On 19 September 2019, the 80th anniversary of the start of WW2, the European Union parliament voted for a disgraceful resolution equating communism with Nazism and blaming the Soviet Union equally with Germany for the devastation wrought by the war.
Alleging that “the most devastating war in Europe’s history was caused by the notorious Nazi-Soviet Treaty of Non-Aggression of 23 August 1939 … which allowed two totalitarian regimes that shared the goal of world conquest to divide Europe into two zones of influence”, the resolution called on the European commission “to provide effective support for projects of historic memory and remembrance in the member states … and to allocate adequate financial resources … to support commemoration and remembrance of the victims of ‘totalitarianism’”.
It further stated, apparently without irony, that “future generations should have access to factual educational materials which emphasise the dire consequences of passivity in the face of serious violations of international laws and norms”. And this from governments that are ruthlessly persecuting those, like Julian Assange, who try to expose just such violations of international law today.
Absolving the criminals, blaming the victims
This shameful and hypocritical piece of historical distortion was proposed by the Visegrád group of EU member states (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, all of whose present-day governments are infamous for their anticommunism and racism, as well as for their glorification of Nazi fascism), and is thoroughly approved of by all the rest.
The clear aim of the resolution’s inflammatory text is to absolve the Nazis of their crimes and to incite hatred against communists throughout Europe. It constitutes a truly unparalleled forgery of historical memory, and a desecration of the graves of the Soviet Union’s 27 million war dead – not to mention those of the thousands of brave communist partisans who led the resistance to Nazi occupation across the continent.
The passing of the resolution is a warning to workers that they need collectively to defend their remaining democratic rights and political freedoms, for legislation such as this is not aimed solely at communists but the whole of society.
To misrepresent the peoples who offered the ultimate sacrifice in the fight against fascism as “an ally and partner of Nazi Germany that contributed politically and financially to Hitler’s conquest of western Europe” is an insolent affront to their memory. It is also a blow aimed at the present-day workers of Europe, struggling as they are to find the way out of the downward spiral of crisis, unemployment, poverty and war.
This type of official anticommunism is not mere debate, but is designed as a weapon for suppressing the workers’ movement and discriminating against its activists and leaders. It is clearly intended as a tool for misleading the masses, stopping them from embracing socialism, which holds the key to their salvation, and shaking their confidence in the working class’s ability to build a better society without expoiters.
Under its aegis, anyone upholding the genuine history of the second world war – and of the imperialist ruling classes that prepared and perpetrated its horrors – is liable to be labelled and persecuted as the perpetrator of a ‘hate crime’.
Against all the evidence
Those who voted for the resolution quietly discarded the tiresome evidence of the Nuremberg trials, conveniently forgetting that it was the Nazi leaders alone who were put on trial and condemned for the crime of waging a war of aggression, whilst the Soviets, together with their erstwhile American and British allies, sat in judgement over the prisoners in the dock.
Those who voted for the EU’s resolution also ‘forgot’ that when the United Nations was founded in 1945 by those same victorious powers, its stated purpose was to uphold international law and prevent such a war breaking out again. The USSR, far from being seen as one of the powers responsible for the carnage, was one of the five permanent members of the security council appointed to uphold the world’s peace.
The assertion that Hitler and Stalin were equally guilty of starting the war does not stand up to even the most cursory scrutiny. How, it may be asked, are we to interpret the events of September 1938, when, to their eternal shame, Britain and France agreed with Germany and Italy that Hitler had the right to dismember Czechoslovakia?
The resolution’s authors would like us to forget that it was the imperialists who refused to agree an anti-Nazi alliance with the USSR, all the while actively appeasing Hitler and encouraging him to attack the Soviet Union.
They want us to forget that, contrary to their cowardice, it was Stalin who offered to deploy one million Soviet soldiers as a counter to German aggression. Stalin’s proposal would have stopped Hitler in his tracks if it had been supported by Britain and France, and the war would never have broken out, but they are banking on workers not knowing about any of that.
The Visegrád group wants us to forget Poland’s hatred of the Soviet Union, which caused Stalin’s plan to fail by refusing to allow Soviet deterrence troops onto Polish territory.
They want us to ignore the fact that Stalin was forced to sign the non-aggression pact with Hitler as a defensive move during a time of extreme diplomatic tension. Germany’s war drive was undisguised and the only question was over which direction the Reich would strike next.
Those promoting this historical falsification would prefer us not to be aware that Poland signed a non-aggression pact with Nazi Germany in 1934, or that Latvia and Estonia did the same in in June 1939.
Britain signed three pacts with Hitler – in 1933, 1935 and 1938; France signed two – in 1933 and 1938. Both powers consistently refused to enter into a mutual defence treaty with the USSR.
There is no mention in the resolution of the fact that Poland joined the Nazis in seizing parts of Czech territory in 1938 – the Silesian city of Teschen – and had an ambiguous relationship with Hitler.
The USSR was the last major European power to sign a non-aggression pact with Germany, and it did so when all other options had been exhausted. It was the refusal of Britain and France to cooperate with the USSR that pushed her finally to sign the Soviet-German non-aggression pact.
Stalin thus gained valuable time in which the Soviets could prepare for the war they knew was coming. The very idea that Stalin had any interest in starting a war of aggression is preposterous, Certainly nobody imagined such a thing at the time.
Who are the real promoters of fascism?
The resolution’s authors would prefer us not to think about why it is that they are so keen to throw mud at the antifascist struggle; why it is that they wish to demonise and even criminalise that struggle. They would prefer us not to look into their own connections with Nazi fascism; not to remember the role of their political forebears in collaborating with the German occupiers against their own people.
In this time of acute and deepening economic crisis, when workers are increasingly disillusioned with bourgeois democracy and dissatisfied with the descent into ever more austerity and war, communist ideology and real working-class organisation pose a real threat to the EU’s imperialist agenda. So much so that its rulers feel the need to legislate an official, false, anticommunist version of history.
This must be opposed by renewed efforts to build the movement for socialism, and by workers’ commitment to fearlessly upholding their history.
The duty of progressive people is to remind workers that the EU and its corporate and financial backers are knee deep in the peoples’ blood, from the time of their loyal collaboration with the Nazi management teams of Auschwitz (see Krupp) until today. Let it not be forgotten that the EU, which claims to detest ‘totalitarianism’, has given more than €2m to neo-nazi groups across Europe, not to mention forming a mutually beneficial alliance with the neo-nazis in Ukraine.
After all, if the EU and all the EU-loving liberals who claim to care so much about ‘democracy’ were sincere in their denunciations of Nazism, perhaps instead of slandering those who oppose it, they would have organised at least one protest, at least one denouncement of the monuments to Nazi collaborators in being erected in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and other EU countries.
Truth will out
History, they say, is written by the victor. Since the demise of the Soviet Union, the imperialists have felt free to recast themselves as the victors in WW2, hopeful that the events in question are starting to pass out of living memory and the forces that could formerly have held them to account are no longer to be reckoned with.
But truth will out. It was the Soviet Union and the communists who saved Europe from the scourge of Hitlerite fascism, and as the working class regroups and rises once more, it will undoubtedly reclaim this glorious chapter in its history.
Eternal glory to the memory of those who gave their lives in that titanic struggle for humanity and for freedom.