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Re: [Kresy-Siberia] Re: WWII closed-door pronouncements about Poland

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  • John Halucha
    Thank you for the Smuts reference, Mark. Google books gives only a peek, but the additional context is delicious even if it still doesn t indicate the date of
    Message 1 of 240 , Dec 1, 2011
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      Thank you for the Smuts reference, Mark. Google books gives only a peek, but the additional context is delicious even if it still doesn't indicate the date of the telegram: "... it on many occasions, that it began to obsess him. I found it in a telegram to Smuts, who monitored the Soviet situation very carefully and who was very suspicious of what Katyn implied for the post-war world. Churchill said, "Will it be said of me that I was so obsessed with the destruction of Hitlerism that I neglected to see the enemy rising in the East? Will this somehow be my epitaph on everything that I have done from the Blitz, the Battle of Britain and onwards?"
      Pending a fuller look, it appears to refer to Churchill's obsession with how history would view him. Needless to say, the ranks of those who are recognizing his profound flaws are growing. We can only hope this causes budding megalomaniacs to reconsider any plans to betray allies.
      Searching the book using your clue, "telegram", this further tantalizing tidbit emerged from Page 37:
      "Your telegram surprised me. We never recognised the 1941 frontiers. They were acquired by acts of aggression in shameful collusion with Hitler. There must be no mistake about the opinion of any British Government of which I am the head; that it adheres to the principles of the Atlantic Charter and that these principles must become especially active whenever any question of transferring territory is concerned."
      The excerpt doesn't indicate who the speaker is or when he said this, but a Google search quickly revealed:
      At a December [1941] meeting with Anthony Eden, the British foreign secretary, Stalin proposed a secret deal with the British. Postwar, he wanted to keep the massive amounts of territory the Soviets had snatched before 1941, including almost half of Poland. When Prime Minister Winston Churchill heard Stalin's demands, he rejected them outright, telling Eden that the British had never recognized Stalin's claim to eastern Poland and reminding him that the Soviets had acquired the territory only "by acts of aggression in shameful collusion with Hitler."
      - http://www.pbs.org/behindcloseddoors/episode-1/ep1_problem_with_poland.html
      The second key element to Stalin's deal-making skill was a profound understanding of the importance of timing in all negotiations. He was not disheartened when the initial British response in December 1941 to his demand that the Soviets keep eastern Poland at the end of the war was negative, with Churchill saying privately to Foreign Secretary Eden in January 1942 that the request was outrageous since this territory had been "acquired by acts of aggression in shameful collusion with Hitler." - http://www.historynet.com/stalin-the-puppetmaster.htm

      But other sources show a similar quote in respect of only the Balkans, leaving out Poland:
      "We have never recognised the 1941 frontiers of Russia except de facto. They were acquired by acts of aggression in shameful collusion with Hitler. The transfer of the peoples of the Baltic states to Soviet Russia against their will would be contrary to all the principles for which we are fighting this war and would dishonour our cause." 1942, 8 January. WSC to Anthony Eden, who had urged him to take up with Roosevelt "immediate recognition" of the 1941 Soviet borders on the basis of "stark realism". Churchill's reply was resolute; the pressure of events made him relent in March 1942, only to revert to his original position after the war. - Churchill by Himself: The Definitive Collection of Quotations By Richard Langworth,
      and again:
      While Eden was in Moscow [December 1941] Churchill was in America. There Eden wired the PM, urging him to take up with Roosevelt the case for "immediate recognition" of the Soviet 1941 frontiers on the basis of "stark realism:"35 nothing the British or Americans could do would stop the Russians getting their way at the end of the war. Churchill, furious, replied that the 1941 Soviet frontiers were acquired by acts of aggression in shameful collusion with Hitler. The transfer of the peoples of the Baltic States to Soviet Russia against their will would be contrary to all the principles for which we are fighting this war and would dishonour our cause . there must be no mistake about the opinion of any British Government of which I am the head, namely, that it adheres to those principles of freedom and democracy set forth in the Atlantic Charter - http://www.winstonchurchill.org/support/the-churchill-centre/publications/finest-hour/issues-37-72/no-53/853-churchill-and-the-baltic-part-ii-1931-1950
      (But this source is suspect because it says, inaccurately, "After Hitler had attacked and invaded Russia on 22 June 1941...")
      Even if the quote is literally in respect of the Balkans, it obviously applies in spirit to the identical situation of eastern Poland and has been understood that way by historians as noted above. 
      It appears that within three months Churchill diametrically changed his position to that advocated by Eden, and then vigorously argued against the resolute position he held earlier. Flexibility is an asset in a politician when it comes to details, but flexibility in basic "principles of freedom and democracy" shows a disastrous character flaw.

      The path you lighted also led to this:
      "This is not a question of fighting for Danzig or fighting for Poland. We are fighting to save the whole world from the pestilence of Nazi tyranny and in defense of all that is most sacred to man. This is no war of domination or imperial aggrandizement or material gain; no war to shut any country out of its sunlight and means of progress. It is a war, viewed in its inherent quality, to establish, on impregnable rocks, the rights of the individual, and it is a war to establish and revive the stature of man." - Winston Churchill's speech to the House of Commons on Sept. 3, 1939 - http://www.winstonchurchill.org/learn/speeches/speeches-of-winston-churchill/127-war-speech
      Again, Churchill has it right early on but later changes his tune to the disingenuous, "we had declared war on account of Poland," which is demonstrably untrue on many measures - and don't get me started on that thread.

      Thanks for the inspiration, Mark, and apologies for my overenthusiastic home invasion analogy that implied you had suggested we thank Stalin for saving Poland. Of course, you did no such thing. I think I understand your contention and we will have to agree to disagree on the statement  "without the Soviet Army there would be no Poland today" because I still see Stalin as fundamentally responsible for Poland's fall to Hitler in the first place, based on what actually did happen as opposed to what would have happened or might have happened.

      John Halucha
      Sault Ste Marie, Canada

      From: Mark and Oyun <mark_oyun@...>
      To: Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2011 6:47:14 PM
      Subject: [Kresy-Siberia] Re: WWII closed-door pronouncements about Poland

      Dear John and Zenon,
      John, the Smuts quote comes from:
      Michael Charlton: The Eagle and the Small Birds. Crisis in the Soviet Empire from Yalta to Solidarity. BBC Books, London 1984 Page 33     ISBN-10:0563202726 ISBN-13:978-0563202721
      Apparently the quote is taken from an interview with Martin Gilbert, Churchill's official biographer. It is possible there is an exact reference in the book footnotes but I don't have a copy with me but it's on Amazon if you're interested: It is actually quite a good read.
      Republished by University of Chicago, 1985
      ISBN-10:0226101541 ISBN-13:978-0226101545)
      John, I had to laugh out loud at the continuation of the house analogy. However,
      "... let bygones be bygones: thanks for not wiping us off the face of the earth entirely as you had vowed earlier."  That is your interpretation. My original statement was...
      "without the Soviet Army there would be no Poland today". I have read nothing to alter this view. I did not say the Poles should be grateful/happy/forgiving... in fact I offered the view as a historical observation that, as I see it, stands true and repeat the question: if not them, then who? Who was going to save the Polish nation?
      I have to confess that I do have some sympathy for your statement...
      "...so saying that Poland owes its existence thanks to the Soviet Army would be akin to me saying that I owe my existence to Hitler - simplistic, and ignoring other relevant realities."

    • bstar53
      I was mostly with you until you made the rather ludicrous assertion that Obama might not have declared war on Japan after Pearl Harbor amid other negative
      Message 240 of 240 , Jan 30, 2012
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        I was mostly with you until you made the rather ludicrous assertion that Obama might not have declared war on Japan after Pearl Harbor amid other negative comments about FDR.

        Your own statement show that the allies were in now shape to take on a powerful Soviet force. The operation tag of "unthinkable" pretty much sums it up. Your reference to Japan supports it. The estimated losses if the anticipated invasion of the home island was in excess of a half million.

        Poland, Latvia and Estonia along with East Germany may well have been betrayed in the short term but it may well have prevented the extermination of the Polish people. It certainly would have involved nuclear weapons. Poland lives today in a better world by letting things cool. We did after all, win the cold war.

        Poland was betrayed in a more fundamental way for worse consequences in the 1700's by its own magnate class who allowed foreign troops to walk thru its borders.

        I think I detect some rather partisan tainting of history here.

        Bernie Starzewski
        Valders Wi. USA

        --- In Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com, Dan Ford <cub06h@...> wrote:
        > I think you give Roosevelt too much credit for cunning. Churchill,
        > perhaps, but not Roosevelt! He genuinely believed that he could parley
        > with Stalin, just as Obama believed (and may still believe) that he can
        > parley with Ayatollah Kamani over Iran's nuclear program. Roosevelt
        > thought the Russians were just another political pressure group--like
        > the Polish-Americans in Chicago, for example, whose votes he needed in
        > 1944, hence the need to keep the Tehran agreements secret at least until
        > the election was over.
        > Churchill by contrast had a very clear idea of what Stalin intended, and
        > as I have previously shown, he seriously considered what it would take
        > in the way of British, American, Polish, and German (yes! German!)
        > troops to roll back the Red Army to the 1939 borders of the Soviet
        > Union. Truman vetoed that notion, and Churchill's own military chiefs
        > were likewise opposed. (The plan was called Operation Unthinkable.)
        > The choice was between throwing Poland under the bus and going to war
        > against the Red Army, which was just as powerful in June 1945 as it had
        > been in April, whereas the US Army was already deploying to the Pacific,
        > and the British Army was pretty much spent. Poland got thrown under the
        > bus. Would Cameron and Obama do any differently today?
        > (I'm not entirely convinced that Obama, were he president during the
        > Second World War, would have gone to war against Japan or Germany in
        > 1941, let alone against the USSR in 1945.)
        > Blue skies! -- Dan Ford
        > On 1/30/2012 1:22 PM, John Halucha wrote:
        > > Thanks for your work to bring this crime to the attention of more
        > > people, Dan.
        > > KS members who want to look at the US Congress report itself can find
        > > it in our files at
        > > http://www.kresy-siberia.com/1952_Katyn_report_to_Congress.pdf
        > > The most interesting aspect, to me, is the West's collusion to cover
        > > up Stalin's crime - something that the report to Congress steers clear
        > > of. In other words, besides being interested in the coverup of the
        > > crime, I'm interested in the coverup of the coverup. As you point out,
        > > "the State Department refused to follow Congress's recommendation that
        > > the Katyn massacres be brought up at the United Nations."
        > > You say in your author's note: "It's long been an article of faith
        > > among Poles in the West that the United States and Britain hushed up
        > > the atrocity in the Katyn Forest and related massacre sites. This made
        > > sense during the Second World War, when Churchill and Roosevelt were
        > > desperate to keep the Soviet Union in the war again Germany. But why
        > > would the coverup have continued after 1948, when the Cold War was in
        > > full swing? It didn't, as these previously unpublished documents reveal."
        > > First, it is not obvious that the coverup "made sense" during the
        > > Second World War. I often wonder if apologists for Roosevelt and
        > > Churchill on this count would just as comfortably countenance them
        > > covering up Hitler's crimes if the allegiances been different at the
        > > time, and the destruction of Stalin had been to their geopolitical
        > > advantage instead. The way Roosevelt and Churchill compromised their
        > > core principles on this count laid the groundwork for ongoing
        > > corruption in their dealings with Stalin later.
        > > While the US did an investigation and publicly released its finding of
        > > Soviet guilt in 1952, it pointedly skirted the issue of when
        > > Roosevelt's administration knew the truth and how hard it worked to
        > > keep it hidden. The British continued a slightly different tack into
        > > at least the 1970s ( see
        > > http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/about-us/our-history/historical-publications/research-projects/katyn/
        > > and the pages that link from it), essentially that the British
        > > government "has no definite view as regards the attribution of guilt
        > > for the Katyn massacre". So, it laid the groundwork to argue in the
        > > future, should the crime's perpetrator ever been definitively proven
        > > (as it subsequently was) that it did not know at the time.
        > > Of course, we know now that both Churchill and Roosevelt were totally
        > > aware of Soviet responsibility early on. They knew it when they
        > > partied with Stalin at Teheran and Yalta. They knew of Stalin's
        > > criminality when they countenanced him keeping the half of Poland he
        > > had stolen as Hitler's partner, and they knew it when they pretended
        > > to believe his promises of an independent government and free
        > > elections in Poland after the war.
        > > That may help answer the question, "But why would the coverup have
        > > continued after 1948, when the Cold War was in full swing?" The
        > > coverup of the US and British early knowledge of the crime's
        > > perpetrator was not to keep polishing the image of "Uncle Joe" even
        > > after he was their acknowledged enemy, but to protect the image of
        > > their own heroes Roosevelt and Churchill. There was great reluctance
        > > to publicize their collusion in hiding the truth while they
        > > "negotiated" with Stalin. It remains easier for some people to
        > > maintain Churchill's later claim amounting to that they were naively
        > > bamboozled by Stalin whom they had no reason to distrust, than that
        > > they knew full well that they were dealing with a mass-murderer and
        > > liar but chose to go along with him for their own motives.
        > > At every level of every society there have always been criminals and
        > > there probably always will be. An important question is how the "good
        > > guys" deal with those criminals and protect us from them and budding
        > > criminals who are inevitably going to crop up. Because the Katyn
        > > coverup example is an indicator of how corrupted Roosevelt and
        > > Churchill were, its importance is broader than "merely" determining
        > > responsibility for the cold-blooded officially sanctioned murders of
        > > more than 22,000 Polish prisoners.
        > > Why worry about the crime and coverup more than a half-century later?
        > > Perhaps we should reflect on Santayana: "Those who do not remember the
        > > past are condemned to relive it." In this instance, Stalin OK'd the
        > > murders confident no one would ever know what he did, or he didn't
        > > care. Roosevelt and Churchill OK'd the coverup because they hoped no
        > > one would ever know what they did, or at least that by the time it was
        > > known no one would care.
        > > There may be others in our current governments who are tempted to
        > > cover up crimes from the same perspective, much as Hitler was
        > > comfortable about perpetrating the Jewish Holocaust after witnessing
        > > the world's indifferent stance on the Armenian genocide by the Turks.
        > > We can't let that happen: the world needs to reflect not only on
        > > Stalin did, but on what Roosevelt and Churchill did to help cover it
        > > up. We need to condemn being an accessory after the fact, not excuse it.
        > > More evil Stalins have come up, and more will. While we may feel
        > > powerless to prevent emergence of psychopaths, we should feel hope
        > > that we can influence people of good will to do the right thing when
        > > the criminals emerge. That's why we need to study the despicable
        > > behaviour of Roosevelt and Churchill, and educate more people about
        > > it. Potential imitators need to fear that eventually the truth will
        > > out and their complicity will be exposed.
        > >
        > > John Halucha
        > > Sault Ste Marie Canada
        > >
        > > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        > > *From:* Dan Ford <cub06h@...>
        > > *To:* Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com
        > > *Sent:* Monday, January 30, 2012 8:25:54 AM
        > > *Subject:* Re: [Kresy-Siberia] Re: Death Rates/Survival Rates [From
        > > the Archives]
        > >
        > > Well, the full report--Findings of the Select Committee--is certainly
        > > available. I have published it as an ebook:
        > >
        > > http://www.amazon.com/Katyn-Findings-1952-intellectuals-ebook/dp/B005BZKWPW/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_2
        > >
        > > Of course there was testimony that didn't make it into the final report,
        > > and no doubt that's what Mr Paul is referring to. He seems anxious to
        > > prove a cover-up, but his thesis is disproved by the fact that the
        > > report was indeed published.
        > >
        > > It is true that the Eisenhower administration was in 1953 trying to calm
        > > the waters with Soviet Russia, those being somewhat roiled by the Berlin
        > > Blockade and especially the Korean War, which he had pledged to bring to
        > > an end. Accordingly, the State Department refused to follow Congress's
        > > recommendation that the Katyn massacres be brought up at the United
        > > Nations. That was the whole of the "cover-up."
        > >
        > > Beware of writers! They feel a need to come up with the larger number or
        > > the unknown conspiracy, both of which help to get books published and,
        > > once published, bought.
        > >
        > > There was no cover-up. People just weren't all that interested, with the
        > > big War behind them and the Korean War dragging on and on. They were
        > > much more interested in hunting out Communists in the US government than
        > > in raking up a massacre thirteen years old.
        > >
        > > (I hasten to add that Mr Paul's book is excellent, apart from that bit
        > > of silliness, which I think appears only in the third edition. Perhaps
        > > he needed something new to persuade the publisher to bring it out again.)
        > >
        > > Blue skies! -- Dan Ford USA
        > >
        > >
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