Causes and Lessons of the Second World War

We are reprinting the following speech on the occassion of the 70th anniversary of the invasion of the Soviet Union by Germany. The speech was given in 1989 by Hardial Bains on the occassion of the 50th anniversary of the invasion of Poland by Germany and was published later in a pamphlet entitled, "Causes and Lessons of the Second World War." Hardial Bains was the National Leader of the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) until his death in 1997.

 

This evening I have been asked to talk about the German invasion of Poland in 1939, which is generally known as the beginning of the Second World War. It is half a century ago that the German government of that time, which was led by Adolf Hitler, organized a surprise attack on Poland. This attack, launched at 4:15 am on September 1, 1939, was on a massive scale. Hitler had mobilized two-thirds of his combat-ready forces, some 1,850,000 Wehrmacht troops; all mechanized units, including 7 panzer and 4 light tank divisions, some 3200 tanks; 4 motorized divisions, including 10,800 cannons and mortars; two air fleets, consisting of some 2000 modern aircraft; the east task fleet comprising 2 battleships, 9 destroyers, 14 submarines and smaller craft. This force surpassed that of Poland many times over and outflanked Poland on all sides. Within one day, Germany has committed 90 per cent of its forces to the attack.

Even though there were areas of serious resistance, such as the battle of Mokra, within a matter of a few weeks, more than 1 million people had been captured and killed by the Hitlerites in a systematic manner. This killing was of such a calibre that, within a few weeks, the Hitlerite forces rounded up thousands of Polish intellectuals, professionals and public figures and shot them. The Nazi German destruction of Poland was one of the most perfidious and barbaric activities in the history of humankind, whether modern or ancient.

During the entire Second World War, some 50 million people died, and another 35 million were crippled. Europe suffered material damages of some $260-300 billion. Within this situation, the Polish state alone, lost approximately 6,000,000 citizens. According to the figures provided by the Polish embassy some 2,841,500 Poles were forced to work for the Third Reich; 2,478,000 were resettled or driven away from their households; 6,128,000 suffered indirectly from Nazi terrorism; 2,000,000 children and youth were murdered; 200,000 children were taken out of Poland to undergo Germanization, of which only 30-40,000 were later returned to their parents. More than 70 per cent of the population of Jewish origin and non-Polish Slavs was decimated. The death camp at Auschwitz, the brutal suppression of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and various other incidents which have gone down in history, are all testimony to the ferocity with which Hitler attacked Poland.

In this manner, Poland suffered the highest casualties and losses per 1,000 residents of all the countries which fought Nazi Germany.

This year, there has been a large amount of comment on this question. However, in terms of the comments which have been made, there is no explanation about why Hitler attacked Poland at that time. What the commentators of various kinds are trying to suggest is that Hitler and Stalin, or Germany and the Soviet Union, were equally to be blamed for the invasion and destruction of Poland. They say that, 1) the non-aggression pact signed between the Soviet Union and Germany on August 23, 1939, gave Hitler free rein to attack Poland, 2) that there was a "secret protocol" between Molotov and Ribbentrop, which set up a "German-Soviet demarcation line on Polish territory" and that 3) Stalin also "invaded" Poland on September 17, 1939. In this way, they are trying to cause maximum confusion about why the war broke out, who was responsible and why such devastation of the people took place.

What was the cause of the war? The nature of the propaganda of the reactionary bourgeoisie in Canada, the United States, Britain and other countries, as well as by hardened reactionaries and restorationists in the Soviet Union and the former people's democracies, is so criminal that it even remains mum about Hitler, and just talks about how the Soviet Union and Stalin were "responsible." There is nothing "new" about this propaganda. It is the same as was carried out by the Nazis during the war itself, and by the Polish reactionaries and the appeasers of Hitler in England, France and the United States at that time. For instance, it was Hitler who first referred to the "secret protocols" in a speech when he declared war on the Soviet Union to "justify" Germany's unilateral abrogation of the Soviet-German non-aggression pact. Then, they surfaced in "evidence" produced by Hitler's henchmen at the Nuremberg trials, in their effort to accuse the Soviet Union as a partner in crime against Poland. Those "protocols" were rejected then as a complete fraud. It was shown, for the entire world to see, that the signature on the so-called secret protocol, alleged to be that of Molotov, the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union, was forged. The Presidium of the Nuremberg trials threw out this document as a forgery. All the Anglo-American statesmen at that time recognized these as forged documents. Entire world public opinion denounced these Nazi documents as forgeries.

Only when the United States itself took up the entire mantle of Hitlerism, and declared that the "historic mission" of the "English-speaking world" was to rid the world of communism, did it resurrect these "secret protocols." In January 1948 the U.S. State Department published, under the title "Nazi-Soviet Relations 1939-1941," a selection of "Documents from the Archives of the German Foreign Office." The documents selected for publication by the State Department present some part of the Nazi versions, and only the Nazi versions, of communications and negotiations between the Nazi government and the Government of the U.S.S.R. between April 1939 and June 22, 1941, and nothing else. These documents reflected the interests and aims of the Hitler regime, which had been explicitly rejected by the Soviet Union. The object of publishing these documents, in direct violation of the allied agreement as to how the archival records of the Nazi regime should be handled, were clearly part of the propaganda war then being waged by the U.S. against the Soviet Union and peoples' democracies. Now, today, various journalists, along with revisionist and reactionary scribblers and professors in Poland and other countries, have "rediscovered" these "secret protocols," as if they were the "discovery" of the 20th century, and they are presented as a "fact." These "secret protocols" never existed. There were no secret "deals" between Hitler and the Soviet Union on any question, especially not in relation to Poland. What there was, was the non- aggression pact, signed between Germany and the Soviet Union, on August 23, 1939, which stipulated that Germany would not attack the Soviet Union and the Soviet Union would not attack Germany. Its text read as follows:

 

"The Government of the German Reich and the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, guided by the desire to strengthen the cause of peace between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and taking as a basis the fundamental regulations of the Neutrality Agreement concluded in April, 1926, between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, have reached the following agreement:

"Article 1. The two Contracting Parties bind themselves to refrain from any act of force, any aggressive action and any attack on one another, both singly and also jointly with other Powers.

"Article 2. In the event of one of the Contracting Parties becoming the object of warlike action on the part of a third Power, the other Contracting Party shall in no manner support this third Power.

"Article 3. The Governments of the two Contracting Parties shall in future remain continuously in touch with one another, by way of consultation, in order to inform one another on questions touching their joint interests.

"Article 4. Neither of the two Contracting Parties shall participate in any grouping of Powers which is directly or indirectly against the other Party.

"Article 5. In the event of disputes or disagreements between the Contracting Parties on questions of this or that kind, both parties would clarify these disputes or disagreements exclusively by means of friendly exchange of opinion or, if necessary, by arbitration committees.

"Article 6. The present Agreement shall be concluded for a period of ten years on the understanding that, insofar as one of the Contracting Parties does not give notice of termination one year before the end of this period, the period of validity of this Agreement shall automatically be regarded as prolonged for a further period of five years.

"Article 7. The present Agreement shall be ratified within the shortest possible time. The instruments of ratification shall be exchanged in Berlin. The Agreement takes effect immediately after it has been signed."

 

The entire protocol discussed nothing else. All the facts show that, as of 1917, the Soviet Union never agreed to have any alliance with anyone to attack a third country. Far from it, these modern day masters of the big lie technique who claim that the Soviet Union invaded Poland in 1939, do not tell people that it was Poland which was an imperialist country. The post-First World War Polish state was created by Britain and France; it was the cornerstone of the Versailles Treaty. One of its ambitions was to add the rich agricultural regions of the Ukraine to Polish territory and extend Polish territory "from sea to sea," the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. This had been the policy of General Pilsudski, the founder and leader of imperialist Poland.

Pilsudski's armies occupied territories taken by the German imperialists from Soviet Russia. These territories consisted not only of Polish lands, to which the Soviet Union renounced all of the Czarist claims, but also large parts of Lithuania, Byelorussia and the Ukraine. The Polish landlords and bourgeoisie dreamed of restoring the Polish empire of medieval times. The Polish army, financed and armed by the French and British, occupied the Ukraine including Kiev. They fought not only the Red Army, but also the "White" Ukrainian bourgeois republic. The landowner bourgeois government of Poland rejected the extremely generous peace proposals of Lenin's government in 1920, taking them as a sign of the weakness of the Soviet state. With British and French arms and money, they launched an offensive in April 1920. The Red Army defeated the White interventionist army as well as the Polish army, driving it back to Warsaw. The Polish army managed to throw back the Red Army again, and finally settled on a frontier which included less territory than Lenin had offered them before the Poles launched their attack. The Leninist-Stalinist policy was for peace, for an end to the slaughter of the peoples, and was not based on territorial expansion. The Polish landowners' state was the opposite; imperialist and aggressive, as is shown by its occupation of large parts of the Ukraine, Byelorussia and Lithuania.

Out of a total population of 13 million people who inhabited these territories, only about 1 million were Polish nationals, the rest being Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians and Transcaucasians. During the eighteen years of Polish rule that followed, the inhabitants, under the reactionary rule of the semi-fascist Polish Government and the extortions of Polish landlords, presented one of the most tragic examples of the fate of "national minorities" the world has ever seen. Thus, it was not the Soviet Union which was interested in attacking Poland, but Poland which was interested in, and did in fact, attack the Soviet Union in 1920.

To suggest that Stalin's aim in signing the non-aggression pact with Germany was to attack Poland or to "give rein" for Germany to attack Poland, is an infamy in which all the major newspapers and media in Canada are participating in. The history of events in 1937, both before and after Hitler's occupation of Austria in March, show that the Soviet Union, as it had done in earlier years, made many efforts to persuade Britain and France to maintain collective mutual assistance, and in particular to carry out their undertaking to defend Czechoslovakia against aggression. All these efforts failed and the British and French refusal, of course, culminated at Munich. The Soviet Union was not merely willing to join forces with France to defend Czechoslovakia, if France would keep her word, but was prepared to defend Czechoslovakia on her own, even if France refused; but the Munich negotiators ordered the Czechs not to resist. Finally, faced with the British and French refusal to sign the collective mutual assistance pact with the Soviet Union, the Soviet Union had no choice but to take whatever measures it could to defend herself and the cause of peace. Future events proved the farsightedness of Stalin in signing the Soviet- German Non-Aggression Pact. Signing the non-aggression pact, within the unfavourable conditions which prevailed as a result of the Anglo-French policy of appeasement towards Germany, not only provided the Soviet Union with twenty-two months of peace, so as to prepare herself to withstand the German invasion, but put an end to the Anglo-American and French policy of egging Hitler toward the east in a war between what would have been a completely isolated Soviet Union, against superior German forces.

People should speak out against these lies, because they are by no means harmless. Even if a person is not Marxist-Leninist, or a Marxist-Leninist sympathizer, opposing such things is crucial. If such a climate is permitted to develop, it will assist the same kind of Hitlerite and fascist forces which arose in the 1930's and 1940's. These people who are carrying out this propaganda today are, in fact, the descendants of the same forces. The countries which are today facing a serious crisis, want a scapegoat. Communism and J.V. Stalin are being presented as the scapegoat. The problems of capitalism and revisionism and the crimes of imperialism are being attributed to communism and the name and work of J.V. Stalin. Besides anything else, on the basis of giving the people a false sense of security they try to inculcate the spirit of indifference, of having people say: 'if it does not concern me, then I am not going to speak out.' As was proven already at the time of the Second World War, 'Speak out now, before it is too late!'

All the facts I am referring to today can be verified. They are all available in reports, speeches, accounts and documents from that time. It is not a matter of some "discovery" which will require many, many years. The judgement of history from 1945 to 1953, to say nothing about the outcome of the War itself, in which the Soviet Union bore the brunt of the losses in order to save itself and the peoples of Europe from destruction at the hands of the Hitlerites, all point to the truth about the role of the Soviet Union and J.V. Stalin.

The factors which created the conditions for Hitler's attack on Poland are several. Their origins can be found in the conclusion of the First World War, which was a war between imperialist robber barons for the redivision of the world. With the victory of the Anglo-French-American forces, the Treaty of Versailles was imposed on Germany, in order to strengthen the hand of the Anglo-French imperialists in the domination of Europe and the colonies. The unjust and punitive war reparations imposed on Germany led to economic collapse and tremendous hardship for the German people. Hitler seized on the discontent of the German people in his rise to power. The Treaty of Versailles did not plant the seeds of lasting peace, but rather those of another imperialist war for the redivision of markets and spheres of influence.

The Americans pursued a policy of deliberate and systematic rebuilding of Germany, both economically and militarily, and attempted to destroy the socialist Soviet Union. A massive propaganda campaign was unleashed against the "red menace" and, during the period 1918 to 1920 some 14 imperialist countries sent their armies against Soviet Russia, which were defeated by the Red Army. Evidence emerged in the 1930's that the governments of Britain, France, the U.S., Germany and others were planning another joint invasion of the Soviet Union for 1930, with the German army playing a major role. The stock market crash of 1929, however, put those plans on hold. Even after the rise to power of Hitler, the U.S. continued to finance Germany's economic and military reconstruction. In Nazi Germany, the U.S. saw its pistol to terrorize and dominate all of Europe and destroy the socialist Soviet Union. U.S. financial and military support for Nazi Germany continued right up to the entrance of the U.S. into the war. The evidence also proves that the British government, faced with the choice of building up fascism against socialism at the risk of their own destruction, or of making a military alliance with the U.S.S.R., which would strengthen both Britain and the U.S.S.R., chose the former course. This is the course the British and French pursued until it became evident that Hitler had no intentions of sparing them either, in his aim to conquer the world. British loans to rebuild Germany were not unsubstantial, and the Federation of British Industries was negotiating a commercial agreement with the Reichsgruppe Industrie in Dusseldorf, even after the invasion of Czechoslovakia.

In attacking Poland, Adolf Hitler was merely obliging the Anglo-Americans' policy of going East and implementing his own plan, outlined in Mein Kampf, to increase Germany's "living space" by taking over the Ukraine, as part of his plan to enslave the entire world. After all, by September 1939, Germany was a country which already had a history of aggression. It had already occupied Austria and taken over Czechoslovakia, emerging as the most powerful single country in Europe as a result. The Soviet Union was calling upon the two main European non-aggressive powers, Britain and France, to sign a collective mutual assistance pact which, had it been signed, might have saved Europe from the Second World War, or at least ensured that the war was shorter and less destructive. This was not to be a non-aggression pact. It was to be a treaty which would guarantee mutual assistance in the event of any of these countries being attacked by Hitler Germany. All the efforts made by the Soviet Union at that time to establish this mutual assistance pact failed. On the contrary, Chamberlain, on behalf of Britain, and Daladier, on behalf of France, went to Germany and signed the Munich Agreement.

This infamous episode in the history of these countries is not the object of such propaganda as is carried today about the non-aggression pact signed between Stalin and Hitler. It is in the betrayal carried out by Britain and France at Munich, that the fate of the peoples of Europe was sealed. The subsequent annexation of the Sudentenland by Hitler destroyed Czechoslovakia's defence system and made the occupation of all of Czechoslovakia by Hitler inevitable. The sacrifice of Czechoslovakia was, for all intents and purposes, the declaration by Britain and France that they would not enter into an alliance with the Soviet Union. The policy of Britain, France and even Canada at the time, to which the Diaries of then Prime Minister MacKenzie King testify, was to get Hitler to go East and finally attack the Soviet Union.

The Canadian media remains quite silent about the fact that MacKenzie King met Hitler in Germany in 1937 and, with British Prime Minister Chamberlain's blessing, showed 'understanding' to Hitler's ambitions in the East. During King's meeting with Sir Neville Henderson, the then British Ambassador to Germany on the eve of his visit with Hitler and Goring, King accepted Henderson's basic position to encourage Germany to move to the East. In King's diary entry of June 27, 1937 we read how Henderson declared that "if it were not for the French alliance with Russia [meaning the French-Soviet- Czechoslovak collective security treaty] England, Germany and France could settle their differences in a few hours"; that "the whole crux was that Germany felt that England was not going to allow her to move in the East toward Austria (and) Czechoslovakia"; that "'collective security' is something worse than meaningless, a real danger"; and that "England should not try to interfere with Germany on the East." In 1939, on the eve of war, again with Chamberlain's agreement, King had decided, at Hitler's personal invitation, to visit Germany a second time in order to act as a "screen" to "save face" between Germany and England. The Non- Aggression Pact between the U.S.S.R. and Germany, and subsequent attack by Hitler against Poland, changed those plans.

The fact remains that, at Munich, Britain and France signed a four-power pact with Hitler Germany and fascist Italy, as part of their policy of diverting Hitler eastward, against the Soviet Union. The betrayal of Czechoslovakia on the part of Britain and France can only be considered as payment in advance for the attack which they hoped Hitler would make on the Soviet Union.

As far as the Polish government of the day is concerned, in 1938-39, it was an imperialist government, of the semi-fascist type. It considered Britain and France to be its allies, and the Soviet Union its avowed enemy. It refused the Soviet request to make transport routes running across Polish territory available to the Red Army, to become a forward line of defence from which crushing blows could have been unleashed against the aggressor. The reason for this refusal is to be found in two factors: 1. The semi-fascist Polish government wanted to ensure that the Soviet line of defence should remain as deep as possible inside Soviet territory, in the hope that Nazi Germany would overrun the Soviet Union, and 2. It never let go of its grand design to seize Soviet territory itself, so as to extend Polish territory from "sea to sea."

This was the foreign policy of Col. Beck, Polish Foreign Minister of the day, and continuer of General Pilsudski's imperialist policies.

Today, Polish reactionaries seek to "justify" the stand which the Polish government took so as to absolve it of its share of the blame for what happened to Poland as a result of Hitler's invasion. Dr. Andrzej Skrzypek, a Polish historian and Assistant Professor of the Socio-Political Science Department of the Academy of Social Sciences in Warsaw and deputy-editor-in-chief of Kwartalnik Historyczny (Historical Quarterly), provides the following "justification" in his book, Origins of World War II:

 

"Poland was squeezed between two powers which it recognized as its avowed enemies. That is why, as the bedrock of its policy, it attempted to arrange alliances against the two."

 

He states that Poland and the U.S.S.R. belonged to "opposite alignments of forces on the European arena" with Poland linked to the "victorious and anti-revolutionary Entente, the Versailles System and hence to France and Britain which treated Poland as a 'cordon sanitaire' and barrier against communism."

The truth is that Poland had imperialist ambitions towards the Soviet Union, which is why it did not want to settle the border questions on a permanent basis and refused the Soviets permission to enter Poland so as to stop the Nazi advance. Secondly, Poland's contradiction with Germany was of an inter-imperialist nature, not an anti-fascist nature. It was jockeying for positions itself, instead of taking all the measures necessary to defend Poland against the impending threat of Hitler's invasion. This is why Poland did not seek the assistance of the Soviet Union, with whom it shared common borders. Finally, the Polish government was also part of the Anglo-German "Hitler-go-east" policy, for which Europe, and especially Poland, paid so dearly. These countries dreaded communism and the liberation struggles of the peoples more than they feared fascism. They wanted capitalist exploitation, they wanted the world to be under their hegemony. This is why they handed Czechoslovakia over to Hitler at Munich.

Czechoslovakia was a major industrial power in Europe with a powerful armaments industry, with a modern army and air force. On her own, she could have dealt Hitler's war machine a big blow; in alliance with France and the Soviet Union, Germany would have been defeated easily. Under the Munich Agreement, Britain and France ensured that Czechoslovakia would not fight Hitler's invasion. Hitler took over Czechoslovakia's industrial economic might, and emerged as the main force in Europe at that time. Right at the time of the Munich Agreement, when Czechoslovakia was forced to yield the Sudentenland to Germany, the imperialist Polish government sent its army to annex parts of Czechoslovakia. This created the situation for Hitler to go further in his plans. [...]

The Anglo-American and French policy, that communism was a more dangerous enemy than anything else, was one of the factors which gave rise to the Second World War. These modern- day slave-owners were actually praising Hitler at that time, for smashing the Communist Party of Germany and bringing about 'social peace.' MacKenzie King, after his visit to Nazi Germany in 1937, praised Hitler's domestic policies. "The most significant change of all," he wrote in his Diary on June 28, 1937, "is the change that has come over the organization of German industry, whereby trade unions have been abolished as being in antagonism to employers, and brought into one organization, and all parts having a share in government of industry. (This is virtually advocated in Industry and Humanity, MacKenzie King's own book on industrial relations - H.B.) The state appoints referees, and strikes in this way are ended. I confess that what one sees here of socialist (sic) state causes one to see many merits in the system."

Anglo-American and French reaction hoped that Hitler would do the same to the Soviet Union. They also hoped that, once the Soviet Union was smashed, they could attack a weakened Germany and conquer the entire world. These Anglo-American and French imperialists were not against slavery and exploitation; they only wanted to ensure their own world domination. Their stumbling block was the existence of the Soviet Union, which they hoped Hitler would smash for them. This is why they refused to sign a collective mutual assistance pact with the Soviet Union. This is why they committed every infamy so as to egg on Hitler towards the east, and why they followed the policy of appeasement. This is what facilitated the Hitler invasion of Poland.

The speech which J.V. Stalin gave to the Eighteenth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, on March 10, 1939, five days before Hitler entered Prague, is a real condemnation of the Anglo-French in this regard. Stalin pointed out:

 

."..We are witnessing an open redivision of the world and spheres of influence at the expense of the non-aggressive states, without the least attempt at resistance, and even with a certain amount of connivance, on the part of the latter....

"To what are we to attribute this one- sided and strange character of the new imperialist war?

"How is it that the non-aggressive countries, which possess such vast opportunities, have so easily, and without any resistance, abandoned their positions and their obligations to please the aggressors?

"Is it to be attributed to the weakness of the non-aggressive states? Of course not! Combined, the non-aggressive, democratic states are unquestionably stronger than the fascist states, both economically and in the military sense.

"To what then are we to attribute the systematic concessions made by these states to the aggressors?

"It might be attributed, for example, to the fear that a revolution might break out if the non-aggressive states were to go to war and the war were to assume world-wide proportions. The bourgeois politicians know, of course, that the first imperialist world war led to the victory of the revolution in one of the largest countries. They are afraid that the second imperialist world war may also lead to the victory of the revolution in one or several countries.

"But at present this is not the sole or even the chief reason. The chief reason is that the majority of the non- aggressive countries, particularly England and France, have rejected the policy of collective security, the policy of collective resistance to the aggressors, and have taken up a position of non-intervention, a position of 'neutrality.'

"Formally speaking, the policy of non- intervention might be defined as follows: 'Let each country defend itself from aggressors as it likes and as best it can. That is not our affair. We shall trade both with the aggressors and with their victims.' But, actually speaking, the policy of non-intervention means conniving at aggression, giving free rein to war, and, consequently, transforming the war into a world war....

"Take Germany, for instance. They let her have Austria, despite the undertaking to defend her independence; they let her take the Sudenten region; they abandoned Czechoslovakia to her fate, thereby violating all their obligations; and then they began to lie vociferously in the press about 'the weakness of the Russian army,' 'the demoralization of the Russian air force,' and 'riots' in the Soviet Union, egging the Germans on to march farther east, promising them easy pickings, and prompting them: 'Just start war on Bolsheviks, and everything will be all right.' It must be admitted that this, too, looks very much like egging on and encouraging the aggressor."

 

According to the Anglo-American historians, the Second World War began on September 1, 1939. Why on September 1, 1939? It is because within some 48 hours of Hitler's invasion of Poland, Britain declared war on Germany. This war which Britain declared on Germany became known as the "phony war." It had no real significance of any kind, let alone military significance, with Britain dropping pamphlets rather than bombs on Germany. Neither Britain, nor France, nor the U.S., did anything to either stop or punish Hitler for the invasion of Poland. Britain did not mobilize its air force, its army or navy to come to the assistance of Poland in any way. It did not call upon France to take action against Germany, which had only a fraction of its forces on its western border. This whole fraud was perpetrated in order to split the Polish people by trying to suggest that Poland had an ally. Throughout the war period, neither the Americans, nor the British, nor the French ever even set foot in Poland, in spite of which they were called "allies" by Polish reaction. It is said that Poland's greatest ally during the Second World War were the Anglo-Americans, while they try to equate the Soviet Union and Stalin with Germany and Hitler, as enemies. If you go into the history of relations between the U.S. and Poland before 1939, you will find that the United States had a consistent policy of opposing Poland, besides the fact that the U.S. was the main country which armed Hitler Germany. U.S. finance capital financed the industrial recovery of German monopoly capitalism after World War I; more than $8 billion were invested by the Americans to assist the German industrialists in the 1920's. This support continued throughout the Hitler period, up to December 7, 1941. If we just take the history since 1945, or the American policy today, we will find that it is to assist every fascist force in the world, including in Poland. This cannot be called a policy of friendship towards the Polish people, or any people of the world.

After the war, a large number of Hitlerites actually found refuge in the United States, Canada and various countries in the U.S. sphere of influence. [...] This is further proof of the evil intent of these imperialist powers. They pursued their aim of establishing world hegemony and counter-revolution, caring nothing for what would happen to the peoples. This remains the policy of imperialism and world reaction, today. It was the policy of wiping out communism, the policy of setting Germany up as their pistol against communism, which led these powers to adopt the policy of appeasement towards Hitler Germany. The remonstrances of the Anglo-American historians, according to which Britain saved the day by declaring war on Germany, is altogether untrue. As you know, the Germans, Italians and Japanese were already carrying out aggressive activities. Look at the events which occurred before September 1939: Ethiopia was occupied by Mussolini; China was attacked by Japan; Albania was occupied by the Italian fascists; the Nazis and fascists supported Franco actively against the Republican government in Spain. There are many, many facts which show that on none of these occasions did Britain, France or the U.S.A. act to oppose aggression. All the appeals by the Soviet Union for collective security against aggression were brutally ignored.

The Communist International, at its 8th Congress, gave the call for a United Front Against Fascism but the communists were even hounded by the so-called democratic countries. Far from providing support for such a United Front, it was the fascists who received assistance from the official circles, as is the case today. Just as they tried to falsify history at that time, because they had the same aims as the Hitlerites, to smash communism and establish world domination, so too today. This is why they are falsifying the history, trying to suggest that Stalin had the same ambitions as Hitler, and not that it is they who are the real guilty and criminal party.

This is why, when they refer to the name and work of J.V. Stalin, they try to attribute to Stalin exactly the things which the United States has done since 1945. They say that Stalin had a plan to conquer the world. Stalin was alive until 1953. There is not one single country in the world which was occupied by the Soviet Union while Stalin was alive. There is not a single example of an annexation on the part of the Red Army while Stalin was alive. But the U.S. incited the fascist forces in Greece and established a fascist regime there, with the help of U.S. and British tanks and generals. It set up fascist regimes in Turkey and elsewhere. It supported the Franco fascist regime in Spain and the Salazar fascist regime in Portugal, including its slaughter of the people in Angola and Mozambique. It reinstated and organized the Nazi forces in what is called West Germany, a state established unilaterally by the U.S. in contravention of the Potsdam Agreement. In Iran, the U.S. established the fascist dictatorship of the Shah. In Korea, it established the Syngmon Rhee fascist dictatorship. In Vietnam, it established a similar dictatorship of Bao Dai. It overthrew the government of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala. Today, on the world scale, the U.S. has more than 110 military bases. Yet according to their propaganda, it is somebody else who wants to take over the world.

Another accusation against J.V. Stalin is that he crushed his ideological enemies. Stalin never carried such activities against anyone. The aim of this propaganda is also to incite counter-revolution. [...] It is the U.S. which carried out the McCarthy anti- communist witch-hunt. It is the U.S. which sponsored regimes which massacred communists. It is the U.S. which gave rise to the brutal and infamous policy of the "containment of communism" and which organized NATO as an instrument of aggression and imperialist war. It is the U.S. which still today bars visitors for ideological reasons. The Stalinist policy was one of peaceful coexistence between different systems. It was the policy of resolute struggle against colonialism and imperialism, against aggression and imperialist war.

To suggest that Stalin carried out all these activities is to assist the propaganda of all the fascist forces in the world and to give free rein to the Anglo-Americans and the modern revisionists, especially the U.S. and the Soviet Union, to do whatever they want today against the interests of freedom, progress and peace. Somebody could smile and smirk about these falsifications of history, if they were harmless. We could take it easy and not be outraged. But there is an aim behind all this falsification. The aim is to bring out all the fascist forces to carry out the same barbarism which was carried out in the past. One of the methods of Hitler was to accuse the enemy of what he himself was doing. Compare this method of Hitler's with those of the U.S. or Soviet Union today. [...] Their methodology is quite consistent with the Hitlerite methodology.

Coming back to the question of who bears responsibility for WWII, it is very convenient to say that Stalin and Hitler shared the responsibility. These upstarts in the media in Canada who were just born yesterday, smile and laugh and say that Stalin was a "dictator" of the Hitler type, if not worse, etc. Ask millions of people in Europe and they will tell you that Stalin was the greatest liberator of the 20th century. We go by the historical facts established in blood during the Second World War. [...] Millions of people in Europe at that time never believed such atrocious and villainous accusations. One of the accusations at that time, which has been revived today for the umpteenth time, is that by entering Poland on September 17, 1939, the Soviet Union betrayed Poland and was joining Germany in carving up Europe. The suggestion today, as was also the case at that time, is that the Polish army and people would have been able to handle the Germans if the Russians had not attacked them from behind at the same time. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact is that when the Red Army entered the territory of the former Polish state, the war in Poland was at an end; the Polish government had ceased to function and was in headlong flight and the Polish army had, for the most part, disintegrated and was either in flight or surrendering. The same day the Soviet troops entered Poland, The Times correspondent telegraphed his paper as follows, from inside Poland:

 

"The Polish military situation, which a week ago was described in this correspondence as an orderly retreat with the army intact, has now become the exact opposite. The Polish front has collapsed completely, and it is plain that little more remains for the Germans to do except mop up what is left of a gallant army of more than 1,500,000 men."

 

Indeed, on September 17, the day the Red Army moved into what were primarily Ukrainian and Byelorussian lands, the Polish government, already in flight from Warsaw, fled to Rumania where it was interned.

As far as the accusation that the Soviet Union was "land-grabbing," coming from those who are the biggest "land-grabbers" humankind has ever seen, suffice it to recall that if the Soviet Union had not taken over those territories, they would have been seized by Hitler. As a result of the Soviet Union's timely entry into what had been territories of the Polish state, Hitler was forced to accept a line of demarcation between his troops and the Red Army, a long way west of the then Polish-Russian frontier. This was, in itself, a substantial political and diplomatic defeat of Nazi aggression, which was to be of great assistance to the anti-fascist cause in military and political terms later on. This accusation against the Soviet Union also brings out the insincerity of those, today, who claim to be democrats and great defenders of the Polish people and nation. Even the fact that the Red Army saved millions of people inhabiting those areas from suffering the fate which Hitler reserved for the rest of the Polish people, is not enough to silence them. As far as the people inhabiting those territories is concerned, as I have already pointed out, it was mainly comprised of Byelorussians, Ukrainians and others who were part of the Ukraine and Byelorussia before those territories were annexed by Poland. They had been persecuted without mercy by the Polish reactionaries and suffered pogroms and all kinds of mistreatment. In this regard, the Manchester Guardian wrote on October 10, 1938, just a week after the Polish army had occupied and annexed a part of Czechoslovakia:

 

"Another 'pacification' of the Polish Ukraine has been going on since the early spring. ... This time the 'pacification' is taking on other forms; a general assault on Ukrainian political, educational, and economic organization has been going on almost without intermission."

 

The fact of the matter is that when the Soviet Union entered Poland, the Nazi designs on the Baltic States and the Ukraine were brought to a halt for a period of twenty-two months. Would those who decry the Soviet entry into Polish territory on September 17, 1939, have preferred Hitler to seize the Ukraine, the territory which Hitler had earmarked in Mein Kampf as the land for his expansion, the very same place which the adherents of the policy of appeasement in Britain and France had encouraged Hitler to take over? On the other side, it is a fact that the modern Baltic States owe their existence to Stalin. The Constitution of the Soviet Union, which was adopted under Lenin and Stalin, stipulated as a fundamental principle, the right to self-determination, including secession, for all nations. When this Constitution was changed in 1986 by Gorbachev, not a single editorial writer here, not a single government, objected to this, or said that Gorbachev had no business threatening any nation whatsoever. On the contrary, they consider Gorbachev to be a "liberal" and a "democrat."

In conclusion, it is very important to understand that this entire propaganda on the question of the Second World War has an aim. Working people should not take it with folded arms because its object is to organize a fascist movement, to condone fascist aggression. If the Anglo-American bourgeoisie is successful in this, it will cause a disaster for the peoples of the world, just as the Anglo- American policy caused the disaster of the Second World War. A repetition of this policy will bring the disaster of a Third World War.

Our Party openly states that people should take the road of revolution. Our Party will give the call for the overthrow of any government which participates in an imperialist and aggressive war. We have the right to do so in order to protect the people from the horrors of such a cataclysmic war. To protect people from the horrors of inter-imperialist war is part of the whole tradition of the modern democratic movement, the whole struggle for the rights and freedoms of the people. It entrusts us with this stand. This is where our Party stands and we will issue such a call if such a need arises. But we work very hard to ensure that revolution succeeds before the imperialists and reactionaries are able to unleash a war for the redivision of the world. It does not matter whether these imperialists are Americans or Soviets, who are the main culprits, or others such as the British, Canadians, French, or Chinese. The overthrow of the imperialist system of exploitation is the only guarantee for peace. There is no other way lasting peace can be achieved. This is the lesson of the Second World War. It was the fascist states with the connivance of the Anglo-Americans and French who started the Second World War. The Anglo-Americans and French wanted the Soviet Union to pick the chestnuts out from the fire for them. The Soviet Union did not do so. This is why they have been jumping around since that time, telling lies. History will damn them, as it has already done so in the past.

Thank you.

(Sustained Applause)