In this article from August 26, 1939, the former Central Committee of the Communist Party of Great Britain dispel myths surrounding the ‘Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact’. Often referenced by anti-communists as a means of equating communism with nazism, the Pact has been falsely weaponised since its inception – with such narratives disregarding the Soviet Union’s unparalleled struggle against the Nazis alongside Western collaboration with fascism.
The announcement of the Soviet-German trade and credit agreement and negotiations between the two Governments for the conclusion of a pact of non-aggression represents a victory for peace and Socialism against the war plans of fascism and the pro-fascist policy of Chamberlain.
It represents the fiasco of Hitler’s policy of aggression and of Chamberlain’s policy of support for that aggression. But it places before the British people, in particular, the sharpest urgency for the conclusion of the Anglo-Soviet Pact and the removal of Chamberlain.
The significance of this change in Nazi policy cannot be grasped unless we recall that the openly proclaimed aim of Hitler has been the crushing of Bolshevism. This was accompanied
by the organisation of an Anti-Comintern Pact, ostensibly aimed to bring about the complete encirclement of the Soviet Union.
This policy was meant also to appeal to the reactionaries in all European countries so that their support could be won for the fulfilment of this aim of destroying the Soviet Union…
Regardless of the suffering and torture which would be caused by a new world war, Chamberlain’s policy was leading to a clash between Germany and the Soviet Union, in the
hope that the land of Socialism would be defeated and the international working-class movement crushed and destroyed.
Hitler is forced to recognise the strength and power of the Soviet Union, and his dreams of crushing it have received a setback.
It is therefore a salutary check to his aggressive policy in Eastern Europe, as it is a check to the policy of Chamberlain which was leading to a war between the Soviet Union and Germany. …
On March 10 this year, Comrade Stalin, in his historic report to the 18th Congress of the Bolsheviks, outlined once again the peace policy of the Soviet Union.
The salient points are as follows: – “Far be it from me to moralise on the policy of non-intervention, to talk of treason, treachery and so on. It would be naïve to preach morals to people who recognise no human morality. Politics is politics, as the old case-hardened bourgeois diplomats say. It must be remarked, however, that the big and dangerous political
game, started by the supporters of the policy of non-intervention, may end in a serious fiasco for them… The foreign policy of the Soviet Union is clear and explicit:
“(1) We stand for peace and the strengthening of business relations with all countries. That is our position, and we shall adhere to this position as long as these countries maintain like relations with the Soviet Union, and as long as they make no attempt to trespass on the interests of our country.
“(2) We stand for peaceful, close and friendly relations with all the neighbouring countries which have common frontiers with the U.S.S.R. That is our position, and we shall adhere to this position as long as these countries maintain like relations with the Soviet Union, and as long as they make no attempt to trespass, directly or indirectly on the integrity and inviolability of the frontiers of the Soviet State.
“(3) We stand for the support of nations which are the victims of aggression and are fighting for the independence of their country.
“(4) We are not afraid of the threats of aggressors, and are ready to deal two blows for every blow delivered by instigators of war, who attempt to violate the Soviet borders. Such is the foreign policy of the Soviet Union….
“The tasks of the Party in the sphere of foreign policy are:
“(1) To continue the policy of peace and of strengthening business relations with all countries;
“(2) To be cautious and not allow our country to be drawn into conflict by warmongers, who are accustomed to have others pull the chestnuts out of the fire for them;
“(3) To strengthen the might of our Red Army and Red Navy to the utmost;
“(4) To strengthen the international bonds of friendship with the working people of all countries who are interested in peace and friendship among nations.”
That speech was directed towards the people of Britain as much as it was to the people of the Soviet Union….
The present negotiations with Germany are in line with that declaration of policy. They are in line with the whole peace policy of the Soviet Union…
The record of negotiations over the Anglo-Soviet Pact are a shameful page in British history. The Soviet Union took the initiative in getting the negotiations for an Anglo-Soviet Pact opened. It was clear from the start that Chamberlain had no intention, if he could avoid it, of concluding a pact of mutual assistance with the Soviet Union….
Delay And Danger
Every day of these last five months the way has been opened for the conclusion of the Anglo-Soviet Pact. Every day of delay has brought greater dangers to the British people.
The way is still open if the people are prepared to enforce their demands on the Chamberlain Government. There is no time to be lost.
Let Chamberlain and Daladier fly to Moscow and open up direct conversations with the Soviet Government. They did it a year ago with Hitler at Munich, and it was then claimed that by doing so they were saving the peace of the world. The state of Europe to-day is the eloquent testimony as to how false this has turned out to be.
Greater issues are at stake now. The only way to stem further acts of aggression, such as against Danzig, is the reversal of the present policy of Chamberlain and the immediate conclusion of the Anglo-Soviet Pact. The danger to Poland’s independence arises from the policy of Chamberlain, who has all along been bringing pressure to bear on Poland to make a deal with Hitler over Danzig…
If Poland and the border States want pacts of mutual assistance, let them open negotiations with the Soviet Government at once.
If the British people force Chamberlain now to sign such a pact, then we may be sure these other countries will not lag behind.
Let us repeat again, the Soviet Union helped the people of Spain, China and Mongolia. They will help any country that fights against fascist aggression and for their independence as a nation.
The Soviet Union was the one country in the world that eagerly offered to help Czechoslovakia defend its independence, and the Government of Czechoslovakia had to turn down that offer because of the pressure from Chamberlain.
These facts must be literally burned into the minds of the people. It is the Soviet Union which alone has stood for the Peace Front. It is Chamberlain who has done everything in his power to prevent it from being established…
To read the Daily Herald yesterday and its shameless slanders against the Soviet Union will arouse a tremendous revolt in the Labour movement. At the very moment when every weapon in Labour’s armoury needs to be turned out against Chamberlain, the Daily Herald tries to direct them against the Soviet Union. This is the climax in a record, the previous significant points of which were the support of non-intervention in Spain and the support of the Munich betrayal last autumn. It represents the betrayal of Labour’s own aim of peace and Socialism.
What did those Labour leaders who formulate the policy of the Daily Herald expect the Soviet Union to do? We will speak frankly. They expect the Soviet Union to pull Chamberlain’s chestnuts out of the fire without any special effort being expected from the people of Britain…
The working, men and women of this country will repudiate with indignation this treacherous policy of the Daily Herald and the dominant group of Labour leaders. They will recognise that the action of the Soviet Union in its present negotiations with Germany has spiked the guns of the pro-fascist intrigues of Chamberlain and has strengthened the hands of the British people in their fight for the Anglo-Soviet Pact.
Now is the time and the hour to develop the mass movement for the immediate signing of the Anglo-Soviet Pact. Now, as never in our lives, must we work night and day to expose the meaning of the Chamberlain policy and his responsibility for the present international situation.
But, above all, the Labour movement must be roused, for on the heads of the dominant group of Labour leaders rests the greatest responsibility of all. They have the power, the organisation and the influence to rouse the organised workers against Chamberlain and for the Anglo-Soviet Pact.
Demand that this shall be done now. At the same time, by personal example, show that we are all alive to the critical character of the situation, but that we know once the Anglo-Soviet Pact is signed, then the entire situation will be changed.
Speak Out Now
End the delay and sabotage. Make your will felt on the Labour leaders and Chamberlain.
Now that mass pressure has forced the recall of Parliament the demand must be made that it remains in session.
The keystone of the Peace Front is the Anglo-Soviet Pact. Lay this foundation now.
Away with all defeatism and craven hearts.
The British people will resist fascism whether it comes from abroad or at home. But the price of success is also that the Chamberlain Government shall be removed, and a Government led by trusted representatives of the Labour movement shall come to power.
Central Committee, Communist Party of Great Britain