At the end of January the State Department of the United States of America in collaboration with the British and French Foreign Offices published a collection of reports and diary records of Hitlerite diplomatic officials under the mysterious title: "Nazi-Soviet Relations, 1939-1941."
We learn from the preface to the collection that as early as the summer of 1946 the Governments of the USA, Great Britain, and France agreed among themselves to publish materials from the archives of the German Foreign Office, covering the period 1918-1945, seized in Germany by the American and British military authorities. It is noteworthy that the published collection contains materials relating only to the period 1939-1941, while materials relating to the preceding years, and in particular to the Munich period, have not been included by the US State Department, and have thus been concealed from the world public. This, of course, is not accidental, but was done with a purpose which is quite alien to an objective and honest treatment of historical truth.
In order somehow to justify in the eyes of public opinion this unilateral publication of a collection of unverified and arbitrarily chosen records made by Hitlerite officials, the British and American press fabricated and circulated the explanation that "the Russians had rejected the proposal of the West to publish jointly a full account of Nazi diplomacy."
This statement of the British and American circles does not correspond to the facts.
The real facts are as follows. In connection with reports that appeared in the foreign press in the summer of 1945 to the effect that preparations
had been initiated in England for the publication of documents captured in Germany, the Soviet Government approached the Government of Great Britain insisting that Soviet experts participate in a joint examination of the German documents captured by the British and American troops. The Soviet Government held that publication of such documents without common consent was inadmissible and that it could not, moreover, assume responsibility for the publication of the documents without a careful and objective verification; for unless these elementary conditions were observed, the publication of the materials in question could only harm relations between the states belonging to the anti-Hitlerite coalition. The British Foreign Office, however, declined the Soviet proposal, on the grounds that the question of exchanging copies of the captured Hitlerite documents, raised by the Soviet Government, was premature.
It is likewise known that on September 6, 1945, the American delegation to the Political Directorate of the Control Council in Germany submitted a draft directive on the handling of the German archives and documents. This draft provided for the institution of a uniform procedure for collecting and keeping archives all over Germany and for the right of representatives of member-states of the United Nations to have access to them. It also provided for the possibility of copies being made of the documents and published. This proposal was examined at four meetings of the Political Directorate, but its further examination was postponed at the request of the British and the Americans on the plea that they had no instruction; subsequently, after the American representative had stated that the Government of the USA was preparing a new proposal and requested that the submitted draft be invalidated, the question was withdrawn from the agenda of the Political Directorate.
Thus the allegation that the Soviet Government refused to take part in preparing the publication of the German archive materials is false.
Simultaneously with the publications of the above-mentioned collection, and as though by the wave of a magic wand, a fresh campaign of unrestrained vilification and slander was started in the United States and the countries dependent on it in connection with the non-aggression pact concluded between the USSR and Germany in 1939, which it is alleged was directed against the Western Powers.
Thus there can be no doubt as to the true purpose for which the collection of documents on the relations between the USSR and Germany in the period 1939-1941 was published in the USA. The purpose was not to give an objective account of historical developments, but to present a distorted picture of events, to heap slanders on the Soviet Union and to undermine the international influence it enjoys as a staunch and genuinely democratic fighter against aggressive and anti-democratic forces.
This treacherous behavior is in conformity with the views on inter-allied relations which are typical of the ruling circles
of the Anglo-American countries, and the substance of which is that, instead of honest and sincere relations between allies, instead of mutual confidence and support, a policy is pursued of using every means, down to and including slander, for the purpose of weakening one's ally, exploiting him in one's own narrow and selfish interest and strengthening one's own position at his expense.
Nor must one lose sight of the fact that the ruling circles of the USA are endeavoring by their campaign of slander against the USSR to undermine the influence of the progressive elements in their own countries who advocate improvement of relations with the USSR. This blow at the progressive elements in the USA is undoubtedly designed to weaken their influence in view of the presidential elections to be held in the autumn of this year.
The collection is crammed with documents concocted by Hitlerite diplomatic officials in the seclusion of German diplomatic chancelleries. This fact alone should have acted as a restraint against the unilateral use and publication of documents which by their nature are one-sided and tendentious, recount events from the standpoint of the Hitler government and are intended to present these events in a light that would be favorable to the Hitlerites. It was precisely for this reason that the Soviet Government was opposed to the unilateral publication of the captured German documents without a preliminary thorough and joint verification. Even the French Government news agency France Presse had to admit that the manner of publication of the materials made public by the three Governments without the knowledge of the Soviet Union "is not quite in accord with normal diplomatic procedure."
Nevertheless, the British Government did not agree with this. The American, British, and French Governments have taken the step of unilaterally publishing the German documents and have not stopped at falsifying history in their attempt to slander the Soviet Union, which bore the main brunt of the struggle against the Hitlerite aggression.
By doing so, these Governments have assumed the full responsibility for the consequences of this unilateral action.
In view of this, the Soviet Government feels itself entitled, on its part, to make public the secret documents concerning the relations between Hitler Germany and the Governments of Great Britain, France and the USA which fell into its hands, and which the above three Governments have concealed from the public. They have concealed these documents; they do not want to publish them. But we believe that, after all that has taken place, these documents should be made public so that historical truth may be re-established. The Soviet Government possesses important documents captured by the Soviet troops at the time of the defeat of Hitler Germany, the publication of which will help to throw true light on the origin and development of Hitler's aggression and the second world war.
This too, is the purpose of this historical survey, Falsifiers of History, published by the Soviet Information Bureau of the Council of Ministers of the USSR.
The secret documents pertaining to this subject will be published shortly.
How the Preparations for German Aggression Began
The American falsifiers and their British and French abettors are trying to create the impression that the preparations for German aggression which developed into the second world war began in the autumn of 1939. But who nowadays save the most naive, that are prepared to believe any sensational fabrication, will swallow this? Who does not know that Germany began preparing for war immediately after Hitler's advent to power? Who does not know, moreover, that the Hitler regime was set up by the German monopolists with the full approval of the ruling camp in Britain, France and the United States?
In order to prepare for war and to provide herself with up-to-date armaments, Germany had to restore and develop her heavy industry and, first and foremost, the metallurgical and war industries of the Ruhr. After her defeat in the first imperialist war, and weighed down by the yoke of the Versailles Treaty, Germany could not have accomplished this in a short space of time with her own unaided resources. German imperialism received powerful aid from the United States.
Who does not know that in the post-Versailles period American banks and trusts, with the full consent of their Government, made investments in German economy and granted Germany credits running into billions of dollars which were spent on the reconstruction and development of her war-industrial potential?
It is general knowledge that in the post-Versailles period a whole series of measures were taken to reconstruct Germany's heavy industry and, in particular, her war-industrial potential. Immense assistance was rendered in this by the Dawes Reparations Plan, by means of which the USA and Great Britain planned to make German industry dependent upon American and British monopolies. The Dawes Plan cleared the way for a powerful influx and infiltration of foreign, chiefly American, capital into German industry. As a result, already in 1925, the German economy began to expand, consequent upon an intensive process of re-equipment of her production facilities. At the same time, her exports rose sharply and by 1927 reached the level of 1913, while in the case of finished goods they even surpassed that level by 12 percent (at 1913 prices). In the six years 1924-1929, the influx of foreign capital into Germany totaled more than 10-15 billion Reichmarks in long-term investments and more than 6 billion Reichmarks in short-term investments. According to some authorities, the volume of capital investments was considerably higher. This led to a colossal growth of Germany's economic, and in particular, her war potential. American investments played the leading part, amounting to no less than 70 percent of the total long-term loans.
The role played by the American monopolies headed by the DuPont, Morgan, Rockefeller, Lamont and other industrial baronial families, in financing German heavy industry and establishing the closest ties between American and German industry is well known. The leading American monopolies proved to be most closely connected with German heavy industrial, war-industrial and banking concerns. DuPont de Nemours, the leading American chemical concern which was one of the biggest shareholders in General Motors, and the British Imperial Chemical Industries, maintained close industrial relations with the German chemical concern I.G. Farben, with which in 1926 they concluded a cartel agreement for the division of the world powder market. Before the war the President of Rohm and Haas, Philadelphia (USA), was a partner of the head of the same company in Darmstadt (Germany). Incidentally, the former director of this concern, Rudolf Muller, is now active in Bizonia and plays an important part in the leading circles of the Christian Democratic Union. Schmitz, a German capitalist, President of I.G. Farben and a member of the board of the Deutsche Bank, controlled the General Dyestuffs Corporation, an American firm, during the period from 1931 to 1939. After the Munich conference (1938), American Standard Oil signed a contract with I.G. Farben, under which the latter was given a share in the profits from the production of aviation petrol in the United States, and in return willingly ceased exporting from Germany its own synthetic petrol which Germany was storing up for war needs.
Such connections are not typical of the American capitalist monopolies alone. Extremely close economic relations, of not only commercial but also military importance, existed on the outbreak of the war between the Federation of British Industries and the German-Reichs Industrie group. In 1939, representatives of these two monopolist associations issued a joint statement in Dusseldorf which said in part that the purpose of the agreement was to "insure the fullest possible cooperation between the industrial systems of their respective countries." And this was at the time when Hitler Germany had swallowed Czechoslovakia! No wonder the London Economist wrote in this connection: "Is not there something in the Dusseldorf air that makes reasonable men lose their senses?(1).
The Schroder Bank, in which a leading part was played by the German steel trust Vereinigte Stahlwerke, organized by Stinnes, Thyssen and other captains of the Ruhr industry with headquarters in New York and London, furnishes a typical example of the close interlocking of American and German, as well as British capital. Allen Dulles, director of the I. Henry Schroder Banking Corporation in New York, which represented the Schroder interests in London, Cologne and Hamburg, played a leading role in the affairs of this bank. The law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, Headed by John Foster Dulles, now Mr. Marshall's chief adviser, and closely connected with the Rockefeller world oil trust Standard Oil as well as with the Chase National, the biggest bank in America, which made enormous investments in German industry, played a leading role in the New York branch of the Schroder Bank.
Richard Sasuly, in a book published in New York in 1947, stresses the fact that no sooner had inflation been checked in Germany in the post-Versailles period and the Reichsmark had gained stability than a regular torrent of foreign loans poured into Germany. Between 1924 and 1930 Germany's foreign debt increased by over 30 billion Reichmarks.
With the help of foreign, chiefly American, capital, German industry especially the Vereinigte Stahlwerke was extensively reconstructed and modernized. Some of the loans were granted directly to the companies which played a leading part in the rearmament(2) .
Dillon, Read and Co., one of the biggest New York banks, of which Forrestal, the present Secretary of Defense, had been a director for a number of years, played a leading part along with the Anglo-German-American Schroder Bank in financing the Vereinigte Stahlwerke in that period (3).
It was this golden rain of American dollars that fertilized the heavy industry of Hitler Germany and, in particular, her war industry. It was the billions of American dollars invested by overseas monopolies in the war economy of Hitler Germany that re-established Germany's war potential and placed in the hands of the Hitler regime the weapons it needed for its aggression.
Relying on this financial support, chiefly of the American monopolies, Germany within a short period re-established a powerful war industry capable of producing enormous quantities of first-rate weapons, many thousands of tanks, planes, guns, naval ships of latest design and other armaments.
All this the falsifiers of history would now like to forget in their desire to evade responsibility for their policy, a policy which supplied Hitler aggression with arms, unleashed the second world war, and led to a military holocaust without parallel in history which took a toll of millions upon millions of human lives.
Therefore, it must not be forgotten that the first and foremost prerequisite of Hitler aggression was provided by the resurrection and modernization of Germanys heavy and war industry, and that this was only made possible by the direct and extensive financial support rendered by the ruling circles of the United States.
But this is not all.
Another factor of decisive importance which helped to unleash the Hitler aggression was the policy of the ruling circles of Britain and France known as the policy of "appeasing" Hitler Germany, the policy of renouncing collective security. It should now be clear to everyone that it was precisely this policy of the British and French ruling circles, their renunciation of collective security, their refusal to resist German aggression, their compliance with Hitler Germany's aggressive demands, that led to the second world war.
Let us turn to the facts.
In 1933, soon after Hitler came to power, as a result of the efforts of the British and French Governments, a Pact of Accord and Cooperation was signed in Rome by four powers - Great Britain, Germany, France and Italy. This pact signified a compact between the British and French Governments and German and Italian fascism, which even at that time did not conceal its aggressive intentions. At the same time the pact with the fascist states signified a renunciation of the policy of strengthening the united front of the peace-loving powers against the aggressive states. By coming to terms with Germany and Italy behind the backs of the other powers taking part in the Disarmament Conference which was at that very time discussing the Soviet proposal for the conclusion of a non-aggression pact and a pact defining an aggressor, Great Britain and France dealt a blow to the cause of peace and security of nations.
Soon after, in 1934, Britain and France helped Hitler to take advantage of the hostile attitude of their allies, the gentry of Poland, toward the USSR, the result of which was the conclusion of the German-Polish non-aggression pact, which was an important stage in the preparation of German aggression. Hitler needed this pact in order to disorganize the ranks of the adherents of collective security and to show, by this pact, that what Europe needed was not collective security but bilateral agreements. This enabled the German aggressor to decide for himself with whom and when to conclude agreements, and whom to attack and when. Beyond any doubt, the German-Polish pact constituted the first serious breach in the edifice of collective security.
Hitler grew bolder and openly took measures to re-establish Germany's armed forces without encountering any opposition on the part of the rulers of Britain and France. On the contrary, soon after, in 1935, a naval agreement between Britain and Germany was concluded in London, where Ribbentrop had arrived for this purpose. Under this agreement Great Britain consented to the restoration of Germany's naval forces to a strength almost equal to that of the French navy. In addition, Hitler obtained the right to build submarines to an aggregate tonnage equal to 45 percent of the British submarine fleet. During the same period Hitler Germany also took unilateral actions aimed at abolishing all other restrictions of the growth of Germany's armed forces which had been imposed by the Treaty of Versailles. These actions encountered no opposition of the part of Britain, France and the United States.
The appetites of the fascist aggressors grew by leaps and bounds, with the manifest acquiescence of the USA, Great Britain and France. It was certainly not accidental that at that time Germany and Italy got away so easily with their armed interventions in Ethiopia and Spain.
The Soviet Union alone consistently and firmly pursued a policy of peace, championing the principles of equality and independence of Ethiopia, which was, moreover, a member of the League of Nations, and the right of the lawful Republican Government in Spain to receive support from the democratic countries against the German and Italian intervention.
"The Soviet Union," said V.M. Molotov at the session of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR on January 10, 1936, in connection with Italy's attack on Ethiopia, "has demonstrated in the League of Nations its fidelity to this principle, the principle of the political independence and national equality of all states, in the case of one of the small countries - Ethiopia. The Soviet Union has also taken advantage of its membership of the League of Nations to put into practice its policy toward an imperialist aggressor" (4).
V.M. Molotov said at that time that "the Italo-Abyssinian war shows that the threat of a world war is growing and is steadily spreading over Europe" (5).
And what were the Governments of the USA, Great Britain and France doing at a time when the fascist bandits were becoming ever more brazen in the treatment of their victims? They did not as much as move a finger to curb the German and Italian aggressors, to defend the outraged rights of nations, to preserve peace and to halt the impending second world war.
The Soviet Union alone was doing everything possible to block the fascist aggressors. The Soviet Union was the initiator and champion of collective security. As early as February 6, 1933, M.M. Litvinov, the Soviet representative in the General Commission of Disarmament, proposed that a declaration be adopted defining aggression and an aggressor. In proposing that a definition be given of an aggressor, the Soviet Union held that it was necessary, in the interests of general security and in order to facilitate agreement on the maximum reduction of armaments, to define the term "aggression" with the utmost possible precision, in order to "forestall every pretext for its justification." This proposal was however declined by the conference, which was acting under the direction of Britain and France in the interest of German aggression.
Everybody knows what a persistent and prolonged struggle was waged by the Soviet Union and by its delegation to the League of Nations, headed by M.M. Litvinov, to maintain and strengthen collective security. Throughout the whole pre-war period the Soviet delegation upheld the principle of collective security in the League of Nations, raising its voice in defense of this principle at practically every session and in practically every commission of the League. It is known, however, that the voice of the Soviet delegation remained a voice crying in the wilderness. The whole world is familiar with the proposals made by the Soviet delegation concerning measures for the strengthening of collective security, proposals which on the instructions of the Soviet Government were addressed to Mr. Avenol, Secretary General of the League of Nations, on August 30, 1936, with the request that they should be discussed by the League. It is also known, however, that these proposals were consigned to the archives of the League of Nations without any action being taken on them.
It was clear that Britain and France, who at the time controlled the League of Nations, rejected collective resistance to German aggression. They rejected collective security because it stood in the way of their newly adopted policy of "appeasing" German aggression, their policy of ceding to Hitler aggression. Naturally, this policy could not but result in the intensification of German aggression, but the ruling British and French circles believed that this was not dangerous because, having satisfied Hitler aggression by concessions in the West, they could then direct it to the East and utilize it as a weapon against the USSR.
In his report to the Eighteenth Congress of the CPSU(B), in March 1939, J.V. Stalin, explaining the reasons for the growth of Hitler aggression, said: "The chief reason is that the majority of the non-aggressive countries, particularly England and France, have rejected the policy of collective security, the policy of collective resistance to the aggressors, and have taken up a position of non-intervention, a position of 'neutrality' " (6).
In order to mislead his readers and at the same time to vilify the Soviet Government, Neal Stanford, an American journalist, asserts that the Soviet Government was opposed to collective security, that M.M. Litvinov was dismissed from the post of People's Commisar of Foreign Affairs and replaced by V.M. Molotov because he had been pursuing a policy of strengthening collective security. It would be hard to imagine anything more stupid than this fantastic assertion. It should be obvious that M.M. Litvinov did not pursue his own personal policy but the policy of the Soviet Government. On the other hand, everybody knows how the Soviet Government and its representatives, including M.M. Litvinov, fought for collective security throughout the pre-war period.
As regards the appointment of V.M. Molotov to the post of People's Commisar of Foreign Affairs, it is perfectly clear that in so complex a situation, when the fascist aggressors were preparing a second world war, when Great Britain and France, backed by the United States of America, were plainly abetting the aggressors and spurring them to war against the USSR, it was necessary to have in such a responsible post as that of People's Commisar of Foreign Affairs a political leader of greater experience and greater popularity in the country than M.M. Litvinov.
The rejection by the Western Powers of a collective security pact was not fortuitous. This was a period when a struggle between two lines in international politics developed. One line strove for peace, for the organization of collective security and for resistance to aggression by the joint efforts of the peace-loving nations. This was the line of the Soviet Union, which consistently and staunchly defended the interests of all peace-loving nations, big and small. The other line rejected the organization of collective security, rejected opposition to aggression, and this inevitably encouraged the fascist countries to intensify their aggressive activity and thereby helped to unleash a new war.
The historical truth, as can be seen from all this, is that Hitler aggression became possible, firstly, because the United States helped the Germans to build, within a short period, a war-economic base for German aggression, and thus provided this aggression with arms, and, secondly, because the rejection of collective security by the ruling British and French circles disorganized the ranks of the peace-loving countries, disrupted their united front against aggression, cleared the way for German aggression and helped Hitler to unleash the second world war.
What would have happened if the United States had not financed Hitler Germany's heavy industry, and if Britain and France had not rejected collective security, but, on the contrary, had together with the Soviet Union organized collective resistance to German aggression?
Hitler's aggression would not have had sufficient arms, Hitler's annexationist policy would have been gripped in the vice of a system of collective security. The Hitlerites' chances of successfully unleashing a second world war would have been reduced to a minimum. And if the Hitlerites had nevertheless ventured, in spite of these unfavorable conditions, to unleash a second world war, they would have been defeated in the very first year.
But this unfortunately was not the case, because of the fatal policy pursued by the United States, Britain and France throughout the pre-war period.
It is they that are to blame that the Hitlerites were able with some measure of success to unleash the second world war, and that the war lasted nearly six years and took the toll of millions of human lives.
The Policy Not of Opposing German Aggression but of Isolating the USSR
Subsequent developments showed with still greater clarity that by yielding and conceding to the fascist countries - which in 1936 formed the military-political bloc under the name of the Berlin-Rome Axis - the ruling circles of Britain and France were only encouraging and urging on Germany to aggression.
Having rejected the policy of collective security, Britain and France adopted a position of so-called non-intervention, of which J.V. Stalin said:
...the policy of non-intervention might be as follows: 'Let each country defend itself from the aggressors as it likes and as best it can. That is not our affair. We shall trade both with the aggressors and with their victims.' But actually speaking, the policy of non-intervention means conniving at aggression, giving free reign to war, and, consequently, transforming the war into world war(7).
J. V. Stalin further said that "the big and dangerous political game started by the supporters of the policy of non-intervention may end in a serious fiasco for them" (8).
Already in 1937 it became perfectly clear that things were heading for a big war, which Hitler was hatching with direct connivance of Great Britain and France.
German Foreign Office documents captured by the Soviet troops after Germany's defeat reveal the true purport of Great Britain's and France's policy of that period. They show that, essentially, British and French policy was not to unite the forces of the peace-loving states for a common struggle against aggression, but to isolate the USSR and direct Hitlerite aggression toward the East, against the Soviet Union, using Hitler as a tool for their own ends.
The rulers of Britain and France were well aware of the fundamental trend of Hitler's foreign policy, which Hitler himself defined as follows:
We, National Socialists, consciously put an end to our pre-war foreign policy. We begin where we ended six centuries ago. We stop the German's eternal drive to Europe's South and West and turn our eyes to the lands in the East. We break, at last, with the colonial and commercial policies of pre-war times and go over to a territorial policy of the future. But when we, now, in Europe, speak of new lands, we can have in mind first of all only Russia and the bordering countries under her rule. Destiny itself seems to show us the way(9).
It was customary until recently to consider that the entire responsibility for the Munich policy of treachery rests with the ruling circles of Britain and France, with the Chamberlain and Daladier Governments. The fact that the American Government undertook to publish materials from the German archives, yet excluded the documents pertaining to the Munich agreement, shows that the United States Government is interested in whitewashing the heroes of the Munich treachery and wants to try to put the blame on the USSR.
The basic purpose of Britain's and France's Munich policy was sufficiently clear before. However, documents from the archives of the German Foreign Ministry now at the disposal of the Soviet Government furnish abundant additional data shedding light on the true meaning of the pre-war diplomacy of the Western Powers. They show how the destinies of nations were played with, how brazenly other peoples' territories were bartered, how the map of the world was secretly re-drawn, how Hitlerite aggression was encouraged, and what efforts were made to direct that aggression toward the East, against the Soviet Union.
This is eloquently borne out, for instance, by a German document recording a conversation between Hitler and British Minister Halifax, in the presence of von Neurath, the German Foreign Minister, in Obersalzberg, on November, 19, 1937.
Halifax declared that
he [Lord Halifax] and other members of the British Government were fully aware that the Fuhrer had not only achieved a great deal inside Germany herself, but that, by destroying Communism in his country, he had barred its road to Western Europe, and that Germany, therefore, could rightly be regarded as the bastion of the West against Bolshevism"(10).
Speaking on behalf of British Prime Minister Chamberlain, Halifax pointed out that there was every possibility of finding a solution even of the difficult problems if Germany and Britain could reach an agreement with France and Italy too.
Halifax said that
there should not be the impression that the Berlin-Rome Axis or the good relations between London and Paris would suffer as the result of an Anglo-German rapprochement. After the ground is prepared by the Anglo-German rapprochement, the four great West- European Powers [i.e. Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy] must jointly lay the foundation for lasting peace in Europe. Under no conditions should any of the four powers remain outside this cooperation, or else there would be no end to the present unstable situation (11).
Thus, Halifax, already in 1937, proposed to Hitler, on behalf of the British Government, that Britain, as well as France, join the Berlin-Rome Axis.
To this proposal, however, Hitler replied with a statement to the effect that such an agreement among the four powers seemed to him very easy to arrange if it was just a matter of mutual good will and courtesy, but it would prove more complex if Germany were not regarded "as a state which no longer carried the moral and material stigma of the Treaty of Versailles."
In reply to this, Halifax, according to the record, said:
Britons are realists, and are perhaps more than others convinced that the errors of the Versailles dictate must be rectified. Britain always exercised her influence in this realistic sense in the past. He pointed to Britain's role with regard to the evacuation of the Rhineland ahead of the fixed time, the settlement of the reparations problem, and the reoccupation of the Rhineland"(12).
It is further evident from the record of Hitler's conversation with Halifax that the British Government viewed with favor Hitler's plans for "acquisition" of Danzig, Austria and Czechoslovakia. Having discussed with Hitler the questions of disarmament and the League of Nations and having remarked that these questions required further discussion, Halifax said:
All other questions can be characterized as relating to changes in the European order, changes that sooner or later will probably take place. To these questions belong Danzig, Austria and Czechoslovakia. Britain is only interested that these changes be effected by peaceful evolution so as to avoid methods which may cause further convulsions undesired either by the Fuhrer or by the other countries(13).
This conversation, it will be seen, was not that mere sounding of an interlocutor which is sometimes called for by political necessity; it was a deal, a secret agreement between the British Government and Hitler to satisfy his annexationist appetites at the expense of other countries.
Noteworthy in this connection is a statement made in Parliament by the British Minister Sir John Simon on February 21, 1938, to the effect that Great Britain had never given special guarantees of Austria's independence. This was a deliberate lie, because such guarantees were given by the Versaille and St. Germain treaties.
British Prime Minister Chamberlain declared at that same time that Austria could not count upon receiving any protection from the League of Nations.
We must not try to delude ourselves and still more we must not try to delude small weak nations into thinking that they will be protected by the League against aggression and acting accordingly when we know that nothing of the kind can be expected (14).
In this way the makers of the British policy encouraged Hitler to annexationist actions.
In the German archives captured by the Soviet troops in Berlin there is also a record of Hitler's conversation with Henderson, the British Ambassador to Germany, which took place in the presence of Ribbentrop on March 3, 1938. Henderson began by stressing the confidential nature of the conversation, stating that its content should be withheld from the French, Belgians, Portuguese and the Italians, who would be merely told that the conversation was a continuation of the negotiations that had been carried on between Halifax and Hitler and related to the questions concerning Germany and Britain.
Speaking on behalf of the British Government, Henderson in this conversation stressed that
this is not a commercial deal but an attempt to establish a basis for genuine and cordial friendship with Germany, beginning with an improvement of the situation and finishing with the creation of a new spirit of friendly understanding (15).
Henderson offered no objection to Hitler's demand to "unite Europe without Russia," pointing out that Halifax, who by then had become Foreign Secretary, had already agreed to the territorial changes which Germany intended to make in Europe, and that "the purpose of the British proposal was to participate in such a reasonable settlement."
Henderson, according to the record, also said that Chamberlain "displayed great courage when, heeding nothing, he unmasked such international phrases as collective security, etc."
"...Therefore," added Henderson, "Britain declares her readiness to remove all difficulties and asks Germany whether she is prepared, on her part, to do the same"(16).
When Ribbentrop intervened and drew Henderson's attention to the fact that the British Minister to Vienna had "in a dramatic way" made a statement to von Papen on the events in Austria, Henderson hastened to dissociate himself from the statement of his colleague, declaring that "he, Neville Henderson, had often expressed himself in favor of Anschluss"(17).
Such was the language of pre-war British diplomacy.
Immediately after the deal, Hitler, on March 12, 1938, seized Austria, and met with no resistance from Britain or France. At that time only the Soviet Union raised a voice of warning and once again appealed for the organization of collective protection of the independence of the countries threatened by aggression. On March 17, 1938, the Soviet Government sent a note to the powers in which it expressed its readiness to "discuss immediately with other powers in or outside the League of Nations practical measures" which "would have the purpose of stopping further aggression and eliminating the increased danger of a new world holocaust" (18).
The reply of the British Government to the Soviet note testified to the unwillingness of the British government to create obstacles to Hitler's plans of aggression.
The reply stated that a conference of taking "concerted action against aggression would not necessarily, in the view of His Majesty's Government, have such a favorable effect upon the prospects of European peace" (19).
The next link in the chain of German aggression and preparation of war in Europe was the seizure of Germany of Czechoslovakia. The most important step toward the unleashing of war in Europe could likewise be taken by Hitler only with the direct support of Britain and France.
On July 10, 1938, Dirksen, the German Ambassador to London, reported to Berlin that for the British Government
"one of the most essential planks of its program is to find compromise with Germany," and that "this Government displays with regard to Germany the maximum understanding that could be displayed by any of the likely combinations of British politicians"(20).
Dirksen wrote that the British Government
has come nearer to understanding the most essential points of the major demands advanced by Germany, with respect to excluding the Soviet Union, as well as the League of Nations, from a decision of the destinies of Europe, and of the advisability of bilateral negotiations and treaties.
Dirksen also reported to Berlin that the British Government was prepared to make great sacrifices to "meet Germany's other just demands."
Thus far-reaching accord on foreign policy plans was actually established between the British Government and Hitler, as Dirksen so lucidly reported to Berlin.
It is not necessary to recall the universally known facts directly relating to the Munich deal. But one cannot forget that on September 19, 1938, i.e., four days after Hitler's residence, for the purpose, the representatives of the British and French Governments demanded from the Czechoslovak Government the cession to Germany of the Czechoslovak regions populated mainly by Sudeten Germans. They alleged that if this demand were not complied with it would be impossible to preserve peace and protect the vital interests of Czechoslovakia. The British and French sponsors of Hitler's aggression attempted to cover their treachery with the promise of an international guarantee of Czechoslovakia's new frontiers as "a contribution to the pacification of Europe"(21).
On September 20, the Czechoslovak Government replied to the Anglo-French proposals. It declared that "the acceptance of such proposals would be tantamount to the voluntary and full disruption of the state in all its directions."
The Czechoslovak Government drew the attention of the British and French Governments to the fact that "the paralysis of Czechoslovakia would result in deep political changes in all of Central and Southeastern Europe."
"The balance of power in Central Europe and in Europe in general," stated the Czechoslovak Government in its reply, "would be destroyed; that would entail far-reaching consequences for all the other states and especially for France."
The Czechoslovak Government made a "last appeal" to the Governments of Britain and France to reconsider their position, emphasizing that it would be in the interest not only of Czechoslovakia, but of her friends as well, in the interest of "the entire cause of peace and cause of the healthy development of Europe."
The rulers of Britain and France were implacable.
The next day the British Government sent a reply to the Czechoslovak Government suggesting that the latter withdraw its answer to the original Anglo-French proposals and "speedily and seriously weigh over the matter" before creating a situation for which the British Government could take no responsibility. The British Government further emphasized that it could not believe that the Czechoslovak proposal of arbitration would now be acceptable. The British Government, stated the note, did not think that "the German Government will consider the situation to be such as could be solved by arbitration, as suggested by the Czechoslovak Government."
The British notes concluded with the warning threat that if the Czechoslovak Government rejected Britain's advise, the Czechoslovak Government "will be free to take any steps it may deep befitting the situation that may develop later."
At the conference, between Hitler, Chamberlain, Mussolini and Daladier in Munich, on September 29 and 30, 1938, the disgraceful deal which had been fully arranged beforehand by the chief participants in the plot against peace was consummated. The fate of Czechoslovakia was decided behind her back. Her representatives were invited to Munich only meekly to await the outcome of the compact of the imperialists.
(1) Corwin D. Edwards. "Economics and Political Aspects of International Cartels," 1947.
(2) Richard Sasuly, I.G. Farben, Boni and Gaer, New York, 1947, p. 80.
(3) Stock Exchange Year Book, London, 1925; Who's Who in America; Who's Who in Finance, Banking and Insurance; Moody's Manual of Railroads and Corporation Securities; Poor's Manual, 1924-1939.
(4 ) V.M. Molotov, "Articles and Speeches, 1935-1936," p. 176.
(5) Ibid., p. 177.
(6) J.V. Stalin, "Report on the Work of the Central Committee to the Eighteenth Congress of the CPSU(B)." Problems of Leninism, p. 602, 1939.
(7) Eighteenth Congress of the CPSU(B)." Stenographic Report, OGIZ, 1939, p. 13.
(8) Ibid, p. 14.
(9) A. Hitler, Mein Kampf, Munich, 1936, p. 742.
(10) "Record of a Conversation between the Fuhrer and Reichkanzler and Lord Halifax, in the presence of the Reichminister of Foreign Affairs in Obersalzberg, Nov. 19, 1937"; from the Archives of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
(14) Times , February 23, 1938, p.8.
(15) "Record of a Conversation between the Fuhrer (and Reichkanzler) and His Britannic Majesty's Ambassador which took place in the presence of Reichminister for Foreign Affairs von Ribbentrop, on March 3, 1938, in Berlin"; from the Archives of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
(18) Izvestia, March 18, 1938.
(19) Note of the British Foreign Office of March 24, 1938.
(20) "Political Report, July 10, 1938, in supplement to Report A No. 2589 of June 10, 1938"; from the Archives of the German Foreign Office.
(21)Correspondence Respecting Czechoslovakia, September 1938, London, 1938 Cmd 5847, pp. 8-9.