From Munich to Yalta

12 May 2015, 18:55

The Munich Agreement of 1938 that sacrificed the Czechoslovak state to Hitler is often called a conspiracy because the Western democratic leaders, Chamberlain and Daladier (from Britain and France, respectively), gave parts of Europe to the totalitarian leaders of Germany and Italy in order to avoid confrontation with these criminal regimes. Some analysts are still trying to excuse the Western leaders, saying that they had no other choice but to pursue realpolitik. Yet by choosing not to fight with them, they found themselves in far worse conditions when the war began. The Munich Agreement became a symbol of the great powers’ immoral consensus at the expense of the weak.

However, in this context little mention is made of the Yalta conspiracy of 1945 (it would later be solidified at Potsdam), where Roosevelt (USA), Churchill (Britain), and Stalin (USSR) agreed to give half of Europe to the Führer of Moscow for the next 45 years, divided spheres of influence, and laid the weak foundation for the United Nations (still no more effective than the League of Nations, which at least managed to expel the Soviet Union for its aggression against Finland).

RELATED ARTICLE: A Struggle for Peace: Can Europe save its post-war order and prosperity in the face of new threats?

Churchill visited Moscow in October 1944, even before the Yalta Conference. He made proposals to Stalin that made the division of Europe, as well as decision of the fate of many peoples without their involvement, quite possible. As he admitted in his memoirs, the British Prime Minister told the Soviet dictator, “Let us settle about our affairs in the Balkans. Your armies are in Rumania and Bulgaria. We have interests, missions and agents there. Don't let us get at cross-purposes in small ways. So far as Britain and Russia are concerned, how would it do for you to have ninety per cent predominance in Rumania, for us to have ninety per cent of the say in Greece, and go fifty-fifty about Yugoslavia?” Churchill went on to propose that Britain and the USSR should split their influence in Hungary fifty-fifty, while giving the Soviets a 75% stake in Bulgaria. Stalin was generally amenable to this, though he did haggle a bit more, to which Churchill yielded. The poor Greek Communists, who would continue to fight for many years in the ranks of the Democratic Army of Greece (DSE), had no idea that the “great leader” had sold them out to the cursed bourgeoisie.

Equally frustrated were millions of citizens of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia, who believed that the Western democracies would not betray them and free them from the Nazi yoke only to hand them over to the Soviets. Polish Prime Minister Stanisław Mikołajczyk in his memoirs described how Churchill twisted his arm, forcing him to agree to Stalin’s plan for the post-war resettlement of Poland. And Roosevelt did not object. Mikołajczyk was so outraged that he asked Churchill to have him parachuted into Poland so that he could join the anti-German resistance. When Churchill asked why, Mikolajczyk replied, “I prefer to die fighting for the independence of my country than to be hanged later by the Russians in full view of your British ambassador!”. Churchill later admitted to his physician, “It's very one-sided. They achieve their demands through deceit, flattery and strength”.

RELATED ARTICLE: Alexander Motyl: "Ukraine is important to the US as a counterweight to Russia"

Thus, Soviet-Russian diplomacy remains loyal to its traditions…

Churchill and Roosevelt became the architects of the UN in its current form, trying to maintain a controlling stake for their ‘club of privileged states’, reminiscent of the classic dystopian text: “All creatures are equal, but some are more equal than others.” Of the UN, historian Jonathan Fenby wrote, “Churchill reassured Stalin that, while the behaviour of the great powers could be criticised verbally, the veto system would make it virtually powerless for the organisation to act against the US, the USSR, Britain, or China. Stalin asked if it would be unable to move against Britain over Hong Kong or British interests in Egypt. Churchill told him this was so. Still suspicious, Stalin recalled how the League of Nations had expelled the USSR after its attack on Finland in 1939. That would now be impossible, [British Foreign Secretary] Eden said”.

It is unlikely that Churchill and Roosevelt had illusions about Stalin and his regime, especially since he did not try to make a “democratic” impression on them. When, at Yalta, Roosevelt pointed toward Lavrentiy Beria and asked, “Who is that man wearing glasses?” Stalin quite seriously replied, “That man is our Himmler”. Thus, in the fight against Satan, Roosevelt and Churchill entered into an alliance with Lucifer. And they were certainly well aware of it. For this very reason, today’s Western Europe does not sympathize with the desire of the East to prosecute communism on the same basis as Nazism.

Having agreed once to a division of Europe, the US and Britain were forced to continue to bend to the demands of the communist dictator. These concessions clearly affected the reality of the Nuremberg trials that occurred shortly after the Yalta Conference. At that time, Stalin created a top-secret agency that is named differently in various documents: “Government Commission for the Nuremberg Trials”, “Government Commission on the Organization of the Court at Nuremberg”, or “Commission for the Management of the Nuremberg Trials”. Stalin appointed Andrey Vyshinsky, the famous “conductor” of the Moscow political trials of the 1930s, to head the commission. The committee included Procurator General Gorshenin, Supreme Court Chairman Golyakov, People’s Commissar of Justice Rychkov, and Beria’s deputies Abakumov, Kobulov, and Merkulov. The commission’s primary task was to prevent any discussion at the Nuremberg trials pertaining to Soviet-German relations in 1939-1941, the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, the joint Soviet-German attack on Poland, and Moscow’s occupation of the Baltic states.

RELATED ARTICLE: Why is Russia so persistently aggressing on Ukraine? A historic analysis

Beria sent a special investigative team led by Colonel Likhachev to supervise the Soviet judges, prosecutors and investigators. Russian historian Irina Pavlova, who now lives in Boston, writes: “Stalin feared public opinion in Europe and America, and worried that he would find himself in Nuremberg sharing a bench with Nazi war criminals. But he had serious grounds for such fears”. That is why the Soviets took such extraordinary measures. Though it is unlikely that the Western allies would have insisted on condemning the Stalinist regime as equally culpable in kindling Second World War. They preferred to turn a blind eye to even the most incriminating statements, such as that of former German Foreign Minister Ribbentrop, who after the announcement of his death sentence made the final statement: “When I went to Marshal Stalin in Moscow in 1939, he did not discuss the possibility of a peaceful settlement of the Polish problem against the background of the Briand-Kellog Pact. Rather he let me understand that if in addition to half Poland and the Baltic States he did not receive the harbour of Lithuania I might as well pack my bags and go home. War in 1939 was not considered an international crime against peace”.

Due to the compromising position of the USA and Britain at Yalta, Stalin took control of seven Eastern European states and East Germany, pressured Finland, and threatened Turkey. Churchill’s famous “Iron Curtain” speech at Fulton was an attempt to protect at least Western Europe from forced communization. Though this attempt was somewhat belated because Moscow had already launched a furious political and propaganda war there, now popularly known as a “hybrid” war.

Meanwhile, the countries of Eastern Europe found a strictly conditional sovereignty under the heel of the Kremlin. Their leaders were appointed and removed from office with the approval of the Soviet Union, but they were formally sovereign states, members of the UN and so on. Moscow’s approval was needed even to repress someone in the capitals of the “socialist camp”. Representatives of the Soviet KGB sat as “advisers” (and secret bosses) to the special services of Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and other countries. These countries all suffered under the Red Terror—though not on as large a scale as the USSR—and their peoples were excluded from history for nearly fifty years.

RELATED ARTICLE: Yuriy Makarov on laws banning totalitarian symbols in Ukraine

According to Jonathan Fenby, “The Yalta Conference was later demonized for excluding the French at the moment when the Big Three were cynically defining the contours of Europe and laying the foundation for the Cold War. The Yalta Conference became the main item on McCarthy’s list of accusations against Roosevelt, for which the former urged Republicans to accuse him of betraying state secrets. Half a century later in Warsaw, George W. Bush declared: “There will be no more Munichs, no more Yaltas”. Really? There is a widespread idea in the West today—especially in the European Union—that spheres of influence still exist and that Ukraine belongs to the Russian sphere. Consequently, there is always the danger of a new Munich-Yalta conspiracy. However, it is possible that its effects will be even worse; Yalta left us balancing on the edge of nuclear war for 45 years, and this time we might actually fall. This is not only a result of the further expansion of Russian nuclear blackmail, but also the realization by the entire “non-elite” world (i.e. countries that are not nuclear giants) that, following the West’s betrayal of Ukraine, it is not the worthless promises of big states that can guarantee a state’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, but one’s own nuclear weapons.

Russian political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky argues that Putin is opposed to the Western world in the name of a new division of the world, Yalta-2. But such a division does not give the West any guarantees; on the contrary, the more concessions the “Western enemies” (as seen in the Kremlin) make, the more emboldened Moscow will feel.

Losiev Ihor

This is Articte sidebar