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V. Likhachev  was an officer in the Red Army in the Soviet Far East in 1937--1938. His book, Dal'nevostochnyi zagovor (Far-Eastern conspiracy), showed that there did in fact exist a large conspiracy within the army.


Getty,  op. cit. , p. 255, n. 84.

Journalist Alexander Werth  wrote in his book Moscow 41 a chapter entitled, `Trial of Tukhachevsky'.  He wrote:

`I am also pretty sure that the purge in the Red Army had a great deal to do with Stalin's belief in an imminent war with Germany. What did Tukhachevsky  stand for? People of the French Deuxieme Bureau told me long ago that Tukhachevsky  was pro-German. And the Czechs told me the extraordinary story of Tukhachevsky's  visit to Prague, when towards the end of the banquet --- he had got rather drunk --- he blurted out that an agreement with Hitler  was the only hope for both Czechoslovakia and Russia. And he then proceeded to abuse Stalin. The Czechs did not fail to report this to the Kremlin, and that was the end of Tukhachevsky  --- and of so many of his followers.'


Alexander Werth,  quoted in Harpal Brar, Perestroika: The Complete Collapse of Revisionism (London: Harpal Brar, 1992), p. 161.

The U.S. Ambassador Moscow, Joseph Davies,  wrote his impressions on on June 28 and July 4, 1937:

`(T)he best judgment seems to believe that in all probability there was a definite conspiracy in the making looking to a coup d'état by the army --- not necessarily anti-Stalin, but antipolitical and antiparty, and that Stalin struck with characteristic speed, boldness and strength.'


Joseph Davies,  op. cit. , p. 99.

`Had a fine talk with Litvinov.  I told him quite frankly the reactions in U.S. and western Europe to the purges; and to the executions of the Red Army generals; that it definitely was bad ....

`Litvinov  was very frank. He stated that they had to ``make sure'' through these purges that there was no treason left which could co-operate with Berlin or Tokyo; that someday the world would understand that what they had done was to protect the government from ``menacing treason.'' In fact, he said they were doing the whole world a service in protecting themselves against the menace of Hitler  and Nazi world domination, and thereby preserving the Soviet Union strong as a bulwark against the Nazi threat. That the world would appreciate what a very great man Stalin was.'


Ibid. , p. 103.

In 1937, Abdurakhman Avtorkhanov  was working for the Central Commitee   of the Bolshevik Party. A bourgeois nationalist, he had close ties to opposition leaders and with the Central Committee members from the Caucausus. In his book The Reign of Stalin, he regrets that Tukhachevsky  did not seize power in 1937. He claims that early in 1937, after his trip to England, Tukhachevsky  spoke to his superior officers as follows:

`The great thing about His Britannic Majesty's Army is that there could not be a Scotland Yard agent at its head (allusion to the rôle played by state security in the USSR). As for cobblers (allusion to Stalin's father), they belong in the supply depots, and they don't need a Party card. The British don't talk readily about patriotism, because it seems to them natural to be simply British. There is no political ``line'' in Britain, right, left or centre; there is just British policy, which every peer and worker, every conservative and member of the Labour Party, every officer and soldier, is equally zealous in serving .... The British soldier is completely ignorant of Party history and production figures, but on the other hand he knows the geography of the world as well as he knows his own barracks .... The King is loaded with honours, but he has no personal power .... Two qualities are called for in an officer --- courage and professional competence.'


Alexander Uralov  (Abdurakhman Avtorkhanov),  The Reign of Stalin (Westport, Conn.: Hyperion Press, p. 1975), p. 50.

Robert Coulondre  was the French Ambassador to Moscow in 1936--1938. In his memoirs, he recalled the Terror of the French Revolution that crushed the aristocrats in 1792 and prepared the French people for war against the reactionary European states. At the time, the enemies of the French Revolution, particularly England and Russia, had interpreted the revolutionary terror as a precursor of the disintegration of the régime. In fact, the opposite was true. The same thing, Coulondre  wrote, was taking place with the Soviet Revolution.

`Soon after Tukhachevsky's  arrest, the minister of Lithuania, who knew a number of Bolshevik leaders, told me that the marshal, upset by the brakes imposed by the Communist Party on the development of Russian military power, in particular of a sound organization of the army, had in fact become the head of a movement that wanted to strangle the Party and institute a military dictatorship ....

`My correspondence can testify that I gave the ``Soviet terror'' its correct interpretation. It should not be concluded, I constantly wrote, that the régime is falling apart or that the Russian forces are tiring. It is in fact the opposite, the crisis of a country that is growing too quickly.'


Robert Coulondre,  De Staline à Hitler:  Souvenirs de deux ambassades, 1936--1939 (Paris: Hachette, 1950), pp. 182--184.

Churchill  wrote in his memoirs that Benes  `had received an offer from Hitler  to respect in all circumstances the integrity of Czechoslovakia in return for a guarantee that she would remain neutral in the event of a Franco-German war.'

`In the autumn of 1936, a message from a high military source in Germany was conveyed to President Benes  to the effect that if he wanted to take advantage of the Fuehrer's offer, he had better be quick, because events would shortly take place in Russia rendering any help he could give to Germany insignificant.

`While Benes  was pondering over this disturbing hint, he became aware that communications were passing through the Soviet Embassy in Prague between important personages in Russia and the German Government. This was a part of the so-called military and Old-Guard Communist conspiracy to overthrow Stalin and introduce a new régime based on a pro-German policy. President Benes  lost no time in communicating all he could find out to Stalin. Thereafter there followed the merciless, but perhaps not needless, military and political purge in Soviet Russia ....

`The Russian Army was purged of its pro-German elements at a heavy cost to its military efficiency. The bias of the Soviet Government was turned in a marked manner against Germany .... The situation was, of course, thoroughly understood by Hitler;  but I am not aware that the British and French Governments were equally enlightened. To Mr.\ Chamberlain  and the British and French General Staffs the purge of 1937 presented itself mainly as a tearing to pieces internally of the Russian Army, and a picture of the Soviet Union as riven asunder by ferocious hatreds and vengeance.'


Winston S. Churchill,  The Second World War: The Gathering Storm (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1948), pp. 288--289.

The Trotskyist  Deutscher  rarely missed an opportunity to denigrate and slander Stalin. However, despite the fact that he claimed that there was only an `imaginary conspiracy' as basis for the Moscow trials, he did have this to say about Tukhachevsky's  execution:

`(A)ll the non-Stalinist versions concur in the following: the generals did indeed plan a coup d'état .... The main part of the coup was to be a palace revolt in the Kremlin, culminating in the assassination of Stalin. A decisive military operation outside the Kremlin, an assault on the headquarters of the G.P.U., was also prepared. Tukhachevsky  was the moving spirit of the conspiracy .... He was, indeed, the only man among all the military and civilian leaders of that time who showed in many respects a resemblance to the original Bonaparte  and could have played the Russian First Consul. The chief political commissar of the army, Gamarnik,  who later committed suicide, was initiated into the plot. General Yakir,  the commander of Leningrad, was to secure the co-operation of his garrison. Generals Uberovich, commander of the western military district, Kork,  commander of the Military Academy in Moscow, Primakow,  Budienny's  deputy in the command of the cavalry, and a few other generals were also in the plot.'


I. Deutscher,  Stalin: A Political Biography, second edition (London: Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 379.

Deutscher,  an important anti-Communist, even when he accepted the veracity of the Tukhachevsky  plot, made sure that he underlined the `good intentions' of those who wanted `to save the army and the country from the insane terror of the purges' and he assured his readers that Tukhachevsky  was in no way acting `in Germany's interest'.


Ibid. , p. x, n. 1.

The Nazi Léon Degrelle,  in a 1977 book, referred to Tukhachevsky  in the following terms:

`Who would have thought during the crimes of the Terror during the French Revolution that soon after a Bonaparte  would come out and raise France up from the abyss with an iron fist? A few years later, and Bonaparte  almost created the United Europe.

`A Russian Bonaparte  could also rise up. The young Marshal Tukhachevsky  executed by Stalin on Benes'  advice, was of the right stature in 1937.'


Louise Narvaez,  Degrelle m'a dit,  Postface by Degrelle  (Brussels: Éditions du Baucens, 1977), pp. 360--361.

On May 8, 1943, Göbbels  noted in his journal some comments made by Hitler.  They show that the Nazis perfectly understood the importance of taking advantage of opposition and defeatist currents within the Red Army.

`The Führer explained one more time the Tukhachevsky  case and stated that we erred completely at the time when we thought that Stalin had ruined the Red Army. The opposite is true: Stalin got rid of all the opposition circles within the army and thereby succeeded in making sure that there would no longer be any defeatist currents within that army ....

`With respect to us, Stalin also has the advantage of not having any social opposition, since Bolshevism has eliminated it through the purges of the last twenty-five years .... Bolshevism has eliminated this danger in time and can henceforth focus all of its strength on its enemy.'


J. Göbbels,  Tagebücher aus den Jahren 1942--1943, (Zurich, 1948), p. 322. Quoted in Hans-Adolf Jacobsen,  La seconde guerre mondiale: caractères fondamentaux de la politique et de la stratégie, vol. 1, pp. 213--214.

We also present Molotov's  opinion. Apart from Kaganovich,  Molotov  was the only member of the Politburo in 1953 who never renounced his revolutionary past. During the 1980s, he recalled the situation in 1937, when the Purge started:

`An atmosphere of extreme tension reigned during this period; it was necessary to act without mercy. I think that it was justified. If Tukhachevsky,  Yakir,  Rykov  and Zinoviev  had started up their opposition in wartime, there would have been an extremely difficult struggle; the number of victims would have been colossal. Colossal. The two sides would have been condemned to disaster. They had links that went right up to Hitler.  That far. Trotsky  had similar links, without doubt. Hitler  was an adventurist, as was Trotsky,  they had traits in common. And the rightists, Bukharin  and Rykov,  had links with them. And, of course, many of the military leaders.'


F. Chueva,  Sto sorok besed s MOLOTOVYM  (One hundred forty conversations with Molotov)  (Moscow: Terra, 1991), p. 413.

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Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995