Soviet Aggression and Collaboration
with the Germans in World War II
"A Little Glasnost on History"
"If the government fears the people, you can have a good government, but when the people fear the government, you have tyranny. The federal government is our servant, not our master!" (Thomas Jefferson
Contents:
Hitler and Stalin against Poland
Stalin attacks Baltic States
Stalin's secret orders of how to deal with opposition in Baltics
The Katyn Massacre
Soviet and Nazi collaboration
Roosevelt and Churchill: "Laurel and Hardy" give away Eastern Europe and Karelia to pal Stalin. Read Betrayal of Poland, by Patrick J. Buchanan August 29, 1997

Roger Pratt was a good friend of Antti, who fought against Soviet occupation of Finland. He has done some excellent research on the subject of Russian collaboration with the Nazis as background information for a book about Antti Joronen's work as a physiotherapist. Here is a little sample of his work in case you ever happen to find the book, which I recommend.


Poland

In making plans to attack Poland, Hitler had quite a problem. Not only was Poland fairly strong militarily but she also had an alliance with Britain and France, which meant that if he attacked Poland then he would also be at war with Britain and France. He figured he could handle that, but what about the Soviet Union? With Hitler being unsure of the Soviet reaction if he invaded Poland, Hitler did not dare to invade Poland. The Soviet Union, Britain and France tried to form a triple alliance in order to defend against Hitler, but it never came to pass. While on the surface Stalin was trying to make an alliance with Britain and France he was in fact carrying on secret negotiations with the Nazis in order to obtain guarantees of Soviet safety from the Germans. On August 23, 1939 the world was shocked to learn that a German Soviet non-aggression pact had been signed. In effect, the pact meant that Germany was free and clear to invade Poland without fear of interference from the Soviet Union. Also, Germany was to take Western Poland as a part of its new territory while the Soviet Union was to take Eastern Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Finland. This Pact was considered by many as an act of great immorality.


Illustration from Canadian grade 12 history exam.
On September 1, 1939 Hitler invaded Poland from the west. On September 3rd, Britain and France declared war on Germany, and World War 2 was underway. At this time there were in effect the following treaties and agreements between the governments of Poland and the Soviet Union:

1. The Peace Treaty between Poland, Russia and the Ukraine signed in Riga, on March 18, 1921, by which the Eastern frontiers of Poland were defined.

2. The Protocol between Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Rumania and the U.S.S.R. regarding renunciation of war as an instrument of national policy, signed in Moscow on February 9, 1929.

3. The Non-Aggression Pact between Poland and the U.S.S.R. signed in Moscow on July 25, 1932.

4. The Protocol signed in Moscow on May 5, 1934 between Poland and the U.S.S.R., extending until December 31, 1945, the Non-Aggression Pact of July 25, 1932.

5. The Convention for the Definition of Aggression signed in London on July 3, 1933.

Baltic States

With all these agreements in place, the Soviet Union invaded Poland from the East on September 17, 1939. After Poland was beaten, Stalin and the Nazis brutalized the population, and while this was going on, Stalin turned his attention to the Baltic States. Lithuania had once been a part of the Russian Empire but had gained its independence in 1921. On September 25, 1939 Stalin proposed to Hitler that the Soviet Union take Lithuania. This was agreed; in exchange the Germans would take large areas of Poland formerly allocated to the Soviet Union, and a bounty of $7,500,000 in gold.

In practice, Stalin started with Estonia, the smallest state with a population of 1,130,000. On September 24th, the Soviets demanded the right to establish naval, military and air bases on Estonian territory. Foreign Minister Karl Selter was informed that Estonian neutrality constituted a danger to the Soviet Union, as the authorities had permitted a Polish submarine to escape from an Estonian port and sink a Soviet steamer near Leningrad (this was a fabrication). Estonia was thus forced to sign a “Treaty of Mutual Assistance”. Either that or face invasion by the Red Army, estimated at that time to be 3,000,000 strong. The Soviet government stationed 25,000 Red Army troops in Estonia at this time.

Latvia, with a population of 1,951,000 was next. On October 5, another Pact of Mutual Assistance was signed and this time 30,000 Red Army troops were stationed in Latvia. The political bureaucrats accompanying the Red Army had a difficult time explaining to the troops how it was that the miracles of communism had left them in poverty, while the Latvians were obviously very prosperous. With Marxist logic, the discrepancy was explained this way:

You see, capitalistic Latvia can afford an abundance of goods in its capitalist owned shops, because the masses, the underpaid and exploited workers, are unable to buy them. On the other hand, the masses in the Soviet Union are so adequately paid that they can afford to go and buy up all available goods. This creates temporary shortages on the home market. Anyone can understand this.
In a similar manner, Lithuania, with a population of 2,575,363, was forced to sign an agreement on October lOth. On October 11, a high ranking N K V D officer gave his signature to:
ORDER NO. 001223

STRICTLY SECRET

Regarding the procedure for carrying out the deportation of anti-Soviet Elements from Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

This document unexpectedly became accessible to historians when it fell into the hands of the Germans when they invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.

It stated that they were to break into designated houses, assembling families in single rooms. Locked doors were to be smashed in and protesting neighbors dispersed. Transported in carts or trucks to the nearest railway station, the prisoners' departure was to be rigorously guarded by N K V D troops. At the station the head of each family was to be skillfully separated from his wife and children, and loaded into a separate truck.

Stalin now turned his attention to Finland. What he did to the Baltic States, he wished to do to Finland. Stalin claimed he just wanted strategic areas for defense purposes, but events in the Baltic States left no doubt that Stalin wanted all of Finland. The Finnish diplomats summoned to Moscow tried to prolong the discussions as long as possible to allow Finland to prepare for war. When the bombs fell on Helsinki, one of the first buildings hit was the Soviet Embassy.

Terror in the Baltic States

Stalin was still afraid of the power of Britain and France, but on June 14, 1940, Paris fell to the Nazis. On June 17th and 18th, hundreds of thousands of Red Army troops crossed the frontiers and took over the Baltic States.

Between July 14th and July 17th, "elections" were held in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Stalin had so many Baltic Communists killed in purges in 1936 and 1937 that he had trouble finding candidates. However, the Communist majorities were 92.8%, 97.8% and 99.19% respectively. Finally on August 5th, the Supreme Soviet very generously agreed to admit the three republics as constituent members of the U.S.S.R. In this way three independent, prosperous and civilized countries vanished from the map of Europe.
Note: Vladimir Putin told the Baltic States that they joined by their own free will, which is the old Communist line. But if they did, why were so many killed and sent away to Siberia? Did these people voluntarily die and go to Siberia? Of course not - the country was taken over by force. The lack of admission of its past sins by Russia is still one of the main reasons relations are still strained. All Putin has to say is, yes, we were bad, sorry, and let's get on with life. Let's all be friends. But no, he is too proud, and he longs for the good old Stalinist power days when the leadership stood up high, wooden faced, waving to the crowd in a robot-like fashion. Those were the days when the only respect they got from the world is that which came from weapons of mass destruction.

Stalin was now in a position to implement 0 R D E R  N 0. 001223. During the first year of Soviet occupation of Estonia more than 60,000 persons were killed or deported (on the night of June 13-14, 1941 more than 10,000 people were removed in a mass deportation). During 1941-1944 the Nazis occupied Estonia.

Before the Soviets returned in 1944, over 60,000 Estonians managed to escape from the country. In 1945-1946 Stalin deported another 20,000 people. On March 24-27, 1949, 70,000 more persons were deported. These were mainly farmers who resisted collectivization.

In Lithuania, on the night of June 14-15, 1941, 30,455 members of the Lithuanian intelligentsia (national guard, civil servants etc.) were deported to Siberia. When the Germans advanced in 1941, Stalin had the approximately 5,000 political prisoners still held in Lithuanian jails executed. When the Nazis took over, approximately 170,000 Jews were exterminated. Before the Soviets returned in 1944, approximately 80,000 Lithuanians managed to escape, but 60,000 were deported to Siberia. In 1945 - 1946 approximately 145,000 Lithuanians were deported. Another 60,O00 were deported in March of 1949 because of collectivization.

During the Winter War the Finns lost 25,000 people by fighting the Soviet Union. If they had given in to the Soviet demands, like the three other Baltic States, the chances are that they would have had over 400,000 people killed. It seems that they made the right decision, and at the same time saved the N K V D officers a lot of work.

The Katyn Massacre

Although Stalin was brutal towards everybody, he seems to have reserved a particular hatred for the peoples of Poland. In a long period of crimes against humanity it is difficult to select one that is any more terrible than the others, but the Crime of Katyn does stand out as one of the worst.

On September 17, 1939, the Soviet Government, in defiance of all pledges and agreements and without previous declaration of war, ordered the Red Army to cross the Polish frontier. At four o'clock in the morning soviet troops, consisting of a considerable number of infantry divisions, several armored brigades and motorized corps with some cavalry formations, invaded Polish territory. At this time, twenty five Polish divisions were still fighting the Germans. Some Polish units resisted the Soviet advance while others welcomed them, thinking that they had come to help them to fight the Germans. Evidence of Soviet aggression comes directly from Soviet sources. In an article written in 1940 for the People's Commissariat for the Defense of the Soviet Union appeared the following:... A year has elapsed since the historic day on which detachments of the Red Army, on orders from the Soviet Government, crossed the frontier. The victories of Grodno and Lwow, the powerful thrust into and smashing of the fortified center at Sarny and the attacks against the enemy at Baranowicze, Dubno, Tarnopol and many other places will be recorded forever in the annals of the Red Army. The armored troops were like an avalanche advancing irresistibly, supported by aircraft, artillery and motorized infantry ...

It was at this time too that collaboration with the Nazis really began. On September 12, German troops approached the town of Lwow and tried in vain to capture it. An in-effective siege followed and repeated attacks against the town were repulsed. When Soviet troops entered Polish territory and approached Lwow from the other side, they made an agreement with the Germans for joint military action. By September 21, it was clear that any further resistance was useless. In order to save lives and to preserve the town from useless destruction, the Commander surrendered.

The Polish soldiers were promised that if they surrendered they would be allowed to go home, or to Hungary, or to Rumania, but the majority of Polish officers were arrested and deported to the Soviet Union. It was worse in some sectors. There some officers were immediately shot, while others were beaten before being deported. Katyn Massacre

Altogether the Soviets arrest 250,000 Polish soldiers. Then the N K V D moved into Poland. Using their usual methods, an estimated 1,500,000 Poles were deported, and within two years 270,000 were dead.

In western Poland Hitler had given instructions to Himmler that whatever could be found in the shape of an upper class was to be liquidated. By September 8th, the SS was able to boast that they were killing 200 Poles a day, and by the end of September tens of thousands of Poles had been murdered. No doubt anyone that survived the Katyn Massacre suffered from the long lasting effects of PTSD. While recovery today is possible with treatment at Morningside Recovery PTSD would have been very difficult to overcome during WWII.

Then, the SS and the N K V D started their collaboration. Germany and the Soviet Union had agreed in a treaty of September 28, to combine in suppressing Polish opposition to their joint rule. German Marxists living in Moscow were handed over to the Gestapo. Jews trying to escape from the Germans were shot by the
N K V D.


Fifteen thousand Polish prisoners of war were taken illegally to the Soviet Union and kept in three camps, Kozielsk, Starobielsk and Ostashkov. Many of these people were officers. There were also many reserve officers consisting of University professors, surgeons, engineers, lawyers, teachers, journalists, etc. The prisoners families who had remained at home in Poland or were deported to the Soviet Union, received letters from the three camps more of less regularly, until the Spring of 1940. After the disbandment of the three camps, this correspondence ceased except in the case of the 400 transferred to other camps.

When the Germans invaded the Soviet Union in June of 1941, the Soviets suffered several military defeats. Their attitude towards the western allies and to Poland therefore changed. A Polish Soviet treaty was signed in July of 1941 and the organization of a Polish Army in the Soviet Union was immediately begun. A thorough search was made for all Polish prisoners, but about 14,500 could not be found. They were not found until several of them were found by the Germans in mass graves at Katyn, near Smolensk, in April 1943.

The Soviet Union immediately blamed it on the Nazis, but they refused to allow the International Red Cross to investigate. The Germans therefore invited an International Medical Commission to investigate, and the Polish Red Cross was there to witness some of the exhumations. The International Commission consisted of doctors from twelve different countries. The Findings were that 4,145 bodies were found in eight mass graves. All of them had been shot in the back of the head. The bodies still had on them personal belongings such as diaries, letters, newspapers, and other items all indicating that the crime took place in the second half of March or in April 1940. The evidence was overwhelming that it had been carried out by the N K V D under direct instructions from Moscow. The only evidence indicating that the Germans might have done it was the fact that German bullets were used. However, this was easily explained by the fact that pistols and ammunition of that caliber had been exported to both Poland and the Soviet Union, and that NKVD officers were known to use this kind of weapon.

In January of 1944 the Soviet Union published a report by a special Commission giving the "truth" about the Katyn massacre. The report is a cover-up, and is so full of holes that you can use it for a sieve.

There is no doubt that the Germans carried out some terrible crimes against the people of Poland and the people of the Soviet Union, but the crime of Katyn was not one of them. The responsibility for that rests firmly on the shoulders of the government of the Soviet Union.

All the bodies found at Katyn were of people who came from the camp of Kozielsk. But what happened to the 10,000 or so other prisoners from the other two camps? There is no solid evidence, i.e. no bodies were found, but the inmates of the camp at Starobielsk are believed to have been taken to a place near Kharkov and murdered. The inmates from the camp of Ostashkov are believed to have been taken to the White Sea, put aboard two barges, towed out to sea, and the barges sunk.

But Stalin had not yet finished with the Polish people. On July 23, 1944 Lublin was liberated from the Germans. Two days later the Soviet Foreign Office published a manifesto announcing the formation of the Polish National Liberation Committee, later to be known as the "Lublin Committee." The statement said that the Soviet Union did not wish to acquire any part of Polish territory or to bring about any changes in the social order of Poland. The committee's Manifesto said that comradeship-in-arms would strengthen Poland's friendship with Great Britain and the USA, and that Poland would strive to maintain her traditional bonds of friendship and alliance with France.

In July of 1944 the Soviet Armies were approaching Warsaw. On August 1, there was an uprising in the city against the German occupation, the idea being to liberate the city from inside while the Soviet troops fought their way in from the outside. Unfortunately the Soviet troops never arrived, and the outnumbered and outgunned citizens inside surrendered on October 2. An estimated 300,000 Polish people lost their lives. Stalin maintained that the Red Army could not liberate the city in time because they had to cross the Vistula River and because they had to face heavy German counter-attacks. However, what is factual is that the Soviet radio broadcasts urged the uprising, and a Pravda report of August 2 reported:

"On to Warsaw! In an offensive there is a moment when the military operation reaches its culminating point and, having acquired its necessary pressure and impetus, goes ahead without any doubt as to what will happen next. At such time when the full strength of the offensive comes into motion, it starts advancing in great strides, and then no power can stop its victorious forward march."

What appears to have happened is that Stalin simply stalled the advance of the Red Army. The British and Americans offered to supply Warsaw by air but Stalin would not allow them to use Soviet airfields.

During the war years there was a Polish government-in-exile in London, but Stalin did not approve of it. The main Polish resistance group, the Polish underground, was called the Armija Krajowa, and was sponsored from London. When the Red Army entered Poland in 1944 they started killing Poles as well as Germans. In January 1945 the Armija Krajowa officially dissolved itself, but was replaced by a secret organization, called NIE (short for Independence). They continued their activities after the Soviet Union had overrun the whole of Poland. In March of 1945, 16 leaders of NIE were invited to talks by the Soviet Government on the future of Poland. They were all arrested and put on trial. Three were acquitted, and the rest were given sentences ranging from 3 years to 10 years. That was liberating the Polish people Soviet style.

Soviet and Nazi collaboration

In Moscow in August of 1942, Churchill asked Stalin how he had come to sign the pact with Hitler in 1939. Stalin replied that he thought that England must be bluffing; he knew that Britain had only two divisions that could be mobilized at once, and he thought that Britain must know how bad the French Army was and what little reliance could be placed on it. He could not imagine that Britain would enter the war with such weakness. On the other hand, he said he knew Germany was certain ultimately to attack Russia. He was not ready to withstand that attack; by attacking Poland with Germany he could make more ground, ground was equal to time, and he would consequently have a longer time to get ready. However, none of this was true. To Stalin himself and most Party functionaries, the pact was not a necessity, but a highly congenial alliance.

Probably Stalin's most successful propaganda coup of all was the propagation of the myth that Soviet territorial acquisitions in 1939 were designed to establish a forward strategic line in case of a German attack. This tale has received wide acceptance, but eighteen months later when Hitler launched his invasion, virtually nothing had been accomplished in the way of fortifications, defensive lines or military airfields to exploit ground gained by the Nazi-Soviet Pact. In fact, the national armies of Finland, Romania and the Baltic States would have protected Stalin's flanks. As it was, Finland and Romania were turned into effective allies of the Germans, and the Baltic States provided Hitler with excellent troops.

Hitler gained a great deal from the pact. Provision was made for the supply from Russia of a million tons of grain for cattle, 900,000 tons of mineral oil, 100,000 tons of cotton, 500,000 tons of phosphates, 100,000 tons of chrome ore, 500,000 tons of iron ore, 300,000 tons of scrap iron and pig iron, and numerous other commodities vital to the German war effort.

While Hitler was fighting Britain and France, the Soviet Union was supplying him with his raw materials. Not only that, but they were helping Hitler to break Britain's blockade by supplying rubber and other essential supplies by transporting them on the Trans-Siberian Railway. It is interesting to note that while Stalin was supplying Hitler with thousands of tons of grain, his own people were starving.

It is very clear that what both Hitler and Stalin wanted was the complete dismemberment of Poland. Polish soldiers held captive in the Soviet Union were told that "...by being on good friendly relations with Germany the land would never again be an independent country. Poland is dead forever."

While the Soviet Union held back from joining Germany as a belligerent, she furnished Germany with military co-operation far beyond that which the United States was giving Britain at that time. The German navy was allowed facilities at Murmansk on a scale which contrasts favorably in many ways with restrictions placed on Allied use of the same port between 1941 and 1945.

The German liner "Bremen" found refuge there, as did a succession of blockade breaking vessels; and measures violating international law were adopted by the soviet authorities to allow the Germans to escape with a captured American merchant ship,

"City of Flint". German auxiliary cruisers were equipped at Murmansk for raids on British shipping.

More than this, the Soviets actually allowed Germany her own naval base on Soviet soil near Murmansk. It proved to be a valuable base for U-boats operating in the North Sea, and played an important role helping supply Hitler's invasion of Norway. The Soviets helped a German raiding cruiser, "Schiff 45", to make her way through the ice around Siberia to the pacific, where she sank and captured 64,000 tons of allied shipping. In this and other ways the Soviet Government lent enormous assistance to the otherwise extremely vulnerable German Navy.

The main reason that Stalin opposed Britain and France was because he considered them to be capitalists and imperialists and therefore enemies of communism. Stalin had respect for the Nazis because they were revolutionary, totalitarian, and Hitler was ruthless. Hitler also had a respectful admiration for Stalin, and Goebbels believed that Communists and Nazis were cut out of the same cloth.

In France in particular Communist subversion of the war effort was intense, and when France was defeated the Party declared that French imperialism has just suffered its greatest defeat in history.

An article in Pravda in May 28, 1940 said the following: A certain part of the Estonian intelligentsia regards the occupation of Norway and Denmark by the Germans as an aggression, as an enslavement of small nations. This part of the intelligentsia preaches a loyal attitude towards England and expresses its hatred of Germany and everything German... The ruling circles of Estonia are trying to remain neutral with regard to the events in the west... The Estonian Press likewise tries to avoid awkward problems and emphasizes its loyalty towards England.

It should be noted that both Denmark and Norway were neutral countries as were Holland and Belgium when they were attacked.
 

All collaboration with the Nazis ended on June 22, 1941 when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union.
After their experiences with the Soviet Union, is it any wonder that the Baltic States and Eastern Europe do not want Russia meddling in their internal affairs, to be in their "Sphere of Influence?" If they have really changed, wouldn't they give back what they took?

Many Eastern Europeans emigrated to Canada, and when Soviet Union or the Russian language is mentioned, you get a look that says "Hey, we've had enough of them. We were forced to learn Russian...My father spent time in Russian POW camps, so and so was sent to Siberia or was shot..." They are just now throwing off the vestiges of this colonial power.  However, in the Soviet press, all was rosy, the Russians were "welcome" everywhere, and interviews were made to show how everyone "loved" the Russians and how they just can't get enough of their wonderful help. Why then so much military activity at the borders? Who is there to shoot at, where is the enemy? The truth was that all the countries would have enjoyed a standard of living close to that of Germany and Finland without this "Soviet assistance," instead they were thrown into poverty and incarceration within their own country or Siberia, or worse. Like the old saying goes, "with friends like that who needs enemies?"

Germany conquered one part of Poland, and Russia conquered the other part of Poland. Poland was caught in the middle before America even became involved in World War II. Poland was wiped out from both sides. After capturing a large number of prisoners, they said, "Hey Joseph, what do you want us to do with all of these prisoners?" He said, "Oh, they are just Poles; execute them." They put hoods over their heads, tied their hands behind their backs, jerked them up as hard as they could, put ropes around their necks, and marched them out to the edge of a hill, and one by one they shot at least 14,500 Polish officers in the back of the head. How can you shoot prisoners of war? What about the Geneva Convention? Hey Joseph, don't you know that it's not nice to shoot people in the back of the head while they can't resist? So why wasn't Joe brought before the courts in The Hague?

Treaties and conventions are meaningless to a communist. They are only a means to get ahead, and they have no intention of keeping their treaties.
 

Communists teach their students a simple technique. They ask them to bring a board, a hammer, and a nail. The teacher says, "Boys and girls, I'm going to pound this nail into this board. Now, watch closely." He takes the hammer and slams it down on the head of the nail, BOOM! He says, "Now, should I keep pushing on the hammer, PUSH, PUSH, PUSH?" "No, no, no, teacher. Draw the hammer back until you are ready to strike again." They pull back and strike again. That's the way you pound a nail. You don't hit it and keep pushing because you'll never drive it in that way. Then the teacher says, "That's right boys and girls this is the way that we are going to take over this world. We are going to strike and take a country, and then we are going to back up and say, We've changed; we're nice now. Send us your aid." Then, we are going to strike and take another one, and back up and say, "Hey, we've changed. Send us more money please."  Robert T. Weaver
Today, President V. Putin, a leader who is a far cry from Gorbachev, is telling the Baltic states how they should handle their Russian speaking population, that was forced on them in the Soviet era. This was a plan to move Russia to the Baltic, and as such, Putin has no right to complain now when the plan is left unfinished. Those Russians can learn their host language if they want to stay. Better yet, let them go to their spiritual home in Russia if they love their mother tongue so much. That is a lot kinder than what they did to those people - sending them away forever to Siberia, or other remote areas with nothing.



JOINT BALTIC AMERICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE, INC.
Representing: Estonian American National Council, Inc. American Latvian Association, Inc. Lithuanian American Council, Inc.
400 Hurley Avenue Rockville, MD 20850
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