People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 19

May 09, 2010



Some Facts about the Role Played by Allied Forces


R Arun Kumar


LENIN in his 'War and Revolution' had written, �From the point of view of Marxism, that is, of modern scientific socialism, the main issue in any discussion by socialists on how to assess the war and what attitude to adopt towards it is this: what is the war being waged for, and what classes staged and directed it�. This helps us in understanding the current 'media-information war' waged by the imperialist forces distorting the history of World War II. In this background, it would be apt to once again look at some of the facts to understand the role played by the Soviet Union, US and Britain in this war.

The Second World War, a war started by the imperialist forces to gain control over world resources, was also targeted at dealing a death blow to the only socialist power at that time, the Soviet Union. This war will always be remembered by the mankind as a scar on humanity. The war which broke out on 1 September 1939, raged for six years. It involved 61 states with a population of 1,700 million people (80 per cent of the world's population at that time) and was waged on the territories of 40 countries. There were 100 million men and women living under arms in all countries in those years. The total material loss incurred by all nations during this war is estimated to be 4,000,000,000,000 dollars. The war also took a heavy toll � 50 million human lives were lost, more than 40 per cent of whom belong to the Soviet Union alone. The war ended in 1945 with the complete defeat of the fascist forces and their surrender to the allied powers. Efforts are on to project that this war was won by the efforts of the US, Britain and the western world, pushing to margins the heroic role played by the Soviet Union.

Imperialism consciously tries to hide those facts that show the help they had extended to Hitler in building his war machine. The true inspirer of the war, to quote Telford Taylor, the US counsel at the Nuremberg trials, is the �unholy trinity of national socialism, militarism and war monopolies�. Germany received loans, latest military technology and raw materials to revive its military industry from both the US and Britain. The assistance provided by both the US and the Britain for the revival of the war monopolies in Germany is mentioned by a leading German capitalist in Nuremberg prison, as, �If you want to put on trial the industrialists who helped Germany arm itself, you must put to trial your own industrialists�. Britain had entered into an agreement with Hitler to help in increasing the German navy by more than five times. This agreement was signed after Hitler withdrew from the League of Nations, repudiated the Treaty of Versailles and started universal military conscription.

An enquiry by the US Congress during the war had stated that Wehrmacht would have been unable to fight the war without trucks built by US owned Opel and Ford plants, without aircraft engines and special equipment supplied by Lorenz plants and without US oil supplies. The US and British imperialists thought that a suitably armed Hitler and Germany would wipe out Soviet Union and snub all the powerful revolutionary movements that are mobilising millions of working people under their banners. While they were more than eager to help Germany, a similar interest was not shown to help the Soviet Union fighting the fascists.

To cover this fact, the imperialist powers are spreading canards that the Soviet victory was possible because of their assistance through the 'lend-lease' agreement. US had entered into 'lend-lease' agreements with 42 countries during the war and this amounted to 49,000 million dollars. Of this amount, the Soviet Union, which is chiefly involved in the fight against Germany received only 9,800 million dollars, while Britain received 30,700 million dollars and the rest of the supplies went to France and other countries. In the same period, in what is termed as the reverse 'lend-lease', the Soviet Union had supplied 300,000 tons of chromium ore and 32,000 tons of manganese ore and considerable quantities of plutonium to the US. This had prompted Jesse H Jones former US Secretary of Commerce to comment that the �Americans not only got their money back but derived profit from the Soviet deliveries�. Official figures show that the USSR received from the US 9,600 artillery pieces (less than 2 per cent of the Soviet output), 14,500 planes (less than 11 per cent of the Soviet output). Lend-lease deliveries averaged just four per cent of Soviet industrial output. And even for this assistance, the Soviet State had to repeatedly remind them of their promises, as can be noticed from the war time communication between these states. So much so for their claims!

There is a vast difference even in the extent of fighting. The length of the Soviet-German front in different years was varying from 2,200 to 6,200 kilometres while the Allies front never exceeded 800 kilometres after the landing at Normandy and 300 kilometres in Italy. Active hostilities were conducted on the Soviet-German front for 1,320 days out of a total of 1,418 days, which is 93 per cent of the total fighting time. The corresponding figure for the African, Italian and West European fronts being 1,094 days of a total of 2,069 days, which is 53 per cent of the total fighting time. The German army suffered its heaviest losses on the Soviet-German front � more than 73 per cent of its man power, 75 per cent tanks and aircraft and 74 per cent artillery were lost on this front. The US and Britain try to mask these facts and project that the defeat of the Nazi Germany was a result of the role their military had played. No one can deny the role played by US, Britain and other allied countries but this also should not be at the cost of truth.

Imperialist powers wantonly delayed the setting up of anti-Hitler coalition till late 1941. Andre Beaufre, French General commenting on the delay of the setting up of the coalition against Germany wrote, �When one reads today the draft of the Anglo-French-Soviet treaty one cannot help thinking how blind and petty-minded our diplomacy must have been in solving this problem that it could miss the opportunity to conclude so important a treaty�. Even the British Secretary of State for Foreign affairs, Anthony Eden said, �Hardly anyone could doubt that had the alliance between Russia, Britain and the United States, which was established at Yalta been formed in 1939, this war would never have broken out�. But unfortunately this realisation dawned in 1945 and not earlier. They have repeatedly ignored the requests of the Soviet Union to start a second front for three long years and ultimately opened it only in 1944.

The Soviet Union was able to achieve victory over fascist forces in spite of the mighty attack launched by the German forces because, according to them, they had fought the war on three fronts. One, the battlefront where the Soviet Red army and its people had displayed exemplary courage and sacrifice, two, the labour front in the rear which kept up the flow of regular supplies to the battlefront and three the moral front, which consisted of the indomitable spirit of the Soviet people in defence of their motherland and their socialist ideals. It would be surprising to note that in spite of the severe hardships they were facing, the Soviet citizens had voluntarily contributed 118,000 million roubles which is nearly one-fourth of the war budget of the USSR for this anti-fascist war. It is this socialist spirit that explains the dogged resistance they had displayed in the war against fascism.

This heroic role of the Soviet people was recognised even by the then leaders of the imperialist world. Churchill stated that, �it is the Russian army that tore the guts out of the German military machine�. Roosevelt commented, �Russian armies are killing more Germans and destroying more Axis material than all the twenty-five nations put together�. The then US Secretary of State, Stettinius wrote, �The American people should remember that they were on the brink of disaster in 1942. If the Soviet Union had failed to hold on its front, the Germans would have been in a position to conquer Great Britain. They would have been able to overrun Africa too, and in this event they could have established a foothold in Latin America�. Charles de Gaulle, the President of France had said, �The Russian efforts, inflicting irreparable damage to the German war machine, were the main factor in the liberation of our country's territory�.

Forgetting what their own leaders had stated then, it is this history and role of the Soviet Union that the present day imperialist forces are trying to erase. They may succeed in erasing these facts from the books they produce, but howsoever hard they might try, they cannot erase it from the hearts of the working people of the world. Simply because, the Soviet army fully or partially liberated the territories of 11 countries in Europe with a population of 113 million and furthermore provided inspiration to the worldwide anti-imperialist struggle and helped liberate many other countries.