Was Russia the savior or the demise of Earth in WWII?
The Soviet Union was born 100 years ago in 1922. (How and will modern day Russia at all is going to remind us of the centenary?) Stalin took over in 1924 and introduced suppression of all political opposition and a command economy. The new empire became a tyranny and had been called a communist regime since its existence until its collapse in the 1980s early 1990s. In this essay we are going to examine the role the soviets played before and during WWII. First, no matter how ‘hard’ they tried, they failed to form an anti-fascist coalition at the dawn of WWII and at the outbreak of it they started occupying the Baltic states after invading Poland. Let us take a closer look of this brutal conflict that cost the lives of tens of millions and the aftermath of it.
Facts: Russia lost 20 million + people (warriors, and civilians alike) in – as they have been calling it – the Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany. Their cities, villages, infrastructure, livestock, were destroyed so heavy that it took them several years to recover. More soldiers – both German and Soviet – lost their lives in the Eastern Front than anywhere else in the bloodshed. The Soviet Union liberated Eastern Europe. They also occupied it. They won the war as member of the so-called Allies. They started the same war alongside with Germany in 1939 September overrunning and occupying Poland. They agreed on the invasion with Nazi Germany and acted accordingly. They partitioned Poland way before in the 18th century three times together with Prussia and the Habsburg Empire – one can say they were ready and experienced. They slaughtered thousands of Polish officers. They raped millions of women and girls in Eastern and Central Europe. They let the Nazis slaughter Polish resistance members during the Warsaw uprising – although they could have intervened. They did not care much for the life of their own people either.
Questions: Could have Russia prevented the escalation of WWII (in Europe) and shorten it by some times by not signing the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact? Could have they prevented the ugly disaster being the ugliest ever by being prepared and getting ready for Nazi Germany along their borders from 1939 September? (They almost had two years – instead, they were busy fighting another aggressive war against the Finnish and occupying Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia). Did they let Hitler take his time to plan Barbarossa? Did they know about it? If they did not, why were they so miscalculating and stupid? Why not read the Mein Kampf? (Lebensraum – ring a bell?). If they knew, why on Earth did they let the Nazis take a relatively small portion of their empire knowingly and willingly sacrificing the millions of their own folks?
Answers and arguments: Let us suppose that the leadership of the evil communist empire knowingly and willingly let the Nazis take a relatively small portion of the biggest country in the world sacrificing the millions of their own folks. We at this point do not focus on the other questions raised. Let us suppose that Stalin knew about the planning of Operation Barbarossa. Let us suppose that they calculated and foresaw the following correctly: we, the soviets let them, the Germans attack us and would stop and counterattack them taking advantage of our enormously vast hinterland relying on the goodwill of the honest Americans (Land-Lease). We beat the Germans using our war machinery, endless flow of manpower and the American aid and try to seize as much of Europe as it is humanly possible. We would disguise ourselves as liberators but when the world realizes that we are occupiers, it would be way too late to stop us. We will establish an empire so big and strong that nobody dares to attack, and we will recreate the once great empire of the czars. You may say: ‘if you believe in this nonsense: why not attack Germany and fight there instead of letting them take the war to Russia?’ I might say this to you: a) you are an aggressor in this case (what you are anyways anyhow but in disguise) and you want to look like a positive hero b) you would lose that war. The Russki Land is several times bigger with three times more bodies than your enemy’s country. The enemy is a potential empire called Third Reich what you also want to be: a giant empire, powerful and merciless even towards the brainwashed (as it almost always the case when it comes to a tyranny) citizens of the (your) nation or (not your) nations you control in your empire. You cannot let that happen that they are the ones, you want to be the superpower so you must beat them. You must eliminate the Nazis not because of their ideology, yours is almost just as bad as theirs. How to achieve this goal? Well, there is an opportunity, the Nazis want to conquer so you have to just wait for the right moment and fight them, but instead of visiting their country with your tanks and with a long (re)supply line, the disadvantage of the 1 to 3 ratio that favors the defender in a war, invite them to your country with their tanks – if they are stupid enough to make the mistake – and let them suffer the consequences of attrition, the mother winter (Napoleon set the example) all the disadvantages an attacker usually has. After the complete exhaustion of your attacker, you counterattack. You storm their country, Germany and take it for good. That is one part of the plan the other big junk of it is to let everyone believe that you were attacked, and you had no idea about it, and you had the right to strike back. This part of the plan has to remain a secret forever misleading the people who you will occupy make them believe that you saved them. SMART. EVIL. This is what you may call a fantasy and that is what I call “The Masterplan to Conquer the World”, or at least a big part of it.
When you build a tyranny (it does not matter if one call it communism or Nazism or Czarism – these are just names), you need the following elements: a strong leader or at least a person that looks strong enough and you turn that person into God. God does not have (not visible nonetheless) wife and children, he is the father of everyone and will protect the people of his empire against enemies. If you do not have one, you will invent one or two or as many as you can handle. You make everyone believe that that enemy can be beaten by you as the dictator alone. You make your followers believe that your political opponents are evil, and you dehumanize them. You control the media and keep repeating your lies louder and louder. The more you repeat the more one can believe in it. Those who oppose you: you frighten them and most of all their beloved ones. If there is still opposition, you destroy them. You need supporters who you would buy. Not too many but a lot of privileges. You need allies abroad as well. Real of fabricated ones. These “friends” are just like you. Do you have to believe in the actual ideology you are dressing your regime up with? Not really but it can be a guideline for those who are ready to follow you. Again, it does not matter what the name of the system is, the point is dictatorship and creating illusion for your followers. The illusion that your regime is better than this and that or even the best and everyone should appreciate what the leader is doing for them working hard and protecting and making the country, nation, empire, gang, party the most powerful in the world. There are folks out there who are happy to join such a gang feeling themselves powerful, too. Back to the masterplan: our fellow dictator (Hitler) is stupid enough not to listen to his military advisors and ready to attack a country that would destroy them so why not make them believe that we do not know anything about their plan (Barbarossa). Create the illusion. This time for the entire world. Us, poor soviets are under attack. We develop positive feelings towards us and surfing on these waves, the waves of other peoples thinking they suffered a lot and sacrificed a lot and protected us: they deserve what they occupy and will have the right to possess those lands in the future forever; to have their own hemisphere – what the hell. Even a dictatorship needs some legal base, something that you can build of empire on. In this case, Russia saved the world, sacrificed the most and liberated several countries and concentration camps so she has the right – all the right in the universe – to remain big and powerful and a hero. In WWII already there were some geniuses (Gen. Patton) who sensed or knew what was going on and wanted to punish and destroy or at least push the communist monster back even with the help of the surviving Nazi troops. The general lost his life in 1945. In a car accident. Back to the motives: the more stable the legal base for you being a superpower the easier it is going to a) govern and keep the people in your stable of mad horses b) make the rest of the world accept if for a while. Intimidation of the folks in East and Central Europe was successful enough: even today there are people (mainly the elderly) who are supportive or at least understanding when Russia is involved. Their reasoning: the Russian have the right because … hmmm because …
It is hard to articulate the why but somehow it is a fixation that they have the right. As someone who was raised behind the Iron Curtain, I try to examine the why. We were taught in the school, and we were told in movies that the Soviet Union was the savior of the world and they liberated us. What we were not taught: the Pact with the Nazis, Katyn, the raping of millions of our mothers and grandmothers, the looting, the vicious sacrifice of their own soldiers (to take one German out of the game they needed nine of their own) and – if it did indeed exist – their Masterplan.
Conclusion: In my opinion (that is not a fact) Russia did not save the world but quite the opposite: they started WWII (fact) and let the Germans attack them (opinion) so they could disguise their plan to occupy half of Europe as their right prize. They planted a seed so evil and secret that it grew to be the tree of illusion and excuse creating a false reality, their truth, that is indeed just an illusion. This is an opinion that I cannot prove with any evidence, so I just repeat the truth: they started the war and the finish it as a victor. They liberated Eastern and Central Europe and occupied it as well. People in this region (including myself) were told and taught for many decades that the soviets were liberators. Now, there are scholars who say that they were occupiers. There are some others who say that they were both. Opinions. My grandmothers had never told me that they were raped which doesn’t mean the y were not. My grandfather had never told me what really happened to him during his three years in captivity in Siberia as a POW. One last opinion: if I had to choose between the two isms: Nazism and communism, if I had to choose between Nazi Germany and communist Russia, I would choose the latter as the still less evil than the first. I think. Fact: The Western Powers chose Stalin. Churchill once said: "If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favorable reference of the Devil in the House of Commons." The Hell is still hell, and the Devil is still devil. We, human beings have been being tested all over again and again since our creation or when reached the point in our evolution when we realized who we are. The test: can we respect the other human as human, or we cannot resist to dehumanize. Can we understand that the ultimate power turns us into devils? Having more that you can manage, eat, drink etc. will create an illusion. The illusion of you being better and bigger that all the other humans around you. We have fallen victims of such people for thousands of years. There were periods of lights when some brave men and women realized again and again that it is better to grant limited power to a leader or full power for a limited time and in this case the Devil will stay in Hell and will not bring hell to Earth. If you can establish this concept what the Greek folks in Athens called democracy, if you can keep ordinary people from becoming evil by limiting their time or/and power as leaders then they will not transform into lunatics like Hitler or Stalin. Okay, maybe these two had already been lunatics by the time they became leaders of their realms. Since their time the mistake has been made several times all over the world, the mistake or weakness or carelessness to let similar personal act in similar ways. Maybe we need the devil sometimes so we know what hell might look like when leaving this world behind for good…
The author was born and lived the first twenty years of his life in a communist country and became a devoted historian who taught history in different countries for different audiences and has led and guided WWI and WWII battlefield tours in Europe for decades.