The Outbreak of the Second World War: Design or Blunder?

By John L. Snell | Go to book overview

SOVIET REBUTTAL: THE WEST
DELIBERATELY APPEASED HITLER

Historians as well as artists in the Soviet Union must produce works that harmonize with the official attitude of the Communist leaders of the U.S.S.R. The official Soviet view of the coming of World War II, as presented in 1948 and reprinted below, gave Soviet historians the framework within which they must interpret the diplomacy of the 1930's, and at the same time served as Communist propaganda within and outside the Soviet Union. A massive, colorful, and tendentious three-volume Soviet publication of 1961 on the Second World War merely elaborated on the themes presented in this reading. While pre-1941 Soviet statements denounced British and French appeasement of Germany, Soviet accounts since 1948 have reflected the "Cold War" and rise of the United States as the leader of the West by seeking to prove that American capitalists and governmental leaders stood behind the European appeasers in the 1930's in an attempt to encourage Nazi aggression against the U.S.S.R. Does this interpretation reflect only "Cold War" strategy? If it is solidly based on substantial evidence about American policy in the 1930's the United States bears a major responsibility for the outbreak of the Second World War.

AT the end of January [ 1948], the State Department of the United States of America, in collaboration with the British and French Foreign Offices, published a collection of reports and various records from the diaries of Hitlerite diplomatic officials, under the mysterious title: "Nazi-Soviet Relations, 1939-1941".

As evident from the preface to this collection, as far back as the summer of 1946 the Governments of the United States of America, Great Britain and France had already agreed to publish archive materials of the German Foreign Office for 1918- 1945, seized in Germany by American and British military authorities. Noteworthy in this connection is the fact that the published collection contains only material relating to the period of 1939-1941, while material relating to the preceding years, and in particular to the Munich period, has not been included by the Department of State in the collection and thus has been concealed from world public opinion. This action is certainly not accidental, but pursues aims which have nothing to do with an objective and honest treatment of historical truth. . . .

The collection is full of documents concocted by Hitlerite diplomatic officials in the depths of the German diplomatic offices. This fact alone should have served as a warning against unilateral use and publication of documents which are one-sided and tendentious, giving an account of events from the standpoint of the Hitler Government, and which are intended to present these events in a light which would be favorable to the Hitlerites. . . .

The American, British, and French Governments have unilaterally published the German documents without hesitating to falsify history in their efforts to slander the Soviet Union, which bore the brunt of the struggle against Hitlerite aggression.

By doing so, these Governments have as

____________________
From Falsificators of History (An Historical Note) ( Moscow, 1948), pp. 3, 5-7, 10-11, 16-25, 27-31, 36-38, 40-42, a publication of the Soviet Information Bureau.

-28-

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