Communist Party of Australia

We acknowledge the Sovereignty of the First Nations’ Peoples.

Home


The Guardian

Current Issue

PDF Archive

Web Archive

Subscribe

Press Fund


CPA

About Us

Why you should ...

CPA introduction

CPA Policies

CPA statements

Contact Us

facebook, twitter


Major Issues

Indigenous

Unions

Health

Housing

Climate Change

Peace

Solidarity/Other


What's On

Resources

AMR

Links


Shop@CPA

Books, T-shirts, CDs/DVDs, Badges, Misc


 

Issue #1922      July 6, 2020

Don’t let the victors warp history!

It is expressed often and in various words that our understanding of history forms, to a large extent, our understanding of the present and future. Often enough to sound trite; yet the fact does not cease to be true.

American and Russian troops converged at the Elbe River in Germany.

All things exist in constant motion and change, and nations and their societies, and the lives of the people of which they are comprised, are no exception. Just as with the motion of a body through space, we cannot foresee its trajectory from a static snapshot of the present; we must see its motion over time, and so derive an understanding of the forces acting upon (and within) it.

Thus for those who seek to falsify the present and future, it is also necessary to falsify the past.

The history of the Second World War has become a particularly significant area of struggle over interpretations, reinterpretations, and historical revisionism.

The legacy of this war continues to shape our world today: it led to the formation of the UN, where the five countries with permanent seats and veto power on the Security Council remain the five victorious powers of the war.

The first protracted campaign of distortion of the historical facts of the war began not long after the war had ended. The US had already begun planning its new offensive against the Soviet Union, which would dominate world events for four decades. The high esteem in which the Soviet Union and its leadership were held at the time was an inconvenience that they had to somehow overcome.

Masses of people around the world, including in Australia, saw the Soviet Red Army and Stalin’s leadership as the main force which won the horrific war against fascism seventy-five years ago. The Communist Party of Australia surged in membership, as did dozens of fraternal parties around the world, and many new socialist states were established.

Several facts were still in living memory, and the many subsequent decades of imperialist propaganda obscuring or negating them had not yet had the full effect they have had by now:

The root cause of the war was undeniably fascism itself, a social formation and corresponding political doctrine which can only lead to the most extreme level of hostility and aggressive expansion.

Although events external to fascism itself must be understood as most secondary causes, one of the main external events which set up the conditions for the war was the “Munich Betrayal” – the cowardly approval by Britain and France of Germany’s (as well as subsequently, Poland’s and Hungary’s) annexation of parts of Czechoslovakia. This agreement was made without Czechoslovakia’s input, and strongly denounced by the Soviet Union.

The Soviet Union and communists around the world vocally warned of the dangers of fascism, and gave a scientific analysis of it. Meanwhile, capitalists and aristocrats, their governments, and the Catholic Church among others, were mostly ambivalent or outright supportive of fascism.

The Soviet government, knowing that Nazi Germany was planning war against them, made many attempts to secure military pacts with Britain and France against Germany. Those powers however, also expected such a war to take place, and desired it in order to weaken or destroy the Soviet Union, which they saw as a greater enemy than fascism. As such, the Soviet Union was forced to negotiate a non-aggression pact with Germany in order to buy more time to prepare for the war.

Over two weeks after the German invasion of Poland, once the Polish government effectively ceased to exist, the Red Army advanced into the now ungoverned land in order to push back against further Nazi expansion.

The heroic victory by Soviet forces at Stalingrad turned the tide of the war against Nazi fascism, which after two further years of struggle culminated in the Soviet capture of Berlin and final defeat of Nazi rule. The Red Army was then freed up to join the struggle to expel the Japanese fascists from China and Korea, and in cooperation with local forces was able to quickly overwhelm the Japanese invaders. The ease with which the entrance of Soviet forces ensured the defeat of the now friendless Japanese military made their surrender inevitable, with or without the US’ decision to drop two nuclear bombs on Japan and kill hundreds of thousands of civilians.

The US, however, quickly set about promoting a narrative in which they were the main heroes, and their act of nuclear mass murder was both necessary and sufficient to end the war. This version has now become “common knowledge” in much of the Western world including Australia, under the influence of decades of anti-communist government and media, and American films.

This story is combined with the anti-communist trope of the supposed moral equivalency of fascism and communism, and the vital role that the Soviet Union played in liberating the world from fascism is ignored or negated.

In more recent times, the EU has been playing a major role in furthering this distortion of the history of the war. Last year, the EU parliament passed a resolution claiming the war “was caused by the notorious Nazi-Soviet Treaty of Non-Aggression of 23 August 1939,” and portrayed the two countries with diametrically opposite systems and ruling ideologies as equivalent. The resolution also attacked the modern-day Russian government for disagreeing with this supposed truth, and claimed that the Russian government is “currently promoting the view that Poland, the Baltic States and the West are the true instigators of WW2”.

It seems the EU is now unable to perceive the possibility of any interpretation which places the overwhelming bulk of blame squarely on Nazi Germany itself!

The resolution was particularly pushed by the far-right Polish government, which has also passed legislation at home criminalising the act of acknowledging any Polish complicity in Nazi crimes. This is despite a wealth of evidence that there was widespread complicity by many Polish individuals as well as organised groups in the Holocaust, including by groups and figures now regarded as heroes in Poland for their status as anti-communist militants. The murderous anti-semitism of many of these right-wing thugs is whitewashed and even made illegal to mention. Even the Israeli regime, which is often content to go along with anti-communist narratives concocted by European anti-semites, protested these moves by the Polish government (as well as similar ones by Ukraine) as constituting a form of Holocaust denial.

This makes the allegations the Polish government spreads about Russia being the main distorter of the history of the war even more unforgivable.

Attacks on truth were a persistent feature of the old cold war, and as the Western powers increasingly treat the present as a new cold war, they are again ramping up. With the recent attacks by the Australian government on democratic and press freedoms as well as the entire education system, we must be extremely wary of rewrites of history, both imported and home-grown.

The truth is immortal: the heroic struggle and immense sacrifices by the Soviet people to liberate the world from fascism leave us forever in their debt.

Next article – “End the silence” over Britain’s torture of Julian Assange

Back to index page

Go to What's On Go to Shop at CPA Go to Australian Marxist Review Go to Join the CPA Go to Subscribe to the Guardian Go to the CPA Maritime Branch website Go to the Resources section of our web site Go to the PDF of the Hot Earth booklet go to the World Federation of Trade Unions web site go to the Solidnet  web site Go to Find out more about the CPA