Tag archives: Josef Stalin

Barbarossa: 22 June 1941

by Robert Morrison

June 22, 2010

It was a quiet Sunday morning just before dawn in early summer 69 years ago. The Soviet border guards had nervously reported sighting clouds of dust over the western horizon in the previous days. Increasing numbers of aircraft with swastika markings on their wings had been overflying the Soviet airspace.

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill sent repeated messages to Communist dictator Josef Stalin in the Kremlin: Hitler is going to attack the Soviet Union. British intelligence had confirmed that after the last great Luftwaffe bombing raid over London on 10 May 1941, German aircraft, armored units, and infantry were all moving toward the east. Hitler had proclaimed his intentions to the world in his book, Mein Kampf (My Struggle) He saw the east as the place where Germanys burgeoning population would find lebensraumroom to live.

Despite all warnings and all indications, Stalin refused to believe that Hitler would attack him. He had signed a Non-Aggression Pact with Hitler barely two years earlier. In late August, 1939, Hitler had felt secure to go to war with the British and the French over Poland. He knew that the Pact would prevent Stalin from attacking him from the east.

Now, after his Luftwaffe had failed to defeat the Royal Air Force in the year-long Battle of Britain, Hitler secretly ordered his generals to prepare a drang nach ostena drive to the east. Frustrated in his invasion of Britain, Hitler convinced himself that when he defeated Soviet Russia, Britain would have no choice but to make peace with him.

Hitler and his Nazis had seen how poorly the Soviet military fared against little Finland in the winter of 1939-40. The tiny Scandinavian country had defied Stalins demand for a chunk of its territory and had killed a million Red Army soldiers in the winter war that followed. Virtually without weapons, the Finns invented Molotov cocktails, bottles filled with gasoline. They lit the wicks and hit Soviet tanks with them. Finally, in the spring, Stalins overwhelming numbers forced the Finns to sue for peace. Not a single Finn remained behind in the Karelian Peninsula that their leaders were forced to give over to Stalin.

Seeing this and knowing that Stalin had shot thousands of his own generals, colonels and other high-ranking army officers in a series of bloody purges throughout the 1930s, Hitler was convinced we have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come falling down.

Most observers in the west thought Hitler might be right. They had seen his Wehrmacht roll over Poland in 40 days and over Belgium, the Netherlands, and France in just six weeks.

Churchill disagreed. He told his closest friends he would bet them a monkey to a mousetrap (a term he picked up from horse racing) that Russia would still be fightingand fighting more successfullytwo years from that day.

Churchill won the bet. But not before tens of millions of Russians, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Georgians, Armenians, and many, many others in the old USSR lost their lives. Jews were singled out by Hitler for extermination. The siege of Leningrad (as St. Petersburg was known in the Soviet era) claimed three million livesmore than the U.S., Britain, France, and Canada lost in all of World War II.

When Hitler attacked without warning that morning in June, 1941, Stalin had a nervous breakdown. He cowered in his dacha (vacation home) outside of Moscow. For the first ten days of the German assault, while millions of Red army soldiers were killed or taken prisoner, the Communist rulers of the Kremlin remained paralyzed. Trains full of Russian wheat continued to race westward to Germany as part of the terms of the 1939 Pact. No one had thought to order them stopped. When his Communist comrades came to his dacha to beg for his guidance, Stalin at first thought they had come to arrest him and have him shot.

They should have. No ruler in human history had been responsible for such a catastrophe in his own land. Stalin trusted no one on earth, except Adolf Hitler. But Stalin would survive those first ten days of Barbarossa and live on to see his Red Army come roaring back. Stalins train would carry him to the rubble of Berlin in 1945. He would meet Prime Minister Churchill and President Harry Truman at Potsdam, a Berlin suburb. The allied leaders met, almost literally, over Hitlers dead body.

All through World War II, all through the tragic and bloody conflict that his own alliance with Hitler had made possible, Stalin continued to enjoy a great press in the west. He was called Uncle Joe. Millions of Communists and leftists regarded him and not Churchill, not even FDR, as the leader of progressive mankind. Amazing.

Even more amazing: We have had people in the Obama White House who claim to be Communists, claim to view Chinas Communist dictator Mao Zedongthe only man who managed to kill more people than Stalin and Hitleras a favorite political philosopher.

Eighty-five percent of the Allied war effort in World War II went against Adolf Hitler. Two-thirds of that fight was on the Soviet Front. We had no choice but to align with Stalin. But no onethen or nowshould be under any illusions about what a thoroughly evil man he was. No American should ever be able to claim to be a Communist or to admire Communists without being made to answer for the murderous records of Stalin and Mao.

Forgetting Who We Are

by Robert Morrison

June 7, 2010

If we forget what we did, we will forget who we are. So said President Reagan in his Farewell Address to the Nation in 1989. That year would see the collapse of the evil empire that Reagan fought all his adult life. When confronted by the fact that the Catholic Church would surely oppose his occupation and rule over Poland, Soviet dictator Joe Stalin had cynically asked: How many divisions has the Pope? In 1989, the world found out how many divisions the Pope had. Millions of Poles cried out We want God. Poland became the fulcrum for Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and the Polish Pope John Paul II to move the world.

The good folks in Bedford, Virginia, are trying desperately to make a go of their troubled D-Day Memorial. They have just put up a statue to Josef Stalin. They claim, defensively, that they are merely trying to complete a quartet of Second World War leaders which includes Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Charles de Gaulle.

Minus the frosty Frenchman, the Big Three did meet—at Tehran, at Yalta—to map out grand strategy for the allied victory against Hitler. The Anglo-American allies worried all the while they dealt with dictator Stalin that he might change sides once again and team up with Hitler. Stranger things had happened. It was Stalins 1939 Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, after all, that allowed Hitler to launch the Second World War just weeks after the pact signatures had dried. It was at that time that the young Karol Wojtyla, the future Pope John Paul II, fleeing eastward with his ailing father, would turn back to live under the Nazi occupation rather than risk life under the Soviets. Stalins NKVD henchmen captured some 22,000 Polish army officers and shot them, each one with a single bullet to the back of his skull, and buried their bodies in the Katyn Forest.

And this was just the beginning. FDRs ambassador to the Soviet Union, Joseph Davies was all-out for Stalin. He even made a Hollywood propaganda movie titled Mission to Moscow. When he lived in Moscow, Davies tried to quiet his wifes concerns. Housed in their elegant embassy residence, Mrs. Davies could hear the sharp crack-crack-crack all night. Davies said it was heroic Soviet workers, using jackhammers, eager to meet their production quotas. In truth. was Stalins NKVD execution squads, working through the nights, eager to meet a different kind of quota.

We do need to remember our unholy alliance with Stalin during World War II. It was necessary for the survival of the West to make a marriage of convenience with this most brutal of dictators.

The Russian proverb says when you go to dine with the devil, make sure you take a long spoon.

Churchill carried a long spoon and, typically, said it better: If Hitler invaded hell, I would at least make favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons. When Hitler invaded Stalins empire built on bones, he did indeed invade hell.

The D-Day Memorial folks in Bedford might have remembered the wartime alliance with a photo of FDR, Churchill, and Stalin. They might even have rendered the photo as a sculpture.

But in erecting a bust of the beast, they have dishonored themselves and the United States of America.

It was President Reagan who spoke in Normandy at Pointe-du-Hoc in 1984, praising the Airborne Rangers who reclaimed a continent for freedom:

Something else helped the men of D-day; their rock-hard belief that Providence would have a great hand in the events that would unfold here; that God was an ally in this great cause.

And so, the night before the invasion, when Colonel Wolverton asked his parachute troops to kneel with him in prayer, he told them: Do not bow your heads, but look up so you can see God and ask His blessing in what were about to do. Also, that night, General Matthew Ridgeway on his cot, listening in the darkness for the promise God made to Joshua: I will not fail thee or forsake thee.

Thus did Ronald Reagan teach us how to remember D-Day and the Boys of Pointe-du-Hoc. Thus he led us in holding aloft the torch of freedom.

One year ago, President Barack Obama stood at Normandy D-Day observances and, in the words of Newsweeks Evan Thomas, hovered above the nations, like a sort of God. What did Mr. Obama say there? Can even his strongest advocates recall a single line the President delivered there? Erecting a bust of Stalin in America—anywhere in America—would only be possible because we are now forgetting what we did, forgetting who we are.