The Polish minister for Foreign Affairs issued an emergency summons to the Russian ambassador on Friday to firmly protest the “historical insinuations” made by Russian President Vladimir Putin, in which he accused Poland of having established an agreement with Hitler prior to the war’s start, and that the country acted in an anti-semitic fashion during that period.
Poland expressed its “firm objection to the historical insinuations made by the highest Russian authorities in the last days,” stated the vice-minister for Foreign Affairs, Marcin Pryzdacz, quoted by the PAP press agency. On Tuesday, speaking at the Russian Defence ministry, Putin affirmed that he had taken note of archive documents recovered by the Red Army after ’45, which show that the Polish “practically made a deal with Hitler.” Putin referred to that particular Polish ambassador to Nazi Germany as a “scoundrel” and “anti-semite pig,” and said he had promised a “beautiful monument” to Hitler [as tribute] in Warsaw, after the Nazi leader proposed to “send Jews off in African colonies.”
On Friday, the Polish minister for Foreign Affairs emphasized that “Poland was the first country to resist the German invasion, who were backed by the Soviet Union, in September 1939.” He reminded that as a result of the German aggression, six million Polish citizens died, three of which being Jews. Russia “seeks to minimize the Soviet Union’s contribution to the destruction of peace in Europe. The USSR was between 1939 and 1941 an ally of Adolf Hitler’s Germany,” the minister said.
In August 23rd 1939, Stalin and Hitler agreed to divide East Europe between themselves in the secret Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. Putin stated that Stalin didn’t want to dishonor himself by meeting with Hitler personally, so he agreed to meeting a German representative instead. Whatever his reasons for refusing to meet Hitler face to face, I’m certain honor had nothing to do with it. Putin’s characterization here, in my opinion, is infantile. But mayhaps Stalin is hugely popular among Russian public opinion, so this would be a calculated statement on his part.
On September 1939, the Soviet Union attacked Poland, whose army was fighting a losing war against the Germans. Years ago, President Putin, referring to these events, qualified the secret deal between Germany and the USSR as a personal scheme of Stalin, which wasn’t representative of the Soviet people. I hope he hasn’t changed his mind on that, because that’s exactly what it was. The rulers of the two super-powers, in gangster fashion, decided to divide Eastern Europe between themselves. Comfortable with the odious pact signed, Stalin ordered the Red Army to invade Finland on November 30th 1939. Deeming the attack illegal, the League of Nations expelled the Soviet Union from the organization. The Winter War proved disastrous for the Soviets, losing a tremendous amount of military equipment, supplies, and troops, even though it had the numerical advantage against the Fins. The war was concluded in 3.5 months, on March 13th 1940, with the Moscow Peace Treaty.
Not heeding the advice of his [superior] military commanders to not open a second front [which was exactly what the Allies wanted, so they could come in and mop up the rest], Hitler greenlighted operation Barbarossa. On June 22nd 1941, fifteen months after Stalin’s ruinous and embarrassing war against Finland, Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union. Hitler was, no doubt, expecting another Blitzkrieg style victory, an expectation to a large extent fueled by the utter failure of Stalin’s imperialist ambitions during the Winter War. In my opinion, Stalin’s errant attack on Finland [not only morally unjust against Finland, but also a crime against the Red Army itself] caused the Germans to begin their attack sooner, seeing the Soviet military as incompetent and disorganized. The Soviet Union owed its resistance to the German onslaught to a combination of lucky factors: the Motherland’s geography, the weather, German military hubris, and last but not least the material aid received from the Allies [supplies and military equipment]. The Soviet victory against Nazi Germany is celebrated, rightly so by the Russians, however, to claim that the Red Army liberated Axis-aligned countries from German rule is true in nominal terms, but in real terms, it was a swap – one foreign occupation for another. If this weren’t true, then these republics, after the Iron Curtain’s fall, would have never turned to join NATO, which, back then [at least], was a popular proposition among ordinary people.
As for the question, who started world war 2? The West likes to dump all the blame on Germany and the Soviets, completely excusing themselves of any responsibility. World War 1 was hailed as the war to end all wars. By consequence, its peace was supposed to be the peace which ends all wars. But the exact opposite was the case. The creditors of the Versailles treaty ensured that the peace would be just a ceasefire. Please refer to my article from June, How the Allies guaranteed a 2nd World War.
World leaders should focus on the present, however, and seek to build bridges between countries, rather than sabotaging them for some deranged end-game scenario. The West should cease its arrogant, moralizing behaviors, it should cease imposing ultimatums, it should cease financial strong-arm tactics, and come to the negotiation table and acknowledge every other country as a peer, instead of an enemy, vassal, or colony. I am not holding my breath…
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.