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Stalin and the Nazi war of annihilation

When referring to the Second World War, it is important to remember that there were several wars, not one. The war led by the Anglo-American and French imperialists against their German counterpart had little in common with the national anti-fascist war led by the Soviet Union. During its struggle against the Hitlerian  invasion, the French ruling class did not and could not mobilize and arm the working masses in a fight to the death against Nazism. After the defeat of his troops, Pétain,  French World War I hero, signed the act of capitulation and became a major collaborator. Almost en masse, the French big bourgeoisie followed Hitler,  trying to make the most of the German New Order. The war in the West was more or less a `civilized' war between `civilized' bourgeois.

Nothing of the kind took place in the Soviet Union. The Soviet people faced a completely different war; one of Stalin's merits is to have understood this in time and to have prepared appropriately.

Before Operation Barbarossa began, Hitler  had already announced what was to occur. In his Journal, General Halder  took notes of a speech given by Hitler  to his generals on March 30, 1941. The führer spoke of the upcoming war with the Soviet Union:

`Battle between two ideologies. Damning judgment of Bolshevism: it is an asocial crime. Communism is a frightening danger for the future .... It is a battle of annihilation. If we do not see things in this manner, we will still beat the enemy, but in thirty years, the Communist enemy will oppose us once more. We are not waging war to maintain our enemy ....

`Battle against Russia: destruction of Bolshevik commissars and of the Communist intelligentsia.'

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Jacobsen,  op. cit. , pp. 119--120.

Note that discussion refers to a `final solution', but not against the Jews. The first promises of a `war of annihilation' and of `physical destruction' were addressed to the Communists. And, sure enough, the Bolsheviks, the Soviets, were the first victims of mass extermination.

General Nagel  wrote in September 1941:

`Unlike the diet for other prisoners (i.e. British and U.S.) we are under no obligation to feed the Bolshevik prisoners'.

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Alan Clark,  La Guerre à l'Est (Paris: Robert Laffont, 1966), p. 250.

In the Auschwitz and Chemno extermination camps, `Soviet prisoners of war were the first, or among the first, to be deliberately killed by lethal injections and gassing.'

.

Arno Mayer,  Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? The ``Final Solution'' in History (New York: Pantheon Books, 1988), p. 349.

There were 3,289,000 Soviet prisoners of war, dead in the concentration camps, `while travelling' or under `various circumstances' ! When epidemics took place in the barracks of Soviet prisoners, Nazi guards only entered `with flame-throwing teams when, ``for hygiene reasons'', the dying and dead were burned along with their lice-ridden beds'. There can easily have been 5,000,000 assassinated prisoners, if we take into account the Soviet soldiers who were `simply killed on the spot' when they surrendered.

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Clark,  op. cit. , p. 251.

Therefore the first extermination campaigns, in fact the biggest, were against the Soviet peoples, including Soviet Jews. The peoples of the USSR suffered the most and endured the greatest number of dead (23 million), but they also showed utter determination and amazing heroism.

Until the invasion of the Soviet Union, there were no large massacres of Jewish populations. At the time, the Nazis had not encountered any serious resistance. But with their very first steps on Soviet soil, these noble Germans had to face adversaries who were fighting to the last man. Right in the first weeks, the Germans suffered important losses, against an inferior race, the Slavs, worse even, against Bolsheviks! The exterminating rage of the Nazis was born in their first massive losses. When the fascist beast started to bleed under the Red Army's blows, it dreamed up the `final solution' for the Soviet people.

On November 26, 1941, the German 30th Army Corps, occupying a large Soviet territory, ordered that be taken as hostages ` ``all individuals related to partisans''; ``all individuals suspected of being in contact with partisans''; ``all members of the party and the Komsomol, as well as party caretakers''; ``all former party members''; and ``all individuals who ocupied official positions before the arrival of German and Rumanian troops.'' These hostages were to be held ``in concentration camps.'' For every German or Rumanian soldier killed by a partisan, ten of these hostages were to be executed'.

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Mayer,  op. cit. , p. 251.

For each German soldier killed, the Nazis decided to execute at least ten hostages.

On December 1, 1942, during a discussion with Hitler  on the war against the Soviet partisans, General Jodl  summed up the German position as follows:

`In battle, our troops can do as they please: hang partisans, even hang them head down or quarter them.'

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Hitler  parle à ses généraux (Paris: Albin Michel, 1964), pp. 39--40.

The bestiality with which the Hitlerian  troops tracked down and liquidated all the Party members, all the partisans, all the Soviet State leaders, along with their families, allows us to better understand the importance of the Great Purge of 1937--1938. In the occupied territories, unreconcilable counter-revolutionaries who had not been liquidated in 1937--1938 went to work for the Hitlerites,  informing on all the Bolsheviks, their families and their friends in struggle.

As the war in the East became fiercer and fiercer, the Nazis' murderous folly against an entire people intensified. Himmler,  talking to SS leaders, spoke in June 1942:

`In what was a ``war of annihilation [Vernichtungskampf],'' two ``races and peoples'' were locked in ``unconditional'' combat; on the one side ``this brute matter, this mass, these primeval men, or better these subhumans [Untermenschen], led by commissars''; on the other, ``we Germans''.'

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Mayer,  op. cit. , p. 281.

An unprecedented, sanguinary terror: that was the weapon that the Nazis tried to use to force the Soviets into moral and political submission. Himmler  said:

`During the battles to seize Kharkov, our reputation of striking fear and sowing terror preceded us. It is an extraordinary weapon that should always be reinforced.'

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Heinrich Himmler,  Discours secrets (Paris: Gallimard, 1978), p. 191.

And the Nazis intensified that terror.

On August 23, 1942, precisely at 18:00, one thousand airplanes began to drop incendiary bombs on Stalingrad. In that city of 600,000 people, there were many wooden buildings, gas tanks and fuel tanks for industries. Yeryomenko,  who commanded the Stalingrad front, wrote:

`Stalingrad was drowned by the misty flames, surrounded by smoke and soot. The entire city was burning. Huge clouds of smoke and fire rose up above the factories. The oil reservoirs appeared to be volcanoes throwing up their lava. Hundreds of thousands of peacable inhabitants perished. One's heart got caught in one's throat in compassion for the innocent victims of the fascist victim.'

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Eremenko,  pp. 153--154.

One must have a clear view of these unbearable truths to understand certain aspects of what the bourgeoisie calls `Stalinism'. During the purge, unrepentant bureaucrats, defeatists and capitulationists were affected; many were sent to Siberia. A defeatist or capitulationist Party could never have mobilized and disciplined the population to face the Nazi terror. And the Soviet people did face it in the besieged cities, in Leningrad and Moscow. And even in the Stalingrad inferno, men and women survived, never surrendered and, finally, participated in the counter-offensive!

During the German aggression, in June 1941, General Pavlov,  commander of the Western Front, displayed grave incompetence and negligence. The result was the loss of Minsk, the Byelorussian capital, on June 28. Stalin recalled Pavlov  and his staff to Moscow. Zhukov  noted that `on a proposal of the Military Council of the Western Front', they were tried and shot.

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Zhukov,  op. cit. , p. 260.

Elleinstein  of course writes that `Stalin continued to terrorize his subordinates'.

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Elleinstein,  op. cit. , p. 283.

But, faced with Nazi barbarism, the Soviet leadership had to show an unflinching attitude and phenomenal endurance; any irresponsible act had to be punished with the utmost severity.

Once the fascist beast began to receive mortal wounds, it tried to take up courage by bathing in blood, by practicing genocide against the Soviet people who were under its talons.

Himmler  declared on December 16, 1943, in Weimar:

`When I was forced to give in a village the order to march against the Jewish partisans and commissars, I systematically gave the order to also kill the women and children of these partisans and these commissars. I would be a coward and a criminal with respect to our descendants if I allowed these hate-filled children of subhumans in the battle between human and subhuman. We always keep in mind that we are engaged in a primitive, natural and original racial battle.'

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Himmler,  op. cit. , p. 205.

In another speech on April 24, 1943, in Kharkov, the head of the SS said:

`By what means will we succeed in removing from Russia the greatest number of men, dead or alive? We will succeed by killing them, by making them prisoner, by making them really work and by giving back (certain territories) to the enemy only after having completely emptied them of inhabitants. Giving men back to Russia would be a great error.'

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Ibid. , p. 187.

This reality, of the unbelievable terror that the Nazis practiced in the Soviet Union, against the first socialist country, against the Communists, is almost systematically covered up or minimized in bourgeois litterature. This silence has a clear goal. Those who do not know of the monstrous crimes committed against the Soviets are more likely to believe that Stalin was a `dictator' comparable to Hitler.  The bourgeoisie covers up the real anti-Communist genocide to better publicize what it has in common with Nazism: the irrational hatred of Communism, the class hatred of socialism. And to better cover up the great genocide of the war, the bourgeoisie shines the light on another genocide, that of the Jews.

In a remarkable book, Arno J. Mayer,  whose father was left-Zionist, shows that the extermination of the Jews only began once the Nazis had, for the first time, suffered heavy losses. It was in June--July 1941, against the Red Army. The bestiality against the Communists, followed by the unexpected defeats that demolished the sentiment of invincibility of the Ubermenschen (Supermen), created the atmosphere that led to the Holocaust.

`The Judeocide was forged in the fires of a stupendous war to conquer unlimited Lebensraum from Russia, to crush the Soviet regime, and to liquidate international bolshevism .... Without Operation Barbarossa there would and could have been no Jewish catastrophe, no ``Final Solution''.'

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Mayer,  op. cit. , p. 234.

Once the Nazis had to face the defeats on the Russian front, they decided on a `global and final solution' of the `Jewish problem' during the Wannsee conference of January 20, 1942.

For years, the Nazis had put forward their hatred of `Judeo-Bolshevism', Bolshevism having been the worst invention of the Jews. The determined resistance of the Bolsheviks prevented the Hitlerians  from finishing off their principal enemy. So the latter turned their frustations on the Jews, whom they exterminated with blind fury.

Since the Jewish big bourgeoisie had been conciliatory to the Hitlerian  state, sometimes even collaborationist, most Jews handed themselves over to their executors. But the Communist Jews, who acted in an internationalist spirit, fought the Nazis and led some of the Jewish Left into resistance. The great majority of the poor Jews were gassed. But many rich Jews succeeded in escaping to the United States. After the war, they went to work for U.S. imperialism and its Middle East beachhead, Israel. They speak at length about the Jewish Holocaust, but in a pro-Israel light; at the same time, they freely voice their anti-Communism, thereby insulting the memory of those Communist Jews who really did fight the Nazis.

We conclude with a word on how Hitler  prepared the Nazis to indifferently massacre 23 million Soviet citizens. To transform his men into killing machines, he had to make them believe that a Bolshevik was subhuman, an animal.

`Hitler  warned his troops that the enemy forces were ``largely composed of beasts, not soldiers,'' conditioned to fight with animal-like ferocity.'

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Ibid. , p. 244.

In order to push the German troops to exterminate Communists, Hitler  told them that Stalin and the other Soviet leaders were `bloodstained criminals ... [who had] killed and rooted out millions of [Russia's] leading intelligentsia in a wild thirst for blood ... [and] exercised the most cruel tyranny of all times.'

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Ibid. , p. 106.

`(T)he bloody Jew and tyrant over the people ... killed (sometimes with inhuman tortures) or starved to death with truly fanatical savagery close to thirty million people.'

.

Ibid. , p. 101.

So, for Hitler,  the lie of `thirty million victims of Stalinism' served to psychologically prepare for Nazi barbarism and the genocide of Soviet Communists and partisans.

Note that Hitler  first blamed Lenin  for `thirty million victims'. This disgusting lie already appeared in 1926 in Mein Kampf, long before the collectivization and purge! Attacking Judeo-Bolshevism, Hitler  wrote:

`(The Jew) killed or starved about thirty million people with a truly diabolic ferocity, under inhuman tortures'.

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Adolf Hitler,  Mein Kampf (New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1941), pp. 450--451.

Half a century later, Brzezinski,  U.S. imperialism's official ideologue, took up these Nazi lies, word for word:

`(I)t is absolutely safe to estimate the number (of Stalin's victims) at no less than twenty million and perhaps as high as forty million'.

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Brzezinski,  op. cit. , p. 27.



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Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995