In this discussion on the Soviet victory over fascism in WW2, Harpal Brar begins by dismissing the most common (and patently absurd) myths surrounding the beginning of the war: in particular, the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact – sometimes (outrageously) called the ‘Hitler-Stalin pact’ – which has so tainted the bourgeois narative of modern history.
See also our party pamphlet: The Soviet Victory Over Fascism
Harpal Brar begins the conversation by touching on the crucial difference between WW1 and WW2, which results in important differences in the analysis of each. The first world war was a fight between the imperialists for the domination of the world. From that war emerged the Soviet Union, and it was this that fundamentally altered the character of the second world war.
With the Soviet Union came a tip in the balance of world power. It sought tirelessly to sign non-aggression pacts with the democratic-imperialist (Britain, France, USA) powers for years before those apparently ‘democratic’ nations proceeded to sign agreements instead with Nazi Germany (see the handing over of Czechoslovakia).
Only then did the Soviet Union agree to sign the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact with Germany – for it was still a young industrialising nation, and it had a duty to avoid being forced into war too soon, to avoid finding itself facing an overwhelming force it was not yet in a position to defeat.
Indeed, it was with this understanding that Great Britain, France, and the USA did all they could to steer German imperialism towards the Soviet Union. But by the time they realised that Hitler’s Germany was willing to go its own imperialist way, the ‘democractic’ imperialist powers had already made concession after concession; had already pumped the country full of lucrative loans; had already enabled it to rapidly overcome the barriers of the Versailles treaty that had so restricted Germany militarily.
In Britain, prime minister Winston Churchill is noted to have said that he would have voted for Mussolini; that he would have been with him “from start to finish”; that fascism had “rendered service to the whole world” in its ruthless crushing of communism.
In the USA, soon-to-be-president Harry Truman remarked that if it looked as though the Axis were winning, the USA should back the Axis, and if it looked as though the allies were winning, they should back the allies. This was, of course, before the attack on Pearl Harbour, which forced the administration’s hand and led to the USA’s joining the war on the antifascist side.