Poland: Soviet Contribution to the Destruction of Intellectuals

 

Text Box:  
The Soviet “Brotherly hand of Help:”
Text:
Extending a brotherly hand of help to the 
people of Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine is our sacred duty.

 It would not be fair to give attention to one mass-murderer but not even mention the other. We simply must stick to the facts if we are to learn anything at all from history. Otherwise, from the Bible to History text-books, it has been politicized beyond having much of anything to do with reality. There’s always a discernable tendency to substitute verbiage in place of facts in order to advocate a politicized point of view or sell sensationalist books. We shall stick to the verified facts and avoid tossing around sensational, emotionally charged but untrue or potentially spurious data.

 

Hitler’s annexation of Czechoslovakia was indeed a Nazi triumph, a slight of hand, and the true beginning of WW-II: prior to invading Czechoslovakia German forces consisted only of 36 divisions with 2/3 of the personnel and inferior tanks. Occupation of Czechoslovakia armed Hitler to his teeth to go on to attack Poland, then the USSR.

 

As Carroll Quigley, professor of history at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Washington D.C. wrote:

 

“In tanks, Germany was far inferior in quality in September, 1938. At that time, Germany's tanks were all below ten tons (Mark II) and were armed with machine guns, except for a handful of eighteen ton tanks (Mark III) armed with a 37 mm. gun. The Czechs had hundreds of thirty- eight ton tanks armed with 75 mm. cannon. When Germany overran Czechoslovakia in March, 1939, it captured 469 of these superior tanks along with 1,500 planes, 43,500 machine guns, over one million rifles, and a magnificent system of fortifications. From every point of view, this was little less than Germany had at Munich, and, at Munich, if the British government had desired it, Germany (with the possible assistance of Poland and Hungary) would have been opposed by Czechoslovakia supported by France, Britain, and Russia.”[1]

 

The Munich Agreement gave Hitler Sudetenland, with all of Czechoslovak border fortifications, banks and industry, including most of Czechoslovakia’s steel, iron and electrical works, the Škoda Works – the country’s biggest company, the manufacturer of modern tanks, trucks and automobiles. It was a de facto annexation of all of the country, now weak and unprotected. It was annexed de jure just 6 months later.

 

Text Box:  
Munich Agreement, signed September 29, 1938 
From left:  Neville Chamberlain, Édouard Daladier, Adolf Hitler,
Benito Mussolini, and Italian foreign minister Galeazzo Ciano. 

Before the “Munich treachery” Czechoslovak Army was 34 fully equipped divisions strong, with superior tanks and aviation.  Having swallowed Czechoslovakia, Sudetenland in 1938, and the rest of the country in March 1939, and without a single shot fired, Hitler instantly became Germany’s national hero, while Nazis got tanks, equipment and materiel for 40 divisions from the Czechoslovak army, at the time the 2nd strongest army in Europe. In addition, Hitler gained instant access to some of the best arms manufacturing plants in Europe, making high quality tanks, trucks, automobiles, famous CZ firearms and munitions. Prior to annexation of Czechoslovakia Wehrmacht was poorly equipped, a fact deliberately omitted or hardly mentioned by Western historians. Prior to the hastily signed Munich accord selling Czechoslovakia down the river, Stalin had offered to bring the Red Army to protect Czechoslovakia. Lord Chamberlain of England and PM Daladier of France simply ignored the offer. The Munich accord was signed by Chamberlain, Daladier, Mussolini, and Hitler. Chamberlain and Daladier reported to the people of England and France that they bought peace; what they achieved was arming the bully to his teeth; Setting Hitler’s sights exclusively Eastward did not work out, either.

 

In summer 1939, Hitler was armed to his teeth and craved war, while Stalin needed much more time to ready his country for an inevitable confrontation with Germany. Stalin had effectively beheaded the Red Army’s leadership, with most of the senior officers executed in the 1937-38 purges. The Red Army had already been engaged with the Japanese on the Soviet Far  Eastern border.  Stalin needed time to create the new cadres of military officers. Stalin’s great fear in the 1930’s was encirclement on all sides by a coalition of Germany, Poland, and Japan. “This led him to have more than 100,000 Soviet citizens, most of them members of the Polish national minority, shot on false charges of espionage for Poland in 1937 and 1938.”[2] This was the greatest campaign of ethnic executions in Europe of the 1930’s.

 

When Warsaw resisted Hitler's demands for Polish territory in spring and summer 1939, Stalin saw an opportunity to resolve his Polish problem. The rapprochement with Germany not only led to the elimination of Poland as a state, it also drove apart Japan and Germany. Tokyo saw itself supplanted by Moscow as Hitler's closest ally.

 

Early in the morning of August 24, 1939, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed a 10-year non-aggression pact, the so called Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. The pact contained a secret protocol, which came to public light only after Germany's defeat in 1945. According to it the states of Northern and Eastern Europe were divided into German and Soviet “spheres of influence.[3] ” Unlike Hitler, Stalin never had any specific plans for mass-murdering Poles. He fully expected them to “voluntarily” convert to the Marxist-Stalinist ideology, and would not tolerate “nationalists and counterrevolutionaries.”

 

Sixteen days after Nazis attacked Poland from the West, Soviets “entered” from the East on the 17th of September 1939, without a formal declaration of war. It was just “to protect the brotherly peoples of Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine, extending a helping hand to them,” as everyone was made to believe. That was not entirely untrue. More than half of the population on the annexed territory was Ukrainians and Byelorussians; they greeted the Soviet occupation due to the strong nationalistic mood on all sides, ethnic and religious frictions with ethnic Poles, incited by German propaganda. (The Polish territory annexed by the Soviets had a population of 13.299 million, of which 5.274 million were ethnic Poles and 1.109 million were Jews,[4] the remaining 52% of the population was Byelorussians and Ukrainians.) Polish Jews who had suffered pogroms at the hands of Poles before and at the outbreak of the war, gravitated towards the Soviets, who, in their view, were the lesser of the two evils.

 

The Soviet Union annexed Eastern Poland, as had been agreed with Hitler. The Red Army advanced quickly and met almost no resistance, as Polish forces were under orders not to engage the Soviets and to march westward to fight the Germans. If compared to Germans, Soviets were “friendly,” kind of bloody “brotherly” and in the minds of the Soviet leaders, Polish proletariat had nothing better to do but to greet the Red Army with open arms as its liberator.  If Poles resisted and a battle ensued, all Polish officers and NCO’s among those taken as POW’s were executed.  The Soviets immediately began the process of assimilation of the local population: they collectivized agriculture, nationalized and redistributed private and state-owned property. Polish citizens who had worked for the Polish state were viewed as those engaged in a “counter-revolutionary activity,” and arrests of such Polish citizens became commonplace.

 

Between 250,000 and 450,000 Polish soldiers, policemen and civilians were taken prisoners of war or arrested by the Red Army. The Soviet internal security services (the NKVD) screened and released almost immediately all ethnic Ukrainians and Belarusians among them, then other POW’s, except about 40,000 Polish officers and policemen, land-owners, clergy and intelligentsia, whom it detained on suspicion of engaging in Anti-Soviet or “counterrevolutionary” activities, and re-engaging in them, if released.

doodle333 Behind The Iron Curtain: Stalin in Posters 

Unless educated Poles showed enthusiasm for an alliance with the Soviets, Stalin (actually, his hangman Beria, also a Georgian gangster) would have to execute them, as an “undesirable element,” the latter 2-word combination being popular in both Nazi and Soviet parlance, and “counter-revolutionaries.” There were “desirable” and “undesirable elements” of the society. The individual life was worth nothing when the interests of the social engineering by the Soviet state or Nazi state were concerned, just like it’s worth diddly squat in the good ole’ USA, when the fads in public policy are concerned, determined by special interest groups benefiting billions of dollars. As the case is, the people can talk about the atrocities only after those who had committed them are dead, politically or militarily defeated. In the US, they commit atrocities, an example of which would be the murder of dozens of men, women and children in Waco, Texas by the federal agents with absolute impunity – the state actors covered their asses with quasi-judicial immunity, all in the name of justice, efficiency, and citizens’ well-being, of course.

 

Many Polish POW’s and civilian detainees were subjected to long interrogations and indoctrination sessions. To demonstrate their loyalty to the Soviets, they had to implicate other people of not being loyal commies, of being “nationalists,” or “capitalists,” or something. Unbeknownst to them, the “conversations” with the NKVD were really a selection process of who should live or dye. Those who did not show much enthusiasm with Stalinism were doomed: in March of 1940 the head of the NKVD, Lavrentiy Beria, sent to Politburo of the Communist Party his infamous “Katyn memo.” Four members of the Politburo of the Communist party - Stalin, Molotov, Voroshilov and Mikoyan - signed an order to execute 25,700 Polish “nationalists and counterrevolutionaries” among the 40,000 Poles still in detention. (But before we rush to condemn the “Soviet butchers,” suffice it to say that the “bastion of freedom,” the United States of America, as recently as 2009 had 7,225,800 people on probation, in jail or in prison, or on parole — about 3.1% of adults in the U.S. resident population. 2,292,133 were incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails at yearend 2009 – by far the absolute, unbeatable World record,[5] and constantly growing. Yet, so insidious is US political propaganda, that so far the perception of Liberty completely obfuscates the ugly reality and the US political leaders grandstand, lecturing the rest of the world about “human rights” while violating them on a far grander scale than any and all developed countries including China, India and Russia.

 

But back to East Poland, 1940: Another 12,000 of the 40,000 detainees were sent to Siberian labor camps. The rest, about 20,000 were ultimately dismissed. Life in the Soviet Gulag was so darn “good” that just 2 years later, at the time when Polish Red Army divisions were being formed in 1942, only about 600 of them were still alive to join. Stalin, who invented executions of recalcitrant members of his own intelligentsia, of those who did not dance well enough to his political tunes, was not completely outdone by Hitler in this case, although the Soviet executioner was lagging behind in a distant 2nd place this time around. 

 

As Polish-Canadian historian Piotr Wróbel wrote (citing British historians M. R. D. Foot and I. C. B. Dear), majority of scholars believe that “In the Soviet occupation zone, conditions were only marginally less harsh than under the Germans.”[6]

 

Yet, contemporary historians, such as Timothy Snyder, Prof. of History at Yale University, obfuscate history when they put Stalinism and Hitlerism on equal footing. Some do so in order to promulgate the US geopolitical goals and policies of “divide and conquer” in Balkanization of Eastern Europe. In the words of Israeli historian Efraim Zuroff:

 

<< By focusing primarily on the signing of the [Molotov-Ribbentrop] treaty, Snyder downplays the murderous intentions of the Nazi regime, their ideologically-driven, fanatical determination to destroy the Jewish people, and their long-term plans for the decimation of most of the other peoples of eastern Europe. Stalin was, indeed, a ruthless, murderous dictator, but he was no Hitler, and the Soviet Union was not Nazi Germany. To posit otherwise is to deflect the full measure of well-deserved blame from the major culprit of the second world war and to provide a scholarly basis for the historically-inaccurate “double genocide” theories…[7] >>

 

His analysis of the true meaning of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact is as lucid as it is concise:

                                                                                                                              

<< The problem with this analysis [by T. Snyder], however, is that it completely isolates the signing of the Nazi-Soviet non-aggression pact and ignores the broader context behind the outbreak of the Second World War and its continuation. Thus, it is clear that there was a tremendous disparity in the motives of the two countries that signed the pact. While the Nazis did so as an integral part of their grand strategy to conquer most of Europe to obtain their goal of Lebensraum (living space) for the superior Aryan race, the Soviets were basically forced into signing the agreement when their talks with Britain and France regarding the possibility of forming an alliance against Nazi Germany broke down, and when Poland, understandably, refused to allow Soviet troops to march through its territory [to assist Czechoslovakia.] Given the disarray in which the Red Army found itself in the wake of the purges of the late 1930s, it was patently clear, moreover, that at this point, the Soviet Union would have definitely been defeated in any military confrontation with the Germans and their allies. So, Stalin had no other viable option but to sign the treaty, which at least would allow him to gain the time necessary to try to prepare the Red Army for the inevitable clash with the Wehrmacht. [8] >>

 

Indeed, in order to create historic mythology one does not have to lie by commission. It is enough to omit a few facts, to describe certain events out of their historical context.

 

Prof. Snyder recognized that “… the Third Reich’s “Hunger Plan” … would have starved… 89 percent of the Polish population.”[9] As a result of the Soviet offensive in 1944, the population of Poland was saved from such annihilation, although 17 percent of its population had already perished, and Stalin deliberately took his sweet time in liberating Warsaw, first allowing German SS troops crush the Warsaw uprising lead by Polish government out of London, “to avoid civil war” after Poland’s liberation by the Red Army, as he noted in his top secret notebook.

 

In 1939, as Stalin fully intended to hold on to the annexed territories of Eastern Poland, naturally – if Poland would be ever revived, it would be unfriendly to the Stalinist USSR. To assure that an independent Poland, should there be one, would be weakened, Stalin made a “sagacious” statesman’s geopolitical decision – murder the elite of Polish officers. Such was the science of social engineering, and Stalin was a “Great Scientist,” according to a song popular among the prisoners of the Soviet GULAG. But Stalin’s kind of thinking was both typical of the epoch and not much different from rather contemporary examples of both open and clandestine policies of the US, both internationally and internally.

 

Anti-intellectualism was a massive, unprecedented phenomenon practiced by the Nazi Germany and the Stalinist Soviet Union, used to prevent the masses of the people from thinking and seeing events for what they really were. It is a tried and true practice by the US mass media and educational system, as well, though by different means – excessive, mindless mercantilism brainwashing the populous through hundreds of TV channels.

 

The Bolsheviks excluded the Tsarist intelligentsia from all spheres of public life as traitorous and untrustworthy. Even their children were disenfranchised as citizens and had no right to receive education. The Soviet government was formed by men and women without much formal education. Lenin mocked the old intelligentsia, arguing that proletariat knew how to rule by “the class instinct,” describing the new rulers by a deliberately broken Russian expression approximately translated as: “We ain’t graduated from no academies [and are proud of it]” (Rus: A мы академиев не кончали). To achieve rapid industrialization, the Bolshevik government invited engineers and technicians from England, Germany, USA, France and Spain; having built most advanced industrial plants in Minsk, Stalingrad, Kharkov and Kiev, the overwhelming majority of these engineers, most of them socialists, communists, social-democrats, and other “progressives” – the “rotten, petty- bourgeoisie,” whom Stalin despised as class enemies, disappeared in the Stalin’s purges of 1937, starved in labor camps or executed as “imperialist spies.”

 

The last bastion of a free thought in the Soviet Russia was the Academy of Sciences. By 1937 this last bastion fell. After the 1917 Socialist Revolution, there was but one critic of the Soviet regime who got away with criticism, and lived to say more. Somehow, academician Ivan Pavlov, a physiologist who made his dogs salivate at the sound of the bell, became Lenin’s favorite. (Perhaps Lenin saw Pavlovian dogs as a model to condition citizens’ behavior in response to the stimuli administered by the Bolshevik government.) At age 78 Pavlov was so unafraid of death that he could say that Jesus of Nazareth was the greatest human being, not Lenin, and told Molotov, number 2 in the Soviet government, that the Soviet government was “shit.” He was the only man alive who ever dared to tell the audience of esteemed scientists of the Russian Academy of Sciences (while they were collectively shaking in their boots): “We live under the domination of a cruel principle: state power is everything, the individual personality is nothing… On this foundation, gentlemen, no cultured state can be built, and no state whatsoever can hold out for long.”[10]

 

OGPU left the old-man Pavlov alone, but harassed as “imperialist spies” those academicians who had been supported in their work by their foreign like-minded colleagues. Sixty percent of non-tenured academicians and 15% of tenured lost their jobs, 150 lost their freedom, and many – their lives.[11]

 

Back then in the 20th century dictatorships, the first order of business was to kill, exile or intimidate the independent intellectuals; Conversely – to give them Kremlin food rations and various other perks, if they expressed readiness to kiss ass of the functionaries of the regime – overall quite a “Pavlovian dog” policy.  The focus of the Communist indoctrination was “Internationalism” – the New World Order based on the unity of the working people (the World proletariat,) disregard for national borders, sovereignty and national differences.  Nazi indoctrination was quite the opposite, albeit methods remained quite the same: it was focused on force-feeding people’s minds with a strong sense of national and military pride, hatred for other people, their language and morays, and establishment of the New World Order, in which the New Dominant Germany would rule, controlling vast territories of the entire Europe and major parts of Asia. Where was the truth? – The truth was in survival, accomplished by not asking unwanted questions, by taking the official propaganda for gospel or pretending to do so.

 

Anti-intellectualism was a way to divide and conquer, then breed a new kind of German citizen: an obedient, ruthless soldier, ready and willing to commit unspeakable crimes. Hitler and the Nazi party leaders knew that the lofty goals of creating the Thousand Year Reich with a vastly expanded territory could only be realized by controlling Germany’s youth. The Youth had its job cut out for them: millions of people to kill and tens of thousands of cities, towns and villages to ruin and burn down to the ground.

 

                                                                 

 


All rights reserved ● Copyright ©  2011, Eric Ross, Ph.D.

 



[1] Faculty Corner; The Courier, December 12, 1952; Dr. Carroll Quigley of the School of Foreign Service on German Occupation of Czechoslovakia

http://www.carrollquigley.net/misc/Quigley_explains_how_Germany_conquered_Czechoslovakia.htm

 

[2] Echoes from the killing fields of the east; by Timothy Snyder; guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 28 September 2010; http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/sep/27/secondworldwar-poland

 

[3] Molotov Ribbentrop pact. Full text. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1939pact.html

[4] Concise statistical year-book of Poland, Polish Ministry of Information. London June 1941 P.9 - 10

[5] Prison Brief for United States of America. http://www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/wpb_country.php?country=190

U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics; http://www.kcl.ac.uk/depsta/law/research/icps/worldbrief/wpb_country.php?country=190

 

[6] Wrobel, Piotr, (1999), The Devil's Playground: Poland in World War II. The Canadian Foundation for Polish Studies of the Polish Institute of Arts & Sciences. Price-Patterson Ltd.

http://www.projectinposterum.org/docs/wrobel1.htm

 

[7]  A dangerous Nazi-Soviet equivalence;  By Efraim Zuroff;  guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 29 September 2010; http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/sep/29/secondworldwar-holocaust

 

[8] Efraim Zuroff (Id).

[9] Body Count: Timothy Snyder Strips the Holocaust of Theory; By Christopher Glazek, 11/02/10;

New York Observer;

http://www.observer.com/2010/culture/body-count-timothy-snyder-strips-holocaust-theory

 

 

[10] Stalin and his Hangmen. Donald Rayfield. ISBN 0-375-75771-6

[11] Stalin and his Hangmen. Donald Rayfield.