[Marxism] The Hitler-Stalin Pact of August 23, 1939: Myth and Reality - CounterPunch.org

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Aug 26 07:52:19 MDT 2019

On 8/26/19 9:32 AM, Michael Meeropol wrote:
> The betrayal at Munich of a potential alliance with the Soviets to 
> protect Czechoslovakia on the other hand is accurate, I believe.

Written about 20 years ago:


Stalin-Hitler Pact

All Marxists can accept the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact as a 
legitimate principled measure taken to defend a socialist nation. The 
Nazi regime and Anglo-French imperialism were both reactionary and the 
Soviet people needed to maneuver to defend themselves as the 
vicissitudes of history unfolded. What is *not* principled is the 
political credibility that the Kremlin placed in the Hitler regime.

On Sept. 29, 1939, the USSR signed a German-Soviet Boundary and 
Friendship Pact that included secret protocols, among which was a 
stricture that each party pledged to suppress any agitation against the 
other and to keep each other informed of any outbreak. The result, 
according to Roy Medvedev in "Let History Judge", was a complete halt to 
antifascist propaganda in the USSR. Even worse, Soviet leaders began to 
depict Germany as a potential victim of Anglo-French aggression. Molotov 
declared in the fall of 1939:

"During the last few months such concepts as 'aggression' and 
'aggressor' have acquired a new concrete content, have taken on another 
meaning...Now...it is Germany that is striving for a quick end to the 
war, for peace, while England and France, who only yesterday were 
campaigning against aggression, are for continuation of the war and 
against concluding a peace. Roles, as you see, change...The ideology of 
Hitlerism, like any other ideological system, can be accepted or 
rejected--that is a matter of one's political views. But everyone can 
see that an ideology cannot be destroyed by force...Thus it is not only 
senseless, it is criminal to wage such a war as a war for 'the 
destruction of Hitlerism,' under the false flag of a struggle for 

There was no need for Molotov to utter such foolish words. A 
nonaggression pact does not involve this sort of legitimization of a 
criminal regime as one resting on an "ideological system". Nazism rested 
on murder and torture. If Molotov could not speak the truth about this, 
he should have kept his mouth shut.

Stalin's foolish belief in the possibility of a peace with Hitler 
compromised military preparations as I alluded to in my last post. A few 
more words are in order with respect to the matter of Richard Sorge, 
Stalin's top agent in Japan. Mark Jones reports correctly that Sorge 
informed Stalin of an impending invasion by the Nazis. What he leaves 
out is Stalin's reaction to Sorge's urgent reports cabled to the Kremlin 
in May and June of 1941. Sorge had intelligence on the precise timing of 
Hitler's attack, the size of the army, the operational plans, and the 
directions of the main strikes.

Stalin's reaction?

He wrote on them. "For the archives". "To be filed" and forgot about them.

Stalin was foolish enough to believe that Hitler would never break his 
word. Any facts that departed from this ridiculous belief were 
disregarded. His public displays were in harmony with his beliefs. When 
Yosuke Matsuoka, the Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs, left Moscow 
in April, 1941, Stalin and Molotov surprised everybody by seeing him off 
at the railway station. The German ambassador, who was there, reports 
that Stalin came over and hugged him. He said in a voice loud enough for 
everybody to hear, :"We must remain friends, and you must now do 
everything to that end."

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