland room at the expense of Germany. Churchill affirmed that, after all, the Russians had saved the Poles, and “Most solemn declarations have been made by Marshal Stalin and the Soviet Union that the sovereign independence of Poland is to be maintained and this decision is now joined in both Great Britain and the United States.” (*147)
After the defeat of Germany, there still remained the necessity to secure the defeat of Japan. This was conceived of as a much harder job. At the meeting with Churchill at Malta, before the Yalta Conference, President Roosevelt had said that the Japanese War might continue to 1947. (*148) The military advisers to Roosevelt were one in urging that he get a definite commitment from Stalin to enter the war against Japan. But Stalin would do so only after new secret deals had been consummated for full payment.
The secret terms of the Yalta Pact were:
a) The Soviet Union was to enter the war against Japan within three months after the German surrender;
b) Outer Mongolia was to maintain its status as under Soviet control;
c) Rights extorted by Czarist Russia in the Far East were to be restored to Russia in that (1) the southern part of Sakhalin Island, as well as the adjacent islands, to be returned to Russia, (2) the commercial port of Dairen to be internationalized and Port Arthur leased again to Russia as a naval base, with Soviet pre-eminent rights in Dairen to be recognized, (3) the Chinese Eastern Southern Manchuria Railway to become jointly operated by the Soviet Union and China, the Soviet’s pre-eminent rights and Chinese over-all sovereignty both to be recognized, (4) the Kurile Islands to go to the Soviets. Since China was not represented at Yalta, the Soviet Union and China were to conclude a pact of alliance to finish the war. (*149)
After Japan had been crushed, Stalin wrote, September 2, 1945; “The defeat of the Russian troops in 1904, during the Russo-Japanese War left a bitter memory in the consciousness of our country; it left a black stain on our country. Our people believed in and waited for the day when Japan would be crushed, and the stain removed. We waited forty years, we who belonged to the old generation, for the coming of that day; and behold the day has come.” (*150) Stalin here conveniently forgets that it was not Russian but American arms that crushed Japan. What is more, he betrays the basic traditions of Leninism that cheered when the Russian
Social-Democrat, Plekhanov, and the Japanese Socialist, Katayama embraced each other at the International Socialist Convention at the time of the Russo-Japanese War and acclaimed each other as brothers in the fight against both Czar and Mikado. Stalin, who, as we see, played absolutely no role in the 1905 Russian Revolution, had not the slightest concept of what motivated these Internationalists.
This lusting after territorial expansion in czarist fashion was also demonstrated at the Pottdam Conference, July 17,1945, after the fall of Germany. Here Stalin clamored for North African Italian colonies, the guaranteed freedom of the Dardanelles, the Turkish provinces of Kars and Ardahan which once had been under the czar, etc. Russian troops were withdrawn from Iran, after the British troops had long left, only by threats of a new war. In short, Stalin insisted on everything that had been promised by Hitler as well as that which he had obtained through the Allies. But now it was not so much Britain, as the United States, that stood in his way, solidly supported, of course, by Britain, despite the oily promises made previously by Sir Stafford Cripps. Apropos Britain’s stand, the following note is of interests: “Britain’s stand on the issues before the Conference was not altered in the slightest, as far as we could discern, by the replacement of Mr. Churchill and Mr. Eden by Mr. Attlee and Mr. Brown. This continuity of Britain’s foreign policy impressed me.” (*151) All that should be added here is that Churchill and Atlee were supposed to be bitter political opponents, one representing capital the other “socialist” labor!
To understand better Stalin’s continuation of czarist policies in the Far East, a brief historical summary may be given of Russia’s penetration of China. In 1854, czarist forces seized the Amur valley and laid the foundations for the city of Khabarovsk. By 1860, Russia had obtained title to the whole coast of Manchuria east of the Ussuri River and south to the Korean border, and could build up Vladivostok. Her next aim was to seize Manchuria. In 1896, Russia acquired the right to construct a railroad linking Russia and China through Manchuria. Two years later she secured a 25 year lease of Port Arthur and Dairen for a naval base and received new Chinese Eastern Railway concessions. After her defeat by Japan, Russia was forced to recognize Japanese interests in Korea and yielded to Japan Port Arthur and the Dairen leases, the South Manchurian Railway and the southern half of Sakhalin Island. Russia’s retreat, however, was only temporary.
In 1911 Russia tore away Outer Mongolia from Inner Mongolia and concluded a treaty with her captive recognizing it as “autonomous". The next step was Inner Mongolia. In 1912, a secret treaty was made with Japan for the division of Inner Mongolia into two spheres of interests at a line parallel to Peking. President Yuan of China (China had by then turned Republic) was forced to sign a treaty agreeing to yield Outer Mongolia and to share suzerainty over Inner Mongolia with Russia, before all parties could ratify this, World War I broke out and Japan, now a partner of the victorious Entente, forced its notorious 21 points on China in January, 1915. By this show of force Japan seized special rights and privileges in South Manchuria and in Eastern Inner Mongolia. At the same time Russia also got what she wanted both in Outer and in Inner Mongolia. (In the meantime, it may be mentioned in passing, Great Britain had been working for the independence of Tibet under her control, which aim was also achieved in 1915)
The whole situation became reversed after Lenin’s seizure of power in the 1917 Russian Revolution, (in which Chinese battalions had formed crack regiments in the Red Army). Now Russia voluntarily relinquished her control over Outer Mongolia, the previous “autonomy” being cancelled. China also took back the Chinese Eastern Railway system in Manchuria but not for long. Russian czarist counter-revolutionaries, active in the Far East, defeated the Chinese Army in Outer Mongolia in February, 1921, announcing the formation there of a new puppet state owing allegiance to the Czar. This, in turn, was overthrown by the victorious Red Army which took control as U.S., Japanese, and other interventionist troops left the country. Outer Mongolia was against recognized by the Soviets as an integral part of China; Russia renounced the sums due her under the Boxer Indemnity and also all extra-territorial and consular jurisdictions. Regarding the Chinese Eastern Railway, it was agreed that a joint administration be established over it as a purely commercial enterprise. In fact, from this time on, the Soviet Union never lost control again over Outer Mongolia. Soon after Lenin’s death, Chicherin, Soviet Foreign Commissar could say on March 6, 1925, in his speech to the Congress of Soviets in Tiflis: “The Soviet government recognizes Mongolia as a part of the whole Republic of China, enjoying, however, autonomy so far-reaching as to preclude Chinese interference with the internal affairs and established independent relations of Mongolia. It ought to be noted that after several crises the internal situation in Mongolia has settled down and been consolidated on the basis somewhat similar to the Soviet system.” (*152)
Thus began a fateful alliance between the Bolsheviks and the Chinese revolutionary Sun Yat-sen which ripened into the fatal alliance between Chiang Kai-shek and Stalin. In proportion as Stalin yielded to Chiang Kai-shek, Japanese imperialism moved into the scene and soon occupied Northern China, all of Manchuria, and portions of Inner Mongolia. Under Japanese domination Manchuria, now the Empire of Manchukuo, developed economically at a very rapid rate. Between 1930 and 1943, in Manchuria, pig iron increased by 100%, electric power 300%, cement by 450%, etc. At the end of the period, Manchuria with one-tenth the area of China had one-third of the railroad mileage, 40% of the total coal production, 70% of the total electric power capacity, 90,% of the total steel production. Manchuria had emerged as a state with a heavy industrial base. (*153)
It will be recalled that on April 13, 1941, the Russo-Japanese Neutrality Pact was signed in Moscow in which Moscow recognized the Empire of Manchukuo. This Pact was evidently signed by Stalin in order to divert Japan from an attack against the Soviets to an attack against Chiang Kai-shek and the Chinese communist armies. This diversion is indeed what happened and permitted the Soviet Union to carry on the anti-Hitler war without being forced to fight on two fronts. On its side, Japan was quite willing to agree to this since war would soon be declared against the United States and Japan engaged in a fight on two fronts: against China and against the United States. (In fact, all the great powers, except Russia, were engaged in a war on two fronts!)
During this period of the Stalin-Hitler Pact, although Moscow had begun friendly relations with Tokyo, she still maintained friendly aid to Chiang Kai-shek. In July, 1940, Dr. W.W. Yen could declare: “Soviet Russia has rendered perhaps more then any other power material aid to China, in the form of arms, ammunition, and planes” (*154) but, strictly speaking, this aid was given before the Pact with Japan was signed and while Japan was engaged in an extraordinarily bitter undeclared war against the Soviets on the borders of Manchukuo and Siberia. At any rate, once the Soviet Union was involved in World War II it seemed it had little help to spare for China. The total aid to Chiang Kai-shek after 1937 from the Soviet Union was reported at a quarter of a billion dollars.
As World War II progressed, and it was realized that both nazi Germany and militarist Japan would be destroyed, it became clear that the Soviet Union was making great efforts to penetrate and control a North China belt embracing the vast areas of Sinkiang and Inner Mongolia and had ambitions in Manchuria, Korea, and possibly North China itself. (*155) Russia could overcome Chiang Kai-shek resistance if he were only left alone and not supported by the United States. The prize at stake was enormous.
No doubt it was for this reason that Stalin, in his talks with the Allies preparatory to entering the war, had insisted that there were to be no alterations in control over the sovereignty of Manchuria, Sinkiang, or any other part of China. (*156) Stalin affirmed that Chiang Kai-shek was the only Chinese leader qualified to lead China in its unification and that the Chinese communists were far less suitable for undertaking this task. (*157) It was Stalin who saved Chiang Kai-shek’s life after he had been kidnapped by Marshal Chang Tso-lin and forced to face Mao Tse-tung. Years later, in a conversation with General Hurley in Moscow Molotov admitted: “Due to the political and moral support of the Soviet Government, Chiang had been allowed to return to the seat of his government and the revolutionary leader (Chang Hsueh-liang) had been arrested.” (*158) In a conference with U.S. Ambassador Hurley Stalin had called Chiang Kai-shek a selfless patriot whom the U.S.S.R. had in the past befriended. (*159)
At the very time Stalin was giving such praise to Chiang Kai-shek, this Chinese leader was bitterly intensifying his war not against the Japanese but against the Chinese communists who wanted to fight the Japanese. Indeed, it seemed that after the United States entered the war against Japan, Chiang Kai- shek considered it his duty to turn his greatest fire on the Chinese communist armies. Chinese resistance to Japan became so weak that all the most important coastal provinces surrendered quickly, and the U.S. was actually called upon by Chinese to send a million troops into China because the Chinese nationalists themselves were not fighting the Japanese. Matters became so desperate that Chiang Kai-shek had to be kidnapped so that a truce could be arranged with the Chinese communist fighters and all could unite against Japan. U.S. Military Intelligence declared in 1945: “All observers agree that the greatest cause of the poor showing made by the Chungking forces last year during their defense against the Japanese was the hostility of the people toward their own army, and the hopeless disunity between the regular Kuomintang or Central Army and the Provincial armies.” (*160)
But what were the Stalinist views on the Chinese communists? U.S. Ambassador General Hurley reported April 17, 1945 that Molotov had said “…. that the Chinese Communists are not in fact Communists at all….The Soviet Union is not supporting the Chinese Communist Party. The Soviet Union does not desire internal discussion or civil war in China.” (*161) Later, in 1948, Stalin told Dimitrov and Kardelj: “….after the war we invited Chinese comrades to come to Moscow and we discussed the situation in China. We told them bluntly that we considered the development of the uprising in China had no prospect and that…. they should join the Chiang Kai-shek government and dissolve their army.” (*162) Instead, the Chinese communists dissolved Chiang Kai-shek’s army and government and with that the czarist dreams of Stalin burst like a pricked baloon.