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Soviet Information Bureau, Moscow
(The Soviet Information Bureau (Sovinformburo) was created on the third day of the war, on June 24, 1941, by a directive of the Soviet Council of People’s Commissioners and the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party “to bring into the limelight international events, military developments, and day-to-day life through printed and broadcast media.)
The Creation of an "Eastern" Front, Germany's Attack Upon the USSR; The Anti-Hitler Coalition and the Question of Inter Allied Obligations
When concluding the pact of non-aggression with Germany in August, 1939, the Soviet Union did not doubt for a moment that sooner or later Hitler would attack it. This certainty was based on the fundamental political and military policies of the Hitlerites. It was borne out by the practical activities of the Hitler Government throughout the prewar period.
That was why the first task of the Soviet Government was to create an "Eastern" front against Hitler's aggression, to build up a defense line along the western frontiers of the Byelorussian and Ukrainian Republics and thus to set up a barrier to prevent an unhindered advance of the German troops eastward. To do this it was necessary to reunite Western Byelorussia and Western Ukraine which the Poland of the gentry had seized in 1920, with Soviet Byelorussia and the Soviet Ukraine, and to move Soviet troops there. This matter brooked no delay as the poorly equipped Polish troops proved to be unstable, the Polish command and the Polish Government were already in full flight, and Hitler's troops, meeting no serious obstacles, could occupy the Byelorussian and Ukrainian territories before Soviet troops got there.
On September 17, 1939, the Soviet troops, at the order of the Soviet Government, crossed the prewar Soviet-Polish border, occupied Western Byelorussia and Western Ukraine and proceeded to build defenses there along the western line of the Ukrainian and Byelorussian territories. In the main, it was the line which is known in history as the "Curzon Line" established at the Versailles Conference of the Allies.
A few days later the Soviet Government signed pacts of mutual assistance with the Baltic States, providing for the stationing of Soviet Army garrisons on the territory of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the organization of Soviet airfields and the building of naval bases there.
Thus, the foundation was laid for the "Eastern" front.
It was not hard to see that the creation of an “Eastern" front was an important contribution not only to the organization of the security of the USSR but to the common cause of the peace-loving states that were fighting against Hitler's aggression. Nevertheless, the answer of Anglo-Franco-American circles, in their overwhelming majority, to this step of the Soviet Government was to start a malicious anti-Soviet campaign, describing the Soviet action as aggression.
There were some political leaders, however, sufficiently discerning to understand the meaning of the Soviet policy and to admit that it was the right thing to create an "Eastern" front. First among them was Mr. Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, who in his radio speech on October 1, 1939, after a number of unfriendly sallies against the Soviet Union, stated:"That the Russian armies should stand on this line was clearly necessary for the safety of Russia against the Nazi menace. At any rate, the line is there and an Eastern front has been created which Nazi Germany does not dare assail. When Herr von Ribbentrop was summoned to Moscow last week, it was to learn the fact and to accept the fact that the Nazi designs upon the. Baltic States and upon the Ukraine must come to a dead stop."While the situation with regard to the security of the USSR was more or less satisfactory on the western frontiers, at a considerable distance from Moscow, Minsk, and Kiev, the same could not be said about the northern frontier of the USSR. Here, at a distance of some 32 kilometers from Leningrad, stood Finnish troops, the majority of whose commanding officers oriented themselves toward Hitler Germany. The Soviet Government was well aware of the fact that the fascist elements among the ruling circles of Finland, who were closely connected with the Hitlerites and who wielded strong influence in. the Finnish Army, were striving to capture Leningrad. The fact that Halder, the Chief of the General Staff of Hitler's Army, arrived in the summer of 1939 in Finland to instruct the highest leaders of the Finnish Army, could not be regarded as a mere accident. There could hardly be any doubt that the leading circles of Finland were in league with the Hitlerites, that they wanted to turn Finland into a springboard for Hitler Germany's attack upon the USSR.
It is therefore not surprising that all the attempts of the USSR to find a common language with the Finnish Government with a view to improving relations between the two countries remained futile.
The Government of Finland declined, one after another, all the friendly proposals of the Soviet Government, the purpose of which was to guarantee the security of the USSR, particularly of Leningrad – and this in spite of the fact that the Soviet Union was willing to meet Finland halfway and to satisfy her legitimate interests.
The Finnish Government declined the proposal of the USSR to move the Finnish border on the Karelian Isthmus a few dozen kilometers, although the Soviet Government was willing to compensate Finland with an area twice as large in Soviet Karelia.
The Finnish Government also declined the proposal of the USSR to conclude a pact of mutual assistance, thereby demonstrating that the security of the USSR from the direction of Finland remained unguaranteed.
By these and similar hostile actions and provocations on the Soviet-Finnish border, Finland unleashed the war against the Soviet Union.
The results of the Soviet-Finnish War are known. The frontiers of the USSR in the northwest and particularly .in the Leningrad area were shifted further away and the security of the USSR was strengthened. This played an important part in the defense of the Soviet Union against Hitler's aggression, inasmuch as Hitler Germany and her Finnish accomplices had to begin their offensive in the northwest of the USSR, not in close proximity to Leningrad, but from a line nearly 150 kilometers to the northwest of it.
In his speech at the session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR on March 29, 1940, V. M. Molotov said:"...the Soviet Union having smashed the Finnish Army and having had every opportunity to occupy the whole of Finland did not do so and did not demand any indemnities for her war expenditure, as any other Power would have done, but confined her demands to a minimum.
“...We pursued no other object in the Peace Treaty than that of safeguarding the security of Leningrad, Murmansk, and the Murmansk Railway."It should be noted that although by their whole policy with regard to the USSR the Finnish ruling circles played into the hands of Hitler Germany, the Anglo-French bosses of the League of Nations immediately took the side of the Finnish Government, declared through the League of Nations that the USSR was the "aggressor" and thereby openly approved and supported the war which the Finnish rulers had started against the Soviet Union. At the bidding of its Anglo-French bosses, the League of Nations, which had disgraced itself by its connivance with and encouragement of the Japanese and German-Italian aggressors, obediently passed a resolution against the Soviet Union and demonstratively "expelled" the latter from its midst.
But matters did not end there. In the war which the Finnish reactionaries started against the Soviet Union, Britain and France rendered the Finnish militarists every kind of assistance. The Anglo-French ruling circles kept inciting the Finnish Government to continue hostilities.
The British and French rulers systematically supplied Finland with arms, and made energetic preparations to dispatch to Finland an expeditionary corps a hundred thousand strong.
In the three months that had passed since the beginning of the war, Britain, according to a statement made by Chamberlain in the House of Commons on March 19, 1940, delivered to Finland 101 airplanes, over 200 artillery pieces, hundreds of thousands of shells, aerial bombs and anti-tank mines. At the same time Daladier reported to the Chamber of Deputies that France had sent to Finland 175 airplanes, about 500 artillery pieces, over 5,000 machine guns, 1,000,000 shells and hand grenades and various other arms.
An exhaustive idea of the plans of the British and French Governments at that time may be obtained from a memorandum handed by the British to the Swedes on March 2, 1940, which read:“The Allied Governments understand that the military position of Finland is becoming desperate. After carefully considering all the possibilities, they have reached the conclusion that the only means by which they can render effective help to Finland is by the dispatch of an Allied force, and they are prepared to send such a force in response to a Finnish appeal."3232 Note of me British Legation, dated March 2, 1940. (From the "White Paper" of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.) Stockholm, 1947, p. 120.
At that time, as Chamberlain stated in the House of Commons on March 19,"Preparations for the expedition were carried on with all rapidity and at the beginning of March the expedition was ready to leave.... two months before Mannerheim had asked for it to arrive."Chamberlain added that this force reached 100,000 men in strength.
At the same time, the French Government was preparing an expeditionary corps of 50,000 men – the first of a series – to be sent to Finland via Narvik.
The British and French rulers were engaged in these bellicose activities at a time when Britain and France were absolutely inactive on the front against Hitler Germany, at the time of "the phony war," as it was called.
But the military assistance to Finland against the Soviet Union was only part of a broader scheme of the British and French imperialists.
The above-mentioned "White Paper" of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs contains a document penned by the Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Guenther. In this document we read that:"The dispatch of this force was part of the general plan of an attack upon the Soviet Union" and that beginning March 15, this plan "will be put into effect against Baku and still earlier through Finland."3333 Gunther's notes, March 2, 1940, the “White Paper" of the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Stockholm, 1947, p. 119.
Henri de Kerillis, in his book, De Gaulle, Dictateur, wrote the following about that plan:"According to this plan, the main features of which were explained to me by Paul Reynaud34 in a letter which is in my possession, the motorized expeditionary corps, after landing in Finland through Norway, would quickly disperse Russia's disorganized hordes and would march on Leningrad..."3534 Then a member of the French Government.
35 Henri de Kerillis, De Gaulle, Dictateur. Montreal, Edition Beauchemin, 1945, pp. 363-364.
In France this plan was drawn up by De Gaulle and General Weygand, who was then in command of the French troops in Syria, and who boasted that"with certain reinforcements and 200 airplanes he would seize the Caucasus and enter into Russia as a knife enters into butter."It is also known that in 1940 the French General Gamelin worked out a plan for military operations to be conducted by the British and French against the USSR, in which special attention was given to bombing Baku and Batumi.The preparations of the British and French rulers for an attack upon the USSR went on full blast. The General Staffs of Britain and France were diligently drawing up plans for such an attack: Instead of waging war against Hitler Germany, these gentlemen wanted to start war against the Soviet Union.
But those plans were not fated to materialize. At this time Finland was defeated by the Soviet troops and was forced to surrender, in spite of all the efforts of Britain and France to prevent her capitulation.On March 12, 1940, the Soviet-Finnish Peace Treaty was signed.
Thus the defense of the USSR against Hitlerite aggression was strengthened also in the north, in the Leningrad area, where the defense line was shifted to a distance of 150 kilometers north of Leningrad with Vyborg included.
But this did not yet mean that the formation of an "Eastern" front from the Baltic to the Black Sea had been completed. Pacts had been concluded with the Baltic States, but there were as yet no Soviet troops there capable of holding the defenses. Moldavia and Bukovina had formally been reunited with the USSR, but there too, there were still no Soviet troops capable of holding the defenses. In the middle of June, 1940, Soviet troops entered Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. On June 27, 1940, Soviet troops entered Bukovina and Moldavia. The latter had been severed by Romania from the USSR after the October Revolution.
Thus the formation of an "Eastern" front against Hitlerite aggression from the Baltic to the Black Sea was completed.
The British and French ruling circles, which went on abusing the USSR and calling it an aggressor for creating an "Eastern" front, evidently did not realize that the appearance of an "Eastern" front signified a radical turn In the development of the war – a turn against Hitlerite tyranny, a turn in favor of a victory for democracy.They did not realize that it was not a question of infringing or not infringing upon the national rights of Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, but that the point was to organize victory over the Nazis in order to prevent the conversion of those countries into disfranchised colonies of Hitler Germany.
They did not realize that the point was to build up a barrier against the advance of the German troops wherever that was possible, to organize a strong defence and then to launch a counter-offensive, smash the Hitlerite troops and thereby create the opportunity for the free development of those countries.
They did not realize that there existed no other way to defeat Hitler's aggression.
Was the British Government right when it stationed its troops in Egypt during the war, in spite of the protests of the Egyptians and even resistance on the part of certain elements in Egypt? Unquestionably it was right. That was a highly important means of barring the way to Hitler's aggression toward the Suez Canal, of safeguarding Egypt against Hitler's attempts, of organizing victory over Hitler, and thus averting the conversion of Egypt into a colony of Hitler Germany. Only enemies of democracy or people who have lost their senses can assert that the action of the British Government in that case constituted aggression.Was the United States Government right when it landed its troops at Casablanca in spite of the protests of the Moroccans and of direct military counteraction on the part of the Petain Government of France whose authority extended to Morocco? Unquestionably it was right. That was a highly important means of creating a base to counteract German aggression in immediate proximity to Western Europe, of organizing victory over Hitler's troops and thus creating the opportunity for liberating France from Hitler's colonial oppression. Only enemies of democracy or people who have lost their senses could regard these actions of American troops as aggression.
But then the same must be said about the actions of the Soviet Government which by the summer of 1940 organized an "Eastern" front against Hitlerite aggression and stationed its troops as far west as possible from Leningrad, Moscow, and Kiev. That was the only means of barring the way of an unhindered advance of the German troops eastward, of building up strong defenses and then launching a counteroffensive in order to smash, jointly with the Allies, Hitler's Army and thus prevent the conversion of peace-loving countries of Europe, among them Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland into colonies of Hitler Germany. Only enemies of democracy or people who have lost their senses could describe those actions of the Soviet Government as aggression.
But it follows from this that Chamberlain, Daladier, and their entourage, who described this policy of the Soviet Government as aggression and organized the expulsion of the Soviet Union from the League of Nations, acted as enemies of democracy or as people who had lost their senses.
From this it follows, further, that the present-day slanderers and falsifiers of history who work in company with Messrs. Bevin and Bidault and describe the creation of an "Eastern" front against Hitler as aggression are also acting as enemies of democracy or as people who have lost their senses.What would have happened if, prior to Germany's attack, the USSR had not created an “Eastern" front far to the west of the old frontiers of the USSR, if that front had not been on the 1ine Vyborg-Kaunas-Byelostok-Brest-Lvov, but had followed the old frontier – Leningrad-Narva-Minsk-Kiev?
That would have given Hitler's forces an opportunity to win hundreds of kilometers, bringing the German front some two to three hundred kilometers nearer to Leningrad-Moscow-Minsk-Kiev, greatly accelerating the Germans' advance into the interior of the USSR, hastening the fall of Kiev and the Ukraine, leading to the capture of Moscow by the Germans and to the capture of Leningrad by the combined German and Finnish forces, and compelling the USSR to pass tothe defensive for a long time, which would have enabled the Germans to release some fifty divisions in the east for a landing on the British Isles and for reinforcing the German-Italian front in the area of Egypt. Most likely the British Government would then have had to evacuate to Canada, while Egypt and the Suez Canal would have fallen under Hider's sway.
But that is not all. The USSR would have been compelled to transfer a large part of its troops from the Manchurian border to the "Eastern" front to strengthen its defenses, and that would have enabled the Japanese to release some thirty divisions in Manchuria and to send them against China, against the Philippines, against southeastern Asia in general, and in the final analysis against the American armed forces in the Far East.
As a result of all that, the war would have dragged on at least for two more years. The Second World War would then have ended, not in 1945, but in 1947 or somewhat later.
That was how matters stood with regard to the question of an "Eastern" front.
Meanwhile, events in the West took their course. In April, 1940, the Germans occupied Denmark and Norway. In the middle of May, German troops invaded Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg. On May 21, the Germans reached the Channel and cut off the Allies in Flanders. Toward the end of May, the British troops evacuated Dunkirk, withdrawing from France to England. In the middle of June, Paris fell. On June 22, France surrendered to Germany.
Thus, Hitler trampled on all and sundry declarations of non-aggression issued jointly with France and Britain.
It meant the utter fiasco of the policy of appeasement, of the policy of renouncing collective security, of the policy of isolating the USSR.
It became clear that, by isolating the USSR, France and Britain had broken up the united front of the freedom-loving countries, had weakened themselves, and had placed themselves in isolation.
On March 1, 1941, the Germans occupied Bulgaria.
On April 5, the USSR signed a pact of non-aggression with Yugoslavia.
On June 22 of that year Germany attacked the USSR. Italy, Romania, Hungary, and Finland joined Germany in the war against the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union joined the war of liberation against Hitler Germany.
Different circles in Europe and America took different attitudes toward this event.
The nations enslaved by Hitler breathed a sigh of relief, as they were certain that Hitler was bound to break his neck between the two fronts, the Western and the "Eastern".
The ruling circles of France were full of malicious glee as they did not doubt that "Russia would be smashed" in practically no time.A prominent member of the Senate of the United States of America who is now President of the United States, Mr. Truman, stated on the day after Germany's attack upon the USSR:"If we see that Germany is winning the war we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and in that way let them kill as many as possible.”3636 New York Times, June 24, 1941.
A similar statement was made in 1941 in Great Britain by the then Minister of Aircraft Production, Moore-Brabazon, who said that so far as Britain was concerned, the best outcome of the struggle on the Eastern front would be the mutual exhaustion of Germany and the USSR, as a result of which Britain would be enabled to attain a position of dominance.
These statements undoubtedly expressed the position of reactionary circles in the United States and Great Britain.
However, the overwhelming majority of the British and American people favored the USSR, demanding unity with the Soviet Union for a successful struggle against Hitler Germany.
It is to be believed that the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. Churchill, reflected these sentiments when he said on June 22, 1941 that:"The Russian danger is therefore our danger and the danger of the United States, just as the cause of any Russian fighting for his hearth and home is the cause of free men and free peoples in every quarter of the globe."A similar position with regard to the USSR was taken by the Roosevelt Administration in the United States of America.
A beginning was thus laid for an Anglo-Soviet-American coalition against Hitler Germany.
The anti-Hitler coalition set itself the aim of smashing the Hitler regime and liberating the nations enslaved by Hitler Germany. Despite differences in the ideologies and economic systems of the Allied states, the Anglo-Soviet-American coalition became a mighty alliance of nations which merged their efforts in the liberation struggle against Hitlerism.Of course, there were differences among the Allies on certain questions during the war too. It is well known, for example, how significant were the differences on such major questions as the opening of a second front, the obligations of the Allies, their moral duty toward each other.
Seizing upon these differences, the falsifiers of history and all sorts of calumniators are endeavoring to "prove", contrary to obvious facts, that the USSR was not, and could not be, a loyal and sincere ally in the struggle against Hitlerite aggression. But since the joint struggle against Hitler Germany and the behavior of the USSR in that struggle provide no material for such an accusation, they turn to the past, to the prewar period, asserting that during the "negotiations" with Hitler in Berlin in 1940, the representatives oŁ the Soviet Union behaved in a perfidious manner, not as allies should behave.
They assert that during the Berlin "negotiations" perfidious "plans for the partitioning of Europe", territorial claims of the Soviet Union "southward from the Soviet Union toward the Indian Ocean", "plans" concerning Turkey, Iran, Bulgaria and other "problems" were discussed and agreed upon. For this purpose the slanderers make use of reports of German ambassadors and other Hitlerite officials, all sorts of memoranda and German drafts of some sort of "protocols" and other similar "documents".What actually happened in Berlin? It must be said that the so-called "Berlin negotiations" in 1940 actually amounted to nothing more than V. M. Molotov's return visit to two visits paid by Ribbentrop to Moscow. The talks which took place concerned, mainly, Soviet-German relations. Hitler tried to turn them into the basis for a broad agreement between the German and Soviet parties. The Soviet side, on the contrary, used them to sound out, to probe the position of the German side without having any intention of concluding any agreement with the Germans. In the course of these talks, Hitler maintained that the Soviet Union ought to acquire an outlet to the Persian Gulf by occupying western Iran and the British oil fields in Iran. He said, further, that Germany could help the Soviet Union to settle the matter in regard to its claims on Turkey, including the amendment of the Montreux Treaty on the Straits; and while completely ignoring the interests of Iran, he carefully protected the interests of Turkey, obviously regarding the latter country as his present, or at any rate, his future ally. As far as the Balkan countries and Turkey were concerned, Hitler regarded them as a sphere of influence of Germany and Italy.
The Soviet Government drew the following conclusions from these talks: Germany did not value her connections with Iran; Germany was not connected and did not intend to establish connections with Britain, which meant that the Soviet Union might find a reliable ally in Britain against Hitler Germany; the Balkan States had either been already bought over and converted into Germany's satellites [Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary], had been enslaved like Czechoslovakia, or were on the way to being enslaved like Greece; Yugoslavia was the only Balkan country that could be relied upon as a future ally of the anti-Hitler camp; Turkey was already either bound by close ties to Hitler Germany or intended to form such ties.
Having drawn these useful conclusions, the Soviet Government never again resumed any talks on these questions despite Ribbentrop's repeated reminders.
As can be seen, this was a case of sounding out, of probing the position of the Hitler Government by the Soviet Government, which did not and could not end in any sort of agreement.Is it permissible for peace-loving states to practice such a sounding out of an enemy's position? Unquestionably it is. It is not only permissible, but at times it is a direct political necessity. It is only necessary that such a sounding should take place with the knowledge and consent of allies, and that its results should be communicated to allies. At that time, however, the Soviet Union had no allies; it was isolated and unfortunately had nobody with whom to share the results of its sounding.
It should be said that a similar – although ill-smelling – sounding of the position of Hitler Germany was effected by representatives of Britain and the United States of America during the war, after the organization of the anti-Hitler coalition of Britain, the United States of America and the USSR. This is evident from documents captured by Soviet troops in Germany.
From these documents it can be seen that in the autumn of 1941 and also in 1942 and 1943, in Lisbon and in Switzerland, negotiations were carried on, behind the back of the USSR, between representatives of Britain and Germany, and later between representatives of the United States of America and Germany, on the subject of peace with Germany.
One of the documents – a supplement to a report by Weizsaecker, the German Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs – reviews the course of these negotiations in Lisbon in September 1941. This document shows that on September 13, there was a meeting between Aitken, the son of Lord Beaverbrook, an officer of the British Army and later a Member of Parliament, representing Britain, and Gustav von Koever, a Hungarian, who acted with the authority of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs; this can be seen from a letter addressed by Krauel, the German Consul General in Geneva, to Weizsaecker, the German Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
During the course of these negotiations Aitken posed the question directly: "Could not the coming winter and spring be used to discuss, behind the scenes, the possibilities of peace?"
Other documents tell of the negotiations which took place between representatives of the Governments of the United States of America and Germany in Switzerland in February, 1943. In these negotiations, the United States of America was represented by a special delegate of the United States Government, Allen Dulles (the brother of John Foster Dulles) who figured under the pseudonym of "Bull" and had "direct instructions and authority from the White House". His German opposite number was Prince M. Hohenloe, a man closely connected with the ruling circles of Hitler Germany, who acted as Hitler's representative under the assumed name of Pauls. The document containing a summary of these negotiations belonged to the German Security Service (SD).
As evident from this document, the conversation touched on important questions concerning Austria, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Romania, Hungary and – this is particularly important – the question of the conclusion of peace with Germany.
During the conversation, Dulles (Bull), stated that:"In future, a situation will never again be permitted to arise where nations like Germany would be compelled to resort to desperate experiments and heroism as a result of injustice and want. The German State must continue to exist as a factor of order and rehabilitation. The partition of Germany or the separation of Austria is out of the question."Concerning Poland, Dulles (Bull) stated:"...by extending Poland to the East and preserving Romania and a strong Hungary, the establishment of a cordon sanitaire against Bolshevism and Pan-Slavism must be supported."3737 The conversation Paul–Mr. Bull, from the documents of German Archives.
The record of the conversation further says that:"Mr. Bull more or less agrees to the political and industrial organization of Europe on the basis of large territories, on the assumption that a federated Greater Germany (similar to the United States of America) with the adjoining Danubian Confederation will constitute the best guarantee of order and rehabilitation in Central and Eastern Europe."3838 Ibid.Dulles (Bull) also stated that he fully recognized the claim of German industry to the leading role in Europe.
It must be noted that this sounding was effected by the British and Americans without the knowledge or consent of their ally, the Soviet Union, and that nothing was communicated to the Soviet Government concerning the results of it, even by way of subsequent information.
This could mean that the Governments of the United States of America and Great Britain had in this instance made an attempt to inaugurate negotiations with Hitler for a separate peace.
Clearly, such behavior on the part of the Governments of Britain and the United States of America can only be regarded as an infringement of the most elementary requirements in respect of their allied duty and allied obligations.
It therefore follows that the falsifiers of history, in accusing the USSR of "insincerity" are trying to shift the blame where it does not belong.
Beyond any doubt, the falsifiers of history and other slanderers know of these documents. If they conceal them from the public, if they keep silent concerning them in their campaign of slander against the USSR, it is because they fear historical truth like the plague.
As regards the differences of opinion concerning the opening of the Second Front, they reflected the different conceptions of the obligations of allies in respect to each other. Soviet people believe that if an ally is in trouble one should help him by all available means; that one should not treat an ally as a temporary fellow traveler, but as a friend; one should rejoice in his successes and in his growing strength. British and American representatives do not agree with this and consider such morality naive. They are guided by the notion that a strong ally is dangerous; that the strengthening of an ally is not in their interests; that it is better to have a weak ally than a strong one; and that if an ally nevertheless grows stronger, then measures should be adopted to weaken him.Everybody knows that in the Anglo-Soviet and the Soviet-American communiques of June, 1942, the British and Americans assumed the obligation of opening the Second Front in Europe as early as 1942. This was a solemn promise, a vow, if you will, which should have been fulfilled on time in order to make things easier for the Soviet forces, who, during the first period of the war, had borne the full brunt of resistance to German fascism. It is also well known, however, that this promise was not fulfilled either in 1942 or in 1943, despite the fact that the Soviet Government declared on several occasions that the Soviet Union could not reconcile itself to the postponement of the Second Front.
There was nothing fortuitous about the policy of postponing the opening of the Second Front. It was fostered by the aspirations of those reactionary circles in Britain and the United States of America who pursued their own aims in the war against Germany, aims that had nothing in common with the aims of a war of liberation against German fascism. Their plans did not call for the utter defeat of German fascism. They were interested in undermining Germany's power and, mainly, in eliminating Germany as a dangerous competitor on the world market, in conformity with their narrow, selfish aims. They did not, however, at all intend to liberate Germany and other countries from the rule of reactionary forces which are the constant source of imperialist aggression and of fascism, or to carry out fundamental democratic reforms.
At the same time they calculated that the USSR would be weakened, bled white, that as a result of the exhausting war it would for a long period of time lose its importance as a great and mighty power and would, after the war, become dependent upon the United States of America and Great Britain.
The Soviet Union, naturally, cannot consider such an attitude toward an ally as normal.
Diametrically opposed to this policy is the policy pursued by the USSR in relations among the Allies. This policy is characterized by invariably unselfish, consistent and honest observance of its undertakings and by readiness to render, at any time, comradely assistance to its ally. During the past war, the Soviet Union set examples of such a truly allied attitude toward other countries, its comrades-in-arms in the struggle against the common enemy.
Here is one such fact.
It will be remembered that at the end of December, 1944, the Hitler troops launched an offensive in the Ardennes area on the Western front, broke through the front and placed the Anglo-American troops in a difficult position. According to the Allies, the Germans hoped, by attacking in the direction of Liege, to crush the First American Army, reach Antwerp, cut off the Ninth American, Second British, and First Canadian Armies, and arrange a second Dunkirk for the Allies in order to put Britain out of the war.
In connection with this, on January 6, 1945, Winston Churchill addressed to J. V. Stalin the following message:"The fighting in the West is very heavy and at any time great decisions may be called for from the Supreme Command. You know yourself from your own experience how very anxious the position is when a very broad front has to be defended after temporary loss of the initiative. It is General Eisenhower's great desire and need to know in outline what you plan to do, as this obviously affects all his and our major decisions. Our envoy, Air Chief Marshal Tedder, was last night reported weather-bound in Cairo. His journey has been much delayed through no fault of yours. In case he has not reached you yet, I shall be grateful if you can tell me whether we can count on a major Russian offensive on the Vistula front, or elsewhere, during January, with any other points you may care to mention. I shall not pass this most secret information to anyone except Field Marshal Brooke and General Eisenhower, and only under conditions of the utmost secrecy. I regard the matter as urgent."On January 7, 1945, J. V. Stalin sent W. Churchill the following answer:"I received your message of January 6, 1945, on the evening of January 7."Unfortunately, Air Chief Marshal Tedder has not yet reached Moscow."It is very important to make use of our superiority over the Germans in artillery and air force. For this we need clear weather for the air force and an absence of low mists, which prevent the artillery from conducting aimed fire. We are preparing an offensive, but at present the weather does not favor our offensive. However, in view of the position of our Allies on the Western front, Headquarters of the Supreme Command has decided to complete the preparations at a forced pace, and, disregarding the weather, to launch wide-scale offensive operations against the Germans all along the Central front not later than the second half of January. You need not doubt that we shall do everything that can possibly be done to render help to the glorious troops of our Allies."In his reply to this message, W. Churchill wrote to J. V. Stalin on January 9:
"I am most grateful to you for your thrilling message. I have sent it to General Eisenhower for his eye only. May all good fortune rest upon your noble venture."
In their desire to expedite aid to the Allied forces in the West, the Supreme High Command of the Soviet forces decided to move the date of the offensive against the Germans on the Soviet-German front from January 20 to January 12. On January 12 a great offensive was launched bythe Soviet forces on a wide front from the Baltic Sea to the Carpathians. One hundred and fifty Soviet divisions were set in motion, supported by a large quantity of artillery and aircraft; they broke through the German front and threw the German troops back for hundreds of kilometers.
On January 12, German troops on the Western front, among them the Fifth and Sixth Panzer Armies, which had been placed in position for another drive, ceased their offensive and during the course of five or six days were withdrawn from the front and transferred to the East against the attacking Soviet troops. The German offensive in the West was frustrated.On January 17, W. Churchill wrote to J. V. Stalin:"I am most grateful to you for your message and am extremely glad that Air Marshal Tedder made so favorable an impression upon you. On behalf of His Majesty's Government and from the bottom of my heart, I offer you our thanks and congratulations on the immense assault you have launched upon the Eastern front."You will now, no doubt, know the plans of General Eisenhower and to what extent they have been delayed by Rundstedt's spoiling attack. I am sure that fighting along our whole front will be continuous. The British Twenty-first Army Group, under Field Marshal Montgomery has today begun an attack in the area south of Roermond.”An Order of the Day issued by J. V. Stalin to Soviet troops in February 1945, said, concerning this offensive of Soviet troops:"In January of this year, the Red Army brought down upon the enemy a blow of unparalleled force along the entire front from the Baltic to the Carpathians. On a stretch of 1,200 kilometers it broke up the powerful defenses of the Germans, which they had been building for a number of years. In the course of the offensive, the Red Army, by its swift and skillful actions, has hurled the enemy far back to the West. The first consequence of the successes, of our winter offensive was that they thwarted the Germans' winter offensive in the West, which aimed at the seizure of Belgium and Alsace, and they enabled the Armies of our Allies in their turn to launch an offensive against the Germans and thus to link up their offensive operations in the West with the offensive operations of the Red Army in the East."That is how J. V. Stalin acted.
That is how true allies act in a common struggle. These are the facts.
Naturally, the falsifiers of history and the slanderers are called falsifiers and slanderers because they do not entertain any respect for facts. They prefer to gossip and slander. There is, however, no reason to doubt that these gentlemen will, in the end, have to acknowledge the universally known truth, which is, that gossip and slander perish but the facts remain.