As we approach the 80th anniversary since the beginning of World War II, the U.S. media begins to hype up another round of its Russophobic campaign. The goal is to equally split the blame for the global catastrophe between Hitler’s Germany and the Soviet Union, at the same time casting a shadow on modern Russia.
Most noticeable was The Washington Times that published two articles of similar content over the recent days — “Whitewashing Culpability” by Herman Pirchner Jr. (August 14) and “Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact: a Bad Deal, 80 Years Ago” by Victor Davis Hanson (August 15). Both authors almost accuse Moscow of “allying” with the Nazis during pre-war times.
It is puzzling that the said “experts,” who dwell on the triggers that started World War II, fully ignore the events that took place before Aug. 23, 1939 when the German-Soviet Nonaggression pact was signed. It is clear that these are attempts to whitewash the cynical “appeasement” policy shown by Western democracies toward Hitler in order to redirect his aggression to the East — against the Soviet Union.
The authors fail to mention the infamous Munich agreement of 1938, when the leaders of France and Germany “greenlit” Nazi plans to tear apart the sovereign state of Czechoslovakia. Back then the Soviet government openly showed support to Prague. In accordance with existent agreements we proposed providing military assistance to Czechoslovakia, should Hitler attack it. However, the said initiative was not set in motion — mostly due to Poland’s actions — it denied passage of the Red Army through its territory.
Moreover, Warsaw actively took part in the breakup of Czechoslovakia by annexing Cieszyn Silesia. The Soviet Union strongly condemned the actions of the Third Reich, it refused to recognize the annexation of Czechoslovakia, prioritizing reaching an agreement with London and Paris.
Until the very last moment the USSR did not give up its attempts to establish a dialogue with Great Britain and France in order to stand up against Nazi Germany together. A proof to that are trilateral British-French-Soviet negotiations, which lasted until late August, 1939. Although in reality the Western countries derailed the process in an attempt to minimize their obligations should Hitler attack the USSR.
Moreover, London conducted secret negotiations with Berlin. German Minister of aviation Hermann Goring (Hitler’s closest associate) was planning to visit Great Britain on August 22-23.
In said conditions, signing a non-aggression pact with Germany became a harsh necessity for the Soviet Union — a mandatory and immensely hard decision. It was made due to fruitless negotiations with Great Britain and France and a threat of fighting a war on two fronts, considering the ongoing battles against the Japanese army on the Khalkhyn Gol river.
All the more “fantastic” are attempts of the authors to belittle the decisive role of the Soviet nation in the defeat of the Nazis. There is no doubt that the victory was achieved through joint efforts of the anti-Hitler coalition allies. However, it also cannot be denied, that by the summer of 1944 the outcome of the war was predetermined by the Red Army’s victories in the battles of Stalingrad and Kursk, in which the Germans lost over 2 million soldiers.
The aid received by the Soviet Union from Western countries during the war through the Lend-Lease Act became an important contribution to the fight against the Nazi invaders. Russia remembers the assistance, and our gratitude was voiced by President Vladimir Putin on many occasions. However, according to statistics, the volume of goods received by the Soviet Union during the war years amassed to less than 5 percent of overall volumes of military production of our country over that period.
In 2020 we will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the victory over the greatest threat of the 20th century — Nazism and its hateful ideology. That triumph would not be possible without cooperation of a large number of states, including the USSR and the United States. Up until today it serves as a reminder that only through joint efforts can we resolve modern global conflicts. Attempts to portray the Soviet Union as the “initiator” of World War II defiles the sacred memory of millions of Soviet people, whose heroic deeds saved European countries from Nazi occupation.
• Nikolay Lakhonin is the press secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation.