Who Started the
Second World War?
CHAPTER 1 The Road to Happiness 1
CHAPTER 2 The Main Enemy 8
CHAPTER 3 Why Arms for the Communists? 14
CHAPTER 4 Why Stalin Partitioned Poland 25
CHAPTER 5 The Pact and its Results 31
CHAPTER 6 When Did the Soviet Union Enter World War II? 37
CHAPTER 7 `Extending the Foundations of War’ 47
CHAPTER 8 Why Howitzer Artillery for the Chekists? 58
CHAPTER 9 Why the Security Zone was Dismantled on the Eve of War 67
CHAPTER 10 Why Stalin Abolished the Stalin Line 82
CHAPTER 11 Partisans or Saboteurs? 100
CHAPTER 12 Why Did Stalin Need Ten Airborne Assault Corps? 107
CHAPTER 13 The Winged Tank 115
CHAPTER 14 On to Berlin 121
CHAPTER 15 The Marine Infantry in the Forests of Byelorussia 131
CHAPTER 16 What are ‘Armies of Covering Forces’? 135
CHAPTER 17 Mountain Divisions on the Steppes of the Ukraine 151
CHAPTER 18 The Purpose of the First Strategic Echelon 163
CHAPTER 19 Stalin in May 166
CHAPTER 20 Words and Actions 182
CHAPTER 21 Living Peaceably with Sharp Teeth 188
CHAPTER 22 The TASS Report 195
CHAPTER 23 The Military Districts 226
CHAPTER 24 The Black Divisions 234
CHAPTER 25 The Kombrigs and the Komdivs 242
CHAPTER 26 Why the Second Strategic Echelon was Formed 248
CHAPTER 27 Undeclared War 265
CHAPTER 28 Why Stalin Deployed the Fronts 275
CHAPTER 29 Why Stalin Did Not Trust Churchill 302
CHAPTER 30 Why Stalin Did Not Trust Richard Sorge 313
CHAPTER 31 How Hitler Frustrated Stalin’s War 325
CHAPTER 32 Did Stalin Have a War Plan? 336
CHAPTER 33 The War Which Never Was 344
The West, with its imperialist ogres, has
become a centre of darkness and slavery.
The task is to destroy this centre, to the joy
and relief of the workers.
STALIN, Zhizn Narsional’ nosti, No. 6 (1918)
To the Reader Who started the Second World War? There is no single answer to this question. The Soviet government, for example, has repeatedly changed its official line on the issue. On 18 September 1939, they stated in an official note that the government of Poland was the instigator of the war.
On 3o November 1939, however, Stalin named other culprits in the newspaper, Pravda: ‘France and Britain . . . attacked Germany, thereby taking upon themselves the responsibility for the present war,’ he wrote. By 5 May 1941, the story had changed again : in a secret speech to graduates of military academies, Stalin laid the responsibility on Germany. After the war had ended, this circle of ‘culprits’ grew. Stalin announced that the most blood-stained war in the history of humanity had been started by all the capitalist countries in the world – in other words, all the sovereign states in the world including Sweden and Switzerland, but excluding the Soviet Union.
Stalin’s view has long been established in communist mythology. During the times of Khrushchev and Brezhnev, and as recently as Andropov and Chernenko, these accusations against the rest of the world were frequently repeated. Under Gorbachev, much is changing in the Soviet Union, but Stalin’s view about who started the war remains unchallenged. Lieutenant-General P. A. Zhilin, chief historian of the Soviet Army, repeated during the Gorbachev era that ‘the perpetrators of the war were not only the imperialists of Germany, but of the whole world’. (Red Star, 24 September 1985)
I would like to suggest that, from the beginning of the war, the Soviet communists made accusations against every country in the world with the deliberate intention of concealing their own role as its instigators. After the First World War, the Treaty of Versailles deprived Germany of the right to a strong army and offensive weapons, including tanks, military aircraft, heavy artillery and submarines. German commanders were unable to use German territory to train for the waging of offensive wars. So they began to make their preparations in the Soviet Union.
Everything possible was done, on Stalin’s orders, to enable German commanders to carry out military training on Soviet territory. They were given training classes, artillery and shooting ranges, as well as tanks, heavy artillery and military aircraft which, under the terms of the Treaty, they had no right to receive. Similarly, German commanders were given access to Soviet tank-manufacturing plants, the most powerful in the world. Look, remember and copy.
From the 1920s on, sparing neither resources nor effort, nor indeed time, Stalin revived the strike power of German militarism. Certainly not against himself. For what purpose? There is only one answer – so that war would be declared on the rest of Europe. Stalin understood that a powerful, aggressive army does not start a war by itself. A mad, fanatical leader is also needed.
Stalin did a great deal to see that just such a leader should appear at the head of the German nation. Once the fascists had come to power, Stalin persistently and doggedly pushed towards war. The high point of these efforts was the Molotov–Ribbentrop pact. In this pact, Stalin guaranteed Hitler freedom of action in Europe and, in effect, opened the floodgates of the Second World War.
Even before the Nazis came to power, the Soviet leaders had given Hitler the unofficial name of ‘Icebreaker for the Revolution’. The name is both apt and fitting. The communists understood that Europe would be vulnerable only in the event of war and that the Icebreaker for the Revolution could make it vulnerable. Unaware of this, Adolf Hitler cleared the way for world communism by his actions. With his Blitzkrieg wars, Hitler crushed the Western democracies, scattering and dispersing his forces from Norway to Libya. This suited Stalin admirably. The Icebreaker committed the greatest crimes against the world and humanity, and, in doing so, placed in Stalin’s hands the moral right to declare himself the liberator of Europe at any time he chose – while changing the concentration camps from brown to red.
Stalin understood better than Hitler that a war is won by the side which enters it last and not by the one which goes into it first. Stalin granted Hitler the doubtful honour of being the first, while he himself prepared for his unavoidable entry into the war after ‘all the capitalists (will) have fought amongst themselves’. (Stalin, Vol. 6, p. 158)
Much has been done to uncover the crimes of Nazism and find the butchers who perpetrated atrocities in its name. This work must be continued and stepped up. But while unmasking fascists, one must also expose the Soviet communists who encouraged the Nazis to commit their crimes, so that they could avail themselves of the results of these crimes.
The communists weeded their archives thoroughly a long time ago, but what still remains preserved there is almost inaccessible to researchers. I was fortunate enough to work briefly in the archives of the Soviet Ministry of Defence, but quite intentionally I am making little use of secret archival material. Overt Soviet publications are my main source. Even these are quite sufficient to place Soviet communists in the dock with Nazis.
My chief witnesses are Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, and all the Soviet wartime marshals and many leading generals. The Soviet communists admit that they used Hitler to unleash a war in Europe, and prepared a sudden blow at Hitler himself in order to seize a Europe which had been destroyed by him. The value of my sources lies in the fact that it is the criminals themselves who speak of their own crimes. I know that on the communist side there are many apologists. I took the communists at their word, so let us allow them to defend themselves independently.
The Road to Happiness
We are the Party of the class which is on the way to the conquest of the world.
FRUNZE (Report to the military delegates sent to the XI Congress of the RKP (b) (1922))
Marx and Engels foretold a world war and lengthy international conflicts which would last ‘fifteen, twenty, fifty years’. The prospect did not frighten them. The authors of The Communist Manifesto did not call on the proletariat to prevent war; on the contrary, they saw it as desirable. War was mother to the revolution. The result of a world war, in Engels’ words, would be ‘general exhaustion and the creation of conditions for the final victory of the working class’. (Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Works, Ch. 21, p. 351)
Marx and Engels did not live to see the world war, but a successor in their cause was found for them in Lenin. From the earliest days of the First World War, Lenin’s party came out in favour of the government of their own country being defeated, so that the ‘imperialist war might be changed into a civil war’. Lenin calculated that left-wing parties in other countries would also come out against the governments of their own countries and the imperialist world war would be transmuted into a world civil war. This did not happen. Without abandoning hopes for a world revolution, as early as autumn 1914 Lenin adopted a minimum programme.
If world revolution were not to result from world war, everything possible had to be done to make a revolution happen in at least one country; it did not matter which one. ‘When the proletariat has conquered that country, it will stand against all the rest of the world,’ fomenting disorders and uprisings in other countries, ‘or coming out against them directly with armed force.’ (About the Slogan of the ‘ United States of Europe’)
For Lenin, as for Marx, world revolution remained the guiding star, and he did not lose sight of this goal. But according to the minimum programme, the First World War would only facilitate a revolution in one country. How, then, would the world revolution take place thereafter? Lenin gave a clear-cut answer to this question in 1916: as a result of the second imperialist war. (The Military Programme for the Proletarian Revolution}
Perhaps I am mistaken, but having read much of what Hitler wrote, I have certainly found no indications that in 1916 Adolf Schickelgruber was dreaming of the Second World War. But Lenin was. What is more, he was laying down the need for such a war as the theoretical base for the building of socialism throughout the world. Events developed apace. The revolution in Russia occurred the following year. Lenin hastened there from exile. In the maelstrom of confusion and a total absence of authority, he and his party, small but militarily organized, seized power in a coup d’etat.
In March 1918, he concluded the Brest-Litovsk peace agreement with Germany and its allies. At that time Germany’s position was already hopeless. Lenin of course understood this. The peace he signed therefore freed his hands to strengthen, through civil conflict, the communist dictatorship inside Russia, and gave Germany considerable resources and reserves to continue the war in the West, which was exhausting both Germany and the Western allies. By concluding a separate deal -with the enemy, Lenin betrayed Russia’s allies. But Lenin also betrayed Russia itself.
At the beginning of 1918, the victory of France, Britain, Russia, the United States and other countries over Germany and its allies was already inevitable. Russia had lost millions of soldiers and was fully entitled to be numbered among the victors, alongside her western allies. But Lenin did not need such a victory. He needed world revolution. Lenin recognized that the Brest-Litovsk peace had been concluded not in the interests of Russia, but in the interests of world revolution, in the interests of establishing communism in Russia and other countries.
Lenin admitted that he had placed worldwide dictatorship of the proletariat and world revolution ‘above all national sacrifices’. (Central Committee report on the VIII Congress of the RKP (b) (1919)) He even gave away to Germany, without a fight, a million square kilometres of the most fertile lands and the richest industrial regions of Russia’s western territories, and paid out a war indemnity in gold. Why?
The reason is that the Brest-Litovsk ‘peace’ rendered millions of Russian soldiers unnecessary. No longer under the control of any authority, these millions went back to their homes, breaking the foundations of the state system and the newly born democracy on the way. Brest-Litovsk marked the beginning of the ferocious civil war; while brother fought brother, the communists strengthened and extended their power until, after a few years, the entire country was under their control.
Brest-Litovsk was directed not only against the national interests of Russia, but against Germany as well, and in both its sense and spirit it served as a prototype of the Molotov— Ribbentrop pact. Lenin’s calculation in 1918 was exactly the same as Stalin’s in 1939. Let Germany fight in the West, let Germany and the Western allies exhaust themselves one after the other to the greatest extent possible; we ourselves shall help Germany at any price to exhaust herself to the very limit, and then act. While the peace agreement with Germany was being signed on Lenin’s orders in Brest-Litovsk, intensive work was being undertaken in Petrograd to prepare the overthrow of the German Government.
At that time, the communist German-language newspaper, Die Fackel, with a circulation of 500,000, was being published in Petrograd. SPARTAK, the German communist group, had been set up in Petrograd in January 1918, even before the Brest-Litovsk agreement was signed. Two other newspapers, Die Weltrevolution and Die Rote Fahne, also saw the light of day, not in Germany, but in communist Russia, again on the orders of Lenin who had signed the ‘peace’ with Germany. In the twenties, communism was striking deep roots in Germany. Indeed, Lenin set his hand to this precisely at the time when Germany was losing the war in the West and he had
extracted a ‘peace’ agreement from her at her most vulnerable.
Lenin’s calculation was exact. The German Empire would not be able to withstand the colossal pressure of a war of attrition; in fact it led to the downfall of the empire – and revolution. Lenin immediately annulled the treaty. Communist states strikingly similar to Lenin’s Bolshevik regime arose from the ruins of empires in war-torn Europe. ‘We are on the threshold of world revolution!’ Lenin exulted. He then threw away his minimum programme. He no longer spoke of the need for a Second World War, as he now believed that world revolution could be accomplished as a result of the First.
Lenin set up the Comintern to be, in the definition of its own name, the world communist party, and gave it the objective of setting up a world Soviet socialist republic. But world revolution did not follow. Communist regimes in Bavaria, Bremen, Slovakia and Hungary proved to be weak and unviable. When it came to seizing and wielding power, left-wing parties in Western countries displayed fickleness and vacillation, and Lenin could only give them moral support. The entire might of the Bolsheviks was thrown on to the home fronts and into the battle against the peoples of Russia who did not want communism.
It took Lenin until 1920 to strengthen his position sufficiently inside Russia. It was only then that Europe became the arena targeted for revolution. The favourable moment in Germany had already passed. Even so, Germany in 1920 represented an eminently suitable field for waging class battles. She had been destroyed and humbled. All her ideals had been desecrated and humiliated. A ferocious economic crisis raged throughout the land. In March, she was shaken by a general strike in which, according to some sources, more than twelve million people took part.
Germany was a powder keg and only one spark was needed to set it off. The official march of the Red Army (Budennyi’s March1) includes the words ‘Let’s take Warsaw! Then Berlin!’ Nikolai Bukharin, the Soviet communists’ theoretician, proclaimed a more determined slogan in the
newspaper, Pravda: ‘Straight to the walls of Paris and London!’
In the path of the Red legions, however, lay Poland. There was no common frontier between the Soviet Union and Germany; in order to ignite revolution it was essential to destroy the barrier dividing them. Thiswas free, independent Poland. Unfortunately for the communists, at the head of the Soviet troops was M. N. Tukhachevsky, a commander who did not understand the essence of strategy. Tukhachevsky’s armies were defeated before reaching Warsaw and shamefully retreated.
At a critical moment, Tukhachevsky found himself without any strategic reserve and this ensured that the outcome was a spectacular defeat. Tukhachevsky’s defeat did not happen by chance. Six months before the Soviet ‘liberation campaign’ set out for Warsaw and Berlin, Tukhachevsky had laid down, as a ‘theoretical base’, that strategic reserves were unnecessary in war.
Strategy has simple but inexorable laws. Its main principle is concentration. At the decisive moment and in the decisive place, overwhelming power must be concentrated against the enemy’s most vulnerable point. In order to concentrate power in this way, it is necessary to have it in reserve.
1 *Onginally, the song was dedicated to Simion Budennyi, legendary hero of the civil war and later Marshal of the Soviet Union. Tukhachevsky, did not understand this, and paid the price. As a result, the revolution in Germany had to be put off until 1923. The rout of Tukhachevsky’s hordes in Poland had very unpleasant consequences for the Bolsheviks. Russia suddenly rose up in a desperate effort to throw off the communist dictatorship. The workers, of Petrograd, the cradle of the revolution, went on strike; they demanded bread, they demanded their promised liberty.
The Bolsheviks put down their demonstrations, but a squadron of the Baltic Fleet came out on their side. The sailors from Kronstadt (the principal Soviet naval base, near Petrograd), the same ones who presented power to Lenin and Trotsky, demanded that the communists be thrown out of the Soviets, or councils. A wave of peasant demonstrations swept the country; and in the woods of Tambov, a group of peasants formed an anticommunist army which was powerful and well organized, but badly armed.
Tukhachevsky’s brutality at Kronstadt became legendary. The monstrous shooting of peasants in Tambov Province is one! of the most horrifying pages in history. The author of this page! is Tukhachevsky. The twentieth century has known quite a few villains such as Yezhov, Himmler and Pol Pot. By the amount of blood he has spilt, Tukhachevsky has fully earned his place alongside them, for in his time Tukhachevsky was the forerunner of most of these scoundrels!
In 1921 Lenin introduced the New Economic Policy, or NEP.! There was nothing new in this plan, which boiled down to little! more than good old capitalism. It is accepted that Kronstadt and Tambov were important reasons impelling Lenin to introduce elements of free-marketeering and to loosen the ideological running knot on the neck of society. One must seek more deep for other reasons.
In 1921 Lenin understood that the First World War had not led to world revolution. According to Trotsky’s advice, it was, necessary to go over to permanent revolution, dealing blow after blow at the weak links in free society and, at the same time, prepare for the Second World War, which would bring final ‘liberation’. Before the actual introduction of the NEP in December 1920, Lenin claimed that ‘such a new war is unavoidable . . .’
(A speech to the Moscow Council on the first anniversary of the Comintern, 1920) ‘We have ended one phase of wars and we must prepare ourselves for the next.’ (A speech to the VIII Congress of the Soviets, 1920) For this purpose NEP was introduced. Peace is a breathing space for war. So says Lenin, so said Stalin and so said Pravda. The communists had put their lands in order to strengthen and consolidate power, develop an exceptionally strong war industry, and to prepare the populace for future wars, battles and ‘liberation campaigns’.
The introduction of elements of free-marketeering in no way signified that preparations for world revolution and the Second World War had been repudiated. By the following year the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics- the USSR – had been formed. The declaration that accompanied the formation of the USSR itemized four republics; it was intended to go on increasing this number until the whole world formed part of it.
The declaration accompanying the formation of the USSR was a dear and direct declaration of war on the rest of the world.
This declaration is still in force. Nobody has revoked it. Between this declaration and that contained in Mein Kampf, there is a difference. Hitler wrote his book later and it represents the view of one individual. Mein Kampf literally means my struggle. The declaration behind the formation of the USSR is an official document on the principal objective of a vast state, which is to destroy and subjugate all other statesin the world.