Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

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Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 29 Mar 2021 08:51

[R]eport drafted on October 26, 1939, by a Committee for the Liberation of Czechoslovakia.

The members of the committee, whose names were for security reasons deleted, took great pains in order to reach Moscow on August 3 and after repeated requests for an audience with Stalin and Molotov, they were, finally, received by M. Alexandrov, the chief of the Central European Division of the Commissariat of Foreign Affairs, on October 5 and 12, 1939.

According to the report ... the members of the committee voiced their irritation "against the Soviet-German treaty," but they were told that it had to happen,
"because if the USSR had concluded a treaty with the Western Powers, Germany would never have unleashed a war from which will develop world revolution which we have been preparing for a long time.
Lenin succeeded in building up Communism while Stalin, as a result of his foresight and wisdom, will lead Europe into a world revolution. ...

As for the treaty, it was pointed out to the delegates that
(1) it caused the war;
(2) Hitler gave the Soviets a free hand in the Baltic;
(3) he gave the Soviets the opportunity "to build up Greater Ukraine and White Russia;"
(4) by surrendering to the Soviet terms, "Hitler surrendered to us also Germany, the bulwark in Central Europe;"
(5) he gave the Soviets "a free hand" with respect to Bessarabia and the former Sub-Carpathian Russia that had belonged to Czechoslovakia; and
(6) "He opened our way to Europe. "
The delegates received more detailed explanations of the above suggesting that:

1) An isolated Germany would not have entered the war. Encouraged by his success in the Czechoslovak case, Hitler continues to use the same method: Divide and rule. He instigated the Czechs against the Slovaks and the Poles and he used Munich to arouse distrust between the Czechs and the West.
"He instigated the Slovaks against the Magyars and the Poles. He is happy and contented that he separated the USSR from the West."

2) Hitler had realized what was the substance of the Soviet negotiations with Great Britain; and what the latter refused to give the Soviets, he offered them. The Soviets gained military bases in the Baltic region, in addition to having economic and political control there; i. e. , Hitler enabled the Soviets to gain "bases against himself. We will have no difficulties to Bolshevize the Baltic States. "

3) He offered a partition of Poland with no loss to the U. S. S. R.

4) By concluding the treaty with the Soviet Union, Hitler isolated himself from the other states, became economically dependent on the Soviet Union, and prepared a ground for revolution. "A long war will cause revolution in Germany and France."

5) "Hitler's plan is to get control of south-eastern Europe. When that happens we will regain Bessarabia and Sub-Carpathian Russia. "

6) The economic treaties with the Soviets opened the way into the Reich for them. The war "will exhaust Europe which then will fall in our lap. The peoples will accept any regime which will follow after the war."

The war must last as long as the Soviets desire, and never before had there been more favorable conditions for their interests. As far as the people whom the Nazis imprisoned were concerned, the delegates were told that "there must be sacrifices. Revolution arises from oppression and misery. "
The more people will suffer, "the sooner and the more cruel will be the revolution."
Czechoslovakia's role in Soviet Strategy by Josef Kalvoda

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by Art » 29 Mar 2021 10:17

From an anonymous letter received by the American consulate in Prague in November 1939:
https://ic.pics.livejournal.com/misha_s ... 96_900.png

One of apocryphal sources that popped up in late 1939 similar to the known "Havas speech".

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 29 Mar 2021 11:40

Yes, but it seems the consulate (and probably the US Government) believed it was authentic - especially that the letter is consistent with other reliable sources and even public pronouncements of the Comintern.
Kalvoda, whose expertise on this is beyond doubt, treats it seriously although notes its murky beginnings.

"he gave the Soviets a free hand with respect to Bessarabia" - from the Secret Protocol, was totally unknown at that time, and remained unknown till 1945. Some suspected the Protocol existed but nobody knew its content. It seems M. Alexandrov knew what was there.
Last edited by wm on 29 Mar 2021 17:36, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 29 Mar 2021 17:34

ECCI Secretariat Directive on the Outbreak of War, 8th September 1939

The current war is imperialist and unjust. The bourgeoisie of all the warring states is to be held responsible for it. This war cannot be supported by the working class of these countries, not to mention its communist parties. This war is not waged against fascism by the bourgeoisie despite the affirmations of Chamberlain and the leaders of social-democracy. This war takes place between two groups of capitalist countries for world domination. The international proletariat should not defend fascist Poland which had refused the assistance of the Soviet Union and which oppresses other nationalities.

The communist parties are against the Munichites since they always wanted to create a genuine anti-fascist front with the participation of the USSR, but the bourgeoisie of England and France pushed aside the USSR in order to wage a war of pillage.

This war has radically changed the situation: the division of the capitalist states between fascist and democratic is not in force any longer. As a result it is necessary to change tactics. The tactics of the communist party of the belligerent countries at this point is to expose its imperialist character, have communist deputies vote against war credits, tell the masses that the war will give nothing but privation and suffering.
In the neutral countries the communist parties should expose those governments who on the one hand remain neutral in their country but on the other support the war in other countries in order to take advantage of it, as the government of the USA does with respect to Japan and China.
The communist parties of all countries should be on the offensive against the treacherous stand of social-democracy. The communist parties, especially the French, American, and Belgian, who oppose these directives should immediately correct their political line.
ECCI - the Executive Committee of the Communist International

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 30 Mar 2021 08:33

The part "but the bourgeoisie of England and France pushed aside the USSR in order to wage a war of pillage." refers to the Soviet discussions with the French for a Military Assistance Pact. The British were party to this but less than enthusiastic and offered the Soviet government little concrete assistance. This scuppered the French plans and the USSR withdrew the offer.

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 30 Mar 2021 12:19

Stalin demanded from the Allies the same compensation (i.e., a large part of Eastern Europe) he received later from Hitler.
The Allies were unwilling but Hitler was.
9 June. Cable from the Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Ambassador in London about Soviet assistance
Warsaw, 9 June 1939
Cipher cable No. 143.

In connection with Strang's departure for Moscow, please declare at the Foreign Office that we have learned through Paris the substance of the Soviet answer to the last proposal and that our position remains unchanged.
...
In the opinion of Minister Bonnet, the Soviet answer is a counter-proposal marked by double blackmail.
...
The first article in the Soviet version contains, according to Minister Bonnet, the demand for French and English agreement to a direct Soviet military intervention on the territory of all Eastern European countries, including Poland, and is obviously unacceptable.
And lastly, it is striking that the Soviet response goes further than the proposals made by Litvinov on 19 April did.
These proposals contained the draft of a political and military agreement, yet the entry into force of the political agreement was not made dependent on the conclusion of a military one and, moreover, the states of Eastern Europe were not so precisely enumerated, but covered by the general term 'all countries of Eastern Europe'.

To Minister Bonnet's question about my opinion on the Soviet answer, I replied more or less as follows.
1) It is clear that the Soviet government specifically aims to secure French and English agreement to intervene on the territory of the Baltic States, even against their wishes.
...
3) It is clear that if France and England were to acquiesce to the Soviet counter-proposals, this would call into question the policy of almost all Eastern European countries, which would find themselves facing the issue of what threat is greater—the German or the Soviet one. We should not forget that the Romanians stated categorically only a few weeks ago that if they had to choose between an active Soviet intervention on their territory and even a heavy compromise with Germany, they would choose the latter. The same can no doubt be said of the Baltic states, which cannot be under any direct the threat from Germany, whereas with Soviet Russia they share open borders.
...
4) One should consider why the Soviet government takes the liberty, after a few weeks of negotiations and having in hand the English-French draft that entirely satisfies its interests, to come forward with proposals whose character is almost that of a provocation.
...
It seems clear that the behaviour of the Soviet government in relation to England and France is motivated, on the one hand, by the fact that neither of the Western European powers has the slightest means—financial, economic, political, or military—of pressuring Soviet Russia, and, on the other, Paris and London have done everything to convince Moscow that the constitution of a front of peaceful powers without its participation is absolutely impossible.
As a result, as the negotiations proceed, Soviet demands are becoming increasingly impertinent and instead of following a line consistent with compromise take the path of satisfying the egotistic aims of Moscow's raison d'etat.
Polish Documents on Foreign Policy. 24 October 1938 – 30 September 1939

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by Art » 30 Mar 2021 17:15

wm wrote:
30 Mar 2021 12:19
The first article in the Soviet version contains, according to Minister Bonnet
I guess, we can consult the text of the Soviet draft itself:
France, Britain and the USSR undertake to provide each other with immediate all-round effective assistance if one of these states is drawn into hostilities with a European power as a result of either

1) aggression by this power against any of these three states, or

2) aggression on the part of this power against Belgium, Greece, Turkey, Romania, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, regarding which it was agreed between England, France and the USSR that they undertake to defend these countries against aggression, or

3) as a result of assistance provided by one of these three states to another European state, which requested this assistance in order to counteract the violation of its neutrality.
and is obviously unacceptable
Yet, it was accepted in principle
moreover, the states of Eastern Europe were not so precisely enumerated, but covered by the general term 'all countries of Eastern Europe'.
Telegram of the People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR M. M. Litvinov to the Plenipotentiary Representative of the USSR in France Y. Z. Surits

April 19, 1939

For the avoidance of misunderstanding, I inform you that in the second paragraph we mean Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Poland and Romania. If you did not list all of these countries, please list them again. Paragraph 5 also applies to France, for she too must exert appropriate pressure on Poland and Romania.

People's Commissar
http://www.katyn-books.ru/archive/year/ ... htm#283doc
Obviously, they simply forgot that oral message from Surits.

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 30 Mar 2021 22:19

It's not about the content of the Soviet counter-proposal, but the fact that Soviet demands in their entirety (and not just the counter-proposal) were declared by Bonnet to be double blackmail.

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by Der Alte Fritz » 31 Mar 2021 07:18

The problem arose from the Munich Accord, where the USSR was not invited and a Slavic country Czechoslovakia dismembered by the British and the French. Poland refused to allow passage of Soviet troops over its territory into Czechoslovakia and then took the province of Tschenen as part of the dismemberment as did Hungary.

This produced in the mind of the Soviet leadership the idea that smaller states would be used as launching point for offensives against neighbouring countries, borne out by the use of Slovak lands against the Poles in September 1939. This view encouraged them to eliminate potential launching points such as Finland's border region, Baltic States, Bessarabia, ultimately eastern Poland.

In fact Britain had little interest in rebuilding the 1914 encirclement of Germany due to its long history of anti-communism and encouraged a right wing Poland in its idea that France and Britain would support her in the event of war. Yet Britain had no intention of fighting a short war or deploying troops other than to France. It hoped the 'threat' of bombing, economic blockade would win a long war and in reality knew that Poland was doomed yet encouraged the Poles in their belief that help would be sent. It was a bluff and the Germans did not buy it. A more positive response to Soviet overtures might have produced a military alliance, and could have guaranteed the Baltic States some Anglo-French some protection even at the cost of a theoretical Soviet invasion.

Stalin was legalist and opportunistic so he would not have imperilled a strong Anglo-French alliance for the sake of the Baltics.

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 31 Mar 2021 09:03

Although Czechoslovakia wasn't dismembered at Munich, Czechoslovakia existed post-Munich just fine.
Stalin's goal was destabilization of Europe, he was not going to help Czechoslovakia although he had to act carefully because of his isolation in Europe.
Stalin conducted a less predictable policy, one designed to advance the ambitious objectives harbored by the Soviet system despite its crisis.
During the summer of 1938 the Kremlin pursued a three-pronged policy. The first component concerned Moscow's relations with the Prague government. The Kremlin correctly viewed the possibility of an Anschluss of Czechoslovakia with the gravest concern because it would result in a military threat to the Soviet Union itself. Therefore, Moscow needed to strengthen Bend's resolve to resist the Third Reich, with arms if necessary.
It tried to achieve this by hinting or stating officially that, in case of need, Czechoslovakia could rely on meaningful military assistance from its Soviet partner. At the same time, the Soviet Union could not allow the Czechoslovak crisis to drag it into a shooting war with Hitler. To avoid that, Moscow would ignore Prague's pleas to enter into bilateral military consultations.
During the summer of 1938 the Kremlin would offer Prague only words and neither Red Army soldiers nor military materiel.


The second component of Soviet policy from June to early September of 1938 aimed at preventing Moscow's isolation.
Kremlin leaders were more interested in being accepted as partners by other European powers than in their ability to influence the solution of the crisis in Czechoslovakia's favor. For this reason, the Soviet Union had to signal its constructive desire to join a political front against war.

Finally, Stalin had not forgotten the long-term plan inaugurated at the 7th Congress of the Communist International. He hoped that Europe's struggle against Nazi aggression could provide a catalyst for a wave of socialist revolutions and the growth of the Soviet influence. This kind of war, far from Soviet territory, he did not fear. He desired it. For such a war to break out, Czechoslovakia would have to defend itself against the Wehrmacht, with France on its side. To encourage resolute French military action on behalf of Czechoslovakia, Stalin would offer to take part in trilateral military consultations involving Paris, Prague, and Moscow, but he would ignore President Bend's invitation to hold bilateral military talks.
This ambitious political scheme was explained in detail to the leaders of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (CPC) by Stalin's dose collaborator Andrei Zhdanov.
Czechoslovakia between Stalin and Hitler by Igor Lukas

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 31 Mar 2021 09:08

It should be mentioned that Lukas accepts the report above, drafted by a Committee for the Liberation of Czechoslovakia as genuine without reservation.
If the USSR had concluded a treaty with the Western powers, Germany would never have unleashed a war from which will develop world revolution which we have been preparing for a long time.... A surrounded Germany would never have entered into war.... We cannot afford Germany to lose because if she should come under the control of the West and Poland [were to be] reestablished, we would be cut off from the rest of Europe. The present war must last as long as we want.... Keep calm because never was the time more favorable for our interests than at present.
The long-term Soviet strategy outlined in the document obtained by the U.S. consul in Prague was in harmony not only with the 7th Congress but also with the ideas laid down by Zhdanov in his August 1938 speech before the Czechoslovak Communist party's Central Committee.

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 31 Mar 2021 13:12

The Hitler-Stalin Pact as seen by the Master of Realpolitik:
Driven by moral outrage and strategic confusion, Great Britain thus slid into guarantees on behalf of countries which all of its postwar prime ministers had insisted it could not, and would not, defend. The post-Versailles realities of East-ern Europe had grown so remote to the British experience that the Cabinet did not even realize it had made a choice which would multiply Stalin's options toward Germany and ease his withdrawal from the proposed common front.
In fact the British guarantee to Poland and Romania removed whatever incentive the Soviets might have had to enter into a serious negotiation about an alliance with the Western democracies. For one thing, it guaranteed all the borders of the Soviet Union's European neighbors except for the Baltic States, and, at least on paper, thwarted Soviet ambitions as much as it did Germany's.
...
But, more important, the unilateral British guarantees were a gift to Stalin because they provided him with the maximum he would have asked for in any negotiation which started, as most negotiations do, with an empty slate. If Hitler moved east, Stalin was now assured of Great Britain's commitment to go to war well before the Soviet frontier was reached. Stalin thus garnered the benefit of a de facto alliance with Great Britain without any need to reciprocate.
Poland could not be induced to accept Soviet help, because its leaders were convinced (correctly, as it turned out) that any "liberating" Soviet army would turn into an army of occupation.
The Soviets' interest in preserving the status quo in Eastern Europe ended with the Eighteenth Party Congress—if, indeed, it had ever really existed. Crucially, Stalin did in fact have the option of turning to Hitler and, after the British guarantee to Poland, could play his Nazi card with considerable safety.

His task was eased because the Western democracies refused to grasp his strategy—which would have been quite clear to Richelieu, Metternich, Palmerston, or Bismarck. Quite simply, it was to make certain that the Soviet Union was always the last major power to commit itself, thereby achieving the freedom of action for a bazaar in which either Soviet cooperation or Soviet neutrality would be offered to the highest bidder.

Before the British guarantee to Poland, Stalin had had to be wary lest Soviet overtures to Germany cause the democracies to wash their hands of Eastern Europe, leaving him to face Hitler alone. After the guarantee, he had an assurance not only that Great Britain would fight for his Western frontier but that the war would start 600 miles to the west, on the German-Polish frontier. Stalin had only two remaining concerns.

First, he had to make certain that the British guarantee to Poland was solid; second, he would have to find out whether the German option really existed. Paradoxically, the more Great Britain demonstrated its good faith with respect to Poland, which it was required to do in order to deter Hitler, the more maneuvering room Stalin gained with respect to Germany. Great Britain sought to preserve the Eastern European status quo. Stalin aimed for the greatest range of choices and to overturn the Versailles settlement. Chamberlain wanted to prevent war. Stalin, who felt war was inevitable, wanted the benefits of war without participating in it.
Molotov demanded that all the countries along the Soviet Union's western border be guaranteed by both sides and that they be specifically enumerated (ensuring a formal refusal from at least some of them).
He also insisted that the term "aggression" be expanded to cover "indirect aggression," defined as any concession to German threats, even if force had not actually been used.
Since the Soviet Union reserved for itself the definition of what was meant by "yielding," Stalin was also in effect demanding an unlimited right of intervention in the domestic affairs of all the Soviet Union's European neighbors.


By July, Stalin had learned enough. He knew that the British leaders would consent—however reluctantly—to an alliance on close to his terms. On July 23, the Soviet and Western negotiators agreed on a draft treaty that was apparently satisfactory to both sides. Stalin had now acquired a safety net for determining exactly what Hitler had to offer.
Foreign Policy Crisis -Stalin's Bazaar by Henry Kissinger

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 31 Mar 2021 13:18

Yet it was not Great Britain's clumsy diplomatic conduct that had led to the Nazi-Soviet Pact.
The real problem was that Great Britain could not meet Stalin's terms without abandoning every principle it had stood for since the end of the First World War. There was no point in drawing a line against the rape of small countries by Germany if that implied having to grant the same privilege to the Soviet Union.
A more cynical British leadership might have drawn the line at the Soviet border instead of Poland's, thereby greatly improving Great Britain's bargaining position with the Soviet Union and giving Stalin a serious incentive to negotiate about protecting Poland.

To their moral credit, the democracies could not bring themselves to consecrate another set of aggressions, not even on behalf of their own security. Realpolitik would have dictated an analysis of the strategic implications of Great Britain's guarantee to Poland, whereas the Versailles international order required that Great Britain's course be sustained by essentially moral and legal considerations.
Stalin had a strategy but no principles; the democracies defended principle without ever developing a strategy.
Foreign Policy Crisis -Stalin's Bazaar by Henry Kissinger

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by Art » 31 Mar 2021 21:08

wm wrote:
30 Mar 2021 22:19
It's not about the content of the Soviet counter-proposal, but the fact that Soviet demands in their entirety (and not just the counter-proposal) were declared by Bonnet to be double blackmail.
Regardless of Bonnet's opinion, these proposals were accepted in principle as a basis for further negotiation which can be seen from the British and French draft of the agreement:
The United Kingdom, France and the USSR undertake to provide each other immediately with all possible support and assistance if one of the countries is drawn into a military conflict with any European power as a result of either aggression by this power against one of these three countries, or aggression from its side directed against another European state, threatening the security of one of the three contracting states, or aggression on the part of this power against another European state, whose independence or neutrality the contracting countries feel obliged to defend against such aggression
Explicit mention of the guaranteed countries was removed from the draft and they were supposed to be listed in a secret amendment.
The fact that the Soviet side wanted something valuable for them in exchange for their part in the treaty isn't something surprising or unusual. That's how negotiations work.
Yes, but it seems the consulate (and probably the US Government) believed it was authentic - especially that the letter is consistent with other reliable sources and even public pronouncements of the Comintern.
The fact that anybody with a typewriter could prepare the alleged "protocol" makes its authenticity questionable in principle. Comintern's directive didn't say anything about desire to ignite European War as a chief motive for Soviet policy.

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Re: Pit One Side Against the Other - Stalin's 1939 Plan for Soviet Domination of Europe

Post by wm » 01 Apr 2021 20:01

A disillusioned idealistic communist had no other choice but to hide behind his anonymity and his typewriter.
In the thirties disillusioned and even many non-disillusioned communists tended to not live long.

Of course, Stalin softened his stance later and the Allies had no other choice but to accepted it as the basis for further negotiations because as Kissinger wrote:
for any system of collective security in Eastern Europe: without the Soviet Union, it could not work militarily.
But still, Stalin, as Lukas wrote:
hoped that Europe's struggle against Nazi aggression could provide a catalyst for a wave of socialist revolutions and the growth of the Soviet influence. This kind of war, far from Soviet territory, he did not fear. He desired it.
This is why Kissinger added that collective security with the Soviet Union could not work politically.

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