Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The website of the TV channel “Tvzvezda” has published a series of articles on the great Patriotic war of 1941-1945 by writer Leonid Maslovsky, based on his book “Russkaya Pravda”, published in 2011.
The period between the end of World War I and the beginning of World War II is characterized by the carrying by our country of the foreign policy national interests of the USSR with the aim of achieving the strength of the Soviet power, with which it could protect itself from an invasion both from the West and from the East. The USSR at an unprecedented rate in the world increased its industrial power and sought for peaceful co-existence and equal cooperation with all western countries.
Calls for a world revolution have long been a thing of the past. But even in the past they were only calls, and Vladimir Lenin didn’t direct a single soldier to stage a world revolution. He supported slogans, understanding that world revolution is a dream of the Russian people, the desire for common world justice and harmony. Under Josif Stalin there ceased to be talk about a world revolution. Only falsifiers of the history of the USSR can claim that Stalin sought a world revolution.
Stalin directed all forces towards strengthening our country because every year it became more obvious that the West prepares World War II, and it does so for the crushing of the USSR, the same as in World War I when it tried to crush Tsarist Russia.
There is every reason to believe that it is exactly the West that prepared for war against the USSR. Absolutely not incidentally, the USSR was invited and in 1934 accepted into the League of Nations, while Germany left this organization. It is no coincidence that by the middle of the 1930’s the USSR was recognized by the countries of the West and the majority of the countries of the world. The West aimed Germany at the USSR. The leaders of our country understood this well, but hope for an alliance with the West against Hitler’s Germany wasn’t lost, and in 1935 a path for the creation of a united anti-fascist popular front was declared. The desire to reign-in Hitler’s Germany was justified, as fascist Germany through a unilateral act violated the 1919 Versailles peace treaty, having introduced in March general conscription and having declared the creation of military aviation.
Great Britain answered the Soviet initiatives in June, 1935, by concluding an agreement with Germany, according to which Germany was allowed to have a military-sea float that was one-third the above-water weight and nearly half of the ships of the level of the British fleet.
On the ninth of May, 1936, the creation of the Italian empire was proclaimed. From the major powers only the USSR, which didn’t have diplomatic relations with Abyssinia (Ethiopia), resolutely acted in its defence. However, the western countries were blocking the Soviet proposal to boycott the aggressor.
On the seventh of March, 1936, Hitler’s Germany refused the Locarno agreements of 1925, which pledged to observe the provisions of the Versailles peace treaty concerning the demilitarization of the Rhineland, entered troops on its territory, and came to the borders of France. Great Britain, France, and the US standing behind them didn’t use the right according to the Versailles agreement to force Germany to withdraw its troops.
In September, 1936, at the Congress of the Nazi party the four-year plan for the preparation of Germany for a big war for “living space” for Germans was announced. On January 30, 1937, Hitler declared in the Reichstag that “Germany removes its signature from the Versailles agreement”. After this declaration a new war with Germany became inevitable.
Repeated violations of the military articles of the Versailles agreement by Germany didn’t lead to any serious actions against it from the League of Nations. The leading European powers, primarily England and France, took a position of neutrality and pursued a policy of “appeasement”, thereby encouraging the growing aggressive intentions of Germany and the allied with it Italy and Japan.
In October, 1936, the aggressors, inspired by impunity, formalised the designed-in-Berlin agreement – a union of Germany and Italy – under the name “Berlin-Rome Axis”, which recognised the capture of Ethiopia by Italy, and established the general line of conduct concerning events in Spain and the delineation of the spheres of “economic penetration” of the Balkans. This led to the beginning of the formation of the bloc of aggressors, which were preparing their countries for the outbreak of World War II.
Falsifiers of history and the enemies of Russia call the USSR and Germany the aggressors, and represent Germany and the USSR as friendly allies, accusing the USSR of unleashing World War II. But the war in Spain showed who was against Hitler’s Germany and who supported it in all possible ways.
In Spain the USSR was at war against Hitler’s Germany. The Soviet Union provided to the lawful Spanish government – the Republicans – weapons and military equipment. Our country delivered to Spain 648 planes, 347 tanks, 1186 artillery pieces, 497,813 rifles, 862 million cartridges, and 3.4 million shells.
In Spain thousands of Soviet soldiers were at war with units of Hitler’s Germany, as well as famous in the future military leaders: Marshall of the Soviet Union Rodion Malinovsky and Kirill Meretskov, the Marshal of artillery Nikolay Voronov, the admiral of the fleet Nikolay Kuznetsov, the General Pavel Batov, the Colonel-General Aleksandr Rodimtsev, and many others. 59 people were titled the Hero of the Soviet Union for feats on Spanish soil.
England, France, and other western powers pursued a policy of “non-interference” in the national-revolutionary war, as they called it. From September, 1936, in London the International committee on Non-interference in the affairs of Spain consisting of representatives of 27 European States worked. Soon it became clear that it served as cover for the German-Italian intervention in Spain.
Britain and France approved of the aggressive plans of Germany concerning the Danzig corridor (Poland’s exit to the Baltic Sea), thereby guaranteeing the attack of Germany on Poland. With the “blessing” of the aforementioned countries, Germany was given Austria, and under the Munich collusion – Czechoslovakia.
As is recognized by most scientists, by 1937 the efforts of the USSR towards the organization of a system of collective security didn’t achieve its objectives, and the possibility of creating a wide popular front for the joint fight against fascism and war wasn’t used. The policy of the USSR was peaceful, humanistic, and aimed at defending the States of Europe and Asia against fascist aggression.
At the end of September, 1938, Great Britain and Germany adopted the declaration containing the obligation “to never be at war with each other”. On December 6th the same declaration of non-aggression was signed by France and Germany. The French Foreign Minister Georges Bonnet believed that from this moment on the German policy was focused on the “fight against Bolshevism”. But it is well-known that the West always, including today, covered its desire to destroy Russia using various plausible pretexts. Since October, 1917, the notorious fight against Bolshevism became such a pretext.
Thus, the first non-aggression pact with Germany was signed by Britain and France in 1938, and then already, in 1939, a similar treaty (Molotov-Ribbentrop pact) was signed with Germany by the USSR. But the internal and external enemies of Russia forgot about this, and to this day bring in the shadow the mentioned countries, while they blacken the USSR and Stalin.
It is obvious that England and France sought to strengthen Germany and to direct it against the USSR. And, in particular, with the Munich collusion they didn’t strengthen their security, as the USSR did with the agreement signed later with Germany, but colluding only for the sake of the strengthening of Germany for an attack on the Soviet Union.
The Munich collusion between Britain and France (of course, not without the blessing of the US) can be called a crime not only against Czechoslovakia, but also against mankind. But it is silenced, while everybody speaks about the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the conclusion of which the government of the USSR for some time ensured the security of its own people, and provided the possibility for peaceful work.
How much stronger did Germany become after receiving Austria and Czechoslovakia? Let’s consider at least Czechoslovakia. The Skoda plants alone delivered to the Germans during World War II so many weapons that it allowed 40 German divisions to be at war. In 1938-1939 these specified plants produced “almost the same quantity of production as all English munitions factories at the same time … for one single year – 1938,” wrote Winston Churchill.
The USSR made all efforts for an association with the leading countries of the West in the face of the fascist threat. But it was to no avail. Negotiations between the military delegations of the USSR, France, and Britain confirmed the unwillingness of the West to reach an agreement with the USSR.
The Soviet Union offered military help to Poland. But Poland refused the help many times. On August 18th, 1939, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Józef Beck answered the ambassadors of England and France: “We have no military agreement with the USSR. We don’t want it”.
But the Soviet Union very much wanted to conclude with Poland a military agreement, as it became clear that Germany will attack Poland, and German troops will appear at the border of the USSR in Western Ukraine and Western Belarus, which for Germany will significantly reduce the time necessary for the occupation of the vital centers of the Soviet Union. And these former territories of the USSR seized in 1920 by Poland will enter into the structure of Germany, which will increase the threat of an early attack on the USSR by the latter.
What was the USSR supposed to do in this situation when neither England, France, Czechoslovakia (under the pressure of the first two countries), nor Poland wanted to sign an agreement with the USSR on mutual help? What was the USSR supposed to do when from the West Germany was going to attack it, and from the East – Japan, and all western countries “blessed” the aggressors?
Josef Vissarionovich Stalin found a way out, it would seem, from the desperate stalemate that the USSR was put in, and … signed the non-aggression pact with Germany. This agreement, or as it is still called, “pact”, had a sobering effect on the western powers and Japan. It put an end to their impudence and disdain towards the USSR.
Stalin personally participated in the negotiations with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Joachim von Ribbentrop on August 23rd, 1939. On this day negotiations ended with the signing by the aforementioned German Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR Vyacheslav Mikhaylovich Molotov (Skryabin) of the Soviet-German non-aggression pact. It is also named the “Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact” after the ministers. And it is especially the ill-wishers towards Russia who like to call it like this. Many historians write that a secret protocol was attached to the treaty, defining “spheres of influence” of the two parties.
Germany pledged not to interfere in the affairs of the eastern part of Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Bessarabia, i.e., those territories that before the revolution were a part of the Russian Empire, and after the revolution – within the structure of the Soviet state. The USSR pledged not to interfere with the affairs of Poland, except in western Ukraine and Belarus. By the way, it is worth remembering that the Congress of Vienna in 1814-15 made a redivision of Poland: from the greater part of the Warsaw principality the Polish Kingdom was created, which was transferred to the Russian tsar. Other Polish lands were transferred to Prussia and Austria. The Soviet government recognized the right of the Polish people to free self-determination and cancelled all agreements of the Tsarist government on the division of Poland. Poland “thanked” the Soviet government in 1920 by attacking the Soviet state and occupying Western Belarus and Western Ukraine.
In his speech on July 3rd, 1941, Stalin said: “What did we gain by signing with Germany the non-aggression pact? We provided peace to our country for one and a half years and the possibility to prepare forces for a repulse …”
Stalin, as always, told the truth. It was precisely at this particular time that new samples of arms, including tanks and planes, were designed and entered mass production. It is impossible to not pay attention to the fact that during the period of observance of the agreement Germany delivered to us a certain quantity of unique equipment, necessary for industry, which allowed us to supply weapons in large numbers and of the best quality. The supply was defined by a number of agreements. In particular, some days before the conclusion of the non-aggression pact (on August 19) the Soviet-German credit agreement was concluded, as well as further agreements on the supply of equipment.
Naturally, a question arises: why did Germany allow us to return our territories, grant monetary loans, and supply industrial equipment that could be used for the production of arms? These facts can be explained as: Germany very lowly estimated the possibilities of the “defective” races of Slavs and considered that it will return everything in a few weeks, and that the plants where German equipment was located eventually will work for Germany. “Let Russians build it for Germans,” thought Berlin, and played a dangerous game. The main thing is that Hitler considered that Germany, after signing agreements with the USSR, can quietly expand its property, accumulating industrial and human potential, allowing to destroy the Soviet Union without special tensions.
Those who hate Russia and us living in it try to present the Soviet-German agreement as the aggressive actions of the USSR. After all, this agreement ensured that we won and survived in this terrible war with Europe.
This agreement was indeed signed to increase the security of the people living on the territory of the USSR. We should be proud of this diplomatic, political decision, but many inhabitants echo the slanderers of Russia and are ready to repent of such an agreement being signed. And they can’t understand in any way that we have something to be proud of, and that there is nothing to repent of. Our nation, our government of that time made millions of cases that grant us the right to be proud of our Motherland.
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