The Nazis did eventually invade the Soviet Union as expected but not until June 22, 1941 in the largest German military operation of the war. The heroic and protracted Soviet resistance against the Nazis culminated in the great Soviet victory at Stalingrad on February 2, 1943, that concluded with the encirclement and surrender of a German army of 300,000 troops. This was followed by another decisive Soviet victory at Kursk. These triumphs began a powerful counteroffensive that drove the German Hitlerites steadily backward until the final demise of the Third Reich in Berlin. On May 9, 1945 the anti-fascist forces of the world with the Soviet Union and communists of all lands at the head of the Resistance Movement declared victory over the Hitlerite Nazis. Fascist Germany acknowledged defeat and declared unconditional surrender.
Completely ignoring these undisputed facts, the reactionaries of today are using the anniversary of the non-aggression pact not to once again acclaim the great victory of the world's people over Nazi Germany but to follow their mentor Goebbels by making such fascist claims as, "On August 25, 1939 the Soviet Union and Germany signed the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact which led to the second world war, the killing of millions of people and the Holocaust."
Such big lies should not be treated with indifference because they are not harmless and need to be opposed. The aim can only be to create a climate which will assist the same kind of Hitlerite and fascist forces to rise once again. In fact, those carrying out this propaganda today are the descendants of the very same fascist forces.
To suggest that Stalin's signing of the non-aggression pact with Germany was the cause of World War II is the basest infamy. First, it should be noted that Britain and France had already issued a joint declaration of non-aggression with the Germans in 1938. Of all the non-aggressive Great Powers in Europe, the Soviet Union was the last to agree to a pact with the Germans. Second, "The history of events in 1937, both before and after Hitler's occupation of Austria in March show that the Soviet Union, as it had done in earlier years, made many efforts to persuade Britain and France to maintain collective mutual assistance and in particular to carry out their undertaking to defend Czechoslovakia against aggression....The Soviet Union was not only willing to join forces with France to defend Czechoslovakia, if France would keep her word, but was prepared to defend Czechoslovakia on her own, even if France refused."
All these efforts failed and the British and French refused to sign the collective mutual assistance pact with the Soviet Union. Instead, they signed the September 29, 1938, Munich Pact with Germany which permitted Germany to incorporate the Sudeten, ordered the Czechs not to resist Nazi aggression and gave the Nazis the green light to launch their attacks across Europe.
Of course the reactionaries never want to discuss the Munich Pact because it was such a blatant betrayal of the world's people that even Winston Churchill accused Prime Minister Chamberlain in the British Parliament: "You were given the choice between war and dishonour. You chose dishonour and you will have war."
It is indisputable that faced with the British and French betrayal, the Soviet Union had no choice but to take whatever measures it could to defend itself and the cause of peace.
All these facts can be verified. They are all available in reports, speeches, accounts and documents of that time. Just to give one example, Memo #8604, which was sent to Moscow by Russian intelligence from Prague several days before the signing of the Munich Agreement reads: "On September 19, British Ambassador Newton and French Ambassador De Lacroix conveyed to Milan Hodza (Czechoslovak Prime Minister from 1935 to 1938) the following on behalf of Chamberlain and Daladier, respectfully: 'Guided by the lofty principles of preserving peace in Europe, they consider it necessary for Germany to incorporate the Sudeten region. A system of mutual aid pacts with other countries should be cancelled.'"
The nefarious actions of the Anglo-Americans and the French, behind the back of the Soviet Union, which had mutual aid agreements with Czechoslovakia and France, destroyed the existing elements of the collective resistance system against Nazi Germany. It was the Munich Pact which was the final cowardly act that led to the Second World War, the killing of millions of people, and the Holocaust. The judgment of history points to the truth about the Anglo-American and French betrayal of the world's people and to the truth about the heroic role of the Soviet Union and J.V. Stalin in defeating the Nazis. "In the end, the resistance of the Soviet peoples led by Stalin and the Communist Party broke the back of the Nazi aggressors. Some 50 million people died and another 35 million were seriously wounded during the Anti-Fascist War with the peoples of the Soviet Union bearing the brunt of the casualties."
1." Stalin 'planned to send a
million troops to stop Hitler if Britain and France agreed pact':
Stalin was 'prepared to move more than a million Soviet troops to the
German border to deter Hitler's aggression just before the Second World
War,'" Nick Holdsworth, Telegraph UK, October 18, 2008
Canada's Relations with the Baltic States
Pause for Thought About Canada's "Shared Values"
On August 28, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement to mark the 21st anniversary of Canada's re-establishment of diplomatic ties with the Baltic States -- Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania -- following the break up of the Soviet Union. The statement highlighted Canada's support for the Baltic states in their "efforts to secure freedom and realize their own destinies." It highlighted the fact that the Harper government sees in the Baltic states "friends, partners and allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Canada and the Baltic States share the values of freedom, democracy and the rule of law."
The statement continued: "As we look back on the re-establishment of our relations with Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, we celebrate the obstacles they have overcome, and the tremendous progress they have made over the past 21 years. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with these countries in the years to come."
The statement follows the vote at the United Nations General Assembly where the U.S., Canada and other NATO allies used the General Assembly against its own principles by passing a resolution calling for regime change in Syria, all under the guise of protecting human rights. The aim was to create a pre-text for a war of aggression against Syria similar to what took place in Libya. Along with Canada, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were among the sponsors of the resolution and responsible for bringing it to the floor of the General Assembly.
Canadians should take note of these developments. In Estonia, for example, a state-backed pro-Nazi celebration is held annually, while in Latvia, a former member of the Nazi Waffen SS is chairman of a parliamentary committee. At the same time, those who oppose the rehabilitation of Nazi war criminals and who were part of the resistance to Nazi aggression, especially Communists, are being criminalized. These same governments, linked to the rehabilitation of Nazi war criminals, are being presented as champions of "freedom, democracy and the rule of law" by the Harper government. These governments, along with the Harper government are the forces that are working to undermine the very principles of the United Nations that come out of the peoples' struggle against Nazi aggression. The Harper government's promotion of its relations with the Baltic States at this time and talk about shared values should give Canadians pause to consider the content of the "freedom, democracy and rule of law" the Harper government espouses.
Anniversary of Dieppe Raid
Commemoration Used to Advance
Destroyed landing craft on fire with Canadian dead on the beach. A concrete gun emplacement on the right covers the whole beach. Photo also shows the steep grade of the beach facing soldiers as they landed.
(Wikipedia/German Federal Archive)
In analyzing what happened at Dieppe, what stands out is the astonishing "ineptness" of the military plan. The stated objectives included seizing and briefly holding a major port, gathering intelligence, and evaluating German responses. The British leaders also said they wanted to destroy coastal defences, port structures, and any strategic buildings. But no major objectives of the Dieppe Raid were accomplished, mainly because the more than 5,000 Canadian and other infantrymen were left to attack the entrenched German forces virtually on their own. The British Navy refused to supply capital ships for support, parachute drops were reduced to small commando units and glider landings were not even considered. Most incredibly, Churchill banned preliminary heavy air bombardment. This was inexplicable because intense bombardment before an infantry attack was a long-accepted military principle.
A successful Dieppe raid would certainly have boosted the morale of Allied troops, the Resistance and the general public. Most importantly, it would have assured the Soviet Union of the genuine commitment of the United Kingdom and the United States to opening up a Second Front in Europe. Popular rallies demanding the "Second Front Now" crowded the streets of London but British leaders delayed. By 1942, the Nazis' Operation Barbarossa had failed to defeat the Soviet forces but the Germans were still deep in Soviet territory. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin raised the issue of a Second Front as early as July 1941 in a letter to Churchill, just after the Nazi invasion. "It seems to me that the military position of the Soviet Union and by the same token that of the Great Britain would improve substantially if a front were established against Hitler in the west (northern France) and in the north (the Arctic). A front in the north of France -- besides diverting Hitler's forces from the east -- would also make impossible the invasion of England by Hitler. Otherwise, the Germans think it perfectly possible that they will be able to beat off their enemies one at a time: first the Russians, then the British."
Canadian dead on Blue beach at Puys. Trapped between the beach and high sea wall (fortified with barbed wire), they made easy targets for German machineguns in a nearby bunker. The bunker firing slit is visible in the distance, just above the German soldier's head.
(Wikipedia/German Federal Archive)
The Second Front was further delayed after Dieppe. In May 1943, U.S. President Roosevelt informed Stalin that the Second Front would be postponed until 1944 even though Roosevelt had assured Stalin's Foreign Minister Molotov in May 1942 that the Allies would regard as "an urgent task the creation of a Second Front in 1942." Stalin's reply on June 24 to the new delay stated bluntly: "I must tell you that the point here is not just the disappointment of the Soviet government, but the preservation of its confidence in its Allies, a confidence that is being subjected to severe stress. One should not forget that it is a question of saving millions of lives in the occupied areas of Western Europe and Russia, and the reduction of the enormous sacrifices of the Soviet armies -- compared to which the sacrifices of Anglo-American troops are insignificant." The Second Front was finally opened up June 6, 1944, D-Day, with the Allied landing at Normandy, France, a full three years after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union. Within two months of D-Day, the Soviets launched an offensive that virtually destroyed the German army in the East.
Certain historians try to explain Dieppe's failure as due to "poor decisions" by British military leaders, especially Mountbatten. This is hard to swallow, especially in view of the completely amateurish lack of bombardment. What makes more sense is that the Dieppe Raid did not fail due to incompetence but was deliberately designed to fail. Many think that the failure of the raid was part of the Anglo-American plan to deliberately delay the Second Front. For example, Major W.R. Bennett states on the Royal Regiment Association of Canada website that Canada's Lord Beaverbrook, who served as war Minister of Aircraft Production and later Minister of Supply and was much impressed by Stalin and the sacrifices of the Soviet people, charged that the raid had been deliberately staged to surely fail so as to discredit a second front. To give another example, Arthur Kelly reported in the National Post, August 19, 2012, that the late Brigadier-General Forbes West of Toronto told him 23 years ago: "I feel that from the day planning began it was intended to be a failure. The British were being pressed by the Russians and Americans to open a second front, so we were put in with the firm intention of being destroyed."
The main conclusion to be drawn is that the Dieppe Raid was a criminal enterprise by the British imperialists who cynically sacrificed the lives of thousands of Canadian soldiers for their own nefarious purposes, specifically to discredit any possibility of the Second Front. With the Soviet Union bearing the brunt of the fighting against the Nazis, using the Dieppe failure to delay the Second Front was part of the long-term Anglo-American strategy to have the Nazis and the Soviets fight each other to exhaustion, with the Anglo-American imperialists stepping in at the end to pick up the spoils. Of course, none of this was or ever will be explained by Harper or his minions because Harper's only reason for commemorating an event is to advance his own anti-people agenda of war abroad and fascism at home. Harper's speech on Dieppe indicates that his commitment to aggressive war will certainly continue and that it will certainly include the further pointless sacrifice of Canadian forces personnel, as well as the further slaughter of the people of any of the sovereign countries which he orders invaded.
1. The Canadian contingent included the Royal Regiment of Canada, Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment), South Saskatchewan Regiment, Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada, Essex Scottish Regiment, Les Fusiliers Mont Royal, Royal Hamilton Light Infantry, Calgary Regiment, and The Toronto Scottish Regiment.
Massacre of Striking Platinum Miners in South Africa
CPC(M-L) vigorously condemns the August 16 massacre of 34 miners and wounding of 78 others by South African police forces. The police were acting as strike-breakers for the London-based platinum mining monopoly Lonmin at the Marikana townsite. Lonmin is a notorious British imperialist firm founded in May 1909 as the London and Rhodesian Mining and Land Company Limited, which evolved into a multi-branched corporation, Lonrho, denounced as "the unacceptable face of capitalism" in the 1980s. Today, renamed Lonmin, it focuses on the production of platinum and is the world's third largest producer.
Platinum, the precious metal used mainly in catalytic converters in the auto industry as well as in electronics and jewellery, is in relative over-supply world-wide due to the economic crisis. Lonmin in an attempt to maximize its own rate of profit despite declining platinum group metal prices, has been imposing extremely low wages on mine workers, most of whom live in wretched shanty towns.
Lomin pays mine workers approximately 4,000 Rand ($475 Canadian) a month. Several thousand mine workers have been on strike at the Lonmin site at Marikana since August 10 to raise their wages to a livable sum of 12,000 Rand ($1,400) a month. (By comparison South African police salaries range around 15,000-20,000 Rand monthly.)
The strikes were originally organized by the National Union of Mineworkers, the largest union in South Africa. However, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, described by media as a "rival union," has been in the forefront of the workers' resistance struggle against the mining monopolies.
An August 18 Guardian article quotes several miners expressing their contempt for the mine owners. "'Lonmin treat us like dogs,' said Thembelani Khonto, 24. 'When you're underground, it's like you're a slave and they don't know you. But on the surface people who don't do anything in offices are earning more than us.'"
"Siphiwo Gqala, 25, said he sometimes spends up to 14 hours a day underground but does not receive overtime pay. 'It's dangerous work,' he said. 'Sometimes you go down there and a rock falls and you die. Big vehicles can come and kill you.' Recalling Thursday's massacre, he said: 'I've never seen something like that: people killed like chickens. One of my friends is still missing. I don't know if he's in the hospital or the mortuary.'"
Right from the outset of the strike on August 10 the company set the South African police against the workers. Four mineworkers were shot and wounded at the Lonmin platinum mine at Nkangeng near Rustenburg. On August 13, nine people were killed, including two police officers, and three miners were killed by police.
On August 16, mineworkers were anticipating negotiations with company representatives, who at the last minute cancelled the meetings and said the "matter would now be in the hands of the police." The massacre took place when police opened fire on a large crowd of the mine workers angry at this turn of events. It has all the earmarks of a planned provocation to simply break the strike by unleashing massive anarchy and violence by police armed with automatic weapons against the mineworkers. Witnesses say many of those shot had bullet wounds in their backs.
President Jacob Zuma, head of the African National Congress government expressed his "shock and dismay" at the mass killing and ordered an official inquiry. In his statement, made after returning from a regional conference in Mozambique to deal with the crisis, he refused to condemn the police action, saying blame must be set aside until the inquiry is complete.
Former ANC youth leader, Julius Malema, expelled from the ANC by Zuma supporters, severely condemned the police in a speech to several thousand Lonmin miners near the site of the massacre two days after the shootings. "Even if you threaten police, they have no right to use live ammunition against civilians. The Minister of Police [Nathi Mthethwa] must step down because this massacre was committed under his supervision, the same thing with President Zuma, he must step down." Mulema also called on other miners to join the strike movement.
The last time such a police massacre occurred in South Africa was in Soweto in June of 1976 where more than 700 youth were killed by South African police. The massacre sparked a national rebellion, the Soweto Uprising, that lasted (with ups and downs) until the demise of the apartheid regime.
A comparison of the two events, one in Apartheid South Africa, the other in post-Apartheid South Africa fifty-two years later, reveals they have something in common: the economy of this mineral rich country continues to be dominated by foreign, largely Anglo-American, finance capitalists who own the mining monopolies which harvest the rich mineral deposits through the super-exploitation of South Africa's mine workers. Eighteen years after the South African people finally overthrew Apartheid, the rich still get richer, while the South African masses face ever increasing poverty and misery.
Malema, expressing the growing frustration of the South African masses for a new direction to their economy, has called for the nationalization of South African mines, a call that resonates with the mineworkers, and especially the younger generation. He told the striking workers at Lonmin's mine site, "The British are owning this mine. The British are making money out of this mine ... It is not the British who were killed. It is our black brothers. But it is not these brothers who are mourned by the president. Instead he goes to meet capitalists in air-conditioned offices."
The present strike struggle and its brutal repression by the British monopoly Lonmin using South Africa's police force to massacre the workers, underlines the growing division in the country between those who want to engage in a nation-building project using their rich mining assets to meet the needs of the South African people, and those who are servants of the capital-centred world of the monopolies headquartered in London and New York.
The deaths of the platinum mineworkers must be avenged
on the basis of vigorously defending the rights of the mineworkers and
people of South Africa to control their own lives. The demands for
Lonmin to provide a living wage cannot be realized if the people do not
control the direction of the economy and
who it serves. Strike struggles today necessarily encompass the
political issue of making sure the neoliberal vision for society is
defeated and the people are able to govern themselves. Canadian workers
stand shoulder to shoulder with the mineworkers and the people of South
Africa to hold the perpetrators of this
crime accountable. Unless the killers of the mine workers and owners of
Lonmin are arrested and charged immediately, an inquiry will be a
fraud. It is as simple as that. What would be its aim? To investigate
whether the killings were warranted? That is not an option. Justice for
the South African mineworkers!
(With files from Guardian, South African Broadcasting Corporation)
TML Weekly dated August 25 was not published due to the TML holiday on the occasion of the 42nd anniversary of the Party Press, established on August 26, 1970. Congratulations to all those who have contributed and continue to contribute to the publication of the Party Press. The decisive role it plays can never be overestimated.
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