The USSR Did Not “Save the World” from Fascism; the Soviet Union Was Saved from a One Front War with Germany
In May of every year, the successor state to the USSR inflicts on itself and other nations the exasperated delusion that it “saved the world” from fascism. Had Britain not given Poland a war guarantee, there would have been no war in the West, no German invasion of France or the Low Countries, and above all, no second World War. The USSR, whose Red Army was decimated by purges, would have faced a one front war with Hitler.
EVERY YEAR, Europe and the world are treated to claims by Russia that the USSR “saved the world” from fascism and National-Socialism. Leftists and, on occasion, conservatives, in the West write articles praising, or at least recognizing, the Soviet Union’s “contribution” to the second World War. For example, in a recent article in the Washington Post by left wing writer Ishaan Tharoor, “Don’t Forget How the Soviet Union Saved the World from Hitler,” the writer summarizes the basic arguments arrayed in favor of this conclusion. (ILLUSTRATION: Joseph Stalin)
At one point, Tharoor writes and quotes the following:
The Red Army was “the main engine of Nazism’s destruction,” writes British historian and journalist Max Hastings in “Inferno: The World at War, 1939-1945.” The Soviet Union paid the harshest price: though the numbers are not exact, an estimated 26 million Soviet citizens died during World War II, including as many as 11 million soldiers. At the same time, the Germans suffered three-quarters of their wartime losses fighting the Red Army.
Of course the Red Army bore the brunt of the German war effort: Hitler’s primary goal in Europe, from the writing of Mein Kampf through his appointment as Reich Chancellor until the outbreak of war in 1939, was to reunify the German people and secure their existence through living space won at the expense of the USSR. That is why German and Soviet casualties were at their highest in the Eastern front. But Tharoor writes as if these casualties reflect some unique effort on a front as relevant as any other in this war.
While he praises the USSR’s contribution to the second World War, Tharoor nonetheless draws attention to Stalin’s mistakes and the nature of his regime. Tharoor writes:
For Russia’s neighbors, it’s hard to separate the Soviet triumph from the decades of Cold War domination that followed. One can also lament the way the sacrifices of the past inform the muscular Russian nationalism now peddled by Putin and his Kremlin allies. But we shouldn’t forget how the Soviets won World War II in Europe.
That is to say, although Stalin was brutal and cruel, Tharoor concludes, the Soviet Union must nonetheless be given recognition for having stopped Hitler. And by this is meant, of course, as numerous historians have argued, that Hitler was intent on dominating the world. In reality, Hitler’s goal was far more limited and restricted: His continental policy was to restore Germany to great power status, place itself aside the other great powers, and build an empire that would extend eastward into a defeated and occupied USSR.
Tharoor’s article and its claims were challenged by Daniel Greenfield, who wrote an article that was titled, “The USSR Didn’t Save the World from Hitler, It Allied with Hitler.” Rather than granting that the Soviet Union deserves some sort of recognition and respect for being a decisive force in defeating Germany in World War II, he argues that Tharoor’s article and claims in particular and “leftist revisionism” in general exaggerate the USSR’s historical position. The Red Army was not some heroic vanguard deserving of high appraisal:
It’s not courage. Slaves driven to do something at gunpoint, starving and brutalized are not courageous. Does Ishaan view North Korea as courageous? The USSR under Stalin was no better.
Furthermore, according to Greenfield, the USSR empowered Hitler by entering into an alliance with Germany. The Molotov-Ribbentrop pact that exploded onto the world in August 1939 stunned Britain, France, and the West and conveyed very clearly that the Soviet Union would not be enlisted in a Western effort to confront and corner Hitler’s Germany. Greenfield claims that this allowed Hitler to occupy western Poland and go on to pursue mastery of the European continent. Again, claims that distort the facts and misrepresent history.
The Soviet regime under Stalin knew differently, and grasped that a primary goal of Hitler was to invade and occupy the Soviet Union. Hitler was intent on moving eastward, anyway, whether the Soviet Union had temporarily aligned itself with Germany, or not. The West, by contrast, increasingly acted on the touted assumption that Hitler was intent on “dominating the world.” The USSR encouraged this illusion, and used the time it had gained from its pact with Germany to build up its military and geopolitical position relative to Europe.
And from 1939 through June 1941, that is what occurred. Stalin doubled his troops, tripled his divisions, and doubled his number of available guns, planes, and mortars.
Hitler had not wanted an alliance with the Soviet Union, having only agreed to sign the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact because Britain gave Poland an unsolicited (that is, unrequested) war guarantee on 31 March 1939. In Mein Kampf, Hitler singles out the Kingdom of Italy and the British Empire as the two “natural” allies of Germany: Britain, for racial and geopolitical reasons and Italy, for ideological and geostrategic reasons. Hitler admired the British people, racially, and respected the stability that their Empire brought to the world.
British policymakers, principally Churchill, knew this, just as they also knew that Hitler’s aim was to build a land empire extending into a defunct USSR. In 1937, Ribbentrop, serving as German Ambassador, met with Winston Churchill to again stress these aims. Ribbentrop told Churchill that Germany was prepared to recognize the British Empire, and even offered German military support to sustain it. Hitler was ready to contribute to sustaining white rule in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East in return for a “free hand” in Eastern Europe.
That is, Hitler wanted to be able to march against the Soviet Union in exchange for British neutrality during a German-Soviet war. In early 1939, Hitler revived the issue of Danzig with the Polish government. Germany was prepared to let Poland retain economic rights in the city and also join the Anti-Comintern Pact that was militarily directed against the Soviet Union. In return, the Polish government would return Danzig to Germany and allow an autobahn motor highway connecting East Prussia and Germany over Polish soil.
Instead, goaded by Churchill and urged on by Jewish handlers in Washington D.C., above all by William Bullitt, British policymakers decided to derail Germany’s efforts to unite Poland and Germany against the Soviet Union. Churchill knew, from his meeting with Ribbentrop in 1937, what Hitler really wanted. But through 1939, Churchill continued lying to Parliament, to the British people, and the world, claiming, in vulgar defiance of the facts and Hitler’s obvious aims, that Hitler was intent on destroying Britain and overrunning the West.
The British then handed Poland the war guarantee, which had the dual effect of persuading the Polish government that it could keep Danzig and defy Germany and also placing Britain on a collision course with Germany. Churchill, who detested Germany, would rather have enlisted his own people in a war against Hitler rather than divest the British people of an entirely pointless war and allow Germany and the USSR to enter a war instead. Churchill knew, probably better than any statesman, Hitler’s aims did not threaten Britain.
When the war guarantee was given to Poland, Churchill gloated and bragged aloud: “Hitler’s path to the East is closed.” Now, rather than the Soviet Union facing Hitler alone in a one front war with Germany, Britain was instead hurling itself toward war with Germany.
Sir Mosley of the British Union of Fascists captured the absurdity of his government’s future position in an article that he contributed to Fascist Quarterly in 1936:
In fact, the only policy which can logically produce another explosion on the Western frontiers of Germany is the denial of expansion; not only on her Eastern frontiers but in her limited though necessary and natural colonial ambitions. Yet Financial-Democratic policy could not be more perfectly designed to promote that explosion than by the dual policy of denying Germany colonial outlet and of circumscribing her in the East by a menacing Democratic-Soviet alliance.
As Sir Mosley correctly observed three years before the war began, the only cause Hitler would have had to march westward is if Britain denied Hitler’s march eastward. The lack of reason in Britain’s foreign policy from 1938 baffled him. This is precisely what happened: On the groundless premise that Hitler was determined to conquer the world, the British government justified keeping Hitler from marching eastward. Britain and France then declared war, as Hitler marched East anyway. This is why Hitler invaded the West.
US President Roosevelt’s administration and the Jewish entourage around him set Europe against itself. From 1939 through 1941, America supplied Britain with moral and material aid and struggled to keep Britain at war with Germany. When Hitler invaded the Soviet Union, America began supplying the USSR with Lend Lease almost immediately. The war Hitler declared on the US in late 1941 was only a formal expression of a de facto war that America had already been waging on Germany for years, another war Hitler did not want.
Greenfield is mistaken in his claim that Stalin empowered Hitler. Stalin simply took what he had been offered, a temporary alliance, which he then used to rebuild a Red Army ravaged by his purges. Hitler then turned West, away from the USSR, toward the nations that were trying to constrain him. If Britain had not offered protection it could not give to a nation it was unable to save over a Danzig question it did not care about, there would have been no war in the West and no World War II. Stalin was a passive beneficiary of these events.
In refusing to allow Hitler to move East and in rejecting Hitler’s many peace offers, the West created the conditions for the temporary German-Soviet alliance and gave the USSR time to prepare for a German attack. The Soviet Union was spared the prospect of facing Hitler both earlier and alone. Despite this, every year the dying populations of a fading West must hear that the USSR saved their nations from Hitler. Meanwhile, their leaders are perpetually engaged in justifying a war whose occurrence is the primary cause of their decline.
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Source: Ur-Fascist Analytics