HISTORY: Soviet-Nazi collaboration and the parallels between their ideologies

Knowing history matters, especially if we want to avoid reliving its horrors. The Nazis are widely reviled today, as they should be, but unfortunately rather less attention is paid to the evil that was the Soviet Union. And in fact, although the sick or horribly misguided individuals who admire Stalin and Hitler today tend to see each other as enemies, the two systems that the dictators ruled over had much in common, and were in fact allied when the Soviet dictator enthusiastically jumped in to share the spoils right after Hitler launched World War II, as the article below discusses and today's Russian regime among others would like us to forget. Sadly, and horrifyingly, the nationalist, racist, and state socialist ideologies that Hitler and Stalin used to control their followers are still very much in vogue today, and once again too many people see them as opposing forces of the left and right, when really they are peas of a pod – anti-freedom, anti-liberal, and bent on enslaving individuals to the State, differing only in the particulars of their Big Government agendas.

Love & Liberty,

((( starchild )))

80 years after the Soviet invasion of Poland, the Western Left is still playing apologist for Russia


15 SEPTEMBER 2019 • 6:00AM
Eighty years ago today, Germany’s ambassador to Moscow formally requested that the USSR occupy the “sphere of interest” it had been allocated in Poland under the secret provisions of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. The German invasion, launched on September 1 1939, had gone well, the ambassador said. The Poles were in retreat. Now was the moment for the Soviets to “take a hand” and help their allies to “annihilate the remainder of the Polish Army”.

Stalin needed no encouragement. On September 17, half a million Red Army troops, backed by 5,000 tanks and 2,000 combat aircraft, smashed their way into eastern Poland. Masters of dezinformatsiya, they initially spread the story that they were coming to help their brother Slavs. Some locals fell for it: the mayor of the little town of Złoczów welcomed a Soviet cavalry unit with the traditional gift of bread and salt. He was kicked to the ground and later executed. Other Poles – army officers, landowners, priests – were immediately marked for murder. In some villages, the Soviets lined men up and hauled away any whose hands they deemed too soft.

These events, recalled in a wonderful new history called First to Fight by Roger Moorhouse, are keenly remembered in Poland.. They are remembered, too, in the other nations divvied up under the Nazi-Soviet Pact: Finland, the Baltic States and Romania. But they are largely forgotten in the West, and are more or less repressed in Russia, where polls show that most people think the Second World War began in June 1941 with Hitler’s invasion of the USSR.

That belief is not just encouraged; it is enforced. In 2016, Russia’s supreme court upheld the conviction of a blogger called Vladimir Luzgin for writing this sentence: “The communists and Germany jointly invaded Poland, sparking off the Second World War.”

Luzgin was stating the obvious, but the modern Russian state is neuralgic about the Stalin-Hitler Pact. Two weeks ago, its Ministry of Foreign Affairs preposterously declared: “Thanks to London and Paris, Nazi Germany managed to defeat Poland in a flash and redeploy its main forces to the West without meeting any resistance.” What is shocking about that argument is not its dishonesty, but its sheer Stalinesque flagrancy. The USSR and Nazi Germany spent the first 22 months of the war as allies. Theirs was not some cold, perfunctory non-aggression pact. It was an enthusiastic partnership. The two tyrannies traded in all the necessary commodities of war: grain, vital chemicals, arms and ships. The Russian and German propaganda departments exhibited each other’s cultural achievements, performed each other’s music and films, stressed their joint hostility to Anglo-Saxon liberalism. The Luftwaffe bombers that blitzed London were fuelled by Soviet oil.

When the two armies met at the Polish town of Brest, a joint military parade was staged, the Soviet conscripts looking slovenly in their olive uniforms next to the field grey of the goose-stepping Wehrmacht troopers. The commanders hosted a celebratory lunch, at which the Soviet general, Semyon Krivoshein, invited German journalists to join him for a drink in Moscow “after the defeat of capitalist Albion”.

The extent to which the Kremlin denies these events is not just shocking but alarming. Today’s anti-communist Russian regime has no reason to make excuses for Stalin. It is deliberately opting to do so. Just as Lenin chose to take up the strategic goals of Imperial Russia, so Putin chooses to inherit those of USSR, whose dissolution he has always regretted. Behind the playing down of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, behind the bizarre propaganda about Polish aggression, behind the puerile claim that Stalin had been forced onto the defensive, lies a conviction that Poland, the Baltic States, Moldova and even Finland are all, somehow, renegade Tsarist provinces. Just as Stalin was within his rights to reoccupy them so, implicitly, Putin is within his rights to regard them as protectorates.

The Russian line, though discreditable, is at least understandable. All peoples want to believe the best of their ancestors. What is utterly bewildering is the selective amnesia of the British Left. We are nowadays told that the Western front was a side-theatre, and that we owe our freedom to the Red Army. As a matter of fact, the historian Robert Tombs has completely debunked this argument, demonstrating the critical role of British air power in defeating the Nazis. But never mind that: the idea that Stalin deserves credit for defeating fascism ignores the fact that he and Hitler were on the same side for the first third of the war, and that he switched only after being attacked. Indeed, Stalin was so stunned by Operation Barbarossa that he initially ordered his soldiers not to shoot back.

The moral emptiness of the USSR’s Western apologists is not new. Marxists at the time performed extraordinary somersaults. Do you remember the scene in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four when, during Hate Week, Oceania suddenly switches allies? “There was, of course, no admission that any change had taken place. Merely it became known, with extreme suddenness and everywhere at once, that Eastasia and not Eurasia was the enemy. The Hate continued exactly as before, except that the target had been changed.”
Reading that passage for the first time as a 12-year-old, I found it implausible. Yet Orwell, writing in 1948, was recalling the real and recent behaviour of Communists in Western Europe, who so unhesitatingly backed the new party line that they ended up supporting Hitler against their own governments. The first Briton to be hanged for treason was a Newcastle Communist called George Armstrong who, obedient to Molotov’s appeals, tried to pass information about the Atlantic convoys to the Nazis. Pleasingly, he was executed in July 1941, living just long enough to see Operation Barbarossa.

Like today’s British Leftists, Armstrong couldn’t bring himself to admit how much the two totalitarian systems had in common. Both ideologies were, essentially, a reaction against what they saw as excessive freedom. Both elevated the collective over the individual. Both scorned the the desire to be comfortable, prosperous and peaceful as bourgeois decadence. Both murdered people by category.

Sure, the categories were different. The Nazis slaughtered people in the wrong racial groups, the Communists those in the wrong social groups. But the essential wickedness of both systems was the same. If you found yourself in the wrong group, no action of yours could save you. You were condemned by circumstances over which you had no control. The Jews of Poland and the Baltic states knew it better than anyone: being educated and prosperous, they often found themselves condemned by both sides.

We like to tell ourselves that we won the war; but we didn’t, not really. We joined the fighting to defend the sovereignty of Poland, and we failed. The only real winners were the Communists, who ended up annexing half Europe and yet who, despite the abominations they carried out, are somehow regarded as being morally superior to their Nazi allies. That, in truth, is their greatest victory.