Around 1990, a Soviet military-intelligence defector, writing under the name Viktor Suvorov, copyrighted a book alleging that Stalin was chiefly responsible for World War II. The book’s title was “Icebreaker: Who Started the Second World War?”
Suvorov began the book by noting that the official word out of the Kremlin on Sept. 18, 1939, was that Poland had started the war. On Nov. 30, 1939, Stalin wrote in Pravda that “France and Britain … attacked Germany, thereby taking upon themselves responsibility for the present war.” On May 5, 1941, in a secret speech to graduating Soviet military cadets, Stalin laid the responsibility for war on Germany. When the war was over Stalin went even further, laying the blame on the entire capitalist world.
Was capitalism responsible for the bloodiest conflict in history?
“I would like to suggest,” wrote Suvorov, “that the Soviet communists made accusations against every country in the world with the deliberate intention of concealing their own role as instigators.”
Diverting attention from one’s own surreptitious activities is often necessary in cases like this. But there is more to it. Communist theory, based on the writings of Marx and Lenin, has long claimed that modern wars are caused by capitalism. After World War II, the scholars of the Soviet Union, especially the authors of official military textbooks, tirelessly predicted that a future nuclear world war would be caused by the “aggressive and militarist” tendencies of capitalism.
If you believe in Marxism-Leninism, if your thinking has been influenced by disguised communist propaganda, you will probably agree with the view that capitalism was at fault in previous wars. You will also expect capitalism to be at fault in future wars. Communists often assert that capitalist countries are inherently aggressive and imperialistic. Being lovers of peace and progress, the communists want to overthrow capitalism in order to free humanity from war and poverty. At least, that’s how the communists justify their own crimes against humanity – which are the greatest crimes of all.
These well-meaning killers from the left, seeking humanity through inhuman expedients, wrap themselves in self-righteous rhetoric. They point to the “failed” institutions of the past. They attack the church, the middle class, the nation state and the United States. All blame belongs with these, say the Marxists.
But who really caused the last world war? After 1918, the capitalist countries sought disarmament. They made pacts to eliminate arms and to reduce the size of the world’s armies and navies.
But the world’s only communist country of the time, the Soviet Union, followed another course. While the capitalist world shrank from the irrational horrors of the First World War, the communists in Russia were preparing for an even greater world war. Even before Hitler emerged in Germany, Stalin was inviting German military officers to Russia. Stalin wanted to strengthen Germany’s desire for revenge. He wanted to help Germany onto its feet. German officers were given access to Soviet tank factories. They were trained on Soviet artillery ranges. According to GRU defector Suvorov, “Stalin revived the strike power of German militarism.”
But for what purpose?
Stalin wanted to trigger a Second World War. He wanted Germany to unleash a new war on Europe. “Once the fascists had come to power,” wrote Suvorov, ” Stalin persistently and doggedly pushed towards war. The high point of these efforts was the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.”
This was the pact that unleashed war upon Europe in 1939. This pact partitioned Poland between Germany and Russia. This pact was Stalin’s dirty trick – played on everyone. Stalin had previously led the allies to believe he would work with them. Suddenly he turned to make a deal with Hitler. Let us split Poland between us, he offered. The stupid Western allies would not dare oppose both Germany and Russia.
Hitler grabbed at the opportunity. But it was a trap.
The Nazis invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, but Stalin’s troops were tardy. The Germans would consequently do most of the fighting. The allies would consequently declare war on Germany. Only after the Germans had suffered all the casualties and the diplomatic consequences did Russia move in and take their portion of Poland and the Baltic States. Stalin ordered his forces to invade Poland on Sept. 18.
It seems that Hitler was maneuvered by Stalin into a war with France and England. “Even before the Nazis came to power,” wrote Suvorov, “the Soviet leaders had given Hitler the unofficial name of ‘Icebreaker for the Revolution.’”
The Soviet plan was simple. Suvorov quotes the very words of Stalin, who wrote: “A great deal depends upon whether we succeed in delaying the war, which is unavoidable, with the capitalist world, until the moment when the capitalists start fighting among themselves.”
In another place Stalin wrote: “The decisive battle can be considered imminent when all the class forces hostile to us have become sufficiently entangled with each other, when they are fighting sufficiently with each other, and when they have weakened each other sufficiently for the conflict to be beyond their strength.” Hitler was the man who could bring about this situation.
But Stalin did not foresee the efficiency of the German blitzkrieg. He had no idea that one country after another would fall to the Germans so easily. As Stalin was gathering the largest army on the planet, as he was mobilizing to attack Hitler, the blitzkrieg caught him suddenly on 22 June 1941. It is now known that Stalin possessed more (and superior) tanks than the Germans. Stalin had more infantry, more artillery, more military production and better military intelligence. But the blitzkrieg method could devour whole armies and overrun factories. The Russian forces lacked Germany’s “administrative speed.” Stalin’s overall scheme for triggering the war was brilliant, but in 1941 it backfired on him.
Enter “The Venona Secrets.”
The survival of the Soviet Union in 1941 depended on a number of factors. One factor was the relationship of Japan to the United States. In 1941, Japan might have joined with Hitler in attacking the Soviet Union. In that case the Soviet Union would have been crushed in a two-fronted war. But Stalin’s strategy was not only to trigger war between Russia’s enemies in Europe, but to trigger war between Russia’s enemies in the Pacfiic.
According to a recently published book, “The Venona Secrets,” by Herbert Romerstein and Eric Breindel, Soviet agents within the administration of President Franklin Roosevelt were used to influence American policy toward Japan. The Soviet strategists dubbed this as “Operation Snow.” In May 1941, Harry Dexter White, a Soviet influence agent in the Treasury Department, was asked to promote the idea of an ultimatum against Japan over its aggression in China. Other influence agents joined in the chorus. Lauchlin Currie, another Soviet agent, taunted his government colleagues with the claim that the U.S. State Department was going to sell China “down the river.”
A network of agents, properly coordinated, can plant thoughts and promote disinformation or create a mood. By hammering away at a theme in private conversations with colleagues, agents of influence can direct the government’s attention, build its animosity and even shape its policies.
Harry Dexter White’s hard-line advice on Japan was passed from the Treasury Department to the White House to the State Department. This advice ultimately came from Stalin.
According to Romerstein and Breindel, the very words of Stalin’s agent were used by U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull in his final ultimatum to the Japanese on Nov. 26, 1941. Just as Hitler had been pushed into war with France and Britain, America was pushed into a war with Japan.
As we look at the world today we see there are many potential “Icebreakers for the Revolution.” In the Middle East, we find more than one Arab Hitler. Is it any wonder, given the history of Kremlin policy, that Russia and China continue to provide the Hitlers of the Islamic world with nuclear and ballistic missile technology? Is it any wonder that one of Yasser Arafat’s favorite places to stop is Moscow – that Arafat wants Russia to be “more involved” in the Middle East?
If not for the Kremlin, there would have been no Saddam Hussein or Arafat – as we have come to know them. There would be no massive military buildup in North Korea, no acceleration of Chinese military power, no NATO involvement in the Balkans, etc.
The past is the key to the future. The same forces that engineered the Second World War may be engineering a third. What we see today is highly suggestive.