Stalin and the POWs

Craven, Jim jcraven at
Fri Aug 6 13:25:29 MDT 1999

Response Jim C:

Keep in mind that the U.S. operations Crowcass, Paperclip and others (U.S.
using nazis and wanted war criminals to conduct espionage/sabotage/social
systems engineering against the USSR) began before WWII in Europe was even
over and while the US and USSR were nominal "allies". Operations Crowcass,
Paperclip etc, as documented by Christopher Simpson, also used Soviet POWs
who had been rolled over by the nazis and of course used elements of the
Vlaslov army of traitors. the Soviets were well aware that the Gehlen
organization had turned a number of Soviet POWs of the nazis (turn or
die)and returned them as nazi spies (also used families of Soviet POWs as
hostages to turn the POWs into spies and saboteurs).

Further the orgination of of Paperclip and Crowcass etc while the U.S. and
USSR were still nominal allies, gave a clear signal what was to follow
vis-a-vis U.S. intentions for the USSR, the resources likely to be deployed
against the USSR, and the willingness of the U.S. do do any disgusting
hypocritical act (hiding, protecting, recruiting, bringing to the U.S.,
helping to escape and planting in highest levels of U.S. Government, wanted
nazi war criminals who remained as wanted criminals on U.S. Army CIC lists
while under the pay of the U.S. Government and its allies)to destroy the
USSR and socialism anywhere it existed.

In that context, with so much on the line and such vicious and twisted
forces--armed with nuclear weapons--arrayed against the USSR and socialism
in general, is it surprising that there would be a very determined and
vigorous campaign to route out potential saboteurs and spies--with all the
excesses and crimes that invariably accompany such campaigns?

Again, going back to my story about my Chilean friend, I blame any crimes,
abuses and excesses of campaings to counter imperailist machinations
funamentally on the imperialists and their machinations.

Jim C

-----Original Message-----
From: Louis Proyect [mailto:lnp3 at]
Sent: Friday, August 06, 1999 11:49 AM
To: marxism at
Subject: Re: Stalin and the POWs

At 07:18 PM 8/6/99 -0700, you wrote:
>Mark Jones wrote: < Truman, the simple, religious Man from Missouri,
>made it plain to Stalin that the atom bombs just then detonated were
>meant above all as warnings to Russia (the Japanese Empire had, of
>course, been trying for weeks to surrender; the Americans turned a deaf
>ear until after their first nuclear tests were completed on the
>inhabitants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki). >
>'The employment of the new weapon on a substantial scale should expedite
>the surrender of Japan.' Editorial of the Daily Worker, daily organ of
>the Communist Party of Great Britain, 7 August 1945, the day after the
>Hiroshima bombing.
>Paul F

Although I found Mark's piece defending the need to keep Soviet POW's
interned perfectly dreadful, he is more accurate on the historical
substance of this particular issue. Keep in mind that 1945 is a pivotal
year. It is both the culmination of Soviet-US collaboration and also the
beginning of the cold war. There is very little doubt that signals had been
picked up by the Russian side that the mood had already shifted in
Washington. They probably understood that they would be the new target of
imperialism. That was the purpose of the nuclear attack on Japan, to show
the Russians who was boss. This excerpt from a Christian Science Monitor
article dated Aug. 7, 1970, the 25th anniversary of Hiroshima-Nagasaki,
puts the whole thing in context:

At Potsdam, Truman pressed Stalin and wrote that Stalin assured him Soviet
troops in transit and would be in combat August 8. In order to remove
doubts about the Soviet entry into the war against Japan, Truman extended
the date to August 15, 1945. Jubilantly, Truman wrote that when the Russian
bear showed up, Japan would surrender. ''Fini Japs,'' was the pithy way he
put it. He went further the next day: ''Believe Japs will fold before
Russians come in.'' Then an entry on July 16, 1945 has Truman hearing of
the successful test of the atomic device in New Mexico. Everything changed,
as Robert Donovan wrote in ''Conflict and Crisis.'' Truman knew he could
end the war without the Russians. Donovan quoted Stimson as saying the
report from New Mexico ''made it clear to the Americans that further
diplomatic efforts to bring the Russians in the Pacific war were largely

An entry in Truman's notebook showed he was aware of the moral liability
the US would incur if we dropped the bomb. He wrote he directed Stimson to
confine bombing to ''military objectives.'' He ordered a warning to be
issued, notifying the Japanese government of the bomb's existence. These
orders then changed.

Why? Why did Truman act against his convictions about the moral issue? Why
did he decide to drop the bomb? How do we deal with the fact that Truman's
public statements were opposed to what he knew to be true?

The decision to drop the bomb was made in the context of the entry of the
USSR. The deadline for this entry - August 15, 1945 - explains not just why
the atomic bomb was used on Hiroshima but why a second bomb was dropped on
Nagasaki. We were racing against the clock. We didn't want to get involved
in talks with Japan past August 15. Hence the ultimatum after Hiroshima and
Nagasaki for immediate surrender.

The diary of James Forrestal, secretary of the Navy, underlines the change
of strategy: ''Talked with Byrnes, now at Potsdam. Byrnes said he was most
anxious to get the Japanese affair over with before the Russians got in.''

A reference to Sec. of State Byrnes' position came from physicist Leo
Szilard who, with Albert Einstein, called Roosevelt's attention to the
Nazi's efforts to make an atomic bomb. Byrnes told Szilard the bomb would
make the USSR ''more manageable.''

The most serious issue in dropping the bomb is noted by Truman in his diary
as the US moral responsibility not to drop ''the terrible bomb'' on
civilians. In reversing himself, Truman was spurred by Byrnes. Truman
allowed himself to be swept up in realpolitik - plot and counterplot. The
president used a weapon he knew had no military justification. Having made
a decision difficult to defend, he created a rationale for public

Some may say it's unpatriotic to review these facts 50 years later. Yet we
are in a bad way if we have to rely on distorted history to uphold our view
of ourselves. The misrepresentation to Americans in 1945 may not have
started a trend. But it illustrates an ominous practice, increasingly
accepted by officials, of telling people what they think we ought to know
rather than what we are entitled to know. No one's suggesting there's not a
time when government has to conduct affairs privately. What's equally clear
is that this legitimate need is too easily invoked and becomes a means by
which politicians shield themselves from their errors.

On August 6, 1990, it may be useful to ask if public misunderstanding of a
key event in our history should be allowed to stand uncorrected. If we
can't stand the truth, we don't stand for much.

Louis Proyect


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