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Stalin’s Boasts About Hitler Pact

Swore It Meant Lasting Peace

Kremlin’s 1939–40 Declarations Expose
Its Role in Exposing Soviet Union to Attack

(June 1941)

From The Militant, Vol. V No. 26, 28 June 1941, p. 4.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

The Stalin-Hitler “non-aggression” pact of August 23, 1939, which Hitler has ground to dust just 22 months later, struck a crushing blow at the workers of the world, and destroyed the sympathy which millions of class-conscious proletarians felt coward the Soviet Union.

All but the most deluded or the most corrupt Stalinist flunkeys recognized that the pact was the go-ahead signal for Hitler’s war of imperialist conquest, a guarantee to the Nazis that they could march without fear of fighting on two fronts.

Such was the revulsion of the workers against the pact, that Stalin was compelled to justify it by sweeping declarations to the effect that the pact was a guarantee of “peace” for the Soviet Union and a “blow for peace” n the entire world. Pravda, Stalin’s personal organ, issued an extensive “explanation,” which was reprinted in the Daily Worker, Aug. 25, 1939, under an eight column headline: PravdaSays Non-Aggression Pact Serves Cause of World Peace.

How Stalin Whitewashed the Menace of Hitler

Pravda’s statement said:

“The foreign policy of the Soviet Union is invariably based on striving to defend and preserve the cause of world peace. In this policy the U.S.S.R. Invariably strove to support and strengthen friendly and business relations with those states which share this position ...

“The non-aggression pact concluded between the Soviet Union and Germany fully corresponds to the position of the Soviet Union as defined by Comrade Stalin.”

Thus Nazi Germany was pictured as one of “those states which share this position” of the Soviet Union in “striving to defend and preserve the cause of peace.” Pravda said further in that same statement:

“There is no doubt whatever the the non-aggression pact just concluded liquidates the strained relations which existed between the U.S.S.R. and Germany. However, the significance of the pact concluded extends beyond, the framework of settling relations only between the two contracting countries.

“It is concluded at a time when the international situation is very tense and aggravated. The peaceful act which the non-aggression pact between the U.S.S.R. And Germany represents will undoubtedly help to ease the tension in the international situation, will undoubtedly help to disperse this tension.

“The conclusion of the pact between the U.S.S.R. and Germany is undoubtedly a fact of the greatest international significance, for the pact is an instrument of peace which is called upon not only to strengthen good-neighborly and peaceful relations between the U.S.S.R. and Germany, but also to serve the cause of the universal strengthening of peace.

“An end is being put to hostility between Germany and the U.S.S.R. Differences in ideology and political systems should not and cannot serve as an obstacle to establishing good-neighborly relations between both countries.

“The friendship between the peoples of the U.S.S.R. and Germany, which reached a blind alley as a result of the efforts of the enemies of Germany and the U.S.S.R., should from now on receive the necessary conditions to develop and, flourish. (Our emphasis)

Thus was the vigilance of the Soviet workers disarmed against the menace of Hitler. And thus were the workers everywhere assured that the pact was a guarantee of the security of the Soviet Union from an attack by Germany, and, even more, a guarantee of world peace.

The Soviet government organ Izvestia, on August 24, 1939, went further than Pravda, categorically predicting that the pact was “bound to pacify the extremely tense international situation and contribute to the consolidation of peace,” and that it “ends a hostility which the enemies of both sides have tried to fan and perpetuate.”

Browder Swore There Was an “Escape Clause”

When the pact was first announced, Earl Browder tried to sugar-coat the bitter pill, he swore that it would contain an “escape” clause, whereby the Soviet Union could denounce the pact if Germany attacked another nation.

The actual terms of the pact, however, contained no “escape” clause; and nine days later Germany invaded Poland.

Stalin sent the Red Army into Poland, and many people, including the workers in the territory seized by Hitler, were led at first to believe that Stalin’s intentions were to proceed against Hitler. Molotov made a speech to the Russian people, explaining why the Red Army was marching; his concluding point was:

“At the same time, the Soviet government intends to deliver the Polish people from the disastrous war into which they have been plunged by their unwise leaders and to give them an opportunity to live a life of peace.” (Daily Worker, Sept. 18, 1939)

For the majority of the Polish workers and peasants that “opportunity to live a life of peace” was to be enjoyed under the heel of Hitler. On September 28, 1939, in Moscow, the Nazi and Soviet governments drew up a treaty defining the borders of their jointly-conquered territories and recognizing each other’s conquests.

Stalin Helps Hitler In His “Peace” Offensive

A joint statement was issued the same day, signed by the representatives of both governments. This statement declared:

“After the German Reich government and the Soviet Russian Republic have definitely settled by the treaty signed today the question resulting from the disintegration of the Polish State, thus creating a safe foundation for lasting peace in Eastern Europe, they unanimously express the opinion that it would correspond to the true interests of all peoples and make an end to the war existing between Germany on the one hand and England and France on the other hand. Therefore, both governments, if necessary in conjunction with one of the befriended nations, will direct their joint efforts toward searching this aim as soon as possible. But should the efforts of both governments fail then the fact would be established that England and France are responsible for the continuation of the war, and in case of continuation of the war the Governments of Germany and Soviet Russia will consult each other regarding the necessary measures.”

Thus Stalin come to the aid of Hitler’s “peace offensive” and helped to spread the lie that Hitler had no further imperialist aims and that the continuation of the war would be the sole responsibility of Germany’s enemies

The Soviet-Nazi treaty which divided up Poland was hailed as “creating a safe foundation for lasting peace in Eastern Europe” and Stalin solemnly concurred in Hitler’s formula that if England and France would recognize the conquest of Poland that was all that would be needed to “make an end of the war.”

Molotov Boasts About Nazi-Soviet “Swift Blow”

Molotov’s speech of October 31, 1939, gave further support to the “peace offensive” of Hitler:

“Today, as far as the European great powers are concerned,” said Molotov, “Germany is in the position of a State that is striving for the earliest termination of the war and for peace, while Britain and France, which but yesterday were declaiming against aggressors, are in favor of continuing the war and are opposed to the conclusions of peace. The roles, as you see, are changing.” (Daily Worker, Nov. 1, 1939)

Molotov, in the same speech then cynically boasts about the collaboration of the Nazi and Red armies:

“One swift blow to Poland, first by the German Army and then by the Red Army, and nothing was left ...”

Stalin’s collaboration with Hitler in dismembering Poland was justifled by Stalinist apologists by the argument that, as a result of the collaboration, the 11-million population of the provinces conceded by Hitler to Stalin had been “liberated.”

But the Stalinist apologists conveniently overlooked that another result of this same collaboration was the enslavement of more than 22 million other people by Hitler – an awful price to pay for the “liberation” of half as many.

And the Stalinist apologists would not face the fact that, far more than Stalin gained in this collaboration in Poland, the Soviet Union lost: it lost throughout the world mass proletarian support for the Soviet Union, just as the Stalin-Hitler pact had stunned and disoriented the world working class.

We Trotskyists saw at that time how heavy a price the Soviet Union was paying for Stalin’s diplomatic “victories.” But only now, after 22 months of the Stalin-Hitler pact, can one realize to the full what the Soviet Union has paid. While all Europe was falling under Hitler’s domination, making the danger to the Soviet Union ever greater, the Stalinist justification for the pact drove the Soviet and Comintern press to conceal the impending danger of Nazi attack. The fiction that the pact guaranteed “peace” for the Soviet Union had to be preserved at all costs!

In December, 1939, Stalin sent a message to Von Ribbentrop, expressing his satisfaction at the outcome of the pact and the resultant seizure of Poland. This message was published in the Daily Worker, December 26, as follows:

“The friendship of the peoples of Germany and the Soviet Union, CEMENTED BY BLOOD, has all grounds to be prolonged and stable.”

That “friendship” is indeed being “cemented by blood” – by the blood of the Soviet soldiers dying under the Nazi onslaught, dying in the defense of a Soviet Union weakened and disarmed by the perfidy and treachery of Stalinism. That pact is being “cemented in blood” by the Russian workers and peasants being blown to bits by Nazi bombs.

What remains of all the blustering lies and absurdities with which Stalin surrounded his alliance with Hitler, his assurances that his “friendship” with Der Fuehrer was a bulwark of Soviet defense, his boasts that the pact ensured world peace, his braggart deception that the pact reflected the “fear” of Hitler of the “might” of the Soviet Union?

What has that pact given the workers of the world of all the blatant promises made for it?

It ushered in not “peace” but the most devastating war of human history. It did not safeguard the defense of the Soviet Union, but paved the way for the most deadly attack upon the Workers’ State.

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