Published materials that contain false information about Russia
Yet another attempt to falsify World War II history
On the 80th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War and the entry of the US into WWII, there are still those in the West who believe, rather that recalling the glorious brotherhood-in-arms of Soviet and US soldiers, that we were allegedly craving for war. We will not dwell on the morals of those individuals and will leave it on their conscience (in unlikely case they have one), we will just note that these pseudo historians have conducted “deep analysis” of the events of 1941 and have arrived at some perverse logic.
Recently Sean McMeekin who has a long record of twisting historical facts, declared in the Wall Street Journal that the USSR allegedly benefited from the launch of hostilities in the Pacific theatre of war and that this is confirmed by the neutrality pact signed by Moscow and Tokyo in April 1941.
It is probably high time to wipe off the dust of history from archive stacks and remind everyone how things really stood.
The 1930s. The world is facing a big war, which would change the face of the earth forever. Here and there armed conflicts flare up and people are dying. Spain, Finland, China are just the best-known hotbeds of confrontation that will lead to the hellfire of the World War II. The Soviet Union – a young and peaceful state – urges the entire world to be responsible. It proposes to set up a collective security system in Europe, but Moscow is not heeded: Daladier and Chamberlain proudly shake the papers they signed with Hitler and rejoice at his “Munich appeasement.”
Meanwhile, in the Far East, Japanese troops are advancing into the heartland of China and conquer new territories. The Japanese do not conceal that they are ready to annex Manchuria and later Mongolia. Moscow is appealing to the world but its capitals and the League of Nations (the USSR joined it in 1934) seem to be deaf. Moreover, they are trying to befriend Tokyo – the Americans, following the hardest years of the Great Depression, provided the Japanese Empire with military aid worth $181 million in 1931 through 1932 while France and Britain kept supplying it with strategic military materials.
The Soviet Union understood the futility of addressing London, Paris and Washington, and concluded a mutual assistance agreement with Mongolia. Immediately afterwards, Japan ratcheted up its militaristic rhetoric and signed the Anti-Commintern Pact with Germany, which has a secret appendix targeting the USSR. Even before WWII began, there emerged a real threat of a big war in the Far East between the USSR and Japan. The Japanese, even though they knew about the agreement between Moscow and Ulan-Bator, set out to launch hostilities.
From July 29 to August 11, 1938, tens of thousands troops, air force, artillery and cavalry were engaged in incidents near Lake Khasan. The following summer the Japanese decided again to advance north and in 1939 crossed the Khalkhin-Gol and occupied Bayan-Tsagan Mount. Nothing kept the militaristic troops from moving further north and occupying the Trans-Baikal territories in Siberia. To prevent this, the 1st Army Group was established under Corps Commander Georgy Zhukov. By making tremendous efforts and stopping Japan’s advance into Mongolia, the Soviet Union ensured security for itself and slowed down Tokyo’s aggression on the continent. Some researchers believe that this gave the USA some time to prepare for the coming war, which the Japanese militarists could begin earlier, in 1940.
Meanwhile, what were the Western powers doing? Instead of showing solidarity with the Soviet Union, which was actually fighting an aggressor, they acted the same way as in Munich. During the fighting on Khalkhin-Gol, British Ambassador Robert Craigei concluded an agreement with Japanese Foreign Minister Hachiro Arita on July 1939 (called the Craigie-Artita Agreement), which de-facto supported the Japanese actions in continental China. It is telling that western Wikipedia versions have practically no information about this document. The English-language version has a reference to the Tientsin incident (escalation in trade relations between London and Tokyo) but there are no articles on the appeasement of the Japanese militarists’ regime. Check for yourselves.
By paying for the inviolability of its borders with the blood of Soviet soldiers, Moscow forced Tokyo to conclude a neutrality pact. However, Moscow never had illusions regarding the Japanese Empire’s aspirations during the war. Even at the beginning of the Great Patriotic War Joseph Stalin wrote in a letter to Winston Churchill, “If Japan violates the treaty [on neutrality] and attacks the Soviet Union, it will encounter a fitting rebuff from Soviet troops.” Even during the first stages of the Battle of Moscow, the Far Eastern Front troops were deployed in southern Siberia (though so badly needed in the Smolensk and Moscow regions) so as to prevent a sudden invasion. The following is a sample of what Joachim von Ribbentrop wrote to the Reich’s ambassador to Tokyo in the summer of 1941: “I ask you to use all available resources to insist on Japan’s joining the war with Russia in the shortest possible time... The sooner it joins the war, the better. It is our natural wish to meet the Japanese representatives on the Trans-Siberian railway as early as before the winter.”
As to the start of the hostilities in the Pacific, it was largely due to significant miscalculations by the US, in particular, its curbing of diplomatic talks with the Japanese, its condoning Germany’s expansionist policy alongside its hope that Japan would join Germany in its aggression against the USSR, as well as its apparent underestimation of Tokyo’s military capabilities.
Contrary to what the West is trying to present, a war in the Far East was not beneficial to the Soviet Union. We have always called for peaceful co-existence of powers in all of the world’s regions. And if someone wants to twist logic and present everything in a perverted way, it’s not going to work. Because we know history.
One can learn about the circumstances around the start of WWII from the fundamental work “The Sheet Music of WWII: Who Began the War and When?” by Valentin Falin and Natalya Narochnitskaya.