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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.)
Not a Struggle Against German Aggression but a Policy of Isolating the USSR.Subsequent developments have shown with still greater clarity that by their concessions to and connivance with fascist countries, which in 1936 formed a military-political bloc known as the "Berlin-Rome Axis", the ruling circles in Britain and France had only encouraged and goaded Germany toward aggression.Rejecting the policy of collective security, Britain and France took up a position of so-called non-intervention, characterized by J. V. Stalin thus:"...the policy of non-intervention might be defined as follows: 'Let each country defend itself from aggressors as it likes and as best it can. That is not our affair. We shall trade both with aggressors and with their victims.' But, actually speaking, the policy of non-intervention means conniving at aggression, giving free rein to war, and consequently transforming the war into a world war."77 Eighteenth Congress of the CPSU (B), Stenographic Report, Ogiz, 1939, p. 13.Stalin further pointed out that:"...the big and dangerous political game started by the supporters of the policy of non-intervention may end in a serious fiasco for them."88 Ibid, p. 14.
As far back as 1937, it became perfectly clear that a great war was being hatched by Hitler with the direct connivance of Great Britain and France. Documents of the German Foreign Ministry captured by Soviet troops after Germany's defeat reveal the true essence of Great Britain's and France's policy of the time. These documents show that, essentially, Anglo-French policy was aimed not at mustering the forces of the peace-loving states for a common struggle against aggression, but at isolating the USSR and directing the Hitlerite aggression toward the East, against the Soviet Union, at using Hitler as a tool for their own ends.
The rulers of Britain and France were well aware of the trend of Hitlerite foreign policy, defined by Hitler as follows:"We, the National Socialists, consciously put an end to our prewar foreign policy. We begin where we ended six centuries ago. We stop the Germans' eternal drive to Europe's South and West, and turn our eyes to the lands in the East. We break at last with the colonial and commercial policies of prewar times and go over to a territorial policy of the future. But when we now, in Europe, speak of new lands, we should have in mind first of all only Russia and the bordering countries under her rule. Destiny itself seems to show us the way."99 A. Hitler, Mein Kampf, Munich, 1936, p. 742.
It was customary until lately to consider that entire responsibility for the Munich policy of treachery rests with the ruling circles of Britain and France, with the Governments of Chamberlain and Daladier.
The fact that the American Government undertook to make the German files public, while excluding the documents pertaining to the Munich agreement, shows that the United States Government is interested in whitewashing the heroes of the Munich treachery and in putting the blame on the USSR. The substance of Britain's and France's Munich policy was sufficiently clear even before this. Documents from the archives of the German Foreign Ministry, now at the disposal of the Soviet Government, furnish, however, abundant new data which reveal the true meaning of the prewar diplomacy of the Western Powers; they show how the destinies of nations were played with, how brazenly these Powers traded in other peoples' territories, how they had been secretly re-dividing the map of the world, how they encouraged Hitlerite aggression, and they show the efforts made to direct that aggression toward the East, against the Soviet Union.
This is eloquently borne out, for instance, by a German document recording a conversation which took place between Hitler and the British Minister, Halifax, in the presence of Von Neurath, the German Foreign Minister, in Obersalzburg on November 19, 1937. Halifax declared that"he (Lord Halifax) and the other members of the British Government were fully aware that the Fuehrer had attained a great deal, not only inside Germany herself, but that having destroyed Communism in his country, he had barred the road of the latter to Western Europe, and that therefore Germany was entitled to be regarded as the bulwark of the West against Bolshevism."10
10 The Record of a conversation between the Fuehrer and Reichskanzler and Lord Halifax, in the presence of the Reichsminister of Foreign Affairs, in Obersalzberg, Nov. 19, 1937; from the Archives of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Speaking on behalf of the British Prime Minister, Chamberlain, Halifax pointed out that there was every possibility of finding a solution even of difficult problems if Germany and Britain could reach agreement with France and Italy too.
Halifax said that"there should not be an impression that the Berlin-Rome Axis, or that good relations between London and Paris, would suffer as a result of Anglo-German rapprochement. After the ground is prepared by Anglo-German rapprochement, the four great West-European Powers [i.e., Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy] must jointly set up the foundation for lasting peace in Europe. Under no conditions should any of the four Powers remain outside this co-operation, or else there would be no end to the present unstable situation."l111 Cit. The Record of a conversation.
In other words, Halifax, as far back as 1937, had proposed to Hitler on behalf of the British Government, that Britain as well as France should join the Berlin-Rome Axis.
To this proposal, however, Hitler replied with a statement to the effect that such an agreement among the four Powers seemed to him very easy to arrange if good will and a kindly attitude prevailed, but that it would prove more difficult if Germany were not regarded "as a state which no longer carried the moral and material stigma of the Treaty of Versailles."
In reply to this, Halifax, according to the record, said:" 'Britishers are realists and perhaps more than others are convinced that the errors of the Versailles dictate must be rectified. Britain has always exercised her influence in this realistic sense in the past.' He pointed to Britain's role with regard to the evacuation of the Rhineland ahead of the time fixed, the settlement of the reparations problem, and the reoccupation of the Rhineland."1212 Ibid.
From the further record of Hitler's conversation with Halifax, it is evident that the British Government viewed favorably Hitler's plans for the "acquisition" of Danzig, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. Having discussed with Hitler the questions of disarmament and the League of Nations, and having noted that further discussion was needed, Halifax stated:"All other questions can be characterized as relating to changes in the European order, changes which sooner or later will probably take place. To these questions belong those of Danzig, Austria, and Czechoslovakia. England is only interested that these changes should be effected by peaceful evolution, so as to avoid methods which may cause further convulsions, undesired either by the Fuehrer or by other countries."13
This conversation evidently was not the mere sounding out of an interlocutor, which sometimes is called for by political necessity; it was a deal, a secret agreement of the British Government with Hitler about satisfying the annexationist appetites of the latter at the expense of third countries. In this connection, the statement in Parliament of the British Minister Simon on February 21, 1938, is noteworthy. He said that Great Britain had never given special guarantees regarding the independence of Austria. This was a deliberate lie, because such guarantees were given by the Treaties of Versailles and St. Germain.
At the same time, British Prime Minister Chamberlain stated that Austria could not count upon any protection on the part of the League of Nations:"We must not try to delude ourselves, and still more, we must not try to delude small weak nations into thinking that they will be protected by the League against aggression and acting accordingly, when we know that nothing of the kind can be expected."1414 Times, February 23, 1938, p. 8.
In this way the makers of British policy encouraged Hitler to annexationist actions.
In the German archives captured by the Soviet troops in Berlin, there is also a record of Hitler's conversation with Henderson, British Ambassador to Germany, which took place in the presence of Ribbentrop on March 3, 1938.15 From its very outset Henderson stressed the confidential nature of the conversation, intimating that its content would be withheld from the French, Belgians, Portuguese and Italians, who would merely be told that a conversation took place as a continuation of negotiations which had been carried on between Halifax and Hitler and related to questions of concern to Germany and Britain.
15 Record of a conversation between the Fuehrer and Reichskanzler and the British Royal Ambassador which took place in the presence of Reichsminister for Foreign Affairs von Ribbentrop, on March 3, 1938 in Berlin, from the Archives of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Speaking on behalf of the British Government, Henderson in this conversation stressed that:"This is not a commercial deal but an attempt to establish the basis for a genuine and cordial friendship with Germany, beginning with the improvement of the situation and ending with the creation of a new spirit of friendly understanding."1616 Ibid.
Without objecting to Hitler's demand to "unite Europe without Russia," Henderson drew attention to the fact that Halifax, who at that time became Foreign Secretary, had already agreed to those territorial changes which Germany intended to make in Europe, and that"the purpose of the British proposal was participation insuch a reasonable settlement."Henderson, according to the record, also said that Chamberlain"displayed great courage when heeding nothing, he unmasked such international phrases as collective security, etc....""Therefore," added Henderson, "Britain declares her readiness to remove all difficulties and asks Germany whether she is ready, for her part, to do the same.”1717 Ibid.
When Ribbentrop intervened, drawing the attention of Henderson to the fact that the British Minister to Vienna "in a dramatic way" had made a statement to von Papen on events in Austria, Henderson hastened to dissociate himself from the statement of his colleague, declaring that "he himself, Neville Henderson, often expressed himself in favor of Anschluss." Such was the language of prewar British diplomacy.
Immediately after that deal, on March 12, 1938, Hitler seized Austria, having met with no resistance on the part of Britain and France. At that time, only the Soviet Union raised the voice of warning, and once again came forward with an appeal to organize collective protection of the independence of countries which were threatened by aggression.
It was on March 17, 1938, that the Soviet Government sent a note to the Powers in which it expressed its readiness "to proceed to discussion, with other Powers in or outside the League of Nations, of practical measures" which "would aim at stopping further aggression and eliminating the increased danger of a new world butchery."18
18 Izvestia, March 18, 1938.
The reply of the British Government to the Soviet note proved the unwillingness of the British Government to hinder these plans of Hitlerite aggression.
The reply stated that a conference for taking"concerted action against aggression would not necessarily, in the view of His Majesty's Government, have a favorable effect upon the prospects of European peace."19
19 Note of the British Foreign Office of March 24, 1938.
The next link in the chain of German aggression and the preparation of war in Europe was the seizure of Czechoslovakia by Germany. And this most important step in unleashing war in Europe could be taken by Hitler only with the direct support of England and France.
On July 10, 1938, Dirksen, the German Ambassador to London, reported to Berlin that for the British Government
"one of the most essential planks of its program is to find a compromise with Germany", and that "this Government displays with regard to Germany such a maximum of understanding as could be displayed by any of the likely combinations of British politicians."20
20 Political Report, London, July 10, 1938, in addition to Report A No. 2589 of July 10, a.c.; from the Archives of the German Foreign Office.
Dirksen wrote that the British Government "has come nearer to understanding the most essential points of the main demands advanced by Germany; namely: to keep the Soviet Union out of deciding the destinies of Europe; likewise to keep out the League of Nations; as well as the advisability of bilateral negotiations and treaties."
Dirksen also reported to Berlin that the British Government was ready to make great sacrifices to "meet the other just demands of Germany,"
Thus, between the British Government and Hitler there was indeed established a far-reaching accord on foreign policy plans, which fact Dirksen so lucidly reported to Berlin. It is not necessary to recall the universally known facts relating directly to the Munich deal. But one cannot forget that on September 19, 1938, i.e., four days after Hitler's meeting at Berchtesgaden with Chamberlain, who arrived for this purpose by plane, representatives of the British and French Governments demanded from the Czechoslovak Government the transfer to Germany of the Czechoslovak regions populated mainly by .Sudeten Germans.
They maintained that if this demand were not complied with, it would be impossible to preserve peace and to secure the vital interests ofCzechoslovakia.
The Anglo-French sponsors of Hitler's aggression attempted to cover their treachery with the promise of an international guarantee of the new frontiers of the Czechoslovak State as "a contribution to the pacification of Europe."21
21 Correspondence respecting Czechoslovakia, September 1938, London, 1938, C md 5847, p. 8-9.
On September 20, the Czechoslovak Government replied to the Anglo-French proposals. It declared that "acceptance of such proposals would be tantamount to the voluntary and full disruption of the State in all its directions." The Czechoslovak Government drew the attention of the British and French Governments to the fact that "the paralysis of Czechoslovakia would result in deep political changes in all Central and Southeastern Europe.""The balance of power in Central Europe and in Europe in general," stated the Czechoslovak Government in its answer, "would be destroyed; that would entail far-reaching consequences for all other states and especially for France."The Czechoslovak Government addressed its "last appeal" to the Governments of Britain and France to reconsider their point of view, emphasizing that this was in the interests not only of Czechoslovakia, but of her friends as well, in the interests of "the entire cause of peace and the cause of the healthy development of Europe."
The Anglo-French rulers remained implacable. On the next day, the British Government sent to the Czechoslovak Government a note in reply, suggesting that the latter should withdraw its answer to the original Anglo-French proposals and "speedily and seriously weigh the matter" before creating a situation for which the British Government could take no responsibility. The British Government further emphasized that it could not believe that the Czechoslovak proposal of arbitration would now be acceptable. In the opinion of the British Government, the British note stated, "the German Government does not consider the situation to be such as could be solved by arbitration as suggested by the Czechoslovak Government." In conclusion, the British note threateningly warned the Czechoslovak Government “that if British advice is rejected, the Czechoslovak Government will be free to take any steps it may deem befitting the situation which may develop later."
At a conference of Hitler, Chamberlain, Mussolini and Daladier held in Munich on September 29 and 30, 1938, the disgraceful deal, which had been completely agreed upon in advance among the chief participants in the conspiracy against the peace, was finally concluded. The fate of Czechoslovakia was decided behind her back. Representatives of Czechoslovakia were invited to Munich only meekly to await the results of the conspiracy of the imperialists. The entire conduct of Britain and France left no doubt that this unheard-of act of treachery on the part of the British and French Governments in regard to the Czechoslovak people and republic, far from being a chance episode in the policy of these States, represented a highly important phase in their policy aimed at goading the Hitlerite aggressors against the Soviet Union.
The true meaning of the Munich conspiracy was then exposed by J. V. Stalin who said that "the districts of Czechoslovakia were yielded to Germany as the price of undertaking to launch war on the Soviet Union."22
22 Eighteenth Congress of the CPSU (B), Stenographic Report, Ogiz, 1939. p. 14.
The essence of that policy of the Anglo-French ruling circles of the time was exposed by J. V. Stalin at the Eighteenth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks), in March, 1939."The policy of non-intervention means conniving at aggression, giving free rein to war, and consequently transforming the war into world war. The policy of non-intervention reveals an eagerness, a desire, not to hinder the aggressors in their nefarious work: not to hinder Japan, say, from embroiling herself in a war with China, or better still, with the Soviet Union; not to hinder Germany, say, from enmeshing herself in European affairs, from embroiling herself in a war with the Soviet Union; to allow all belligerents to sink deeply into the mire of war; to encourage them surreptitiously in this direction; to allow them to weaken and exhaust one another; and then, when they have become weak enough, to appear on the scene with fresh strength, to appear, of course, in 'the interests of peace', and to dictate conditions to the enfeebled belligerents."2323 Eighteenth Congress of the CPSU (B), Stenographic Report, Ogiz, 1939, p. 13.
The Munich agreement was met with indignation and emphatic condemnation in the democratic circles of various countries, including the United States of America, Great Britain, and France. The attitude of these circles toward the Munich treachery of the Anglo-French rulers may be judged bythe statements made, for instance, by Sayers and Kahn, who in their book The Great Conspiracy: the Secret War Against Soviet Russia, published in the United States of America, had the following to say about Munich:"The Governments of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Great Britain and France signed the Munich Pact – the anti-Soviet Holy Alliance of which world reaction had been dreaming since 1918. The Pact left Soviet Russia without allies. The Franco-Soviet Treaty, cornerstone of European collective security, was dead. The Czech Sudetenland became part of Nazi Germany. The gates of the East were open wide open for the Wehrmacht."2424 Sayers and Kahn, The Great Conspiracy: The Secret War Against Soviet Russia, Boston, 1946, pp. 324-325.
Through all phases of the Czechoslovak drama, the Soviet Union alone of all the Great Powers vigorously championed the independence and national rights of Czechoslovakia. Seeking to justify themselves in the eyes of public opinion, the Governments of Great Britain and. France hypocritically declared that they did not know whether or not the Soviet Union would live up to its pledges, given to Czechoslovakia in accordance with the treaty of mutual assistance. But this was a deliberate lie, for the Soviet Government had publicly declared its willingness to stand up for Czechoslovakia against Germany in accordance with the terms of that treaty, which called for simultaneous action on the part of France in defense of Czechoslovakia. France, however, refused to discharge her duty.
Notwithstanding all this, the Soviet Government declared on the eve of the Munich deal that it was in favor of convening an international conference to render practical aid to Czechoslovakia and to take practical measures for the preservation of peace. When the seizure of Czechoslovakia became an accomplished fact, and the governments of the imperialist countries, one after another, declared their recognition of the accomplished fact, the Soviet Government, in its note of March 18, branded the seizure of Czechoslovakia by Hitlerite Germany, which was accomplished with the aid of Britain and France, as a wanton act of violence and aggression.
In that note, the Soviet Government stressed that by her acts Germany had created and aggravated the menace to universal peace, had “upset political stability in Central Europe, had increased the elements of the atmosphere of alarm created in Europe still earlier, and had inflicted a fresh injury to the feeling of security of nations."25
25 Izvestia, March 20, 1939.
But the handing over of Czechoslovakia to Hitler was not the end of the business. The Governments of Britain and France were, each of them, eager to be first to sign broad political agreements with Hitlerite Germany. The Anglo-German declaration was signed in Munich on September 30, 1938, by Chamberlain and Hitler. This declaration said:"We have continued today our conversation and have unanimously come to the conviction that Anglo-German relations are of paramount importance to both countries and to Europe. We regard the agreement signed last evening and the Anglo-German Naval Agreement as symbolizing the desire of both our peoples never again to wage war against each other. We are resolved to consider other questions, too, which concern both our countries, by means of consultation and to strive in the future to eliminate all causes generating discord, so as to facilitate the safeguarding of peace in Europe."2626 Deutsch-Englische Erklarung, Munchen, September 30, 1938, .Archiv fur Aussenpolitik und Landerkunde, April 1938 – Marz 1939, S. 483.
That was Britain’s and Germany's declaration on mutual non-aggression. The Bonnet-Ribbentrop Franco-German declaration, similar to the Anglo-German one, was signed on December 6, 1938. It stated that the German and French Governments were unanimous in their belief that peaceful and good-neighborly relations between Germany and France constitute the most essential condition for the consolidation of relations in Europe, and for maintenance of the general peace, and that both Governments will do their utmost to secure the preservation of such relations between their countries. The declaration further asserted that between France and Germany there were no longer any controversial questions of a territorial nature, and that the then existing boundary between the two countries was final.The declaration concluded by saying that both Governments were firmly resolved, without reference to their specific relations with third Powers, to maintain contact with each other on all matters concerning their countries, and to confer with each other should later development of these matters lead to international complications.
That was France's and Germany's declaration on mutual non-aggression. Essentially, these agreements meant that both Britain and France concluded non-aggression pacts with Hitler. These agreements with Hitlerite Germany revealed with perfect clarity that the British and French Governments, in their desire to ward off the menace of Hitlerite aggression from their countries, believed that the Munich agreement and similar other ones flung the gates wide open for Hitlerite aggression in the East, aggression against the Soviet Union. It was thus that the political conditions for "uniting Europe without Russia" were created. What they were after was the complete isolation of the Soviet Union.