Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 20, 2020

Putin On World War II

Due to decades of Hollywood propaganda many people in "western" countries believe that the U.S. did the most to defeat the Nazis during World War II.


Nothing could be further from the truth.

The President of Russia Vladimir Putin has taken the opportunity of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II to describe the build-up to the war, the diplomatic and military considerations Russia took into account during that time, and the results of the allies' victory.

His essay was published in multiple languages on the Website of the Kremlin:

75th Anniversary of the Great Victory: Shared Responsibility to History and our Future.

The English version is also published in the National Interest magazine:

Vladimir Putin: The Real Lessons of the 75th Anniversary of World War II.

The part with the Russian view of the behavior of various nation in the late 1930s is most interesting. But this passage, related to the graphic above, is also very relevant:

The Soviet Union and the Red Army, no matter what anyone is trying to prove today, made the main and crucial contribution to the defeat of Nazism.
This is a report of February 1945 on reparation from Germany by the Allied Commission on Reparations headed by Ivan Maisky. The Commission's task was to define a formula according to which defeated Germany would have to pay for the damages sustained by the victor powers. The Commission concluded that “the number of soldier-days spent by Germany on the Soviet front is at least 10 times higher than on all other allied fronts. The Soviet front also had to handle four-fifths of German tanks and about two-thirds of German aircraft.” On the whole, the USSR accounted for about 75 percent of all military efforts undertaken by the Anti-Hitler Coalition. During the war period, the Red Army “ground up” 626 divisions of the Axis states, of which 508 were German.

On April 28, 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt said in his address to the American nation: “These Russian forces have destroyed and are destroying more armed power of our enemies – troops, planes, tanks, and guns – than all the other United Nations put together.” Winston Churchill in his message to Joseph Stalin of September 27, 1944, wrote that “it is the Russian army that tore the guts out of the German military machine…”

Such an assessment has resonated throughout the world. Because these words are the great truth, which no one doubted then. Almost 27 million Soviet citizens lost their lives on the fronts, in German prisons, starved to death and were bombed, died in ghettos and furnaces of the Nazi death camps. The USSR lost one in seven of its citizens, the UK lost one in 127, and the USA lost one in 320.

As a German and former officer who has read quite a bit about the war I agree with the Russian view. It was the little acknowledged industrial power of the Soviet Union and the remarkable dedication of the Red Army soldiers that defeated the German Wehrmacht.

At the end of his essay Putin defends the veto power of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. In his view it has prevented another clash on a global scale from happening since World War II ended. Putin rejects attempts to abolish that system.

I have found no major flaw with the historic facts in the essay and recommend to read it in full.

Posted by b on June 20, 2020 at 17:07 UTC | Permalink

next page »

thanks for highlighting this b.... the graph at the top is very telling of how many people remain fairly ignorant of the reality on the ground.. putins speech and text are well worth the read... s and karlof1 posted a link on the open thread and some of us were talking about it their.... i found putins comments on the UN especially interesting... i wonder if the brainwashing going on in the usa about how bad the UN is, is another example of americans being dumbed right down into believing the UN is useless? that is what it looks like to me... some of us aren't buying that and i am glad to see putin make some comments on that as well... thanks for highlighting this.. revisionist history seems to be a speciality of some..

Posted by: james | Jun 20 2020 17:16 utc | 1

When I read here and in the article the quotes from Churchill and the "west" praising Russia's conduct of the war against fascism I can't help but translate them into praise for Hitler should he have won. British and US oligarchs were funding and supporting Hitler all along, which is well documented. For the oligarchy it made little difference who won.

The strategy of the imperial oligarchy was to let all its potential competitors deplete their resources then move in with its full power when the outcome had already been determined and pray on their weakness. It worked as we see in the global imperial power of the Western oligarchy as engineered by Roosevelt after the war which has ruled now for 75 years.

Posted by: Babyl-on | Jun 20 2020 17:25 utc | 2

What Putin wrote already was common sense among historians, but it is good to see it becoming more mainstream.

My theory about the USA trying to get the credit for defeating the Third Reich - even though it has the victory against Japan (an empire that made the Third Reich look like Human Rights lovers) - comes from the fact that the European Peninsula became the major theater of the Cold War. The USA had then to create a narrative that could justify its supremacy over Western Europe, and its attempts to "liberate" Eastern Europe.

Yes, the Korean War happened in the early 1950s, but Japan was secured, Soviet access to warm water port in Asia was thus blocked and, after the Mao-Nixon pact of 1972, China (and thus North Korea) was out of the Soviet sphere. That made the European Peninsula even more important. Indeed, the threat of invading and occupying West Berlin was one of the greatest leverages the Soviets had and used against the USA during the whole Cold War. This leverage became even more pronounced after the Soviets successfully crushed the Hungarian counter-revolution of 1956, which sobered up the CIA and the hampered the USG's ambitions on absorbing Eastern Europe by propaganda and subversion warfare.

Posted by: vk | Jun 20 2020 17:27 utc | 3

Putin's main arguments are fully in accord with British historian, Richard Overy's very important book, Russia's War.

Posted by: Prof K | Jun 20 2020 17:29 utc | 4

Thanks, I'll read his essay.

I'm almost done reading "Life And Fate" by Vasily Grossman, translated by Robert Chandler. The defense of Stalingrad and the eventual defeat of Field Marshal Paulus, commander of the 6th army, is instructive.

The more you study WWII the more you realize the horrific sacrifices the Russians endured while simultaneously turning the tide against the Nazis. An heroic tale much unappreciated by many in the West.


33K new COVID cases in the US yesterday, the highest daily new case count since May 1st when 36K were reported. Yesterday FL set a new daily record 3,822 new cases.

So far today, Worldometers is reporting over 15K new cases in the US with many states yet to report or reporting early and incomplete numbers. FL has already broken yesterday's record at 4,049 new cases.

Usually Friday's are the day of the week when the highest number of new cases are reported, we'll see if today, Saturday, breaks that norm.

Brazil's 55K new cases yesterday stuck and has not been revised.

Brazil and the US are leading the grand experiment for achieving an accelerated herd immunity with no vaccine in sight. Let freedumb, greed and individuality reign.

Anton Chekhov is one of my favorite authors. Each of his short stories are on point, resonate and remain eminently relevant today, over a hundred years after they were written. Today's short story was "The Princess". Read in the context of today's world filled with clueless, out of touch and incredibly wealthy political parties, corporations and billionaires, it is brilliant.

Posted by: snow_watcher | Jun 20 2020 17:30 utc | 5

The high number of "other" and "don't know" answers is also disturbing.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 20 2020 17:33 utc | 6

The most baffling news to me recently was when I found out that Poland invaded the CSSR together with Hitler and occupied a part of the Czech Republic in March 1939 - and I went through several decades of WW2 "education" just as everyone. Not even Wikipedia mentions the Polish contribution to the invasion and occupation of the CSSR, which is very telling.

It sheds an entirely new light on the entire development right before WW2, in which Hitler went all-in to give Poland something for the future return of Danzig. Poland took it, but didn't realize that it was part of a deal, so Hitler activated Plan B. The process was certainly aggressive and kicked the Czechs interests as a people/nation, but the overall plan (I guess developed by Ribbentrop) makes a lot of sense. It is by far not irrational as it is usually portrayed.

I guess, I am now a "revisionist".

Posted by: Dirk | Jun 20 2020 17:37 utc | 7

I read the article when it was posted (in full) on Southfront.
It is excellent. Detailed, accurate, insightful, as well as well composed and written.
I recommend that everyone who is able to do so read this article in its entirety.
I also fully agree with the position of Mr. Putin, as stated in his writing.

Posted by: Joshua | Jun 20 2020 17:40 utc | 8

You are quite correct. All historians know that the role of the Soviet Union in the war was decisive. When I was a child, growing up in British military circles, nobody troubled to deny it, while the role of the United States was generally regarded as very minor.
I recall, passing through the Suez Canal on a troopship bound for Malaya, the immense enthusiasm and loud cheering of the British troops for the crew of a Soviet destroyer, parading on deck while at anchor in the sweetwater lake. It drove the senior officers mad but the troops, mostly young working class conscripts, understood that the Red Army had saved millions of British lives.
As b says, however, by far the most interesting part of Putin's summary is that outlining the facts of the gyrating foreign policies of the United Kingdom in the 1930s.
Again most of what Putin relates is well known to honest historians. It used to be well known-thanks largely to the work of the Left- that the well understood strategy of the Tories, and most of the US business class, was to support a German invasion of the Soviet Union. Which is why the Nazi economy rested so heavily on US capital- it was expected to pay political as well as financial dividends by erasing the Communist threat (and, by implication that of socialism too).
I saw not a single error in Putin's history. It coincides precisely with the analysis I learned, as a young socialist, from German emigres. One of them, Hans Hess, who was a long time director of an Art Gallery in the north of England, told us that he, at the time in Paris, had greeted the news of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact with relief. He understood that it meant that the policy of appeasement had failed, and that the Soviet Union would survive and prevail.
It needs to be understood that, before the US Cold War, based on the support it got from the isolationist, ultra right wing Republicans who had never really warmed to the World War, the view that Putin gives was widely shared by all 'patriotic' (anti collaborationist) political currents in western Europe. The contempt with which Baldwin, Chamberlain and their ilk were regarded in the UK used to be enormous- they were held to be little short of traitors. Seventy years later they and their US equivalents, the Vichy supporters in France and Nazi collaborators from all over Europe (including Mussolini's political heirs) dominate European politics.
It is a badge of honour for Russians to be hated by these scum.

Posted by: bevin | Jun 20 2020 17:41 utc | 9

@ Posted by: Dirk | Jun 20 2020 17:37 utc | 6

Yeah, Wikipedia is close to useless for WWII. Too much propaganda.

Posted by: vk | Jun 20 2020 17:48 utc | 10

The Soviet Union put together a 20 part documentary, The Unknown War, with the assistance of the U.S in 1978 to tell their part of the story. Mandatory watching for any history buffs, or those who want to expand their horizons. An incredible 30 hours of footage from the Soviet perspective. Narrated by Burt Lancaster.

Posted by: JCC | Jun 20 2020 17:57 utc | 11

When I was a history student, undergrad and grad, at University of Illinois in 1970s, students of European history were taught exactly Putin’s view. Students of American history were taught the Hollywood view. The American side of the History department viewed the entire faculty and student body on the European side as a pack of disloyal Communists. The European side saw theAmerican side as exactly what they were - schoolteachers and future schoolteachers. Most of my old profs were glad to get out. Any profs known since retired early as precisely this issue made the job impossible. Of course at U of I there was and remains a large contingent of Eastern European descendants of Nazi collaborators who are very vocal and completely immune to criticism. A protected class. Open display of Nazi regalia, memorabilia, salutes, songs were always 100% approved because these are after all the victims of Soviet oppression.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jun 20 2020 18:39 utc | 12

Once, years back, scanning the book section of the local Salvation Army thrift store, I came across an English language edition of Tolstoi's War and Peace. I'm pretty sure it was American published, and I was surprised to see it had been published during the war years. I passed it on to my daughter who had written her college thesis on the novel. What intrigued me were several articles included in the preface comparing Hitler's attack on Russia to that famous historical epic, with maps showing that Hitler was attempting the same exploit that Napoleon had 'accomplished'. With the war still ongoing at the time of publication, the article writers were nevertheless optimistic as to the outcome.

Posted by: juliania | Jun 20 2020 18:40 utc | 13

Posted by: oldhippie | Jun 20 2020 18:39 utc | 11

When I was a history student, undergrad and grad, at University of Illinois in 1970s, students of European history were taught exactly Putin’s view. Students of American history were taught the Hollywood view.

Well judging from the charts in the article, students in France an Germany are taught the Hollywood view too. Somebody should check the history curriculum there...maybe they use American textbooks?

Posted by: hopehely | Jun 20 2020 19:02 utc | 14

I saw that series on PBS. It was cancelled when Russia invaded Afganistan.

Posted by: Steve | Jun 20 2020 19:22 utc | 15

We are witnessing a rewriting of history in progress and of a degree beyond anything Orwell could have envisioned. Watch for upcoming WWII movies where German soldiers will move from 1 dimensional bad guys to very much humanized people fighting the Soviet menace.

On the one hand, I say good riddance the earlier depictions. On the other, we have to watch out for what they always have in store for us. Nothing ever good.

Off Topic: b, in all these 13 years I've followed your blog I never knew you were and officer in the Bundeswehr. We would all love to read any details (if any) that you don't mind sharing.

Posted by: Lysander | Jun 20 2020 19:35 utc | 16

The Greatest Story Never Told
Hiter did nothing wrong.

Posted by: nero | Jun 20 2020 19:39 utc | 17

No real errors in Putin's excellent essay, but some glossing over of certain major incidents, including the arrests, deportations and executions of thousands of Poles committed by the Soviets when they invaded Poland, the absorption of the Baltic countries, and the war with Finland. Unfortunately, omitting important details just gives ammunition to the many Putin haters to claim that this is just more Russian historical revisionism and propaganda.

Posted by: Victor | Jun 20 2020 19:39 utc | 18

Where Soviet Union or Russia were wrong was that after kicking out the Nazis from Soviet Union they should have stopped right there and not marched all the way to Berlin.

They should have left Poland and other occupied states to deal with it themselves.

Posted by: RussianSoul | Jun 20 2020 19:48 utc | 19

Posted by: Babyl-on | Jun 20 2020 17:25 utc | 2

While it is true that numerous folks among the Anglo-American elites would be okay with a German victory (particularly if it didn't involve the trashing of their own imperial regimes), Churchill wasn't one of them. For all his odious aspects, this was a defining characteristic of his as a British nationalist: he wouldn't countenance any compromise with the Axis. In fact, it is safe to say that he played a very important role in keeping Britain in the war and not making any sort of peace with Germany after the fall of France.

On the other hand, it is an absolute truth that Hitler and Mussolini were highly respected among western capitalists who supported the military reinvigoration of the Third Reich. Mussolini was treated with more favour, but Hitler was also seen positively, not least for his racialist and racist views which coincided with those of the official Anglo-sphere.

Posted by: Constantine | Jun 20 2020 19:50 utc | 20

It is interesting to see in Putin's essay confirmation that the roots of WW11 were the greedy and inhumane attitudes of France and The UK to German reparations for WWI. Today we have The UK France and the USA losing the war in Syria and now imposing sanctions on the Syrian people. In Libya they have created chaos and the same bunch of war criminals do f--- all to assist the country. I have read elsewhere that Churchill could have stopped WWII much earlier and saved many lives' including the thousands killed in the Dresden firebombing, but wanted a complete surrender from Germany rather than a conditional one and that the Japanese were ready to surrender before the atomic bombs were dropped as the Soviet Army was poised to invade Japan after cleaning up China. The USA needed a quick resolution and an extravagant display of power to establish its global supremacy however so dropped the bombs anyway killing hundreds of thousands of civilians.
All facts that are glossed over by most western publications.
It is disturbing that no Western leaders are attending the 75th anniversary celebrations of the end of WWII in Moscow.
I am very grateful that at least one of the current super-powers is led by the humane, diplomatic, non-empire building Vladimir Putin.

Posted by: Ike | Jun 20 2020 20:17 utc | 21

Victor@17, you cannot be blamed for wanting to add to the essay important details, but I don't think the charge of revisionism is warranted. In the essay, Putin says this:

"...Stalin and his entourage, indeed, deserve many legitimate accusations. We remember the crimes committed by the regime against its own people and the horror of mass repressions. In other words, there are many things the Soviet leaders can be reproached for, but poor understanding of the nature of external threats is not one of them..."

That's a pretty strong statement. Putin is making clear his essay focuses on misrepresented aspects of Russia's involvement in the war. This is not a blanket endorsement of all that took place, but a template for careful study of events and increased understanding as documents pertaining to them become available.

Thanks for your input.

Posted by: juliania | Jun 20 2020 20:18 utc | 22

As an American student with a class in "Soviet History" in the 1960's during the Cold War, what President Putin said about the War is what I was taught at the time.

I don't know when things changed. Probably just Americans lack of knowledge of history and belief in their exceptionalism.

Posted by: lgfocus | Jun 20 2020 20:51 utc | 23

@Posted by: bevin | Jun 20 2020 17:41 utc | 8

you mention Hans Hess, was Jewish German? I am asking because many pre-war Jews were very polonophobic, and would be happy to have Poland go away as a country. Thank you.

Posted by: bystander 04 | Jun 20 2020 21:15 utc | 24

Nero #16

That is because Hitler was too busy doing everthing stupid.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 20 2020 21:24 utc | 25

@ Posted by: Ike | Jun 20 2020 20:17 utc | 20

For the events of the 1930s, I recommend reading Micheal Jabara Carley's The Alliance that Never Was and the Coming of World War II. This book is essential to understand the intricate politics that ultimately triggered WWII because it focus on the people that really had the power to stop it: the Nation-States themselves (through their diplomats).

The politics of the 1930s were very complex, but can be based on one main contradiction: during the 1930s, there was the widespread belief in France and the UK that a new world war would result in a worldwide communist revolution. The equation was war=communism in Europe, according to the conservative governments of those two nations.

Another important reason WWII happened the way it happened was very simple, but is denied by the Western nations until modern times: fascism was very popular in Western Europe and the USA during the 1930s. In France in particular, the local MSM was waging a vicious propaganda war against the USSR, and we could guess the country was essentially polarized. The British MSM was also waging it in their home country.

Poland was 100% against the USSR. Their preference would be to preserve their alliance with the UK-France, but they (i.e. their chief of staff of the Armed Forces) also explicitly stated to Litvinov that, if it came to choose between Germany and the USSR, they would choose Germany. It was because of Poland that the USSR wasn't able to fly around Germany in order to form an alliance with the West (Romania, however, agreed to extraofficially allow Soviet planes to cross their airspace).

Chamberlain used Poland to officially legitimize his non-alliance with the USSR, but we now know from his personal letters (many of them to his sister) that the real reason he didn't do it was his fear of the equation war=communism (in Western Europe). He was literally "taking one for the team" of capitalism and was very aware of that. His position was unsustainable, because we now know that it never crossed Hitler's mind to not wage war against France and the UK, even though his main goal was the USSR. The thing is the Nazis rose to power with the promise of revenging the Army for WWI.

Churchill was a capitalist and a staunch anti-communist, and, in another universe, he certainly would do an alliance with the Nazis to crush the USSR. The problem is that the UK's military doctrine already was completely directed towards Germany, and the British people already was brainwashed for decades that Germany was the UK's main enemy. You can't call a total war against an enemy your own people doesn't want to fight against. Changing a military doctrine of a country takes decades - it simply wasn't possible for Churchill to shift the British people's minds from an anti-German mode to an anti-Soviet mode in such a short time. It would only be during the Cold War that it was made possible (as they had the time to do so), and, nowadays, we can comfortably say most of the British people is germanophile (at least, the British left) and russophobe. Plus, Churchill could see Hitler right into his soul, and knew he would wage war from the beginning.

The Americans were completely out of the picture in the 1930s. They were divided among the isolationists and the interventionists. Exception to the rule were the American industrialists, who helped mainly Nazi Germany, but also the USSR, in rebuilding themselves. They did so not because of ideology, but because they were desperate for new markets after the collapse of 1929. American loyalty was on the cheap in the 1930s.

Posted by: vk | Jun 20 2020 21:25 utc | 26

The humanity owes a big debt to USSR for defeating Nazi Germany and saving the earth from their unholy empire. While Angela Merkel, instead of Putin, makes the rounds and poses in photos in the 75th anniversary D-Day in London, the history is being rewritten in front of our eyes and we have ended up with a majority that fails to question why it took more than two years to plan and execute the Normandy invasion. As for capitalists funding the build-up of the Wehrmacht, the saying goes "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them."

Posted by: Innocent Civilian | Jun 20 2020 21:27 utc | 27

bystander 04 #23

I am inclined that way right now.

I believe Stalin and the Central Committees decision to occupy those countries on its periphery and absolutely crush the likely fascist resurgence was the correct decision. I gather they recognised the oligarchic forces who financed and supported Hitler. Those same forces are at it again today.

The foresight and analysis of those Russian thinkers was correct then and remains relevant now.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jun 20 2020 21:37 utc | 28

I guess I need to again remind people that all history is revisioned--it is seen or read about, then processed through the historian's mind--revisioned--then written. Even an event that's 100% written about as it genuinely occurred is revisioned in the above manner because that's how the human mind works. Before it was discovered how to doctor them, photographs and film were deemed to be superior recorders of events than descriptive words because there was no revisioning to alter the content, but that ceased to be the case 100+ years ago. In today's world, the live broadcast is the closest thing that avoids the revisioning dilemma--that's why live streams sent via cell phones and webcams are powerful and hated by those seeking control--they're deprived of the opportunity to shape the narrative or manipulate the evidence.

In his essay, I expected Putin to write more about International Law and why adherence to it is so important in the maintenance of peace. Instead, he sent a backhanded message to those managing the Outlaw US Empire about the fate they'll face if they continue on their path and exit the UN.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 20 2020 21:41 utc | 29

#14 Steve

USSR was invited, and didn't invaded Afghanistan. Ronnie Ray gun's freedom fighters, the mujahidin were already there.

Posted by: Tom | Jun 20 2020 21:43 utc | 30

I wish I could 'rate' or 'like' your articles. They would nearly always garner a 'like'. Your articles are without a doubt some of the best and most concisely well researched and written articles on the internet. MoonOfAlabama is one of my first 'morning checkin' news sites when I sit down with my coffee in the morning. Thank you for posting this Moon.

Posted by: Trauma2000 | Jun 20 2020 21:46 utc | 31

That so many people in the West believe that the US did the most to defeat Nazi Germany is understandable due to decades of repeated Hollywood propaganda starring the likes of John Wayne (who never actually went near anything resembling a tank or a nav asl ship) and others. But what explains the 50% of British people who believe the British did the most to beat the Nazis? Is it all that constant blagging about the Battle of Britain (which incidentally was won for Britain by pilots representing something like 25 different nationalities with the most significant hits being made by Polish pilots) or the ceaseless propaganda about what a great warmonger and mass murderer ... er, "hero" Winston Churchill was, in crap media like The Daily Mail and the BBC?

Posted by: Jen | Jun 20 2020 21:50 utc | 32

It is disturbing that no Western leaders are attending the 75th anniversary celebrations of the end of WWII in Moscow.

@Posted by: Ike | Jun 20 2020 20:17 utc | 20

Indeed, it is disturbing...

May be the Russians should turn to the Western people and invite them to represent their countries?

I am currently available for traveling...I would feel most grateful of having the opportunity, still have not visited Lenin Mausoleum.... although for being in Moscow for June 24th, I should be carried by a "Moscow Express" flight...

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Jun 20 2020 21:51 utc | 33

"At the end of his essay Putin defends the veto power of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. In his view it has prevented that another clash on a global scale has happened since World War II ended. Putin rejects attempts to abolish that system."

b, what is your opinion about Germany becoming a permanent member of the UNSC since it is now, arguably, the most powerful nation in Europe?
Do you think it threatens security/stability by excluding it from the UNSC, while the UK and France are included? (I think it does, but I'm Canadian, what do I know? :-)

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 20 2020 21:56 utc | 34

Mr. Putin is in the same side with the holocaust storytellers.
He conveniently forgets Katin.
He is unfair with Marechal Petain.

Posted by: Roberto | Jun 20 2020 22:08 utc | 35

Victor @ 17:

If you are referring to the massacre of Polish POWs and Polish intellectuals, musicians and artists whose bodies were found in the forests of Katyn by Nazi German soldiers, bear in mind that Nazi Germany stood to benefit from blaming the massacre directly on the Soviets. While Russia under President Yeltsin did accept responsibility for the Katyn massacre - after all, the Soviets did hold the victims as prisoners and should have evacuated them - one still has to be wary of a narrative shaped and dictated by an enemy nation who milked the propaganda value of the massacre against the Soviets. That in itself might tell you who the real murderers were.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 20 2020 22:08 utc | 36

Steve @ 14, Tom @ 29:

The US began arming Afghan warlords and mujaheddin as early as August 1979, as part of the then US State Secretary Zbigniew Brzezinski's plan to push the USSR into an Afghan version of the Vietnam War. The plan passed muster with the Carter government. The funding and arming of the mujaheddin by the CIA was what led Kabul to request help from Moscow. The Soviets arrived in December 1979.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 20 2020 22:18 utc | 37

Thanks, I'll read Putin's essay.

I'm almost done reading "Life And Fate" by Vasily Grossman, translated by Robert Chandler. The defense of Stalingrad and the eventual defeat of Field Marshal Paulus, commander of the 6th army, is instructive.

The Russians suffered and endured horrific sacrifices during WWII while simultaneously turning the tide against the Third Reich. An heroic tale much unappreciated by many in the West. The Russians did participate in the Lend-Lease program although the benefits are debated especially for the early and decisive years.

Posted by: snow_watcher | Jun 20 2020 22:18 utc | 38

Vk @ 3

even though it has the victory against Japan

Nah, sorry mate, doesn't even have that. The Soviet Union scared the Japanese high command into surrendering after the US dropped its demand for unconditional surrender because it was scared that the Soviet Union would invade the main islands of Japan before it could.

Posted by: Ghost Ship | Jun 20 2020 22:41 utc | 39

I have been following the latest shit show between POTUS, DOJ & SDNY. Are Americans really sure they are ready to go to war with China because I have to be honest. I'm not entirely convinced you guys have your act together.

Posted by: BraveNewWorld | Jun 20 2020 22:43 utc | 40

Stalin foresaw attempts to belittle the USSR’s role in WWII. For example, during the Battle of Stalingrad there was a team of cinephotographers that filmed different aspects of the battle, from the siege to the envelopment of the beseigers. When the battle ended a documentary was compiled, many copies were made, some of which were shown to enthusiastic audiences in North America. I saw that film in, I believe, March 1943 when I was a 12 year old living in Toronto. You have to know that 1942 had been a terribly demoralizing year for the Allied side. Japan was unstoppable running over SE Asia; U-boats were sinking lots of supply ships headed to the UK in the North Atlantic; there was the fiasco of Dieppe which hit Canadian pride hard; Rommel and assorted British generals were playing tag back & forth across North Africa; but the biggest disaster was unfolding across the USSR from Leningrad down to the lower Volga. So when that documentary opened with a shot of Reichsmarschall von Paulus trudging through knee-deep snow leading a seemingly endless column of bedraggled German soldiers to an imprisonment camp, it was a most uplifting moment, unmatched until May 1945. The ferocity of the Soviet counterattack was awesome: Katyusha rockets; great swarms of troops under air cover, including women, in white camouflage on skis, heading to the front. I and hundreds of thousands of others who saw that film in 1943 know damn well who really won the war and how. Putin has had enough of insults directed against Russia’s record during WWII from UKUS, but especially from Poland, and has responded forcefully. I found most interesting his reference to still-locked archives outside of Russia dealing with the shenanigans that led to WWI. We can only hope that historians will get to them before the mice!

Posted by: Senalis | Jun 20 2020 22:45 utc | 41

Why is it there is no mentions that Churchill tasked his Chiefs of Staff to come up with a plan to attack the Soviet Union and start WW Three in April 1945, a month before the end of World War Two. The plan his Chiefs developed was called Operation Unthinkable. It called for the Gret Britain and the allies to attack the Soviet Union on July 1, 1945. This plan went nowhere. Then Truman came up with a plan in August 1945 called Operation Totality which called for dropping atomic bombs on Moscow and 20 of the most important cities in the USSR. This plan too didn't go anywhere but this marked the end of the Great Britain, America alliance with Stalin and from this point on, in a 180 degree turn, Stalin and the Communists became the West's mortal enemies and the Cold War was born. Why does this development and the reasons for this 180 degree about turn not get any mention and analysis? Why did the allies turn on a dime and go from being best of buddies with the Marxist Communists to being worst of enemies with the West desiring to annihilate the Soviet Union? Why?

Real History

Posted by: Real History | Jun 20 2020 22:54 utc | 42

May be Mr. Putin aimed at trying a last intend on appeasement, his own Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact....May be, even knowing this time it will not work either...

"The great criminal who has ordered the murder, transforms his joy for the crime committed into currency, giving a reward worthy of a prince. Now that he has ordered the looting and murder of the two thousand richest men in Italy, Antonio can finally be generous. For the bloody sack containing Cicero's hands and head, pay the centurion a brilliant million sesterces. But with it his revenge has not yet cooled, so that the stupid hatred of this bloodthirsty man still creates a special ignominy for the dead, without realizing that with himself he will be debased for all time. Antonio orders that the head and the hands are nailed in the tribune from where Cicero incited the city against him to defend the freedom of Rome.

The next day a disgraceful spectacle awaits the Roman people. In the speakers' gallery, the same from which Cicero delivered his immortal speeches, the severed head of the last defender of liberty hangs discolored. An imposing rusty nail pierces the forehead, the thousands of thoughts. Livid and with a rictus of bitterness, the lips that formulated the metallic words of the Latin language more beautifully than those of any other. Closed, the blue eyelids cover the eyes that for sixty years watched over the republic. Powerless, they open his hands that wrote the most splendid letters of the time.
But all in all, no accusation made by the great orator from that rostrum against brutality, against the delirium of power, against illegality, speaks as eloquently against the eternal injustice of violence as that silent head of a murdered man .
Suspicious the people gather around the desecrated rostra. Dejected, ashamed, it turns away again. No one dares - it is a dictatorship! - to express a single reply, but a spasm oppresses their hearts. And dismayed, they lower their heads at this allegory of the crucified republic...."

Sternstunden der Menschheit, by Stefan Zweig....

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Jun 20 2020 22:55 utc | 43

Thanks, „b“ for this article and the links - I read Putin´s essay and am impressed with the depth , insight, humanity in his words. I would like to share my views, gained from living for many years under soviets and their jewish helpers (like Jakub Berman, Zambrowski, Fejgin, to name a few). Here my amplifications and few other important details, omitted by Putin: 1). regarding his description of decisions by different governments - he does not mention that the Polish government had good reasons not to trust Stalin - because Soviet Union cooperated with Germany for many years before - in form of having Germans (disguised as some kind of para military, in order to circumvent the prohibitions following Versailles treaty) training in the Soviet Union. 2). Another detail is that the British, French and Americans were trying to gain time before confrontation with Nazis, just the same reasoning Putin allows to Soviet Union.
3).It also can be interpreted that Stalin decided to join the partition of Poland only after Germany was victorious, similar tactic Stalin used in starting war against Japan after USA won the war in Pacific and occupied the Kurile Islands. 4). Putin is disguising the aggressive action of USSR vis-a-vis Baltic states by saying „In autumn 1939, the Soviet Union pursuing its strategic military and defensive goals, started the process of incorporation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.“ If Hitler would have stopped at that and not march on Moscow like Napoleon - this action would have mutate into pure aggression. „incorporation“ - my foot! 5). Putin does not mention any Polish names along Petain, Quisling, Vlasov and Bandera -because there were none, and this is significant, showing that not a single Pole was found to work - in a quasi government - with Nazis. 6). The spirit of independence he claims for Russian people (earlier in the essay), he is not giving the People of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania or Poland. 7). Putin mentions „burnt Khatyn“ in one breath with Babi Yar - I wonder, is there a different Kathyn from „the“ Katyn, where over 22 Tsd. Polish officers and officials were butchered on orders of Stalin, Beria, Kaganovich (and one or two more whose names escape me now). 8). Putin is knowingly or otherwise pushing the antisemitic mantra on Polish nation - mentioning the ´splendid monument´ for Hitler to be erected in Warsaw, quoting ambassador Lipski in 1938… this is a blow below the waist line and I did not expect it to be repeated in this essay, as he used it already on a previous occasion. It is in jarring contrast with the otherwise solid and even-handed exposition.

In my humble opinion Putin´s essay is a big wink to Poland to stay away from Ukraine and Belarus and not be a stooge of others (oligarchs, as uncle tungsten says in #27) to try undermine Russia! The insinuations about polish antisemitism (as if Poles had monopoly in this subject!!!) is in line with the possible use of jewish „forces“ in dealing with Polish nationalism, and unpredictability of events in Eastern Europe, if the color revolutions continue, say in Belarus.. The possible role of Israeli political calculus should also be kept in mind, as their ´plan B´, when Islam will get too dangerous for many Jews and who will suddenly discover love to the land of their polish antisemites…That is why Poland is mentioned that many times.

Posted by: bystander 04 | Jun 20 2020 23:15 utc | 44

Jen @ 34

Putin and the Russian Duma have previously accepted that the Katyn massacre occured under orders of Stalin and Beria. It's not Western of Polish propaganda.

Putin also condemned the Molotov/Ribbentrop Pact.

While I understand that a lot has changed in the last 10 years with regards to the level of anti-Russia hysteria, and I also understand that this essay is meant to bring forward the Russian point of view on WW2 as opposed to the propaganda of the West, I stand by my earlier statement that glossing over the bad things that happened under the orders of Stalin and simply giving a generic "Stalin was a bad man" statement only leaves an otherwise excellent historical essay open to be dismissed as propaganda.

Posted by: Victor | Jun 20 2020 23:31 utc | 45

Bystander 04
There was a deal between US and Stalin that the Red Army would attack Japan 3 months after the end of the war in Europe, which actually happened on time - the Manchurian campaign which utterly destroyed the Japanese army in N. China/Manchukuo/Korea began on the 9th of August. Japan wasn't prepared for this and still assumed the non-aggression agreement with USSR that had been made in 1939 was still valid.
This wasn't Stalin trying to take advantage, the US were so far from invading the Main Islands that everyone assumed the war would last another year. This was Stalin doing exactly what Roosevelt had begged him to do at Yalta. And opening a 2nd front against Japan worked far better than expected - and far better than when the Western Allies opened a 2nd front in Europe against the Reich.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Jun 20 2020 23:40 utc | 46

Debunking the Polish trolls here...

What really happened at Katyn? (I)

Historians, political scientists, Western "experts" and anti-communist "liberals" in Russia have always attributed the Katyn massacre to the NKVD, the secret police of the Soviet Union, providing alleged evidence and documents that would prove such authorship. However, all indications suggest that the Katyn massacre is another historical falsification similar to the Ukrainian Holodomor or to the figures given on the "millions of deaths" of Soviet communism. The responsibility for what happened in Katyn, in light of the evidence and testimonies provided, was the work of the Nazis.

80 years after the events of Katyn (supposedly happened in April 1940) near the city of Smolensk (border with Belarus), where more than 20 thousand Polish soldiers were executed in a nearby forest, the propaganda of the cold war returns with force, and the renewed counterfeits of the West against Russia and the former USSR.

Definitely, there is not a single consistent proof of Soviet authorship in the Katyn massacre.

Interestingly, on June 18, 2012, the European Communities Court of Justice for Human Rights, following a claim by Polish relatives of the soldiers executed in Katyn, made a surprising decision: the “documents” provided by Gorbachev and Yeltsin, after the fall of the USSR (which we will talk about in the second part of this entry), indicating that Stalin and the Soviets were guilty of the execution of tens of thousands of Polish officers near Katyn, were false. A historical slap to the propagandists of the "Russian Katyn".

The alleged documents on the mass execution of Katyn, which appeared in the late 1980s, were gutted by one of the members of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee, Alexander Yakovlev (a more than likely US agent who trained in North American Columbia University in the late 1950s), turned out to be false. The European court did not even accept them for consideration.

The European Court was also unable to clearly decide who was responsible for the massacre since the judges did not have enough documentary evidence, although they spent more than a year studying all kinds of historical documents and archival evidence. Until around 1990, everyone was convinced that the Poles had been killed by the Germans. This decision of the EECC Court of Justice has been completely ignored by the propagandists of the Katyn myth.(...)

In the early 19th century, fueling the illusory hope of restoring Greater Poland, the Poles sided with Napoleon in the war of 1812. The Polish army, created with the help of the French, became part of the "Great Army ”Of Bonaparte as the most reliable foreign contingent. This was the third Polish invasion of Russia.

The Polish uprising of 1830 began with the widespread extermination of the Russians. In all the churches they called for the indiscriminate murder of the Russians. In Warsaw, on Easter night, an entire battalion of the Russian army was taken by surprise in a church. 2,265 Russian soldiers and officers died.

The Polish state, born in November 1918, immediately showed its hostility towards Soviet Russia. With the help of the Entente, Poland begins preparations for a war against Russia. Polish politicians had the possibility that a forceful blow from the Polish army would be dealt to the Russian army.

Poland accompanied its aggressive intentions with a set of propaganda stereotypes about the aggressiveness of the Bolsheviks. Numerous proposals from the young Soviet state to conclude a peace treaty and establish diplomatic relations were rejected. Polish military operations against Russia in the spring of 1920 were undertaken by Poland, not Soviet Russia.

After tripling numerical superiority, Polish troops, along with the army of the Ukrainian nationalist military man Simon Petliura, launched a full-scale offensive along the entire Western Front from Pripyat to Dniester. This was the fourth Polish invasion of Russian lands. In early May 1920, Polish and Petliura fighters captured Kiev. The invasion of the allied forces of Poland and Petlyura was accompanied by brutal and inhuman retaliation against the civilian civilian population.

In the occupied regions of Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania, Polish invaders established bloody local governments, insulted and robbed civilians, or burned innocent people. Orthodox churches became Polish Christian churches, national schools closed.(...)

The total number of prisoners of war who died in those concentration camps is not known with certainty. However, there are various estimates based on the number of Soviet prisoners of war who returned from Polish captivity - there were 75,699 people. Russian historian Mikhail Meltiukhov estimates the number of prisoners killed at 60,000 people. Mortality among prisoners of war reached 50 people per day and as of mid-November 1920 it was 70 people per day. In the Tukholsky concentration camp alone, during the entire time of its existence, 22 thousand Red Army prisoners of war died.

In other words, the Poles established in their concentration camps a systematic policy of extermination with the Russians that reached the character of genocide, something that has been systematically silenced or hidden by the West in favor of Polish propaganda. For these crimes, the Poles today neither feel guilty nor have any remorse and disparagingly call it "Russian propaganda".

In the period between the two world wars, Poland repeatedly threatened to destroy Bolshevism and Russia as a state. Instead, as General Vladyslaw Anders, an active participant in Pan-Poland's intervention against Soviet Russia in 1919-1920, admitted, "There was never a real threat from the USSR to Poland."

Poland was never reluctant to attack Russia to hold, alongside Nazi Germany and Japan, a parade of victorious Polish-German troops on Moscow's Red Square. Marshal and national hero of Poland, the dictator Jozéf Pilsudsky, responsible for the mass extermination of Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians and Jews, dreamed of coming to Moscow and writing "It is forbidden to speak Russian on the Kremlin wall!"

In January 1934, Poland was the first, five years before the USSR, to conclude a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany. In late 1936, the Anti-Komintern Pact was concluded with the signing of Germany and Japan, which were later joined by Italy, Spain, Romania, Hungary, Denmark, Finland, Croatia, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and the Republic of China (a state puppet formed by the Japanese empire in occupied territory).

The Poles, at that time, flatly refused to sign any agreement with the USSR, a country that despite having been throughout the history of countless Polish aggressions reached out to Poland. As early as mid-August 1939, the Polish Foreign Minister Józef Beck, in whose office there was a portrait of Hitler, declared that "we have no military agreement with the USSR, nor do we want to have one."

In developing the plan of attack against Poland in early 1939, Hitler did not take into account the overtly anti-Soviet policies of the Polish government before the war. He and his entire circle despised and hated the Poles as a nation (even though they had been his allies in the 1930s), which was natural since his supremacist ideology did not take into account other nations than the German one.

In August 1939, before the attack on Poland, Hitler ordered that all Polish women, men, and children be ruthlessly exterminated. During the years of occupation, the Nazis murdered more than 6 million Poles, representing 22 percent of the Polish population. 95% of genetically defective Poles were planned to be evicted from their homeland.

Soviet troops, by contrast, did not allow the Nazis to wipe Poland off the face of the earth. No other force in the world could do this. "Poles must be very stupid, Winston Churchill wrote in January 1944, if they don't understand who saved them and who for the second time in the first half of the 20th century gives them the possibility of true freedom and independence." These surprising statements by Churchill, a confessed anti-communist, had nothing to do with the Cold War preparations that the British premier against the USSR and the socialist countries subsequently devised and that was reflected in his famous speech by Fulton (USA).

More than 600,000 Soviet soldiers gave their lives, saving the cities and towns of Poland in battles with the Nazis. On the contrary, during the three weeks of the Polish-German war of 1939, there were attacks by Polish troops against units of the Red Army. As a consequence of these attacks, the Soviet army lost more than a thousand of its men.

The Polish troops, who were in the midst of the Second World War in the territory of the Soviet Union, refused to fight together with the Red Army against which it should be a common Nazi enemy and left for Iran in the summer of 1942 While in the USSR, Polish troops engaged in robbery in cities and towns and committed atrocities in them.

During World War II, up to half a million Polish volunteers fought on the eastern front against the USSR, as part of the Nazi Wehrmacht (the regular army). In fact, the Germans did not carry out a forced mobilization of Polish fighters to fight alongside Nazi Germany. In the SS, the Poles acted voluntarily and in the Wehrmacht, they posed as "Germans" or "semi-Germans".

During the four years of the war, the Red Army captured 4 million Wehrmacht soldiers and volunteers from 24 European nationalities. The Poles on that list were in seventh place (over 60,000 mercenaries), ahead of the Italians (about 49,000).

It should be noted that the mortality of German refugees in Polish camps in 1945-1946. reached 50%. In the Potulice camp in 1947-1949 half of the prisoners died of starvation, cold and harassment by the Polish guards. At the end of the war, four million Germans lived in Poland. According to estimates by the Union of German Exiles, the loss of the German population during the expulsion from Poland amounted to some 3 million people.

After the unmitigated defeat of the Wehrmacht in Stalingrad, it became clear that if nothing extraordinary happened in favor of the Hitler regime, nothing would change the course of events and the Third Reich would eventually implode in the very near future.

So the Nazis "discovered" in 1943, in the Katyn forest near Smolensk, a mass grave with Polish officers. The Germans immediately declared that, as a result of the opening of the graves, all those buried there had been executed by members of the Soviet Union's secret police, the NKVD (People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs), in the spring of 1940. .

The official statement on the Katyn massacre was made by the Nazi government and released by its Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, on April 13, 1943, in a statement speaking about the "terrible discovery of the crimes of the Jewish commissioners of the NKVD ”in the Katyn Forest. With this propaganda device, Nazi Germany sought to divide the anti-Hitler coalition and win the war.

The significance of such a declaration by the Goebbels Department had a cunning undercurrent: the Polish government-in-exile would strongly oppose Moscow and thereby pressure the British who sheltered them in London to stop supporting the Kremlin. According to Berlin's calculations, the Poles would push the British and Americans to fight Stalin, which could imply a completely different development from the events in World War II.

But Goebbels' calculation was not justified: Britain at the time did not consider it profitable to believe in the "crime of the Bolsheviks". At the same time, the head of London's "Polish government", General Wladyslaw Sikorski, took a relentless position and began to truly become an obstacle to the great international policy of alliances between the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union.

The Vladislav Sikorsky government in London supported Goebbels's version and began to distribute it diligently, hoping that this would help regain power in Warsaw and spark a war between the USSR and its anti-Hitler coalition allies. Sikorsky supported the Germans' proposal to send to the Katyn region an "International Medical Commission" created by them under the auspices of the International Red Cross (IRC) with doctors selected by Germany, as well as experts from 13 allied countries and the German-occupied countries.

When his CRI commission reached Katyn, Goebbels demanded that his subordinates prepare everything, including a medical report tailored to the Nazis. Under pressure from the Nazis and so that events such as the terrible fate of Polish officers would not be repeated in the future, the agreement was signed by the majority of the members of the international commission.

Members of the commission, such as the doctor from the Department of Forensic Medicine at Sofia University, Marko Markov, and the Czech professor of forensic medicine, Frantisek Gajek, did not support Goebbels's version. The representatives of Vichy, France, Professor Castedo, and Spain, Professor Antonio Piga and Pascual, did not put their signature on the final document. After the war, all members of the international commission of forensic experts abandoned their conclusions in the spring of 1943.

The Polish Red Cross Technical Commission, which worked in Katyn in specially “prepared” places and under the control of the Germans, was unable to reach unequivocal conclusions about the causes of death of the Polish officers, although they discovered German cartridges used in the shooting of victims in the Katyn forest. Joseph Goebbels demanded to keep this a secret so that the Katyn case would not collapse.

A few weeks later, on July 4, 1943, General Sikorsky, his daughter Zofya, and the head of his cabinet, Brigadier General Tadeusz Klimecki, were killed in a plane crash near Gibraltar. Only the Czech pilot, Eduard Prchal, survived, who was unable to clearly explain why he put on a life jacket during this flight, when he generally did not.

The position of the "Western Allies" of the USSR in World War II on the Katyn issue began to change along with the deterioration of relations between Washington-London and Moscow, once the "cold war" began by the United States and its allies. The accusations against the USSR were continued by the American Madden commission in 1951-1952.

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Jun 21 2020 0:03 utc | 47

Again, Victor@43, you make your point well, but perhaps we need to pay attention to what karlof1 is saying at the end of his post at 29:

" Instead, he sent a backhanded message to those managing the Outlaw US Empire about the fate they'll face if they continue on their path and exit the UN."

I'm not sure I understand the meaning of this (perhaps karlof will elucidate when he has time) but I do note that the essay has a slightly different focus than b's first link as its title begins "The Real Lessons..."

So, what, we may ask, are those real lessons? Apparently the instances of Stalin's bad behavior are not such, or are not what we need to learn.

And further, what is the importance of the final paragraphs of the essay, which call for the Security Council leaders,(having agreed to do so) representing the nations which were allied successfully during WWII, to meet as soon as possible? Putin has given in his essay the example of the League of Nations, the failure of that body to prevent the second great war. I saw his final statement more as an urgent call for unity in present crisis than as a threat, but then I'm always a polyanna.

Posted by: juliania | Jun 21 2020 0:08 utc | 48

And here I thought it was Tom Hanks and Brad Pitt who beat the Nazis on D-Day playing Call of Duty.

Posted by: Patroklos | Jun 21 2020 0:39 utc | 49

Putin glosses over Stalins aggressions against Finland and his annexations of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and parts of Romania (Bessarabia, northern Bukovina and the Hertza region), the latter in violation of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact , are overlooked

He justifies Russia taking back land in Poland because he claimed that was theirs was but Hitler doing the same was not , and justified as a defensive measure against Germany while ignoring Poland was a threat to Germany , as they sought alliance with UK/US

Stalin had a very large and well equipped military and was resource rich unlike Germany.

Stalin began his buildup long before the war, perhaps anticipating Germanys military expansion, or perhaps he had designs on Europe himself. Remember one of FDR’s first moves as President was recognizing Stalin and providing loans for trade in 1933

From Icebreaker (Suvorov)

In the early 1930s, American engineers traveled to the Soviet Union and built the Uralvagonzavod (the Ural Railroad Car Factory). Uralvagonzavod was built in such a manner that it could at any moment switch from producing railroad cars to producing tanks.

The most powerful aviation factory in the world was built in the Russian Far East. The city Komsomolsk-na-Amure was built in order to service this factory. Both the factory and the city were built according to American designs and furnished with the most modern American equipment.

Western technology was the main key to success. The Soviet Union became the world’s biggest importer of machinery and equipment in the early 1930s, at a time when millions were starving due to his bloody war against peasants, which was called collectivization. The Soviet collectivization of 1932-1933 is estimated to have resulted in 3.5 to 5 million deaths from starvation, and another three to 4 million deaths as a result of intolerable conditions at the places of exile.

Cargo warplanes are used to deliver assault forces with parachutists to the enemy’s rear. Soviet war-transport aviation used the American Douglas DC-3, which was considered to be the best cargo plane in the world at the start of World War II, as its primary cargo plane. In 1938, the U.S. government sold to Stalin the production license and the necessary amount of the most complex equipment for the DC-3’s production. The Soviet Union also bought 20 DC-3s from the United States before the war.

In 1939, the Soviet Union produced six identical DC-3 aircraft; in 1940, it produced 51 DC-3 aircraft; and in 1941, it produced 237 DC-3 aircraft. During the entire war 2,419 DC-3s or equivalent planes were produced in Soviet factories.

In the years 1937-1941, the Soviet Army grew five-fold, from 1.1 million to 5.5 million. An additional 5.3 million people joined the ranks of the Red Army within one week of the beginning of the war. A minimum of 34.5 million people were used by the Red Army during the war. This huge increase in the size of the Soviet Army was accomplished primarily by ratification of the universal military draft in the Soviet Union on Sept. 1, 1939.

According to the new law, the draft age was reduced from 21 to 19, and in some categories to 18. This new law also allowed for the preparation of 18 million reservists, so that the Soviet Union continued to fill the ranks of the Red Army with many millions of soldiers as the war progressed.

The 9th Army appeared on the Romanian border on June 14, 1941, in the exact place where a year ago it had “liberated” Bessarabia. If the Soviet 9th Army had been allowed to attack Romania, Germany’s main source of oil would have been lost and Germany would have been defeated. Hitler’s attack of the Soviet Union prevented this from happening. The concentration of Soviet troops on Romanian borders presented a clear danger to Germany, and was a major reason for the German invasion of the Soviet Union.

Looking for blame one must not forget to look home. US finance and industrialists built up the Stalin and Hitler both with money, tech transfers, cartel agreements.

FDR pushed both the British and Poland into decisions which would lead to War.

When Germany tried to negotiate for Free Danzig , which was mostly German , Poland succumbed to US and British pressure/promises of aid, so they took a hardline and took measures to assume control over Free Danzig from the League of Nations. As a result Poles began to persecute ethnic Germans of which there were many , forcing some to flee Poland into Germany while those who wanted to protect their property stayed and faced the violence.

Posted by: Kay Fabe | Jun 21 2020 1:13 utc | 50

Everyone in the West knows about the D-Day landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944.
150,000 men on the first day, building up to 2 million men during the peak of Operation Overlord.

Nobody in the West knows about Operation Bagration in the Eastern front, launched two weeks after the D-Day landings.
Vastly bigger in every way, and it ended in the complete annihilation of Army Group Centre and the severe mauling of Army Group North and Army Group South.

Operation Bagration was much more important to the defeat of Germany than Operation Overlord.

Indeed, the Red Army would have succeeded even if the Normandy landings had not taken place, whereas it is very, very unlikely that Operation Overlord would have succeeded if it were not for the Germans being hamstrung by the carnage that was taking place in the East.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Jun 21 2020 1:43 utc | 51

Putin's own words in the center article of B: Stalin and his entourage, indeed, deserve many legitimate accusations. We remember the crimes committed by the regime against its own people and the horror of mass repressions. Lets keep that in mind and praise the USSR for defeating the Nazi regime, never Stalin.
As for Churchill; he was a typical upper class imperialist most of his life but did save GB in the critical early years of the Battle for Britain with his moral boosters.

Hitler showed how powerful a force nationalism can be to unite a people but simultaneously demonstrated that by focusing on a country's Ego and not its Soul how wrong it can end up. His "National Sozialismus" fouled both notions in the West and lead many to embrace globalism and uncontrolled capitalism, of which we see the results today. He had Germany under his black magic speeches for just one decade, but these after effects had Europe twisted for many.

Posted by: Antonym | Jun 21 2020 1:51 utc | 52

Putin holds on to the existing choice of the 5 permanent UNSC veto holders, probably not to complicate matters now. The PRC was added in 1972 and the ROC (Taiwan) removed.

The next change should be the UK out, India in.

Posted by: Antonym | Jun 21 2020 2:11 utc | 53

H.Schmatz @ 45

There is a lot of cherry picking of history going on when it comes to who did what to whom in the lead up to WW2. All countries are a lot less innocent than they claim to be.
But I'm not sure why you are posting revisionist history about Katyn since the Russians already admitted that the Soviets were responsible for the crime.

Posted by: Victor | Jun 21 2020 2:14 utc | 54

@ victor... a lot of posters here are suspect of wikipedia, and any number of media outlets offering up their take on russia... unfortunately if i was to believe the - i would believe all the lies and bulshit around skripal and for the record - i don't... a better source to back up your viewpoint is needed.. thanks..

Posted by: james | Jun 21 2020 2:19 utc | 55

Schmatz@45 - as Victor at 52 says, there is no need to suspect anyone else for massacre in Katyn (and other places btw), Russians admitted it. If you wish to see the signatures, a book by Pavel Sudoplatov "Special Tasks" (available on Amazon) has a facsimile copy of the order signed by Beria, Stalin and 2 or 3 more - to liquidate the Polish POW´s. And from now on I consider your contributions not worth my time, since your erudition clearly indicates that you know better and say something else.

Posted by: bystander 04 | Jun 21 2020 4:05 utc | 56

@17 Victor

"No real errors in Putin's excellent essay, but some glossing over of certain major incidents, including the arrests, deportations and executions of thousands of Poles committed by the Soviets when they invaded Poland, the absorption of the Baltic countries, and the war with Finland. Unfortunately, omitting important details just gives ammunition to the many Putin haters to claim that this is just more Russian historical revisionism and propaganda."

I agree on the Baltic states. I think it's the one part of Putin's essay I'd take issue with.

He should have made the strategic case for why the USSR felt compelled to take control of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The Baltic coastline and approach to Leningrad were both very significant. Of course it's true that Russia lost control of all three for most of the war, but that doesn't change the strategic validity of Soviet policy in 1940. The same thing goes for Soviet demands to control some coastal area and islands in Finland which led to the Soviet-Finnish War of 1939-40.

Instead of making a strategic case, Putin tries to whitewash the Russian takeover by claiming "consent." That is a weak argument and the only real point of weakness I see in his essay.

Posted by: Oscar Peterson | Jun 21 2020 4:09 utc | 57

Victor @ 52

There is certainly enough amount of evidence to be suspicious of the Katyn events

Here is some

Posted by: Mariátegui | Jun 21 2020 4:34 utc | 58

Of all German munition production 1939-45, 55-58% went to air war, 12% to sea war and actually just 30-33% to land war. All all German aircraft combat losses 75% were caused by Western Allied while over 90% of Kriegsmaried losses by Western Allied. In Oct 1943 just 17% of Jagdwaffe (German fighter planes) and 14% of antiaircraft artillery were in east including Poland. So these figures are suggesting that of all German war production hardly more than 40% went to war in Eastern Front.

Clearly we have to ask: if Eastern Front was "mainfront" then why German war production was actually targeting more war allied Allied air and sea power than that rather primitive and economically cheap war in east? Answer: German main priority was to secure its own production. Land army with bulk divisions in east were not highest priority.

Then we have to ask how effect was the Red Army when Soviet military personal losses were so staggering? 14,600,000 deceased soldiers including NKVD,border troops and partisan units + 167,976 in Winter War against Finns (1939-40). These horrific figures revealed by study made by Lev Lopukhovsky, Boris Kavalerchik and Harold Orenstein.

Sad truth: Stalin willingly sacrificed his happless pesants and workers far more eagerly that his western allied who trusted more technology and air-sea power. Stalin was lacking technology,he needed western aid. Poor man desperately asked aluminium from Harry Hopkins in summer 1941. In as late as in 1944 Soviet oil production was just 18.4 million tons. It is now well known fact that T-34 was not good tank at all and in 1944 it was 8 times more dangerous for Luftwaffe pilots to fly against USAAF/RAF than against poorly trained Soviet pilots.

In fact what part did those horrible Soviet losses played on collapse of Soviet Union generation later, 1985-91?

Posted by: Frank | Jun 21 2020 4:38 utc | 59

When Russian has not much to offer with relatively lower population, on average dusty small towns, then its time push that old Stalinist myths and legends of Great Patriotic War. It's a shame how high was the price of victory against Nazis which was lacking desperately oil and many other resources. Hitler actually had 20% smaller military men pool than Kaiser thanks to very low birth rate of 1921-1928. Stalin was however lousy military leader blundering time after time.

Posted by: Ernie | Jun 21 2020 5:00 utc | 60

james @ 53 and Mariátegui @ 56

I'm not sure why you persist in questioning that the Katyn massacre was perpetrated by the Soviets. Putin and the Russian Duma have already acknowledged that the Soviets did it...

Posted by: Victor | Jun 21 2020 6:00 utc | 61

No major flaws, really? What about this one:
"In autumn 1939, the Soviet Union, pursuing its strategic military and defensive goals, started the process of incorporation of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Their accession to the USSR was implemented on a contractual basis, with the consent of the elected authorities. This was in line with international and state law of that time."

Well, I think Putin has a lot of valid points. But it also remains a fact that from the inception of the Soviet system Soviet leaders openly proclaimed that they wanted to impose their own political and economic system on the whole world. They called it "world revolution" but this is of course identical to world domination. (Just think of the NeoCons who want to spread "liberty and democracy" all over the world.) Between 1939 and 1945 the Soviet Union attacked next to all of it`s pre-war neighbours one after the other: Poland (1939), Finnland (1939), Lithuania (1940), Latvia (1940), Estonia (1940), Romania (Bessarabia 1940), Iran (1941) and Japan (1945).

This - in combination with the fact that the Soviet Union had a worse human rights record than todays North Korea - is the reason that noone wanted to enter a system of "collective security" with Moscow at that time.

Posted by: m | Jun 21 2020 6:11 utc | 62

I can't wait to see Trump's essay in response to Putin's :)

Posted by: Blue Dotterel | Jun 21 2020 6:28 utc | 63

Unlike so often claimed, wars have been rather disasters for Russia. The point here is that even when been victorious they have corrupted system and strengthened oligarchy. In fact - and this is not even a paradox - losers of war have done much better later. That's why hyping Great Patriotic War is not very clever strategy. Tactically necessary because Putin have to play this symphony to those part of USSR which became independent after 1991. Russia has huge problem now: large land area with aging population. Luring ethnic Russians from Ukraine, Baltic States and Central Asia to move "back" to Russia and solve the demographic problem is pure fantasy. Stalin paved the road to 1991 disaster. Empire has gone forever and rethinking of WW2 should be thing Russians should finally start.

So who were the real winners of WW2? My guess: China, partly India, East Asia generally. USA also but it fucked things with military industrial complex edema. Cold War weakened both Soviet-Russia and USA. The great irony here is Germany. Defeating Hilter's Third Reich actually made Germany far better for people, end backward Prussian militarism and gave finally the real power for much more modern and effective western part Germany. Germany was modernized. Without army having economic influence is a model many warmongers should learn to adopt.

Posted by: Marcus | Jun 21 2020 7:14 utc | 64

Not what his contemporaries thought.
Gen. Sir Alan Brooke (British CIGS), after the Teheran Conference: “Stalin had a military brain of the highest calibre....never once in any of his statements, did he make any strategic error, nor did he fail to appreciate all the implications of a situation with a quick and unerring eye”.
USAAF Gen.Arnold: “ Stalin was .... fearless, brilliant mind, quick of thought and repartee, ruthless - a great leader with the courage of his convictions.”
(Hitler once said of Stalin, full of admiration: “that man thinks in terms of centuries”.)

Posted by: Montreal | Jun 21 2020 7:14 utc | 65

Thank you, b, for the heads up.

Posted by: Steve | Jun 21 2020 7:37 utc | 66

Wikipedia does mention the Polish invasion of Czechoslovakia, though it is perhaps not very clear:

Posted by: Harold | Jun 21 2020 7:54 utc | 67

The veto power is a disaster. Most vetos have been from the United States to prevent U.N. resolutions against Israel. Israeli apartheid has hardly been the friend of world peace. The U.N. is also implicated in the genocidal blockade against Iraq in the 1990's.

In the lead up to WWII, countries like Britain were hoping to use the Nazis against the Bolsheviks. After the war started, the British strategy was to trick Germany into attacking the U.S.S.R., which was successful. Since "history is written by the victors", we don't read about this much.

Posted by: Edward | Jun 21 2020 7:58 utc | 68

I have found no major flaw with the historic facts in the essay ...

You grew up in the GDR, right? :-)
Joke aside, the core statements of the essay are absolutely correct. However, if you read it as an argument against falsification of history, at least the Russian-German relations between 1939 and 1941 were a bit more complicated than the text suggests(Stalin edited a book on the same topic wich was released 1948).

Still this is nothing against german historical revisionism as shown by 63% of german respondents to the survey by YouGov who voted "other" or "don't know".

@ Dirk | Jun 20 2020 17:37 utc | 6

Not even Wikipedia mentions the Polish contribution to the invasion and occupation of the CSSR ...

I never would defend the mods of wikipedia but have you tried looking under Munich Agreement or Zaolzie?

Posted by: Georg | Jun 21 2020 8:18 utc | 69

Is it just me or are we seeing an influx of many new commenters with suspicious simple names and even more simple historic POVs?

Posted by: vato | Jun 21 2020 8:19 utc | 70

The timing is interesting and deliberate by Putin.
Coming at the end of a catalogue of USA world wide aggression - - Middle East, China , Venezuela. And before the USA election. Then there’s a financial US war using sanctions. The USA misinformation war using media and internet. The US germ-warfare.
Putin has got his eyes open, he values the truth much more than the West.
I think Putin is drawing a line in the sand here, indicating a wish for peace and sanity, but reminding the West - Russia will not roll over.
The message the West should learn is — —
If you continue to wage war on the rest of the world you will pay a high personal price. And distroy your own country. Just like Hitler !
My view is ‘the only good fascist is a dead fascist !

Posted by: Mark2 | Jun 21 2020 9:06 utc | 71

heres a link to the bolton book

if youncan stomach fhe neocon BS

Posted by: milomilo | Jun 21 2020 9:24 utc | 72

Victor @ 61:

You keep repeating "Putin and the Duma" but in those links you put up, Vladimir Putin was not President of Russia when documents purporting to show that Stalin had personally signed the order to execute the Polish army officers were released in 2011.

Posted by: Jen | Jun 21 2020 9:52 utc | 73

Until Trump, US tried to hide behind a figleaf in its quest for world economic and military domination. Trump doesn't bother with the figleaf and the bobbling heads of Europe, rather than pulling back in shame, are openly in full appeasement mode.

Trump pulling out of all agreements that have been signed by the US, lowering the threshold for first US of nukes so that now they can be used by against small non nuclear countries. US grabs some petty boy from Venezuela and calls him president so fifty countries recognize him as president. The corruption of the OPCW and other UN bodies ... US wants to get a look inside some Iranian military bases for its coming war on Iran so UN passes a resolution telling Iran to allow inspectors in even though that is outside the nuclear deal.

For Russia, watching European appeasement to the US must be very similar to the lead up to WWII.

Posted by: Peter AU1 | Jun 21 2020 11:12 utc | 74

@Posted by: Jen | Jun 21 2020 9:52 utc | 73

There were no real documents which could anytime prove the NKVD, or any Soviet official or citizen fighting in the Red Army for that matter, executed the people whose corpses were found in Katyn.

Amongst the multiple contradictions and contradictory evidence found by several researchers´groups, there is the fact that the corpses were placed in the pit in the known nazi preferred way so called "sardine cans", plus that fact that children wer also found in the pit, when the Soviets never executed a child.

The fake documents, known in Furr´s investigation as "Closed Package No. 1″, where “closed” refers to the highest level of confidentiality, were provided by Yeltsyn, amid his permanent intoxication, who claimed to have found secret folders in the files of the presidency, and directly blamed Stalin for the massacre. The folders were shown to contain false, undated, contradictory, visibly fabricated documents. The Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation in 2004 closed the investigation. He found no evidence to blame the USSR, Stalin, or even the "sinister" head of the NKVD, Lavrenti Beria.

That Gorbachov, Yeltsyn, or some people currewntly in the Russian Duma agree with the doctored report by the Yale University to underpine the narrative against Stalin, the USSR and communism in general is not to be surprised since to this very day there are enemies of Russia holding a deputy post in the Russian Duma, and we all know how generously the Western powers behind the destruction of the USSR payed all these anti-Soviet, anti-Russian, agents.

The thing is that the "Katyn Hoax" contitutes, along the "Holodomor Hoax", the cornerstone of the Polish and Ukrainian far-right´s and Russian fifth column´s ( far-right too )narrative to throw shit over Stalin´s and the heroic Sovier peoples´ victory in WWII. Both hoaxes currently debunked by serious researchers.

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Jun 21 2020 11:40 utc | 75

From Furr´s research:

Debunked the "official" version of the Katyn massacre?

Furthermore, a large part of the bodies in the graves were those of children. The Soviets did not execute children. This is compelling evidence that it was the work of the Germans and not of the Soviets. Such a conclusion is confirmed by recent research by other Ukrainian scholars. Based on the evidence from the trials of German war criminals, testimonies of Jewish survivors, and investigations by Polish historians Ivan Katchanovski and Volodymyr Musychenko into mass executions of Poles by Ukrainian nationalists, they concluded that the buried bodies correspond mainly to Jews, but also Poles and "Soviet activists". Katchanovski concludes that the Ukrainian authorities sought to blame the Soviet NKVD in order to hide the guilt of some Ukrainian nationalists considered heroes in present-day Ukraine, including Volodimir-Volynski itself.

Source mentioned:

Katyn in Reverse in Ukraine: Nazi-led Massacres turned into Soviet Massacres. By Ivan Katchanovski

Posted by: H.Schmatz | Jun 21 2020 12:09 utc | 76

A couple points to remember about history.

Who pays the piper calls the tune.

The past is seen through the light of the present.

This cannot be avoided. Always read critically, do not expect your best efforts get you to truth. What’s that?

The one possibility for getting through with anything not connected to the paymaster is good writing. We still read Thucydides. Doesn’t mean he is right either. Does mean he is worth reading and will have influence. We still read Tolstoi and it doesn’t matter if that is history or fiction.

Posted by: oldhippie | Jun 21 2020 12:24 utc | 77

Russian Misinformation a true sign of a propagandist is to make alternative views illegitimate. Any correction on the NATO effort to demonize Russia is now considered Russian misinformation.

Re: the Nuremberg trials, I became fascinated by the writings of Paul R. Pillar who pointed out that U.S. sanctions are frequently peddled as a peaceful alternative to war fit the definition of 'crimes against peace'. This is when one country sets up an environment for war against another country. I'll grant you that this is vague but if this is applicable at all how is this not an accurate description of what we are doing against Iran and Venezuela?

In both cases, we are imposing a full trade embargo (not sanctions) on basic civilian necessities and infrastructures and threatening the use of military force. As for Iran, the sustained and unfair demonization of Iranians is preparing the U.S. public to accept a ruthless bombing campaign against them as long overdue. We are already attacking the civilian population of their allies in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon.

How Ironic that the country that boasts that it won WW2 is now guilty of the very crimes that it condemned publicly in court.

Posted by: Christian J. Chuba | Jun 21 2020 14:18 utc | 78

A lot of people here are falling into the anachronism of judging the 1930s-1940s through the lenses of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is from December 10th 1948. There wasn't any concept of human rights before and during WWII, people didn't judge each other by this concept.

Poland wanted to wage a war of conquest to rebuild their empire. They lost. If you're a POW, you must be prepared to suffer any kind of consequences. There are no rules in wars of annihilation.


@ Posted by: Kay Fabe | Jun 21 2020 1:13 utc | 50

The icebreaker theory is already debunked. Even the American historians don't buy it anymore.

Everybody was building up in the 1930s. The 1930s was an era of rapid military reform and revolution. New equipment and technology was being introduced, and officers were being replaced by the new generation.

The reason Hitler preserved his WWI generals was very simple: the Versailles Treaty forbade Germany from graduating new high officers. As a result, there was a 12 year gap in the German high office of the armed forces. In fact, Hitler seemed to hate the Prussian aristocracy that made a large chunk of his generals. He had to make the reform of the high office during the war: by the end of the Battle of France, seven officers were promoted to Generalfeldmarschall (funnily, Rommel wasn't one of them) - by far the largest amount in German history. By 1943, he had the high command office he wanted - ironically, too late, as that was the year that marked Nazi decline in the war.

Glantz is even more assertive against this icebreaker theory: if anything, the quick fall of France and the UK made things much worse for Stalin's plan. The ideal scenario for the USSR was for Germany to self-destruct with France-UK, so the Red Army could have the most time possible to finish its reforms.

As for Stalin's reforms during the 1930s.

All the evidence (and there's plenty) points that his first five-year plan was a monumental success among the Soviet people. The results took a little to show, but you have to keep in mind that the USSR went on completely unaffected by the 1929 crisis. That fact boosted the morale of the Soviet people immensely, as it was evidence the USSR was really transitioning to a socialist system.

We know Stalin's early five-year plans were to be a huge success. What Western historians like to tell us is that they were a huge success at the cost of the Soviet people. This is a complete myth: the Soviet people were very aware of the short-term consequences of the five-year plans, and they were supportive of them even knowing them. The problem here is one of anachronism: people living in the comfort of their post-war imperial countries tend to see the peasant life as cruel and difficult. Well, the problem is this was the country the Czar left to the Bolsheviks, and that was the world the Soviet people knew at the time. You cannot judge the lifestyle of the old peoples with modern lens.


@ Posted by: m | Jun 21 2020 6:11 utc | 62

That wasn't the Bolshevik's theory, and, either way, any hope for a world revolution were already dead by the 1930s.

Lenin's analysis was very concrete: capitalism would exhaust its possibilities and lead to total war, which would - within capitalism's own contradictions (and not by external invasion and conquest) - lead to the historical stage of socialism. Russia, therefore, was just the first piece of domino, not the country with manifest destiny.

His hope would be that Germany would become socialist with the disaster of WWI. However, the 1918 German Revolution was crushed and he had to abandon his analysis. He then initiated the NEP, in a phase he called "State Capitalism". So, he changed his mind, he didn't initiated any imperialistic reform.

The Trotskyists - already mainly exiled in the Western countries - released a manifesto during WWII calling for the USSR to not stop in Berlin, going all the way to the whole European Peninsula. But they already were a nullity within the USSR by then, so their opinion really didn't matter.

There was a plan commissioned to Zhukov for an eventual conquest of the whole European Peninsula, in case the Western allies did a volte face after Germany's fall. However, this is just protocol for any Marshall of any armed forces: it is his job to cover all the possibilities, not matter how unlikely they are to come. The USA, for example, had a post-war plan for a war against Canada and the UK; Hitler had commissioned a plan for a war against Switzerland; Churchill commissioned a plan for a war against the USSR right after WWII was over (Operation Unthinkable). Those plans are part of the job of a Marshall - their existence don't mean a nation seriously thinks about world domination.

The failure of the German Revolution was so shocking that, when he received a copy of the SPD journal announcing they had betrayed the revolution, Lenin thought it was a fake news piece planted by the Kaiser intelligence.

Posted by: vk | Jun 21 2020 15:04 utc | 79

@ Posted by: Dirk / Jun 20 2020 17:37 utc | 7

A certain explanation for this unfortunate Polish whim, you will find it at the address below. You should know that the route of the Czech-Polish border, although it originated from the Spa Conference of 1920, was clarified according to the wishes of the French consortium Schneider, which had taken control of the Czech industry after World War I. It is the French historian Annie Lacroix-Riz who specifies it in "The choice of the defeat".

"There was a very tense climate in 1918–1920, a time of decision. It was decided that a plebiscite would be held in Cieszyn Silesia asking people which country the territory should join. Plebiscite commissioners arrived at the end of January 1920 and after analyzing the situation declared a state of emergency in the territory on 19 May 1920. The situation in the territory remained very tense. Mutual intimidation, acts of terror, beatings, and even killings affected the area.[17] A plebiscite could not be held in this atmosphere. On 10 July both sides renounced the idea of a plebiscite and entrusted the Conference of Ambassadors with the decision.[18] Eventually 58.1% of the area of Cieszyn Silesia and 67.9% of the population was incorporated into Czechoslovakia on 28 July 1920 by a decision of the Spa Conference.[18] This division was in practice what gave birth to the concept of the Zaolzie—which literally means "the land beyond the Olza River" (looking from Poland)."

You will find the map of the 1910 Polish speakers of this region there:

Posted by: Jozwa | Jun 21 2020 15:56 utc | 80

@ 79 thanks vk fascinating

Posted by: Thirsty | Jun 21 2020 15:58 utc | 81

Ah well, the old WW2 stories... One could spend its life trying to decipher what really happened, probably to no avail. Without irony, isn't it strange how events which, from an historical perspective, just happened yesterday, can still be so bitterly fought ? Who controls the past, controls the present, Orwell was right.

Cutting to the chase, yes, indeed, Putin is right. Soviet manpower was key to crushing Hitler. But the Soviets were backed by the huge industrial power of the States, with a constant stream of material pouring in at Murmansk - Germans had a daring plan to attack Murmansk from neighbouring Finland, too difficult given the terrain and weather conditions. Consider me skeptical that, without this backing, Stalin would have fared as well as he did. Except for the few millions of soldiers he lost to a German army which was inferior in every material way.

I also tend to think that, although Suvorov's thesis is too far-fetched and the man itself looks quite a bit dodgy, his arguments can't be completely brushed away. There are enough facts which point to the massive build-up of the Soviet military machine prior to 1941. USSR invaded Finland, took the Baltic states, and got a healthy chunk of Poland. I just can't help thinking good old uncle Joe already had some plans in the back of his mind. After all, people always point to Mein Kampf to demonstrate the expansive nature of national-socialism, but then communism since the beginning had set world revolution as a goal...

Posted by: Vince | Jun 21 2020 15:58 utc | 82

@ Posted by: vk | Jun 21 2020 15:04 utc | 79

"The Trotskyists - already mainly exiled in the Western countries - released a manifesto during WWII calling for the USSR to not stop in Berlin, going all the way to the whole European Peninsula. But they already were a nullity within the USSR by then, so their opinion really didn't matter."

This is totally new to me, I thought the Trots hated everything Soviet by their guts by that time . Where can I read more about this?

Posted by: Dave the Wade | Jun 21 2020 16:03 utc | 83

@ 61 victor... i am questioning your sources.. please read more clearly.. thanks..

Posted by: james | Jun 21 2020 16:28 utc | 84

@70 vato.. most definitely...

@ 75 H.Schmatz... thanks for your post their...

Posted by: james | Jun 21 2020 16:31 utc | 85

A small German party has installed a monument to the first Soviet leader, Vladimir Lenin, in the western city of Gelsenkirchen. City authorities sought to block the initiative but ended up launching an online educational campaign.

The former West Germany has seen the very first monument to Lenin erected on its soil on Saturday, courtesy of a tiny fringe party, the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD). The party proudly unveiled the over two-meter (6.5-foot) tall statue, originally produced in the former Czechoslovakia in 1957 and now placed outside of its office in Gelsenkirchen.

Posted by: Mao | Jun 21 2020 16:45 utc | 86

Gee, did Russia "conveniently" forget the Katyn massacre in 1939, opening the door for Germany to start WWII by invading Poland? Like an arsonist who lights a building on fire, then puts it out claiming he is a hero. Like the arsonist, Russia first blamed it on Germany.

Posted by: Bardi | Jun 21 2020 16:49 utc | 87

Sabaton - Panzerkampf (Lyrics English & Deutsch)

Panzerkampf is the ninth song on the album The Art Of War album by Sabaton.

Lyrics Russian

Posted by: Mao | Jun 21 2020 16:54 utc | 88

@ Posted by: Dave the Wade | Jun 21 2020 16:03 utc | 83

At the beginning/before the war, the Trotskyists made a resolution declaring that the USSR, albeit "degenerated", was still a proletarian republic. Hence, vis-a-vis the Third Reich, it should be defended. The document was released publicly, and it is available on the internet; I don't remember the exact year and the name of the document. It's important to highlight that the Nazi build up was evident already even before Hitler took power in 1932.

When it became clear the USSR would win the war, they "pushed" for the Soviets to liberate the whole European peninsula, not just until Germany.

@ Posted by: Vince | Jun 21 2020 15:58 utc | 82

The Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact had a secret protocol that envisaged the partition of Poland. But that's immaterial as to "who's to blame for the start of the WWII" because Poland had imperial ambitions at the time, therefore it was "a player in the game". If you "play the game", you're putting yourself in a position to lose said game.

The reason the USSR saw Eastern Poland, Finland and the Baltics as part of its "natural borders" is very simple: those were the borders of the old Russian Empire. The USSR was smaller in territorial terms than the Russian Empire.

Everybody was building up before 1941 (even the USA). WWII wasn't a bolt from the blue. The only doubt at the eve of 1939 was how each side would take shape, as it wasn't obvious the Western colonial powers would ally with the USSR.

The allies were actually divided in half: the USSR on one side, the UK-France-USA on the other side. The Western allies still expected the USSR would destroy itself alongside the Third Reich so they could simply march forwards over the wasteland and occupy the whole thing. Until Stalingrad, Roosevelt explicitly conditioned the existence of the Lend Lease to the non-existence of a second front against Germany. It was only when it became clear the Soviets would achieve a total victory over Germany that the Americans sobered up and lifted this condition (i.e. they would keep the Lend Lease and they would get their second front). That's why D-Day happened in 1944, and not in, say, 1942.

Posted by: vk | Jun 21 2020 17:08 utc | 89

War Department Pamphlet No. 21-30: Our Red Army Ally, 1945
"For Use of Military Personnel Only"

Posted by: Mao | Jun 21 2020 17:50 utc | 90

There has been common habit in Russia to undermine Lend Lease. But let's listen what one Marsha Zhukov mentioned about it.

In 1963, KGB monitoring recorded Soviet Marshal Georgy Zhukov saying: "People say that the allies didn't help us. But it cannot be denied that the Americans sent us materiel without which we could not have formed our reserves or continued the war. The Americans provided vital explosives and gunpowder. And how much steel! Could we really have set up the production of our tanks without American steel? And now they are saying that we had plenty of everything on our own."

So Zhukov said: without that western aid "we could not have formed our reserves or continued the war".

Posted by: Matias | Jun 21 2020 17:57 utc | 92

@ Antonym 53

As long as there exists a Commonwealth of Nations, the UK needs to be a permanent member of the UNSC. I realize that in an America-centric globe, the Commonwealth is treated as irrelevant (which is irksome, I might add - speaking as a Canadian), but we all know what the great Shining Beacon of whatever makes of (genuine) political unions. I know the UK at the UNSC rarely represents the Commonwealth viewpoint, but I don't see any other alternative than having that (also irksome) UK representation at the UNSC.

In the interests of not setting the world aflame, I believe there has to be the UK, France and Germany as permanent members of the UNSC. (Otherwise Germany will strong arm a European rep to be their voice, won't they? Wouldn't France or the UK do likewise in the same position? And doesn't the world want to know if these nations are embroiled in conflict and threatening to clash? Let them air publicly it at the UNSC.) My prediction? The next nation to drop will be the USA. (Totally non-biased Canadian opinion. :-) I do think India, and also Japan are possible additions (but then Korea will likely take issue?)

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 21 2020 17:58 utc | 93

Europe Signed Pacts With Nazi Germany — But Only the USSR Is Still Accused of 'Colluding' With Hitler

In January 1934, Poland was the first country to sign a non-aggression pact with the Third Reich, after which Great Britain and France did the same. So why is the USSR is still being accused of collusion with Hitler?

The German-Soviet non-aggression treaty was signed on 23rd August 1939. The USSR in fact was the last large geopolitical player to make a pact with Germany, and it did so because it had no other choice.

7 non-aggression pacts and treaties signed by European countries with Nazi Germany

The interwar period was not one of democracies versus dictatorships, it was one of an ultra-right, fascist central and eastern Europe against an isolated Soviet Union.

Posted by: Mao | Jun 21 2020 18:05 utc | 94

Posted by: Matias | Jun 21 2020 17:57 utc | 92

There has been common habit in Russia to undermine Lend Lease.

Harry S. Truman (1941):

"If we see that Germany is winning the war, we ought to help Russia; and if that Russia is winning, we ought to help Germany, and in that way let them kill as many as possible. . . ."

Posted by: Mao | Jun 21 2020 18:13 utc | 95

A Former King of Britain Pays a Visit to Nazi Germany

Did Britain's Former King Aid Hitler With the Invasion of France?

Queen makes Nazi salute in video

Posted by: Mao | Jun 21 2020 18:44 utc | 96

Something I remember from when I read Spiegelman's Maus: People find it easy to blame Poland because nobody will bother defending them. I think mostly Poland should be characterized as weak. Barely a country again for 20 years , with no military of significance and with no leadership which was particularly bright they get divided up again and occupied and their intellectuals got killed or deported. They get blamed for the war and still get blamed for killing the Jews.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 21 2020 19:48 utc | 97

Maybe the Soviet Union did the most to defeat Nazi Germany but that's the price they paid because they were one of the major if not THE major reason that WW1 occurred. It's called blowback.

Posted by: Leee C | Jun 21 2020 21:25 utc | 98

@ Real History 42

The United States also had a plan to invade Canada. It was on the books from the 1930's and involved the immediate use of poison gas. The plan was intended to be executed after completing victories in Europe and Japan.

Posted by: Anonymous | Jun 21 2020 21:42 utc | 99

Posted by: Leee C | Jun 21 2020 21:25 utc | 98

It's not "maybe"'s been so. fact..The rest is same western propaganda starting from school.

Posted by: LuBa | Jun 21 2020 21:43 utc | 100

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